|Mary Magdalene of the Hibiscus, Oil on gessoed board, 12" x 9", 2010.|
"Come together believers, non-believers, semi-believers, sometimes believers, and all or none of the above..."
Raquel summarized in her sweet and unique style the essence of our Magdalene journey. She is for us the saint who does not require anything but love. No religion, no rules, no sacrifice. Joy and playfulness and friendship are the guiding principles of our devotion.
And as 2013 began, I announced the celebration that is rapidly approaching. Here is your invitation: https://www.facebook.com/events/155967197924788/
It is a little scary, as always, to put together an event. But this event is more than an event, so I enjoy the scary feeling and trust that it will be beautiful and simple and joyful. For now, I have spent the past part of the year letting people know and dreaming it up, a little at a time. And the Magdalene rewards me every day with beautiful letters from people who visit my website and feel healed by the images. So I know I am on the right track, just need to do a little at a time and keep going.
An essential part of any project, big or small, and especially an artistic project, is planning. For now it is more about thinking the plan, and dreaming the parts. Here are some wishes I have for our celebration, and the concepts that I would like to bring forth:
We want to integrate the idea of a Promesa, or an offering to a saint, a tradition still alive in Puerto Rico, where the person or family that has asked a saint for a miracle and receives it "pays for it" by inviting the neighborhood people to pray, sing and share food. At the beginning of our journey with the Magdalene, we had two of these in Raquel's place. She was the person who offered it, and we joined her in singing her songs and enjoying the meal cooked by her chef brother. We were a small group, but the lucky ones that happened to be there still remember. Or will never forget. It was an intimate and joyous occasion each time, a moment of connection and wholeness.
Now that Raquel lives in New Mexico, we continue to find ways to celebrate the Magdalene, and the ways in which she has helped us find our way. So we decided to make another promesa, this time after the mass at St. Marks, which Reverend Winnie again agreed to have in honor of the Magdalene.
The idea is that we will have a beautiful mass at the very progressive, Episcopal church in the East Village, where you can recite the Creed in She mode. They also invite everyone to participate in the Communion, so no need to go confess your sins before the celebration.
Before you enter the church, I will give you a "souvenir," one of those capias you get in Puerto Rican weddings and baptisms, except you won't have to hide it when you get home because it is going to be a crafted gift from me and my friends who have volunteered to help me make a ton of little Magdalene gifts. I can't tell you what it will be because it will be a surprise and because I have not decided what it is yet!!
During the mass, Raquel will join the choir and my paintings will once again be in the altar. Afterwards, we will have the Promesa, a sung Agape, probably in the back room of the church.
I am inviting friends and anyone who can contribute, to bring a meal to share. I am dreaming of a long table with lots of delicious foods where you can taste heaven on earth, with lots of red things, the color of the Magdalene. And madeleines, too, of course!
Somewhere in the room will be Raquel singing. I think she might need some help, so I'm sure some of her musician friends will join her. The guests will also help! All of us need to join in the singing and we will have a printed sheet with the songs so everyone can sing along.
I have invited my friend Corazón Tierra to dance to one of the songs that Raquel signs.
I am wishing for someone who would like to take care of photography, and for someone else who could use a computer with an Internet connection to transmit the promesa for those Magdalene lovers who live far away and cannot make it. That really would be a dream come true!!
I hope you too can join us, and if you can and want, bring a dish to share during the promesa. For now we have come up with torta dominicana, bacalao guisao, madeleines, cheese and fruit and coffee and tea. They don't match so far, so feel free to get inspired!
And my dad is coming, which means one of my wishes is realizing!!
I am looking forward to July 21, 11:00 a.m., St. Marks in the Bowery, to celebrate the Magdalene, friendship, love and joy, and everything that's good in life!