Monday, November 10, 2008

Welcome Leonie Allan, Goddess!

Hello lovies! Sorry I've been quiet, but many of you know this is not my season. I've been battling the usual suspects, but I've wanted to tell you my progress, and share a lovely new lovie with you.

Okay, progress is non-existent. I've never felt less fabulous, but I will forgive myself and move on. It's a new day, right? I've been in so much pain, and have had very little to say. I'm still in pain, but tonight I needed a burst of joy and color. Hence, I'm presenting the innerview I had with Leonie Allan, Goddess. Last month. She is a very patient woman!

And yeah, I know. This is my first Goddess innerview. Usually we stick to divas, but you have to meet this woman. I just love her already.

The Goddess:

Okay, how cute is she? Seriously.

The Innerview:

Thank you so much for visiting with us here at ragamuffin diva. I asked you to come because I was so inspired by your art. Saw it on facebook, just as I was really getting down and dirty with God (and myself), so you were a gift, and a timely one at that. I loved the way when you friended me you called me gorgeous, and looked at my pictures. And the funny thing is, except for my facebook profile picture, I didn’t post any of those. I thought I looked sooooo fat and awful, and there you were, enjoying me in a way I couldn’t enjoy myself. It really moved me. And your work! It’s so joy-full. So, whimsical and lovely, much like you. After I enjoyed looking at your artwork, I browsed several photos of you. You look so much like one of my lovies, Paula Moldenhauer, so I was crazy about you right away, but I think I was even more drawn to you because for so long I’ve struggled with a horrid body image, and you seem to celebrate Leonie. You also seemed to be a love sponge, and that’s wonderful. So, I wanted to share you with my friends here, get an innerview of Leonie. I know I’m not the only one dealing with body issues. Again, thanks for coming. Tell me some things about your spiritual journey, and about the soul work that you’ve done that has informed your art.

Thanks gorgeous goddess Mair :)

Okay, I totally love Goddess Mair. How 'bout ragamuffin goddess, y'all? I'm kinda feeling it. Same paradox. More incarnational. Don't worry, my fundamentalist friends. I'm all about Christ working in me. I wouldn't get it mixed up. I mean that. Go ahead and exhale.

Sorry. Please continue, Leonie.

I feel dot point-ish today, so here's Leonie's Spiritual Journey in Ten Easy Steps 1.) Was born. 2.) Raised on a cattle farm by a loving & kooky family. 3.) My Mum told me I could believe in anything I wanted. 4.) Early spiritual awakenings: That the Earth is heaven. That miracles happen when you are outside. That animals are filled with grace and spirit. Early spiritual awakenings = deep love of the earth and everything on it. 5.) Instead of doing normal teen rebellion stuff, me and my sister and our friends explored astral travel, clairvoyance & psychic gifts. In between eating far too much hot bread, laughing bucketloads and cruising in my sister's car, of course. 6.) Met a couple of spiritual mentors when I was 16, and was introduced to energy, crystals and "The Celestine Prophecy." It awakened something in me that had been waiting to bloom. 7.) Met my beautiful partner when I was 18, and our mutual passion for ancient wisdom, self help & spirituality bloomed our soul~flowers into a whole garden. 8.) Was invited to my first sacred women's circle when I was 21. The moment I walked into the room to see a circle of women - brave, succulent, shining and wise within themselves, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of the rest of my life. The puzzle of who and how to be in this world was full. 9.) Following the call of my spirit, I began running my own circles and retreats when I was 24. 10.) Today, I have created my own religion - one that I will add to for the rest of my life. It's the Religion of Leonie - the spiritual wisdom and soul understandings that make sense to me, and make my life profound. There are six billion paths to God/Great Spirit. My personal path includes elements of Goddess, Native American, Buddhist, Australian Aboriginal, Shamanic and New Age traditions. Anything that says that the Earth is our temple, and I am a part of that divinity, makes sense to me.

That's really interesting, lovie. It's quite a big path! My early spiritual life mirrors your own. I used to want to be a shaman, back in the day, but I fell in love with a Jewish Carpenter, and after that, even when I tried another path, I'd end up right back to the fastest route to Jesus' arms I could find. Now I'm ridiculously happy being Roman Catholic, but I think all those other paths things taught me something about our good God. God is so much bigger, so much more than we think, and as an Evangelical/Catholic/Orthodox Christian, it's hard to say that, though I know it's totally true. I like to think I have this God thing down, but if I've got God pinned down, He (a very inadequate personal pronoun) isn't God. I have a feeling in the end, most of us are going to be surprised at exactly what the kingdom of God is all about, and where His temple is. And I think He's generous enough to give us all a chance. Thanks for sharing your path with us.

Why did you decide to create art that affirms the dignity of women?


When I was younger I created some artwork that was all artist/teen torment. And it was really dull, and I didn't feel awesome when I looked at it.

Feeling awesome is important. And that tells me something about what I'm writing. Hmmm...

So I decided to create art that made me feel amazing and shining when I created it, and amazing and shining when I looked at it. There is SO much beauty in this world and in each of us, and I want to tell the world that.

Amen, sister! Too bad we miss that beauty. I'm trying to embrace it. Thanks for your example, O Shining One. Were you always confident about your body?

Not at all. But you know what? That just didn't feel good or right. If something doesn't feel good or right, then it's a lie.

My friend Bethany says that's her main way of discerning spirits. Bad spirt = bad feeling. No peace or joy. Holy Spirit = what you'd call amazing and shining. I think you're both on to something. Why do you think that's so?

Because what is always true is beauty, love, light. What is always true is that we are Gods and Goddesses.

Strong words. I mean, most days, I have trouble being fully human!

What is always true is that we are precious, amazing souls.


I concur, though I wished I acted like I believed that, especially when the darkness hits me. Working on that.

I highly recommend the work of Byron Katie to assist you in finding the truth of just how magnificent you are.

I'll check him out, but only if he's a colorful as you.

I know so many women who were sexually abused, and in turn, hid behind their weight. I also know of many highly spiritual and sensitive women who do the same. It’s as if the weight grounds them on the earth. Can you speak of those two things?

I hear you! I've always been a curvaceous Goddess, and know it is partly due to shielding my energy, partly because I'm so focused on the spiritual I can forget about the physical.
What works for me is to totally love, accept and adore myself just as I am. I'm not going to pick apart my body because that's like putting on the ugly glasses instead of seeing what really is: Beauty. Perfection. Divinity. Just as it is, right now. It's all good, it really is.

You know, the Bible says we're made in the image and likeness of God. That's why I call myself diva. It's really about the divinity that God placed in me by actually fashioning me in His image. That's so mind blowing! But I still resist the idea. More of us need to deal with it, too. Maybe I'll write a juicy, fabulous book about it, that's colorful. Wow. The thought of that feels awesome!

What would you say to a young girl struggling with her body image?

Darling, I love you. You are such a Goddess! Forget about how everyone else looks, that's how Great Spirit made them. Remember Great Spirit made you, and you are an incredible blessing in this world. And stop reading scrag mags {gossip mags}. They suck. Only read stuff that reminds you just what a Goddess you are.

Oh no! How will we find out what Brit and LiLo are up to?

Sigh. I suppose you're right. Okay, but since we're on starlets and scrags/rags,
what would you say to an aging woman, with sagging breast, and wrinkles, extra weight, and all the things Hollywood tells us is bad?

Darling, I love you. I honour you. You are so radiant. Look at you, with your wide life, and deep stories, and incredible experience. You, as an elder of our tribe, hold wisdom, grace, love and truth within you. And stop reading scrag mags, hee hee hee. Only read stuff that reminds you just what a Goddess you are.

You drive a hard bargain on the scrag/rags, Leonie. Okay, you got me. I'm done. Only shiny stuff that makes me feel awesome now. And since I've brought up stuff that makes me feel shiny and awesome, your work is a marriage of words and images. The message seems to be as important as the visual. Do you consider yourself a writer, as well as an artist?

Both. I'm also a photographer. But perhaps most importantly, I'm a Goddess. I'm a woman. I'm a soul.

That is important! You inspire me. I've got to pull out my Sharpies. I saw the coolest ornaments on my friend's blog. Made me feel all crafty. I'm about to make a Jesse tree with my babies, but I want to do some Leonie style Goddess art, too! And by some when I can afford to!

I mean, look at this:

And this:

I'll bet Melly felt all kinds of fine when she got this! Talk about shiny and awesome!

And I want to share my truth and vision with you all, and I'll do it in rainbow ways... art, words, photographs, retreats, workshops.

Excellent!

How important is creativity to the soul and the spiritual journey?


It depends on how important you'd like to make it. I so deeply believe that creativity can be a path to remembering ourselves as Goddesses, finding peace within & connecting with the Divine.

What do you think of clothing, and adorning our bodies? How do we find a style that is uniquely ours?

I balance between wearing as little as possible at home & wearing vibrant, hippy clothes outside that make me feel great.
My style suggestion? Only wear stuff that makes you feel gorgeous and HAPPY.

Give us some things we can do, simple things, to celebrate ourselves. And you can shamelessly plug your work.

What fabulous, delicious thing can you do to celebrate how much you rock today?
Have a celebration picnic? Go for a bike ride & laugh at the sunset? Lie down on Mama Earth?
Know that you are a Goddess. A Goddess of being you.

Here's two things I think you'll really be interested in:
1.) I'm running a Creative Goddess e-course! Join me & a worldwide gathering of other amazing souls just like you for six magical, inspiring, creative & soulful weeks!
http://www.goddessleonie.com/creative-goddess-course.html
2.) Do you want me to paint you as a Goddess, and remind you of what a beautiful soul you are? Go here: http://www.goddessleonie.com/soul-story-commissions.html

Thank you so much. God bless you, honey. Let my readers know where they can find you.

Thank you Goddess Mair. You are MAGNIFICENT. :)
My online homes are www.GoddessLeonie.com and www.LeoniePhotography.com

13 comments:

Wyatt Roberts said...

What is always true is that we are Gods and Goddesses.

Say what?

ragamuffin diva said...

My dear Wyatt. I'm wondering if we who are Christians could take what Leonie's said and consider what scripture says, "We are made in the image and likeness of God." That "truth" is hard for some of us. It certainly can be for me.

Now, Leonie may not have meant that very basic, in the book of Genesis statement. She might have meant, for instance, the word "Goddess" in the sense that Venus or Aphrodite are Goddesses. I don't think so, but I'm not certain of this. I sure don't want to speak *for* her. Nor do I want to attack her if she believes something other than what I believe.

I don't mind a ragamuffin diva reader challenging her, as long as we walk in love. That is non-negotiable around here.

I'm actually glad I opened up the blog to someone who may believe differently. I co-exist with people who believe many things, and believe it or not, they have much to share and teach. Rumi's poetry speaks to me, just like the Psalms speak to me. We're all on a journey. God put us all here to come to know Him. This I truly believe, and He will draw us as He will. I met Leonie in a drab, gray, soul place which she infused with color, beautifully. I see God in what she did for me.

I did not invite here to catechize me. Nor did I invite her here so I could bombard her with scripture. We are at the beginning of a friendship. Right now, I am enjoying her, and learning about her.

That's all I'll say about that. Thanks for your comment.

Avily Jerome said...

Thanks for the interview, Leonie!

You're a very inspiring woman- looking forward to seeing more of you!

Thanks for posting this, my dear Diva!

Wyatt Roberts said...

As far Leonie's meaning being anything even remotely resembling the idea expressed in Genesis, it's highly doubtful. One need only read briefly through her blog to understand that her beliefs are rooted in paganism. She speaks of "sacred circles," her "gorgeous god-dog, Charlie," and encourages us to "Trust in the Universe," because "it's got a big and beautiful plan for you."

As for the Gospel, well, she says that "Your own divine, wise, brave wisdom is the Gospel for your life."

No, that kind of earthly wisdom isn't worth much at all. That's not my Gospel, either.

Like you, I share friendships with those who think and believe differently than I. You're not going to get an argument from me over that. I agree with you that we can learn from everyone...even atheists. But Mair, where this lady is leading, I don't think you want to go.

It was not my intention to attack your friend, but to caution you. Rhonda told me a couple of months ago that you had gone through some tough times recently. Maybe it's just the "man" in me, but when I read your interview with her, then read through her blog, I was very concerned. For you. Rhonda loves you. And, of course, any friend of Rhonda's...

ragamuffin diva said...

And any husband of Rhonda's is my pal, thanks for your concern Wyatt.

A wise Orthodox priest once told me, "We know where God is. What we doesn't know is where He isn't."

I love that.

My friend, Leonie isn't trying to lead me anywhere. I invited *her* to have a conversation with me about body love and her lovely art, and I asked her to tell me her spiritual journey. She isn't evangelizing. She was sharing her story. Her story is valuable to me because it's hers. It isn't my story, but all our stories are important. I don't have to be Leonie to love and listen to her.

Wyatt, I do see what you are trying to do, but I really think we're all going to be all right here. I've been to seminary, Michigan Theological Seminary. You can check it out. I'm also training to be a Catechist in the Catholic Church. I spent three years soaking up knowledge in the Orthodox, capital 'O' Christian Church. I'm just sayin'. Not only am I Christian, my beliefs adhere solidly to the Nicene Creed. I take it seriously. And you know what, there are so many people who believe I'm in gross error because I'm Catholic. I don't think they really understand the Catholic Church, but I don't spend a lot of time arguing it. I've been hanging around Jesus a long time. I know where He is. What He's doing in Leonie's life, and who am I to say He isn't doing anything there! Is between them. This blog is a sacred circle, and Rhonda is a part of it. I'm not going to begrudge Leonie her community of people who nurture her.

BTW, I'm going back to seminary to continue studying theology and our great faith. I'm here in the Christian tradition to stay. Don't worry! But do pray for me.

I think sometimes we Christians miss the beauty of earthy spirituality. The Celtic Christians had a much better grasp of this. But some of our saints were very earthy. St. Francis of Assisi. St. Brigid. Saint Hildegaarde of Bingen. But again, Leonie isn't here to convert us. I asked her to tell me her story and she was gracious enough to do so. That's all.

Wyatt Roberts said...

Well, any friend of the pope...

Be blessed, Mair :)

ragamuffin diva said...

Ha! You're as funny as Rhonda, Wyatt.

You be blessed, too. As far as the Pope goes, one of my friends, a Catholic no less, calls him Ratzy. Sadly, I think that's hilarious.

Yeah, Mair, friend of the Pope. That's me. LOL.

Rhonda Jeanne said...

so....mair, this is my husband, Wyatt!

Wyatt Roberts said...

FYI, some day I hope to pick your brain about writing. I'm warning you now, so be prepared.

ragamuffin diva said...

:)

Lori said...

Dumpling, I just want to know where she gets her clothes. I want some.

Amanda said...

I think this blog is more New Age mumbo then Christian.
To be a Christian means to follow the teaching of Jesus Christ. WE ARE NOT GOD or GODDESSES. That is blasphemy and a sin to refer to oneself as such.

Can you imagine standing before our almight, powerful, all knowing, all creating, Holy, and Loving Savior and putting yourself in the same category? You God, me goddess?

Blasphemy.

I was disturbed and really upset that you promote such terminology so casually.

PLease reconsider the power of words.

God bless-
Amanda

ragamuffin diva said...

Amanda,

I find it interesting that when I met Leonie, the first thing she did was tell me I was gorgeous and that she felt like she already knew me and wanted to hear of my adventures. In contrast, the first thing I heard from you, to my knowledge, before you even greeted me, was a dismissal of my blog as being more New Age mumbo than Christian. Talk about the power of words!

It's clear that you don't know me, or this blog, so let me clarify for you and anyone else who may be unsure exactly what I believe:

I believe in one God,
the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
and of all things visible and invisible;

And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only begotten Son of God,
begotten of his Father before all worlds,
God of God, Light of Light,
very God of very God,
begotten, not made,
being of one substance with the Father;
by whom all things were made;
who for us men and for our salvation
came down from heaven,
and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost
of the Virgin Mary,
and was made man;
and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered and was buried;
and the third day he rose again
according to the Scriptures,
and ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of the Father;
and he shall come again, with glory,
to judge both the quick and the dead;
whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost the Lord, and Giver of Life,
who proceedeth from the Father [and the Son];
who with the Father and the Son together
is worshipped and glorified;
who spake by the Prophets.
And I believe one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church;
I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins;
and I look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. AMEN.

That doesn't sound very New Agey to me. I've done the New Age thing. The Nicene Creed is different, I assure you.

Now, I'll share with you why I started ragamuffin diva.

In 2004 I was shattered into a million pieces Amanda. I felt at rock bottom in my soul. Despite my weaknesses and sins, I knew this one thing about Jesus: He doesn't break bruised reeds, and he doesn't snuff out smoldering wicks. I told Jesus that I wanted to write for Him, and that if He'd allow me to do so, I'd tell broken, hurting, sad, and lonely people, people like me, that He loved them. And I've done that. It was always about being poor in spirit, grace, and Jesus. I'm not perfect. I'm a ragamuffin, and a mess. I'm a sinner, Amanda. But Jesus loves me, and I'm glad about it

The scriptures tell us we see through a glass darkly. That means all of us. So, be careful who you judge. Or what you judge. In fact, Jesus told us to judge not! God may use more than you realize. If he could speak through an ass, surely He can speak through a ghetto black woman. And He can speak through Leonie's artwork, too.

I've already said that I don't think she was referring to herself and other people as Deity. We even explored the idea that humans are made in the image and likeness of God, and what that could mean. What I didn't mention in the interview or comments, is this mysterious bit of Holy Spirit inspired scripture, Psalm 82:6:

"I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the Most High."

If you think *that's* something, Jesus quoted it in John 10:34.

Made those religious leaders pretty upset, too!

What could it all mean, Amanda? It certainly is a startling statement, isn't it? And that was the King James Version! Just something to think about.

And just so you know, I did a study of those scriptures. I found it enlightening. I think you will, too.

For the record, when I imagine standing before God, I have a habit of seeing Him as being merciful, because that's what He is to me right now, and I am so grateful. And I imagine He'll be most concerned with how I loved the people I came in contact with, saint or sinner, especially when it comes to the poor and needy. I don't think He'll ask me why I let a lovely young woman on my blog call people Goddesses and Gods. I think He'll get down to the business of if I fed Him in the hungry, visited Him as a prisoner, and remembered Him in the basically forgotten ones. I Cor. 13 means something to me. Check out this verse:

"If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing."

It says I'm nothing without love. That says to me I could have the world soundest doctrine, but without loving the people I'm preaching to, I still suck. So, pretty much, I'm going to work hard to be a good friend to people, even people who believe in stuff I don't. I'm going to try to love people into the kingdom. Let my love (His love in me) make Jesus irresistible. Or I'm going to try my best.

What if Leonie came to a point in her spiritual journey that she wanted to know who Jesus is? I'd want her to remember the kind woman who spoke to her with such respect and listened to her story without condemning her.

But that's just me.

Thanks for stopping by Amanda.