Adam, Eve and Lilith

Adam, Eve & Lilith (c)2016 Pamela Penney

Shame: Part 2

I believe every book contains a lesson and we are drawn to the lessons we need to learn.  I can learn a lesson from a book written by a comedian that is read by several hundred people or from the Bible the most read book ever.   (See Shame: Part One)  But I believe that the Bible has been read by more people for the reason that it must hold clues that are needed by more people in order to learn and evolve.  The story of the Garden of Eden in the book of Genesis holds the keys to our fateful beginnings whether you look at it as “fact” or as mythic archetypal lore.  I also believe it holds the keys to our collective (mother earth) healing and our return to Paradise.

Well, as I’ve gone further into the story of the Garden of Eden I’ve stumbled into the story of Lilith who in a brief mention in Genesis is a female figure who was created from the dirt like Adam.  Because she was created the same way as Adam she saw herself as an equal to Adam which did not please him.  So she was either “banished” (or perhaps escaped on her own) “to the East”.  Some versions of the story turn her into the water of the river or a willow tree.  And she is also symbolized by an owl.  Many versions over the centuries have “demonized” her.  Eve on the other hand was created from Adam’s rib and therefore was not his equal, but was there to be his “help-mate”.  And as most of you know she tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit which meant that Adam and Eve then realized they were “naked” and also “ashamed” of their sin.

As I interpret this tale I see an Adam who wanted someone to love and be his partner.  His version of “love” was not fulfilled by Lilith as she was not willing to “hold” his shadows (shame).   She wanted to be responsible to her-self and leave Adam to be responsible for his-self.   In comes Eve who in her quest to be “all loving” is willing to be the one to bear the weight of shame for Man.  This to Adam feels like “true love”.  He can prove his love to her by taking control and she can prove her love to him by submission to his love and willingness to overlook his shortcomings.  They both think this seems “unconditional” but in reality this love contains a great many “conditions”.

Now I’ll get personal.  (Read this next section as though I have both an inner Eve and inner Lilith). I mentioned in my last post that this month of April has brought me to a time of reflecting on my own relationships.  Two years ago, April 2014 I came to a moment in time when my inner “Lilith” expressed herself.  I had reached a limit to “how much I could bear”.  My “Adam” was projecting his wounds onto my inner “Eve”.  She had for many years (in an attempt at unconditional love) been willing to let the little digs slide along with the covert (and sometime overt) attempts to control her.  She knew on some level her “Adam” loved her and didn’t believe the things he said.  But, my “Lilith” finally woke up and showed me that living with this was not “love” in the highest sense.  My “Adam” also knew on some level that he was not acting “loving” and that continued a cycle of feeling “less than worthy” of love from anyone, especially his “Eve”.  This became a never ending circle of shame and projection.  So, out comes my “Lilith”.  On Easter Sunday of 2014 she said good-bye and walked away(with the prayer, “forgive them for they know not what they do”).  I (as Lilith) was finally able to leave this unhealthy relationship because I came to the decision from a place of love and wanting the best for both my “Adam” and my “Eve”.  My “Lilith” had no plans to go back, she wanted respect, independence and equality.   But with several days of reflection my Adam reached out.  A phone call.  A conversation.  And this is where the space for healing came in.  My Lilith came back.  And that is where we leave the story of the Garden of Eden and look toward a future Paradise.

But first I must share a bit more of my reflections.  Not just over what healing has occurred over the last two years and that process, but further back to the roots of my personal “Eden”.  I have a recollection of complaining as a child about my older brother “picking on me”.  He was almost 6 years older than me and much bigger and stronger.  I was told something to the effect of “that is the only way he knows how to show you attention (love)”.   Oh, to my young mind, that made sense.  Because surely no one who loves you would hurt you, unless they didn’t know how to show you real love.  And in that moment my inner “Eve” entered and I was willing to hold both his shame and mine, because of course I loved him.

When “Lilith” returns (in my personal story) she doesn’t condone the behaviors of Adam or of Eve for that matter.  She forgives them and gives new understanding and strength to their love, helping them to heal their misunderstood (wounded and immature) understanding of love.  Ok, in my original thoughts about my personal story I wanted to believe that my inner “Lilith” had the strength to return on her own.  Upon further reflection I have come to realize she did some transformation during her time away.  Jesus “returned” as his “Christed” self.  I now think that my “Lilith” returned as her more evolved and  “Christened” self.  (Maybe the reason I left during the Easter season to return a few days later???)  I have found that I am able to carry a new “vibration” over the last two years.  My “Adam” can and does too.  When I feel either of us slipping into old patterns and behaviors I pull up an image in my mind of a large fierce bird sitting on my shoulder.  The energy shifts.  My boundary is respected, his emotions are appropriately expressed.  I had thought that this bird was a hawk, but now that I have gone into this story I see it is probably the Owl, the symbol of Lilith.  An Owl is fierce like a Hawk, but has the additional attribute of Wisdom. (Note:   I by no means claim to be completely “evolved”, but I am aware that my life has transformed and new levels of understanding and wisdom have shown up rapidly once I walked through  the fear of being “banished” and claimed my personal power.)

In the last few decades Lilith has become a symbol of feminism.  But, I think that version of feminism is still missing a piece and that is the reason feminism isn’t the complete “medicine” for this old sick world (Patriarchy).   According to the Gene Keys book by Richard Rudd, the “Opening of the Third Seal” occurs through Universal Love.  “This seal heals the human wound of shame.  And it is out of this feeling of deep shame that the whole world of hierarchy and competitiveness has come about. “   I feel that the key to unconditional and universal love is not just through the balancing of the masculine and feminine (Adam and Lilith as equals)  as many have in recent years proclaimed, but rather in healing the relationship of all three archetypes:  Adam, Eve and Lilith.  We all yearn for the autonomy, strength and independence of Lilith, but fear the consequences. Can we survive on our own?  Will we be lonely?  (I know those thoughts went through my mind when I walked out).  But the truth is we do not need to live alone as Lilith did in the original story.  We can be strong individuals within unconditionally loving relationships. It also doesn’t require we make a choice between Lilith and Eve.  The “Evolved” and “Christened” Lilith must return and embrace the Shadow of Adam and Eve’s shame.  She has the strength to transmute that immature version of love and transform the relationship.  It takes effort, understanding and the Wisdom and Strength of an Owl.  But if we are to heal our Collective, this is where the answers lie.  Invite  your “Lilith” back home.  Make that call, open that dialog.  You may find she can now embrace Eve (and Adam), that she has Eve-olved.  You many find she has the Universal Christ Love within her now to allow you to let go of your shame in being who you truly are.  You are not a victim.  You have the power  within yourself to heal your original wounds, with the Faith that you will be Loved Unconditionally for the Unique and Divine Spark within you.  The health of one Cell affects  the health of the Collective, micro to macro.

Much gratitude to all of you who witness my story , by sharing this without “shame” I further my personal  growth and healing.  I dream that I’ll see you soon in Paradise…..until then enjoy my art process.  The Stitches in Time give me plenty of time to contemplate this Story and the Lessons it contains.

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Shame (Part 1)

Oh, Dear.  I may really be just about to step into “it” today.  But, here I go.  I intended this blog to be an honest insight into where I am in my head and heart.  And the last few weeks have led me to questioning our collective and personal “shame”.  So, what is it?  Why do we have it?  Does it still serve us?  If not, how to we rise above it?

“Shame” a work in progress.

So, how did I get here?  Well, the last few weeks I have started a new piece for the She Said/He Said exhibit coming up a the Groshek Gallery in Chicago.  I had an inspiration to do a Tree of Knowledge/Adam & Eve/ Paradise piece.  It has caused me to explore my memories of my childhood Sunday school lessons regarding the origin story (myth?).  April has also been a month of reflecting on a turning point in my own relationships.  I don’t want this to get too “long and involved” but, I do want to share enough detail that this makes sense.  So, I’ll do my best.

So the story of Adam and Eve for me is about “shame”.  We learn shame very young and, I believe usually from our parents.  (Confession: I’m a parent, I know I’ve fallen into my shadow and used shaming to attempt to solicit the behavior I desire from my kids).

Every book contains a lesson.

Last Saturday I went to see comedian, Jen Kirkman where I bought her new book, I Know What I’m Doing and Other Lies I Tell Myself.  As I was listening to the Prince soundtrack and waiting for her to come on-stage I started reading the introduction to her book.  She starts out with “Ugh, my parents are going to read this.”  (I know what she means!) She then goes on to quote another of my favorite funny people, Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul).  He once said that people should make their art, whatever it is, “as though their parents were dead”.  And why is that?  I think it is because we worry about “shame”.  Not that we will cause our parent’s to be embarrassed by our work; but that they, our first source of “shame” will bring on that bad feeling within us again.  (Please Note:  I love my parents and don’t wish to cause them any embarrassment here or elsewhere nor do I wish they were dead, but when I stated I might “step in it” this is it. I just believe that we must rise above this concern for feeling shamed in order to “grow up and evolve”.

And how appropriate that only a few days after the death of the musician Prince while listening to his “Pussy Control” I was reading this book introduction and ruminating on “shame”.  Prince was a successful artist who by all outward appearances, rose above a concern for self-shame.  In fact by many recent reflections on his life his ability to be his true self and express his true artistry is greatly admired (and envied) by his fans and others.  And that is my point I guess.  Can we really do our best most creative work if we are in a place of shame?  And can we really bring to the world the healing and solutions needed if we are not creating from our highest, best self?

Well, I have gone on here for a bit, and while I have a lot more rolling around in my head and heart regarding the story of Eden, I think I will continue on another day.  You see the story of the Garden of Eden includes another figure,  Adam’s first “wife”, Lilith.  And she takes me on another “thread”.  So, rather than try to cover too much “ground”, you will have to wait for “that stitch in time” and for the rest of this story.  In the meantime consider the role of “shame” in your life.  Is it holding you back from being the highest, true-ist expression of your “self”.  What would you do if you didn’t fear (the feeling of) shame?

Please see Shame: Part 2 HERE

Grandma Lilas and Great Aunt Beryl

(Throw Back Thursday)

This morning as I was breakfasting on my “Facebook-feed” I was graced with a picture of my grandpa’s brother, Harold and his wife, Beryl.  My dad’s cousin’s wife (got that?) posted how she still missed her mother-in-law who had passed on 12 years ago today.  Wow, how time flies!  Yes, my great Aunt Beryl was one of those “Elders” during my childhood that was just someone you thought would always be there.  She lived just a mile down the road, next to the home my great-grandparents had lived in and just a quarter-mile from my grandparents.  I grew up in a rural area close to many of my extended family.


So as tomorrow is Earth Day 2016 I reflect on the strong female farm wives that I was influenced by during my childhood.  Women like Beryl and my grandma Lilas lived with their hands in our Mother Earth.  They were both women with amazing flowers beds and vegetable gardens.  They got their hands dirty, but always while wearing a dress (and apron!)  So, that brings me to the point of this story.  I went to the farm “auction sale” for the estate of my Uncle Harold and Aunt Beryl where they sold off tools, furniture and other household items to liquidate the property shortly after Harold passed away.  And I was struck by one thing in particular.  My Aunt Beryl had a large “tin” container with all of the hang tags from the garments that she had purchased.  They included sometimes a note with a description of the item, a receipt perhaps and always the extra buttons or matching yarns required to repair the item, should it be needed.  Yes, I too sometimes keep these items for garments I purchase.  But, never in this organized a manner.  And frankly things I buy don’t come with these items as frequently as they used to.  And to my ultimate point, we now live in a “throw away” society.  Most people purchase items never intending to repair them.  They are either just not that “special” or worth that much of an “investment” of our time.  That just wasn’t the way it was for our grandparent’s generation. I believe that we must return (throw back – everyday) to these habits of our Elders in order to heal and save our Mother Earth.  There is an on-line effort to raise awareness of the “True Cost” of the First World’s Garment Industry (check out the True Cost documentary film if you haven’t already!).  Recent efforts like the  #30wears campaign and the Eco-Age Green Carpet Challenge are starting to raise awareness in the (Fast) Fashion industry and changes are starting to be made.  And I intend to use A Stitch In Time Saves as a platform for Fashion Reform as well.  And most of all, I intend to break grandma’s sock darning egg out of the shadow box and start using it again!  What do you plan to do to change the cost of fashion to us and to our planet?  Please comment below with your #30wears, your #mindfulmending or your #StitchInTimeSaves.

I’m So Excited (and I just can’t hide it)

I’m not sure why it is, but my best ideas and inspiration come to me when I am out in my backyard soaking in the hot tub (time machine) under the moon and stars.  Tonight there was a lovely, bright crescent moon and the brightest “star” is actually Jupiter.  He is my “action” planet and together we say, “by Jove I think we’ve got this!”

So, tonight I have a plan of action.  Looking back in time I realize I am celebrating the 20th anniversary this year of my business, Pamela Penney Textile Arts (where a stitch in time saves!)  I started creating women’s art to wear jackets and children’s special occasion garments in the spare bedroom of my home when my children where babies.  (Crazy, I know!)  I’ve expanded and grown and want to share my joy. Tonight I had a spark of an idea about how I want to go forward this year and share my celebration with the world!

I’m not really ready to share all of the details yet.  They need to be “ironed out“.  Much like things work in the sewing room, creations don’t really look great until they are pressed!  I will be sharing this very soon.  So, stay “tuned“.  You may want to bookmark this page, as I will post a link to the updated information here as it gets solidified.  In the meantime I will leave you with some clues…..

Postcards                                    Photos                  Sharing

                                    Contest                          Prizes                                         Stitches                          Instagram

Twitter                   Games                                     Creativity

                         Celebration               Party

Facebook                 #aStitchInTimeSaves            Fun

              Did I mention Prizes???


Saving with Stitches

Today was just one of those days when several things came together to fulfill my mission of Saving the World with my Stitches!  (Or at least with my assistance.)  I had two lovely new students come in to the studio this morning for their first sewing lesson.  Two women, friends who decided to take a lesson together.  We covered the basics of threading, winding the bobbin and trouble shooting a sewing machine.  They also learned to pin and sew a seam with fabric “right sides together” and how to turn corners and sew a curve.  We covered trimming and pressing our seams.  They are now ready to take on a pattern to create a basic garment over the next few weeks with me.

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When they left I had a friend/customer come in to pick up a garment that I had finished for her.  Bonnie brought me several old cashmere sweaters a few months ago that she had grown tired of, or they had some minor stains/holes in.  She requested that I create a vest for h2016-04-08 12.02.10-1er that was “long” and “drapey”.  I loved that her colors were limited to ivory and black.  I loved the final piece so much that I wished I could keep it for myself.  And even though it took me longer to get it done for her than I hoped, it is still very cold here in Chicago this spring, so she will probably get some time to wear it before warm weather hits.  (There have been snowflakes in the air for the last several days and it’s April!)

2016-03-11 15.00.03This afternoon I had another longtime student/customer come in for an appointment to finish up a project that she has b2016-04-08 14.21.23-1een working on with me for the last couple of months.  Carol brought in an old grey sweater, a few pairs of corduroy pants and a photo of a bird drawing from a Leo Lionni children’s book.  She wanted to use the bird image as inspiration for a pillow cover.  We appliqued the corduroy fabrics onto the grey wool, she used blanket stitch and overcast stitches to finish the edges of the fabric and it turned out just adorable!  The “piece de resistance” was the vintage buttons she had in her stash to use as the eye.

After all of those activities I had a little quiet time in the studio late this afternoon, so I pulled out my own “mending”.  A couple of days ago my son mentioned that he had a hole in the underarm of a favorite “Agave” shirt.  He wondered if I could fix it for him.  I said, “Why yes!  That falls well within my mission statement!”  And within two minutes his shirt was back in service (well it may need to go through the wash, but otherwise it’s in as good as new shape!)

Any day that I can stitch, salvage, create, relax, enjoy, mend or teach the skills and help another to do so is a very fulfilling day!  A Stitch In Time Saves……Friday!



Warrior New Moon

The Warrior archetype is showing up all over the place for me. According to Jose and Lena Stevens of The Power Path School of Shamanism we all have the Warrior even if we have another over-riding personality or archetype. I am primarily of the “artist” archetype and often have a difficult time tapping into my inner warrior. The Power Path 2016 Trends forecast indicates that this year will have an energy of dominance and aggression. It could be very beneficial to utilize my inner warrior So, how do I reach my Warrior?

Well in late February I pulled the Tarot Card: II High Priestess and chose to work with it as inspiration for a mixed media sculptural art piece.  I had two 5th grade girls coming in after school and they wanted to work on sculpture boxes.   It is sometimes easiest to teach by example.  So, this was to be my example!  I like to work on process pieces that evolve over time answering some inner subconscious questions for me. (Learned through my time spent at Whispers from the Moon) This piece did just that.

I began my sculpture on an old blue box with the brand title “Crown” embossed upon its cover.  I created a tape and foil female figure with a long flowing skirt.  Each week she gathered more details.  Paint in violet and a red flowing skirt, beads, a “sea glass” face and jewels in her skirt.  Her hair was wild like vines with silver sparkles.  Her arms outstretched.  Yesterday I finished the box by collaging a magazine cutting that I had snipped and held in the box from the first day of the project.  “It’s a New Day!”  I then water-colored a sun-rising from the eastern edge of the box (This was inspired by Rebecka Eggers vision for over-coming the Domination System through the symbolism of the Great Eastern Sun of Chögyam Trungpa.)

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Last night I finished reading book that I started a few days ago, Coming Alive! Spirituality, Activism, & Living Passionately in the Age of Global Domination, by Rebecka Eggers.  (mentioned in yesterday’s post)  In the final chapter Egger’s states, “I want to address the aspects of the Passionate Warrior that are contained within the one who came to me.  Ishtar is inside of me. She is knocking around the edges of my being threatening to explode in a red-hot fountain of lava. Can you feel her too?”  Today I went to my trusty source Google, to find a comparison of Ishtar to the High Priestess.  I found this at the Tarot of EliThe Thoth- THE HIGH PRIESTESS.  The Tarot High Priestess ….represents the Supreme Mother, without her smiling mask, revealing a True face of cold yet beautiful countenance.  This “cold and beautiful continence is also known as Ishtar (Sumerian Inanna/Ananna), who is depicted on The Babylonian key 2 card. One of Her titles was Belit (demonized by the Christians) the feminine of Bel, meaning Lord. As does the Moon, which is the planet attributed to The High Priestess, she has her “light and Dark” sides.  Complex and of many roles,  Ishtar/ Inanna (Lady of Heaven), had Three distinct Functions (As does the Three Paths of the Upper Triangle of the Tree of Life).”

Yes, Ishtar has indeed come to me.  I can feel her.  My Ishtar has a face of polished glass, cold yet beautiful.  She has a skirt of Lava.  From the Tarot of Eli, “The Thoth High Priestess is shown with all veils  removed, all illusion is dispersed, and we must face the crystalline reality of our own absolute free will when facing her; a task not for the weak who fear mortality.”  Yesterday I also felt compelled to add the word “Crone” to the box.  In my mind the word Crone played off the existing word on the box “Crown”.  I believe you earn your crown as a crone!  And as the silver threads start to appear on my head I just smile and tell myself my crown is coming.  The Crone is also a female character who has aged out of the fertile years, she is a bit more androgynous.  The Tarot of Eli goes on to say, “the High Priestess is the Womb of Consciousness, but she is both Male and Female, much like a Hermaphrodite (Hermes-Aphrodite) that can impregnate itself.” 

Through synchronicity,  my dear friend, artist and writer, Sallie Wolf discussed her encounter with the Warrior at our March New Moon Meeting. (I am part of a small group of artists and writers who meet monthly to set our creative intentions, plan action steps and witness the progress for each other)  Sallie had felt some inner resistance when her yoga teacher had asked the class “what are you a warrior for”.  I’ll let you read her story HERE.

Today is the April New Moon.  I feel it is the Warrior New Moon.  It is also “a New Day” symbolized by the rising Great Eastern Sun.  Let us bring the Sun, the Stars and the Moon together, masculine and feminine, for a new Dawning.   My Warrior looks like the High Priestess, Ishtar.  I am a (Com)-Passionate Warrior for utilizing my talents and skills as a catalyst for Change through A Stitch In Time Saves.

Post-Script:  yes, the boxes that my students created turned out wonderful too.  See their finished creations at


Can we manifest the world we would like to see?  If so, how?  I believe we are being called to.  At least I know I feel  called to this.  In searching for the “how” I have recently come across the book Coming Alive! Spirituality, Activism, & Living Passionately in the Age of Global Domination, by Rebecka Eggers.  (In fact, I don’t remember selecting it, but it seems to have just appeared in my Kindle about a week ago!)

Eggers lays out a story which refers to mythology, religion and anecdote to explain how we have created the “Domination System” in our current world.  She explains how this current system is the root of the troubles we face as a society and as a world.  She describes a process of how that old system can be transformed.  Much of her story resonates with my personal path.  My “wounds” and my healing path that have led me to my own revelations. I have an inner knowing that my healing is important as it will also assist in healing the Collective.  I believe we are all responsible for our own healing because it is necessary for the Whole.  This is the Way we influence the Collective Consciousness, at some point reaching the tipping point and shifting the Whole.  She inspires (me) us to find our own places to use our personal medicine to heal the issues we see hurting the world.  I believe that is what has brought me to “A Stitch In Time Saves” as my personal medicine for the world.  (Although I am still very much on the first steps of the path to how this may play out in healing the issues I see in the world!)

So, how am I currently seeing this play out in my life?  Well, yesterday I rode my bike to my studio from home and was giving some thought to the discussion from a meeting of artists/gallery owners that I had attended the evening before.  We are working to put together an art exhibit for this fairly new gallery to open in a little over a month.  Our show title is tentatively “He Said : She Said”.  The gallery had some interesting artwork currently on display with guns as the subject matter.  I was thinking how outside my comfort zone working with that subject matter would be for me.  Living near the west-side of Chicago has really made me very aware of the issue of gun violence over the last couple of decades.  And this is “worlds” away from my upbringing in rural Michigan and the use of guns for hunting and sport.

I reflected on these thoughts during my bike ride and I had a vision of a gun that would follow the bullet as it wounds with a needle and thread that would immediately “heal” the damage that the gun created.  Or perhaps it was some sort of sewing machine in the shape of a gun that could both shoot and stitch.  Anyway,  I got into my studio and I drew this sketch (today I added the watercolor paints to it).

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I titled it “The Seam Stress 2016” –  Designed to mend wounds as soon as they are created.  If guns must continue to remain “legal” then we must create different guns.  (I’m still not sure if this will lead me to create a more complete work of art with this subject for the exhibit!)

Today as I was eating my lunch at home I glanced at yesterday’s New York Times  Business Section lying next to me.  I noticed the headline of an article titled “In Rwanda, Blood Delivered by Drone”.  I immediately assumed this was about drone weaponry and how they were being used to kill (bring blood).   In my opinion, drone weapons remove the “human” connection making it even easier to kill without conscience.  But no, this article was about a small group of engineers near Half Moon Bay, California (I’m not making that up!) who have designed and are launching small fixed-wing drones that can carry medical supplies to remote locations almost 40 miles away.  This start-up called Zipline, plans to begin operating a service with these drones for the government of Rwanda in July.    “The new drone system will initially be capable of making 50 to 150 daily deliveries of blood and emergency medicine to Rwanda’s 21 transfusing facilities, mostly hospitals…”

Well, it may be just me, but I see this as an example of our weapons  being “created different”.  And as Eggers has described it is happening “from the bottom up”.  We can no longer look for our solutions to come from our so called leaders, from the top down.  We must create our own solutions and start putting them in place when and where we see the opportunities.  She calls this being a Passionate Warrior, embracing the shadow side and incorporating it into what we transform our World to be.

In order to create this change I believe that first, we must be able to envision these solutions.  (Eggers talks about the Seer)  I see this as the role of the artist and the dreamer.  So, that is where I will continue to play out my part.  Sketching and dreaming of solutions, no matter how crazy or impossible….a sewing machine that can shoot and mend?  A gun that stitches closed the wound it creates???  Maybe someday.  Or just as soon as someone sees my Vision for it.