Going on a Goddess Treasure Hunt: Scripps Marks the Spot

By Lauren Prince '14, Editor-in-Chief

Part I: Ringwald’s Tuesday Noon Academy Lecture, “Evolution of the Goddess from the Paleolithic to the Present”

Lydia Ringwald (’70) returns to campus on Feb. 21 for the Tuesday Noon Academy series. Ringwald will be speaking about the “Evolution of the Goddess,” spiritually and as an art form.

In an interview, Ringwald discussed how her interdisciplinary studies at Scripps—where Ringwald studied philosophy, history and art history while majoring in comparative literature—launched her on a lifelong personal odyssey exploring the goddess motif in various cultures and civilizations. For Ringwald, that personal odyssey has entailed “linking pieces of an ever changing puzzle in the morphing image of the goddess image through time.”

Ringwald’s powerpoint lecture in the Hampton Room this Tuesday will pres- ent artwork revealing characteristics of the goddess image in Mesopotamian, Canaanite, Egyptian, Minoan, Greco-Roman and Celtic/Nordic cultures. The images come from what Ringwald calls her “personal slide treasure chest of goddess images.” This “treasure chest” includes images of the Minoan Snake Goddess, a golden Selket, Pre-Raphaelite paintings, images of film femmes fatale of the 1920s and 1930s, as well as photographs from Ringwald’s travel to archeological sites in Crete, Athens, Ephesus, Rome, Pompeii, India and other exotic destinations.

Ringwald will explore the motifs, symbols and values that shape women’s images and self-esteem as they are reflected in the image of the goddess. She plans to discuss how the shifting values expressed in the images of goddesses reflect “a morphing matrix of time, revealing insights in a process of discovery that encourages the de- velopment of potential for women today.”

According to Ringwald, the "Evolution of the Goddess" presentation will "explore the image of women in our time, as we cultivate virtues of strength, vision, compassion and courage, and as we shape the values of the future." Ringwald believes that the goddess in the modern world should represent the compassion, power and courage to be a visual leader. Ringwald does not believe that the modern goddess has yet achieved its rightful place, and has taken it upon herself to create her own goddesses.

Part II: Ringwald’s Art

Ringwald is more than a lecturer; she is also an artist who has, in her own words, “manifested [her] spiritual vision in paintings, photography, mixed me- dia works and sculpture in artworks.”

As an artist, Ringwald has made her own goddesses through different spiri- tual and physical mediums. Using varying background colors and several dif- ferent frames, Ringwald has painted a piece she calls “The Spectrum of Light.” She believes that different colors provide a different levels and types of energy. In conveying this energy spectrum, Ringwald has created an organized medita- tion dedicated to it in terms of the goddess.

Another of Ring- wald’s art pieces related to energy, entitled “Sub- atomic,” depicts a wom- an engulfed in energy. It is meant to convey the fact that we, as humans, are all made of energy. But we also have and give away energy.

Among Ringwald’s art is a piece she calls her “most striking,” the votive sculpture “Chakra Goddess.” An 18-inch bronze figure, inlaid with gemstones in each of the seven chakra centers, the sculpture was designed with an accompanying empowerment meditation. The meditation for the “Chakra Goddess” invites the viewer to “absorb the energy of the seven colors of natural light and corresponding gemstones in an energizing ritual to enhance personal charisma,” Ringwald explained.

Ringwald’sartworkfillsthevoidsthatshebelievestoexistinthemodernide- als of the goddess. Instead idly waiting for someone else to fill these voids, Ring- wald took on the role. Ringwald lives by this philosophy of taking action. “Take shape the future and create a spiritual platform for our values and beliefs now.”

Part III: Ringwald’s Thoughts on Scripps, 42 Years Later

“At Scripps, I was at the beginning of a quest, an intellectual odyssey explor- ing ideas that I would work on for the rest of my life.”

Reflecting further on her life after Scripps, Ringwald said, “In college you gather all the information. Afterward, you discover more treasures of information, and you are able to place more of the pieces of the amazing puzzle together.” She said that she has “been on a treasure hunt” since she left Scripps, “traveling throughout the world and discovering new information about an evolving goddess image through the matrix of time.”

Ringwald believes that “Scripps has a certain mystique, as a sacred place for women, a place that specifically nurtures women’s power.” Comment- ing on why alumnae return to Scripps, Ringwald said that Scripps cultivates a feeling “that learning is a lifelong quest,” and that alumnae want to “participate, support and cultivate that culture of learning.”

Ringwald’s lecture at Tuesday Noon Academy will shed light not just on her exploration of goddess images and motifs, but will also offer insight into the life of our current community of intellectually curious Scripps students.As Ringwald said of today’s Scripps women, Scripps graduates are “embarking on a journey of becoming and creating the future.”