If you are interested in owning a piece of original art, check out my art site here.
All of these were part of a recent gallery show in Cold Spring, NY.
I am selling several of my smaller paintings for seriously reduced prices.
If you are interested in owning a piece of original art, check out my art site here.
All of these were part of a recent gallery show in Cold Spring, NY.
RiverWinds Gallery - “Alice Judson Memorial Fundraiser" a noted success!
RiverWinds Gallery, 172 Main Street, Beacon NY 12508
Open Wed-Mon 12-6, 12-9 2nd Saturdays
RiverWinds Gallery at 172 Main Street, Beacon, NY hosted a very successful "Alice Judson Memorial Fundraiser" culminating in a reception on September 27th. The goal was to raise funds to help restore the gravestone of one of Beacon’s well-known female artists. It was so successful that not only will the Beacon Cemetery Committee be able to restore Alice Judson's damaged stone, but also the stone of Professor Charles Davies, a noted mathematician and friend of Charles Dickens. Davies' stone, located a few yards away from Ms. Judson, had been similarly damaged.
RiverWinds Gallery donated “The Porch," a rare signed architectural oil painting by Judson as a prize in a drawing, the proceeds of which are going toward the restorations.
On Saturday September 27, Diane Lapis, a member of the Beacon Historical Society gave a presentation on the life and work of Alice Judson. Robert Phillips of the Beacon Cemetery Committee drew the winning ticket, that of Mrs. K. Tannahill age 94. She and her husband were neighbors of Alice Judson and owned several of her paintings. When he passed away, his wife donated the Judson paintings to the Beacon Historical Society. The Historical Society bought tickets in her honor and the plan is that this painting will hang with the ones she previously had donated, at the Howland Cultural Center, thus preserving an important piece of Beacon's cultural and artistic legacy for future generations.
Stonemason John Benjamin from St. Phillips Church in Garrison is handling work on the stones.
Alice Judson (1876 – 1948) is one of Beacon’s earliest famous painters. She studied under John Henry Twachtman at the Art Students League in New York City. Alice's art career flourished in the 20's and 30's. She belonged to North Shore, Dutchess County, Putnam County, Hudson Highlands, and Pittsburgh Art Associations, as well as the Gloucester Society of Artists, National Academy of Woman Painters and Sculptors, and the Society of Independent Artists.
There are only 8 remaining paintings from the Alice Judson Collection at the gallery. They are all on view at RiverWinds and may also be seen on its website: www.riverwindsgallery.com.
RiverWinds Gallery is a multi-faceted art space featuring over 45 of the finest Hudson Valley artists; Traditional fine art including paintings and photography, and contemporary crafts, including jewelry, cards, ceramics, scarves and hand dyed yarn. The current Featured Artist is Ellen Metzger O’Shea. Her “Coming Home Series” is on view through October 5th. RiverWinds is a member of the Beacon Arts Community Association (BeaconArts) "www.beaconarts.org and Art Along the Hudson www.artalongthehudson.com
Location: RiverWinds Gallery, 172 Main Street, Beacon, NY 12508, 845-838-2880.
Hours: Wednesday - Monday 12-6 p.m. Beacon Second Saturday 12-9 p.m.
Directions: Route 84 exit 11, take Route 9D south, turn left at Main Street. RiverWinds Gallery is on the left, a block and half east on Main Street.
8. If we have knowledge of the future can we truly be said to act and choose freely?
I think this is perhaps the most common misconception about divination. Divination is a translation of patterns and potentiality; it is not a recounting of some immutable future. There are always choices. Wyrd, the flow of all that has been, all that is, patterning all that will be is created and woven from our choices, our actions, and our inaction. It's ever shifting. Moreover, part of the power and skill of a good diviner is the ability to shift and change what divination reveals is most likely to occur. Nothing is ever set in stone. "Fate" is a framework within which we have tremendous freedom of action. When we incarnate, we're dealt a certain hand, based on our own past lives, based on ancestral debt, based on many different things but we have both the choice and opportunity to meet those challenges wisely and well. We can almost always change a predicted pattern.
Part of divination is a push-pull, a tension between the dominant flow of events and our maneuverability. We're creatures of habit so even when a thing can be changed, most people, at least so far as I've found, won't because it means changing our ingrained, habitual responses to our world. Basically, divination shows one the 'lay of the land.' How we navigate that is up to us and it's how we navigate the flow of wyrd that determines what actually happens in the long run. Even with those things that for us as individuals may be relatively immutable (because they were locked into the wyrd by a confluence of choices and events over which we had little control), there's still no unchanging, pre-determined fall-out. So much of what happens in our lives depends on the traces we leave, our responses, our choices. Divination can help us make the best choices possible. "Fate" is not this monolithic thing over which we have no control. It's a flow of cause and effect with which we are absolutely capable of engaging.
The future might seem immutable, because we're not just dealing with our choices and responses, we're dealing with situations created and patterned by the responses and decisions of many, many others. We can only control our own actions. That's a different thing from the future being absolutely set in stone though. As a diviner, when something comes up in a session that is potentially problematic for a client, I will always ask if there's anything that can be done to offset, change, or avoid this situation. That is the power of a diviner: not just to see but work within the wyrd, to alter it, shift it, change it. We not only have the capacity to see the most likely future, but also the ability to create it. Sometime the window in which we have to work is quite small, but there is almost always something that can be done to shift things to the client's greater benefit.
(Readers, I have one more question left in my Diviner's meme. If you have any questions that you would like me to answer about divination, please send them to me at krasskova at gmail.com. I'll give it a shot to the best of my ability).
My newest article is up at the Starry Bull. In it, I talk about my relationship to Dionysos and what it means to be a perpetual outsider to His mysteries, and how sometimes, that can be a gift and a grace as well.
I wrote the article early yesterday but only got around to sharing it now. It's been a busy, busy weekend, folks and I'll post more about that when I have a chance.
In the meantime, check out my article, "I praise the God of Outsiders..' here.
We did the divination for Oski's gift disbursement two nights ago and the winner has been contacted and the money paypaled. I will be holding on to the other submissions and putting them in for the Spring Equinox gift, unless I hear otherwise from participants.
For the record, the evening of September 20, I wrote the names of all participants on slips of paper, folded them up tightly and put them in a bowl on Odin's altar. I prayed and asked Him to decide to whom He wished the funds to go. I left that on His altar until divination showed that He was ready to make a selection. Then, I offered prayers and had my partner blind draw a name. That person received the gift.
We will be doing this as a household again on March 23. Cut off for submissions is March 20, 9pm EST.
May the Gods ever and always be hailed!
My new column, Wyrd Ways: Building a Better Heathenry, debuted today at polytheist.com. I'll be writing monthly articles on all things Heathen, discussing the restoration of our traditions, sharing my experiences, and more.
Polytheist.com debuted earlier this month. It's space run by polytheists for polytheists and offers a growing collection of insightful and thought-provoking articles.
7. Are there any questions you won't answer?
There are questions I don't like (i.e. the "does Johnny love me?" variety) but there aren't many questions that I'll refuse to answer. In fact, depending on how deeply I go into the divination, into the flow of wyrd, the words might just tumble out before I can even consider not answering. If i'm taken up as an oracle, that is a thousand times more the case.
There are two exceptions to this.
A. Sometimes the divination will show that the client should not be told a thing -- for whatever reason. Quite often, it's a matter of the client needing to gain the power or the character development that will come from sorting a thing out for him or herself; or perhaps knowing in advance will shift the wyrd too drastically in ways that will not benefit. Sometimes diviners will get what we tend to colloquially term 'gag orders.' We'll go to attempt to tell the client something, and the Gods or ancestors will simply not permit it. It can be rather amusing to watch a diviner try to speak a thing, only to actually choke on the words, or as a diviner to open my mouth to say one thing and have something totally unexpected tumble forth. It can be frustrating for client and diviner alike to be unable to answer a question, but when this happens -- be it a 'gag order' or something coming up in the reading that specifically indicates that the reading should stop or that a question cannot or won't be answered--there's usually a compelling reason.
B. The other occasion on which I will refuse to answer a question is a bit more nuanced. I won't precisely refuse, but if someone asks a poorly crafted question, I will often prompt the client to rephrase or will flat out tell him or her that I am not going to ask that, but will instead ask X (at which point I will rephrase the question, often explaining to the client why I chose to do so). For instance, I once had a client who came to me because she had been having some very intense experiences with one of her Deities. Toward the end of the divination, she asked me if her Deity had laid a taboo on her, forbidding her to eat meat. She said "Do I have to be Vegan?" I knew, just from the flow of the reading and the feel of the divination that if I threw the answer would be an absolute yes. Sometimes, as a diviner, you just know what's going to come up on the mat. I told her that I wasn't going to ask that. Instead, I was going to "do her a solid," and ask if she should limit her intake of red meat as a devotional act. The answer came up an unqualified yes and then we worked out a few more specifics. This is a fairly simple example but what I did there was keep my client from running head-first into what for her, would have been a difficult and unpleasant (and possibly unhealthy for this particular person) taboo. Had I asked her original question, and gotten an absolute yes, then she would have been obligated. Instead, because of the way the question was phrased, i was able to work out something much more livable. Whether I do this or not is completely at my discretion because it's the client's job to ask appropriate questions, but generally I will if the chance arises.
More often though, if there is an issue with a question, what will happen is that the divination will not answer the client's question. Other things are deemed more important, sometimes factors and consequences the client can't see, or sometimes a completely different issue all together, and that will come up rather than clearly what the client asked. That is vexing and sometimes switching to a binary system will allow a workaround (sometimes not).
I suppose there is one type of question that I won't answer, and that is a question so egregiously miasmic, hubristic, and polluted that it would be an offense even to bring it to the mat. I will also refuse to answer silly questions, like 'what should I have for dinner, chicken or fish? " (and yes, this is stupid, but I also know of a case where someone asked this -- not of me thankfully). Such questions are disrespectful on so many levels and frankly, stupid.
I also will flat out refuse to read for someone who is chasing the answer he or she wants, going to diviner after diviner with the exact same question. I may also refuse someone who comes to me three or four times with the same question, having taken none of the advice given in previous readings on that topic. What these have in common, by the way, is that they show no regard whatsoever for the sacredness of this practice.
6. What should a client do if they receive an answer they don't like or can't act upon?
The first part of this question cracks me up. If a client receives an answer he or she doesn't like, he or she needs to suck it up. We're not some sort of walking fortune telling machines guaranteed to give an uplifting responses. Divination is an art whereby one is able to sort out tangles and issues with one's Gods, ancestors, and luck. It can be uncomfortable and messy. If you're coming to a diviner to hear what you want to hear, or to have your own ideas or behavior reinforced, do us all a favor and just don't, because you'll be sorely disappointed.
The second part of the question is actually a really, really important one. What do you do if you receive an answer you can't act upon. This happens, not as often as one might think, but it does happen.
Before anything else, I would want to make sure of the reasons one can't act upon an answer. If it's pure inconvenience, then again, the client should just suck it up. If you are being instructed by your Gods to do X, and this is confirmed in Divination, and the only reason you "can't" do a thing is that it might be uncomfortable or inconvenient, then the onus is on you to adjust your priorities and get to work.
If, however, it is a matter of the thing being asked being illegal in your state or province, or completely out of your financial means within the time frame provided, or impossible due to health or *because of your obligations, gessa, vows, or taboos to or from other Deities*, then there is a protocol to follow.
This is precisely one of the things that divination is for. Explain your problem to the diviner and ask the diviner to negotiate on your behalf. This is a conversation, not laws come down from heaven inscribed in stone. If something is completely impossible, discuss it. You may not be able to do X, but what *can* you do? What will Deity X, or ancestor Y take instead? You're not averring out of any impiety, but rather external situations are constraining your ability to act. This is ok. So long as one is not acting out of a desire to avoid inconvenience alone, there's no shame or harm in negotiating.
Perhaps offerings can be made, perhaps something else is acceptable. There are very few hard absolutes. By the way, if you as a diviner see something bad coming down the line for a client *always* ask if there's something the client can do to avert it. This is your gift as a diviner, not just to sort through the threads of wyrd, but to move and shift them, to work luck on behalf of your clients. As one of my elders noted, so long as it is not their rightful time to die, you can do *something*.
The above all holds even if what you receive is a direct oracle. It is perfectly ok to see a diviner to sort out what the oracle said. This isn't disrespectful, but rather a means of ensuring that you get things done properly. A good diviner can almost always find a way.
"The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearth-stone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."
You can tell a lot about a town by its cemeteries. You can tell a lot about its history by who lies buried within its bounds. You can also tell a lot about the character of a people by how they remember and tend their dead. Cemeteries hold our memories, quiet and unmoving weft to balance the warp of our ever forward driving momentum. Cemeteries root us in our own evolution, reminding us of who we once were, and the choice ever facing us as a community of whom we wish to become in the future. They're good touch-stones for the health of a community. They can also hold some intriguing surprises.
Take Beacon, for instance. Beacon is a city of secrets. Just walking through her streets, chatting with her artists, shopping in the various stores and galleries, visiting DIA, one would never guess how deeply entwined Beacon has been in the march of our nation toward independence and freedom. She has been though and the clues are there, most especially in her cemeteries. One cemetery that doesn't get anywhere nearly the attention it deserves is the Afro-American Union Cemetery on Oak Street and Verplanck.
To talk about this cemetery, it's necessary to first introduce one of Beacon's most interesting historical personages: James F. Brown. Brown is a fascinating man. Born a slave in Maryland in 1793, he took freedom into his own hands, fleeing North in 1827 when his then owner, Susan Williams, refused him the right to buy his own freedom (something that had been promised him by her father). Brown eventually ended up in New York working for the Verplanck family. His employers helped him maintain and legally buy his freedom when his former owner tracked him down. He remained with the family as the head gardener at Mount Gulian estate in Beacon, eventually buying his wife's freedom, purchasing a home, and even voting for the first time in 1837. His story is in itself a fascinating one and Brown was the subject of a recent book "Freedom's Gardener" by historian Myra B. Young Armstead. Best of all he kept a regular diary, in which he recorded daily happenings in his life. This diary has proven a goldmine for historians. A man of character, as the minutiae of his story show, he knew the value of tending to his community's dead.
In 1851 (in conjunction with Samuel Sampson, Edward Bush, Christian Reynolds, and Samuel Gomer) he bought what is now the Afro-American Union Cemetery. At the time, it was nothing more than a small portion of land located in and purchased from the local Methodist Cemetery, originally founded in 1819. Now, in 2014, there are no extant gravestones in the Afro-American Union Cemetery, but this is a fairly new development. We know that at one point after it was established as a separate cemetery, there were headstones including at least one for Civil War veteran Spenser DeFreese.
That name may not be well known in Beacon today, but at one point in Beacon's history, DeFreese was a hero. There were many black soldiers in the Union army - roughly 10% of Union forces from 1862 onward. They faced discrimination, prejudice, and a much greater chance of cruelty and abuse if captured by the Confederate army, yet they stepped up, stepped forward and enlisted in such great numbers that in 1863 Lincoln's government established the "Bureau of Colored Troops" to manage the growing numbers of black recruits (even within the Union, having black men armed and trained for combat was, at that time, a very controversial thing). Former slave, firebrand, and abolitionist Frederick Douglass urged men to enlist as a guarantee of full citizenship when the war was over and in fact contributed two sons to the Union's war effort. While the aforementioned James Brown did not enlist, many a young black man in Beacon did. At least one was buried with full honors in Fairview Cemetery, also in Beacon and we know that there are several more in the now unmarked graves at the Afro-American Union Cemetery. See what secrets our cemeteries hold?
Cemeteries are more than just historical landmarks. They are treasure troves of knowledge. They hold the secrets of who and what a community is: all the ground over which its generations have walked. Beacon Cemetery Committee, a sub-division of the Beacon Historical Society is dedicated to preserving not just the Afro-American Union Cemetery, but all the cemeteries in Beacon. Current projects include eventually replacing the military headstone for Spenser DeFreese, a slow and laborious process filled with a great deal of governmental paperwork. No one knows when the original headstones disappeared from the cemetery, but raising a stone for one of Beacon's military heroes is a good place to begin its restoration.
You can be part of that restoration too. The Cemetery Committee meets the last Thursday of each month at the Howland Public Library. Come and help preserve Beacon's historic landscape.
For more information visit http://beaconcemeterytrail.wordpress.com/