The panther as a symbol of the unleashing of inner desires

Recently I had the rare opportunity to view a very special piece of work by one of Australia’s most iconic and controversial artists, Norman Lindsay, at a friend’s art gallery.

I have long been a fan of the artist’s work and am especially interested in ‘Pantera’: the exceptional detail (especially in the gorgeous dress) and the mysterious subject matter. Just what is going on in this sensual arrangement?

Pantera main image smallest

The original etching is one of five in a book called ‘Idyllia’, published in 1922. The gorgeous book was printed as a very limited edition of 133 (only 100 of which were offered for sale) and intact editions are extremely rare – unfortunately the books are more valuable sold as individual etchings.

Here are the opening lines of the poem that accompanies ‘Pantera’, one of the fifteen poems by Hugh McCrae contained in ‘Idyllia’.

“Pantera dear, between us two,
How much is dream… how little true?
If one a phantom… I, or you?” Continue reading

A Perfect Match: Mary Oliver and Brooke Shaden

I adore beautiful images and sensuous words and in my search to feed my addiction, I came across the evocative fine art photographic images by Brooke Shaden. Her creations are the embodiment of the atmosphere the poet Mary Oliver’s words paint in my imagination. I’d like to share some of my favourite pairings.


“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.”

Mary Oliver


“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it is over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”

Mary Oliver Continue reading

Tantric “Sluts” or Living Goddesses: Why it Matters

I would love female sexuality to be as revered as Danielle Prohom Olson describes in her post.
“…there was once a very different world, one in which sexuality was not seen as dangerous, or something to be controlled, but venerated as divine. A world in which women were valued not just for their beauty but their spiritual power.”

body divine yoga

With recent media revelations about ritual sex, nude yoga and “yogasms” – sex has become a hot topic in the yoga world. Well, in honour of Women’s History Month, I’m joining the fray. Because let’s face it, nothing is more juicy or salacious than the forgotten high priestesses of sex, the “debauched” yoginis of Tantra.

While much conventional scholarship has designated these women as low-caste “sluts” exploited for ritual purposes, religious scholar Miranda Shaw has unearthed a very different history. Her book Passionate Enlightenment: Women in Tantric Buddhism claims these women were no mere ‘consorts’ but powerful gurus once held “in awe, reverence and obeisance”.

Her book is a biographic treasure trove of Tantric women teachers spanning the Pala Period of India (8th -13th centuries). According to Shaw, their writings and teachings were pivotal to the “central feature of one of most brilliant flowerings of Indian civilization”. So why are…

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