The papercutting art piece is a bit intricate thus below you will find some close-up photos to help you see things more clearly. The back panel rises four and a half feet from the top of the table and is four feet wide. The central image is of Ilene with her signature features – bright red lipstick and orange hair.
On either side of her swim one of her favorite feminine images – mermaids.
Frida’s eyes watch over her.
And above that floats a large butterfly.
The lower panel is two and a half feet tall and four feet wide. The central image is that of the Teotihuacan pyramids near Mexico City that Ilene visited and climbed many times. The red spider goddess weaves and reweaves our webs below.
Many Sacred Feminine images form the frame of the cutting. Kwan Yin,
Venus of Willendorf,
Day of the Dead sugar skulls,
an Aztec sun,
a goddess image,
and the Virgin de Guadalupe.
The top of the altar had several items of meaning to Ilene.
Below her papercut image is a photo taken of her meditating at the Tiosh Abaj, a hotel frequented by Ilene, her husband Conrad, and the many friends they escorted to Santiago Atitlan Guatemala. Below that photo is another that depicts Ilene’s crypt near the same location. Both of these images can be seen even more closely along with other photos here.
Frida’s diary rests in the bottom left corner of the altar. This was place there by a dear friend and fellow student of Ilene’s, Diane Schafer King. You can read her story about how she purchased this book at Frida’s home in Coyoacan, Mexico while on a trek there with Ilene.
Above the diary, a collector Frida doll stands holding two cards – Ellen and Ilene – that each originate from the Greek word for “Light”.
Ilene’s publication Sophia and the Seven Goddesses.
The photo of Ilene being blessed by another shaman in Santiago Atitlan Guatemala was place on the altar by her dear friend, Michael Mettler.
The ‘yellow man’ as I have come to call him, was one of Ilene’s treasures now adorned with some Frida earrings and rose hair. I don’t think he’d mind and I’m certain Ilene approves.
Frida’s Open Heart is a painting Ilene created. You can read more about it here. Below rests two sacred heart frames, one with Ilene’s photo in it and one with Frida’s. The latter was placed on the altar by another dear friend and fellow student, Rhonda.
As you’ve seen above, I invited others to place things on the altar. Susan Lily Lash created this beautiful collage that hangs on the wall behind the altar. She said it was a powerful piece for her to create. You can read more about it here.
Ilene’s husband, Conrad, gave me many photos to add to the altar of their shaman rituals in Guatemala. I displayed them with an electronic frame that continuously rotated the photos. You can see all of them here.