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Guardians of the Well


Mural in Letterkenny Women's Centre

At the end of 2010 the Women's Centre asked me to imagine a large mural for their centre. In the beginning I knew there would be a female figure but didn't quite know what else would manifest. Over time it all came together and I was inspired to have a sacred well as the central point, surrounded by a woman, a grizzly bear and a black panther, all flanked by two big trees. The trees were painted by artist Máire Nic Fhearraigh - Hawthorn and Elder which are rich in spiritual significance in Ireland.

I wanted two more creatures on other walls, and a butterfly and snake wound their way into the scene. A vast landscape unfolded with a mountain, sunrise and new moon hidden in the branches of the Hawthorn. The woman's foot rests on rich dark soil and the rest of her body is a mix of Christian, Buddhist and Goddess inspired grace. She is at once connected to herself, the earth, the sky and the well. She is at rest and is also awake.



Guardians of the Well Mural



The Animals

In the Native American tradition the Black Panther is a symbol of embracing the darkness, The Void, the unknown, and finding inner strength therein. She represents flowing with and not against the mysteries of life.

The Bear is the symbol of introspection and female receptive energy. The female gestates while in hibernation through the winter. For me, this symbolises the fruits that lie at the end of periods of retreat.

The Butterfly is the most wonderful example of transformation and embracing the stages that everything must go through to reach maturity. Butterflies bring up feelings of fleeting beauty within the laws of impermanence. As a girl I was upset at how their wings are so easily destroyed by human fingers, but delighted to see that they can remain intact flying about in some serious wind and rain; they are unbelievably delicate yet strong at the same time.

The Snake has so many different connotations in different religions and some of them are quite negative. In this mural the snake is the embodiment of the Divine Feminine principle of joyous sexuality and transmutation; of turning poison into medicine. This is especially meaningful to me as this is what I have done with the tramua of the sexual violence I experienced throughout my childhood.

Working on this mural has been a real journey of healing for me and I am immensely proud of it. It is lovely to walk away from it now and let it do it's thing...

The 'Guardians of the Well' mural was unveiled on International Women's Day with harp music by Mary Crossin and singing and poetry by women from all over.



Aoife Valley and Moy McCarry Guardians of the Well Mural Launch

Face of Woman in the mural - unfinished, there was more detail added after this pic was taken


Black Panther from mural


Guardians of the Well Aoife and Moya Laughing

Aoife Valley talking at mural launch

Guardians of the Well Mural in Letterkenny

Please call in to the centre if you would like to view the mural Mon-Fri 10am-4pm.


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