On Dreaming Big - Trista Hendren


Work in progress by Anders Løberg*

These last years have taught me to dream big—and embrace the LARGENESS of my heart.

Connecting to the power and love of Goddess through ritual has been a big thing for me lately. The last year, I purchased a Sistrum after being inspired by several of the pieces in our Isis anthology. I have rattled many dreams into existence—and found my strength again.

A few months before that, I purchased an Incantation Bowl, inspired by the words and imagery in Sue Monk Kidd's inspiring novel, The Book of Longings. In it, the main character pronounces over her bowl: “Bless the largeness inside me, no matter how I fear it.”1

For too long, women have played small. It is not surprising, given that for centuries, women were tortured and even killed for their power. For too long, the work of women has been devalued. And that goes beyond the work of mothering and care-taking. Our artistic accomplishments are also undervalued and underpaid. Even feminist work has not been valued—despite the fact that it has done so much for women around the world.

But I feel a real turning point, especially in the last year.

We are collectively reclaiming all the broken and stolen pieces of ourselves.

So, I want to announce my big, big intention—and plan for a Goddess House here in Bergen, Norway, where I now live. To stake our claim on this big dream, my husband Anders has begun to reconstruct the giant Willendorf statue pictured here in the anthology—in our front yard. We were delayed by Bergen's famous weather and many other obstacles, but remained undeterred. We will reveal the final statue on Saturday.

This statue will not go unnoticed. We want to reignite a movement to put women back front and center—as the living Goddesses that we are.

We toured the museums of Vienna extensively when we visited Tamara Albanna and her family. My daughter ate it all up. But I could not help but notice the utter lack of female artists. As the Guerrilla Girls asked on one of their posters, “Do women have to be naked to get into the Met Museum? – Less than 5% of the artists in the Modern Art sections are women, but 85% of the nudes are female.”

We originally planned to call it the Willendorf Museum, but then decided the Norsk Goddess Freya was more appropriate for our location—and 'museum' sounded too limited and old fashioned. So, we have decided to call it Freya House. I have purchased one of Lydia Ruyle’s Freya banners to hang near our front door and boldly declare our intention.

We plan to have a museum filled with women's art from around the world; artist-in-residence suites; rooms to create all sorts of art; a restaurant and cafe; a library; a gift shop filled with Goddess books, art, jewelry, music and more; a concert hall for Goddess music—and much, much more. We hope to attract visitors from around the world—and school children from throughout the country.

And of course, we will have a Willendorf Room, dedicated to Her!

More importantly, it is my dream to raise enough money for the opening to invite as many of the Foremothers of the Goddess Spirituality movement here as possible—all expenses paid.

So many of these women have given their entire life in service—without much back from all of us. This is not the Goddess way. And it is my intention for all of us doing this work—that we live abundant and glorious lives. And that those benefiting from this work better support the women who have brought forth so much ancient wisdom.

If you would like to help make this dream a reality, make sure to sign up for my mailing list on my website so you can get updates on this exciting project: www.thegirlgod.com.

This essay was adapted from a chapter in Willendorf's Legacy: The Sacred Body.

*Inspired by our Willendorf anthology, my husband, Anders, began building an enormous Goddess of Willendorf statue in our front yard, modelled after the one outside of Vienna, but closer in proportions to the original (4.4 inches) Willendorf.

She will be over 6ft tall and 4ft wide, weighing in at more than 2 tons. She is made primarily of cement made from sea shells, but also many upcycled materials, including broken pieces of my Grandmother's China, oyster shells, steel, chicken fence, steel wire, old tools, birds net, rope and more!) Her breasts are mixed with milk; Her womb and yoni are mixed with menstrual blood; her belly is filled with pasta, red wine and other goodies. Her head is filled with early proof copies of Girl God Books.

1 Kidd, Sue Monk. The Book of Longings. Viking; 2020.