Meinrad Craighead
Artist, scholar, and visionary Meinrad Craighead has spent a lifetime mining the world's mythology to explore our human relationship to the Divine as represented in historic religious icons, particularly images of God as the Great Mother. Born in North Little Rock and raised in Chicago, Craighead was steeped in the Catholic tradition and deeply influenced by the steady nurture of her Arkansas grandmother. Her gift for art and her fascination with the spirit realm emerged early on, during the hot summers of her Arkansas childhood. Craighead attended parochial schools until she entered the University of Wisconsin to earn the Master of Fine Arts in 1960.

Craighead left the Midwest for the Southwest where she took a teaching job in the art department at the University of Albuquerque. Here Craighead, now an accomplished painter, was inspired by “the harsh sun and black shadows” of the high desert, even as she also began to broaden her spirituality and scholarship, reaching beyond her Catholic roots to explore the imagery and wisdom of the Native American traditions in the Southwest.

After two years in the Southwest, Craighead was invited to teach art in Florence. She would spend the next 21 years in Europe, exploring the imagery of the ancient goddesses Demeter, Persephone, and Artemis, the Black Madonna, and Hildegard of Bingen. Following her stint in Italy, Craighead studied medieval Catalan art in Spain on a Fulbright grant. She lived for 10 months at Montserrat, the mountaintop monastery near Barcelona known for its shrine to the Black Madonna. Soon thereafter Craighead became a Benedictine nun at Stanbrook Abbey in England.

After 14 years of monastic life, Craighead emerged from Stanbrook Abbey to begin her most fruitful artistic period, working on a series of extraordinary images of the feminine Divine with support from the Arts Council of Great Britain. Eventually Craighead returned to New Mexico to continue her solitary, contemplative life of prayer and painting. She lectured and conducted workshops on the Feminine Divine across North America and Europe. Now, at age 73, she lives and works in her home on the Rio Grande River in Albuquerque. Meinrad Craighead: Crow Mother and the Dog God is a 340-page retrospective of her life’s work that was published in 2003 by Pomegranate Press.


Anita McLeod – Feminist elder and educator, Durham, North Carolina

Katie Burke – Publisher, Pomegranate Communications, publisher of Meinrad Craighead: Crow Mother and the Dog God, A Retrospective

Diane Wilson – Workshop participant; Public Service, State of Arkansas, Little Rock, Arkansas

Betsy Alden – Clergywoman and formerly of Kenan Ethics, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

Jim Morley – Retired theater director, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Dakini Lynn Marlow – Artist, Boulder, Colorado

Belinda Edwards – Artist, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Becky Holtzman – Artist, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Carole Craighead Kintis – Meinrad’s sister, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Mildred Engster – Meinrad’s aunt, Little Rock, Arkansas

Rev. Helen Stegall – Workshop participant, Hot Springs, Arkansas

Rosemary Davies – Meinrad's friend and editor, Albuquerque, NM  

Rev. Jeanette Stokes – Executive Director, RCWMS, Durham, North Carolina

Rachael Wooten – Jungian analyst, Raleigh, North Carolina

Eugenia Parry – Art historian, Cerrillos, New Mexico

Mary Carroll Nelson – Artist, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Randa McNamara (narrator) – Singer and actor, Durham, North Carolina

Courtney Reid-Eaton (narrator) – Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina


Crow Mother Between Two Moons