One of the purposes of Holy Hiatus is to provide an online resource for artists and researchers interested in the themes of ritual, creativity and community. Below is a broad bibliography of books and articles and a number of free downloads of essays by Ruth Jones.


Ruth Jones presented a talk titled Between a flashing star and a gravestone as part of the symposium to accompany the Thin Place exhibition curated by Ciara Healy at Oriel Myrddin, Carmarthen in February 2015. A Thin Place was regarded as a marginal realm, beyond everyday human experience and perception, where mortals could pass into the Otherworld more easily or make contact with those in the Otherworld more willingly.  The exhibition aimed to show how art, literature, science and theology are interconnected, especially when addressing questions concerning the meaning of our existence.

Link takes you to Oriel Myrddin Gallery website where all the talks are available


Between a flashing star and a gravestone: sleepers, liminality and communal dreaming    2004

This essay explores the reclining and displayed feminine body in western culture, taking as s starting point the displayed body of Rosalia Lombardo in the crypt of the Capuccini Monastery in Palermo. Her body could be seen to be endlessly occupying a liminal realm, a transitional state between this world and the next, between life and death, between awake and asleep. This position banishes her to a no-man’s land, caught ‘between a flashing star and a gravestone’. The evocative figure of the ‘sleeper’ within western culture is almost invariably represented through a feminine body. By exploring fairy stories such as ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and ‘Snow White’, tales of the perfectly preserved bodies of Catholic saints such as St. Cecelia, St. Catherine and St. Clare and the eighteenth century obsession in art and literature with the theme of ‘death and the maiden’, I hope here to unravel the complex associations between femininity, passivity, liminiality, sexuality and death and attempt to reconfigure the sleeper in a more positive light. The collaboration between Tilda Swinton and Cornelia Parker in ‘The Maybe’ at the Serpentine Gallery, London in 1994 serves as a contemporary model for exploring the potential of the sleeper as a vehicle for communal dreaming.

Download Essay as PDF Between_a_flashing_star


Dancing in the Abyss – living with liminality   2012

Beginning with a personal experience, this essay reflects on Jones’ own practice and on other artists’ projects that she has been involved with through Holy Hiatus that explore the great human transitions of life and death. The text explores the fruitfulness and potential of the relationship between art practice and anthropology and discusses Victor Turner’s concept of communitas; humans in their wholeness wholly attending and asks whether it is possible for art projects to create the necessary conditions for communitas to occur?

Download Essay as PDF  Dancing_In_The _Abyss


Inventing Rituals – Inhabiting Places – ritual and community in public art 2008

In May 2008, five temporary art events were commissioned by Ruth Jones in public spaces in Cardigan (Wales) as part of the project Holy Hiatus. The project explored the possibilities for ritual to be employed creatively in public art practice, and to examine the ways that artists can draw audiences into unexpected and potentially ‘liminal’ experiences of place through ritual. Some people locally and from further a field knew about the events through publicity material or word of mouth, and made an active decision to attend, while others came across interventions unexpectedly whilst going about their daily business. The temporary, mobile and in some cases, understated nature of the works meant that the impact was often subtle, but the artworks nonetheless created a ripple of effect for both active and incidental audiences, leading witnesses to wonder what they had just seen and to what extent they had knowingly, or unknowingly, participated.

Following the completion of the projects, a series of interviews with twelve audience members were carried out by researcher Sarah Pace from Safle (an independent public art consultancy based in Cardiff) in order to gain an insight into how the artworks were received. This article integrates the findings from these with theoretical understandings of ritual –from fields such as anthropology, sociology, cultural and communication theory. The article begins by laying out the arguments for and against the creative potential of ritual. The interviewees’ experiences of the artworks for Holy Hiatus are then compared to find support for the proposition that experiences of liminality are possible in public art projects that employ ritual. Finally, the article looks at how experiencing public rituals in places that are familiar to us might alter our perception of those places in both exciting and challenging ways.

Download Essay as PDF Inventing_Rituals_Inhabiting_Places


Between Death and Glory   2013

Beginning with a personal account of a brush with death and an encounter with the ‘Void’ of non-being, this essay attempts to make sense of that experience through exploration of art, literature and philosophy. It’s a meandering journey calling on Plato, nineteenth century fantasy writer George MacDonald, Julia Kristeva and psychoanalysis, matricide, liminality, left and right brain functions, artist Ana Mendieta and the Eleusinian mysteries……

Download Essay as PDF Between_Death_And_Glory



Ritual Studies and Performance
Grimes, Ronald L. “Rite out of Place – Ritual, Media and the Arts” (Oxford University Press, 2006)

Grimes, Ronald L. “Deeply into the Bone – Re-inventing Rites of Passage” (university of California Press, 2000)

Schechner, Richard. “The Future of Ritual – Writings on Culture and Performance” (Routledge, London and New York, 1993)

Death and Ritual
Aries, Philippe. “The Hour of Our Death” (Penguin Books, 1981)

Bassein, Beth Ann. “Women and Death: Linkages in Western Thought and Literature”(Greenwood Press: Westport, Connecticut, London, 1984)

Bloch, Maurice and Jonathan Parry. “Death and The Regeneration of Life” (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1982)

Bronfen, Elizabeth. “Over Her Dead Body: Death, Femininity and the Aesthetic” (Manchester University Press: Manchester, 1992)

Sourvinou-Inwood, Christiane. ‘To Die and Enter the House of Hades: Homer, Before and After’, in “Mirrors of Mortality: Studies in the Social History of Death” ed. Joachim Whaley (Europa Publications Ltd: London, 1981), pp.15-39.

Gray, William. “Death and Fantasy – Essays on Pullman, C.S.Lewis, George MacDonald and R.L.Stevenson” (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009)

Douglas, Mary. “Purity and Danger” (Routledge and Kegan Paul: London and Henley, 1966)

Turner, Victor W. “The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-structure” (Routledge and Kegan Paul: London, 1969)

Turner, Victor W. “The Anthropology of Performance” (PAJ Publications: New York, 1987)

Van Gennep, Arnold. The Rites of Passage (The University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1960)

Alexander, Bobby. “Victor Turner Revisited – Ritual as Social Change” (Scholars Press Atlanta, Georgia, 1991)

Bloch, Maurice. “Ritual, History and Power” (The Athlone Press, London and Atlantic Highlands, 1989)

Eds Schneider, Arnd and Wright, Christopher. “Contemporary Art and Anthropology” (Berg, Oxford, New York, 2006)

Eds Zweig, Connie and Abrams, Jeremiah “Meeting the Shadow – The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature” (Tarcher/Putnam, 1991)

Freud, Sigmund. The Freud Reader ed. Peter Gay (Vintage: London, 1995)
Freud, Sigmund. Writings on Art and Literature (Stanford University Press: Stanford, California, 1997), pp.193-233 (p.200)
Freud, Sigmund. ‘On Fetishism’ in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud Vol XXI, pp.152-153.

Kristeva, Julia “This Incredible Need to Believe” (Columbia University Press: New York, 2009)

Goddess and Feminist Philosophy of Religion
Baring, Anne and Jules Cashford. “The Myth of The Goddess: Evolution of an Image” (Arkana Penguin Books: London, 1993)

George, Demetra. “Mysteries of the Dark Moon – The Healing Power of the Dark Goddess” (HarperOne, 1992)

“The Absent Mother: restoring the Goddess to Judaism and Christianity” (Mandala: London, 1991) pp.18-26.

Condran, Mary. “The Serpent and The Goddess Women, Religion, and Power in Celtic Ireland” (Harper and Row: San Francisco, 1989)

Gimbutas, Maria. “The Living Goddesses” (University of California Press: Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, 1999)

Goldenberg, Naomi.”The Changing of the Gods: feminism and the end of traditional religions” (Beacon Press: Boston, 1979)

Paris, Ginette. “Pagan Meditations: Aphrodite, Hestia, Artemis” (Spring Publications inc: Dallas, Texas, 1986)

Paris, Ginette. Pagan Grace: Dionysis, Hermes and The Goddess Memory in Daily Life” (Spring Publications: Dallas, Texas,1990)

Perera, Sylvia Brinton. “Descent to The Goddess: A Way of Initiation for Women” (Inner City Books: Toronto,1981)

Pirani, Alix. (ed) “The Absent Mother: restoring the Goddess to Judaism and Christianity” (Mandala: London, 1991)

Jantzen, Grace M. “Becoming Divine: Towards a Feminist Philosophy of Religion” (Manchester University Press: Manchester, 1998)

Ruether, Rosemary Radford. “Religion and Sexism” (Simon and Schuster: New York, 1974)
Ruether, Rosemary Radford. “Gaia and God: An Ecofeminist Theology of Earth Healing (Harper: San Francisco, 1992)

Letzler Cole, Susan. “The Absent One” (The Pennsylvania State University Press: University Park and London, 1985)

Spretnak, Charlene. “Lost Goddesses of Early Greece – A Collection of Pre-Hellenic Myths” (Beacon Press: Boston, 1981)

Warner, Marina. “Alone of All her Sex: The Myth and Cult of The Virgin Mary” (Vintage: London, 1976)

Myth and Fairytales
Estés, Clarissa Pinkola. “Women who run with the wolves: myths and stories of the wild woman archetype” (Ballantine Books: New York, 1992)

Bettelheim, Bruno. “The Uses of Enchantment: the meaning and importance of Fairy Tales” (Penguin Books: London, 1976)

Warner, Marina. “From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairytales and their Tellers” (Chatto & Windus: London, 1994)

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