Monthly Archives: February 2018

Mo’o, In Celebration of the Hawaiian Lizard Goddess

“We are all Goddess in drag,” Ram Dass

A contribution to the male gaze discourse, mythology, and art from a personal perspective of love.

Mo'o card.flat 2

A postcard I made to hand out in the upcoming gallery show for people who are interested in the whole story and the genesis of the painting. 100 postcards, 5″ x 7″, dieter runge, 2017

… and I am still on that journey.

In August 2016 a woman suddenly stepped into my life in Kailua beach park after I came off a kitesurfing session. We recognized that we had known each other 20 years ago. Over the next 6 month we fell in love cooking, gardening, making art, playing and practicing yoga together. Knowing that this would be an almost impossible love by all  standards we allowed it to happen in the awareness that we shared a spiritual path, which created a strong bond. Our relationship led me to experience bliss that I did not expected to experience at this time in my life and I loved the difficult moments just as much as the sweet ones. Every time we had a challenging situation we were able to talk and cry and felt that we came out the other end on a higher level of understanding and love for each other.


The Lizard Goddess  brought many beautiful things into my life. Amongst them she taught me how to love and cultivate ti leaves.

Then, as suddenly as she appeared she was gone. I tumbled into the deepest pain and sadness that I can remember, tearing open the core of my being. It caused a deep fear of abandonment and loneliness, that I realized, went far beyond what happened between us and was buried in my psyche to create patterns that I was repeating. Now I was finally facing my own archetypical trauma of abandonment.

I realized that a door had swung open and that stepping through it would offer the gift of healing at the deepest level, so I could leave this pattern behind once and for all. This is what I am doing now. Since the trauma is so deep I have to let the healing happen no matter how long  it might take. Yet, already I have become a much expanded being and especially as a man, I am much more capable of real love. Still, in her absence, the goddess is teaching me and giving me gifts every day. 


Pratapaditya Pal, The Sensuous Immortals, Los Angeles County Museum, LA, 1977. Exhibition catalog of ancient sacred sculptures. I took the name for my current band and music projects. See below.

We had often  made art, playing off each other’s ideas and taken photos for a series that we called ‘Contemporary Goddess.’  We talked about the male gaze in art and were fully conscious of the ambivalence in these kind of poses. When I started this particular painting, I choose this pose from the many shots we had done because of the power in her stance, not the submission. Then, when the painting started to take shape, the Myth of the Mo’o, that I had never known before,  appeared to me. The Hawaiian Lizard Goddess has the ability to shapeshift, to mix with humans. She appears and disappears without warning. These qualities fit perfectly to the character of my lost love, who could be erratic at times, resulting from her own traumas and the following afflictions, she was suffering from. Stepping into my life without any forewarning, creating magic, only to disappear just as suddenly, fits the Mo’o. As an artist I aim to manifest divine consciousness trough my work. I listen to my intuition,  mixed with ego desires of course, but I have to let the work unfold and see where it wants to go. When I first was alone after the goddess left, the lyrics for a song appeared to me during morning meditation for several days and I had to stop and write them down. I recorded the song and it is about to be released. Even Keith Richard acknowledges that he is ‘just an antenna who receives songs.’ (The song has been released on ‘Penny For The Guy’ records and you can hear it on Soundcloud).


This is a view from my Lanai. I live on top of an old fishpond part of which was filled in. You can see the remnants of the wall and where the gate was. Mo’o like to live in fishponds and this particular one is protected by a benevolent spirit, I was told by a local woman.

One evening a friend of mine who is able to get communication from other realms visited me and as we were getting ready to have dinner she said: “(Name) was your mother in a previous life, she was a beautiful independent woman and abandoned you as a baby.” True or not, this is now part of my story and helps me to be ok with the  intensity of my feelings. After all, we do live in a quantum universe (or multiverse) where everything is connected and everything is indeed possible.



The beginning of the Mo’o painting. oil on canvas, 42″ x 50″, dieter runge, 2017/18. The finished painting is on view at Iolani Gallery at Oahu’s Windward Community College from February 2nd  – March 2nd, 2018

When I started the painting I knew it could be criticized as a ‘male gaze’ digression and it has already been fiercely slammed by an art professor friend of mine, and as I am writing this, the Manchester Art Gallery has taken down John William Waterhouse’s Hylas and the Nymphs to “provoke debate, not to censor.” Wouldn’t it be better to create a dialogue with the painting still present? Coming from a country that blacklisted artists and burned books I don’t feel comfortable to just take paintings down. To counter the prevalence of male painters in museums we should exhibit more art by women.

The continuous suppression of women lies at the heart of what is “wrong with the world” I seek nothing more than our true and complete liberation and welcome a new emerging creative matriarchy. The Mo’o painting aims to celebrate the ‘divine feminine.’ It is an expression by the Goddess, realized through me. 

PS: I am writing a much longer, detailed account of my experiences with the Lizard Goddess, but it is neither finished nor am I sure if it is for publication. We’ll see where this is going and how the spirit moves me.


Sources for further explorations:

Carl Jung, The Red Book, Norton & Company, NY, 2009,

Carl Jung created the concepts of the ‘collective unconscious’ and that of the ‘archetypes.’ In the Red Book Jung describes his  journey into his subconscious to face and deal with his own demons. It is all in his own beautiful handwriting and paintings and took him 17 years to complete.

Jude Currivan, The 8th Chakra, Hay House, 2006

Here Currivan, a planetary healer with a masters in Cosmology and Quantum Physics and a Phd in the archeology of ancient cultures uses the the concept of ‘Archetypical Traumas’ and how to heal them.

Jude Currivan, The Cosmic Hologram, Inner Traditions, Vermont, 2017

Currivan, connects Quantum Physics, Relativity Theorie, Information and Consciousness.

Christine R. Page, The Healing Power of The Sacred Woman, Bear & Company, Vermont, 2013

The Sensuous Immortals, Happy When The Winter Comes, 2017, to be released and minute now (it is). This is a song we recorded this fall and is about this story. The Lizard Goddess appears on the recording in her own words and curtesy of a phone recording. Stay Tuned.

Coda: This is an e-mail I received this morning from my New York friend who I know for 40 years now. She is an artist and a therapist and she has helps me during this difficult time. We meet on Skype and when I am in New York I stay with her.

You know our friendship is eternal and I am always close by – Surrender is the way across to the other side of the mirror, where projection is no longer and deep healing can do its work at the cellular level.  In surrender we sit with the sadness and the longing, and also the joy.  It is not anymore a world in black and white but a world in rainbow.  Crying comes easy to the ones who enter this world with an open heart, isn’t it? But with the open heart comes both vulnerability and the greatest resilience.…I think this wounded/trauma part of your psyche manifested in (Name of Mo’o) and it is so hard to let it go free – How could it not be as you have lived with her/it all your life and probably some of it is ancestral as well.  And you have already done most of the letting go, really.  I can sense your pain but please do not despair.  You have avoided the trap of hating (Name of Mo’o) and that is the most beautiful thing in the world.  You can be at peace now.  Maybe the good food and the yoga practice precipitated this cleansing through her manifestation.  Then back to Earth level, this flesh and blood woman, you love her with all her pieces… So it is.

Mo'o holding Olena FIN

The Lizard Goddess celebrates our Olena harvest on her last visit. She is standing on what was once an ancient fishpond.