Lydia Ruyle (August 4, 1935-March 26, 2016) is posthumously honored as Patron of Goddess Feminism, Activism, and Spirituality or Goddess feminist activism by Mago Circle Members on June 11, 2017.
Lydia Ruyle was an artist, author, scholar emerita of the Visual Arts faculty of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colorado where The Lydia Ruyle Room for Women’s Art was dedicated in 2010. She had a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder, a Master of Arts from UNC and had studied with Syracuse University in Italy, France, Spain, and with the Art Institute of Chicago in Indonesia. Tributes are available in Return to Mago E-Magazine and elsewhere (see Tributes).
Lydia was born in Denver, Colorado on August 4, 1935 as the first daughter of Lydia Alles Miller and David J. Miller. In 1939, she moved with her family to Greeley where she met her husband, Robert Arthur Ruyle (“Bob”) in kindergarten at Cameron Elementary. She graduated valedictorian of Greeley Central High School Class of 1953 and was a Boettcher Scholar. In 1957, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder and graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. After Bob completed CU Law School he decided to practice law with David J. Miller, so Lydia, Bob and their son Stephen moved back to Greeley to live in Alles Acres, the subdivision formed out of her grandfather’s farm.
Lydia is a descendant of emigrants from Norka, Russia. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. David J. Miller were two of the founders of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia (AHSGR) in 1968.
As she was beginning to realize her talents and love of art, Ruyle tried to enroll in the University of Northern Colorado's Master of Arts program, but was told she couldn't because her undergraduate degrees in political science and economics from the University of Colorado, Boulder didn't apply. Undeterred, Ruyle enrolled in undergraduate art classes to catch up and later earned her master's in 1972.
She worked regularly at Santa Reparata International School of Art in Florence, Italy and Columbia College Center for Book and Paper in Chicago. Her research into sacred images of women took her around the globe. For twenty years, Ruyle led women’s pilgrimage journeys to sacred places. Ruyle created and exhibited her art and conducted workshops throughout the U.S. and internationally. Since 1995, her Goddess Icon Spirit Banners made their debut at the Celsus Library at Ephesus, Turkey, have flown in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Britain, France, Luxembourg, Italy, Spain, Iceland, Switzerland, Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Turkey, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Costa Rica, Japan, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, China, Cambodia, South Korea and the U.S. spreading their divine feminine energies.
Ruyle touched and left lasting impressions with countless people during her lifetime. In the 1970s, when she was elected to the Greeley-Evans School District 6 board, Ruyle fought to add art classes to the curriculum and won. It was about that same time she began painting, ultimately gravitating to the goddess movement that spun out of second-wave feminism during the 1960s and '70s when women were fighting for equal pay, marriage reform and sexual freedom.
In April 2013, Ruyle received the Century of Scholars Lifetime Achievement Award at the graduate school's 100 Year Commemorative Celebration. She also taught art at UNC. Given her influence in spreading goddess art locally, the college dedicated a room — The Lydia Ruyle Room of Women's Art — in her honor.
But it is through her depictions of goddess figures on Nylon banners for which Ruyle is best known. During the early days when she began focusing on goddess works, Ruyle would visit holy sites in England. Over the next several decades, more than 200 women would join her on spiritual journeys to Britain, Turkey, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Sicily, Malta, the Czech Republic, Russia, Mexico, Peru, the Himalayas, Hawaii and the southwestern United States.
Her artworks were published in Return to Mago E-Magazine and included in She Rises: Why Goddess Feminism, Activism, and Spirituality Volume 1 edited by Helen Hye-Sook Hwang and Kaalii Cargill (Mago Books, 2015).
A book about her work, Goddess Icons Spirit Banners of the Divine Feminine, was published in 2002. Turkey Goddess Icon Spirit Banners of the Divine Feminine was published in Istanbul in 2005.
Above data are from a variety of sources available online including above in Tributes.
- The phrase, Goddess Feminism, Activism, and Spirituality, or Goddess feminist activism for short was coined by Helen Hye-Sook Hwang, as she was calling for a collective writing project for She Rises: Why Goddess Feminism, Activism, and Spirituality (published by Mago Books in 2015 and 2016) in The Mago Circle, Facebook group, in 2014.
- See Lydia Ruyle