Monday, March 03, 2008


I admit it: I’m conflicted. Three posts ago I wrote about “happy” goddesses. Because she was on the list, I included the Goddess Baubo. I hate to discriminate.

On the other hand, I’m a firm believer in the notion that the human body, male and female, is sacred. And then Baubo waltzes in making the body profane – in the worst sense of the word: the swearing, soggy, sordid sense.

But is Baubo for real? Or is she a war-god makeover of some ancient sensual goddess who made the war gods blush? (The war gods are as uptight about the body as a tick about burning match heads.)

Maybe she made them sweat so much they had to discredit her.

I’m thinking of Usas, one of the few goddesses allowed into the earliest war-god pantheons (the proto-Indo-European).

Usas didn’t really do much. All she “did” was get raped by her daddy, the PIE Father God, whose name was Dieus, forerunner of Zeus and a whole host of other Indo-European Daddy Gods, way back when.

Although Dieus’ great, great, grandbaby Zeus raped grown women, the books rarely tell ya that Zeus' great, great grandaddy was a pedophile and an incestor. (By “incestor” I mean someone who commits incest; according to my online dictionary, “incestor” is not a word. I don't know why; seems like a perfectly good one to me.)

The war-god dudes did a number on all the goddesses they ran across (or should I say “over”). Is Baubo just one more war-god casualty?

Or is she some kind of shadow-side deity, a kind of once-a-year-let-your-hair-down kind of goddess, or one that serves as some kind of psychological letting-off-steam spicket?

But then why don’t we hear about male gods who have eyes at the end of their penes, and who “tell rude jokes” from their “fannies”? Or do we? Are there such gods I don’t know about?

So dear readers, I'm curious: What are your feelings about Baubo?
Thnx to Anole for the pic; go HERE to seem more.


Grian said...

Baubo reminds me of the Sheila-na-Gig in some ways because she is not ashamed of her physical female-ness and shows it unabashedly to others. I also find connections with Kali-Ma as she is all at once a mixture of the divine and the profane.

I don't know that Baubo has been perverted by a patriarchal society. Misunderstood yes, though I find her story to still contain Goddess' lessons. I think the fact that Demeter is pleased by Baubo's actions shows that the Goddess not only has a sense of humor but also urges us not to place judgement on others when they "reveal" themselves to us.

I think there is something to be said for the Goddess showing us that there is a connection to her and that which we think of as profane. Maybe she is saying that embracing the "profane" things about us without shame is a way to get closer to her - or a way to understand the true nature she gave us without forcing ourselves to be more than the perfectly imperfect animals she intended us to be. Just some thoughts.

Athana said...

I really like your interpretation of several of Baubo's prime characteristics, grian. I especially like the phrase "the perfectly imperfect animals She intended us to be." We in the industrialized nations tend to forget that we're animals, that we're imperfect, and that both things are just marvelously fine and nothing to be ashamed of.

Grian said...

Exactly Athana. It's hard for a lot of people in our society to grasp the idea of not being perfect I think. We're all raised with certain ideas of what perfection is and we are taught to strive for such expectations. It's hard and sometimes a little soul-threatening to deal with. I can't count the number of times I felt I was bad because I made a mistake. I have beaten myself up for not being perfect - or at least for not living up to some intangible idea of perfect.

We are certainly animals. Modern people have just managed to burry our instincts a little better than most animals do. Or have we managed that? It seems a lot of things people think of as profane can be seen as quite instinctual.

Now a days I try to remember that we are not meant to be perfect. We are meant to be human - animals with all the baggage that comes along with it. Periods and even sex can sometimes be gross. There are smells and sweat, etc. Defication and other waste removing processes are certainly gross. But that's okay. Those things don't make us or the things we do any less sacred. It's all part of being an animal and a creation of the Goddess.

And sometimes being downright baudy is fun and makes other people smile much like Mother Demeter smiled at Baubo. Ask my friends. They often laugh at some of my crude jokes. Then again I might just scare them. :)

Grian said...

By the way... just wanted you to know that I linked this post to my blog with my own comments and stuff. Link:

Athana said...

But Grian, are bodily functions really gross, or have we just been taught they're gross? Have we been sold a bill of goods?

Animals don't appear to think bodily functions or secretions are gross. So why do we?

Thanks for reminding me, though, that making mistakes is not something to beat oneself up over. I've actually been doing that today. I think we in the Western and/or industrialized societies have certainly been taught that making mistakes is gross, unacceptable, and somehow a sign of inferiority.

So we all need to band together and remind each other constantly that that's a buncha hooey!!!

Grian said...

I think bodily functions have become gross because somewhere along the line people began to understand the health concerns of leaving excrement in the streets and other such practices that led to poor health in civilizations. A corpse came to be seen as disgusting because we realized what a health concern it posed if left to rot without cremation or burrying it. Excrement and urine can breed disease. Washing the body regularly promotes health also. So, I think it's not so much that these functions are actually gross on their own, but as a way to keep people more healthy they have become seen that way. Because of these realizations we have jumped our average life spans from about 30 to the mid 70s.

As for making mistakes... as humans we make so many and I think that's an integral part of our learning process. Mama didn't put us here already knowing everything. Our souls need to grow and learn and sometimes making mistakes is the only way to do that. I personally invoke the Maiden aspect during those times I am feeling like garbage about myself. She reminds me not to judge myself and that I too am only a human being - though divine and holy - I am bound to a body and a life that comes with screw ups and hardships that help my soul to continue to strive for completion.

Grian said...

Oh... I also forgot to mention that even though menstruation is a holy process of the Mother - women left without the proper facilities to bathe during their moon times can get infections. This could be one of the main reasons why this has become a gross thing to some. Add on all the "women are evil" garbage from that bible thing and it becomes a downright taboo subject. I see that changing though. All the pad and tampon commercials - and yeast infection commercials - seem to be pointing towards a more open attitude about feminine hygiene.

Athana said...

Perhaps the way we live our lives today does make bodily secretions dangerous, grian. We live in close quarters, with tightly fitting clothing, and in air chock full of dirt, contaminants and deadly chemicals.

But some people use urine as shampoo and eat "blood soup" on a regular basis (Inuit). And Barbara Walker says menstruation is called "the curse" not because it's ugly, but because it used to be used as a magic device to protect a woman and her children.

Grian said...

I think regardless if we live in cities, a farm, or the forest, feces is still full of dangerous bacteria that should not be contacted and menstuating women need to clean themselves. Urine is sterile, but if left to stagnate bacteria finds it a lovely place to live as well.

I am by no means a germaphobe, but I feel like burrying feces and keeping somewhat clean is common sense even for the most uncivilized of people - especially if they have been around long enough to see the effects of doing the opposite.

There is no issue with eating blood. Germans eat blood sausage regularly. It's when it remains on the skin to collect bacteria that problems can arise. And the clincher is it's not coming from a wound that will close up and heal itself. We remain open to things like infection at all times.

Re: "the curse" - I suppose that is one reason it could've been come to be called that. It's possible for sure. I think a more likely reason is a woman had a particularly rough cycle and did some complaining.

Menstruation might be a holy process of the Mother, but sometimes it causes a lot of misery. Unless leg pains, abdmonial cramps, headaches, tension, anxiety, etc. are something some women like. I'm all for finding alternate theories for these things, but sometimes the Law of Parsimony or Ockham's Razor is the way to go.

Grian said...

Sorry another thought: there is also some Biblical influence on things like menstruation that could've helped coin the term the curse.