Echoes of Mesopotamia
small figures from ancient places
and ancient faces
and ancient wisdom
still flowing in my veins
Clay in my hands
clay in her hands
running on the rivers of time
spiraling in the mysteries of being
spinning in the eddies and ripples of eternity
I have a strong emotional connection to Paleolithic and Neolithic Goddess sculptures. I do not find that I feel as personally connected to Egyptian and Greek and Roman Goddess imagery, but the ancient figures really speak to something powerful within me. I have a sculpture of the Goddess of Willendorf at a central point on my altar. Sometimes I hold her and wonder and muse about who carved the original. I almost feel a thread that reaches out and continues to connect us to that nearly lost past—all the culture and society and how very much we don’t know about early human history. There is such a solid power to these early figures and to me they speak of the numinous, non-personified, Great Goddess.
What were they thinking? Those ancient woman who transformed stone into potent and enduring images of the Goddess. Who crafted with their hands, something that persisted for 5,000, 10,000, 15, 000, 20,000, 30,000 years. Images so compelling that they reach across time, space, and understanding to say hello. Who made them and what was she thinking? Who am I and what am I thinking? Perhaps it is encoded in the layers of our being. Carrying on a legacy. The next link in a chain that spans the centuries and that is beyond the reach of history.
During our last women’s circle meeting we talked about our personal cultural histories and we began work on “sacred bundles” that we will continue to add to throughout the year-long course. I added photos of my ancestors, a fossilized stone shell, (because the Earth itself represents the shared cultural history of us all!), and one of my own Goddess sculptures and I tied the bundle with a Goddess of Willendorf necklace. I surprised myself by bursting into tears when I tried to explain the significance of my items, feeling the swift swirl of time and how those grandmothers in my pictures are now gone, but they were people, just like me. I also shared about the deep connection I feel to the land I live on and how my parents moved here in the 1970’s, so maybe this isn’t really where I “come from,” but that this is where my blood and roots belong. I continued crying as I described how when I sculpt my little figures, I feel like I’m part of an unbroken chain that stretches back at least 35,000 years, from the person who carved the Willendorf Goddess, all the way down to me with my rocks and clay. Later that week, my dad said he needed to talk to me and he shared that in our family history it is really only HIM who “broke the chain” of being “from” this exact patch of the Earth, here in Missouri. He was actually the only member of his side of the family in a long time who wasn’t born here and that, in truth, six generations of my family were born, lived, and died within a 25 mile radius of this very hillside that I find so meaningful. He said that he feels like his blood called him back here and he returned to this land as a young man and raised his own children here because it called so powerfully (I was born one mile from where I now live). So, he said, no wonder you feel like this is your cultural heritage and where you belong. Your lineage is right here, right where you like to be.
When I was taking a Goddess history class at OSC, I wrote the following about the common use of red ochre on Goddess figures:
As I saw the slideshow and reflected on goddess figures I have known and loved, I was suddenly struck by the realization that the walls of my home are, in a sense, colored with red ochre. We live in a straw bale house and the walls are plastered with an earthen plaster that include the red Missouri “clay dirt” that is a feature of the Ozarks region in which I live. The clay is red because of iron oxide, which is what red ochre is defined as. I looked at the Goddess of Willendorf on my altar and at her rich reddish color that exactly matches the shade of the earth on my bedroom walls. No wonder I feel such a deep, personal connection to these ancient figures—quite literally, some part of me identifies Her with home!
Last month when I shared a photo of some of my Goddess sculptures on Facebook, someone left a comment saying simply: Echoes of Mesopotamia. And, I really liked that.
all twisted together
in an incredible tapestry
Today, in the woods, I carried some of the sculptures I’ve made recently and am getting ready to ship to their new homes and I offered this prayer for them:
May they go forth
May they bring a message
may they carry with them
the loving intention
with which they were birthed
and may they go forward
to speak to those who need to hear from
to enter the hands and homes of other women
with love, joy, power, and connection
May they recall deep wisdom of deep places
of bright spaces
and may they be just
what another woman needs