So Tell Me ... What's The Weather Like on YOUR Planet?

30 May, 2008

Goddesses and Bellies

I liked the neo-pagan triple goddess concept a lot better when I was younger.

And part of that was me still being in my concussed duotheism period, in which I kept trying to wodge the divine into gender-based boxes, never mind that I suck at fitting me into a gender-based box and why should the divine be any less wacky than a single embodied human? I may be large and contain multitudes, but there's only a countable infinity of ways I can be weird. A deity has curves.

(That's a really weird math joke. Just nod and smile.)

It seemed so real and physical and focused, this sort of down in the mud-and-blood notion of what a lifecycle looked like. It was lived reality, not a problem; of course things should reflect.

And then I noticed that that concept didn't have much in the way of similar cycles for men, and that was kind of weird.

And then I noticed ...

... so here's the thing ...

The whole structure depends on fertility patterns, right? And the status of a woman depends on the status of her uterus: unripe, in use, past use. This is ...

... limiting. Cramping, in all kinds of non-referential ways.

(And then I started to get to know actual goddesses, do my research, and started having my brain shattered by the notions some people have about what a crone is. Or what have you. Trying to impose a modern-Romantic system on figures much older and without that sort of fluff. So it only gets worse from there.)

And I was on the pill for a couple of years, off it for a couple of years, on it for seven more, and now that I'm off it again I like chocolate and my moustache-area hair is coming in darker, and I have no idea what to make of that at all, and I can't even pretend to fit myself into this phases-of-womanhood shit, even making allowances for motherhood not necessarily meaning bio-offspring, but all kinds of other things.

Where am I?

Bleeding like whoa, and philosophical about it, I suppose.


Anonymous said...

I never noticed that about the triple goddess untill you said, I think thats really interesting.

I've always been quite uncomfortable with the way some feminists use goddeses as symbols, partly because I dont feel that I have a right to do that because thats not the culture I come from but also because my body is fucked, I dont "bleed with the moon" and all that, I am very probably infertile, I havent had a period for six months. and I'm okay with all that but I get the feeling that because my body doesnt do all that stuf and linking with the goddesses because of it then somehow I'm defective. Even though that is as you say making women all about their fertility.

Anonymous said...

Yeahhh, these are good points.

I have always liked triple goddess concepts in which the three beings are constantly changing places: the maiden-person morphing into the mother into the crone into the maiden, just as a nice metaphor for the way creation works (the end is in the beginning and the beginning is in the end), and for all cycles, from the obvious lunar and menstrual and life cycles to, of course, seasonal cycles, and the cycles of human projects and endeavors, and the cycles of personal growth.

Not useful beyond all that, though.

WordK said...

Some days I think its a pity that I don't find fertility goddesses to be a useful metaphor/image in my personal theology, because having the name Demetria then just seems to be a bit of a waste of a grand opportunity.

I did a little bit of reading and a lot of bit of thinking due to Feminist Theology this past semester -- and I still came up with -- nope, sorry, doesn't much work for me. And the utero-centricism you point out is a large part of my problem.

Anonymous said...

You know, I do sort of wonder how practicing polytheists (I'd use the word pagan but I can't remember you using it describing yourself) deal with issues of gender essentialism. I mean, anyone will tell you that we all have both masculine and feminine characteristics, but that doesn't seem to quite cover it. Surely, there must be a place for gender fluidity in spiritual practice?

Dw3t-Hthr said...

philomela -- I do tend towards the opinion that the images of a large number of deities are very much a part of my culture. I was raised with Greek mythology, Romantic literature, the whole shebang. Relating to these concepts and images is intrinsic to my culture.

The fact of the matter is, of course, that I'm not dealing with the Greek gods. But I'm also not dealing with them as symbols, either.

wordk -- I do deal with a fertility goddess, but She has rather a wider terrain than that. And I figure someone who's dealing with, say, 'ecstatic dance' can have their own relationship with Her that has nothing to do with breeding.

jos -- I don't see what dealing with more than one deity has to do with gender essentialism at all. I mean, I deal with more than one human, recognising that some are male, some female, some both, and some neither; why should I treat the divine in any way differently? Some are male, some are female, some are both, some are neither.

Don't mistake polytheism for Teh Gawdess and Teh Gawd.

thene said...

I agree with you. I also don't feel that those things said to be governed and represented by Triple Goddesses - whether it's fertility and harvesting, blooming and aging, or the earth and the moon - are any more feminine than they are masculine.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

My religion has a moon god, damnit.

My favorite bit of pop pagan drivel: "Het-Her's two horns contain the solar disk, which represents the New Moon".

So close to clue, so close, and then the devouring fail.

This was actually published.

thene said...

*headdesk* Wow. Someone tripped over their line in the sand there.

The thing that walked barefoot down from the moon to find me on my riverbank was masculine; that's all I know. Which religion and which moon god do you refer to?

Dw3t-Hthr said...

In that case, I'm speaking of being an Egyptian pagan; the moon gods there are Khons and Djehuty (Thoth).


The Mesopotamian moon god's name is Sin. Norse, I believe, is Máni. Slavic also had a male moon god, I think, but I don't know His name and am not having luck finding it on a thirty-second google.

Anonymous said...

philomela -- I do tend towards the opinion that the images of a large number of deities are very much a part of my culture. I was raised with Greek mythology, Romantic literature, the whole shebang. Relating to these concepts and images is intrinsic to my culture.

This is really interesting,I hadn't made those direct concious conections before but my blog name (reweaving) and my name were chosen because the nightingale myth had a world changing effect on me, so yes I do use greek influences and such in my internal spiritual and creative life.