Issue 4, Autumn 2007
Queen Bee, by Angie Bowen
Articles & Fiction
by Harita Meenee
Two stand foremost among humans:
Goddess Demeter—call her Earth if you like—
who nourishes mortals with solid food;
the other one came later, Semele’s son,
who discovered the liquor of the grape,
and brought it to mortals, giving
the poor fellows surcease of sorrow…
Strange as it may sound today, religion and food were once intimately connected. Ensuring adequate provisions for survival has been a major concern since the dawn of humanity. Since all food ultimately comes from the Earth, it came to be regarded as a generous Mother Goddess who nourishes her offspring, human or otherwise. As such, she had to be propitiated and thanked, in order to continue providing. It is barely stretching the imagination to think that rituals and offerings may have first been invented for this purpose.
by Geraldine Charles
She condemned him
To Hunger —
But infinite, insatiable Hunger,
The agony of Hunger as a frenzy.
From Tales from Ovid, Ted Hughes
I set myself the task of writing about hunger and the Goddess without any clear idea of which Goddesses I would write of, but my Google search ("Goddess +hunger") quickly turned up Hel or Hela, certainly a Scandinavian Goddess but also connected to other northern European countries. And what a Goddess! It is likely that her name gave us the English “Hell”, for she is Queen of the Dead, and Goddess of the underworld; she dwells beneath the roots of the sacred world tree and, according to some tales, was given dominion over all nine worlds, sending those who die of sickness or old age to one or other of them. Half her body is blue/black (which reminds me immediately of the Cailleach Bheur, who is often depicted entirely blue). According to mythology, Hel’s dish is called Hungr and her knife Sullt (starvation).
by Tiziana Stupia
In western Sicily, perched high on a steep mountain called Erice, once stood a magnificent and illustrious temple dedicated to the Goddess of Love, known successively as Astarte by the Phoenicians, Aphrodite by the Greeks, and Venus by the Romans. This temple stood for over a thousand years and a sacred fire always burnt from its enclosure, so brightly that sailors used it as a guiding beacon. It was here that the Priestesses of Venus served the Goddess with their bodies through the art of sacred prostitution, a spiritual practice that included the celebration of the sacred marriage rite. Today, sparse remains of this remarkable temple can be found in the Castello di Venere, a twelfth-century Norman castle incorporating some of the original foundations.
by Theresa C. Dintino
Fascinating artifacts depicting beliefs about the Archetype of the Womb are bread ovens created in the shape of a pregnant human uterus, images of female hips as wide, encircling alchemical ovens and temples of worship that contain bread ovens as a focal point.
In the Neolithic Cucuteni culture of Eastern Europe we find profound illustrations of this concept. The Cucuteni culture (circa 4800-3500 BCE) located in areas of Romania, Russia where it is called Tripolye and Ukraine where it is Trypillia, was a pre-patriarchal culture that grew to enormous size and left a wealth of artifacts. Their ceramic pottery and designs are among the most elegant in human prehistory.
The largest Cucuteni village, Tal’noe, south of present day Kiev had up to 20,000 people and 1500 houses on 700 acres. Here, the earliest cultivation of cherry trees is found, as well as other orchards of fruit, and fields of cultivated grains. They raised cattle and pigs and engaged in hunting and fishing. Cucuteni villages were often circular with the tallest buildings positioned at the outer ring for protection from wild animals and a meeting place at the village center.
The Modern Failure to Recognise the Iconology of the Palaeolithic Female Figures and Figurines, Viewed in the Light of Insanity
by Michael Bland
A search of the internet for ‘the nature of language’ or ‘the nature of consciousness’ reveals a somewhat paradoxical fluency: commonplace concepts of familiar realities are confidently and more-or-less deftly handled, albeit that (apparently) we do not even begin to properly understand the nature of what is conceived of.
The present article allows that language is a double-edged means: it has a communicable effect – naturally – that can cut both ways. And if that’s the case now, then long must it have been so.
I believe, moreover, that the resolution of the paradox of self-deception is a prerequisite for the reconciliation of art and science. The project of this article is to prepare the way, publicly, for both.