Cauldron.Power. Balance. Center. Home. Self.
Photos by Jesse Walker of Natural Designs Photography
I hear body in belly. self in stomach.
They say to be naked is a sin. A sin of honesty. A sin of faith
I have Faith in sin. in an Honest sin. in honest Skin.
Skin that narrates my story. Muscles scream out every event and secret.
Blood, Bones, and breath.
I Sing my song in the silence and amid the din.
I do not fear. This is my skin, my song, my sin.
I step onto the stand. In front of all these people, in front of all these hands. and I Am.
I know myself. See truth because it was reflected. My mirror friends sing a song I know like a whisper.
Whisper to chorus, chorus to symphony. Symphony to Solo.
Myth is my sacred cauldron. Myth is where I draw strength from. Legends across time , across reality- they call to me as a soul’s song. Humanities connection snaking through the undergrowth in words, pages, and compendiums of ciphers and sonnets. It’s no secret that words are my savior, my lover, and companion. Sharing these with you and I share what I see as a deep nourishment. More than food. More than touch. This expression shared with you is my most powerful prayer to the universe of billions and billions. Stardust to stardust.
Storytelling has long been my home, my belly. My Oma read countless books to me and was my librarian. My mother sang and encouraged us to explore the world around us with wild abandon. My father told me the wonders of the world and secrets of the machines. Sacred deepness to lightened soul, with each word we grow closer. The power of creation summoned and invoked when we begged my father to tell stories about snowy Quebec or gasoline dogs Or when we would sing in nature on hikes with my mother.
They were teaching us how to stoke the fire in the head, smith knowledge and wonder into wisdom. How to reach into the womb of creation and birth expression. My Tuatha reminded me of the fire in my belly, the hunger for expression, connection. We would tell each other the old stories of The cattle raid of Cooley, The Battle of Magh Tuireadh, and Brighid at the Well. We would speak in Irish to each other, the langauge of our blood and sing the birds to sleep. “Einini, Einini Codalaigi, codalaigi Cois an chli amuigh, cois an chlai amuigh “
Expression is my balance. Art of spirit, my center. These photos I share with you are of me, naked. But I have nothing to hide. This is my life-unashamed or all that I am and yet to be. My power is also recognized as sensual expression but I shall not have shame in this either. Even though we are taught to hide our bellies, hide our power, hide ourselves. The only time a full and glorious belly seems to be appropriate is when we are about to birth another human being, But shouldn’t we have a chance to illuminate the deeper powers within us more than that? For we are sexual and sensual beings, this too is worthy of the song of praise and an important part of knowing ourselves.
I share the following story to you as belly wisdom and mirth. Sing.
From: Women who Run with Wolves by Clarrisa Pinkola Estes
The Earth mother, Demeter had a beautiful daughter called perPersephone who was out playing one day. Persephone came upon one particularly lovely bloom, and reached out her fingertips to cupits lovely face. Suddenly the ground began to shake and a giant zig zag ripped across the land. up from the deep within charges Hades, the god of the underworld. He stood tall and mighty in a black chariot driven by four horses the color of ghost.
Hades seized perPersephone to his chariot, her veils and sandles flying. Down Down down into the earth he reined his horses. Persephone’s screams became more and more faint as the rift in the earth healed over as though nothing had ever happened. Upon all the land came a silence, and the smell of crushed flowers.
And the voice of the maiden crying out rang through the stones of the mountains, bubbled up in a watery cry from underneath the sea. Demeter heard the stones cry out. She heard the watery crying. and Tearing her wreath from her immortal hair, and unfurling down from each shoulder her dark veils, she flew out over the land like a great bird, searching, calling for her daughter.
That night an old crone at the edge of a cave remarked to her sisters that she had heard three cries that day, one; a youthful voice crying out in terror, and another calling plaintively and a third, that of a mother weeping.
Persephone was nowhere to be found, and so began Demeter’s crazed and months-long search for her beloved child. Demeter raged, she wept, she screamed, she asked after, searched every land formation underneath, inside and atop, begged mercy, begged death, but she could not find her heart-child.
So, she who has made everything grow in perpetuity, cursed all fertile fields of the world, screaming in her grief, ” Die, Die, Die” Because of Demeter’s curse, no child could be born, no wheat could rise for bread, no flowers for feasts, no boughs for the dead. Every thing lay withered and sucked at parched earth and dry breast.
Demeter herself no longer bathed, Her robes were mud drenched , her hair hung in dreadlocks. Even though the pain in her heart was staggering, she would not surrender. she finally slumped down at the side of the well in a village where she was unknown. And as she leaned her aching body against the cool stone of the well, along came a woman, or rather a sort of woman. And this woman danced up to Demeter wiggling her hips in a way suggesting sexual intercourse. and shaking her breasts in her little dance. and when Demeter say her she could not help but smile just a little.
This dancing female was very magical indeed, for she had no head whatsoever, and her nipples were her eyes and her vulva was her mouth. it was through this lovely mouth that she began to regale Demeter with some nice juicy jokes. Demeter began to smile, and then chuckled, and then gave a full belly laugh. And together the two women laughed, the little belly goddess Baubo and the powerful mother earth goddess, Demeter.
And it was just this laughing that drew Demeter out of her depression and gave her the energy to continue her search for her daughter, which, with the help of baubo , and the crone Heceta and the sun Helios, was ultimately successful. Persephone was restored to her mother. The world, the land and the bellies of women thrived again.
-Baubou is no doubt drawn from the neolithic belly goddesses who are mysterious figures with no heads, and sometimes no feet and arms. It is paltry to say that they are fertility figures, for they are far more than that. They are the talismans of women talk. the represent sensibilities and expressions unique in all the world; the breasts, and what is felt within those sensitive creatures, the lips of the vulva, wherein a woman feels sensations that others might imagine but only she knows. and the belly laugh is one of the best medicines a woman can have.
“Speaking from the vulva” symbolically speaking from the primae materia, the most basic, most honest level of truth-the vital Os. What else is there to day but that Baubo speaks from the mother loade, the deep mine, literally the depths.
the little belly goddess Baubo also gives us an interesting idea that a little obscenity can help break a depression. And it is true that certain kinds of laughter, which come from all those stories women tell each
other, those women stories that are a little off-color to the point of being completely tastless…those stories that stir libido. They rekindle the fire of a woman’s interest in life again. A funny dirty little Baubo story can not only lift depression but can cut the black heart right out of rage, leaving behind a happier woman.
Baubo tells the kind of stories that make women laugh, unrestrained -not caring about showing your tonsils, letting your belly hand out, letting your breasts shake. shaking all manner of things loose, playing upon our bones . Babou is the sexuality of Joy, just for the moment, a true sensual love that flies free and lives and dies and lives again on it’s own energy. It is sacred because it is so healing. It is sensual for it awakens the body and emotions. It is not one dimensional.
In the wild woman archetype, there is much room for the nature of the dirty goddesses. In the wild nature, the scared and the irreverent, the sacred and the sexual, are not separate but live together, as I suspect, a group of old old woman just waiting down the road for us to drop by. They’re in your psyche, waiting for you to show up, trying out their stories on one another, and laughing like howling dogs.