She Who Remains: An Unfolding Chronology of the Sacred Feminine

Goddess of Laussel
Goddess of Laussel

Pictured is one of the oldest images of the Sacred Feminine – the Goddess of Laussel.  Located in a cave in Dordogne, France, this relief dates to 27,000 BCE.  Laussel demonstrates the mystical relationship betwen a woman’s body and the cosmos.  The ancients knew this importance – thirteen lines inscribed on the crescent moon denote the thirteen months of the lunar year and (it can be argued) the thirteen nights between menstruation and ovulation.  With one hand the figure holds the crescent and in the other she points to her pelvis;  she seems to say, “Aha!  I see the magical connection between the moon (the universe) and my own body.”

With all of our current health issues surrounding body image, Laussel reminds us that there is a history of reverence for the female form. The cave in Dordogne is not the only prehistoric sacred image of the female. In ancient times, female images abound. Thousands of figurines and images have been found from Southwestern Europe all the way through the Russian Steppes.
 
Though in the last generation  many of us have found ways to love our bodies, we are all of us hard pressed to not criticize our features in some way.  We live in a culture that promotes an unrealistic picture of beauty.  Constantly bombarded with messages of how we look (blondes have more fun, shave your legs, wear higher heels, etc.),  Mary Pipher responds, “This relentless ideal of beauty is quite literally just short of starvation for most women.”   
 
Here’s an example of today’s challenges with the female body:  The average woman is 5’4″ and weighs around 140 lbs.  The average supermodel is 5’11” and weighs 118 lbs.  The average woman has a 7 percent chance that she will be as slim as a catwalk model and a 1 percent chance of being as thin as a supermodel, according to Web site healthyplace.com.  But that doesn’t stop a woman or a girl from trying to be closer in image to a supermodel. The average age of female dieters starts at the age of eight years.

Here is a bedtime story for your young daughters: Once there was a beautiful woman named Yemaya.  She looked into the waters of the ocean and saw her own reflection.  She wondered, “Who is that beautiful woman?  I thought I was the most beautiful.”  As she looked at the woman in the water there came a rumbling in Yemaya’s belly and it grew and grew until it broke open and filled the world with lakes, rivers and streams.

 
Yemaya looked into the new river she had created and saw her reflection looking at her. “Who is that woman in the river?  She is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.”
 
And again her belly grew and grew until she gave birth to the heavens and the stars and the full moon. In the moon she saw herself and said, “Who is that beautiful woman?  I thought I was the most beautiful.”
 
And again her belly expanded larger and larger until it exploded.  Standing before her  were thousands of beautiful women.  Yemaya said again, “Who are you beautiful women?  I thought I was the most beautiful of all.”
 
The women looked deep into the eyes of Yemaya and there they saw their own reflections. They said to her, “You are!  We are you!  We are just you!”
Please visit www.cronestones.com to learn more about integrating goddess myth into the everyday.
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