Venus of Laussel
You rise in my dreams,
like the power of stone,
breaking the glass door
between wind and the body.
You are the measurer:
blood of my moons,
lines of my years.
A thread of breath
connects me to time,
wind in my blood,
a thread to your womb,
Thirteen short lines -
You rise, then are gone
After a long hike through wild lands up from Stony Lake, Ontario, winding between dense forest, overgrown fields and outcroppings of rocky Canadian Shield, I was indulging in “earthing,” which is the practice of resting on the ground for the regenerative benefits to one's body, mind and soul. As I casually looked up to the sky from my wilderness meadow at the clouds billowing overhead, they coalesced into the exact shape and archetypal configuration of the "Venus of Willendorf," the well-known carved-stone figurine from an ancient matriarchal culture in Old Europe. With stunned disbelief I watched as every detail became clearer and clearer, and SHE, this magnificent inexplicable feminine presence, hung in the sky for many minutes before hazily drifting off into other shapes and forms, as clouds always do.
Found outside the Austrian village of Willendorf, this figurine is part of a wider neolithic tradition, and has been carbon-dated to 24,000 BCE. As modernists we can't know for certain if the culture included large rounded women, or if the artifact was sacred or just an everyday object, or if it was exclusive to either woman's or men's spirituality, or if it was portable, or part of a more extensive altar. Yet we can say with certainty that the neolithic ancestors of Old Europe held the procreative force of the feminine as sacred. The “Venus of Willendorf,” if not an actual representation of a living woman, is an expression of fertility and all the cyclic earth-emergent chthonic powers of fecundity and feminine nurture. We can only speculate on the particulars of a culture that held these grounded values, but what a wonderful collective that must have been! Rooted in the truth of life, and the patterns of nature reflected in the human form, this beautiful hand-held object far transcended the female “beauty ideal" that was later promoted in the western world.
Red ochre had been applied to the carving, the ancient igneous pigment used worldwide to express the sanctity of feminine moonblood and the source of all life. To the ancient ones it was obvious that women, with their regenerative cycles, performed the same functions as the earth, which was the source of all nourishment, protection and procreative power.
In the meantime, and as an affirmation of this exciting work, a dear friend arrived home from Europe last year with a gift in tow. From her extended holiday in France, she made a point of going on a day trip to Lascaux, to tour the beautiful natural landscape there and visit the replica cave and cultural centre. As I viewed her photos and listened to her thoughts on this sacred site so important to my own mythology, much to my astonishment she placed a Venus of Willendorf pendant in my hand, brought to me with care from my ancient neolithic homeland!
Her Words: An Anthology of Poetry About the Great Goddess edited by Burleigh Muten >link<
Venus of Willendorf by Dr. Bryan Zygmont Khan Academy >link<
Icons of the Matrix by Max Dashu >link<
Radical Doll Making from Willendorf to Today: The Relevance of an Ancient Tradition by Jude Lally >link<
The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Science that Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry by Bryan Sykes >link<
Lascaux: Movement, Space and Time by Norbert Aujoulat >link<
Cave of Forgotten Dreams A Film by Werner Herzog >link<
Excerpts originally published in Ancient Spirit Rising: Reclaiming Your Roots & Restoring Earth Community (Stone Circle Press, 2016)
Pegi Eyers is the author of "Ancient Spirit Rising: Reclaiming Your Roots & Restoring Earth Community," a new book that explores strategies for intercultural competency, healing our relationships with Turtle Island First Nations, uncolonization, recovering an ecocentric worldview, rewilding, creating a sustainable future and reclaiming peaceful co-existence in Earth Community.