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  • The Earth Mother, Demeter, had a beautiful daughter called Persephone who was out playing one day. Persephone came upon one particularly lovely bloom, and reached out her fingertips to cup its lovely face. Suddenly the ground began to shake and a giant zigzag ripped across the land. Up from deep within the earth charged Hades, the God of the Underworld. He stood tall and mighty in a black chariot driven by four horses the colour of ghost.
    Hades seized Persephone into his chariot, her veils and sandals 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 a 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 had 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. Everything 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. After many askings, pleadings, and episodes, all leading to nothing, she finally slumped down at the side of a 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 saw her, she could not help but smile just a little.
    The 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 Hecate, and the sun Helios, was ultimately successful. Persephone was restored to her mother. The world, the land, and the bellies of women thrived again.

    There is a powerful saying: Dice entre las piernas, "She speaks from between her legs." These little 'between-the-legs" stories are found all over the world. One of them is the story of Baubo, a Goddess from ancient Greece, the so-called "Goddess of obscenity." She has older names, such as Iambe, and it appears the Greeks borrowed her from far older cultures. There have been archetypal wild Goddesses of sacred sexuality and Life/Death/Life fertility since the beginning of memory. There is only one popular reference to Baubo in writings existent from ancient times, giving the direct impression that her cult was destroyed, and buried under the stampede of various conquests. I have a strong sense that somewhere, perhaps under all those sylvan hills and forest lakes in Europe and the East, there are temples to her, complete with artifacts, and bone icons.

    Story and additional text by Clarissa Pinkola Estes - Women Who Run With the Wolves. Chapter 11 - Heat: Retrieving a Sacred Sexuality.

    Photo credit: Ebay (yes really)
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