(by Abby Willowroot)
Many so-called experts have discounted these goddess figures as “fertility figures” but there is evidence that refutes this assessment. With their pendulous breasts, full bellies and buttocks these goddess figures suggest women of some age and wisdom (not fertility). The features of these goddesses also display age and gravity, suggesting these were figures of veneration that celebrated the Mother and Crone stages of life, rather than the Maiden or young woman.
The World of the Great Goddess
The mysteries of our human and planetary past are currently being unravelled. As such, we are discovering more about the Great Goddess and her world. Archaeologists around the world are making new discoveries and looking at old finds with a fresh eye. Many statues of the Goddess once relegated to museum basements are being dusted off and put on display for all to see. The word “Goddess” is slowly replacing the words “fertility figure” in exhibits, books and magazines.
What is emerging from the distant past in all parts of the world is evidence of the presence of Goddess-centred religious traditions. For instance, the Cussac Cave n France has revealed a great number of female figures, along with animals, that tells us more about the ancient world, the Great Goddess, and her people. It will be many years before we are able to seethe images that have been found at Cussac Cave, but the ones shown so far have great subtlety and sophistication.
France has more large caves than any other country on earth. To date, 444 caves have been discovered in France. Many of the caves are decorated with ancient cave paintings and carvings, and most contain Goddess images. The Goddess has also been found in caves in Africa in beautifully stylised engravings, although these seldom get the attention that the French ones do. In fact, Africa has a very rich heritage of sophisticated ancient cave art. In Australia too, many caves have been found with female images shown as figures of reverence and respect. In fact, all over the world there is a great number of images of sacred female forms.
The similarities in the look and feel of Goddess images found in all parts of the world are quite remarkable. Goddesses from the Baltic are similar to Goddesses found in Central America. Many African, Scandinavian and Australian Goddess images share striking similarities. The more we learn, the more we see that humans share a common vision of what is sacred, what is important, and essential to survival.
The world of Marija Gimbutas has made many of these amazing Goddess images accessible to us. Her research into the ancient worlds of the Goddess have brought us all nearer to understanding why the Goddess is important today. As she once wrote:
“Through an understanding of what the Goddess was, we can better understand nature and we can build our ideologies so it will be easier for us to live.”
In recent years many new Goddesses have been found. The following is a few of the more recent monumental discoveries:
1994 – Ardeche Gorge Cave complex found
1996 – New caves and cave art found in Italy and Spain
1999 – Ancient tools found in Edmonton, Alberta Canada
2000 – Giant Crystal Cave found in Spain with large crystal geode; Cussac Cave with hundreds of images; ancient pre-Mayan temple found in the rain forests of Guatemala; an amazing 5,000 year old Sumerian burial site found in Iraq
2001 – pre-Incan Moche tombs discovered in Peru; 3,000 year old tomb in Egypt; archaeologists discover what they think is Genghis Khan’s tomb; the sunken city of Ro Heneth (aka Heraclion) discovered in Greece.
All of these recent discoveries will yield an amazing amount of new information about the distant past. Statues and artefacts of the Goddess will be found at many of them. The visions and wisdom we have gained for the already found artefacts teach us that our ancestors were far more like us than we ever could have imagined. Each new discovery gives us a fuller understanding of those who came before us. As we grow in this understanding, the culture and wisdom of the Goddess is returning to our own time and informs our own 21st century values.
Even now, contemporary artists are creating new art based on the ancient symbol language of the Great Goddess. Groups like the Goddess 2000 Project are actively promoting the creation of new sacred Goddess art. People everywhere who honour the Goddess are celebrating her presence in a thousand ways. This is a time of great discovery and great change. May we have the wisdom to learn to value what is truly important as we continue to discover new art and images from the past in caves and tombs.
There is still much to discover from the past as we move forward into the future. The ancient Goddesses deep in the Earth are waiting to share their mysterious secrets with us.