She appears in Hopi, Navajo, and Cherokee mythology, among others. In various stories, she created people, sang them to life, led them out of the chaos of the underworld, stole a piece of the Sun and brought it to this side of the world, gave the world fire, taught the women to weave, and taught them how to create pottery. She is not the largest or the strongest, but she is the wisest. Sources on blog.
Sheela Na Gig
Found on churches throughout the British Isles and Europe, Sheela Na Gigs are "figurative carvings of naked women displaying an exaggerated vulva." There are over 100 documented examples just in Ireland. The carvings may be remnants of a pre-Christian mother goddess. They may also have been thought to ward off evil spirits. They're often found over doors or windows. They're generally smiling. The two I have painted are from the Church of St. Mary and St. David at Kilpeck, Herefordshire, England and the Parish Church or Oaksey, Wiltshire. More info in blog.
Gaia, or Gaea, is the personification of the Earth and one of the Greek primordial deities. Gaia is the ancestral mother of all life. She is the mother of Uranus (the sky), from whose sexual union she bore the Titans (themselves parents of many of the Olympian gods), the Cyclopes, and the Giants; of Pontus (the sea), from whose union she bore the primordial sea gods. My depiction is inspired by the Venus of Willendorf, and tangentially, by Lizzo, who I think is amazing.
Original and prints available:
Greek goddess of agriculture, mother of Persephone.
Original painting and prints available from Saatchi Art.
Baubo and the Dancers
Often compared to the Sheela Na Gigs, Baubo has a long and complex history. My representation of Baubo is based on figurines found in the temple of Demeter at Priene. She has no body. Her vulva is in her chin and her head resets directly on her legs. Here, she dances with her divinely feminine friends in a Matisse inspired composition.
"Queen of all the ME [the powers and wisdoms of the Gods], Radiant Light, Life-giving Woman, Who grasps in hand the seven ME, Supreme One, who are the Inanna of Heaven and Earth, My Queen, the great Gods fled before You like fluttering bats, Could not stand before your awesome face, Could not approach your awesome forehead"
From The Adoration of Inanna of Ur, by Enheduanna (2286 - 2251 BC), a priestess and the first poet to ever sign their work.
Inanna was chief among the gods, reigning in Mesopotamia for thousands of years. This painting is based on an ancient cylinder seal. More info in blog.
Inanna and the Bull
I will wrench your neck,
grab your thick horns,
throw you in the dust,
stomp you with my hatred,
grind my knees in your neck,
fighting is her play,
she never tires of it...
a whirlwind warrior,
bound on a twister,
wild bull Queen,
mistress of brawn,
From Inanna and Ebih by Enheduanna, c. 2350 BC.
Artemis of Ephesus
Her temple in modern day Turkey was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. She is not the virgin huntress we usually associate with the name. At Ephesus, Artemis represents an older great mother goddess, more reminiscent of Kybele. She is associated with bulls and lions, like Inanna. Some sources identify her as a fertility goddess with many breasts, others say that the elliptical objects on her chest are bull testicles or eggs. Some images show her with dark skin. Painting her, her facial features definitely felt African to me. My depiction is based on a 1st century BCE statue owned by the Ephesus Archaeological Musuem. The temple was torn down by a Christian mob in 401 CE and never rebuilt.
More info and sources in blog.
Original painting, prints, and merch available in shop or through Fine Art America.
Rosy fingered Eos brings the dawn, rising each morning from the great river Oceanos. She is the Greek goddess of the dawn, a member of the Indo European family of dawn goddess that also includes Aurora, Ausrine, Auseklis, Ushas, Eostre (from whom Easter takes its name), and their grandmother Hausos.
Ausrine, Lithuanian Dawn Goddess. Ausrine was described in the 16th century as "goddess of rays of the sun that descend and rise above horizons". She is associated with the morning star, Venus, and she has the same hair as the Sun, sometimes drawing the Sun's jealousy. More about Ausrine on blog.
Ushas, Vedic Goddess of the Dawn. She is the primary Goddess mentioned in the Rigveda, the oldest holy book of Hinduism, estimated by linguists to be written around 1500 BCE. She is a member of the same family of Indo European dawn goddesses as Eostre, from whom Easter takes it name. Read more on my blog.
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