Since my Aug. 8 post on the Austrian centenary celebration of the discovery of "Venus" (aka "Goddess") of Willendorf, I've been thinking about and discussing with others some ideas about celebrating the Willendorf discovery every year as a Goddess holiday.
People seem to like this idea a lot. A number of them have asked, though, what about the date? Both the Willendorf Project and the Natural History Museum in Vienna give the date of the discovery as August 7, 1908. A few of my online friends say they have seen an August 8 date "somewhere." I couldn't find it in relation to the archeological discovery, but Austria did issue their 3D Willendorf stamp (she's a beauty!) on Aug. 8 of this year, so we wouldn't be the first to use the Aug. 8 date. The argument about the Aug. 8 date goes something like this:
UPDATE: The argument below, now bracketed, quoted, smaller, and excerpted re: Hiroshima is inaccurate. Hiroshima Day is marked on Aug. 6 (not 7). I was relying on some usually reliable sources. That'll teach me! Folks, looks like we can have August 7 for Willendorf Day :-) and I think the movement from conflict/war (Aug. 6) to peace/nurturance (Aug.7) is still a valid one, if people want to incorporate it. The musings about 8 is interesting but, I think, mostly irrelevant at this point. Thank you to Glenys and Hope, whose comments you can read below.
[(1) Aug. 7 is marked by some as Hiroshima Day....(2) August 8 gives us the aesthetically pleasing 8-8-8. Besides the kewlness of triple 8s (we won't even get into the numerology), to me visually the number 8, in its roundness, is compatible with the roundness of the Willendorf Goddess. (In addition, when you turn 8 on it's side, you have the infinity sign). Others counter that it might be good to have the holiday on Aug. 7, not only because it's historically more accurate, but also because it counters or has the potential to replace the war symbolism of Hiroshima with symbolism of peace and nurturance. Then again, putting the holiday on the 8th, directly after Hiroshima Day might accomplish the same thing but do it in linear time--conflict/war (Aug.7) followed by (Aug. 8) peace/nurturance, rather than fighting for the same space-time.]
How should we celebrate? Whichever date we select, it comes shortly after Lammas in the Northern Hemisphere and Imbolc in the Southern Hemisphere. At first glance, it didn't seem to me that the Willendorf Goddess was greatly compatible with the "First Harvest" symbolism of Lammas, but I have been persuaded otherwise by a woman from the farmlands of the American midwest, who says that there, the fullness of the land--the ripeness of the crops--corresponds very well to Willendorf's fullness and ripeness. Imbolc is a celebration of creativity and to me would go well with the creativity that brought the Willendorf statue into being.
Taking it a little further, one idea I had, inspired by recent reports of Goddess processions and of the role Lydia Ruyle's banners play in them, is that this new holiday be celebrated with a parade that involves banners, not just of the Willendorf Goddess, but of as many goddesses as possible who were not known to have existed in 1908 but who have since been unearthed and archeologically verified. Most of these are goddesses from the Neolithic, but there are also such more recent goddesses as the ANE Asherah). BTW, Willendorf, about 25,000 years old is not the oldest. That honor belongs (so far) to Acheulian Ancient Mother Goddess, who is estimated to be between 233,000 and 800,000 years old. So this holiday (Willendorf Day?) would in a sense be a tribute to Goddess archeology--that is archeological finds verifying Goddess cultures.
What I see is a procession with Willendorf being either the first or the last banner and the other banners going in chronological order of discovery or verification. The procession could be in a town, in a Temple, in the forest, in your back yard, in your home....well, you might need a big home...but you get the idea. This new observance could come before or after a Lammas or Imbolc ritual.
To close, here is an inspirational tidbit from Gabriella Gabrielle of Germany:
In the spirit of synchronicity and for everyone interested in astronomical, astrological and ancient agricultural calendars of Goddess, it is intriguing and powerful that 'Venus' '100th birthday' should [coincide] with the date of this year's 'Old Lammas' and the helical rising of the Isis/Sothis star - Sirius, which always both occur together at 15° Leo.
TAGS: life Willendorf spiritual feminism Goddess archeology Austria