Wednesday, August 13, 2008

More Willendorf

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.


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At Wednesday, August 13, 2008 10:58:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually celebrate the Lammas cross-quarter on Aug. 6 or 7, if that helps any.

At Friday, August 15, 2008 9:49:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Judith I thought that our Willendorf Goddess was dated at 25,000 B.C.E. ?

and I had secretly hoped her celebration might be on the 7th August ... same day as birthday of :) Hiroshima is marked on the 6th here I think.

We should probably go with what the Austrian Museum reckons - that way we could get more support for its notariety from secular circles.

At Friday, August 15, 2008 12:11:00 PM, Blogger Medusa said...

You are correct, Glenys. Thanks for catching that. I've made the correction and along the way found this interesting discussion of attempts to date this over the years:

Re: the date--The Austrian museum says August 7 for Willendorf.

That Hiroshima is marked on Aug. 6 in Australia is interesting--due to the difference in time zones you think? IOW, it happened on Aug. 6 in Australia?

At Friday, August 15, 2008 12:57:00 PM, Blogger astralweaver said...

I was surprised at the Aug 7 date given for Hiroshima. Here in the US (Philadelphia) I learned that the bomb on Hiroshima was Aug 6 and Nagasaki on Aug 9. Even my day planner says the 6th and I often see remembrances and political demonstrations for that date.

At Friday, August 15, 2008 3:26:00 PM, Blogger Medusa said...

Hope and Glenys,
You are both RIGHT. I am WRONG and oh so embarassed. The correct date for Hiroshima, both the Day and Event, is Aug. 6, according to googling I just did and should have done earlier. I was trusting some usually reliable sources. That'll teach me...

So it looks like we can have Aug.7 for Willendorf Day. And it also looks like I have some updating/editing to do.

Thank you very much, both of you!!!


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Judith Laura

More blogs about /goddess/feminist theology/spiritual feminism/pagan/feminist spirituality/.