As we arrived, we enjoyed snacks and conversations while wandering about the tables that hold a beautiful array of Goddess statues and fascinating books on Goddesses.
Sue Savion directed our attention to all the figurines of Goddesses on the tables and described each one. One of the most interesting and beautiful was the Goddess Gaia “the Creatrix,” whose belly was the earth and her whole body was etched with plants and animals (symbolizing the complexity of all Creation) – the closer you looked the more you could see. Thanks to Sue and Terra for bringing all these beautiful Goddess figurines for us to enjoy!
With a slide show and lots of details, Sue began with an overview of goddesses around the world and through the ages, going back all the way to Paleolithic times with slightly different renditions of the primitive mother-goddess found, amazingly, in several different far-flung areas of the world. Shrines and statues, some with no heads, many with no feet, connected to mammoth hunters and other societies from 6,000 BC at Catal Huyuk in eastern Turkey, the second oldest city after Jericho, where there was a statue of a Goddess giving birth. Also found was a horn as a calendar, with some of the earliest known symbols on the horn marking a calendar based on a woman’s 28 day cycle. There was the Bird Goddess Trypillian in the Ukraine and Sheela Na Gig from ancient England and numerous other European countries.
At this point, while Sue changed the slideshow grouping for the rest of the presentation, Anitha got up and danced an interpretive Indian dance wearing a beautiful yellow traditional costume. So graceful and beautiful with both movements and facial expressions contributing to the story she was telling.
Sue then moved on to Hindu and Buddhist goddesses: Lakshmi (good luck, prosperity), Kali (the most terrifying of Goddesses, Goddess of Death) who was a consort of Lord Shiva; Durga, Ambika, (a Jain fertility goddess from India), Tara, (Tibbetan Buddhism Goddesses – there are 21 of these, including White Tara [compassion, long life, healing], Green Tara, Black Tara [power], Red Tara, Blue Tara [transmutation of anger]. There are also living goddesses including Sai Maa Lakshmi Devi (divine).
The next part of the program was about Kwan Yin (Quan Yin, or Guan Yin), the Chinese Goddess of Mercy, with variations in Korea, Japan and Malaysia, also known for compassion, unconditional love, the mother of all Buddhas. As far back as 400 AD she appeared in literature with many arms, many hands, and heads – sometimes with an eye in each hand. This simple prayer was often said: “I take refuge in the Peace of Quan Yin.”
Sue then touched on some Goddesses that sounded more familiar: Holda, the Teutonic Earth Goddess; the Statue of Liberty (modeled after Ishtar), the Goddess of Immigrants; Artemis, Aphrodite; Athena (daughter of Zeus); the Goddess Nike; Flora, the Goddess of Flowers.
All in all it was an entertaining and informative couple of hours!