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Location: Newark, Delaware, United States

My name is David P. Bellamy. The only significant thing not mentioned elsewhere here is, I think, that I almost always prefer to read a book instead of watching a movie.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Maiden Goddess and "sexy" photos of women

I want to post a link to a discussion from a year or so ago on the role that assorted media may have played in the rebirth of Goddess consciousness, specifically the Maiden aspect. The discussion is in the comments to an entry in Nalo Hopkinson's blog.

The book that Nalo mentions here is worth reading, also, if like me you enjoy short, subtle erotic fiction.


Blogger Adrienne Parker said...

Wow. David, I've checked out both sites and it's something. Interesting exchange. I'm pondering and will comment.

8:30 PM  
Blogger Adrienne Parker said...

Ok, I'm back and here goes.

The Photoshop phenomena is odd. My daughter is a photographer and we’ve had some of these conversations. She realizes the disgusting aberration this has created and some of the implications and yet she engages in it herself. She does weddings, portraits and other themes. People want to look their best—or maybe just “the best” because in the end it’s not really quite them. Talk about an identity crisis. The bride doesn’t want the pimple on her face and when the mother of the bride who is the one paying for the wedding photographs has a double chin, she’s happier when it doesn’t show. When advertising her work on her website my daughter can’t imagine not using doctored photos because the fake enhancement is what people are attracted to and customers will go to elsewhere if she doesn’t offer it.

I have to laugh though because I can’t often look at a photo and know that it has been doctored with photoshop because at my age my poor eyesight already does this.

I don’t know about the Maiden of the Great Triple Goddess not having pores…the Goddess in human form obviously does but her pores aren’t as deep as the Crones, that’s for sure. Oh, to be young again. But that’s the fake antiseptic look the fashion industry has almost always, usually, goes after, yes? Now they just have photoshop and other high tech tools to help their cause and unfortunately now we can’t even measure up in our youth, forget about growing old, Ageism, teamed up with photoshop has taken this to a new level. No one is young and beautiful enough.

I’m not sure David if the problem arises when people take a God or Goddess as an ideal to be emulated rather than as you say, an image to honor, worship, revere, and sometimes fear and struggle with. That moves out of my sphere of personal understanding of what the Gods and Goddesses are about. Not that I’m very learned in this arena.

Personally though, I do emulate them for what they have attained as I feel that this the potential of each and every one of us, even in our human form, whether literally and/or metaphorically. And the Gods and Goddesses struggle too, many/most of them struggle with the same life events and human emotions that we mere morals do, only on a much grander scale. So that’s the part I tend to (if not fear) heed warning from. The Gods and Goddesses to me are big dramatizations, archetypes of everything I already hold inside of myself.

As far as taking on the “mantle of the Gods and Goddesses” only on special and rare occasions, well, I consider all space and every moment to be sacred. Sometimes my awareness is veiled by the mundane but I strive always be aware of my God/Goddess nature, and to relate to others in this same manner--living the “namaste” acknowledgement in every moment. Of course, I’m imperfect and don’t actually do this but it’s my intention. I might say it’s a frivolous waste of life to not live in this state. Also, I’d add, it’s the only safe place to reside. That’s just my experience.

On the other hand, I am stuck with this physical form and I don’t have super human powers so I won’t be drinking poison like Lord Shiva or cutting off heads and drinking the blood like Kali. I do honor and have a healthy respect what is beyond my skillset.

There are mighty consequences from all this “photoshop” stuff but I believe the root cause is an identity crisis, the lack of knowing the true self to begin with. Photoshop is symptom of this, not the cause. But now it’s just a never ending loop that feeds upon itself. The images are now perpetuating the problem but they didn’t create the problem. As long as people look outside of themselves for the answers, whether they be looking at photoshop images of themselves, others, or the Gods and Goddesses, there will be an identity crisis. We will never know ourselves as good enough until we look within. That’s were the Gods and Goddess reside.

So, this is just my off the cuff response. I’m not sure that I agree with you that there needs to be this separation that you seem to be calling for with the “divine icons/idols not being as ideals for humans to embody. It seems to me like its just same old mistake at looking superficially at things—others and ourselves. The outer beauty of the Gods and Goddesses is perhaps just the outer representation of their inner beauty and power. Maybe we aren’t supposed to try and copy that outer beauty and behavior but rather, emulate the inner work by learning the lessons they teach us. If we strive to attain the beauty of the Gods and Goddess from the inside out, who knows, maybe our pores will disappear. Maybe not, but at that point we won’t care if we have big gapping pores or not.

Or something like that.

2:08 PM  
Blogger Pagan Topologist said...

Thanks for your insights, Adrienne. I would object only to the idea that we can always be in sacred space. As I understand sacred space, it is something which requires extreme energy to create and maintain, which is why it is so special. Trying to be in sacred space all the time would be like trying to run at a sprint all the time, or being in the middle of an orgasm all the time. It just is not possible.

11:19 PM  
Blogger Adrienne Parker said...

Maybe so as I believe that the word sacred actually means "set apart". Still...perhaps it's all a matter of interpretation.

For me, it's the special ceremonies such as dancing around the maypole that help to remind me of the sacredness of each and every moment. When I am able to be present to the moment, I taste this sacredness. It may be "set apart" but only from my mundane perspective--only from my habit of only seeing with my physical eyes--only noticing what is coarse and loudly in my face. It seems to me that this sacred space is always available and I'll I have to do is open to experience it.

Perhaps as humans we do need to take time out and rest in the illusion of the physical. I certainly do that a lot. But I know, because I do this...I can enter this space when I'm washing dishes or pulling weeds in the garden, moving rocks, smelling a flower, passing a homeless person on the street and making eye contact and I realize they are God...all it takes is my awareness in the moment to have this instantaneous awareness. And it seems to most often come to me from grace, rather than effort and planning. The more I go to this place the easier it seems to be to attain...and maintain for longer periods.

Yes, although I've never experienced this myself, ongoing orgasms tend to wear a person down after a few days. ;)

11:30 AM  
Blogger Pagan Topologist said...

This pulls together several ideas that I have been contemplating for some years. Before the days of digital image processing, these things were done with airbrushes, and before the days of photographs, they were done with paintbrushes and stone chisels. So, I am proposing a radically different interpretation of what the dynamic is here.

The myths of the world involve, always, something that is farfetched or impossible in almost every manifestation. Athena was born fully grown from Zeus's head. Yemaya can never sit, or her sister will take away her power over the seas. Et cetera.

The one that causes us trouble today is this: The Maiden aspect of the Great Triple Goddess can have no pores in her skin, nor any blemish. She is supposed to be an icon of potential female fertility and erotic appeal, and she ends up being just that, an icon, not a human being. I have long argued that the pictures of women in _Playboy_ and _Penthouse_, among others, were not erotic, because they looked like China dolls, not like women. I think they are beautiful; I enjoy very much looking at them, but they do not sexually arouse me, I think precisely because of this pervasive unreality. This is bacause on a deep level, they are not women. They are Goddesses.

The problem arises when people take a God or Goddess as an ideal to be emulated, not as an image to honour worship, revere, and sometimes fear and struggle with. I honour the Great God Pan, for example, but I do not imitate him by impregnating every female I can. When women take these iconic images as somehow an ideal to emulate, they are taking for themselves the role of Maiden Goddess. This is something which may be appropriate on special and rare occasions, but it is dangerous to one's psyche to do it on a daily basis. Taking the mantle of a God or Goddess is safely done only in sacred and protected space. At least in my opinion, it should never be done frivolously.

I suppose that I shall be accused of blaming the victim here, and warning women not to try to take on the image of a Goddess by trying to look like her and counting themselves inadequate if they fail. The reasoning seems to be that the images should not exist at all, so that women will not be entrapped so.

However, in my opinion, the images are needed by the culture at large, or they would not have been so pervasive for so many centuries. But they need to be recognized as divine icons or idols, not as ideals in any sense. Maybe the problem is that the dominant religions deny the importance of idols, just as they deny the Divine Feminine, so that the concept that such pictures are deities, not real people cannot be handled by many people.

I wonder how many men react to such images as I do, seeing them as beautiful, but not a sexual turn-on.

1:11 PM  

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