Venus of Willendorf is the name given to one of the most ancient Paleolithic statues of a human, a woman dated approximately 24,000 BCE. It was found in 1908 by an archeologist near the town of Willendorf in Austria. This 4″ tall sculpture was carved from limestone not found in the region. Archeologists believe that it is a significant icon of prehistoric nomadic societies relating to fertility, and as a universal deity. The red ochre coloring and emphasis given to the vulva suggests a connection with female menstruation. The figurine is on display at at the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna.
Buddha or Buddism is a representation of doctrine found in Asian culture. Buddha is a title for one who has achieved a state of perfect spiritual enlightenment. Those who have become enlightened have abandoned negative actions, maintain good karma, have rediscovered the nature of reality, of the mind, of the affliction of the human condition, and the correct “path” to liberation. The representation of Buddha is found in 2 and 3-dimensional works of art all over the world with expressions from blissful joy to quiet, peaceful meditation.
Ganesh is the Hindu elephant-headed god, known by various names on different occasions and in different parts of India. He is the most beloved and revered of all the Hindu gods, and is always invoked first when undertaking tasks, ceremonies and festivals. He is the remover of obstacles, the lord of wisdom, intelligence, education, prudence, fortune, gates, domestic harmony and success. He was created as an ordinary boy, but was decapitated in battle. Emissaries were told to get the head of the first animal they found and to fit that head onto the boy’s neck. They found a little elephant, and it worked!
Asherah was a beloved household Goddess of the Hebrews and the Canaanites (now known as Palestinians). She was said to endow special blessings for families, helping people to achieve their goals and dreams, and inspire great devotion. She is the Goddess worshipped by King Solomon and was known as “Qaniyatu Elima”, She Who Gives Birth to the Gods”. This style of Asherah sculpture is over 4,000 years old. Many Asherah figures have been found in the ruins of ancient kitchens. Most Canaanite and Hebrew households had altars dedicated to Asherah.
Green Man is an image seen mostly in stonework in many countries. The name “Green Man” is only a descriptive name that an archaeologist used to describe it in 1939. It is seen in medieval European stonework, believed to represent an ancient vegetation deity, and believed that it may have been adapted from Roman decorative stonework, or from Celtic interlace figures. One of the oldest examples is found on an Irish obelisk dated to the 3rd century BCE. Whatever his origin, the Green Man is now a symbol of untamed nature, fertility and vibrant life energy.
Ma’at is an ancient Egyptian goddess that represents the ideals of law, balance, order and truth. The word “Ma’at,” translates “that which is straight.” She plays an important part in the Book of the Dead, as it is in the “Hall of Ma’at,” that the judgment of the dead was performed. This was done by weighing one’s heart against the feather of Ma’at. If a balance was struck, the deceased was deemed to be worthy of meeting Osiris in the after life.
Minoan Snake Goddess was found in a hiding place beneath the floor of the Palace of Knossos where she lay for 3,400 years. The 11 5/8″ inch sculpture was made of faience and is dated approximately 1700 BCE. It is uncertain whether the statue represents a priestess or the goddess herself. Her powerful, trance-like gaze may denote a priestess during a ritual. From examining the art of the Minoans, archaelogists deduced that the culture was focused on ritual, celebration, and the beauty of life while the Greeks depicted warfare and armed deities. The Greeks took over the Minoans in 1400 BC. The Minoan Snake Goddess sculpture is on display at the Archaeological Museum at Heraklion, Crete.
Spiral Goddess is a contemporary expression of goddess energy. The image was first designed and created by well-known artist, Abby Willowroot in metal sculpture in 1978. Since then, the image has become one of the most popular modern-day archetypal goddesses, and has been created in many forms of art all over the world. Abby says she created her as a symbol of “She Who Creates from Her Own Source,” and says quote, “Your deepest essence is humanity and an open spirit. You are a spark of light in the Universe, nurture your inner flame of unique brilliance and dare to shine!” Learn more at www.spiralgoddess.com.
Pele is the Hawaiin goddess of fire, and is described as “She Who Shapes The Sacred Land.” Her mythical story says that she was born of the female spirit Haumea who descended from the supreme beings, Earth Mother (Papa), and Sky Father (Wakea). Pele was among the first voyagers to sail to Hawaii fleeing from her angry sister for seducing her husband. Since then, she has been sending ribbons of fiery lava down the mountainsides and adding new land for many years. All modern-day Islanders with diverse religions speak respectfully of the ancient, passionate, capricious, and volatile, goddess.