dirty old women Why do you think the sexuality might be removed from mythology?

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A small incident is often left out of or skimmed over in the story of Demeter and Persephone. I researched his for a paper in grad school about crone goddesses.

It seems that Demeter was so distraught over the loss of her daughter, that she would not eat or sleep. She came to a rock and sat there, (or in some versions, took a job as nanny for a local woman), but she was not able to overcome her deep depression. An old woman, Baubo in some versions, and Iambe in others, managed to cheer her up by telling her dirty jokes and exposing herself. This made Demeter laugh, which helped her pull herself together.

A similar story is told about Japanese sun goddess, Amaterasu, who was depressed because her brother attacked her and her maidens. She hid in a cave, depriving the world of sunshine, until an old woman Uzume, did an obscene dance outside the cave, which caused an uproar. On hearing the noise, Amaterasu came out, and she was shown her beauty in a mirror.

This gesture of indecent exposure, seems to be part of mythological mystery “cleaned up” from many stories. According to Lubell (1994) the gesture of raising her skirt [in Greek ana-suromai] is a mythical way of warding off evil, known as apotrophaic magic.

In the women’s mysteries of Eleuesis and in the worship of Bast, the Egyptian cat goddess, women made dirty jokes to each other, and even baked pastries that looked like genitals. (no, there is NOTHING new under the sun.)

Why do you think the sexuality might be removed from mythology?


Babb, C. (2005 March 8). The crones of spring. Retrieved from http://findagoddess.blogspot.com/2005/03/crones-of…

Lubell, W. L. (1994) The metamorphosis of Baubo: Myths of woman’s sexual energy. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt UP

if references or quotations are used please cite them


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