On the bones of Earth, the signs of origin
Grooved into the rock by aboriginal hands
In remembrance of ancestors, painting
The place of emergence with the sign of blood
The blood that is life, the coursing vitality
The power of the Woman who stands at the Portals
Who has within her an opening into the vastness
The origin which is everywhere at the center.
Vulvas engraved on the bones of the Earth,
In an offering place near the sacred salt spring of the Chimanes, Bolivia.
The natural rock formations in the shape of woman’s portal to the depths
Appear in multitudes in the sanctuaries of the Kumeyaay, east of San Diego
Some carved by the ancients to enhance their resemblance to the vulva.
The holy place of origin that opens as she parts her legs
The unfathomable depths of the Dark Labyrinth within
The sign and crest of the Rock Spring sanctuary (Wyoming)
Of rocks where newly-made women raced at dawn
On one side of the stone, paleolithic ancestors grooved vulvas
And on the other carved the Animal Mother (France).
Ice Age people incised bone with vulvas and meanders
Of the vast, infinite Ocean of Being (Ukraine).
Ancestral Mothers with vulva glyphs in the womb tombs (Guernsey)
The caverns of Earth herself receive the solar rays into the depths (Portugal)
Ancestors and vulva stones of the archaic sanctuary of Lepenski Vir (Serbia)
Aegean island votive platters with the sacred triangle, and above,
The indescribable pulsation of Essence, swirling in eternal spirals
Vulvas of the Canaanite city of Lachish, flanked by ibexes
In the manner of Asherah and her Tree of Life.
Triangles of numinous dots worn in amulets of beaten gold
And the dotted vulvas in icons of 11th dynasty Egypt.
From the Jomon culture, little clay vulvas, some with breasts above.
Ceramic yonis painted with cosmic maps, worn as vulva caps:
All the clothes women needed in tropical Brazil
Vulvas on figured clay vessels of Ma Jia Yao, and
In the classic Halaf culture of ancient Syria, 7000 years gone on.
The women of Cameroon, arms and legs joined around the motherpot
Amulets of mighty Hathor with her serpent
And the even older stone matrika of Sesklo, Greece
The jade sculptures of the classic Nicoya culture, Costa Rica
The disregarded masterpieces of the Manabí civilization, Ecuador,
Whose stone stelas revolve entirely around the vulva sign:
Women seated on curved thrones, in the throes of ecstasy,
In the deep states of sex or birth, plumbing the full measure of humanity
with hands changed into birds, with lizards and spiral-tailed monkeys
A stone pipe from Indiana, woman grasping her feet up to her belly
A megalithic ancestor in Sulawesi, hands to her vulva, signaling Origin
Hands to the yoni, in Sumatra too, and above it Blackness,
The open cauldron where consciousness comes into being
Signalling the place of Origin, the ancestor in stone.
India retains the aboriginal veneration of the yoni,
Through the millennia, into Tantra and Shakta tradition
In the temple carvings, enacted in Yantras and Yoni mudras
Blazing forth in the Mahanirvana Tantra, the coiled kundalini
The primal power awakened and released in realized sages
Truly the Sacra Vulva, the Tantric sacrament of menstrual blood
used to anoint holy images.
The orthodox invent stories of shame around the displayed Yoni,
Lajja Gauri, turns her face into a lotus when surprised during sex with Siva
The Taoists celebrated the elemental powers of sex, saying that
The cream of women’s arousal cures the one hundred diseases
This is holiness, Tai Ji, accessing the great Ultimate
She is cast onto the bronze drums of old Indonesia
She is the source of hunting power in ancient Algerian petroglyphs
A clay figurine from northern Nigeria hands placed at the vulva.
Bagirmi women, arms outstretched, vulvas show through their skirts
Legs outstretched, a proto-Mami Wata presides over a Nigerian drum
Splattered with sacred substances, she watches over a house
Legs parted to show the place of origin, the ancestral Mother protects
the matrilineal lodges in Belau: she is the source
In parts of Melanesia, maternal ancestors alternate with vulva shields
In New Hebrides, their third eyes blaze in resonance with clitori,
As they link arms (paired with lizards, like the women of Manabí).
The Maori carve their lintels with images of the female ancestor
On Rapa Nui, women use komari stones in womanhood initiations,
When girls learn to stretch and lengthen the organs of pleasure
These are holy things, things of power, never forget. This is healing.
Hand to the vulva, hand to the breast, red wood icons of Easter Island
Touch a place of power. Cast off the shame, release the violations.
This is a holy place, this core of womanness.
A place of pleasure, of streaming and of climax.
Look, I am aroused by showing you my petals: my bud rises, and juices flow.
In Australia, rockface panoramas of powerful vulvas,
arms raised in benediction
Mothers in the Dreaming, at the heart of aboriginality
Mohawk matrons of the Wolf Clan crowned with her combs.
(That word comb, Kteis, Greek slang for vulva.)
Tairona goddess with apotropaic vulva, and the lolling
Tongue of the Gorgons, of Rangda, of Kali
Cosmic maps on Shipibo effigy pots in the Peruvian rainforest
And mysterious shamanic masks on the belly and vulvas of Nazca pots
Other bowls given over entirely to celebrating the vulva,
With little soul birds and caterpillars circling around the Gateway.
Rough and ready stone women of south Italy, where too
a splayed Gorgon laughs, supported by lions and serpents
And a chased metal plate full of vulva-glowing Gorgons
Then come the Baubos, some engaged in the frankest self-pleasuring
Others throwing up their skirts in the classic gesture of the crone
Iambe, whose skirt-lifting made grieving Demeter laugh at last.
As the devotees of Bast raised their skirts to rival townswomen
As they cruised the Nile with music and dance
In rowdy musical festivals of Bast, cat goddess of love and pleasure
So Iambe placated Demeter’s wrath, so did “the ugly sky-female,”
Uzumue, dance on an upturned tub, skirts pulled up and blouse turned down,
with the celestial jewel-tree on her head, to lure Amaterasu from her cave.
Countless figurines of Isis Baubo in often acrobatic sexual display
And Besit, the dwarf goddess, sticking out her tongue
Isis Baubo holds libation cups and the sistrum of the Nubian dancers.
The vulva goes everywhere, and shows up in surprising places:
A silver sheathing around the sacred Black Stone in the Kaaba.
She even bubbles up on the walls of Christian churches
In Ireland and Britain, she is usually a crone, wrinkled, hairless and bony,
Aged ancestor, with that ever-pouring source of power at her core,
Where people rub for a blessing, or scrape out the rock dust
Hands to the vulva, the very definition of the shiela-na-gig
Some with the prominent clitoris, others with an opening to the Center
The infinite Deep, the cauldron of Cerridwen brewing countless lives
The place everyone wants to get back to, the ultimate Return.
The very flowering of female sexual power
The Shiela with animal, flanked by animal powers
Even the Sheila-abbess with her crook
The protector shiela looming over the doorway
The smiling shiela, the cackler shaking with laughter
Overlooking the valley from her castle wall where she dances
In perpetual delight, in touch with the source.
After ages of denial, shame and suppression,
She reappears in the visions of artists, poets and musicians
Yoni means the Origin.
It's a Yoniverse.
© 2004 Max Dashu