We Have Always Had Needs

Recently, I stumbled across an article entitled “12th-Century Poem About A Virgin Arguing With Her Vulva Uncovered in Austrian Monastery”. I ask you, how could one not be intrigued? I had to read more.

It seems that this is the oldest known copy of this satire, but it is not the only one that has been found. In it, a woman is debating with her vulva about what attracts men more, it, or the woman’s general physical appearance. (I don’t think that question has been answered definitively, even all these centuries later.)

What fascinates me most about this poem is that there was obviously a frank discussion about sexuality even back in the 12th Century. We seem to hold two contradicting notions in our head: Ancient peoples were devoid of morals and self-control, whereas we are more sophisticated (read: prudish) now. But at the same time, we look back at past history, at least in the European, Christian sense, and tend to believe that humans have become more open, less conservative, over time. Clearly neither theory tells the whole story.

I also remember reading an article (which I can no longer find) about a wooden dildo that was found hidden up inside a fireplace niche in Colonial Williamsburg. Well, the “hidden” aspect of it implies there was a source of shame there, but its existence confirms that people have always had needs, and were willing to get creative to fulfill them.

If you look at art through the centuries, you’ll see that there has always been a fascination with genitalia. Most historians nervously attribute these things to fertility, the need to procreate, and take the sexuality out of it.

Hmph.

According to this article, sex toys have been found that date back 28,000 years. So who’s to say that fertility statues weren’t also used for pleasure and visual titillation? I mean, come on. Most of us appreciate a little stimulation now and again. Do we really think pornography originated in the 1900’s? Do we think the more artistic depictions of all things taboo began with Georgia O’Keefe?

We also seem to want to quash the fact that once upon a time, women were considered powerful by more than just those of us who are woke. (Women can create men inside their own bodies. The reverse cannot ever be claimed. That’s magical.)

This article discusses a variety of artistic depictions of female genitalia, including sculptures of the sacred yoni in Hindu art, Venus figurines that are at least 35,000 years old, and Sheela-na-gig carvings of women with exaggerated vulvas that are found throughout Europe.

Further, Baubo figurines were popular in ancient Greece. They were often depicted as a naked headless body with a female face emerging from the torso, and a vulva on the chin. Hmmm.

In the Palauan archipelago, one could often find Dilukai, or carvings of women with their legs splayed open, above the doors of the houses of the chiefs. These were said to be sacred carvings to ward off evil, and symbolize fertility and spiritual rebirth. But missionaries tried to claim they were there to shame immoral women. (I suspect that what went on in the chief’s house had little to do with lessons in morality.)

It is even said that the Vesica Piscis, an almond-shaped symbol that appears all over the place throughout history, including in the ancient Christian fish symbol, is actually a depiction of the female vaginal source of creation.

Personally, I see no reason to cast shame upon those who believe in the sacred female, nor should we feel shame about the body parts that have allowed all of us to walk upon this earth, nor in the urges that have caused us to make use of said body parts. More power to us all.

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A 12th-century Sheela Na Gig on a Church in Kilpeck, Herefordshire, England

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What’s Important

I just gave my new dog Quagmire a stuffed squeaky toy, and for about a half hour, his life was complete. He ran around the house squeaking it at random, shaking it within an inch of its life and covering it with slobber. Then he ruthlessly ripped its little head off and coated the bed in stuffing. I don’t think he’s ever known such joy.

For a brief shining moment, nothing else mattered to Quagmire. I suspect I could have waved a rare steak under his nose and he wouldn’t have noticed. He was in the zone. Pure bliss.

If someone were to give me a stuffy, I wouldn’t reach such heights of ecstasy. But there are other things that do it for me. (That steak wouldn’t hurt.)

It’s kind of fascinating that each one of us has a different source of joy. It’s also probably the only reason our society can maintain itself. If there were only one thing that made all of us happy, we’d soon be fighting over that thing, and none of us would be able to enjoy it.

So seek out your equivalent of a stuffy, and shake it silly! And don’t let anyone make you feel silly for doing so! Do your thing.

The fact that we’re each unique is the best possible thing that could have happened to us. It sort of makes you wonder why we are so hellbent on discriminating against others for their differences. Thank God for the differences, I say! That way I can have my stuffy all to myself!

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Welcome to Quagmire heaven!

 

The Boy Who Gives Out Toys

Recently a friend of mine posted this video on her Facebook page. It is of a little boy who has lost both his parents, and one day he decided he was sick and tired of seeing everyone around him sad. So he bought a lot of tiny little toys, and started giving them out to random adults. The reactions range from smiles to hugs to tears. It’s a really moving bit of footage. What an amazing kid.

This video brought tears to my eyes, but not for the reason one might expect. It reminded me of a story that my late boyfriend once told me. He said his mother suffered from depression, and as the oldest child living at home, he felt a responsibility to try to do something about it. But he was just a little boy. So he decided to try to make her happy in the way that things made him happy at the time. Whenever he got allowance money, he’d go out and buy a little toy, a trinket, really, and he would give it to her. A little puzzle. A plastic car. Anything, anything, to make her smile.

God, that story still makes me cry. The thought of this powerless little boy trying so hard to make things better for his mom makes me want to travel back in time and hug him. I want to take all his worries away.

It might be a coincidence, but it doesn’t surprise me much that my boyfriend developed severe and debilitating asthma the same year his parents got divorced. He struggled to breathe for the rest of his life, and in the end, that’s what killed him. There was nothing I could have done to stop it as much as I desperately wish I could have, so I sort of understand how that helpless little boy felt.

On the first of his birthdays that we celebrated as a couple, one of the things I got him was a little toy. I wanted to make up for some of the toys he gave away as a child. I think that meant a lot to him.

Rest in Peace, Chuck. You can breathe easy now.

[image credit: wellesleyparade.com]
[image credit: wellesleyparade.com]