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Friday, November 01, 2013

Yonijas and Inanna: A Project to talk Vulvas for 30 Days

From The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets ed by Barbara G. Walker:

A Hindu myth of the battle of the sexes told of a quarrel between the goddess Parvati (Kali) and the God Mahadeva (Shiva) over their rival claims to the true parenthood of human beings. To decide the question, each proposed to create a race of people without the aid of the other. The God, spirit of the lingam or phallus, created the Lingajas, who were weak and stupid, "dull of intellect, their bodies feeble, their limbs distorted."
However, the Goddess created the Yonijas, spirits of the Yoni or Vulva, who turned out to be excellent specimens: "well-shaped, with sweet aspects and fine complexions." The two races fought a war and the Yonijas won. (1098)

From Inanna Lady of the Largest Heart, Poems of the Sumerian High Priestess Enheduanna by Betty De Shong Meador:

British Anthropologist Chris Knight presents a convincing case for the relationship of women's synchronized bleeding and the "leap" to symbolic culture in the Paleolithic Period..."(Ovarian synchrony) provides the key to an understanding of symbolic culture...Speaking of Aboriginal cultures he says, "The myths allege that ritual power originally belonged to women." (140)

From the "Courtship of Inanna and Dumuzi" (from Inanna Queen of Heaven and Earth, Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer, ed by Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer

Inanna spoke:
What I tell you
Let the weaver sing into song.
What I tell you,
Let it flow from ear to mouth,
Let it pass from old to young:

My vulva, the horn
The  Boat of Heaven,
Is full of eagerness like the young moon.
My untilled land lies fallow

As for me, Inanna,
Who will plow my vulva?
Who will plow my high field?
Who will plow my wet ground?

As for me, the young woman,
Who will plow my vulva?
Who will station the ox there?
Who will plow my vulva?

From Sumerian tablets dating back to 2000 B.C. to the oldest poet who wrote of the cycles & moods of Inanna: poems, prayers, songs, myths, & art dedicate themselves to the feminine mystery, the yoni spirit, the incantation to the vulva.

But who are the modern Yonijas? Are they singing praise or indulging in yoniphobic traditions paved by patriarchy? How are modern poems to the vulva being sung and what is the language? What is the encoding we enact to sing these songs in a world where vulvas are commodities? where they are traded and owned and where yoni spirits have been caged and bartered?

Where do we see the words: "Plow my vulva" today and in what context? How has the sacred hymn been reclaimed and perverted for another's gaze? How are pussies perceived, branded, marketed? If the pussy is political, isn't it also commercial? Isn't it also economy/ capitalism/ finance/ power/ control/ subversion? Is there a war on Vulvas? Or are we just waking up to a world that has relegated the vulva to less than nothing? Because no one has a war with something or someone that has no power, do they?

And of its cycles and moons, how have we forgotten the power of these changes and condemned our bleeding vaginas to shameful backgrounds, to commercial products to erase the reality, to a shying away from fluid that is not sexual and therefore has no titillating power for man? How have we accepted this version of the myth? Have iPeriod apps taken the place of menstrual huts where women could retreat from the world and meditate on their power? Have bleached vagina plugs (tampons) really signaled a freedom for women so their "bleeding" won't get in the way of their busy lives (mothering and working) ?

For 30 days, I'm going to talk about vulvas. I'm going to write about vulvas and talk about poems about vulvas and art about vulvas and dispiriting or discouraging practices around vulvas.

Because I believe as Luce Irigaray says: "If we keep on speaking the same language together, we're going to reproduce the same history."

Because speaking about vulvas is historic, it links to a past where our earliest myths and songs take shape; and because poets and writers do tread in the space of new language, I want to  spend some time unearthing what they are doing with words.

And I love vulvas. They are beautiful and functional and amazing. And in a perfect world, everyone would carry that in their heart and practice that with their actions.

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