The Goddess - As Animal

   In the early traditions the deities are part human and part animal.  Then, as the humanization becomes more emphatic and people become more aware of a distinction between the human mode and the animal mode, the animal becomes a vehicle or a companion of the Goddess.  The energy of that third, spiritual, function of the goddess is represented as avian – the dove remains the principal bird of Aphrodite, and the peacock of Hera.  These avian forms provide a metaphor for bringing the animal aspect of the body into accord with the human aspect.  This is pictorial script, writing through images.    G 37

We’ve seen the divine feminine expressed in avian form, but you find them in piscine form as well.  Fish goddesses become nymphs and the fish represent the powers that later are going to be humanized in the various distinct goddesses.  For instance, Artemis bathing in the waters as a water deity is the human form separated from the natural form.  In the early periods the human form coalesces with the natural form.  Marija Gimbutas calls the frog goddess “the birth patron.”  The fact that the frog is a batrachian, at home in the water and on land, shows the relationship between the two realms, the realm of the womb and the realm of the outer world.   G39

The pig is associated with the Goddess in Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Northern Greece, and Mycenae.  If you look at the figurine (fig 22 page 38), you’ll notice that not only is she wearing a porcine mask, but her body is marked with a geometric pattern: the labyrinth, the mystic way.  It is through the Goddess that you enter the world of the spirit.  She is the maze, and she is also your guide.  G39

   In The Golden Bough, Sir James Frazer suggested as early as 1890 that the great goddesses of Eleusis – Demeter and Persephone – were pig goddesses.  When Persephone was abducted by Hades a whole herd of pigs went down in the underworld with her, and when her mother went to find her, she couldn’t follow the footsteps because they were covered by those of the pigs.  Demeter’s and Persephone’s association with the underworld, death and rebirth, the labyrinth, and the pig echoes all the way back to the Neolithic.   G40