XVIII : Introducing her cultural side


To those who may be receiving one of these post-notifications for the first time: This is not a blog; it’s actually part of a book, and will make little sense to you without knowledge of what has come before—which you can easily obtain, along with a goodly amount of satirical theatre as matters progress, by simply entering ttgftyri.org into your web browser, opening the menu, and starting at page one. J.J.


ACT FIVE: in which our hero ultimately receives a proposition

Scene 1

But of course, most of the people along the river live down at the other end—in its vast, rich delta where not only the upland water, but a steady stream of news routinely washes ashore with the constant arrival of new settlers.

And so it comes to pass that Gaim himself eventually steps from a small raft there onto the busy eastern shore and soon approaches what appears to be a woman standing alone in a nearby grain field—except as he draws closer, he realizes that he’s actually confronted with some mere effigy of a woman fashioned of old, dry grain stalks garbed in a woman’s clothing!

“May I ask what that’s all about.” he points to the odd thing when the farmer comes out to greet him.

Whereupon he learns that it represents the Ultimate One in her aspect as the divine protectress of farming, and hopefully will scare off such pesky thieves as deer and crows.

* * *

And inviting him in for a meal, the farmer first thanks the Great Mother for it, and then informs Gaim that according to his own priest, she who generated all natural growth is also interested in people’s cultural growth—of course, beginning with their critical agri-cultural base.

Hence in her aspect as Our Lady of Agriculture, she has led people from weeding out all the unsavory plants to bringing the more savory ones in from the wilds and re-planting them in tidy local crop fields known as ‘gardens’.

While along the way, she has introduced them to some of her important daughters, such as the ones who generate corn, beans, and squash.

And meanwhile, she’s taught them a little about seeds.

After which, she led them to the cotton plant and even showed them how to make lightweight thread clothing.

And then he shows Gaim his household shrine, where Our Lady’s ‘cavern’ is now rather immodestly portrayed spilling forth all these wonderful things.

Scene 2

And thanking the farmer for his hospitality, Gaim soon comes upon a very different kind of farmer—indeed, one who disdains mere plant-tending.

Rather, assisted by his faithful dog, he’s managed to gather up a few goats, some cows and several sheep, and currently tends those—while he reports some mounting tension between himself and the more traditional farmers, since his herds requires a lot of land for grazing.

* * *

And likewise inviting him to sit awhile, the herdsman offers to tell him a little more about this type of farming.

“First of all,” he begins when both are seated comfortably, “there’s the matter of maintaining, and of course over time increasing my herds. I mean, I might be a herdsman, but as a modern man I’m hardly unaware of this newfangled theory of seeds; and so each spring, on the advice of my own priest, I paint pictures of my animal needs and plant them in the ground so that the Agriculture-mother will take notice and one would hope, respond accordingly.

“And when I do this, I usually begin with the cow, because most people nowadays regard that animal as their most dependable cultural foundation—since even during times of drought, it continues to produce milk, cheese and butter; while its urine and dung are also now recognized as valuable fertilizing agents.

“In fact, would you believe that today barren women routinely smear its droppings on their pining bodies in hopes of getting with child?

“Actually, Our Lady of the Cows is now widely held to be the real power sustaining us people these days—a belief that has actually generated a new, rapidly growing cult, whose members like to refer to themselves as her ‘Calf’.

“Indeed, most Calves not only believe that it’s sinful to kill, eat, offend, or so much as annoy a cow, but go to live their last days among cows so that they might more readily be admitted into the Cow-mother’s own afterworld at death; while our old Queen—herself not unaware of this important new movement among her subjects—has recently added a horned headdress to her other ceremonial paraphernalia, and is even rumored to have expressed a wish that she be buried in a cow-shaped coffin.”

* * *

“Goats, on the other hand,” the herdsman continues briskly after a moment, “tend to be less common down here in the flatlands, and also less productive—and so there’s no law against killing and eating them.

“Nonetheless, they do provide a fair brand of milk and cheese, and being somewhat smarter than cows, can be trained to go where instructed.

“And so it should come as no surprise that the Great Nanny also has a growing cult these days—commonly known as her ‘Kid’—whose members are currently pressuring the Queen to make some gesture officially recognizing them as well.”

The herdsman informs his guest that he personally favors goats over cows—and adds that if it were left up to him, the Agriculture Lady’s ‘cavern’ would be symbolized by a goat’s horn overflowing with field produce, thus neatly representing the two main branches of agriculture, planting and herding, as a single Cornucopia, or ‘Horn of Plenty’.

* * *

“While as for sheep—whose living hides are now being stripped every spring by people hoping to produce some warmer thread clothing, and even thick floor rugs—well, it’s hard to find much respect for them,” the herdsman said.

“Because unlike cows and goats, they rarely resist me or anyone else, but just seem content to do whatever I want with them as long as I see to it that they have enough food and water and that they’re protected from passing predators.

“And stupid?” he exclaimed. “Why, they can’t find their way out of a simple mud hole without the help of my crook—much less figure out that I’m the predator they should be worried about!

“Rather, they’ll just follow this old goat that I hung a bell on one day and trained to lead them around—whether on to the next grazing pasture, into the shearing pens, or eventually straight to the slaughter house!

“Still,” he sighs, “those who’ve come to depend on their wool and mutton now exalt the Great Ewe—and of course, proudly present themselves as her ‘Lamb’.”


You may be surprised to learn that the image of the Great Mother throughout the world actually has far more cultural than natural aspects—which probably explains why most peoples speak at least colloquially of not only Mother Nature but of their own, unique ‘Motherland’.

For as people began to develop local cultures—mainly rooted in the fact that all of those in their neck of the woods spoke their language—of course they continued to credit the Great Mother for all their progress and to look to her for guidance and protection; especially when it came to someone’s newfangled idea of creating stable crops and herds.

_________________________

  • Abundantia: ancient agricultural deity
  • Ahat: early Egyptian cow deity
  • Ahia Njoku: Igbo Nigerian yam deity
1. Ahia Njoku
  • Allpamama: obscure Andean harvest deity whose name in the Incan language means ‘Earth-mother’ or ‘world womb’; she may have been demoted by the Incas when they came to take over the Peruvian region, since they had their own EM, Pachamama
  • Amutnen: early Egyptian cow deity
  • Anna Kuari: Uraon Indian agricultural deity; as with many of the world’s agricultural peoples, until fairly recently, the Uraons believed that every spring the Earth-mother required new blood, or the sacrificing of a worthy human in order to replenish her power of procreation and make the earth fruitful again. Such victims typically had to be youthful, either the offspring of a previous victim or someone purchased from an impoverished family specifically for the deed, and were kept for years as a holy figure before their death; at which time, following a few days of spring festivities, the victim would usually be strangled and dismembered—or in some instances, simply cut up alive, with the severed parts then planted in the fields as fertilizer.
  • Annapurna: Hindu Indian food deity
2. Annapurna
  • Annona: deity responsible for supplying grain to ancient Rome
  • Artio: Swiss harvest deity
  • Asnan: early Mesopotamian grain deity
  • Atina: Arikara Native American corn deity
  • Axomama: Incan potato deity
  • Bat: ancient Egyptian Upper Egyptian cow deity
  • Bera Pennu: Khond Indian agricultural deity; her worshippers believed her to require annual springtime human sacrifice
  • Bharat Mata: deity whom Hindus consider to be the mother of their culture
3. Bharat Mata
  • Bhumi Devata: Hindu Indian vegetation deity
  • Birrahgnooloo: aboriginal Australian deity revered by several clans as the mother of all living things; traditionally held to have moved through the primordial world planting all its vegetation, fashioning from clay all of the creatures, including people, who would subsequently feed upon it, and finally breathing life into them
  • Bo Dhu: ancient Irish Black Cow deity
  • Bo Find: ancient Irish White Cow deity
  • Bubona: ancient Roman cattle deity
  • Ceres: ancient Roman grain deity from whose name the word ‘cereal’ is derived
4. Ceres
  • Cels: Etruscan deity who made the grain grow tall
  • Centeocihuatl: Aztec corn deity
  • Cerridwen: ancient Welsh grain deity
  • Chiang: Chinese agriculture deity
  • Chicomecoatl: Aztec corn deity; her festival was held in September, when a young girl, having taken on the role of the deity for a period of time during the celebration, was decapitated on a heap of maize and her blood then collected in a bowl before being poured over a wooden figurine of the goddess, after which her body was flayed and her skin worn by a frenzied, dancing priest
  • Cocamama: Incan deity of the coca plant
  • Damona: ancient French cow deity
  • Demeter: ancient Greek deity of agriculture
5. Demeter
  • Deohako: Seneca’s collective name for the Earth-mothers three daughters, Corn, Beans, and Squash
  • Dewi Sri: Balinese rice deity
  • Diang Shilluk: Sudanese cow deity
  • Duttur: Sumerian deity of sheep
  • Epimeliades: ancient Greek protectress of sheep flocks and goat herds
  • Ezinu: Sumerian deity of grain
  • Faustitas: ancient Roman protectress of herds and other livestock
  • Flidas: ancient Irish cattle deity
  • Gebjon: Norse agriculture deity
6. Gebjon
  • Geshtinanna: Sumerian agriculture deity
  • Ix Kanan: Mayan bean plant deity
  • Iyatiku: Navajo corn deity
  • Jacheongbi: Korean agriculturedeity
  • Kaikara: Ugandan agriculture deity
  • Kaldas: Russian cattle deity
  • Kaya Nu Hima: Japanese herb deity
  • Kore: ancient Greek corn deity
  • Kornjunfer: ancient Germanic grain deity
  • Kshumai: Kafir Afghanistan deity said to have given people goats, grapes, various fruits, and vegetation in general; appears in the guise of a goat
  • Lactura: ancient Greek grain deity
  • Lamaria: Svan Georgian protectress of cattle
  • Lauka Mate: Latvian agriculture deity
  • Mayahuel: Aztec maguey plant deity
7. Mayahuel
  • Mbaba Mwana Waresa: Zulu agriculture deity
  • Messia: ancient Roman harvest deity
  • Morgay: ancient British agriculture deity
  • Nepit: ancient Egyptian grain deity
  • Nikkal: Canaanite orchard deity
  • Ninlil: Mesopotamian grain deity
  • Ninsuna: Mesopotamian cow-deity
  • Nunbarsegunu: Mesopotamian barley deity
  • Nungui: Jivaro Peruvian mantioc-deity
  • Ops: ancient Greek/Roman harvest deity
  • Pagoda: Slavic agriculture deity
  • Phosop: Thai rice deity
8. Phosop
  • Pomona: ancient Roman orchard deity
  • Promitor: ancient Roman cereals
  • Proserpina: ancient Roman deity of seed germination
  • Puta: ancient Roman deity responsible for the proper pruning of fruit trees
  • Quinuamama: Incan grain deity
  • Renenutet: ancient Egyptian harvest deity
  • Riri-tuna-rai: Easter Island coconut deity
  • Sala: Hittite agriculture deity
  • Saning Sari: Java rice deity
  • Sanju: Kafir Afghanistan harvest deity
  • Saraddevi: Tibetan Buddhist harvest deity
  • Sehu: Cherokee grain deity
  • Secia: ancient Roman seed storage deity
  • Segetia: ancient Roman deity invoked at seeding time
  • Sekhet-Hor: ancient Lower Egyptian cow deity
  • Semonia: ancient Roman deity of sowing
  • Sif: Germanic corn deity
9. Sif
  • Sirtur: Mesopotamian sheep deity
  • Spermo: ancient Greek grain deity
  • Surabhi: Hindu cow deity
  • Takotsi Nakawe: Huichol deity to whom all vegetation belongs
  • Tamiyo: Japanese abundance of food deity
  • Thermuthis: ancient Egyptian harvest deity
  • Toyouke-Ōmikami: Japanese agriculture deity
  • Ts’an Nu: Chinese deity of the silkworm
  • Tunehakwe: Onondaga crop deity
  • Tutelina: ancient Roman harvest deity
  • Uke Mochi: Japanese deity of food who prepares a feast by standing in the ocean and spewing out plentiful fish, facing the forest and spewing out bountiful game, and finally turning to a rice paddy and spewing out that grain.
10. Uke Mochi
  • Waka-Sa-Na-Me-No-Kami: Japanese rice deity
  • Xilonen: Aztec maize deity
  • Yampan: Aguaruna Brazilian agriculture deity
  • Ynakhsyt: Yakut Siberian cattle deity
  • Zaramama: Incan grain deity
  • Zemyna: Lithuanian deity responsible for all vegetation and crops; invoked at both sowing and harvest time

__________________________

Photo Credits

1: Revolvy https://www.revolvy.com/page/Ahia-Njoku

2: Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/pin/500110733602380774/?nic_v1=1bGS8DSgFfqE0qxfVqQItIa2SiGP49kvvzYNHzfpXwfExFDbRuFUDQjzOV6OaatpiT

3: Wikipedia Commons https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5c/Bharat_Mata_bronze.jpg

4: National Gallery of Scotland https://www.nationalgalleries.org/art-and-artists/119189/ceres-roman-goddess-agriculture

5: Google Sites https://sites.google.com/site/thegoddessofagriculture/early-life

6: Wattpad https://www.wattpad.com/571424191-norse-mythology-gefion-goddess-of-agriculture

7: Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/pin/327073991678893675/?nic_v1=1brUknJFP9NirwUuPldU%2FLvdjH0U9Bq01eEmke3wYTyK8%2FjQ%2Bb4arCsaRIkDUG%2BRYD

8: Word Disk https://worddisk.com/wiki/Po_Sop/

9: Berloga Workshop https://berloga-workshop.com/blog/64-sif.html

10: Pinterest https://mitologia.hi7.co/ukemochi-57ac36088293a.html

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