Sisterhood of the Antlers

Stories of the Ancestral Mothers of Scotland from folk magic and the wise women who honored them. Rooted in the Bean Feasa (Wise Woman) tradition.

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Willendorf and the Importance of Choosing the Gatherers or the Hunters Story

 

 

Willendorf has been in the news this week with Facebook banning her image calling it 'pornographic', while that decision was reversed our reaction to these ancient female figurines (Venus's) says volumes to the values we live by. 


The Woman of Hole Fels - 40,000 BCE

In 2009 when the Woman of Hole Fels was discovered she was met with these headlines:

 

Even the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna where she is on display has a description which read 'Early Mother or Pin-Up Girl'

When I hold replica's of them in my hands I consider the intention, the hours of work that went into their creation, I wonder what intention the maker held and I wonder about the relationship these people had with the world around them. While we will never know for sure the intentions and the reasons for these figurines we do know that some interpretations are life-sustaining while others are life-threatening. There is a danger in interpreting these figurines in a purely sexual context as it results in unintended social consequences such as giving the message that objectification of women is acceptable. It is also ridiculous to try and interpret their meaning while you're analysis is rooted in today's mindset.

Click on the image to view the Woman of Willendorf prayer beads in the shop

Gatherers and Hunters

To me, they form part of my own tradition in doll making. I interpret those ancients hands created these figurines in honor of their god - who was female. Ursula Le Guin in discussing Elizabeth Fisher's work explains that some of the earliest cultural inventions came from women's inspiration, this gather's story birthed containers in a sling style, counting sticks used to measure the phases of the moon and the red ochre of handprints in dark cave recesses were predominantly made by women.

The hunter's story,  the one our patriarchal culture glorifies,  lies in the hunter hero retelling the story of blood and guts, killing and slaying. When interpreting the practices of both into a modern context the gather's story is one in which we care for each other, consider everyone's needs and ensure all are provided for while the hunter's story extends itself to the raping and killing story which is the dominating narrative in our culture today.

Click on the image to view the Woman of Willendorf prayer beads in the shop

The Facebook censorship of the Woman of Willendorf (although that decision has now been overturned) invites us into this greater story we choose, do you wish to live by the gatherers or the hunter's story? Willendorf stands powerful (at just 11.1 cm 4.4 inches) to remind us things weren't always this way. God was female for THOUSANDS of years and cultures were rooted in those life-sustaining values. She stands to remind us that..

 

This is an excerpt from my essay 'Radical Doll Making From Willendorf to Today' - you can read the essay by clicking here 

 

 

 

 

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I am descended from a long line of wise women – for I too am a shapeshifter, a mythmaker, a woman who has always had one ear to the ground and a foot in the other world. I am a listener to old bones and a collector of stories that I gather from the shorelines, deep in forests or atop mountains. Sometimes my shadow shows my other selves sometimes crow sometimes bear, I am She Who Wears Antlers.

I am a radical doll maker, taking this tradition back to its roots and the hands of my foremothers. They remind us of our sacred connection to this world, the otherworld and our ancestors. I am a collector of stories, carrying old ones and those one who need retelling.

I am of the Bean Feasa tradition , a wise woman tradition that stretches back past pre-Celtic generations. People sought the wisdom of the wise woman in times of personal crisis and today this tradition can help us face this deepening global crisis.

I am a cultural activist working from the Bean Fesa tradition rooted in pre-patriarchy which honors imagination and creativity and provides us with tools that can help us overcome the psychological effects of patriarchy.

Visit my website for details of online courses, in-person workshops and our annual pilgrimage to the lands of the Ancestral Mothers of Scotland.

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