Womb shamans and Venuses

I found this carving on one of the stones at the Neolithic-dated ritual site of Gobekli Tepe in Turkey many years ago, when I had my own shamanic archaeology forum called Ishtar’s Gate. Some of you may remember it?

A carving from Gobekli Tepe, dated between 9500 and 8000 BCE

The other, largely male, members of my forum decided to just politely ignore this august lady. For all I know they are still doing so. I haven’t seen any research papers on her. Perhaps nobody wants to address the question: why does a woman with full breasts lying on her back with her legs wide open, have something strange, too small to be babies, emanating from her vagina?

No, I’m pretty sure it’s not early porn. To me she is very obviously a womb shaman in the throes of the ecstatic release from the inner magnetic field of her sacred sacrum. To my eye, she couldn’t be anything else.

But she is not the most ancient image or figurine that we have of the womb shaman. Some are them hundreds of thousands of years old.

You’re probably more familiar with these august ladies under the name of Venuses, which is what baffled archaeologists decided to call them when they started digging them up, all over the world. Some of them made the connection to love and fertility, but only in as much as they assumed that their huge distended bellies, large pendulous buttocks and and drooping breasts meant that they were pregnant, and therefore they must be protective talismans for birthing mothers.

I beg to differ. For one thing, it wouldn’t be the first time we’ve noticed that artists of the Palaeolithic and Neolithic period were not interested so much in capturing literal reality, but enlarged the features that they valued, that conveyed a metaphorical message. On top of that, many of these women have covered faces or don’t have faces at all. Unlike today, when artists paint beautiful models for their Venuses, back then it was if their looks were not considered to be at all important to the matter at hand. So I believe that these so-called Venuses were all womb shamans from an era when it was the height of respectability to be one.

They can’t be just middle-aged women gone to seed. If you’ve ever tried the Palaeolithic Diet, you’ll know that bellies and buttocks of this size would have been virtually impossible to achieve, in those days.

But please tell me what you think in the comments below. Am I wrong? Am I just like the person with the hammer that sees everything as a nail? Given all the other evidence – whole chapters of archaeological, literary, artistic and mythological evidence laid out in The Sacred Sex Rites of Ishtar – I am convinced that all these so-called Venuses are not actually goddesses, but are honouring the very human womb shaman, whose purpose is not to birth babies, but to birth new worlds and new hope wherever it is needed.

Here’s a few more:

Venus of Hohle Fels, found in Shelklingen cave in Germany, dated to between 40,000 and 35,000 years old.
Venus of Laussel – carved into a limestone rock shelter in south-western France, thought to be 25,000 years old.
Figurine from the Kostenki-Borshevo region of the River Don

Venus of Willendorf – found in Willendorf, Austria and dated to 25,000 years old.

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Learn more about love and sex magic from The Sacred Sex Rites of Ishtar