When I lived in Woodenbong, high in the ranges between Queensland and New South Wales, I created this image of Baubo. Baubo is a goddess whose origins are somewhat mysterious, but she is associated with belly laughs, bawdiness, the joy of female sexuality and the healing power of laughter.
She is best known for her role in Demeter’s revival after she went into mourning when her daughter, Persephone, was abducted by Hades, God of the Underworld. Demeter abandoned her role as goddess of earthly fertility so that the world became barren and lifeless. Baubo finally approached the grieving goddess, told her some jokes which made Demeter laugh, and then is reputed to have lifted her skirts (although it’s unclear what was underneath), which made Demeter erupt into belly laughs which brought her to life again. She resumed her role as Goddess of the earth, brought back harvests and fertility and eventually persuaded Zeus to command Hades to release Persephone.
Baubo is also known as the original Wise Fool, and also as a wise crone, with crone being used in its original meaning being used in its original meaning of a mature woman with knowledge accumulated from life’s experiences. Whatever, I loved the idea of a painting which is simply joyful, fun, a bit silly and dedicated to the mirthful joy which creativity brings us. So here’s the revamped version.
I’ve used orange for joy and the squiggly lines around Baubo’s figure represent the anarchy of letting ourselves go, having fun and enjoying the chaos and release of a good belly laugh. In the spiral in Baubo’s belly is bright red glitter to represent the firing-up of creativity and the joy it brings. In the spirals on her breasts are small, tumbled, citrine stones to represent abundance. At the centre of the spiral on her head is a rose to represent love.
From her heart chakra, in the centre of her breast and pouring up to her head are dried rose petals from the Apothecary’s Rose in our garden – an ancient rose from the Turkish region the petals of which, if scented, are used to produce rose otto essential oil. The rose petals represent love to infuse our creativity and joyousness. At the crown chakra is a golden rose to represent divine wisdom while the feathers represent the air element which carries sacred inspiration. Around the figure are butterflies for transformation, at each corner a rose shape to represent love that fires up joy from east, west, north and south, above, below, behind and before us. Finally at the top is a bright orange flower shape to represent sunflowers, the light of the sun enveloping us with joy, abundance and creativity.
I really enjoyed not only the original creation of this painting but adding on all the bits and pieces which felt appropriate to my new life here in North Cyprus. I’ve been feeling energised, more creative and a whole lot lighter this past week and stuffing around with Baubo’s painting has been fun and a bit of light-hearted creativity.
Finally, here’s the original painting. I still like it but I feel the new revamp reflects my own lighter approach to living. I extend an invitation to you to embrace silliness, joy, laughter and lightness of being!