The mother goddess in popular culture?
September 18, 2008 5:34 PM   Subscribe

Examples of the Venus of Willendorf and the Mother Goddess in popular culture besides Jean Auel?

I am asking for a friend who is researching this question. Thanks so much.
posted by AArtaud to Religion & Philosophy (8 answers total)


I think Oprah nails it.
posted by Max Power at 6:04 PM on September 18, 2008

In Hellboy II there is a scene where ancient artifacts are being auctioned. One is a giant fictitious statue obviously based on the Venus of Willendorf.

Could you possibly narrow down what your friend is looking for in terms of "Mother Goddess" references? Based on the mention of the Venus of Willendorf and Jean Auel, it seems like they are looking for references to pre-historic Mother Goddess figures in popular culture. Is that close? Otherwise, "Mother Goddess" could be interpreted in a vast number of ways, and pop references to something resembling a Mother Goddess could be found all over.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 6:14 PM on September 18, 2008

Response by poster: gaucho: Well, she specifically mentioned the giant statue in Hellboy II as an example of what she is looking for so I assume any of the so-called Venus figurines like the Venus of Willendorf.

Although when we discussed her research project, I mentioned the Cycladic figures, and she said that she was also looking for examples of their use as well.

She's tracing the idea of a matriarchal society and/or religion from the Victorian era onwards based on dubious archeological claims such as Marija Gimbutas' work.
posted by AArtaud at 6:22 PM on September 18, 2008

Has she looked at the Robert Graves "White Goddess" stuff yet?

Or the earlier stuff that Laura Riding was working on along the same lines--which clearly influenced Graves?

Because that meme was all over 1940s and 1950s poetry and "literary" prose.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:33 PM on September 18, 2008

Response by poster: Sidhedevil: Thanks, I'll ask mention those sources to her.
posted by AArtaud at 6:46 PM on September 18, 2008

Marion Zimmer Bradley's Avalon books put a spin on Arthurian legends which pull in the idea of a Goddess.
posted by rodgerd at 1:42 AM on September 19, 2008

I don't know much about what Gimbutas studies, but I do study the rhetoric of pop culture. What little I just read about Gimbutas said a critique of hers is that she isn't very good at critical analysis. I do know about that approach in regards to rhetoric (but definitely not for anthro), and it seems like that is what your friend is at least partly studying if she is looking for pop culture references. If she needs some kind of rhetorical justification, or even a method, Barry Brummett's book Rhetorical Dimensions of Popular Culture is my favorite and my method for my thesis.

But anyway, my suggestion would be to maybe look into communication publications. They might have some helpful things, even if she is just putting together a history and not a critical analysis.
posted by metricfan at 4:54 AM on September 19, 2008

Figures prominently in The 13th Warrior (from the Crichton novel Eaters of the Dead).
posted by bricoleur at 5:55 AM on September 19, 2008

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