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Did you know that the first sculpted images in human history were of women. Not normal women, though. The earliest pieces all have disproportional breasts and butts, and they are also plump.
By that time, humans had decided that the Earth replenished itself every year in plants and animals. They’d already known that women spontaneously reproduced (realizing men played a part would be several thousand more years). It was a natural connection for our ancestors to see a woman as a symbol for the Earth. Of course, human women were just pale imitations – they had very few children during the course of their lives. But, the reasoning was, if a woman didn’t spend most of her life only a few days away from starvation she might be more fertile. And the more fat she was, the more fertile she would be.
No one has any clue what this goddess’s name might have been. After all, she predates language by at least tens of thousands of years. I’ve always found it interesting, though, that there are a few name similarities between the mother goddesses of cultures throughout the world.
China: NGua or Xia, the little-mentioned originator of all life on Earth.
Mesopotamia: Tiamat, the leader of the gods before she was killed by Marduk and her body was used to form the Earth.
Greece: Gaea, the mother of all life; Rhea, the mother of the gods.
I could go on, but these are the easiest to find and the least controversial. They do only seem to have that “ee-a” in common, but consider distances. China and Mesopotamia were not in contact with each other, were hardly civilizations, when those two goddess emerged. And Greece, it has two mother goddesses that match the pattern. Or does it? Speculation in Greek mythology has long held that the peaceful Pelasgians were overrun by the first, second, and third wave of Greeks. Interestingly, that might be represented in the mythology with Gaea, Rhea, and even He(r)a, the first three generations in the world?
Even more odd is that the same goddess seems to appear in the Americas, Asia, Australia, Europe, and even Africa above the Sahara. But I’ve never seen a single example in the south. Just something to think about.