Pagan Blog Project - Week Four - B #2 – Baubo
"The older one grows, the more one likes indecency." ~Virginia Woolf
(shared by Ms. Pulstar)
How cool is Baubo? In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter it is recounted that Demeter is wandering the earth in anguish over the loss of her daughter. She eventually starts loitering outside of Eleusis, where she will eventually inspire life-altering mysteries that will change the face of the ancient (and our modern!) world. But in the meantime, she’s just kind of being sad and angry and very helpless, until Baubo/Iambe makes her laugh and then she kind of perks up a little.
"Unsmiling, tasting neither food nor drink, she sat wasting with desire for her deep-girt daughter, until knowing Iambe jested with her and mocking with many a joke moved the holy goddess to smile and laugh and keep a gracious heart - Iambe, who later pleased her moods as well."
I’ve read accounts of Baubo being nothing more than a walking vagina. Or maybe she’s a nursemaid who lifts her skirts. Either way, it’s the act of raunchy old lady humor that finally wakes Demeter up from her slump (kind of. She’s still sad even after she gets a good laugh at Baubo’s vagina humor.)
Which I think is important. So many people like to pretend that men are just big dorks who laugh at dick and fart jokes, but to be honest, a good number of my lady friends are farting, burping, “that’s what she said” machines, too. This notion that women aren’t raunchy, sexual creatures is just silly. It’s never been true. Women have always been dirty, sexual beings. Even the ancient Greeks knew this to be true.
Women’s vagina humor is important, too. As much as I’m all for gender equality, I think it’s important for men to be with men sometimes, and women to be with women sometimes. There’s something about going out to a girl’s lunch, or drinking cocktails with the ladies, that is very therapeutic. (We’ve even talked about this a bit in social work school, too.)
|Baubo in Anatolia|
I’m a pretty raunchy person in real life and rarely withhold my liberal views on sexuality, but when I started social work school I was still adjusting when to hold back and when to give in, and the result is that I spent a few months where I was incredibly stifled. But we had a girl’s night and I drank a bottle of white wine (which shows how desperate I was, I usually go for red) and we talked about butt sex and our periods and bondage and Fifty Shades of Grey and how everyone thinks I have wild crazy sex all the time and how important it is to masturbate. All of these things are actually very important discussion to share about sexual health, but they aren’t easy conversations to have. But in a room full of women we swore like sailors and blushed like virgins and howled with Baubo’s laughter. And yeah, I'm still anxious about class, and one friend is still struggling with communication with her partner, and another still doesn’t know how she feels about anal sex, and another isn’t even sure if she likes sex, but the night and the jokes and the wine were still healing, therapeutic, and fun. It was most importantly fun.
As my husband said, “she loosens up a tense situation by showing her goodies to everyone and it’s really funny because she’s old? Actually, I don’t really get it but whatever; it made them laugh, right?”
And that’s the gift of Baubo. Sure, Demeter still misses her daughter and humans are probably going to starve to death and the gods are probably going to die from neglect, but there’s nothing that’s not funny about a vagina walking around on two legs. And there’s nothing wrong with women (AND MEN!) of any age to have a nice long laugh about sex, because let’s be honest, sex is pretty weird, and we really need a reason, any reason, to laugh.