Friday, May 15, 2009

A Little Research Into The History Of The Goddess Doll, Spirit Doll, and Healing Doll

I decided to do a little research into the history of the goddess dolls, healing dolls or spirit dolls before I embarked on my endeavor to make some of them.

Well, I have to tell you that what I thought would be a simple research project turned out to be anything but. You see, right now goddess dolls are also known as spirit dolls, healing dolls, or mixed media art dolls. Over time they have also been associated with voodoo dolls, pagan rituals, and witchcraft. But, they all relate to "the goddess" and "goddess traditions."

Some "goddess dolls" have been used for good purposes and some used, well, not for good purposes. They have been seen in various cultures all over the world, and in various religions - in various different forms and mediums. It seems that they are as old as time itself and traditional in almost every culture.

So, where to begin? And, what do they all have in common? And, who actually started the craze for them in the mixed media art community? So many questions, so many places to review.

At least there seems to be a ton of information on "the goddess" - which is both good and bad. Good because there's information. Bad because it's going to take time - which I don't have a lot of. But, I'll see what I can find out.

What they do all seem to have in common is a celebration of the goddess and femininity and life. They all seem to represent Mother Nature (i.e. the Great Mother), fertility, and all things associated with birth and death.

In witchcraft and pagan traditions she is known as the Virgin, Mother, and Crone (which is death). The Goddess is the giver and taker of life - the nourisher and protector. She represents the human life cycle - birth, life, and death.

In ancient times it is speculated by some historians that "God" was feminine and tied to beliefs in nature and fertilization. As such, some of the first goddess figures were carved "Venus" figures and some were cave paintings of women giving birth. At various points in time the goddess figures are adorned or even portrayed as various types of animals.

Some of the oldest artifacts discovered are representations of the fertility goddess.

During early times the Christian Church tried to suppress Paganism and Gnosticism and portray it as evil. They were not able to totally suppress the goddess and finally allowed for the worship of Mary, The Mother of God. But, she could not be called "Mother Goddess" or "Goddess."

Mermaids represent "goddesses" who are balanced and strong. They have abundant love and healing energy.

Chakra dolls are used for healing and spiritual purposes.

Native American Kachina dolls are various types of spiritual dolls. According to "The Hopi use Kachina dolls to embody the characteristics of the Kachinas, the powerful spirits of the Earth, east, west, south, north, the sky and water."

Goddesses have been worshiped in Egyptian mythology, Norse mythology, Celtic mythology, Hinduism, Buddhism, Paganism, Gnosticism, Christianity, Wicca or White Witchcraft, and other earth based religions.

African cultures, ancient India, the Caribbean and Mexico, even European cultures, all had sculpted and adorned figures representing the goddess and their history and beliefs.

For the ancient Greeks Artemis was probably the oldest of the "goddesses" and the only goddess in her own right having been born of a woman. It was believed that she ruled over birth, love, death, and even fate. She was also very protective of women and their strength, independence and intuition.

In several countries in Africa the goddess is seen in "Fertility Goddess Dolls" which are prayed to not only for the birth of strong and healthy babies, but for the prosperity and health of the tribe and/or village.

Various aspects of "Mother Nature", also known as "Mother Earth", have her being the ultimate healer, wise and strong with innate wisdom or intuition.

Goddesses or priestesses in myth are both strong and sensual. Healers and protectors. Wise beyond their years.

In the Scottish Highlands "Brigid" was the goddess of fertility who oversaw the land, nature, and all upon it. She was a protector of children and advocate for women. For Pagan goddesses Brigid is probably the oldest and most widely recognized.

So, what do all these traditions, cultures, and religions have in common when it comes to the "goddess" and "goddess" figurines or dolls? Well, they all relate to femininity and the birth, life, and death cycle. The figurines in whatever form they take help with that understanding.

Goddess dolls promote all aspects of femininity, humanity, spirituality, compassion, humility, healing power, beauty, love, wisdom, peace, passion, truth, strength, intuition, fulfillment and empowerment. The goddess is seen embracing all aspects of life, all seasons, and all natural elements and goddess dolls represent all of her various aspects.

The "goddess" figurines come in all different sizes, shapes, and mediums. Some are made of wood, some are made of cloth, stone, clay, or even paper. Some are pictures, some are sculptures, and some are a mixture. Some have arms and legs while others have oddly shaped bodies which may or may not contain arms. It seems that no matter what size, type, or medium used to create the goddess doll or figurine they have been around since the beginning of time and in almost every culture for various purposes.

Whether it is to provide a plentiful crop for the season, a healthy baby, to heal the sick, provide strength for those in need, or comfort the suffering they are there to empower whoever believes in them. Whatever it is you need help with, understanding of, or compassion for the "goddess doll" is there for you.

So, what did all this research tell me?

Well, I did not find out who created the 1st mixed media goddess doll. What I did find out was that today's "goddess dolls" are there to share your hopes, dreams, and listen to your fears. They provide comfort and solace in your time of need. They provide you with the strength you need to face the challengers in your life and empower you to succeed. To release your own "inner goddess." They are lovingly made and given out of heartfelt love from one human being to another. They offer nothing more than love, compassion, understanding, and peace.

Copyright © 2009 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals
and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.

1 comment:

  1. Wow much work went into that. Great job!