Since time immemorial, people have made little goddess figures to bless and protect the family or community garden, a sort of calling down of the great universal fertile energy into a piece of land. When we create small images of the Earth Mother to place in our gardens, window boxes, or potted plants, we make a personal link with the spirit of cosmic generosity.
Your garden goddess can be as simple or complex as you like. It’s easy and so much fun! Here are some playful suggestions:
Choose materials with weather in mind. If you don’t mind your goddess suffering a sea-change, you can use just about anything and then enjoy watching her transformation after repeated rain showers and bakings in the sun: beeswax, feathers, metals (such as coat hangers), water-based paints, and paper will all do interesting things after being exposed to the elements.
If you want your goddess to stay the same, your choices are more limited. If you have access to a kiln, making your image our of clay and then firing it is a great solution. Or you can buy one of the oven-baked varieties of clay at your local craft store.
A hand-carved wooden goddess will last a while, especially if you oil her or coat her with beeswax.
You can find a rock that says “goddess” to you and then paint or otherwise adorn her, or simply leave her as is. Once you start looking, you’ll be amazed at the infinite number of goddess-rocks there are.
The search for materials is half the fun: seashells, twigs, nutshells, buttons, string, ribbons–anything goes. Empty out your old junk drawers and sewing boxes and go crazy, or take as special walk, on the lookout for things to use.
Some garden goddess will be the traditional large-breasted, large-bellied, large-hipped variety, a clear parallel between the fertile earth and the primary sex characteristics of a fertile, childbearing woman. But other goddesses may be more ethereal; one of our personal favorites was a bare tree branch hung with wispy bits of fabric that floated poetically in the breeze.
If you want to sing some earth-honoring songs while you make your goddess, go ahead. And when she is completed, you may want to consecrate her: smudging your goddess with special incense smoke, sprinkling her with salt water, singing her a special song, and then carrying her out to the garden will all add to your sense of the special.
Adapted from Celebrating the Great Mother, by Cait Johnson and Maura D. Shaw (Inner Traditions, 1995). Copyright (c) 1995 by Cait Johnson and Maura D. Shaw. Reprinted by permission of Inner Traditions.
Adapted from Celebrating the Great Mother, by Cait Johnson and Maura D. Shaw (Inner Traditions, 1995).