Friday, June 15, 2007

Inner Wisdom and the Belly

Our bellies are our second brain. You know it as 'gut feeling'. That feeling in your gut that says, nope, don't want to jump off that high rock. Or, not sure I can say yes to this request. Or, go for it! Why can't we trust our belly's wisdom? Maybe the myths and stories around women are partly to blame.

Pandora's box
For instance, many of us have heard or read a short version of this myth, written by the Greek poet Hesiod in the 8th Century BCE.

Zeus was angry at Prometheus for giving the gift of fire to mankind, so he ordered Hephaestus to mix earth with water, implant in it a human voice and make it beautiful and desirable in the form of a maiden with a face like a goddess. Athena taught her to weave, Aphrodite planted longing and sorrows to permeate her body, and Hermes gave her the mind of a bitch and the character of a thief (see what the early Greeks thought of women?). (Classical Mythology)

She was the first mortal woman. For a wedding gift, sly Zeus gave Pandora a beautiful box and told her not to peek inside or open it. But she did, of course, and out flew all the evils and illnesses, plagues and pestilence into the world. Only one thing remained; at the bottom of the box was hope.

Just like Eve, Pandora was blamed for all the evils in the world.

But behind the story is an error in translation from Greek into Latin, in the 16th century. 'Pithos' meaning vase or jar became pyxis meaning box.

So the Vase or water jar that is the symbol of woman's womb and accompanies many goddesses in artwork (Aphrodite & the sign for Acquarius are just two), became something less than a gift. Pandora means All Giver, or all gifts, another name for Rhea, the Great Goddess, the female image of the power of life.

Woman's belly is Rhea's vase. "Woman's belly is the sacred source of life."

So love your belly, and listen to its wisdom. Give your belly a hug today :)

story adapted from The Woman's Belly Book, Finding your Treasure Within, by Lisa Sarasohn, Self-Health Education, 2003 and Classical Mythology.