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Baubo Goddess Myths

Baubo

Greek Goddess of Humor

The goddess Baubo was a fun-loving, bawdy, jesting, sexually liberated—yet very wise—goddess who played a crucial, role in in preserving the fertility of the land in ancient Greece.

Baubo is celebrated as a positive force of female sexuality and the healing power of laughter. Her power and energy have survived in the spirits of women down through the centuries.

Because of the scarcity of written references—and the contradictory nature of the writings that we do have—she remains a somewhat mysterious figure.

Baubo, Greek Goddess of Mirth

The goddess Baubo played a pivotal role in the myths of Demeter and Persephone. 

Persephone had been violently abducted by Hades, the god of the underworld. Abandoning her goddess duties of bringing fertility to the land, Demeter was wandering the Earth in deep mourning over the loss of her beloved daughter.

Eventually she stopped to rest in the city of Eleusis. The disheartened goddess, disguised as an old woman, was brought into the home of the king to serve as a nanny to their newborn son.

Although everyone in the household tried to console the  depressed woman, it had no effect—until the elderly servant Baubo appeared. The two women started chatting and Baubo made a number of risqué remarks which brought a small, tentative smile to Demeter's face. Then, Baubo suddenly lifted her skirt in front of Demeter.

Whatever the goddess glimpsed under Baubo's skirt, she responded with a long and hearty belly laugh and her depression lifted.

Ultimately, with her spirits and confidence restored, Demeter persuaded Zeus to command Hades to release Persephone. So, thanks to the bawdy antics of Baubo, the fertility of the land was restored and starvation averted.

  

 
A Modern Interpretation
of Ancient Statues of the Goddess Baubo

 

Some translate the word Baubo to mean "the belly". This interpretation of her name is revealed in some ancient figurines of the goddess that have been found in Asia Minor and elsewhere.

These sacred objects depict Baubo's face in her belly, with her vulva forming her chin.

Other unearthed figurines of Baubo depict her playfully exposing an exaggerated vulva between her legs.

Baubo appeared as Demeter's "sacred fool" in ancient Greece's annual festival where women were taught the profound lessons of living joyfully, dying without fear, and being an integral part of the great cycles of nature.

Baubo, Goddess of Humor (Greek)

Baubo teaches us a lesson in how to turn enmity into friendship. Perhaps her  bawdy behavior was a reminder that we should remember that all things will pass, and change. To not take things too seriously, for nothing lasts forever.

Adapted from an article contributed by A.C. Smythe
Read the full version of the story of the goddess Baubo.
 

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