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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Read the full
version of the story of the goddess