There are several other wise old women Goddesses ‘embedded’ in this quilt. They are all present in spirit at least in the quilt, and probably the little Sheela-na-gig holds them all (– and others not mentioned), all strong empowered women, encouraging personal responses that may have been exceptional and even unruly. Hecate is the oldest of the old, an ancient pre-Hellenic midwife between death and rebirth. She is a Goddess of the Underworld, keeper of the sacred well fed by underground rivers and waterfalls. She offers security in emotional knowledge gained through deep passion and emotion. She is a reflective spirit, and offers peace and tranquility by her waters for confronting and choosing alternatives to outworn ways of being in the world. She is also the challenging Goddess of the ‘trevia’, the meeting of ways at the crossroads, a liminal space for reviewing before making decisions.
The Celtic Cerridwen is also said to be keeper of the cauldron containing the sea of souls. The cauldron of the quilt is the point where the spiral turns to rise to the surface after descending. It is where the little spiral sits. Knowing all for who they really are, she is honest, trustworthy, and is a capable shape shifter (into many animals) when needed. She knows the secrets of fire, and energy in all its forms to promote change and growth with safety.
Then there is Ixchel, the Mayan Goddess of the Moon and her messengers are eagles. In her Crone aspect, she cuts away stifling thought patterns and has the wisdom to do it with care and love, learned from past struggles. This way she brings things to their natural closure. Another lovely goddess image is Spiderwoman of the Pueblo peoples (Arachne of the Greeks), who is the life weaver, continually spinning the substance and weaving into shape the world as we know it. She resonates with the seasonal wheel of the year, the wheel of fortune and karma, helping develop skills and a wisdom through which we celebrate the major landmarks born of the seeds we have planted in the past, learning to trust and understand more deeply life’s creative processes in our own lives. In her Crone aspect, like Ixchel, she also cuts the thread of time, as I’ve been reminded by cutting quite a lot of threads in time too, just while making this quilt!
Reflection: all of these goddesses are (in each of) us.