Wendalyn

Sound Dreaming CD Blog Posts - Day 7

Day 7 of the Sounddreaming CD Concert Countdown. Today I want to follow up on a few things I ran across on Facebook this week that are related to my SoundDreaming work. They are separate articles about two recent archaeological discoveries of artefacts important in the ongoing recovery of woman’s history. The first was the uncovering in the ancient Greek city of Zeugma (southern Turkey), of a mosaic of the nine Muses, whom I spoke about in yesterday’s post, Day 6. The mosaic is a series of portraits, with eight of the nine Muses in a circle, and in the center a larger portrait of the Muse Calliope. I’ve included a link to the article at the bottom of this post. The mosaics are very stunning and so I urge you to check it out.

The second discovery brings to light a controversial subject. The headline reads: “23,000-Year-Old Statuette Found In France Adds To Mysterious Collection Of ‘Venus Figurines”. The article shows an image with four such ‘Venus Figurines’ all lined up, each from a different location. I recognized the one on the far right as being from Malta. (see second link at the bottom of the post)

Part of the controversy is regarding the name given to these figures: Venus. Why Venus? What is the possible connection between these four images from four different places to the Roman goddess of love and beauty? And what is implied here regarding stereotypical views of woman? This morning I read an enlightening comment on that question written by Max Daschu, the creatrix of the Suppressed Histories Archives, an invaluable resource which I highly recommend you checking out–both her website and Facebook page. She states that using this label ‘Venus’ creates “a distorting lens that projects these ancestor Mothers as ‘sex objects’ and is a “modern patriarchal construct”. She continues: “It also uses the interpretatio romana instead of considering them within the ice age foraging societies out of which they arose.” In case you’re wondering, the term Interpretatio Romana refers to the identification of a foreign god as a Roman one.

I don’t want to digress too far away from the main topic of these 13-day countdown posts, and my focus on the pieces and relevant topics connected to the SoundDreaming CD. However, I bring this matter of female figurines into the conversation because during the process of making my recordings at the ancient places in Malta, Crete and Greece, I spent a good deal of time in the museums looking at a wide range of sculptures, female statues and frescoes. Having these images in my imagination helped immensely while I was actually on site and diving into the vocal improvisational process, which eventually led to the pieces on the CD.

I also bring up this naming process of the female images and Max’s point about the patriarchal overlay, because assigning a name is a powerful act of defining and attributing meaning to something. According to the article on this recent discovery of the statue, one of the defining characteristics of a “Venus” figurine is that they have

“similar physical attributes, including curvaceous bodies with large breasts, bottoms, abdomen, hips, and thighs, and usually tapered at the top and bottom”. This definition reminds me of when I was in Malta and I encountered the name that archaeologists had given to the many female figurines found in the temples. They were routinely referred to as the “fat lady” statues. I was quite shocked at the time that such a name would be even considered!! One of my favourite figurines from Malta is known as “The Sleeping Lady”, found in the Hypogeum. Even that name bothered me. Sleeping seemed to be too passive an activity to refer to what the Hypogeum signified to its community: a place for entering into altered states of consciousness through sound vibration (see Day 3 of my Countdown posts for more details on this).

A few years after returning from my first trip to Malta in 2004, I began to write a series of mythical stories about how she, the so-called sleeping lady came into being. I share here the opening paragraph from one of these stories.

I speak to you now in your current time of the 21st millennium. I am known as the Sleeping Lady of Malta. But I am NOT asleep. At this point in time, as you may be aware, I am encased …in glass… banished into a darkened room in an old Baroque-styled home built 400 years ago. Just to be clear–this is NOT what I was made for–to lay here, motionless, surrounded by admiring eyes within this airless coffin. It has happened to so many of us you know– our names too numerous to mention. But… let me tell you how I was made, and for what I came to be known.

After writing this, I realized something was afoot here, and that SHE had much more to say and reveal. A year later during a retreat led by wisewoman Deena Metzger, I was encouraged by Deena to step into a deeper encounter with the music I had composed from my recordings and offer it to the other retreat participants. As I allowed myself to embody more fully the energy of the music, I could feel a strong presence enter into me. The only way I can describe it is that it resembled a shamanic shape shifting experience. I became her, my face changed (as I was told by others) and during that process, her name was revealed: “I am the Sounding Dream Woman” she stated loudly into my ear.

I’m going to conclude today’s post at this point. Tomorrow I will speak more about the Sounding Dream Woman piece that was composed from recordings I made after this experience and during my 2nd trip to Malta in 2007. The photo today is of the original statue found in the Hypogeum, now located in the National Museum of Archaeology  in Valletta, Malta.

Muses Mosaic: http://www.sci-news.com/archaeology/science-mosaics-ancient-city-zeugma-02307.html

Ancient Figurine found in France: http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/23000-year-old-statuette-france-mysterious-collection-venus-020116

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Posted 186 weeks ago
 

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