Women, Venus and Magic

"It is fascinating to observe that the power shift from female to male was reflected in virtually all the ancient mythologies, as every Mother Goddess, one after the other, was deposed. This occurred after the actual subordination of mortal women, and the pattern was roughly the same. At first, an earth-centered Mother Goddess was pre-eminent. She created the world and had children as she pleased (by parthogenesis, as it were - no male needed.) Next, one of her male children was promoted to lover-consort, and she eventually shared her power with him. His identity conflated with that of a creator-sky god. In the ensuing power struggle between him and the goddess, he won, and he ruled, initially, with a whole galaxy of gods. She was demoted." - Shari L. Thurer

Aison, Aphrodite and Adonis lekythos, ca. 410 BCE.











Prehistoric humans employed a diverse range of materials and techniques while creating what we now call "art."
They drew and painted
Bison from the Altamira Cave, Spain, c. 15,000 - 10,000 BCE.










utilizing both abstract & realistic imagery.
Shaft of the Dead Man
Lascaux Cave, France
, c. 19,000 BCE.










They often stamped
Palm dots, Chauvet Cave, ca. 30,000 - 28,000 BCE.










and stenciled.
Hand stencil from Chauvet Cave, France, c. 28,000 BCE.











They made subtractive sculpture
Engraved Ochre
Engraved Ochre from Blombos Cave, South Africa.
c. 75,000 BCE.  Length 4".











additive sculpture,
Neolithic Chinese Pot  c. 3500 BCE.











and even installation art!
Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England, c. 2000 BCE.











Given this diversity, why have we assumed for so long that only prehistoric men made art?


Joseph S. Venus, Artisans of the Rock, contemporary.
Gravettian women and interior
What we commonly imagine
Why not this as well?


More information on the possible roles of women in prehistoric cultures











Mesopotamian Vessel  c. 4500 - 4,000 BCE
Pomo Treasure basket, before 1837.











Venus or Woman of Willendorf,  25,000 – 20,000 BCE. 4 3/8” high. 


More on the discovery and object






















Why would a prehistoric person (of any gender) have taken the time to make this?

Why then, carry the object?

Venus or Woman of Willendorf,  25,000 – 20,000 BCE. 4 3/8” high. 











Possible Moravian Hairstyles











Venus of Hohle Fels
Venus of Hohle Fels (Germany)c. 35,000 BCE











Womanly form with Bison, Chauvet Cave

Werner Herzog, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, 2010.

42:30 and 1:07:20











Woman of Çatalhöyük, c. 6000 BCE.











Artist's rendering of Çatalhöyük, Anatolia (present-day Turkey), ca. 6500 - 5500 BCE.
Restored interior of typical Çatalhöyük dwelling











Re-constructed interior shrine with Bucrania at Çatalhöyük











Humans were rarely depicted in paleolithic cave paintings, but we've found many statues of women
around the world from the neolithic to the ancient periods.  Why?
The Venus Figurines
More on "Venus Figurines"

Venus of Hohle Fels, 40,000 – 33,000 BCE.
Female Figure found at Çatalhöyük, c. 6000 BCE.











Why Venus?

Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C.