She observes in stillness, but her head is tilted to the side, a state of curiosity in her witnessing so that I am not uncomfortable with a confrontational gaze, not unnerved by too intense a watchfulness.
She listens with a sweet sort of inclined attention, with a flow to her posture that welcomes story and presence without the intimidation her size might otherwise instill upon my essential timidity. I am a mouse before her giantess nature of peace and communion in the wilderness in which we both live.
She is ancient angelic behemoth, swaying to celestial harp and earthly rhythmic drum, composing songs of pulsing heartbeat and twinkling embrace.
She is the songstress of the land – her sister of ocean is whale. Do they sing to each other in circumference, their vibrational melodies meeting in the air that both breathe?
She speaks through the text of landscape, through feet that sense sound, through a long snake-like trunk that touches and caresses.
She has a message for me; she holds healing and wisdom and beauty so easily balanced.
She is listening to me, hearing me into a more powerful presence.
She removes obstacles and blockages that inhibit creativity and flow.
She is ancient wisdom.
My fascination for this sculpture was a mystery. I’ve rarely been drawn to the elephant as a spirit guide though I admire them as I do all creatures. When women in Circle were speaking of how important the elephant was to them, I couldn’t relate. When Ayurveda classmates were embracing Ganesh, I felt only slightly drawn. But when I saw this large sculpted elephantine figure carved out of dark green serpentine stone, I was captivated, our spiritual convergence at hand.
As I had done two years ago with an African figurine (both were found at the Tucson Gem Show), I first turned to a book* for a name. As soon as I saw the name and its short description as “Moon goddess and creator of all things,” it felt right.
I call her Mawu.**
She came from Zimbabwe.
As I sit with her, as I research her, evidence linking us is revealed.
The blend of sculpting an elephant from serpentine stone is a blessing, the properties of each an invocation upon the other, stone and symbol further stabilized and amplified by the sacred exaltation of Mawu.
Mawu is a Creation Goddess whose fecund energy interconnects with those of the elephant’s longevity and serpentine’s property of cellular regeneration.
Mawu’s symbols of seed and clay align with the elephant’s affinity to the earth, as a grounded and grounding Being, and with serpentine stone’s ability to assist in healing the earth through it’s association with elemental beings.
Mawu, “after creating the earth and all life and everything else on it, She became concerned that it might be too heavy, so She asked the primeval serpent, Aido Hwedo, to curl up beneath the earth and thrust it up in the sky.” In this respect, she is aligned with serpentine stone in its ability to work with the powers of Snake.
Mawu, a lunar goddess, “arrives on an elephant’s back, expectant with spring’s creative energy.” Within this mythology, she is clearly affiliated with the strength and feminine powers of Elephant.
Of particular interest to me, as I continue seeking ways to adjust to Desert Fire, is that Mawu “is the one who brings the cool nights to the hot African world.” This attribute is exceedingly welcome!
All three – Mawu, Elephant, and Serpentine – impart the quality of Wisdom.
There are many more healing and supportive qualities I need that flow between this symbolic and energetic representation of Goddess, animal, and stone. The above are just a few.
* Conway, D.J. The Ancient & Shining Ones: World Myth, Magic & Religion.
** Now, a sculpture from South Africa (Zimbabwe) carries the name of a West African (Benin) Goddess. The name Mawu is from myths told by people in the former Kingdom of Dahomey, now known as the Country of Benin, in West Africa. Benin borders Bekina Faso, which is where the sculptor who made my bronze figurine lives.