Saturday, February 17, 2018

Mata Hari: The Snake Goddess of Ubaid

Image from on the front cover of the book by Charles S. Heymans "La Vraie Mata Hari," Paris, 1930

Mata Hari: the image above is her. Absolutely, totally her. I don't know who made it - there is no trace of an attribution in Heymans' book. But whoever drew that image caught the very soul of Mata Hari: the snake goddess.

I already wrote something about the strange story of women looking like snakes in art. From the remote times of Ubaid, even before the Sumerian lowered their black haired heads to work the fertile soil of the valleys beyond the two rivers, the snake-eyed goddess was there.

And, yes, whoever draw her for the front cover of that awful book caught this aspect of her: in France her dances were said to be "souple and serpentesque" - soft and snake-like. The Goddesses of Ubaid had reincarnated in a Dutch girl, thousands of years after Ubaid and Sumer had turned to dust,

Note how the drawing  is teeming with significance and symbols. Look at her expression -- at those giant, almond-shaped eyes. Pensive, sad, deep, hypnotic, magnetic, bewitching. It is her - it is the eye of Horus, the eye of Wadjet, the Egyptian Cobra Goddess.

Note also the composition, with the execution on the left. In this scene, there is everything you can find in the Sumerian myth of Inanna and in many more ancient myths. Inanna dies in the underworld, then she is resurrected and sent back to the world of the living. The moon goddess is sacrificed and is reborn. She turns herself into the sun goddess and back. Which is the meaning of Mata Hari's snake-like dance.



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