2015-02-23

Vagina Dentata

Western civilization is based, until today, on the sacrifice. This is something that can be confirmed simply by the fact that the central symbol of the Christian religion is precisely a sacrifice. But at the bottom of this male sacrifice lies another of an opposed sign: the female sexuality. In fact, another of the central symbols of this religion, the Virgin, precisely represents that: the sacrifice of the female sexuality. But that is not only a metaphor, if you consider that the mythologem of the virgin refers to the goddess of fertility, and that this is nothing but the sublimation of real sacrificial rituals of maidens. In short, the virgin and the sacred prostitute are the two opposing figures of the same sacrificial logic, based on the repression of libidinal instincts, in which civilization in general is based. 

But as Horst Kurnitsky has shown (La estructura libidinal del dinero: contribución a la teoría de la femineidad, 1974) the repression of female sexuality, in the form of the taboo of incest, the exogamy and the sale of women, is not only a central phenomenon in Western culture, but also the background on which commercial practice was built and first money was created. And, it is no coincidence that these practices, at least in the context of the Mediterranean, arose precisely in the context of fertility cults and hieroduly. Nor is it surprising that, worldwide, one of the first coins as such were the cowries. For this ancestral form of currency symbolizes, better than any other, the repression of sexuality, with which wealth has been always identified, in the form of a vagina dentata (toothed vagina). 

In short, to know what the myth of the Christian virgin and the practice of sacred prostitution have in common, can allow us to understand the true significance of the whole complex. Likewise, we should see on the theme of piety the sublimation -- repressed to the deepest bottom of the Western psyche -- of nothing but incestuous desires.  

Image after the Queen of the Night relief (Old Babylon, ca. 1800-1750 b.C.) [pd], Michelangelo Buonarroti's Pietà (1498-1499) [pd] and money cowry [ua].