Life is a never ending circle of energy: life, death and rebirth. This concept of the circle of life accompanied Neolithic European culture roughly from 7000 BCE until the beginning of the Bronze Age – 17000 BCE. This is when life on Earth was lived in peace according to matriarchal values wherein both sexes were equal (gylany from gy – woman and an –man) until the appearance of the Indo-Europeans who eventually brought about the concept of war, competition and division of society.
‘L-Imlejqa’ is set in the matriarchal society in which a mother figure is situated at its fore. Because of her power of life giving she possesses divine qualities which ultimately result in associating her with a ‘higher’ being, supernatural, goddess. The goddess of fertility which ‘rules’ the life on Earth because she creates new life. However, a woman is not a goddess herself, but her natural counterpart, the Earth – the Mother Nature which encompasses all living beings, the sea, the sun, the night... Due to the human skill it was possible to project the Mother Nature's 'concept' onto figurines of gods and goddesses such as the animal kingdom in the image of their various attributions, e.g.: bear as representation of solicitude, bull for his characteristics of strenght, snake for his whirling appearance and dynamic motion was regarded as a symbol of life energy and regeneration, not an evil creature!
This system represents cyclical time, for us now, mythical time in which the main theme of Goddess symbolism is the mystery of birth and death and the renewal of life on Earth and in the whole cosmos. Marija Gimbutas points out that the Goddess significance is reborn because her symbolism survived in art and literature, powerful motifs and myths, and in archetypes which essentially form our collective unconscious (Jungian psychology).
This is how the concept of the goddess with her main functions of life, death and regeneration was born. The power of her motifs and myths are vividly present on the Maltese Islands either in a physical image of herself – the megalithic temples depict a corpulent women body when looking from above or in a symbolic manifestations presented in spirals (being portrayed as an ornament on the Maltese balconies) as well as in pomegranate known to be the fruit of fertility.
Interestingly, my husband noticed that when a pomegranate is cut in half, we can see a structure consisting of a sort of white membrane covering little fruits. The structure resembles the placenta (an organ that develops in the uterus during pregnancy). Is it a coincidence that both structures - in the female and in the fruit body are there to primarily nutrient and protect? Isn't just a perfect example of how closely we are related to nature?
Gimbutas, Marija. 1974. The gods and goddess of Old Europe, 7000 to 3500 BC: myths, legends and cult images (London: Thames & Hudson)
Jung, Carl Gustav. 1969. The archetypes and the Collective Unconscious (New York: Princeton University Press)
The sculptures 'Female figure' are made by Gabriel Caruana in 1967 (private collection).