I kind of want to hang out with a racket of banshees. Sounds like fun.
For our Disappearance issue, here is today’s forgotten goddess from a lost civilization.
Colel Cab is the Mayan goddess of bees.
Colel Cab is related to the Moon, specifically with its waning aspect. This and her underground dwelling have led many to believe she was a crone goddess. She is also considered to be just one aspect of a larger feminine goddess, much like the triple goddesses of Celtic and Greek mythology.
Some beekeepers do still pray to Colel Cab for protection and health of their hives, as she’s been degraded from powerful feminine force to a kind of patron saint.
She has a male counterpart, the bee god Ah-Muzen-Cab, and he has the most depressing Wikipedia page ever.
He is possibly the same figure as “the Descending God” or “the Diving God” and is consistently depicted upside-down. The Temple of the Descending God is located in Tulum. He also makes an appearance in the popular MOBA, Smite (video game).
But in many cultures, the bee is a sign of wisdom and most likely associated with the feminine as there are bee goddess in almost every culture.
Illustrator and graphic designer Ann Shen’s drawings of bad girls throughout history. (Though “badass” is more appropriate than “bad,” strictly scientifically speaking.)
For some substantiation on the badassery of the above, see Amelia Earhart on marriage, Ada Lovelace on science and spirituality, Nellie Bly’s groundbreaking journalistic feistiness, and Eleanor Roosevelt on happiness and conformity and her controversial love letters to Lorena Hickok.
This would be a pretty great “pick five historical people to have dinner with” dinner.
Imperato, Ferrante, 1550-1625. Dell’ historia naturale, 1599.
Houghton Library, Harvard University
I have a great fondness for a ceiling crocodile.
Catherine de Medici had seven of them.
Author, historian, poet, philosopher
Born 1364 or 1365 – Died 1430 (age 65 - 66)
Claim to fame: An advocate for women’s education, Christine is the first European woman known to have made her living as a writer.
Born the eldest child of the personal physician to King Charles V of France, Christine was well educated and benefited from access to the King’s vast library.
Christine was married at 15 and widowed just 10 years later. After her husband’s death, she turned to writing to support herself and her family, serving as a court writer for several dukes as well as Charles VI of France.
Her 1405 book, ‘La Cité des Dames’ (‘Book of the City of Ladies’), catalogued female accomplishment and helped establish her popularity. This book is considered by many as the inaugural text in the field now known as women’s studies.
Christine completed forty-one works during her career. Her work contradicted negative female stereotypes and countered unjust slander of women within other literary texts. She argued that women have the same aptitudes as men and thus the right to the same education. Christine’s influence in the otherwise male-dominated field of rhetorical discourse lead Simone de Beauvoir to acknowledge her as the first woman to “take up her pen in defence of her sex”.
She was also an advocate for Joan of Arc.
The literature: Richard Adams’ WATERSHIP DOWN
The libation: We here at Proof Reading believe that classics should never, ever be boring. Watership Down has certainly never run that risk - a violent epic about politics and religion among rabbits is a perennial crowd-pleaser, as you might expect - and so we’re pairing it with a classic dry martini, with a botanic twist.
Combine 2.5oz dry gin and .5oz dry vermouth in a shaker with ice, shake, and strain into a martini glass. From your garden, pluck a couple chive blossoms. Rinse them and pat dry gently, then set them adrift on your martini. After the drink is gone, you’ll have a lovely boozy/savory snack, redolent of the countryside on a late spring day.
One more suggestion, if we may - if you plan on having more than one, eat something substantial. No rabbit food.
Photo © Mama
Elaine Stritch rests her bike, reads a note, almost causes a riot.
NEW YORK, June 26—TOLD TO KEEP HER SHIRT ON – Blonde Elaine Stritch, understudy to Ethel Merman in the Broadway hit, “Call Me Madam,” wears halter and shorts which cause her arrest in Central Park. Today she was fined $1 and told by Magistrate Emilio Jones, “A beautiful girl like you could cause a small riot and cause a large crowd to collect by removing your shirt.” “Well,” she replied, “I was there all day and nothing happened.” (AP, 1951)
An inspiration to aspiring dames, broads and good-time girls everywhere. RIP, Ms Stritch.
She was phenomenal.
I love how strong and wild they look.
Minor White believed that photography has the potential to spiritually transform the viewer as well as the practitioner. I can attest to that because it happened to me a long, long time ago.
Through October 18: Minor White: Manifestations of the Spirit
Windowsill Daydreaming, Rochester, New York, 1958, Minor White. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2013.44.2. Purchased in part with funds provided by Daniel Greenberg, Susan Steinhauser, and the Greenberg Foundation.
Road and Poplar Trees in the Vicinity of Naples, New York, 1955, Minor White.
Both images reproduced with permission of the Minor White Archive, Princeton University Art Museum. © Trustees of Princeton University
Well, these are stunning.