Friday 17 April 2009

The Mystery of the Snail Goddess

When you buy a box of assorted greeting cards, there's always one that has the kind of picture you don't feel you can send to anyone - like this naked woman lying in a rain-drenched leaf bed, covered in snails.

Yet this lonely and slightly sad looking lady is, in fact, a goddess. And, because after days of rain this month my garden seems over-run with snails, I have chosen her as The Bad Witch's Goddess of the Week.

She came into my life about five years ago - one of a set of otherwise delightful images of Goddesses in a box of notecards called just that - Goddesses.

All the illustrations are by Japanese artist Mayumi Oda, but neither the cards nor the box they came in give the goddesses' names and I'm not sufficiently familiar with Japanese deities to recognise them.

The snail lady seems to me to suggest sexuality - in a kind of wet and slimy way - so perhaps she is a fertility deity.

According to a note on the box, the pictures all originally appeared in a book entitled I Opened the Gate, Laughing: An Inner Journey, which looks a lovely book. It isn't one I own, but I think I'm going to be adding it to my wish list soon. Maybe it will help me solve the Mystery of the Snail Goddess.

In the meantime, if anyone reading A Bad Witch's Blog thinks they can identify her - do let me know by leaving a comment below.

I Opened the Gate, Laughing: An Inner Journey, by Mayumi Oda, costs £2.45 through Amazon. Goddesses Deluxe Notecards, featuring illustrations by Mayumi Oda are also available through Amazon.


Anonymous said...

I can't identify your snail goddess--but what an intriguing image for a card. Does make you wonder about the inspiration.

You reminded me of the aquarium I have at home. It contains a snail with a golden shell, and I'm fascinated with this creature. I find pleasure in simply sitting and watching the snail go about its business. One day it slithered to the top of the plastic cave in the tank and merrily took a "dive." I suspect the snail didn't intend for this to happen but it was funny to imagine that this is what snails do for fun!

Badwitch said...

I find snails quite fascinating too - for some reason I like them much more than slugs, and I suspect it is because of their shells. And I always quite liked Brian the Snail from the Magic Roundabout!

Anonymous said...

I actually own a signed and number copy of Mayumi Oda's print "Garden in the Rain." Mayumi (when she lived in the SF Bay Area) told me she made this to reconcile her dislike of snails with her love of gardening. This was her way of apologizing to the snails. I love the print.

Badwitch said...

Thanks very much for explaining the msytery of the snail goddess!

G-Luv said...

I own this original print of this godess and snail, that I purchased from Mayumi at her house in Marin. I am interested in selling it. Let me know if you or anyone are interested! I own several of her prints and don't have room for them all!

Badwitch said...

G-Luv - I don't have space for more pictures on my walls at the moment, but thanks for mentioning it.

Unknown said...

Sazae oni may be what you're looking for here! Very cool looking card.