Thursday, 2 July 2020

Mistress of the house

Early Neolithic figurines from Macedonia depicting anthropomorphised house and bread oven...They are symbolically equating Woman, Mistress of the house, with the house and the bread oven...






This symbolism is still found in Balkan Slavic folklore where both the house and bread oven are exclusive domains of the Mistress of the house, the oldest woman in the house...

In Serbia we have two very interesting proverbs equating the woman with the house (home):

"Ne stoji kuća na zemlji nego na ženi" - The house doesn't stand on the ground but on the woman

"Gde nije žene tu nije ni kuće" - where there is no woman, there is no house

Original primitive shelters were made by leaning single supporting beam against a tree and then creating a roof by piling twigs, branches and fallen leaves against it. You can see that the most important part of this construction is the main roof supporting beam...


This shelter eventually became house roof, when horizontal walls were added to create more space in the shelter. But the roof is still the most important part of the house, because it turns enclosure into a shelter...This is artist depiction of a neolithic house...


In Slavic houses this horizontal beam that supports the roof sides, is called "Baba" (Grandmother,)...Basically without this beam there is not house...The vertical beam which supports it, which was originally a tree trunk in primitive shelters, is called "Djed" (Grandfather)...



You can read more about this symbolic link between the house and the woman (mistress) of the house in  my post "Baba, the main beam that supports the house"... 

The symbolic link between the woman and the bread oven is also preserved in Balkan Slavic folklore. This is the traditional earthen bread oven from Serbia. The design hasn't changed since Neolithic and it is in Serbia called "Baba" (Grandmother). More in my post "Baba, earthen bread oven"...


The woman of the house is also by Balkan Slavs seen as the mistress of the fire hearth. 


She is "Hestia" and "Vesta" and "The Witch which stirs the cauldron"...You can read more about this in my post "Fire goddess"...

Among Balkan Slavs, the arrival of a daughter in law (new woman in the house) to her husband's house (her new house), was accompanied by special rituals in which her husband's mother (the woman of the house) gave her access to the house and the hearth...

You can read more about this in my post "Bride and the hearth"

But this is the best thing: 

This is a Neolithic talisman (?) in a shape of a woman giving birth, Cerje - Govrlevo, Makedonija, 7th millennium BC...


In the same culture we find these house altars


They equate woman, the birth giver, with the house, the family...

You can read more about this in my post "Birth giver"

Interestingly, until recently, in Makedonija, there was a ritual in which bride and groom entered the groom's house for the first time between the legs of the mother in law who stood on two chairs...This equated the Mother (Baba means grandmother, mother, birth giver) with the House and the Family...


8000 years of cultural continuity preserved by illiterate Balkan (Slavic) peasants?

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