For those of you who do not know what a phalli is, here is the definition:
phal·lus, noun, plural phal·li.
1. an image of the male reproductive organ, especially that carried in procession in ancient festivals of Dionysus, or Bacchus, symbolizing the generative power in nature.
2. Anatomy. the penis, the clitoris, or the sexually undifferentiated embryonic organ out of which either of these develops.
Stick with me…
I received an email last week from a friend, NeeNee, who shared the following passage with me from A. J. Jacobs, Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World. Amongst other seemingly random facts, Jacobs learns of ancient fertility rituals of numerous countries and (while going through his own fertility journey with his wife), shares them with his readers.
The excerpt is as follows:
Julie and I have become experts in ancient fertility rites. Every time I read about a preliterate society’s rituals, I tell Julie, who makes a note of them. We know it’s highly unlikely any of these will have any effect, but what’s the harm in trying? Nothing else seems to be working.
So we have adopted a Fertility God of the Week. First came Anahiti, Iranian goddess of fertility and agriculture. Then it was Baal, the god of fertility worshipped by Canaanites. After that, Dumuzi, the Sumerian goddess of fertility and marshes. We don’t actually worship these gods, and we have yet to sacrifice any small mammals to them, or even offer up our ficus tree. But we do like memorizing their names. It gives us something to do.
“Who is it this week?” Julie will ask.
“This week we’ve got good old Earth Mother.”
“Oh, yes. Earth Mother.”
“And unlike other female fertility goddesses, she doesn’t undergo periodic sexual intercourse with a male god.”
I also bought Julie a stuffed rabbit, because in the section on Easter, I learned that rabbits are a symbol of fertility. The Easter bunny was imported from pagan rituals, and did not actually have much interaction with Jesus.
“You know, some cultures believe that flagellation promotes fertility,” I say, as we read in bed one night.
“I’m gonna have to pass on that one.”
“Just one whip?” I say.
I lightly whip her with the comforter, just for luck.
Then today, she sends me another excerpt from the same book:
The men of the Cobeua tribe of Brazil dance around with large artificial phalli, doing violent coitus motions accompanied by loud groans to spread fertility to every corner of the house, jumping among the women, who disperse shrieking and laughing as they knock phalli together.
I know she’s only being half serious when sending me these helpful hints. I mean, who wouldn’t want to picture Greg (naked, obviously) dancing and spreading fertility all around our house while knocking giant dildos? Sounds like a jolly good time if you ask me. But sometimes, especially when you’re trying to get pregnant and it seems like everyone around you is sprouting up babies (to those ladies who are pregnant, please know I love you and your babies dearly. When you have had your baby and are no longer pregnant, you’ll totally understand this post a little better), you just need to laugh about the ridiculousness of these fertility rituals. Elephants, rabbits turtles, I mean, it seems like every animal has some sort of connection to fertility. Can you imagine if I started collecting all these animals and placed them on our bed? It would be the freakiest thing ever…
Photo borrowed from 100 Red Flags.
But NeeNee made me laugh, which is what friend should do when you’re not only going through craptastic week, but also trying to get pregnant. Getting pregnant, I’ll say again, is like my least favorite part of motherhood ever. Sometimes I think I’m going nuts, but then I realize that there are like thousands of tumblrs all about getting pregnant, so clearly, I’m not. You remember when I broke my fertility bracelet? (Thank you for all your kind words). I spoke to a friend, Rock Lobster, shortly after I posted it and she told me that clearly, I’m just so fertile that the bracelet EXPLODED. Similar to when you overcharge a battery. Or was it putting two positive charges together? Crap. I’m so bad at analogies. Did I ever tell you that a palm reader once told me I had the biggest mount of venus she’d ever seen? It’s true. I’m kinda a big deal in fertile land. Oh, don’t confuse mount of venus with mounds of venus. I assure you, they aren’t the same things.
Mount of Venus
I have another friend, Chickadee, who is convinced there should be a reality show about women trying to conceive. I’m pretty sure it would be just like Bridezillas. Can you imagine?
“Honey! Do me now! I’m ovulating RIGHT NOW!”
I may or may not be speaking from personal experience…
But back to being kind… Take the time out to send a friend something to laugh about when they need support. It may seem like a small gesture to you, but I promise, it will mean more to them than you realize. Hugs are comforting, listening is wonderful, but there is something very endearing about the ability to make someone laugh during tough times. Remember, kindness comes in all shapes and sizes.
Love you, NeeNee.