The Laughter at the Roots of me: Baubo

Brodie LeBlanc says, “I’d personally like to know if there are particular deities (and which ones) you are connected with.”

All right, I’m not gonna hold back. The first deity who comes to mind for me is Baubo.

I first “met” Baubo within the pages of Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.
For me, Baubo is the goddess of the belly laugh, of bawdy jokes, and of feeling comfortable in your own skin.
Estes illustrates her beautifully in this way. I recommend that book for anyone who loves folklore, as well as anyone who wants to deepen their understanding of their wild side, regardless of gender.

Baubo’s origins are murky. Any girl’s story suffers from gossip and hearsay, especially when her story lasts a long time. Baubo’s story is one of the oldest. She may be the first Sacred Fool that we have. We think that she predates the Greek myths entirely. She makes her own appearance in them, in the Eleusinian Mysteries, saving Demeter from her own grief with a little bit of bawdy honesty. She also appears in the Egyptian pantheon, in the story of Isis and Osiris, again as a fearless, honest, and strong balm for grief- she lifts her skirt and makes Isis laugh again. The same thing happens in the story of Amaterasu and Uzume. 🙂

My favorite spiritual teachers have all tapped Baubo’s wisdom shamelessly, though without necessarily flashing anyone. Especially Mama Dragon. I didn’t know Baubo’s name yet, when I first saw her dancing in my mentor’s eyes. But I’m certain now that she was present at every one of Trudy’s rituals I attended. Especially the Looney Tunes rituals. You bet your butt.

These days Baubo is known as a goddess of humor, and the divine example of the power women hold in our bellies.

These days we are urged as women to adhere to a flat belly ideal. All of our many delicious curves are glorified in the public eye, save that one. What’s wrong with this picture..?
I’m convinced that if society and the media suddenly decide that curvy bellies are sexy again, the ideal and the social pressure will shift without apology or explanation.

I look forward to the day when being healthy and being beautiful are qualities that aren’t painted into just one shape. Because in real life, being healthy and being beautiful are qualities that appear in All Sorts of people, in All Sorts of shapes.

Baubo is the goddess I turn to when I need to be reminded that, even at my lowest, I am powerful. Just as I am. I don’t always remember to thank her every day, but she’s there.
I feel her when I dance with a grin on my face. I feel her when I feel at my most beautiful, strong, and sexy. And when I don’t feel at my most beautiful, I know that I can always go somewhere quiet, close my eyes, and imagine putting my head in her lap.
Or imagine her raising her eyebrows at me, and giving me that Look with a smile, that says, “honey child, what have I told you? You GOT this.”

Baubo is beauty in the wild, as it were. She gives me the courage to keep being myself, no matter what I look like on any given day. She reminds me that beauty has more than one flavor, and she helps me get better at seeing it- in myself, in others, in events and words and deeds as well as faces.
Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes I have to go and sit at her feet for a while and get schooled some more.
Some days I see her power clearly in the mirror, and Aphrodite smiles back at me as well. Two different bottomless wells of beauty and power, hand in hand.
Some days I see her power clearly in the faces and actions of my dearest friends, and it lifts me up.

And she’s around. For sure. There are belly dance troupes named after her, for starters. Good call, and more power to ’em.

Baubo is the face of what it’s like to Know in the center of yourself, in your center of gravity, that you’ve got power and strength, right there, that you can draw upon any time you need it, and that it’ll always be there. She is the force behind “dance like nobody’s watching”, or one of them anyway.
And some would have us believe that it’s a Siren aspect of Baubo on the Starbucks logo, tails held high, vulva just out of frame. 🙂

Baubo is at the root of my confidence. She is acceptance of who you are, unrepentant mirth, and sacred foolery at its most pure. She is a tall drink of maturity paired with sexiness, without a drop of boredom.  She is the Crone, the Sacred Fool, and the Sacred Feminine all together. She is Mama, Sister, Snarky Friend, and Reality. She is power, gorgeousness, and belly laughs. She’s equally at home in sequins and frills, or mud and fresh air. She’s with me when I turn on the sexiness on stage. She’s with me when I work and when I play. She’s with me at dance class, at festival, and in the bedroom. And I’m so glad to know her.


More awesome Baubo stuff online can be found here and here.  I encourage you to do your own search if you’d like to find out more about her.