My message from the Dark Goddess Tarot for today was Baubo the Siren of Earth. Baubo is a bawdy, rowdy and raunchy Greek goddess best known for her role in the Demeter/Persephone myth. Baubo is an old nurse in the house of King Celeus who makes a desolate and mourning Demeter laugh by lifting her dress and showing off her private parts. Now that’s someone willing to do anything for a laugh. Baubo seems to function as comic relief during the Eleusinian mysteries, breaking the emotional tension and stress with a well-placed raunchy maneuver.
This is the second time I’ve pulled Baubo in three days. Clearly she has a message for me that I am either missing or haven’t fully embraced yet. When I consider her legend and look at the image on the card I am struck by the absurdity of it all. We often treat women’s genitals as something either too uncivilized for polite conversation or too gross. Baubo couldn’t care less – she lets it all hang out. So what if she’s described as a crone with withered genitals, she’s showing them off to get a laugh. She refuses to be bound by societal expectations and regulations.
Baubo’s myth brings two things to mind for me. The first is that when things seem darkest and most gut-wrenching, that is when we most need to laugh. Sometimes life is just nonsensical, absurd and ridiculous. If we allow it to these absurdities can easily overwhelm us and suck the joy out of our existence. The best way to counter this is with a good laugh. I know there are days dealing with my in-laws when the very monotony and tediousness of it makes me want to pull my hair out. Baubo reminds me that putting on a raunchy comedy (not some cerebral, satirical movie but a juvenile movie filled with fart jokes and sexual innuendo) can help relieve the stress and strain.
Baubo also reminds that I don’t need to do anything according to societal expectations. I do not care for my in-laws because it’s expected or required. I am doing it because I choose to do it; because I love them and want them to remain at home in familiar surroundings for as long as possible. If laughing at the ridiculousness of what goes on around here and in the world in general helps me maintain my equilibrium then bring on Meatballs, Caddyshack and Grandma’s Boy!!
I realize that “funny” means different things to different people and I make no claims to expertise in this area. I only know what has worked for me when in that kind of place – ridiculous, silly, practically juvenile comedy. When I’m in a dark place certain types of comedy just irritate me because what should be humorous becomes all too commonplace and triggers my cynical side (Bart Simpson I’m looking at you). So the next time you feel frazzled caring for loved ones (infant or elderly), the next time the news has put you in a deep funk, the next time your job has gotten on your last nerve take a page from the Baubo handbook – go rowdy, raunchy and ridiculous to rejuvenate and relieve the stress.
Speaking of fart jokes, a colleague of mine took a sabbatical to study bowling teams (he’s a prof of Sport Management). He studied men’s bowling leagues of all ages from teen to seventies. One of the asides he made was, “the fart jokes never get old.”