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Dove & The White Goddess

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tim owen

Joined: 14 Jul 2003
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2003 2:52 pm    Post subject: Dove & The White Goddess Reply with quote


I'm new here, just read The White Goddess, and am fascinated. Having said that, it's quite heavy going and I'm sure my eyes were reading without actually taking some things in ... when I'd finished it, I thought of the soap brand Dove, which is a brand that people seem to have real, instinctive attachment to. I've worked on it a few times, and it's really quite unique in it's power - a new shampoo launch took 11% of the Uk shampoo market last year. In it's symbolism it uses the dove, obviously, but more importantly, a visual motif of milk. It's curvy, maternal, simple, etc. Am I right in thinking there could be a connection with the Goddess? And is there anything to support the idea that Graves poetic system went beyond the written word, into the world of pictures, shapes, colours etc.

Ideas, thoughts would be appreciated.



ps. sorry if I've trodden in branding and walked over the website!
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Mark Carter

Joined: 01 Jun 2002
Posts: 28
Location: Bloomington, IL, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2003 3:49 pm    Post subject: Just a quick reply... Reply with quote

Hello Tim,

Your post brings up an interesting point. I'm sure there was no intentional link between products like Dove soap and TWG, but there is clearly a connection between colors, shapes and forms that we enjoy and the marketing of things like soap. Certianly, a soap (or any product) that produces pleasant mental images is going to sell better than one that doesn't. As an example, consider this...would Dove sell better if instead of being white, curved, and well scented it was instead steel grey, shaped like a grenade, and smelled like burning tires? Of course, nobody would buy a soap with those traits. Graves's white goddess is a 3X goddess but we tend to think of her mainly as the mother or maiden and link her to images of the loving female. We think of pale white skin, perfect white teeth, a curved figure and scented hair.....and then the people in the research and development department of all the major soap and shampoo companies strive to package their products in a way that reminds us of those happy images. Developing any product, no matter how mundane, requires a little artistic vision and an understanding of our reactions to certain visual images. Nor did Graves create these images or our reactions to them. These sort of tricks have been going on since the dawn of time and companies have been using comforting images to sell their products long before TWG was published.
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Joined: 25 Oct 2003
Posts: 8
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2003 7:03 am    Post subject: Colour symbolism from Graves Reply with quote

Graves gives the colours white, red, and black as the colours symbolic of the moon goddess. These are moon colours because the full moon is white; the moon appears red in certain atmospheric conditions and solar eclipses, and black just before the new moon. In occult tradition, white symbolises the goddess as Spring; red is Aphrodite, and black the death aspect of the goddess, say Atropos (the third of the Fates). In celtic lore, white symbolises all three as in Graves'
Whose broad high brow was white as any leper's,
Whose eyes were blue, with rowan-berry lips,
With hair curled honey-coloured to white hips.

Blue and green (sea colours) relate to the goddess Venus as queen of the sea.
Graves also gives silver (moon colour) vs the gold of the sun-god.

Doves were specific symbols of Venus (or Aphrodite), as the love goddess,
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Joined: 05 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 11:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Colour symbolism from Graves Reply with quote

David_Hannaford wrote:
Doves were specific symbols of Venus (or Aphrodite), as the love goddess,

Although doves came to be regarded as a symbol of the love aspect of the Goddess, their original assocation was with the Great Goddess as universal creatrix such as Eurynome, Nammu/Tiamat or Ilmatar.

The Love Goddess as a separate deity was a much later phenomenon. Originally she was the Goddess of Love and Battle, witness Inanna/Ishtar > Anath/Astarte.

She also appeared as the Three Goddesses, or the Red Goddess in triad, in the theme of the Judgement of Paris : Athene (Battle), Hera (Power/Dominion), Aphrodite (Love) as the Three Graces or the Nymph Triad.

Her corresponding triad in Middle Eastern cultures would have been the triad : Anath/Astarte/Qadesh who worship was also adopted in Egypt during the New Kingdom.

The Judgement of Paris (as Jack Lindsay has shown in his book "Helen of Troy : Woman and Goddess") was, in effect, an attack on the Goddess traditions and a minimisation of both the Goddess and the role of women who henceforth had to choose between being one of the sub-aspects of the Goddess in her red aspect.

Most of the Greek temples of Aphrodite were established by the Phoenicians as temples of Astarte : Eryx on Sicily and Paphos to name two. The name Aphrodite was originally created as an attempt to pronounce her Phoenician name and there were several variants before the name Aphrodite was settled on and a suitable mythic explanation was then provided to tidy up loose ends.

In the Chalcolithic Period, the Great Goddess as Creatrix is called by academics "The Bird and Serpent Goddess" because of her iconographical associations with birds (particularly doves) and serpents (or "dragons"). See the works of Marija Gimbutas if you wish to explore further.
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