The source of all human life is female. Sure, the lords of creation have spent thousands of years constructing an entire philosophical and theological arsenal of arguments to obscure this simple fact or to increase their own significance. But the fact remains: it’s women who bear children. And their fertility is the basis for the continued existence of mankind. So it’s no wonder that female fertility is at the heart of all cultures’ myths of origin.
Countless beliefs surrounded the female cycle, the secret of conception and the mysteries of pregnancy in early, pre-scientific societies. A magical, spiritual understanding of the world framed analogies between nature in general and femininity in particular. Spring, specifically, was the season when countless rituals celebrating the relationship between the awakening of nature and femininity were performed. The great monotheistic religions adopted great parts of this original world view and reshaped it to fit their male and patriarchal theology.
Across time and space, the new edition of the PSALM festival traces the moments that celebrated and ritualised female fertility. The festival programme links Venus, the antique goddess of love, with the immaculate conception of Mary and creates bridges between South African fertility myths, the classical Indian temple dance and the celebrations for the birth of an heir to the Habsburg throne.