Some words are ancient and hold a lot of power and when those words are taken and twisted in order to dis-empower, they can cause the greatest of Offence. Down through the ages certain words have been taken and their true meaning manipulated in order to oppress others.
The sound Cu, Ku, Qu and Coo are very feminine sounds that predate written language and which are very relevant to the word that I wish to discuss today. If you come from an english speaking country this word can be seen as very derogatory, but when you look into the history of it, you will discover how powerful it actually is.
The word is CUNT. A word that is used to offend others and that from the 15th century was banned in ever written form.
But what happens when you actually say that word out loud. I personally have never had a problem with it and take no offensive in being called one, unless of course it is being used in the wrong context.
Cunt does mean the whole of the female genitalia. Vagina on the otherhand only represents the birth canal and translates as Sheath, which is what is used to hold a sword. So no thank you, I do not have a vagina, not with that meaning anyway. It is far more important and powerful, than a sheath of sorts.
When I say the word cunt, I can feel it resonate deep inside of me, vagina, well that word just sits very loosely with me. The word cunt actually derives from Kunti or Cunti who was a Hindu Goddess that was written about in the Mahabharata a historical Hindu text, which is believed to have been written between 200 and 400 BC. Goddess Kunti represented the beauty and power that is a part of the feminine.
In Sumeria, (what was once ancient Iraq), the term Cunciform was the earliest form of writing which translates as ‘the sign of the cunta’ or ‘queen who invented writing’.
In Northern Africa there was a Goddess called Kunda and her tribe where the Kunda's, who still exist today.
It seems that throughout much of the world the names of Goddesses which represent fertility are drawn from symbols and words that derive from the words vulva, and cunt.
In Ireland we have the Sheela Na Gig's who represent the crone,the goddess of death and Rebirth. She is always depicted squating with her hands exposing her Cunt. The part of a female body that we have all been born through.
Why would this word be seen as one of the most offensive in the world, when it represents where all life is birthed from. It is a place of power and reference. It is a word that is used right around the world. Kunta is the old norse word for cunt. Cunnus is the latin word for Vulva, Con in French, Cuni in Hugarian, Cono in Spanish. All this sounds are all quintessential feminine in nature.
For a few years now I have been organizing CuntCraft workshops. There were created by my wonderful Friend Colette who passed away 2 years ago. She created them as a way to help break down the barriers that many women have when it comes to their sexuality and also to help reclaim the word cunt. She was a women’s health researcher, an activist and an artist. I attended one of her last workshops and asked if I could bring them to my community to share with other women.
Within these workshops we make cunts out of recycled materials and talk openly about her bodies and our relationship with our cunts. It is so liberating and something that I love to host.
Words are powerful, so powerful. Indeed they become powerful when we give them power, but some, some are ancient an there sounds resonant deeply within us. Cunt is one of those words for me.
Here was a word that represented the power that women held, indeed in her book The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, Barbara Walker, talks about the word 'cunctipotent’ which means all powerful. But now that word, brings shame to many people and it is often decribed as the most offensive things to be called.
When Christianity came to Europe they demonized the word, in an attempt to disempower women. They introduced a world were birth was seen as sinful, (being born is the original sin) and where women were expected to be purified 40 days after birthing their babies. Candlemas which is a religious holiday held on the 2nd of February celebrates the purification of the Virgin Mary. Pre christianity it is recognised as Imbolc, a time of reawakening and a celebration of fertility and rebirth. A celebration of the feminine energies.
All photos are from CuntCraft Workshops I have held.