Bridging the Gap: Labrys

This isn’t about a specific woman as such but, in my research into salt rituals, I came across the double headed axe and the interesting contradictions of history and meaning and thought that it would be interesting to share.

The labrys, said to be the symbol of mother goddess, its history and usage is chequered. Minoan labrys has been used as a ritual axe, found in ancient Minoan depictions of the Mother Goddess. It has also been used by the Amazonians on battlefields and symbolises the moon and by the Minoan priestesses to sacrifice bulls.

If you trace the Latin roots of the word labrys back to Labus meaning lips this weapon has had a deep female connection.

During the latter half of the 1930s, it was one of the chief symbols of Greek fascism, but since the 1970s, the Labrys has been used as a symbol of independence and strength by feminists.

In the 1999 a graphic designer was commissioned to create a pride flag to unit lesbians. The use of the labrys, black triangle and lavender background each element having a strong  symbolic grounding rooted in lesbian history. But this design has been misappropriated and hasn’t had its desired impact.

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