Thirsty for a Fresh Take on All Things True Blood?

WELCOME! Thirsty for a fresh take on all things True Blood? Pull up a virtual barstool at the Pierced Pomegranate Tavern where sisters Rachel and Rebecca are serving up juicy feminist analysis with a twist and opening a vein of thoughtful sociocultural dialogue on HBO's hit series.

Like the epic literary salons of eras past - theaters for conversation and debate which were, incidentally, started and run by women; where the spirited debate about the issues of the day ran as copiously as the actual spirits did - but updated for the digital age, the Pierced Pomegranate Tavern is a fun forum for exploring questions ripe for discourse about the human condition & today's most crucial social issues through the medium of True Blood.

Your salonnières are not peddling liquor per se, but they are offering up new and alternative ideas informed by such diverse influences as pop culture, art, music, cultural history, Goddess studies, transformative theory, literature and poetry, and archaeomythology, filtered through the sieve of their own lived experiences as feminist women of a particular age, background, and culture.

This is a space where you - patrons and passersby alike - can view and engage with these perspectives through the lens of True Blood and contribute your own thoughts. So, no matter if you're a Truebie or a more casual viewer of True Blood, or your drink of choice is a pomegranate martini - one of Rachel's favorite cocktails to drink and Rebecca's to mix - an herbal tea, a frothy double mocha latte, or a can of Fresca (wink, wink) you're invited to join the conversation on the show's complexities in a way that can spark transformation.

Hopefully you'll find something to sink your teeth...err...straw, into! PLEASE ENJOY RESPONSIBLY ;-)


The Pierced Pomegranate Tavern is dedicated to exploring social issues and more through the lens of True Blood. As such, you may encounter:

related to the often provocative and adult themes presented by the show

If you choose to enter and participate in this virtual salon, please be prepared to do so in a thoughtful, respectful, and mature fashion with the above in mind. Click here to check out our comment policy. Thanks!


No copyright infringement is intended, all rights to True Blood belong to HBO, credit is ascribed to sites where images appearing here were originally found.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Allusions to the Feminine in Season 4 of True Blood, OR, Has the Season of the Witch Brought Compelling, Multidimensional Female Characters to the Screen?

And since we're talking about the Season of the Witch, I've noticed that the past five episodes have been rich with to the allusions to the Feminine.

For example:

Moon Goddess Emporium
The sacred, feminine-feeling space Marnie and her eclectic circle of Wiccans call their own.

This newly-introduced character's name is evocative of the elusive, watery moon-governed depths associated with the Feminine.

Sookie's being gone for thirteen months, the number of moon cycles in a solar year.

As The Heart of the Goddess: Art, Myth and Meditations of the World's Sacred Feminine Hallie Iglehart Austen (1990) writes, The Great Goddess of Laussel (left) points to her belly with left hand, and in her right she holds a horned crescent notched with thirteen lines, representing the ancient honoring of the mysteries of the female body. In this image is reflected the waxing and waning of the moon parallelled by the ebb and flow of menstrual blood; it embodies the wisdom of non-linear, cyclic time - spiraling eternal growth.

According to Austen, in the French limestone cave where this relief is found, "The soot of countless fires has darkened the ceilings, and the floors have been beaten down by many feet" (1990, p. 6). Indeed, She once pervaded.

On her gorgeous website The Suppressed Histories Archives, Max Dashu explains that rock murals, clay and bronze pots, and countless figurines recovered from archaeological sites worldwide show that in the earliest cultures, representations of humans were almost exclusively female.

These recurring signs reflect spiritual concerns and ritual & everyday life of the people who created them.

Commonalities recur in artifacts of diverse archaic cultures; same patterns appear in more recent indigenous societies in the Americas, Africa, parts of Asia. Austen (1990) writes that for 25,000 years the female body was revered as sacred. The hold of the Goddess may go back much farther.

According to Ward (2006) some of the earliest work of human art in existence consists of female figures dating to at least a quarter million years old.

For example, the Berekhat Ram Figurine, a small yellowish-brown pebble the size of a jellybean (left) found in the Golan Heights in 1981, is dated to approximately 233,000 B.C.E. - a time when early humans weren't even supposed to have developed symbolic thinking, or even language yet. In fact, this carving dates to 100,000 before the appearance of Homo sapiens; the race that carved it was only just evolving into "us". And yet, one of them thought to shape a woman out of a small stone.

How might living in such a culture make you feel about women? The world?

This was not art as we know it, to be displayed on a museum shelf. Though these figurines, the Goddess truly lived amongst her people; they have been caressed, danced with, sung to, had oils and ochre rubbed into them.

Acheulian Goddess
Golan Heights, 800,000 yrs. old
Great Goddess of Willendorf
Europe, 25,000 B.C.E.
Imagine holding one of these Goddesses in your hand.
Feel her roundness, the comforting security of it.

Imagine carrying her throughout your day’s work…on your travels, sleeping with her beside your bed, waking up beside her (Austen, 1990, pp. 4-5) as our Paleolithic and Neolithic ancestors did.

How might being in such close contact and communion with Her form change your relationship to the female body?

Austen implores us to imagine a world in which images like the Great Goddess of Laussel were carved over the entrances to our houses of worship, or over our supermarkets and schools. She seems to be asking how a cityscape covered with (positive, representative) female images might shift our collective ways of being.

Do you agree that there is a dearth of such female images in our society?

Season 4 of True Blood  may offer a remedy, at least according to writers like John Kubicek of BuddyTv who in his June 24th piece describes it as the Season of the Witch and the Women.

With the addition of "a number of new strong women to the show" via two new female main characters (the powerful witch Marnie & shapeshifter Luna) and the promotion of Nan Flanagan (vampire spokeswoman) and Holly (witchy Merlotte's waitress) to series regulars joining Sookie, Jessica, Tara, Arlene & Pam, Kubicek feels the women really get their chance to shine.

Besides Marnie and Luna, we've also met three new female supporting characters, including the lawyer Portia, Wiccan-cum-vampire security woman Katerina, and Naomi, a cage fighter with an unlikely romantic connection to Tara.

Plus, the credits are now more evenly disbursed in terms of gender, with nine female and ten male primary cast members.

Clearly, Kubicek isn't just talking about quantity, he's also talking about quality.

When he talks about "strong women" on the show I get the impression that he means well-written female characters as opposed to ones who are invulnerable to pain and strife, etc. And goodness knows we need more of those; the lack of good writing for women in Hollywood - not to mention in literature - is what drove Tanya Wright (Deputy Kenya Jones) to pen the script for her film Butterfly Rising, which she later adapted into a novel of the same name. If you can't find solidly written female characters, you've gotta develop them yourself, right?

Here's an archetypal model for such a "strong woman"...

...Look familiar? Yup, this painted terracotta female figure circa 3,500-3,400 B.C.E. was the model for the artifact the maenad Maryann struck the pose of while summoning and channeling her considerable power.

All the other images in this post came from books or websites, but I took the picture above myself; when I visited this pre-dynastic Egyptian figure in person with Rebecca and our mom at its current home in the Brooklyn Museum I was awestruck.

So taken was I by this statuette that I took photos from several angles.

A plaque near its display case reads:

This female figure, shown in a long white skirt, was found in a tomb. Does she represent a goddess, a priestess, or a mourner? Is she grieving, dancing, or manifesting her power?

So striking is this statuette - one of the most famous pre-dynastic works in the world - that all of the museum's educational and PR materials are anointed with its image.

Another similar, "triumphantly female" (Austen, 1990, p. 8) terracotta piece also comes to us from pre-dynastic Egypt:


As Austen writes, she emphasizes her breasts and buttocks with a dignity and strength that reminds us of women's power and beauty.

These are compelling, multidimensional female images.

So what do you think, has True Blood stepped up to the plate in terms of writing women characters that bring such strong presence to the screen?

Let us know below!

~ Rachel

Austen, H. I. (1990). The heart of the goddess: Art, myth and meditations of the world’s sacred feminine. Berkeley: Wingbow Press.

Dashu, M. Icons of the Matrix. Retrieved March 15, 2011 from:

Ward, T. (2006). Savage breast: One man’s search for the goddess. New York: O Books.

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