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Ceremony of Goddesses

Masoud Soheili

Canada, 2005

At the northeast of Iran, in Turkmen semi-desert zone, Golestan Province, at the border of Turkmenistan, at the top of a chain of mountains, there is an unknown site with a lot of statues, “Phallus”.

First, it reminds us the Goddess of the Birth, like the ones in India and South-west Asia. But, it’s completely different. Here, its shape is completely like the real Phallus, and some others like the upside-down one, or maybe a figure of a woman, showing the body and the breasts.

With more thought, and seeing the arrangement of the statues, you see a cemetery in front of yourself. The stone-tombs are in the shape of Phallus and upside-down Phallus. The heights are different, from 60 cm to 3 meters, due to the age of the deceased people.

It seems that the upside-down statues are the tombs of the women and the normal ones are the tombs of the men. The ones with lower heights are belonged to the children, boy and girl, two different shapes.

There is a special location for the ruler of the region. At the top of highest mountain, the King and the Queen are buried. The other people are buried as seen in the arrangement of the even new cemeteries in the region.

Some statues are fallen down or broken, as some people always looking for treasures in such regions. For installing the statues, the length of it underground is equal to its length outside.

There is no written text on these unknown statues. These shapes shows the thought of Persian people in Elam era and the importance and the sanctity of the sexuality at that time, as it was usual in that era in the other parts of the world, in other civilized societies, India, South-east Asia…

The site is located at a place that some four religious places (Imam-zadeh Khaled Nabi, his uncle and his cousins) are located too, at a higher position. At the higher point, there is a place, with some rectangular 2 meters height woods, which cures toothache, if someone tooth touches the woods. These religious places belong to about some 200 years ago or less; but it seems that this site has about 5000 years old and belongs to Elam era in ancient Persia.

There are also other ideas on this site. Some people say that this site was a temple a day. It doesn’t seem right. There’s no sign of a structure. These symbols do not shape a construction too. Others say that each statue was a private goddess for a limited people, for example for a family… (as Totems for North Americans), but, anyway, a cemetery or a gathering of goddesses… it should be near a city or a big village… where people could have easy access to it. At the top of a range of mountains, far from every civilization, long cold winters, could not place anything such this. Surely, there was a great gathering of people here at 5000 years ago. Nothing is left now!

The local people have different ideas for these statues. Some says that the upside-down statues are the soldiers, and the Phallus statues are their swords. When the soldiers wanted to rush the Imam-zadeh, they changed to stone…

These symbols of sexuality have their best show off at spring, when the mountains are green with grass and herbs, and are rather red with wild Anemone. The site has a complete erotic shape; these statues with combination of the special forms of the hills and mountains are completely erotic; I’ve never seen such hills before.

At spring with green background and at winter with the white one, a photographer could take the best forms and photos there, and of course erotic photos too. Enough light, make it easy to use 100 ASA films. Konica film (with most-blue color) and a polarized filter, results a good blue for this strange scenery. Normal & Tele lenses have the most use for the photography of this site, and a wide lens to have some total views.