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Linga

Ever since I first heard about Angkor Wat, I’ve wanted to visit it.  This past Mother’s Day my husband and kids gave me a weekend solo trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia.

During the period when the temples around Angkor Wat were built, Cambodia was still a Hindu country, although it shifted to Buddhism over time.  There’s a lot of sexual and sensual imagery in Hinduism, and I found myself contemplating the following…

Screen Shot 2014-07-26 at 4.34.30 pm

I had ambitions to go visit the River of a Thousand Lingas, but due to a knee injury the hike was beyond my ability at the time.  However, just because I couldn’t go visit the lingas didn’t mean I couldn’t buy one.  So when I stopped in at Artisans of Angkor, I was very happy to see this among other sculptures

linga 1

Symbolizing the role of Shiva in creation, the Linga is the phallus of the god and it expresses the idea of fertility and prosperity. This shape is the emblem which mostly represent god Shiva in the temples which are dedicated to him. It is here completed by the Yoni, representing a stylized female sex, and thus evokes the mystery of the Two becoming One.

In Cambodia’s culture, the Linga is made of three completely different branches which symbolize the Brahmanic trinity: the cubic base represents Brahma, the creator and ancestor; the octagonal middle branch represents Vishnu, the curator, and the top part epitomizes Shiva, who is the ultimate power that can create and destroy.

This piece, which displays contemporary straight lines, is still widely used in the decoration of some places in Cambodia.

(Description from the Artisans of Angkor page)

 

linga 3

I was debating between two sizes when my guide came over to me.  He was maybe ten to fifteen years older than me, and I could tell that he was embarrassed.  The poor guy had no idea that I’m an erotica author and knew exactly what I was looking at.

“Do you know what that is?” he asked me.  I could tell how much he didn’t want to explain sexual imagery to the naive stay at home mommy tourist.

“Yes,” I said and turned back to the display, allowing him to make his escape.

linga 2

 

I could almost feel him exhale when I finally picked a Linga and moved on to less scandalous merchandise.

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