Anasyrma is the gesture of lifting one’s skirt and exposing the vulva.
It’s not to be equated with flashing which is a physically similar gesture as an act of exhibitionism and implies sexual arousal for the exposer. Anasyrma is a provocative self-determined act of exposing one’s naked vulva only for the effect on the viewer.
There are many references from the earliest historic age that tell of women exposing their vulva as a type of magic intended to turn away harm, evoke fear of the enemy and end war, even until the 20st century as the latest reported one in Ireland.
The most famous one is probably Baubo in Ancient Greece who lifts her skirt to make Demeter who grieves for her daughter Persephone laugh. Also Hathor uses the exposure of her vulva for emotional healing when she displays her nakedness to the Sun God in surprise to take away his grief and evoke laughter.
In Kenya this form of women’s protest is called ‘Guturamira ngani’ which until today is used as a way to restore peace and make a stand against male violence.
As I’ve been studying the numerous historic events of Anasyrma, I am reminded again of the magical power our sacred feminine genitals hold. Especially when boldly displayed in public, the vulva erupts such an array of emotions from shame and fear over admiration and rage to surprise and delight. She directly causes an instant reaction of liberating what’s energetically in the field.
What happens when in the middle of war all women lift their skirts? The onlookers are reminded that in the insanity of war there’s something bigger. The vulva reminds them of the powerful sacred love of nature and the actual portal we all were birthed through. The human mind’s craziness over territory, monetary or religious power cannot survive in the environment of the exposed living and breathing vulva.