This figure has been called a Dancing Woman, a Nile Goddess, a Bird Goddess, and probably some other things that I’m not thinking of right now. Well, she’s certainly dancing now, thanks to artist Nina Paley.
If you know Isis Magic, you might also recognize her posture as the “Wings of Isis.” It is a posture that can be used to invoke, thank, and commune with Isis. So, I like to think of this ancient figurine as a priestess invoking her Goddess, imitating the protective and powerful wings of Isis.
Here’s a brief excerpt from Offering to Isis about this posture:
The open wings of Isis can also be related to a posture seen in images of the ancient Egyptian Bird Goddess. This is the posture of the famous Neolithic statuette of a so-called dancing woman with her arms raised in an open curve above her head, and which has become a popular amulet among modern Goddess worshippers. The same posture can be seen in the Goddess figures that ride in the curved boats that were a favorite motif of pre-dynastic Egyptian pottery and petroglyphs. According to Egyptologist Louis Breasted, the posture is typical of Egypt. And although these ancient figures do not have obvious wings, their unwinged but upraised arms foreshadow the winged, upraised arms of Goddesses seen in later Egyptian art. Nevertheless, the beak-faced figures are identified as Bird Goddesses, so perhaps the wings are implied—or they may indicate that the figures represent human priestesses who are imitating their Bird Goddess. Whatever the case, the “wing” stance is a posture of great antiquity and numinosity and many researchers consider it to be characteristic of the Divine Feminine.
May Isis spread Her wings for you today and enclose you in Her feathered embrace.