The Golden Calf (Return of the Goddess)

Music: “Woman” by John Lennon (1980)
Everything else: Nina Paley
Another chapter in my feature film “Seder-Masochism.” Donate here:

Exodus 32:
1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
2 And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me.
3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.
4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
5 And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the Lord.
6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.


Author: Nina Paley

Animator. Director. Artist. Scapegoat.

21 thoughts on “The Golden Calf (Return of the Goddess)”

  1. Total agreement with Will. This stands alone as a beautiful music video in addition to the brilliant rereading of the Golden Calf story.

  2. This is amazing! Absolutely glorious! I can’t wait to see what Moses is going to do! (and what song he’ll do it too)! Another masterpiece Nina!

  3. That’s amazing. Breathtaking.
    I have a question – what are the black half-annulus shapes which appear in the loads of stuff that the Hebrews are dumping into the crucible?

  4. Love how you even captured Moses saying “the other half of the sky” that Lennon barely whispers at the beginning. Absolutely amazing…..

  5. I can’t stop watching this. you have given bible study a new meaning. for that I worship your genius. also, thank you for the extra enlightenment. I’ve been reading about known goddesses (like the Melissae) all afternoon. new knowledge feels good!

  6. Nina – I am just seeing these & am beyond excited to experience the wonders of this unfolding creation!

    Wondered about Miriam myself – but in the context of the Exodus portion. Wasn’t it she who struck a rock and water flowed in the desert? Miriam’s Well, it’s called – not localised in one place but arising wherever they were in the desert henceforth. Out of it flow(ed) “Mayim Chaim,” the Waters of Life, or Living Waters.

  7. I’m a bit confused here. I had never thought of the calf as a goddess. It was an animal. Since the Hebrews were nomadic herders at this point, the calf had great significance in their lives. I have never seen it described as a mother goddess religion before. The verse that you quote from the bible doesn’t describe it that way.

    Is there some history that I’m missing here?

  8. As the history shows significant changes from goddesses to father-god monotheism (the same transition happened all over the world, in all religions), it`s perfectly reflected in the animation.
    Enjoy every aspect, from animation construction and design to the meaning, literary and simbolically. great work.

  9. Abrahamic monotheism is a mýth; it was henotheist/polýtheist where the dispensations/anghels/persons/sons/heavenly host/heavenly council were no different to the pagan gods in disguise. The family tree of gods: When j·hveh hadn’t enjoyed his wife -asheràh for 1000 years he still had his earlier wife and mother Å•uax. The Hebrew and Canaanite goddesses need work. Another 1000 years later they had khoxmàh I gess.

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