In ancient India, the word yoni (I like to pronounce it ‘yonn-ee’, however it is also commonly pronounced as ‘yo-nee’, rhyming with pony) was acknowledged as the gateway through which we were all born. It comes from early Vedic tantric writings and means ‘sacred place, precious garden, field of pleasure, gateway’. Therefore in lovemaking, the yoni was revered as a place where a man could enter ‘a field of heaven’.
The term ‘vagina’ came from the Latin, meaning, ‘sheath for the sword’. My thought when I hear ‘vagina’, is that it is an anatomical and medical expression (I will take my ‘vagina’ to the gynaecologist) but when I hear ‘yoni’ I think of it as part of a sensual woman! By renaming our sacred parts we can bring a magical and transformative quality to lovemaking again. How much more preferable is the use of the word yoni to another — far less poetic and often derogatory term — such as ‘cunt’? ‘Cunt’ for example is commonly used to describe someone you fervently detest or it is used as the most injurious of insults. It is fascinating to understand the derivations of its meaning (though we won’t dwell on this here) but, interestingly, the early usage of ‘cunt’ came from the early Norse word ‘kunna’ meaning ‘to know’, and from Middle English ‘cunte’ meaning country.
Extract from Sexy and Sacred by Diane Riley ©