This article is PART 2 of the article on the Mysteries of the Triple Goddess in the Modern era.
Let's continues where we left off! Last week we discussed the Maiden aspect of the triple goddess and how that looks in our daily lives. This week, we're looking at the mother aspect. Are you a mother? Are you curious about how this archetype might impact you? Read on...
MOTHER: THE LOVER OF LIFE AND THE QUEEN
Nurturing others from compassion not duty
Protective and comforting energy
Life-giving sustaining vital force
Wisdom gained through experience
Sensuality, and sensory embodied energy
Voluptuous, softening, holding
Empathy and lovingkindness
Forgiveness and grounded surrender
Learning to dance with life's polarities, ups and downs, for maximum manifestation
Protection and expansion of the land
The energy of celebration and festivity
Connection to the full moon in the lunar cycle
Connection to the season of summer (and in my opinion also early autumn)
Representing the height of a woman's creative power
Responsibilities taken with pride for the well being of the tribe
Symbolic of the warmth of the midday sun and the peak of life's abundance
Older women see representations of themselves in media only in one or two stereotypes (bitchy career woman, washed up advice-giving secondary character), causing them to question whether their experiences, feelings, and emotions are even valid as they age.
Okay I'm being a little bit pessimistic. In fact, over the past 15 years, the roles for older women in media have expanded, often including the older femme fatale, the middle aged woman looking for a comeback, and a few other intriguing tropes.
But still, our consumer-driven culture largely fuels an obsession with staying young by all means. Cosmetics, surgeries, and wellness products make up a multi-billion-dollar industry by promising eternal youth.
Walk down an aisle in a grocery store and you will see 'youthfulness for sale' in everything from fancy wellness juices to 'ancient' rediscovered solutions for maintaining youth in magazines.
This constant exposure creates anxiety around aging, leading many women to suppress or deny their aging experience. Forty and fifty year old women wish for the skin of a 20 year old and the body of a teenager, forgetting about the beauty inherent in their laughter lines and life-seasoned bodies.
So many beautiful women feel ugly, unless they are conforming to beauty standards, including body weight, skin texture, hair color, and structure, that reflect a much younger woman. Think about this for a moment--
A rose is gorgeous in all of its phases! A rose that is just budding open is velvety and full of structure and color, but as it blossoms, that softness is open to the world. Bees and butterflies are fed. The garden is nourished.
The rose, when laid bare, often has a blending of more than one shade of color, and its fragrance is intoxicating.
Should a rose in full bloom really try to act like a tiny unfurled rosebud?
They are two very different phases. Similarly, a woman who has moved into the phase of the mother archetype has different gifts to offer the world, and a different aesthetic to live by.
As a society we've moved away from honoring our extended multigenerational families, and a deep-rooted fear of mortality has set in. Adults hide the challenges of age as much as they can out of shame or financial necessity. Children have stopped witnessing what real aging looks like in the people they love. This is detrimental to society!
Society equates youth with vitality and productivity, which leaves more than half of the country wondering who they should be and what they should do when they begin to age.
Somehow we've forgotten that people are most productive, focused, and revolutionary in their mid to later years. The creativity, activism and success of women in midlife only grows stronger with age. If you really look at successful women, the majority of them have breakthrough successes once they are able to refine the lessons of their younger years.
Age discrimination affects career prospects and self-esteem for a lot of older women. Can you blame women for not wanting to look old, or be called old if it is seen as a stigma?
Breaking free from this fixation on youthfulness requires a cultural shift. We have to begin embracing the wisdom and beauty that come with age. As a society, we must appreciate the value of every stage of life, and that begins with you and I.
Women today must challenge companies that create advertising campaigns based on ageism and female fears of aging. We have to stop society from perpetuating this obsession. Every time we talk about it in our female circles, shed light on it in our schools and business board rooms, and take action against it in social media or with purchasing power, we are creating breakthroughs.
Private ritual and personal time can also go a long way in healing this inner disconnect with aging, and lifting the spell cast upon society.
The Mother archetype is one of the most powerful for enacting change. She holds the channel to earthy sensuality that unfolds through the journey of a woman's life. While the Maiden may experience the initial spark of sexual awakening, it's through time and experience that this sensuality matures into a fully embodied and insightful way of living.
The mother is the prime for this sensual experience of life. Her creative energy is at an all time high. Her economic power is often at its highest peak. Her network of connection, through children (if she has them), friendships, and partnerships, also tends to be higher than in other phases of life... especially if the maiden transitioned into the mother archetype without giving up personal power.
Not all women who go into the mother phase have children--and we'll get to that--but first lets talk about mother as parent.
THE MOTHER ARCHETYPE AND MOTHERHOOD
When a child is welcomed into the world by a woman, the Mother archetype awakens within that woman. This awakening is a calling, a full-body understanding that love and care are essential for the child's growth and well-being.
Through nurturing this child, the Mother imparts not only sustenance but also emotional support, guidance, and security.
Sometimes women go through trauma in their birthing process, or they awaken old trauma. They may also suffer from post partum depression and other circumstances brought about by birth.
This is a challenging gateway of initiation for most women, as we are forced to face life or death, and our bodies and world views undergo a dramatic shift.
Nurturing becomes a powerful healing force in all cases. The more we physically hold and nurture our children, even if we are numb or cold, the more our biology has a chance to shift and heal.
The more we are nurtured by our loved ones and communities, during our initiation into motherhood, the more quickly we can heal and recover.
Most doctors say it takes a year to "return to normal." I challenge this mindset. I don't believe there is a return to normal. As mothers, we create a new reality and establish a new baseline.
In working with many mothers in my office, I feel that shift often takes 3-4 years minimum, with the average mother feeling a sense of 'normalcy' six or seven years into the journey.
Can you imagine how much more support women would receive if we understood the magnitude of our personal healing after having children? I believe this is why many older cultures have naturally created an extended family model in which women understand that they alone are not in charge of raising the children.
When the mother archetype is in full swing, healing happens quite naturally.
In the warm embrace of a mother's love, wounds are soothed, fears are eased, and trust is cultivated. The Mother, through her love and compassion, becomes a sanctuary of healing for her children and her family.
She may mend physical scrapes, emotional wounds, she teaches resilience and courage. She has empathy for others (because she knows how hard life can feel) and she teaches this lovingkindness to her children by simply living it with them.
Nurturing is a means of perpetuating the family legacy.
Through her care, the Mother imparts traditions, values, and wisdom that have been passed down through generations. She ensures the continuity of the family's culture and heritage because she wants her children to have the very best of what she either had or has witnessed. As she creates a stable home, she perpetuates a sense of belonging and identity for her family.
A quick aside--she doesn't do all of this alone. She doesn't need to be a superwoman. She has the help of her partners, family, and friends. When she needs rest, they are creating too.
In the act of nurturing, the Mother also learns and grows. She discovers the depths of her own strength, resilience, and capacity for love. She evolves as a caretaker, mentor, and guide. She continually adapts to the changing needs of her children and family.
The love and compassion of the mother extend beyond her immediate family. They ripple outward into her community, fostering a sense of interconnectedness and support among neighbors and friends. In this way, the nurturing spirit of the mother contributes to the healing of the entire community.
Nurturing the youth is not only an expression of deep care but also a means for healing emotional wounds in the family's lineage. Through love, the mother ends up healing both forward and backwards in time.
LEGACY OF THE MOTHER ARCHETYPE
The archetypal phase of the mother does not require us to bare children. The awakening of the mother archetype is often catalyzed by a selfless act, a monumental event that triggers a profound opening in the heart chakra.
This opening might come through the act of birthing a child, the embrace of adoption, or even through a transformative life event.
In these moments a woman's heart expands beyond the personal needs or dreams of the maiden, and her capacity to love and nurture extends beyond her own desires to a very fierce love for her chosen family and community.
I have a friend who was awakened in her mother archetype through activist work after watching close friends suffer in her work community. She had an experience that opened her to a deep heart-love for her chosen people, and even for their children and the future. She was no longer living just for herself.
The awakened mother begins to see, on a profound level, that her service to others is not just an individual choice but essential for the wholeness of her tribe and community.
Sensuality, in the context of the mother archetype, is not limited to physical or personal pleasure as with the maiden, but encompasses a deep connection to the world and the people within it.
This sensuality emerges from a wellspring of love, compassion, and a nurturing spirit, flowing through the woman as she tends to her family, her community, and the Earth itself.
As the mother archetype blossoms, that sensuality is expressed in the touch of a comforting hand, the warmth of her hugs, and the nourishing meals prepared with intention.
I once had a friend in her mother phase who couldn't cook worth a lick, but she would pop frozen cookies into the oven at just the right time, and she had a masterful, intuitive ability for picking up small gifts and offering them to her loved ones that the most perfect, needed times.
The mother can also be wildly sexual, edgy and sensory. Remember, it's sex that creates life. The mother knows this, and--again, regardless of children--her sexual experiences are more deeply imbued with the knowledge that sex also heals, bonds, and opens energy.
Even if a woman does not have sex, or has no interest in physical intimacy with others, her rising creative energy is in itself sexual energy, and can be channeled to create businesses, social movements, personal epiphanies, community festivals, and a number of other large pursuits.
SHADOW MOTHER ARCHETYPE
When the mother remains in the shadow, or if she loses sense of her identity, which was partially forged during her maiden phase, then her giving nature can become smothering to others, leaving her drained, angry, and emotionally closed off or disappointed.
Traumas in early motherhood (such as post partum depression, being emotionally silenced, physically taken advantage of, harassed, or overworked, can also create shadow.
This depletion can lead to a feeling of inner barrenness, devoid of compassion for the world around her. The mother in shadow has a desire to escape the burdens of responsibility or leadership.
Women may feel this in varying degrees. The shadow is not bad, it just tells us that our energy needs to be tended.
In seeking relief from this heavy load, the mother in shadow might turn to numbing behaviors like excessive TV consumption, substance use, secret relationships, or self-imposed isolation as a means of escape. She loses the joyfulness and adventurous spirit of the maiden, or it becomes inverted and destructive.
The mother in shadow often requires personal space and time to heal, along with support from her community to help her shoulder all of the practical tasks that have become burdensome.
To heal the shadow mother, a woman might need hot baths, time at the ocean, sunlight, vitamins, and experiences in nature so that she can learn to hear her inner voice once again. She needs to give herself permission to shut out the expectations of partners or bosses so that can find her stride in her archetype.
It is essential that we heal the mothers around us who are burning out, for the power of the mother is a hugely generative and healing force for our entire society. If you see a mother who needs support, do not let her shoulder her burdens alone. It is part of our work as society members to care for the mothers, who are instrumental in raising humanity.
We mustn't ignore her, silence her voice, or take her for granted.
In the Mother phase of life, women learn that Love is not merely a personal indulgence but a profound and selfless gift to the world. Love is what binds communities together with the threads of concern, forgiveness, and care.
Even the sensuality of the mother is the embodiment of love and care in action. It is deeply intertwined with the heart chakra, radiating outward to transform, heal, and unite.
Next week we'll be covering the CRONE and the Wisdom of the Deep!
Don't miss it!
DAILEY LITTLE is a healing practitioner, transformational life coach, ordained Priestess, and teacher who founded Healing Heart Reiki to help others navigate life with joy. She offers private sessions, and teaches classes in healing and mindset from a magical peaceful corner of the world in Northern California. For more info see: www.SantaRosaReiki.com