Happy Mother's Day! To each and every one of us. The mother goddess exists in every culture and mythos. She is revered as having the power to both create and destroy, to bring life and death, to nurture, protect and guide us through the light and shadow of human existence. She is the fertility goddess of creation who carries the dark, watery womb from whence we came and to which we long to return. The mother goddess is enacted when we give birth to or adopt a child or pet, when we create a work of art, start a business, or see a creative project through to fruition. She is the first teacher, the first attachment, the first initiator into life. She is the alchemical vessel herself, her womb the holy grail, the place where pure essence takes form and becomes living matter. Through her body each of us come forth, unique beings with our own life force and purpose. She is the great magician and we are her magic. Don't forget the magical nature of your very existence! Celebrate the mother who gave birth to you and the mother goddess in you. All of the mother goddesses inspire awe and deep respect. Which mother goddess do you most resonate with?
Yemaya, African goddess, Mother of the Sea, of Dreams and Secrets, the Womb of Creation. She is the mermaid, the full moon, mysteriously deep and reflective. She rules the house and nurtures the child in the womb, the creative aspect ready to be born. There is no mountain of trouble that Yemaya cannot wear down, no sickness of heart she cannot wash clean, no desert of despair she cannot flood with hope. Her watery womb transforms us; through her, our tears flow, cleansing, releasing and anointing us so that we may swim through life with greater ease. She is a great nurturing mother and friend to all women.
Kali Ma, the Hindu goddess of Creation and Destruction, also known as the Dark Mother. She is more well known in her Destroyer aspect and revered in India as the Great Mother whose creative, powerful, life-giving force is integrally connected to death and destruction. She carries both the Good, Nurturing and the Terrible, Devouring Mother aspects. In Hindu mythology, she is the creator of the world. In essence, it is Kali who brings about the one thing in life we must all come to terms with: Change. For without the ability to change and let go of the old, we would not grow and evolve. Without Kali we remain stagnant and superficial. She prods us and dares us to move through trauma and pain and get on with life. Kali women have been through the fire.
Demeter is the Greek goddess of the harvest, of wheat, personifying the renewing cycle of life and the seasons. She is the Roman equivalent of Ceres, goddess of the grain, from whose name the word cereal is derived. Demeter is mother to Persephone, the maiden. It is said that you cannot know Demeter without also knowing Persephone. They represent the mother-daughter bond. Demeter is closely associated with the mysteries of Eleusis, which held the secret of eternal life. Persephone's descent into the underworld represented the buried seed that burst forth each spring to bring new life and return to the Mother. Demeter women have a deep need to be mothers, to nurture, and to stay connected to their offspring. To Demeter women, being pregnant as well as being a mother is the greatest fulfillment of her femininity and brings a sense of deep satisfaction and inner completion.
Isis, the Egyptian mother goddess, is almost the opposite of the Demeter mother in that she regards herself as more of a channel for new life to be born and is not as identified with her child as is Demeter. She was considered a "virgin goddess," which in ancient times did not mean what it does today, but meant she was one unto herself and did not depend on another or need a man to complete her life. Isis was a queen who was equal to her husband, Osiris, and in fact, put him back together after he was dismembered. She is master of her own destiny and may be perfectly content to live alone and be a single parent or run her own business and find fulfillment as a mother to those who work under her or as a mother-creator, giving birth to many ideas and projects under her own direction.
The Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene could be seen as embodying the earthly and the spiritual realms of the goddess. Mary, mother of God, much like Isis with Horus, is often portrayed nursing her child. She represents the good mother, the spiritual mother who we can look up to for guidance and protection. Mary Magdalene, said to be the consort or wife of Jesus in the gnostic gospels, and even to have given birth to their child, a daughter named Sarah, is the bodily form of the mother. Once said to be a prostitute, a claim that has been overturned by the Catholic church, she is the sexual embodiment of the Christian goddess, a flesh and blood woman who was also a disciple and feminine counterpart to the son of God. Together, these two Marys carry the body, soul and spirit of motherhood that is sometimes split, but together create wholeness and balance. This goddess may be most apt for women who identify with pregnancy and childbirth as a spiritual experience and are deeply attuned to their child's soul essence.
Gaia is the preeminent Earth Mother goddess. Often depicted as giving birth to the world or carrying the world in her womb, she is the mother of all of nature, of humans, animals, plants, trees, mountains, rivers, oceans, and the entire cycle of life. She is the nature goddess and the one who patiently awaits each birth in its own time. She has the gift of overview and yet can lose herself in the details of accomplishing simple tasks. She is at home planting a garden or tending to a newborn kitten, while pots cook on the stove. She is as comfortable watching over others' children as her own children. She may, in fact, have several children with different fathers or be an able step-mother or grandmother. She welcomes all into her home. She is a multi-tasker earth mama who is not easily flustered or phased by the ups and downs of life as she goes with the flow.
To honor the goddess, make a SoulCollage® card, a painting, a doll or an altar to the mother goddess you hold dearest. Post a link to your creation so we can share in the collective images of the mother goddess in all of us.
Happy Mother's Day to you!