Healing the Mother Archetype
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In the ancient shamanic trinity of Maiden, Mother, and Crone, the Mother energy is the most familiar, and also the archetype in the most need of healing.
Mother energy isn’t necessarily about having children; it is about honoring the creative force within us to generate Life: babies, books, businesses. Mothering is about nourishing, showing up, doing what is needed in the moment to support growth and healing.
A few days ago I was unexpectedly placed in the middle of a Warrior Goddess Mother moment. We had arrived in Cusco, Peru, which is about 12,000 feet, a few hours earlier. As I walked into the hotel after lunch in town the front desk asked me “Are you the trip guide?” “Yes.” “Someone is sick, can you go see them?” I thought to myself, “I’ll just call them and see if they are okay, then I’ll go rest and write.” I was excited to have some time to myself, to write and sleep and get ready for the journey ahead.
A young man from the hotel motioned me to follow him and the front desk women pointed towards him, so I abandoned my idea of making a nice and tidy phone call and walked up to the second floor. The husband, I’ll call him Fred, greeted me anxiously, saying that his wife Laura had fainted, her oxygen level was seriously low, and was not doing well.
Death was in the room, which made no sense. How could someone who was vibrant just a few hours ago now be barely breathing? As I walked over to her I saw that she was blue. I told the young man; we need oxygen. He told me no, she has already had oxygen. I ran downstairs and told the front desk to call the doctor. “We are just checking on the cost.” “It’s an emergency, tell him to get here immediately.” I went back upstairs and sat by Laura and listened to Fred’s story, how she was doing better after oxygen then went to go to the bathroom and collapsed. Her fingers were blue up to the first knuckle, her ears were purple, and it was almost impossible to feel her breath. I ran back downstairs and told them to bring the oxygen upstairs again; there was some resistance but I stayed firm. “Now.”
And then all we could do is wait. We hooked her up to the oxygen and I sat down and held her hand, stroked her forehead. And I felt the Mother fill me. The one who stays by your side when you are fevered. The one who holds your hair when you throw up. The one who demands, the one who holds, the one who waits.
“Breathe, sweetheart.” This woman who I didn’t know suddenly become my precious child, and I touched and spoke to her and prayed she would live. “Breathe, sweetheart, you are doing great.” And in that moment whether she lived or died or threw up violently didn’t matter. Nothing mattered but being with her fully, letting her know the Mother was near, that she was held, no matter what.
The look on the doctor’s face when he checked her oxygen level confirmed how serious her situation was. Her lungs were filling up with fluid, and her oxygen was at 40%. From this amazingly low point she is fine after a night in the hospital, oxygen, fluids, and medication, thank the goddess. Due to the severity of her reaction to the altitude (which I’ve never seen in my 20 years coming to Peru, and neither had our guide Jorge) she and her husband got on a plane yesterday and returned to sea level.
This experience got me to thinking about holding Mother energy and being put in the right place at the right time by the Mother. I believe if we open to being in service we are vessels that She uses to bring in love, care, heavy lifting: whatever is needed.
But so many of us women and men don’t know how to Mother ourselves, or to receive. We give in hopes of getting approval, being good, being seen, being loved. We caretake without filling back up, we give without truly, deeply taking in.
Questions that rattled around in my head today as I walked in the glorious mountains for Peru: Where do we get filled up? How can we reclaim the Mother energy in a way that nourishes us rather than depletes us?
When I asked Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) how to fill up she showed me how to connect to nature and rest into the land. I’ve done this practice instinctually for years, but there was a way it hadn’t connected completely. Spirit, Life, Unconditional Love, Energy is in everything. The Mother is all around us. She is Life, which is regenerative, eternal, unending. When we tap into her we are full to overflowing. Then in times of sorrow or challenges we can show up for the hard things without flinching, knowing she is within and without.
I know that we also need each other. Community is a Mother, a place we can rest and be held and be seen and nourished in the circle.
Today may you honor all mothers, and the Mother within you. May you stay steady in love. May you spend time receiving, filling, taking in so you are full to overflowing. May those who have forgotten or abandoned or rejected the Mother find her in their hearts again, where she has always and will always be.