The Goddess Path  Issue #016

Mother Of Us All

May, 2004

This Issue: Table of Contents

It's A Dirty Job, but Someone's Gotta Do It!
To See Ourselves As Others See Us
Mother's Day : Origins of the Holiday
The Egyptian Goddess Nut
Mother of Us All
Toward Balance and Peace

"Nobody loves me but my mother. . . and she could be jivin' , too",  bluesman B.B. King once lamented, giving voice to the most basic human anxiety. If your mother doesn't love you, then who will?

No one else on the face of this earth is half as willing to endure neglect and hurt feelings, nor to risk martyrdom, as the typical mother. Who else has such a strong impulse for connectedness that they suspend all rational thought to willingly embrace the idea that the "Very Best Kind of Jewelry" is the kind you get on Mother's Day, jewelry crafted from household refuse such as paper clips, styrofoam chips, and pasta?

No, life as we know it would hardly be the same if it weren't for mothers nurturing and guiding the children . . . not to mention the overprotective mothers who, in spite of all our accomplishments, still treat us like babies. This is not to say that mothers are always a comfort. Or as my friend puts it, "If it's not one thing, it's my mother!"

Mothers are supposed to make us suffer. It's in their job description. First they push us out into the cold, cruel world, and follow up on that with setting impossible standards and expecting us to meet them. Then, having taught us the skills we need to make our way, they promptly shove us out of the nest, expecting us to remember to call and visit every now and then.

But even when we forget to call because we're so busy, a mother somehow manages to forgive because she recognizes that what we were doing was what she always intended, living fully and completely.

"Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child."   --Dan Quayle
         (a malapropism, but containing a measure of wisdom nonetheless)

"An ounce of mother is worth a ton of priest.
                                --Spanish Proverb

"My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it."    --Mark Twain

Something Different for Mother's Day

If your mom's already got all the macaroni necklaces she ever wanted why not give her the gift of self-discovery . . . a gift certificate for the Goddess Quiz. It will let her know that she'll always be a goddess to you! Mother's Day Special: Gift Certificates $12 each (a 30% discount):
Goddess Quiz Certificates )

or . . .

If, after all these years, she's still a "hover-mother", here's a book that might nudge her to "let go", at least just a little. If she's got a sense of humor she'll love this collection of messages that the author's overprotective mother left on her answering machine.

Laugh out loud when she advises her about the safest clothes to wear in case of a plane crash, tries to fix her up with millionaire bachelors from a TV show, and reminds her to go to the bathroom before going to stand in line to renew her driver's license.

Mother's Day History: Origin of the Modern Celebration

Most of us are only dimly aware of the history of our modern celebration of Mother's Day. The holiday had its roots in the child welfare and peace movements.  Fed up with the increasing commercialization of the holiday, the founder eventually regretted ever starting the tradition, and was even arrested for breaking up one Mother's Day program.

Mother's Day originated after the U.S. Civil War, when Anna Jarvis, an Appalachian homemaker, organized an annual "Mother's Work Day" to raise awareness of poor economic and health conditions affecting the children in her community, a cause she believed would be best advocated by mothers.

A few years later, Julia Ward Howe, a pacifist, suffragist, and author of the lyrics to the "Battle Hymn of the Republic," organized a day encouraging mothers to rally for peace, since she believed they bore the loss of human life more harshly than anyone else.  She proposed an annual event called Mother's Day, but the idea received little support.

When Anna Jarvis died, her daughter (also named Anna) wanted to create a memorial to her mother's work and began a campaign to institute an official  holiday to honor mothers...through her relentless effort it eventually happened.

The Goddess Nut

Mother's Day celebrations, like all our major holidays, have close ties to ancient pagan festivals -- the earliest recorded in history honored the Egyptian goddess Nut.

Nut, goddess of the sky and wife of Re, the god of the sun and creator of all, was known for her incredible beauty and kindness. Her generous and loving nature was apparently extensive, leading her into affairs with Geb, the god of the earth, and Thoth, the god of divine words. Re found out and was furious with her. Re issued a curse that his pregnant wife would not give birth to the child within her in any month of any year!

Filled with sorrow that she would never be a mother, Nut turned to Thoth for comfort. Like most males, he couldn't stand to see a woman cry and promised to find a solution.

And that he did! Using his divine powers of persuasion, Thoth talked the Moon into gambling with him. If he won he would get just a little bit of the Moon's light. The games went on for months, and at the end Thoth had won enough light to create five complete days.

Nut didn't waste a precious moment of those five days. She gave birth to a different child on each day. From that day forward she was called  "Mother of the Gods".  The extra five days Thoth added to the solar year were devoted to celebrations in honor of the goddess Nut and were held in late February just before the beginning of the new solar year which heretofore had been only 360 days in length.

For the complete story of the goddess Nut and the pagan and Christian celebrations of Mother's day, just click here:
History of Mother's Day

Mother of Us All

However far away from its origins the celebration has migrated, Mother's Day is still much more than just a “Hallmark® holiday”.  And certainly more than remembering to send a card and flowers, or hanging out with the family.  More, even, than expressing gratitude for the instrument by which you came to be.

It is an opportunity to recognize that we are part of something universal, that we are all sons and daughters of this earth, connected,   with the same blood flowing in our veins, and the same needs and desires calling out to our hearts. It is about honoring each other, and seeking the spark of Divinity which resides in each and every one of us.

Though now commercialized, Mother's Day reminds us that we ought to take pause to appreciate the triumph and ferocity of motherhood that lies beneath the holiday's sweet surface.

And whether or not we’re fortunate to be bound to them by blood ties, we must also give thanks for those other nurturing, growth-giving, suffering, and enduring women who have brought us joy and have been the spiritual mothers in our lives.

Toward Balance and Peace

Once again, we welcome the voice of Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway, a spiritual mother who has blessed us with permission to share these excerpts from "Great Goddess: Mother Of Us All". Click on the link to read it in its entirety.

As we stand poised on the threshold of a changing world this Mother's Day, it seems a fitting time to remember the Divine Mother Goddess who helped bring forth the world.

We are at a point in history that calls both women and men to celebrate - and elevate -- the energy of the feminine, along with the masculine.  Spiritual law tells us that in order to find balance in our world and be whole and complete unto ourselves, we must embrace both the masculine and feminine aspects of ourselves. Acknowledging and embracing both our Divine Parents can help us on that journey.

As we desperately seek balance and peace on our planet, and in these times of deeply disturbing and frightening world events, many of us are searching for what's been missing in modern life. Could it be we have been bereft of our spiritual link to the The Sacred Feminine -- not instead of, but in addition to, The Sacred Male? We are at a time in history where both women and men are crying out for their divine "Mother" and seeking a spirituality that brings both divine parents to the table, not just one, or the other.

We are all children of God, Goddess, All There Is and we are all feminine and masculine in nature. As above, so below. It is in acknowledging that these qualities exist in all of us that we begin to create and find balance in our relationship to ourselves, to one another, and in the world we live in.        Copyright 2004, Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway

Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway, an interfaith minister and non-denominational wedding officiant, is author of A Goddess Is A Girl's Best Friend: A Divine Guide To Finding Love, Success and Happiness (Perigee Books, December 2002). For more information, www.GoddessFriends.com.

One more thing . . .

A rollicking good time was had by all in the "Ladies of a Like Mind" advertising edition and "Searches for Sonnets" competition. The goddesses at Goddess Gift will be gathering May 14 to judge all the juicy poems you sent in.

And we'll even conduct a drawing for a prize from the entries sent in by  all you Persephone types who hate constraints and didn't follow directions to write the poem using the words on the magnetic poetry page!  (Yes dears, like all good mothers, we forgave you!)

In closing, mom reminds you that ....

"The less you behave like Whistler's mother the night before, the more you look like her the morning after." 

Tallulah Bankhead (paraphrased)

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