She is so much more than an idea, or even an embodiment of “motherhood”.
She is everything.
The mother archetype is glowing. She is sensual, abundant and bursting with fertility. She is creative, generous and compassionate. And in many mythologies, this potent female archetype is one with the Earth Goddess herself.
**A quick note on Archetypes: Some time ago, I don’t remember when or where or even who, it was told to me that when he was close to dying, the psychoanalyst Carl Jung (the father of archetypal studies) said that if he could change just one thing about his life’s work, it would be this: that he’d used the word ‘Spirit’ instead of ‘archetype’ to describe the essential character of an energy type. Spirit.
There are four female archetypes that shape our Moon cycle:
Every Full Moon, the archetype (Spirit) of the Mother emerges…
The Mother breathes into life after the Maiden, at the Full Moon (And during the ovulatory phase of a woman’s blood cycle).
Who is the Mother Archetype?
This beloved female Spirit contains so much more than our human-devised stereotypes about her will allow! Every one of us was born from a mother’s womb, yet often our relationship with this female archetype can be something of a struggle.
**Perhaps this struggle is rooted, somewhere very deeply, in the mistreatment of the Earth, and of her sacred feminine power?
Yet this sacred archetype of woman encompasses so much more than only birthing and nurturing (children, ideas, projects – whatever you are the creator of). She encompasses inner strength and wisdom, ingenuity and artfulness and sacred care-taking.
She expresses in ancient Goddesses and Deities all over the world:
When you start to let this ancient archetype into your life, and tap into her cosmic character, you’ll see that her strength is in her nurturing presence, not in control.
The Mother Archetype is all about sustaining
Sustaining what you’ve created and allowing it to bloom in its own right. Because what use is it to create amazing things in the world, if they need your constant work and attendance, to continue to survive?
So to embody the Earth Mother archetype is to understand the part you play within the natural cycles of nature – when to foster growth and when to resist and allow separation and freedom. Where the focus of the Maiden/Virgin archetype is on expansion, change, and blazing your own trail, the Earth Mother embodies presence, attention, and care. This means care of your offspring, both real and metaphorical, care of your environments and vitally, care of yourself.
When this archetype has the space to emerge freely and strongly, you’ll feel inspired to spend time nurturing your own body, mind, and spirit, not as a luxurious treat, but as a necessity.
Because the Mother knows that her body, is the Earth’s body.
Taking the time and care and honour yourself is a micro-expression of caring and honouring the Earth herself. And only from a place of health and love, can human beings make truly lasting, far-reaching, positive change in the world.
Because this archetype will generally emerge at its strongest during the most high-energy phase of both our personal menstrual cycles and at the Full Moon, it’s really important to harness her energy in the right ways. Otherwise, there may be a tendency to slip into control and over-mothering, which is an out-of-balance expression of this ancient spiritual energy. So it’s vital not to smother and suppress what you’ve created, and equally not to become so over-active that you exhaust and deplete yourself.
Here are some ways we can all encourage the healthy emergence of our own Earth-connected Mother archetype.
1. Slow Down
Slow down the pace of life and enjoy the pleasure your senses receive from being fully present. When you do this, it is easy to realize how wonderful it all is – you have succeeded! There is no need to keep chasing what you don’t have (and don’t need?)
2. Simplify and minimalize your life.
What are your priorities? How much other stuff is going on in your life, drawing your attention away from these? By clearing out the excess, we create space for abundance (in those areas we want) to rush in. The Mother archetype is often depicted as somebody naturally beautiful, buxom and rosy-cheeked – the provider of plenty. She does this by having her priorities right!
Invite some friends over and take the time to prepare and savor delicious food in company. Don’t worry about perfection – instead, focus on the simple delight and pleasure of what is happening around you.
4. Create Ceremony, Ritual and Traditions
Implement a tradition or some simple ceremony into your life. It could be a daily ‘thanksgiving’ at mealtimes (great for children, to develop their own sense of gratitude. I do this with my own kids, and they love it. They have even made up their own little “grateful” dance, it’s brilliant!)
Or try something aligned with the lunar phase, New Moon ritual, or a Full Moon celebration, a monthly party to celebrate everyone’s successes.! Share it with others, and be consistent – these rites create a real sense of belonging and connectedness, to friends, family, and to the Earth.
5. Learn to be resourceful
This means noticing and using whatever you already have around you, rather than rushing out to buy new supplies or a gadget to help you do a job you’re quite capable of doing already. (This may require some creative thinking, but this is part of flexing this archetype’s muscle!)
Likewise, it may mean rallying around a few of your friends to lend you a hand, OR it may mean the opposite – not relying on external support to accomplish an easy task, if you tend to be quite needy.
This is about realizing and allowing your own innate creativity and strength.
6. Get Practical!
Think about whether there are any practical life-skills that you’ve so far missed out on picking up. For example:
- Can you change a flat tyre on your car or bike?
- Do you know how to sharpen your kitchen knives?
- Can you fix a leaky tap?
Join a course or find a friend to teach you! Sometimes we can get pushed into thinking stereotypically quite early on in life, and assume that we’re incapable in certain areas. The Mother archetype dares you to challenge this!
7. Involve yourself in community.
Giving time, attention and resources to a group cause (even if the cause is nothing more than friendship and local company) is incredibly gratifying. It lies at the root of the Mother archetype’s gifts which are to sustain and nurture.
8. Help those unable to help themselves
This may mean buying a hot cup of tea for somebody homeless or campaigning for the rights of Syrian children… energy flows where attention goes, so do it with unconditional love.
9. Replenish your own energies by connecting with Mother Earth
Do this especially around the Full Moon, when the rest of nature is also enlivened by the height of the lunar phase.
10. Try gardening
If you don’t have one, most cities and towns have community gardens where you can volunteer. It’s an incredibly healing activity, and one of the simplest ways to bring out the balanced aspects of the Mother archetype.
11. Strengthen your heart chakra
This is the energy center from which we are able to generate and live by our own emotional stability. Activating and strengthening it will make you more emotionally balanced and self-reliant, so that you’re are able to be unconditional with people and situations. What this means is that we’re then more likely to approach others with love, not judgment (as a mother would).
12. Chart your menstrual cycle.
This isn’t only noting down your bleeding days on the calendar, but also your emotional state, how energetic you feel, how capable and creative you have been… Over a longer timeframe, this simple practice will help you realize how tuned in you are to the greater cycles of nature, and will reinforce the innate connection you have to the Great Earth Mother, Gaia.
13. Wear comfortable, cosy, unrestrictive clothes
Try headscarves and gorgeous drapes of fabric, to feel enveloped, soothed and comforted (as opposed to the restrictive smartness of tailoring).
14. Have a go at making, or using handmade products
The loving care and attention channeled into a hand-knitted scarf, homemade jam, a hand-carved bowl, or whatever it is, rather than an industrially manufactured one, passes onto you when you use it (or to the next person, if you are the maker).
There are SO many subtle aspects to this archetype, that will hold more or less significance for each of us, and these are just a scattering of ways in which to strengthen and express them.
During the Full Moon phase, the lunar time of illumination, we are given the gift of being able to more clearly and objectively look at our lives, and ourselves. This state of clarity, presence and acceptance is what lies at the center of the Mother archetype. If we take this time each month to feel and experience these sentiments about ourselves, we will in turn, be able to freely offer them out into the world.
As this lunar phase can also so often activate the ‘doer’ instinct in us, naturally having the energy and stamina to achieve great amounts, we especially need to learn to embody the Mother archetype in strong and healthy ways. If our efforts at this time are channeled wisely, they will nurture and support the whole. Knowing how to retain this balance is the ultimate wisdom of this archetype, and something to aim for.
So this is the phase to sit within your power, feel it, know and be proud of it! And if you feel its deficit anywhere, then do the work you need to get it back!