Society has long venerated the "goddess" ideal as the life-giving, loving, nurturing, and saintly form of the mother figure, most often personified in western culture by various depictions of the Virgin Mary. An unsullied, gentle figure, softly spoken and glowing in heavenly blue light, she appears quite detached from the earthly realm we inhabit. But this version of goddess energy strikes me as being far from unsullied; instead, it has the hands of many upon her to create something very much of human design, of fitting a specific mould. So when I think of a mother figure, of an energy that is nurturing and powerful, it is Nature that inspires me rather than any doctrine. And the mother of this realm is never shy to get her hands dirty, stir the up the seas, fuel the flames, or whip up a storm. She has many names; Kali, Pele, Lilith, Hekate, Nyx, the Morrigan, and Gaia, to name but a few, all of whom have the power to clear the way for the new. So whilst the Dark Mother exists, we have the opportunity to make good our mistakes, to learn and to grow.
The modern view of the Dark Mother has seldom been very flattering; just looking at films of the last few years like Mama, Mother!, and Gaia, nobody appears to come off well when encountering her. But again, this is only an exaggerated aspect of the Dark Mother you are about to engage with that has been stylized to suit a particular agenda. The Dark Mother has no agenda; she is the manifestation of the most significant creative force that exists—life itself. Step out into Nature, and you encounter this force; stare to the heavens, and you encounter this force; look into a mirror, or close your eyes to imagine or dream, and you encounter this force. Connecting with the Dark Mother in all aspects of your life improves your understanding of the cycle and death and rebirth, letting go of the old to make way for the new, improving your experience of life not by avoiding pain and trouble but by learning to cope with it and move through it. What follows are five fundamentals to embracing the Dark Mother.
One: Breathe Easy
Two: Still the Mind
Three: Walk the Line
Four: "Altar" Your Perceptions
Now place all your items exactly where they are safe and look and feel right to you. You can invest as much or as little of yourself in this process as you choose; you may want to talk with each item as you place it down. Remember, this is somewhere where you will come, in good times and bad, to reflect on or to draw upon. So, the more time you take to set it up with reverence and consideration, the better. You have created a space that invites in and "holds" energies of the elements, the directions, your spiritual heritage, and what you hold dear now. It is, in effect, a tiny, living temple to you! Come to this place whenever you feel a need to connect to all that it represents; you may have questions, concerns, want to share ideas, or shed a tear…there is nothing that you cannot bring before this space, the Dark Mother will be there to support you.
Five: Give Thanks
The Polynesian diety Pele encompasses this most poetically; her presence is both feared and revered by those who benefit from the fertile earth she produces. But we don't all live in the shadows of volcanoes, so we often encounter this energy in the changing of the seasons. And more personally, when something in our lives ends, the chance for a new beginning presents itself. To give thanks for what we have, when we have it it just as important as remembering it when it is gone. One of the simplest ways is in daily prayer, or just setting time aside each day or each week to be fully present and take stock of all you have and all you are to be appreciative of. You can do this by setting time aside, say once a week, to sit somewhere quietly, either inside or outside, and closing your eyes just breathe steadily in through the moth, out through the nose and when you feel ready and relaxed, say either aloud or within, "I am grateful for all the gifts of life; my body, my soul, my loved ones, my home, my talents, my trials, and the opportunity to change or improve any aspect of my journey." Repeat it twice more, then take three deep breaths before going about your day.
In all of what we do, when it comes to working with the Dark Mother, with the creative force of life itself, the key thing to remember is that you are not detached from it, ever. It is not a deity to be worshipped from afar, pledge allegiance to, or give all your worldly goods to; it is a part of you that you just need to connect with. Encountering the Dark Mother is about acknowledging all that you are and all that you are capable of and putting that to the most positive use. All of us are born of a mother, and from that very moment, the cord that once kept us alive within her continues to be extended to us in life through the energetic drive to live and experience all that this journey has to offer us. Yes, we will fall, we will have pain, and we will experience suffering, but through our acceptance that we can move on from this, we will rise and smile and create again.
Kate Osborne (Europe) is an editor, writer, and creative artist. Formerly editor-in-chief of Kindred Spirit magazine she founded Solarus Publishing, part of Solarus Ltd, to focus on oracle cards. ...