Archetypal Grace: The Ever Tenacious Woman


Given my ever growing fascination with history, myth and the collective subconscious; today my thoughts have wandered to some of my mother’s musings from when I was a child. I am unsure if at the time she was aware of the benefits I was absorbing… then later on interpreting and building upon.

She went on to tell me in great detail and conviction about how the mother Mary was essentially the goddess reintegrating herself in to the now dominant religion; that whatever faith would appear in our hearts her carnation would closely follow.
Given that planted thought i noted quickly (never underestimate the mind of a youth) that what was once the mother maiden and the crone was now the father, son and the holy ghost.

I learned later on in life as my studies grew that the triple goddess AND the triple god were prominent aspects of most major faiths, myths and even modern media.
Although there was one large exception I observed. In the predominant Christian stories the triple god was prevalent but the triple goddess was short one strong member: there was no strong crone figure to finish that divine trinity. Although there was female elder figures none of them played quite an equal/strong role as Mary the mother or Mary the maiden. The crone represents endings, wisdom, finalities; death. The final piece of a puzzle, saving us from a harrowing oblivion.

But why is this?

What effect does ignoring the wizened feminine archetype have on our society? Or even characterizing it in to ridiculous obscurity. If a culture purposely or otherwise attempts to eradicate an aspect of the feminine or lessen its equality our dualistic balance is thrown off kilter. The circle of masculine weaves perfectly together with the feminines circle creating the symbol of eternity (Symbolism is our earliest form of spirituality and language, even then these tales remained similar).
This simple symbol which some view as a figure eight, a circle within a circle or a spiral is the vision of true perfection – Weathered with the tire and toil of living with awareness; the sacred beauty of life held within exhausted and callused hands.
What may be considered our burden now, is in truth our gift to a future we will never see. One of which will share the same fables we have; If only we have the courage to shoulder their weight, to keep them alive.
In a world destitute of this balance, the acceptance of all of our psychological aspects; what is to be of our humanity and perishing culture; this blind folded pilgrimage sending us to war against ourselves. What wake do we leave for a new culture to arise in the ashes of our old? Where then will be these archetypes?

“I am the honoured one and the scorned one.
I am the whore and the holy one.
I am the wife and the virgin.
I am the mother and the daughter.”
-Gnostic gospel – Thunder, Perfect Mind

Some would call my mother a Pagan, some a worshiper of life/the earth, others may say she is a ardent wanderer; an opportunist of religion, taking wisdom and lore as they maid sense to her and discarding the ones that do not. A multi dimensional polytheist.
This is verily where I have come with my spirituality; I swing between quelling and feeding a hunger for knowledge, deeper understanding for humanity and what lays beyond…. Although am given peace in the awareness that this ravenousness desire will never be fully satiated. (Jokingly my partner once called me the Tantric Pagan Buddhist, but even that is a vast marginalization)

I often find our stories through out the ages are repeating themselves in time appropriate variations. Sometimes blatant sometimes subtle our tales have evolved along with us- from ancient texts, to passed down family legends, to faerie tales to, modern day pop culture
(which has become much like the religious mass of our post modern era, every Sunday instead of attending satsang or church we conglomerate together for televised stories; buzzing with hungry anticipation for the new game of thrones or breaking bad.)

Humans apprehend their own being by making it visible in the appearances of their goddesses and gods. In our stories we represent to our future a vision of ourselves; the teachings we wish to leave behind and the world we hope thrives long after we have traveled from the skins that bind us.

We connect even with those of different tongue and colour; through a kinship of myth, it as we are aware subconsciously is the adhesive that keeps our humanity en masse. That whether we are forgotten by history and long passed away, not born yet and fearful of uncertain future or existing in the now desperately trying to remember how to devote ourselves as we desire; whether we are here or there, these reoccurring sagas remind us that we are not alone in a sometimes wretchedly alone existence.

–So where may we discover the goddess myth now? Turning then to the discoveries of the ‘new’ sciences, it appeared, astonishingly, as if the old goddess myth were re-emerging in a new form, not as a personalized image of a female deity, but as what that image represented: a vision of life as a sacred whole in which all life participated in mutual relationship, and where all participants were dynamically ‘alive’. For, beginning with Heisenberg and Einstein, physicists were claiming that in subatomic physics the universe could be understood only as a unity, that this unity was expressed in patterns of relationship, and that the observer was necessarily included in the act of observation. Characteristically, these conclusions were themselves expressed in many of the images that belonged to the old goddess myth. The web of space and time that the mother goddess once spun from her eternal womb – from Neolithic goddess figures buried with spindle whorls, through the Greek spinners of destiny, down to Mary – had become the ‘cosmic web’ in which all life was related. All the mother goddesses were born from the sea – from the Sumerian Nammu, the Egyptian Isis, the Greek Aphrodite, down to the Christian Mary (whose name in Latin means sea). Now this image has come back into the imagination as the ‘sea of energy’ of the ‘Implicate Order’. (1) James Lovelock’s ‘Gaia Hypothesis’ takes its name from the ancient Greek Mother Goddess Earth.

From a mythological perspective, the goddess myth can also be seen in the attempts of many human beings to live in a new way, allowing their feeling of participation with the Earth as a whole to affect how they think about it and act towards it, aware of the urgent need to comprehend the world as a unity. Einstein is the spokesman for this need: ‘The unleashing of the power of the atom bomb has changed everything except our mode of thinking, and thus we head toward unparalleled catastrophes.

But the predominant mythic image of the age – which could be characterized as ‘the god without the goddess’ – continues to support the very oppositional and mechanistic paradigm that the latest scientific discoveries are refuting. This means that two essential aspects of the human mind are out of accord with each other. It may seem a lot to claim that mythic images are so important to all areas of human experience, but the discoveries of Depth Psychology have shown how radically we are influenced and motivated by impulses below the threshold of consciousness, both in our personal and in our collective life as members of the human race. We cannot, then, afford to be indifferent to the prevailing climate of thought. It would seem necessary to make the attempt to move beyond our mythological inheritance in the same way that we try to gain some perspective on our individual inheritance – our specific family, tribe and country.

—– One way of bringing the myth of the goddess back into consciousness is to tell again the stories people have told down the millennia, and to follow the continuous chain of images through different cultures from 20,000 BC onwards, gathering them all together so that their underlying unity can appear. Then this neglected, devalued but apparently unquenchable tradition may speak for itself.” – Anne Baring “The Myth of the Goddess”

Picture taken and edited by Mya Hardman @ St. Andrew Cathedral, Victoria BC


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