The Empress Archetype As Mother
Nothing against our mothers but few of us have experienced human mothering that is truly healthy and represents all four key elements of the Mother archetype. How can we mother, both others & ourselves, sustainably?
How can we mother, both others & ourselves, sustainably?
Excerpt from the book: Your Self-care Guide Through the Year of the Empress: The 2019 Archetype Handbook.
The Empress as Mother shows us how to nurture sustainably.
Mothering is the home domain of the Empress as the representation of the Earth Mother.
As you read this, keep in mind we are not talking about the biological mother but rather the archetypal energy field of Mother, specifically as it relates to the Empress archetype.
Mothering is an energy aspect that touches all of us on some level. Be it that you are a mother, want to become one, take care of your own mother, or mother a partner, a pet, a project, a passion. Even men can mother, as can children.
Mothering is taking care of our homes, our bodies, our people, our animals, our food, our earth.
Taking care of ourselves is not a luxury of indulgence we do once a week and post on Instagram with the hashtag #selfcare. Mothering ourselves is not an occasional treat; it is a daily requirement. It is a necessity.
What we are invited to look at this year is how sustainable our interactions and engagement in this energy aspect of the mother are. Sustainable for us, and also for the people, projects and the environment we nurture.
4 ELEMENTS OF MOTHERING
Four key elements associated with mothering are: nurturing, protection, empowering and initiating. These are like the job description of Mother.
The Mother archetype is easily visible in both the challenging side as well as the nurturing side. We especially see her in movies and books.
The archetypal image of the healthy Mother often depicted in movies is of a large-busted, rosy-cheeked woman overflowing with hugs, kindness and a kitchen full of pies.
She rules the roost, not through control or discipline, but through nurturing and feeding.
She equally embodies the ability to nurture the children she has birthed, as well as, to gently require the children to separate from her and learn to stand, walk and live on their own two feet.
EARTH AS ROLE MODEL
Many of us have a warped relationship to the Mother archetype to the degree that there is even an emotional fissure called the Mother Wound. Nothing against our mothers but few of us have experienced human mothering that is truly healthy and represents all four key elements of the Mother.
But that does not mean we have not experienced healthy mothering. We only need to look to Earth.
She nurtures, protects, empowers and initiates us. She never gives more than she is capable of giving. She never gives less than she can.
Earth mothers all life on the planet without allowing herself to be exhausted and depleted in the process.
Connecting with our Earth Mother can aid the process of healing our Mother Wound. We would be wise to study her joyful, exuberant ways to learn healthy mothering patterns.
THIS YEAR’S MOTHER TOPIC
This year—because it’s at the end of the decade it’s the closure topic (which is a big challenge for the Empress)—the Empress is asking us to not focus on the aspect of birth but on the aspect of nurturing what has already been birthed. This year the Empress asks us to focus specifically on what happens after the seed has been planted and the plant sprouts.
This is so important that I want to say it again: mothering is nurturing, rather than controlling. Mothering is the act of sacred care-taking, which requires attention, presence, sustenance.
So many creatives get caught up in the seed planting and sprouting phases of life. We can look to human mothers and to Mother Earth here. If a baby or a seedling were not nurtured and cared for after birth, it would die. Conversely, if it is over-fed or over-watered, it will also die.
What we are invited to look at this year is how sustainable our interactions and engagement in this energy aspect of the Mother are. Sustainable, not just for us, but also for those we mother. Not in the creating of new life but in the nurturing of life that is already there. For this, we need to look at some of the toxic sides of mothering.
Mothering is the act of sacred care-taking.
2 TOXIC ASPECTS OF THE MOTHER ARCHETYPE
Yes, mothering has a toxic side. Specifically in regard to the Mother aspect of the Empress archetype, there are two aspects to watch out for: smothering and neglect. This year the Empress asks us to watch out for these.
One of the toxic sides of the Mother aspect is smothering (which we also talk about in the Protectress aspect as it is strongly related to the protection aspect of Empress).
In movies we see this smothering as the loud, overwhelming, over-controlling mother who doesn’t let her child go anywhere by themselves. This mother has pies, and she’s stuffing her children full to the ears with them.
When unconditional love becomes self-serving and conditional, it turns acidic and stifles and can even burn those covered under that blanket.
Very often we see that those who smother do not realize they are, in fact, keeping others from growing. Smotherers tend to think they are being helpful, thoughtful, thinking ahead, just checking in, expressing concern, protecting, or being nice. But they are, in reality, rushing in to take care of things.
Smothering is a form of control over others and is based in one’s own fears of not-enoughness. It is an unhealthy way of getting your own needs met.
Another toxic side of the Mother aspect is neglect. This can be the mother who neglects her children, including her own Inner Child.
Giving birth, difficult as it is, is the easy part. The real challenge is in growing that child or project or relationship.
This requires commitment, patience, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, devotion and long term planning.
During 2019 this needs to be looked at through the lens of sustainability, both your own and that of your environment and the people in it.
Ask yourself where you have a tendency to neglect.
What causes you to activate that negative pattern? What would you require to alchemise that into mothering with love?
(End of excerpt from the book: Your Self-care Guide Through the Year of the Empress: The 2019 Archetype Handbook. )
2 Ways You can strengthen your relationship to the Nurturing Mother Archetype
I would like to share two things I share in my book about how exactly you can strengthen your relationship to the Mother archetype.
Connect to Your Inner Mother
There is a lot of talk about connecting to your Inner Child but what about connecting to your Inner Mother? It doesn’t do you much good to connect to your Inner Child, if you don’t have a connection to your Inner Mother. Begin a conversation with your Inner Mother. Ask her what she needs in order to be healthy.
Connect to Mother Earth
Mothers are a grounding force. As is the Earth. It is no wonder so many of us feel uprooted. The mother has been weakened and vilified for so many millennia many of us find it difficult to connect with a positive mother figure.
There are many ways to connect to Earth. Here are two suggestions to spark your own ideas.
Write a love letter from Earth to you.
Write a love letter from you to Earth.
When you become more attuned to our Earth Mother throughout the year & how she mothers you, you will be better able to weave sustainable nurturing into your everyday work and life.
You can find more ways to connect and heal your relationship to the Mother archetype in the book Your Self-care Guide Through the Year of the Empress: The 2019 Archetype Handbook.