Mothering and The Moral Strength of Women
Happy Mother’s Day to everyone out there Mothering - a way of being in the world, of nurturing and cultivating the highest within you, so that you can bring that to your family, your friends, and the planet.
In 1908 a woman named Anna Jarvis started a campaign in West Virgina to create a nationally recognized holiday to recognize mothers. People loved the idea, and it spread quickly. Hallmark and florists promoted it heavily to become what it is today. (And Anna herself was reportedly already disappointed by it's commercialization by 1920.)
While motherhood has not been a major topic of the modern world’s great spiritual leaders and teachers, There are a lot of references in history to a unique spiritual trait of "mothering" that all women have. Many natives and aboriginal tribes, as well as early Paleolithic and Neolithic reference great respect for the Clan Mother, or Earth Mother, and "Great Females," who give birth to humans and all other beings and things, who are responsible for the cycles of nature, and on whom we depend on for life. Prior to the introduction of our modern, organized religions, all women and mothers were honored and revered for our unique feminine power, regardless of whether they physically gave birth to a child. In fact, there’s no shortage of PH.D papers on the web making the case that the men who wrote our modern Bibles intentionally left out this ancient wisdom, but that’s another topic.
Ohiyesa, a Dakota Indian, also known as Charles Alexander Eastman, wrote a book called “Soul of the Indian” in the early 1900's to give voice to the spiritual vision and ways of the Native American people and his book provides many references to both the sacredness of Mother Earth and to the intertwined importance of the role of the mother in their society. (Ohiyesa had many accomplishments, among them; he was a physician, lecturer, Native American activist, help to found the Boy Scouts, and received a degree from Dartmouth in 1887, and an M.D. from Boston University in 1880.)
Ohiyesa wrote this about Motherhood:
The Moral Strength of Women
In the woman is vested the standard of morals of our people. She is the silent but telling power behind all of life’s activities…Possessed of true feminine dignity and modesty, she is expected to be the equal of her mate in physical endurance and skill, and to share equally in the arduous duties of daily life. But she is superior in spiritual insight. She is the spiritual teacher of the child, as well as its tender nurse, and she brings its developing soul into the world. It is her responsibility to endow her child with nature’s gifts and powers, for we believe that from the moment of conception…it is her spiritual influence that matters most.
There is nothing artificial about her person, and very little insincerity in her character…. She is, in fact the moral salvation of our people.
Today, it IS clear that we have lost the power of the mother. When you look at our culture and media, there is no question that society is out of balance. Greed, bullying, so many hungry kids, even in the richest country in the world are signs of this imbalance. We must also consider how we are treating our planet, or responding to climate change, our wars, and the male domination in everything from video games to the sports we play. There is obviously an absence of the mothering intuition and female spirituality in our culture because we stopped living and teaching our essence.
Perhaps the Feminist Movement did move us off course. When we put on our suits and marched into the meeting room, we followed men into THEIR way of being. We can be more successful at work - and at home - by reclaiming our deep spiritual feminine power, and our natural connection to Mother Earth and her cycles. The world would be well-served if we put our female intuitive - or mothering way of being - back into power, to build up our families, and to teach men (and especially our male leaders) our way of being. It’s our collective intuition to care for others, for the world, and for this planet.
As Ohiyesa wrote, in the 1800’s, this is a massive responsibility, but it is our nature. And as the Dali Lama said in 2009, "The world will be saved by the western woman.”