New Hunger Moon (Age: 0 days)
Weather: Partly cloudy, windy,
intermittent rain & unseasonably warm
Weather: Partly cloudy, windy,
intermittent rain & unseasonably warm
So I have a few things to ramble on about tonight. First, to all who are celebrating, I wish you a blessed New Year (as this is the start of the Lunar year). There are many cultures that celebrate this as the start of the year, thus I am not going to focus on just one culture over the rest. If you're curious as to who is celebrating this as the beginning of the new year, check out the link.
Secondly, I have another blog that I will be updating at the new and full moon for each month. I am not going to be mirroring the material here but I will link to it when I do make posts. There may be material that is discussed in both blogs, but I don't plan on that being the rule. As the web community that I have joined has a large population of neophytes and seekers, I will be making an effort to post topics friendly to someone just starting out in Wicca or witchcraft.
Now, to get to the point of this blog entry (which I'm sure you were eagerly awaiting LOL), I have been considering my relationship with the Great Mother and how she has been guiding me over the last several months. I don't believe it is strictly a matter of coincidence that I have been feeling a strong prompt to view the Blessed Virgin Mary as an avatar of the Great Mother or to incorporate elements of the iconography surrounding her in my shrine(s) to the Mother.
Images such as the one above have been catching my eye for a while. When I was considering converting to Catholicism, I felt a strong pull to a Marian devotion. (Sadly, I do not know who the artist is that produced the lovely image. If it is YOUR work, please contact me.) Even now, I feel something of a tie to Mary. My history with the Blessed Virgin is ... odd.
My first experience channeling was to serve as her mouthpiece to convey a message to a Catholic friend of mine who was experiencing something of a spiritual crisis at the time. The Great Mother for a time placed me in the care of the Blessed Virgin. (It was a time of much confusion for me and I truly believe that Mary watched over me during the times of crisis that came to me during that period.) My middle name is Maria, which at one point my Mom said was because of a song and at another time it was supposed to be in honor of Mary. (I honestly don't know which statement, if either, is correct. My Mom regularly made confusing statements about things like that.)
Now that I have returned to Wicca (several years ago, to be honest), I still am drawn to the Marian iconography. The images of the Blessed Mother holding her babe strike me as incredibly powerful images of the Great Mother. The majority of these images that resonate the strongest with me have her holding a child of indeterminate gender. Oddly, I find it reassuring that the Deanists (also known as the Children of Dea) uphold the iconography of Mary as an orthodox presentation of the Great Mother.
To see that others also find the Great Mother in this guise puts some of my anxiety to rest. It helps to ease the fear that I am simply driving off into wilderness and have little to turn to in the way of fellow travelers. (I recognize that this fear is a manifestation of other issues that I have been struggling with. I also recognize that the Mother is pushing me past these issues. Thus I must choose if I go along or get dragged. Either way, I am still going.)
A lot of other people within the pagan community have written about how the Marian iconography can be used for fostering one's relationship with the Mother. I am not going to waste your time with a rambling commentary on this when there are so many commentaries on this topic (some of them quite well written and others less so). I am instead going to talk about how the Great Mother has been guiding me down this path.
It started out with simply a desire to build a relationship with her. Somewhere along the way, I transferred the issues I have with my mother to my relationship with the Great Mother. This was something that brought me a great deal of anxiety, sorrow, and frustration. Where I had previously enjoyed a feeling of closeness with the goddess, I suddenly felt as though there was a great gulf between her and I. I realized then what others meant when the spoke of a 'fall from Grace'.
In my case, however, it was not an intentional act. I did not intend at any point in time to reject the Great Mother or to distance myself from her. Instead, my psychological illness ran roughshod over me and pushed me apart from virtually all maternal figures in my life, including the Great Mother. It was the realization that my illness was creating the problem that had given me the key to resolving it. For as I confronted and healed my illness, I would find it easier to draw close to the maternal figures in my life, including the goddess.
As I began grasping at proverbial straws for how to reweave the Great Mother into my daily devotionals, little things began to catch my eye and imagination. I do not think it is mere whimsy that has pushed me into a year long study of the Rosary and encouraged me to find a way to incorporate it into my practices. I do not think it whimsy or some sort of hubris that I have been surrounding myself with Marian images.
For a long time, the Great Mother presented herself to me as the mother aspect of Morrigan. Morrigan is a harsh mother. She has no time or patience with foolishness. She is not for the faint of heart. As a goddess of war, childbirth, and sovereignty, she holds her children up to very high standards. She rewards honest effort and exacts a terrible toll for those who dare to cross her. I sincerely believe this is why one of the men that had sexually assaulted me has since had problems finding even a prostitute willing to lie with him and erectile dysfunction. (It was amusing when he accused me of cursing him. I have never cursed any being, no matter how wrathful I've been with them. In the case of this man, I simply asked that justice be done. Mother Morrigan attended to it.)
Somewhere in the last two years, the Great Mother presented herself to me in an appearance close to that of the traditional Marian iconography. Mother Morrigan has somehow stepped back to allow this much gentler guise to come forward. I don't think it is out of some implication of weakness on my part. I believe it is because I am unwell and have need of gentler handling. Can Morrigan be gentle? Yes, of course she can. I have experienced it.
The Great Mother, however, has deemed that I am to experience her this fashion. It has done considerable wonders for easing the anxiety that I feel towards her. Where I feared that even the slightest perceived misstep would disappoint or anger Morrigan, this face of the Great Mother doesn't hold that terror for me. There is a subtle pressure against my understanding of motherhood from my perspective as a child.
The Great Mother is penetrating the defenses that I established much like a flow of water eases through limestone. It is slow, consistent, and subtle. The changes that are being wrought are for my benefit, which a part of me is bewildered by. I ask why she would care about me. And then Loki laughs at me and tells me to open my eyes.
At times, I see flashes of Sigyn. Oddly enough, she looks much like the face that closely resembles Mary. The dress is different but so very much is alike that it confuses me. And in that confusion, the Great Mother reached out and touches me. I am learning that confusion is not prelude to terror. I am learning that having someone 'mother' me is not a painful experience.
It is something that I think is going to deepen and grow more profound as the year progresses. And I am quite thankful for that.