The weight of a painful childhood can be a lot to bear. Its consequences seep into so much of our lives. It never feels right that the pain we experienced at the hand of another impacts us so deeply and now we must do work of healing, grieving and recovering ourselves so we can thrive.
This is how we internalize this death mother energy, where Athena cursed Medusa for being raped and cast her out into a cave where she was feared for turning others into stone. Her rapist went free. Medusa punished for her trauma.
This happens every day in our inner worlds. We punish ourselves for what has happened in the past. We continue to treat ourselves this way because, especially as children, we learn how to mother ourselves through the way we were treated.
We adapt, becoming more like Athena, safe in the patriarchal world that perpetuates abuse while denying it and gaslighting people, even using spirituality to shame victims of trauma into thinking it was somehow their fault or projection.
Spiritualized truths do not fly in the face of recovering from any kind of trauma. This is not what healing our relationship to our soul is about.
Belief systems develop out of lived experiences of life and the meaning the mind makes of them.
Personality and identity becomes a strategy that is unconsciously developed in order to get one's needs met. This is a very intelligent mechanism of the psyche. As children, it is the only strategy we have that can help us split off from what is overwhelming, intolerable or painful.
Soul loss protects us from feeling more pain.
The psyche builds around this and it serves us in surviving our early life. This is what becomes our path of awakening back to true self when we are adults, when we realize it no longer works to live a life from inside that loss.
Feeling unworthy of love is such an extremely common phenomenon in Western culture where there are a lack of devotional spaces or honoring of the sacred inner sanctum of the human heart. The beliefs that stem from this come as not being worthy of love, feeling disconnected from the rest of life, feeling that it's not okay to be here or to be human, not deserving love all the way. It can trickle all the way down to "I don't matter," which is common and normal if we had a death parent who resented us, envied us, criticized us or otherwise created a lack of safety in our inner and outer world.
The belief that we are not worthy of love is not healed through repeating opposite affirmations that are a lie to the nervous system.
Scarcity is not a mindset but a lack of love.
It is a symptom of the wound of separation that is passed down the mother line. It is the way that the collective wound of patriarchy is transmitted into our bones through thousands of years of building a world idolizing the rational, provable and profitable.
Scarcity is a lack of connection, primarily to the elemental feminine soul, but mostly also it is a disconnection from love and the source of life itself. Nature. The earth. Our natural world we are meant to be a part of.
One of the major symptoms we experience through the influence of the death mother culture is scarcity. A scarcity of internal resources, a scarcity of feeling connected to love, nourishment and trust in the nature of life itself.
It is a symptom of a broken heart.
Spiritual trauma is a huge side effect of all kinds of abuse - physical, mental and emotional. At the heart of trauma, there is a deep rupture to our sacred roots because the sanctity of the human soul is disrespected or ignored. This is at the core of most dehumanizing behavior and practices that live in the heart of capitalism, as well as the death mother and father as rulers of this patriarchy.
For some, this is obvious to pinpoint. There were clear incidents or experiences.
It’s harder to pinpoint when this is the ambiance of the atmosphere we grow up in. These are the kinds of environments we leave and think that everything was fine but encounter challenges in our lives, including feeling that something is missing, feeling stuck all the time, lacking purpose, not trusting one’s own creative genius, chronic self-doubt, difficulty or guilt with thriving, feeling disconnected from Spirit and your own Soul, difficulty trusting life and love in a real, heart-centered, embodied way.
We are bathed in our mother’s womb. The environment in our early years serves this same container for our developing hearts, minds, bodies and soul. These energies shape us and inform our relationship with life and Spirit (our mother is our first experience of God or spirit or source), love, self image, etc.
"The death mother supports an inner and outer patriarchal system that haunts a woman with feelings of failure and worthlessness and oppresses men with feelings of depression and dissatisfaction with their lives (and themselves)." Massimilla Harris (parenthesis added by me)
In order for us to truly heal our relationship with the masculine energy that lives within us and find balance in the world, regardless of gender, we must tend to the death mother. The internalized death mother archetype we carry is a result of living in a patriarchal culture where she is transmitted through our conditioning. This complex is made more challenging if our own mother rejected, abandoned, feared, envied or disliked us because of her own wounding, not wanting to have a child or environmental circumstances. To a child, when s/he perceives the energetic rejection and dislike of mother, it feels like death and this archetype begins to weave its way into the cells of the body, emotions, consciousness and relationship with a higher power that is life.
Athena was the daughter of Zeus. Born out his head and a true daughter of the patriarch, she did not have a mother. She was revered and celebrated for her qualities associated with being successful in a patriarchal world. It's no accident that she is the Goddess of warfare and strategy, math, law and justice, civilization, courage and skill. She honed the qualities most celebrated in her society. But, not having a mother she was also deeply cut off from her deeply feminine nature. She, as Joseph Campbell points out, is also a symbol of the way the patriarchal culture has assimilated the Goddess.
Peace of mind will come from calling your heart home.
The inner nourishment we seek via the purest of inner freedom It will come when we stop enslaving the heart to the mind; using the mind as the body's task master and the primary source of our conscious focus.
The body is the container of the subconscious mind.
The mind constantly repeats what the heart has not released.
Fear, scarcity and negative thoughts will be soothed and transformed in the most miraculous way when we recognize they are reactions to flags being sent from the body, the subconscious, so we will pay attention to our hearts. These flags are the inner self-fragments vying for your loving attention, seeking a mother who will finally offer them what they need so that the wounds, the stuck emotional energy, the tension patterns can release and you can finally be free.
When we are born, our bodies are tender, undefended and deeply open in the most innocent and visceral way.
A baby’s first emotion is grief; a wailing for leaving its symbiotic union with the mother and entering a world filled with open spaces, objects, people, sensations and experience for which it must rely on others to keep it safe and alive.
It is our body that feels this wound of separation the most profoundly, a body designed to be relaxed and open to the flow of life.
All matter of things disrupt this flow upon arrival into this earth school. Many things, subtle and not so subtle, happen that start to harden the body, create patterns of tension and defense needed for survival. These patterns can become rigid over time.
No matter how unalterable our divine consciousness may be, this consciousness is woven into the fabric of our body on every level and every experience we have ever had, good and bad, ancestral and present day life, known and unknown…all of it takes us residence in the body.
The emotions from childhood (and adolescence) we were never able to process become rigid pathways of tension in the shoulders, lower back pain, a stiff spine, a chronic hip tightness, jaw pain, heart palpitations, digestive issues, or an ever present tightness in the chest.
Last night there were fireworks going off somewhere in the distance, noises that always send my fur friend into a deep terror. At first, it was subtle and I didn’t quite notice as she laid on my feet but then I felt this shaking and put my hand on her and she started panting hard. Getting more distressed, she was trying to get under the coffee table, the couch, or the bed. I did everything I could to soothe her. She eventually took up shelter deep in the closet, where I sat with her, holding her, singing to her and soothing her.
I noticed a subtle energy of soothing to try to get her to be okay again. But, she was in something and all I could do is just be there and love her. (Often that what we are trying to get to be “okay” again is our own feelings that arise when we are in a space with something intense or our meaning making of our pain). I laid next to her, kept my hands on her and just sang to her as she alternately cried and licked my face.
It hit something deep inside of me, a place of deep mirroring and recognition in my body of my own fear. Fear of being here, in a human body. A fear that many of us walk around with, mystics or not.
Emotional fear and hypervigiliance shows up in the body as a deep existential terror that we entered into such a long time ago it’s become like the water we are swimming in without realizing it. Our society is the giant sea we are swimming in.
A big barometer of self-love is how well we are able to parent ourselves through difficult times, mistakes, disappointments, grief and other challenging emotions.
All too often, this is where our wounds are triggered and we enact ways of being that perpetuate the cycle of wounding within our psyches. If we keep treating ourselves and our inner worlds the way we internalized, the way we learned to treat ourselves, then we continue the cycles of pain in our lives without realizing it.
This is the realm of the death mother and one I see most common in clients and my own soul life.
Grief is a very common reaction not only to loss but heartbreak or rejection or disappointment. We make mistakes. We are human. Life has its ups and downs. Things happen. We feel things in response to it.
The death mother sits on the shadow-y end of the Mother archetype. Archetypes are energies that represent certain patterns that contain the totality from shadow to light. Every archetype has this journey, including parental archetypes. The shadow resides within the death mother/father, negative parents, absent parent, to the good enough mother, nurturing mother, present mother and the great, divine mother. herself. One pulls us away from life. The other connects us more deeply into life-affirming principles that give freedom to the soul.
The way we parent ourselves is the backdrop of everything as we move through our lives. It is the way we treat ourselves emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically. It is the way we nurture ourselves. It is the way we hold ourselves when we are experiencing difficulties, struggling with dark or challenging emotions, facing addictions or relationship patterns or our human condition. It seems so common that in emotional struggle and life difficulties, we have the hardest time loving ourselves. This is the inner parent at work.
What this looks like is a desire to get rid of the pain, criticizing ourselves, judging ourselves, numbing out the pain rather than seeking soothing, a hatred towards our own inner wounding, bypassing our wounding with spiritual affirmations, using our thoughts to control our deep pain, fear of turning inwards towards ourselves, a feeling of choking when wanting to express truth, a draw to things that on the surface appear soothing but are actually toxic, or seeking for something outside of ourselves to be our source of love.