The beliefs we develop about ourselves and life around us arise from our earliest childhood experiences. Our wounding, which we are taught to deny is there because our culture thrives on denial.
Unprocessed pain, unmet and unfelt grief crystallizes into "negative" belief patterns and shame. It contributes to and is easily and steadily fed by our emotionally dysfunctional culture. A culture that is incredibly illiterate in one of the most healing and important aspects of the human experience.
Grief is potent healing energy.
Without it, the unmet, unfelt wounding within us reaches out into the world to find soothing, to find "mother" in order to experience some kind of inner resolution that will lead to peace, safety and goodness; to feel connected to the feminine face of God.
Unprocessed wounds are running the world. They are what has us picking the same relationships over and over again, doubting ourselves, not trusting life, running from one addiction to another, looking for the "one" or hiding from ourselves.
What we see as co-dependence, seeking our wholeness in the external world, is at the root, a symptom of spiritual and emotional disconnection from love itself, also known as trauma.
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.
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.
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.
Living in a world that values what image we project over who we really are, what we can produce over what we express, how we look over how we feel is a culture that is emotionally and spiritually neglectful. It is a culture that values the external to such a degree that we have become codependent this culture, a death mother, in an attempt to receive the nourishment our psyche is so deeply craving and getting ourselves lost in the process.
We have been split in two...our inner nature and our rational nature. Animal and divine has become animal OR divine. The splitting creates a deep chasm in the in-between, a place that rests in our hearts...where we are actually meant to embody the in-between...to be both instinctual and divine, logical and filled with the creative loving energy of eros; to hold a safe container, respect knowledge and wisdom equally and to navigate through the world fully alive in our cells with feeling, wisdom and grace. We should feel safe to be whole. Yet most of us do not.
This is the essence of the soul wound, the split between our two sides; logos and eros, masculine and feminine, animal or spirit, spiritual or science, dark or light, love or hate, good or bad...and on and on.
When I stopped drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes, I had an intuition that a lot of my addiction was related to mothering. It was then I began to explore not only my relationship to my own personal mother but what it is to cultivate a conscious relationship with myself. This is when I first encountered the archetype of the death mother, a representation of the oppression/abuse of the healthy feminine. She is also the shadow side of the Great Mother archetype.
Archetypes are universal energy patterns that humans have experienced through out time. It is also expressed within cultures, as well as personally in each of our lives. This forms the foundation of our internal mother, a combination of universal energetics, cultural expressions and our personal lineage.
The death mother archetype appears in other cultures as an archetype of the soul stealer; the soul ultimately being the feminine, embodied expression of the divine.
The "patriarchy” doesn’t have to just do with men or the masculine principle. Everything is a part of the wholeness and the wholeness lives within all things. There is also very much a feminine counterpart to the patriarchy, a system designed to function through domination, control and power.
This is a system that rose from the transition of worshipping mother nature to seeking to domination not only over mother earth but over our own feminine nature deeply tied to the earth body itself.
The death mother is the counterpart to the death father. These are archetypal energies that exist in the collective psyche. If they did not, there wouldn’t be the kind of situations we are dealing with on the earth at this time.
These archetypal energies influence each of us and are confounded even more if they’ve also arrived into the blueprint of our nervous systems via our actual parents.
The death mother is the shadow part of the feminine who seeks to express herself through power, domination and control of the elemental feminine, of the soul of both men and women. She represents the "cultural subjugation of the wild and unruly feminine (Toko-pa)" and to survive she's become like the death father in order to thrive. Her soul was stolen and now she steals to feel like she has one.