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 shadow of the mother, revealing herself as an absent mother, negative mother or, at the extreme, the death mother, shows up culturally in the way we treat mothers, the way we relate to emotions (especially in men) also the way our society treats children. She is typically distant and cold. She does not truly know or understand the hearts of her children, is unable to attune to her children, is not interested in her children, sees them as an extension of herself, feels herself to be a victim, is primarily focused on herself in life. She is usually quite judging, critical and full of negativity. She tends to be emotionally dominant in her family, and can be cruel and abusive. She kills hope. Kills creativity. She is soul wounding, harming body, mind and spirit.
Her own wounding is the same - having been oppressed and dominated, ruled over with fear and not respected. The wounded feminine rises up and mimics the wounded masculine in order to survive. This is the lineage that has been passed on with the Industrialization and capitalism.
The aspects of the good enough mother or the Great Mother have gone missing for the most part, though we yearn deeply for them. This yearning leaves a great void we try to fill with things that either mimic the healthy feminine or, in our subconscious search for the nourishing mother, the wound picks out substances, people or other forms of addictions to try to get its needs met. What form of addiction our wounds select is quite informative of the nature of our longing.
We are innately born with deep need for love and attention. It is how we are wired. We need emotional connection and spiritual nourishment in order to thrive and trust life. And, our culture flourishes on the count of the death mother leaving an emotional void and an endless supply of faux spiritual nourishment and dopamine hits via swiping left/right or getting likes and fans and hits and shares. So, many of these inherent needs that our psychological and spiritual well-being rely on are seen as weak and written off as something that needs to be "worked on."
We pathologize neediness and view talk about our real wounding as taboo and negative, or not spiritually advanced somehow. But it is our wounding that is creating a world where there is so much addiction that we cannot even stand in line at the grocery store or stop at a stop sign without checking our phones to get a hit of something.
We have built a society that programs us to be addicted to it rather than serving our wholeness.
Alcohol and cigarettes were my own personal death mother. These are socially so acceptable we hardly even think about it. For me, it was seeking nourishment in toxic substances because that's what my nervous system learned what love was. This is a side effect of emotional trauma
There is nothing wrong with having wounds.
It is in fact what makes us human and where our fear and longing meet to guide us into what we are meant to embody and what gifts we are here to share. These wounds need love. We all need so much love. We are all hungry, deeply hungry for love. The death mother herself is starving for love.
The Great Mother is ready, her arms open, to hold all of us with nurturing, love, protection, tenderness, compassion and grace. She longs to show us how to find the soothing, love and security we crave in her and how she lives inside our hearts. She holds the torch for our growth and expansion. She is wise in the ways of emotions and their transformative potential. She knows that within our addictions is a massive does of energy ready to awaken to creativity of thought, art, movement, social activism, generosity and love like we have never seen before.