Mayflower Memories by Sara Wright

Introduction to MAYFLOWER MEMORIES (‘Blood – Root’)

For the past two weeks I have been obsessed by the thought of emerging bloodroot, a wildflower I have loved since childhood that grows just outside my door (among other places). This obsession, and I take each one seriously, always provokes the same question: what’s really going on here? Bloodroot does not bloom under four feet of snow, and my guess is that this year one of my favorite wildflowers won’t burst with white stars until June.

Today, I also remembered with astonishment that in the old ways, Mother’s Day occurred on March 25th, the time when ‘Becoming’ begins, long before the snow recedes. I’m struck by the difference between the two mothers’ days, this one seems so much more authentic, no room for sentimentality when we face this messy, muddy turning from winter to spring (at least in the Northeast).

Continue reading “Mayflower Memories by Sara Wright”

Legacy of Carol P. Christ: What Does Mother’s Day Mean in a Patriarchal and Matricidal Culture?

This was originally posted on May 9, 2016

When we seek immortality or spiritual “rebirth,” are we not saying that there is something wrong with the “birth” that was given to us through the body of our mothers? In She Who Changes and in “Reading Plato’s Allegory of the Cave as Matricide and Theacide,” I asserted that our culture is “matricidal” because it is based on the assumption that life in the body in this world “just isn’t good enough.”

What is so wrong with the life that our mothers gave us that we must reject it in the name of a “higher” spiritual life? The answer of course death.

Can we love life without accepting death?

Can we love our mothers if we do not accept a life that ends in death?

Jesus was said to have encouraged his disciples to leave their wives and families in order to follow him.  When he was told that his mother and brothers were outside and waiting to speak to him, he is said to have said:

“Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!  For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother. (Matt. 12:48-50)

Continue reading “Legacy of Carol P. Christ: What Does Mother’s Day Mean in a Patriarchal and Matricidal Culture?”

‘Mother’ West Wind and Mary’s Gold by Sara Wright

One day last week it almost drizzled. When I stepped outside that morning I was engulfed by fragrant mist. Rarely does light fog give the thirst- driven forest a temporary reprieve, greening needles, and encouraging tiny leaves to unfurl. With this destructive weather pattern in place the next round of west wind hits the following day, graying out the green and cracking open the earth, perhaps bringing down another round of trees. The Cloud people continue to withhold the precious gift of water…

We have been suffering from drought for so long now that every tree, bush, and plant appears without an emerald coat. Harsh northwest winds, unseasonable heat, cold, and air so dry my lips are cracking have stunted most spring growth. Wildflowers have shrunk to half their size, and in places the woods are bare. High ground is parched. Lowlands are dry, and frogs, toads, and salamanders have few vernal pools in which to lay eggs. A glaring sky that denies the earth healing rain month after month brings on deadly headaches, my body’s response to endless frustration and longing.

Continue reading “‘Mother’ West Wind and Mary’s Gold by Sara Wright”

Her Love is the Love of God by Natalie Weaver

I used to hate Mother’s Day.  I have written about this before, so I won’t belabor the point.  Suffice it to say, I used to believe that Mother’s Day was the one of the biggest lies of all.  It was a day of demonstrated appreciation that seemed to say to me something like, “This card and dinner at Red Lobster is our way of not having to carry our part for the other 364 days each year.  You don’t have to clean up (pause) today, sucka!”  I know I’m getting better and better in my own skin, though, because this year I am not dreading Mother’s Day.  I’m not calling it Mule’s Day.  I’m actually sort of excited about it.

I haven’t swallowed a magic elixir that makes things easier or tidier.  I’m not taking anything for my mood.  My house is messier than ever as I prepare to move homes, and I am working harder than I ever have before.  My kids’ needs are greater than they were when they were babies, and I am doing things I have never done before, such as pleading for financial aid from the school and seeking county assistance for the medical needs of one of my children.  I’m exhausted, but I’m making decisions and signing deeds and taking out loans all by myself.  I get calls from people seeking payment on stuff I never thought possible, such as the daily phone call from the finance department at the cemetery.  My one hundred/month apparently isn’t sufficient.  But, I buried my dad with dignity, and I’m keeping my kids fed, clothed, and educated.  I pass kidney stones almost monthly, and my teaching is laborious, but I feel on fire with the zeal of God.  Truly, I’m starting to feel happy again, and my happiness is rooted in my gratitude.  I think the shittiness of recent years has finely tuned in me an appreciation of decency, and my eyes are opening once more to the radical joy of mere being when being is experienced as gratitude. Continue reading “Her Love is the Love of God by Natalie Weaver”

My Church Won’t Let Me Call the Divine “Father” by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir

I had a startling experience in church recently. It was Father’s Day, and the pastor was talking about how “God is our heavenly Father.” For the first time in 17 years, that idea held some appeal to me. But no sooner did the thought enter my mind, then it was ripped away by the realization that my church will never allow me to symbolize the divine as a “father.”

I grew up with “God the Father” language saturating my churches. I also grew up with a rageful, unsafe, sometimes abusive father, who was also wonderful, empowering, and feminist in many ways. Seventeen years ago, I attended my first seminary lecture on the topic of Feminist Theology. That day changed my life, as did my exposure to feminist theology throughout seminary and at a queer Methodist congregation. My journey took me through more scholarship and liturgy, jobs as chaplain or as assistant pastor struggling to convince my communities that sexism matters, parenting young daughters who lament their own subconscious male divine programming, and finding a prophetic call to speak, write, and sing the Female Divine. Continue reading “My Church Won’t Let Me Call the Divine “Father” by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir”

An Open Letter to Mom by Natalie Weaver

Dear Mom,

I want to take this opportunity to tell you I have learned so much from you over these years that I have been privileged to call you “mom.” I watch you, as you get older, as I also get older, and I continue to learn from you.  You are always telling me that a person cannot know something truly until they get there; that every decade of life is different; and that life becomes, in the end-game, a process of letting go.  I see you, and I know by watching you that this is true.

I remembered you today, from when I was just a child, getting ready to go out for the evening with Dad.  You were spraying your hair into an impressive beehive, pulling on stockings, and fragrancing your wrists with Fabergé cologne.  You were beautiful then, and you taught me that life should be beautiful, our home should be a place of refuge, and every day was worth celebrating.  You used to sing about loving your home, and you maintained it so elegantly.  It was lovely to be your child in that home.  Thank you. Continue reading “An Open Letter to Mom by Natalie Weaver”

A Mother’s Gifts by Dawn Morais Webster

Dawn Morais Webster, the Pope off to his summer palace, Castel Gandolfo. He tells the world he will now become just a “humble pilgrim.”Parvati is a gentle mother goddess. But as Kali, she also wields enormous power. The daughter of Himavan, the king of the Himalayas, consort of Lord Shiva, and mother of Ganesha, the Elephant-Headed Lord, Parvati is the embodiment of all the energy in the universe.  Her seat is on a lion or a tiger.  In the words of a hymn to this goddess, she is “the auspiciousness of all that is auspicious.”

Lakshmi, the consort of Sri Maha Vishnu is often depicted as a very beautiful woman, seated on a full-bloomed lotus, holding lotus buds in two of her hands, a pot of gold in the third. She is flanked by elephants, reflecting her royal status. Lakshmi, as the Goddess of Prosperity, is brilliant in red silk, gold and precious stones. She also offers peace and a sense of balance.

Mother’s Day provided good reason to remember these Hindu deities. They lent their names to the two cows who were milked daily to feed me in the first six months of my life in my grandparents’ home by the sea in Thiruvananthapuram—or Trivandrum, Kerala. I wrote those foreign place names for decades in application letters and immigration forms but it was more than five decades before I first returned to the place where I was born. Continue reading “A Mother’s Gifts by Dawn Morais Webster”

Sirens, Thunderstorms, and Bowling: The Divine on this Mother’s Day by Ivy Helman

untitledLet’s see if the following course of events makes sense.  A few Wednesdays ago, I was thinking about possible topics for this post considering it would be Mother’s Day.  In the midst of thought, the warning sirens in Prague began.  They were only being tested but, nontheless, I immediately thought of tornados.  You see tornados, as awful and devastating as they are, make me think of thunderstorms and lightning.  I love a good thunderstorm, the louder the better.

A Wisconsin childhood supplies plenty of thunderstorms.  I cannot tell you the number of times as I was growing up that I stood outside watching the sky turn into that distinctive greenish-purple and smelling the storm on the breeze.  Nor could I count the umpteen times we gathered in the basement as the tornado sirens blared and the radio advised its listeners in no uncertain terms to seek shelter.  Nor could I recall how many times I sat with my mom during more recent summers watching the storms come in or the lightning blaze across the sky like a spider’s web.  We’ve been lucky.  Never once did a tornado hit our neighborhood although a house or two has been hit by lightning. Continue reading “Sirens, Thunderstorms, and Bowling: The Divine on this Mother’s Day by Ivy Helman”

Remembering My Saints by Katie M. Deaver

My mother and I have always been very interested in our personal connection to the spirit realm.  This connection, for us, is an important one.  We pay attention to the signs and messages that remind us of our continued connection to those we love who no longer occupy our own physical time and space.  Each cardinal, butterfly, and ceaselessly repetitive number (310 in our case) promises the continuation of relationship with the ones we miss so dearly.

A few years ago my mother and I were able to see a live show at the Chicago Theater featuring Long Island Medium Teresa Caputo.  Even with hundreds of people in the audience, specific moments of Caputo’s readings spoke to images and memories that resonated and connected to our experiences.  The show allowed us to once again be reminded of the continued connection between us and those special ones who we love and miss. Continue reading “Remembering My Saints by Katie M. Deaver”

What Does Mother’s Day Mean in a Patriarchal and Matricidal Culture? by Carol P. Christ

Carol Molivos by Andrea Sarris 2When we seek immortality or spiritual “rebirth,” are we not saying that there is something wrong with the “birth” that was given to us through the body of our mothers? In She Who Changes and in “Reading Plato’s Allegory of the Cave as Matricide and Theacide,” I asserted that our culture is “matricidal” because it is based on the assumption that life in the body in this world “just isn’t good enough.”

What is so wrong with the life that our mothers gave us that we must reject it in the name of a “higher” spiritual life? The answer of course death.

Can we love life without accepting death?

Can we love our mothers if we do not accept a life that ends in death? Continue reading “What Does Mother’s Day Mean in a Patriarchal and Matricidal Culture? by Carol P. Christ”

Dear Mum by Jassy Watson

jassyMother’s Day is coming up on the 8th of May here in Australia and while I don’t agree with the commercialization of it all, I do believe that motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society should be recognized and celebrated. The essence of this day is so much more than just giving a gift or saying Happy Mother’s Day, it is about truly letting our mums, whether they be maternal or just a mother figure in our life, know how much they are appreciated.

While celebrations commemorating and honouring motherhood date back to ancient times, it was not until the early 1900’s, through the efforts of Anna Jarvis that it became an official day of honour. Anna herself however also became resentful of the commercialization of the day after Hallmark started selling Mother’s Day cards in the 1920’s. She stood by her belief that it was a day to express gratitude, not one for profitable exploits and went as far as publicly protesting and boycotting Mother’s day to show her disgust at the companies who were taking advantage. Anna believed that we should be hand writing letters and cards and displaying our gratitude through actions, not by purchasing pre-made sentiments. I agree, mind you I have to say I don’t object to receiving wine and chocolates. Continue reading “Dear Mum by Jassy Watson”

Um… Happy Mother’s Day? By Natalie Weaver

Natalie Weaver editedIn the Smithsonian Museum of American History, there is an exhibit on food and the way it has changed on the American table over the years.  It is an interesting exhibit for a number of reasons.  It shows, for example, a reproduction of Julia Child’s kitchen.  It shows the advent of T.V. trays and Swanson frozen dinners.  It shows when wine became a staple beverage.  And, there is one of the most entertaining images in all of Washington, D.C. …

In what I believe was a 70s era campaign to popularize frozen food, there is a magazine article featuring a woman on the floor, cleaning up a milky cereal mess. The caption above her reads, “My favorite part of breakfast is when it is over.”  At first, I thought the woman had vomited her food, emphasizing (if not also explaining) the point that she hates breakfast.  Then, I noticed the dejected-looking child in a highchair, scowling at her mother, down on the ground, managing what was in fact a spill.  In the center panel, a mother looks on at her frowning child, who is this time refusing to eat lunch.   In the third and final panel, a miserable child now rejects dinner, but mom, still working the situation, observes, “Dinner isn’t so bad because it is almost over.”  One understands that soon the unhappy little darling will be in bed, and mom won’t have to do this again until tomorrow. Continue reading “Um… Happy Mother’s Day? By Natalie Weaver”

Mother’s Day Wish: “Don’t take me backwards or on a detour” by Dawn Morais Webster

Dawn Morais Webster, the Pope off to his summer palace, Castel Gandolfo. He tells the world he will now become just a “humble pilgrim.”

Mother’s Day schmaltz in the media and in our malls makes me wonder if others struggle with some of the mixture of deep gratitude—and impatience I feel.

So I asked a few friends if they would tell me what they wished for most as mothers.   Not surprisingly, all wanted their children to know how much they would always be loved, no matter how their lives unfolded. A few went a little further.

Mika K. is the mother of four beautiful children. Over the last couple of years, in addition to caring for her older children, she has nursed the youngest through a near catastrophic health crisis. That crisis left him with multiple disabilities. She continues to keep abreast of the latest in neuroplasticity and neuromuscular therapies that might help further her child’s potential to lead an independent life.

Mika and kids
Mika and kids

Mika says: “My wish, these past few Mother’s Days, has been to NOT be Mom for a day. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE my kids, LOVE my family, but some days, I am so wrapped up in being Mom that I lose sight of the woman I was before I was Mom. And I don’t just want a “day off.” Here’s how I feel: I feel like I’m running a race and I don’t know how long it is – 5K? 10K? Or is the finish line around the corner?  So I don’t know how to pace myself. And I’m carrying a backpack filled with rocks. I appreciate the people on the sidelines cheering me on, and I appreciate the people who tell me to stop and rest. But what I don’t have – and would like – is for someone to carry that backpack for a couple of miles. Or carry ME for a couple miles! Right now, I can take a day off, but that just means I have more to do tomorrow.  And I have to be confident that if someone does carry my backpack (or me) that they stay on the course. If they show me a better path – awesome! But don’t take me backwards or on a detour. Does that make sense?” Continue reading “Mother’s Day Wish: “Don’t take me backwards or on a detour” by Dawn Morais Webster”

Feminist Musings on Mother’s Day.

photo1Happy Mother’s Day!

Yes, I said it, but Mother’s Day invokes within me a certain hesitancy. Now before you say, “Well that’s because you don’t have children of your own so you don’t understand what it is like to be a mother or because your relationship with your own mother is awful, you hate the day.” I would respond that that is an unfair assessment of the situation. First, Mother’s Day doesn’t bother me because I don’t have children. (By the way, I find the idea that I don’t truly understand love or commitment and/or motherhood because I don’t have kids unbelievably condescending. Yes, motherhood can give one gifts and insights but those can also come from other areas of one’s life and/or other experiences.) I am also not hesitant about Mother’s Day because my mother and I have an awful relationship.  We don’t. In fact, it is quite good.

Rather, Mother’s Day bothers me for three reasons. First, it often seems fake. People seem to go through the motions because it is expected and not because they sincerely want to honor their mothers. Second, I often wonder if Mother’s Day isn’t just some consumer-driven, capitalist, patriarchal creation asking us to buy expensive cards and “remember” all our mothers have done for us this one very special day of year.

Third, what are we celebrating about mothers?  Most of the cards at the store and advertisements on television (if we would take them as research on what the general sentiments on Mother’s Day are) honor a mother’s love, support, guidance and acknowledge the child’s needs.  They thank mothers for all they do.  Continue reading “Feminist Musings on Mother’s Day.”

In Honor of All that Gives Life by Ashley Anderson

The depth of life’s interconnection is our greatest vulnerability and our greatest hope. We are beings in relation.

Today we celebrate Mother’s Day. Drenched in some strange amalgam of consumerism and genuine desire to nurture the ones who have nurtured us, we buy flowers and gift cards. We plan Sunday brunches or make that extra-long phone call to our mothers living far from us. My own mother, to whom I owe my courage and creativity, lives two thousand miles away. It was she whose breath gave rise to my own, whose gentle strength and fierce passion made way for my being in the world. It is my mother to whom I trace my beginning, and yet, if life is as Anais Nin imagines it, a “process of becoming” are we not ever-beginning? If all life itself is in process, if the powers of destruction and creation flow, creating and re-creating all that is, I wonder at the wombs that make and re-make us.

This process of becoming is an adventure through the whirlwind, a tour of the chaosmos. Our becoming, wrapped up with the becoming of Creation itself, is an unwinding of the fibers of the universe and our own souls, spiraling toward liberation. And so, on this Mother’s Day, I offer gratitude and honor toward all that gives us birth, to all who take part in our process of becoming.

Wave Womb by Galen Dara

In honor of ourselves. There is a sense that each of our beginnings emerges out of a wound, out of a dying. The day I was born was the day I received my first scar. I was a C-Section baby and the doctor nicked the edge of my forehead narrowly missing my eye. Soon enough, the wound healed and I still have a tiny scar by my right eye. Today, many years and many scars later, I marvel at our ability to heal. We give life to ourselves, after the movements of death have swept through us, after long nights of grief and the collapse of all we knew. In the quiet stillness of a soul razed, creativity moves. Continue reading “In Honor of All that Gives Life by Ashley Anderson”

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