HOLY HERETIC – December 16, 2018

“Yemaya asesun, asesun Yemaya (Yemaya, the Gush of Spring)
Yemaya olodo, olodo Yemaya (Yemaya, the Owner of the River)” – Praise song to Yemaya, the Great Mother

Today’s featured transit: Mars in Pisces trine Pluto in Capricorn

Harry Harlow, a psychologist, was interested in studying the bond between mothers and children. Of course, he couldn't use humans. Instead, he did a series of experiments on rhesus monkeys. In one of his experiments, he separated the baby monkeys from the mothers and introduced inanimate surrogate "mothers". Some of the "mothers" were made of hard wire mesh. The others were made of wood covered with soft terry cloth. The "mothers" were capable of dispensing food and water. He conducted several experiments with differing combinations. In one, the infant monkeys could choose which "mother" they preferred but with the hard wire one offering the food and water. In others, he separated the infant monkeys into groups who had the hard wire surrogate as a "mother" or the terry cloth surrogate as a "mother". The conclusion may not be too hard to guess. The infant monkeys preferred the terry cloth "mother" and appeared to bond with it and adjust fairly well. The infant monkeys with the hard wire mother did not bond and appeared to be in severe psychological distress. They went into rages. They withdrew and rocked back and forth as if trying to comfort themselves.

When I first learned of these experiments, I thought they were a casually and profoundly cruel way to prove something we all already know. We bond with our mothers on every level. Not just because they are our first source of food but because they are our entire infant world.
The point Harlow was trying to make about our psyches and our spirits was that when we are deprived of mother love, that deprivation creates an empty space which we spend the rest of our lives trying to fill. It is my belief that human beings, as a collective, have been deprived of healthy, consistent, soul-fulfilling mother love for generations. That deprivation is one of the core cruelties of patriarchy.

Our souls are crying out for the kind of nurturing only The Mother can give. We have tried to cover up our feelings of worthlessness by creating societies with strict hierarchies and rigid, oppressive rules that exert brutal control over women's bodies. We have tried to deny that we have a problem by extolling the virtues of motherhood on the one hand and taking away the agency of actual mothers to provide and care for their children with the other. We rape and pillage the Earth and trash our water in the name of progress, attempting to demonstrate that we are above and outside of Nature.
We can correct this imbalance by empowering women. All women, whether they are mothers or not. We need to empower and recognize the many ways women can be women. When women are free to embrace all of who they are and become mothers on their own terms and nurture their children in the ways those children need to be nurtured, all of humanity is uplifted.

Today’s action: Do something thoughtful today for a mother who is overworked and stressed. It probably won’t be hard to find one in your circle. Do something that is specifically for her, that recognizes who she is as an autonomous human being.

Today’s sharing: During this time of darkness, when The Mother feels so far away, let's choose to see and hold onto glimmers of hope. Our Mother has never abandoned us and loves us with everlasting, unconditional love. We have only to turn to Her and She will welcome us with open arms.

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