Mother Symbols

Good Witches Homestead

No single universal symbol for mother exists – that would be impossible. The Mother can be found everywhere, from the heights of the planets down to the Earth’s surface. Each person and creature on the Earth have a mother, making it reasonable that we each would have different, distinct ideas about what characterizes them.

Symbols are unique and personal to each of us, so there are no right or wrong interpretations. Because of this, the symbols associated with her are seemingly infinite. However, some are more common and prevalent than others, which are detailed below.

celtic gods and goddesses

Triskelion Symbol

The triple spiral, also called the Triskelion symbol, is an ancient Celtic symbol with many spiritual aspects to it. However, the mother is definitely one of the strongest, as the branching out of the spirals is strongly indicative of the phases of womanhood: maiden, mother, and crone, all of which are connected.

As a…

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Changing of the Guard

Here in Alaska we have three seasons; summer, winter and breakup.  Autumn is my favorite, but it whips by in a flash.  One day the world is on fire with orange tundra, red fireweed stalks and yellow leaves, but upon the first deep frost most becomes naked overnight. It shifts from brilliant to seemingly barren and it leaves a void.  It reminds me of the moon that was just there the last time you checked, but now it seems irrationally missing.  The stillness of it.  …things seem that they aren’t always what they seem…

I’ve decided time is fluid, in that it flows like water or air. Moving at differing rates and changing sometimes imperceptibly until much later when it takes you by surprise.  But that is the way of life isn’t it?  I can jog up to the top of the stairs and muse upon how strong I still am, until 3 seconds later and my heart rate and muscles tell remind me I’m not fit any more. Expectations and reality are different. It takes me by surprise every time.

This pattern repeats itself in the life experience of the sacred feminine. She too has three seasons and their arrival and departure can be just as abrupt. I remember playing as a little girl in the mud, often half clad. Tadpoles and fish hearts moved within my palm and it was impossible to count all the wishes upon a ‘blowflower’. I sang as loud as I wanted to in the shower.  My experience was as exciting or mundane as I allowed.  But my intrigue for this world and the next never waned.  I was innocent and unafraid. As I got comfortable with understanding my environment my body shifted.

Imperceptibly at first until the first bloody rude awakening.  I was disgusted and found the process so crude.  Frustrated that I was now trapped into a 28 day ‘Groundhogs Day’ scenario seemed limiting.  Over time, though I realized it for the gift that it was.  This season of my life was a gift, even if it was a gift I’d not expected.  Able to experience passion and romance, pure unadulterated fear and raw love in a way I couldn’t have known otherwise. I realized the depth of my emotion had doubled, but birthing a child pulls it all into focus. Blood again. Life blood.  Such power it takes to bring the nonphysical into the physical, and only a woman can do it.  Is there a mother who ever thought “I’ve got this, no big deal”?  I doubt it.  It’s unnerving holding that much power.

The shift into the season of the mother is just as abrupt and again, we feel grossly unprepared for it’s gifts and ill-equipped to receive it’s full blessings with grace and dignity.  Some of us step into the role willingly in the spirit of adventure, others are pulled into it as a consequence.  Either way the movement is there, flowing as fluid and adjusting only as a yoni is capable.  There is nothing as fierce as a mother’s love, of this I’m certain.  I’ve come to appreciate it’s gifts and I can only sit back in awe as the people I’ve created grow and realize their potentials. It’s humbling and I admit to basking in the splendor of it.  It’s funny though, that after the lesson is learned you are forced to move on.  Do you think the trees really want to let go of those leaves in the fall or are they sad when it happens. Does it hurt when a seed’s shell rips apart as it sprouts?  Can they appreciate the process??

Today is the day of my Croning. Again the changing of the guard has crept up on me.  I look into the mirror and am startled by the grey hair that is framing my changing face. How inconsiderate. I thought blood suddenly running down my legs in school was a mean trick, only to have that topped by the pain and blood and gore of childbirth. Suffering such indignity in the beautiful process often opens us up to the reality of the power within.  You’re so alive and naked there’s nowhere to hide. Might as well own up to it.  Build up, release, and start from scratch again. Repeat. Own it.

Here I am again, a little unappreciative of the process of the changing of the guard, a little blind to the miracle that it all is, not fully able to get a bead on the gifts that come with it. Today’s indignity is being laid skyclad on a slab unconscious as the hands of strange men move across and inside my body.  They’ll pull my universe, my womb, out of my vagina and plop her into a cold silver sterile pan to be whisked away. The dichotomy of being a wombed-one without a womb…is this another joke?  I wonder what barren will feel like. It is that stillness of the soul again?  I’ve experienced emptiness and loss, will this be the same?  No doubt I’ll feel both violated and liberated at the same time.  This is a pattern which repeats at each changing of the guard.  I’m just wise enough now to learn to go with the flow rather than to resist it.

This time I’m here at the seasonal change by choice, backed by circumstance. The crone’s children can survive independent of her.  I know that the crone is no longer distracted by the monthly cycles of life.  I’ve paid attention long enough that I know what Luna is doing because I feel it in my bones, I don’t have to look at a calendar or wait for the pelvic ache to warn me. I look back and see that I’ve been through phases of learning, and through phases of having knowledge, and now possess the wisdom distilled from the process. I’ll not have tampax in my bathroom drawers anymore, any more than I’ll have sippy cups on the coffee tables.  Nah, I’ve been there done that.  And, since I’m comfortable, It makes sense that I’m going to birth anew reality again.  It will be full of gore and beauty.  Fully alive with nowhere to hide.  Blood yet again.

I’m leveling up and surveying my surroundings.  I have a garden full of powerful herbs that I’ve loved and grew from sprouts- and I know how to use them, cupboards full of potent supplies and have already collected all the tools I need.  I’ve birthed my grimoire and she’s beautiful and amazing.  I’m proud like only a mother can be. I realize that croning is a process, as I’m sitting in my power now and able to sense bullshit a mile away.  Drama makes me queasy these days, so I reach for a glass of wine without flinching. My role is to continue to distill knowledge, collect and dispense wisdom.  Like a toddler learning to walk, I’ll be a bit unsteady but not nervous about the process. No, leaves aren’t afraid of falling, or seeds afraid of sprouting, or the feminine afraid of bleeding.  There is no moving outside the cycle and the crone is one who has learned to cherish the seasons. She knows in her bones and blood that there is a reason for everything.

I’m curious what being a crone will be like. I’ll have more time to journey and am looking forward to the new depth I’ll find.  Today is my ‘day the frost came and took the leaves’. It’s startling and looks oddly desolate from this side of the fence because I don’t belong on this side of the fence anymore. I’ll never be the damsel in distress again, and I’ll likely never participate in the mommy co-op network of parenting that occurs either.  Thank God and Goddess because I’m out of fucks to give.  I get to focus on me. Only me.  I can walk in the woods alone knowing I’m the most potent thing there. My ass will fit just fine in my seat of power and that it will be an increasingly comfortable fit. I’m excited to see how the healer part within me will dispense grace and the witch will dispense wrath lol. Capable? Yes. Willing?  we’ll see.

I don’t know what it will feel like in the next season tomorrow. But I know it is going to be powerful, true and raw.  As always, there will be blood but I’m not going to apologize for it.  Oddly, I’m good with it.  It’s literally life after all. I’ll be fully alive and wild with anticipation. I’ll grow my hair long so that it can be wild, curly, and unruly in the most witchy way…perfect for me.  I can feel the shackles loosening like leaves dropping to the ground already.  Grace will come and the gifts will unfold with them but this time my arms will be open wide.  I’m fearless and have earned the right to be. My eyes still twinkle and my hair may whiten, but each day I’ll more alive, more powerful, more authentic. I celebrate the changing of the guard today and can feel the electricity buzzing around and through me.  I plan to spend a lot of time enjoying my new season. It’s going to be the most fulfilling one yet!

What to do on Ostara?

The cornerstones of Ostara are growth and balance.  This sabbat represents the rekindling of life within the Earth and the renewal of fertility of our spiritual selves. It is the vernal equinox, a day of equal light & dark, but also the middle of the three spring holy days. While Imbolc marks spring’s first breath and Beltaine is about springs height & power,  Ostara is about both growth & balance in between.

During this day of celebrating new life, we often plan an activity or walk outdoors. I look for signs of spring, hoping to see the first pussy willows! In effort to bring back balance and renew life, many of us celebrate Ostara by getting ready for growing season by ordering from seed catalogs, craft magickal eggs (dyed, with fortuitous symbols or drawn sprouts), planning our orders for chicks at the local feed stores, or by creating an Eostre altar (eggs, bunnies, cocoons, butterflies, bird’s nests, pastel colors, lambs, honey cakes, sprouts, lilies, daffodils..you know, that which was pilfered for the Christianized holiday of Easter ..and chocolate, don’t forget the chocolate!).  We’re all pretty used to the process of decorating eggs, but have you considered making a charm out of a hard boiled egg? You can decorate it with symbols or write the idea you would like to manifest on it, energize it and eat it.

eggs

Ostara brings us the new promise of life (resurrection of the sun/son), as it represents the union of the fertile Goddess and the God, the creation of life via blending earth matter and spirit.  Therefore, this is a time for planting new ideas to be born. Witches often utilize the time to cast spells for growth, from careers to families, or anything they wish to expand. Our equinox is 2:28 am our time on Monday March 20, to be exact & from that moment on, we will experience more daylight than darkness. The energetic momentum pushes forward to Beltaine. A grande idea is to plant a seed along with any magickal working you do on this day to grow your spell.  You can use this renewal energy to fuel any new project or goal, really.  You could even charge up a bottle of water or oil (three days, from either side of Ostara) to use as ‘growth’ water for spells for the rest of the year..

Likewise, you can perform a ritual to seek balance in your life, and honor both dark & light. This is the first of the four solar or ‘cross quarter’ sabbats that focus on balance and extreme.  Most perceive it as a balance of night & day but one would think of it as a balance of the universal & concrete, masculine & feminine, or balance of physical & spiritual as well. Given as above, so below, we should intentionally seek to rectify balance on this day. One could perform a cleaning ritual to cleanse your home of negativity or head out toward the highway or a park and pick up litter…either way make a point to lose the remains that you no longer benefit from. You could also light both a black and a white candle to meditate. Another good Ostara ritual releasing ceremony by creating an effigy of the dark half of the year and imbue it with the characteristics of this last winter that you’d like to leave behind then drop it in a fire or the nearest watercourse.

Obviously, if you attempt all of these things you’d be too busy to enjoy any of it.  Pick something that jives with your soul and leave the rest.  What about me? I’ll get the offspring off to school, then smudge my house followed by a good airing.  I grew and dried some sweetgrass so am excited to try it out as well. Then I’ll be sewing seeds in my little heated greenhouse for my summer gardens (it’s my meditative space) & head outside if there’s time after I’m finished. Generally, I’d go along the highway and clean up trash.  This year the snow is too deep to do that yet. I’m not too into honey cakes (honey is expensive) but I’ll aim for a carrot cake for dessert.  The kids will appreciate that since it’s the first day back from break.  If nothing else, we could roast a peep in the fireplace at some point (sidebar- they make pretty good s’mores).

If any of you can think of a park or area we could clean up we could all rendezvous on Sunday the 19th and make a project of it. I always am sickened by the trash that is revealed in the melting snow but am not sure where would be a good place where the debris is exposed. I’m happy to give our planet some TLC and every spring it’s sorely needed. Even if we delay the project by a month I’d be happy to facilitate it. Thanks for letting me know your thoughts!

Brightest Blessings,

The Peninsula Pagan