Since May is Mothering Month, I intend to post a diverse array of articles for the rest of the month, about and for mothers.
Return of the Great Mother
AT THE END OF HIS LIFE, the great Indian mystic Aurobindo is said to have said, “If there is to be a future, it will wear the crown of feminine design.” Unless we awaken to the mystery of the sacred feminine, of the feminine as sacred, and allow it to glow into, irradiate, illumine, and penetrate every area of our activity and to create in them all harmony, justice, peace, love, ecstacy, and balance, we will die out and take nature, or a large part of it, with us. Unless we come to know what the sacred feminine really is—its subtlety and flexibility, but also its extraordinarily ruthless, radical power of dissolving all structures and dogmas, all prisons in which we have sought so passionately to imprison ourselves—we will be taken in by patriarchal projections of it. The Divine Mother, the fullness of the revolution that she is preparing, will be lost to us. We must understand that comprehending the sacred feminine is a crucial part of surviving the next terrible stage of humanity….
I have often said that I think we are in the last twenty or so years (originally written 1996) of this civilization and quite possibly of the planet itself. If we don’t make major decisions—economic, political, and environmental, we will simply create an uninhabitable world and go on feeding those powers of destruction that are already threatening to ravage nature. We are certainly at the end of so-called “civilization,” and we are possibly at the end of the world. The facts of our global crisis, a crisis at once political and economic, psychological and environmental, show us clearly that the human race has no hope of survival unless it chooses to undergo a total transformation, a total change of heart. What is required is a massive and quite unprecedented spiritual transformation. There is no precedent for what we are being asked to do. Only the leap into a new consciousness can engender the vision, the moral passion, the joy and energy necessary to effect change on the scale and with the self-sacrifice that is essential to save the planet in the time we have left.
The message we are being sent by history can be summed up in four words: Transform or die out… Teilhard de Chardin wrote, “Humanity is being taken to the point where it will have to choose between suicide or adoration.” I have no doubt that we are now at that point. Human survival depends on whether we are brave enough to face the full desolation of what we have done to our psyches and the planet, and wise and humble enough to turn to the divine insight inside us to learn what we need to go forward. This is not an apocalyptic scenario—not a scenario at all, in fact. It is fact. This is where we are, this is what is happening, and it is terrifying. Anyone not in a trance of denial knows it. No amount of wishful thinking or sophisticated pseudo-historical parallels can make this agony go away.
It is hard enough for a human being to face the facts of his or her own mortality. What we have to face now is not merely our own death, but the possible death of everything and everyone we love, the holocaust of nature herself, the mother we have ignored and betrayed for so long. If we do not face up to our present danger, in all its horror, without consolation and without illusion, in the full glare of Kali’s terrifying mirror, if we don’t gaze deeply into the mirror of the goddess and see our faces, we will never find in ourselves the passion and courage necessary to change. Catastrophe can become grace, and disaster possibility, only if we transform their energy by accepting what they have to teach us and acting with complete sincerity to transform ourselves.
Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She is the Midlife Midwife™ offering counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity.
Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™: http://www.donnahenes.net/queen/consult.shtml
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.