Beliefnet
The Queen of My Self

So far, this spring has been quite a wet one. We have had lots of April showers, which promise a bounteous profusion of May flowers. Because water is such an essential element, it has come to stand for the origin of all life — cycles, seasons, species — and its sacred renewal. The Hindu Vedas refer to water as the Most Maternal, the original sea at the beginning of time from which the whole world emerged. In India, water is seen as the bearer and preserver of life, coursing through all of nature as river, as rain, as dew, as sap, as blood, as sweat, as tears, as milk.

The Egyptian Great Goddess of the Watery Heavens, Nut, whose worship was already ancient by the time of the first dynasty, was represented by a celestial cow. Bovine symbol of motherhood, she is the first ocean of creation and mistress of all waters. She leans over the earth in a protective attitude, her bent form framing the sky. She carries the sun on her back and wets the ground with the nourishing milk from her universal udders.

Goddess figures carved in the Neolithic period, which have been found throughout Europe and Anatolia, depict the divine Mother Goddess with Her breasts incised with chevrons. These V-shaped symbols associated with both birds and water, suggest the life-giving showers She sends us from the sky. Arctic hunting peoples still see, as they have since Paleolithic times, Her breasts in the shapes of the clouds above.

About eight thousand years ago, the planet experienced a drying trend of several centuries duration. Rain was sparse, water scarce. Figures from this period, which were unearthed in the Balkan region of Europe, bear witness to the aridity of those times. They depict seated women holding big bowls on their large laps. There is something humble in their demeanor. Are they simply sitting, waiting patiently for rain to fall? Or is this a posture of petition? Invocation? Devotion? Divination?

Mother Sea, mother to millennia of mothers, is one of humanity’s oldest images. She is the Goddess of the Waters of Life. Our Lady of the Holy Water, whose cosmic womb is an archetypal symbol of birth and re-birth in many creation myths worldwide. She arises from the primordial ocean. She is fully capable of issuing forth, all alone from her own body, life in all its forms. Which She then supports as well. A proficient provider, She produces and shares the stuff of survival, wet nurse to all Her offspring.

I am the woman of the great expanse of the waters
I am the woman of the great expanse of the divine sea
She is the Woman of the Flowing Water
She is the Woman of the Flowing Water
She is a woman whose palms are like spoons
She is a woman with hands of measure.

– Maria Sabina

Mother Sea, Mother Earth, Mother Nature were ultimately overthrown by our Father Who Art in Heaven. The Great Mother Goddess, giving and generous, evolved into God the Father, withholding and judgmental. And rain, the bountiful milk from Her eternally full breast, become the salty semen of He who fertilizes. Although there are still today indigenous cultures in Africa, Australia, Oceana, Native and Latin America who regard rain to be in the realm of the Goddess of Waters, most of the world’s peoples now view precipitation as a divine male attribute.

Rain remains the vital vivifying fluid, which flows down from the heaven. To recycle and replenish the water stores. To refresh and revitalize the earth. Celestial substance of necessity, rain is absolutely elemental. But quite quirky. You never know with rain. Too much, too little, too late, too soon, too hard. You can’t really depend on it. And yet you have to.

Today we know how to make it rain. And snow, as well, for that matter. Cloud seeding is as simple as sitting in the cabin of small plane and tossing out handfuls of finely ground ice crystals into the clouds. Another macho trick from a culture that sees itself always in battle with Mother Nature. Hey, we even know how to make acid rain! What comes out of the clouds these days could kill you.

Just a little rain.
Just a little rain.
What have they done to the rain?

– The Searchers 1969

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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers 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™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

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