On Divinity: Home, Abundance,
& The Mother Archetype
(Or Why the Venus of Willendorf Sits on My Altar)
Samhain 2017 - Imbolc 2018
So I inadvertently created a spell this Halloween just past—and, really, what better day to stumble upon the art of crafting incantation? Now that I’ve used enough words to place inside your heads the image of pointed black hats, wands, or anything else that could fit comfortably into the world of Harry Potter, allow me to elaborate on the term spell. What comprises a spell? Words. But not just words. Says the dictionary:* “a spell is a word, phrase, or form of words supposed to have magic power.” When we speak of magic we tend to jump to something rooted in fantasy (here’s another excuse to mention Harry Potter), or else to the sort of sleight-of-hand tricks or death-defying stunts common amongst entertainers. But at its core magic is no more than the observable presence or effect of something that cannot be seen or that is not known directly. Thus, magic falls into the realm of the supernatural—from there, it is for us to decide if this places it in the shadowed realm of the occult or in the numinous realm of the spiritual. In truth it belongs to both, as both realms are centered around that which is mysterious precisely because it goes beyond our comprehension. Whether we are calling it sorcery and attributing it to darkness, or witnessing a miracle and attributing it to the light, we are in the presence of magic.
Words, magic, and power. To have the power to do something is to be able to do something, whether due to having the capability to do so or to having the energy required. We could say that power is a focused concentration of energy. Among communities based in spiritual awareness, this deliberate channeling of energy so as to manifest – to tangibly create – a desired outcome is called intention. More in line with the Pagan religions of old which sought to experience the divine through nature, those belonging to these communities will often set intentions in time with the Moon’s cycle, specifically with the New Moon which is traditionally understood to usher in a new period of growth. The ritualistic element removed, this is as simple as deciding upon a goal and committing to achieving it. An intention, therefore, is something born of words, something that draws upon our energy and upon our faith in the Universe – in an energy beyond our own – to reach realization. So what, then, differentiates an intention from a spell?
FERTILE ✶ VIRILE ✶ LUSTY ✶ VIBRANT ✶ VITAL
This is the spell I had a hand in shaping, the co-sculptors being dreams and intuitive whisperings—or those parts of me that assuredly are not only me. These words create an incredibly energetic intention because together they are the very essence of that intention reduced down to the most perfectly suited words. Together, too, these words fit and complement one another both visually and sonically, the recurrence of two-syllable words giving the entire phrase the rhythmic, repetitive quality of a mantra or chant, and lending it an air of prayer. So what, then, is a spell? To put it most simply, a spell is the poetic form of an intention—maximally condensed, beautifully crafted, and all the more potent.
(As for what the exact intention is, I will of course be elaborating but I’m wondering if you can guess just based on the words themselves, a kind of riddle in reverse.)
At this point you might very well be thinking ‘so what?’ I don’t blame you. Really what practical use do we have for a spell even if we’ve taken the time to define it to be a powerful intention? Perhaps I can make a case for this one, though, by telling you how I managed to arrive at it and by breaking down the implications in its many shades of meaning.
By now if you’ve read anything else of mine on this site you’ve caught on to the fact that I am wandering my way from one location to the next, the idea of settling, at least for the time being, something I’ve completely dropped. Before reaching this degree of surrender, I was earnestly and even compulsively seeking home, something which was understandable given the fact that I didn’t have one of my own, but which I eventually began to view in a more metaphoric light. It was upon considering it as such that I asked myself why it should be so that home not only in my then current situation but throughout my entire life should be something I constantly sought and longed for—was this perpetual quest not an admission of the fact that I felt utterly not at home in my own body and, thus, in the world? It was upon asking myself this question that I realized finding a home in the sense of a place to settle would be illusory at best, a fleeting solution to a much more deeply rooted issue.
Concurrently with this quest for home, I was also thoroughly exploring the notion of abundance—wealth, yes, but even more so a feeling of fullness the very opposite of the lack created by the scarcity mindset that I’d been operating out of for a lifetime. What I eventually realized, the result of a strikingly intense dream encounter with a specific shade of the mother archetype, was that these two things were tied together. In Jungian psychology, to put it most concisely, when we speak of an archetype we are referring to the collectively and subconsciously held idea of something*—thus, the dream got me to contemplate the idea of mother by literally having me confront the idea of mother. So to be clear, this was not an encounter with my individual mother, but with a mother image that is universal (even if also unique to me in that it simultaneously embodied my own concept of mother—but this line of thought goes much deeper than the scope of this particular entry).
What did I come to understand as a result of adding mother to the mix? For one, across time and throughout countless cultures all the great mother goddesses were also fertility goddesses*—and fertility is the state of being required of abundance. On a more personal level, mothers, being “anchors of shelter, warmth, love, and nourishment,”* provide for us throughout the period of our gestation our first experience of home, as well as of abundance. One of the most striking analogies that I’ve come across upon delving more deeply into these manifestation based communities is that of the Universe being like the womb—just as the baby wants for nothing being so consistently provided for, so too can we experience in our adult lives the feeling of exactly what we need always being on its way to us (so long as we aren’t clinging to the expectation that it isn’t). To take this a step further, the search for material things, whether house or financial security, is also almost always the search for mother— ‘material’ comes from the word ‘matter’ whose origin is the Latin mater which means “origin, source, mother.” Thus we’ve finally arrived at the deepest implication—ultimately what I was seeking was God.
Mother, in addition to being of the same root word as Source (read: God), is also viewed by us in our childhood in a deific light by nature of her position as life-giver; our very concept of God, of the world, and of ourselves both independently and in relation to these perceived-to-be separate things is intimately tied in with our concept of mother (father as well in a different sense) until we have done the psychological work required to pull them apart.
Why this psychological work of individuation universal to us all has been especially pressing for me, the cause of not only this ever-present longing for home but of this disconnection from the divine, is something I can explain astrologically. All of us within our natal charts have a particular placement of the asteroid Chiron who, mythologically, represents a deep wound, the very pain of which propels us to our greatest wisdom. For me, Chiron falls in the 12th House – that realm of our existences having to do with the deep subconscious and the beyond, that Universal something that transcends all which most of us attribute to God – in the sign of Cancer that, aside from representing the mother archetype, also rules over the realm of home (the 4th House) and is ruled by the Moon, the summation of our physical/bodily history throughout past lives (among many other things). Thus for me this wound represented by Chiron is linked to divinity and mother, to the body and home. To summarize, I realized that to say ‘I don’t feel at home’ is to say ‘I don’t feel one with my own body,’ which is also to say ‘I don’t feel one with the world,’ which is actually to say ‘I don’t feel one with God, or the Universe.’
Ultimately, until we have separated out all of these threads – home and body and mother and the divine – so as to be able to view each one of them clearly and to define them for ourselves, we are incapable of experiencing God without the lens comprised of our very human experiences with our own individual mothers coloring our perception. Put another way, it is only upon establishing home within ourselves that we can touch the divinity we carry within—otherwise we will only ever be seeking our divinity, which is to say our idea of home (or abundance or love) as shaped by our idea of mother, forever externally.
Which brings us back to my spell, the intention behind it being to embody our divine nature, one which I would boldly claim reads as the instructions for doing just that. It begins with the word fertile, one which we have already established is linked to mother and to Source (and how could it not be so?). What I eventually realized in my contemplation of abundance in relation to the mother archetype is that my previously held scarcity mindset made it so that I did not believe myself to be fertile; in exploring this theme, I came to unlock in myself the capability of “producing abundantly.” From there I discovered that of the many synonyms for the word fertile with all of its feminine connotations is the word virile: “characterized by a vigorous, masculine spirit; of, relating to, or capable of procreation.” Interestingly enough, fertile is not similarly a synonym for virile—thus, if you are fertile, you are also virile, but virility does not equal fertility. Why might this be? You need be open to receive to be able to create—all creative action is actually receptive in nature, the creator a channel for divine inspiration. Thus, the two words opening the spell speak to the balancing of the feminine and masculine energies within, the result of which is creative power.
The next three words are all synonyms for virile, which is to say that all of them were birthed of the word fertile at the spell’s beginning. Lusty, despite immediately calling to mind lust, has the primary definition: “full of or characterized by healthy vigor; hearty, as a meal; spirited and enthusiastic.” All of these connotations added to that of the readily apparent lustfulness that the word suggests equates to a bodily presence rooted in physical and spiritual health, the expression of which is empowered sexuality. This then leads us to the word vibrant: “vibrating so as to produce sound; resonant; pulsating with vigor and energy.” This quality speaks to the energetic level of our being, to the ability to embody our souls, our own unique expression of the divinity at our source. Which finally brings us to the word vital, all of its many shades important: “of or relating to life; having remarkable energy, liveliness, or force of personality; being the seat or source of life; necessary to life; essential; affecting the existence, well-being, truth, etc., of something; destructive to life, deadly.” This word points towards our complete acceptance of and union with God, with all of life. It is also us at the level of identity. It is the realization that the niche that we were born to carve for ourselves in this world is both utterly unique and undeniably indispensable—who we are in this life has an effect on everyone and everything. In its last shade of meaning, perhaps most poignantly of all, is the truth of our existence—that which is alive must die; that which creates also destroys. Thus, the end of this spell generates rebirth, a full circle.
All together we have: to be fertile, to be the space for abundance, is to be virile, to be the creator of abundance; those who are seeking to achieve this balance of feminine receptive and masculine active qualities are on the path to becoming lusty – to attaining physical and spiritual health expressed as sacred sexuality – vibrant – to resonating, their beings vibrating at the unique frequency of their souls – and vital – to finding their place in the world, to being one with all life and even death, whole. This is the recipe for seeing oneself as intrinsic to the entire dance of the cosmos, for being that dance.*
So maybe you aren’t someone who ritually sets intentions, or perhaps you might still think it pointless to employ a spell in your everyday life, or to believe in such a thing as a spell even if all we’re referring to is an especially potent intention, but none of these things change the fact that these five words together form a profound rumination on human existence, a clear-cut path to the divine nature of your essence. I invite you to make them a part of your day in whichever way feels most natural, whether that’s by using them as a mantra, making them a part of your manifestation process, or even just writing them out so as to have them as a visible reminder of who you are and who you're always becoming. I know that since I’ve stumbled upon this incredible combination of words that I have moved exponentially closer to all that they capture—to balancing the masculine and feminine energies; to forming a healthy relationship to my body and sexuality; to embodying my authentic expression; to creating a place for myself in the world; and to welcoming in the feeling of abundance which all of these things generate. It feels so good to have come home to my Self.
1 - All definitions and etymology in this text are from dictionary. com
2 - For a thorough introduction to this concept of the archetypes and to Jungian dream analysis I suggest “Man and His Symbols” edited by Carl G. Jung
3 - “Gaia, Rhea, Hera and Demeter among the Greeks; Isis among the Ancient Egyptians and in Hellenistic cults; Ishtar among the Assyrians and Babylonians; Astarte among the Phoenicians and Kālī among Hindus.” (The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols, pg. 677)
4 - The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols, pg. 677
5 - “Life is the dancer, and you are the dance.” -Eckhart Tolle