The Mother Archetype

Dec 26, 2023

The mother archetype has appeared in mythological tales since the dawn of time, and is reflected in deities such as Gaia, Brigid, Freya, Parvati, and Nüwa. She is the sacred giver of life, and the essence of creativity. Whether she births humans, animals, or plants into being, she grows and sustains life. Jung stated “The qualities associated with it are maternal solitude and sympathy; the magic authority of the female; the wisdom and spiritual exaltation that transcend reason; any helpful instinct or impulse; all that is benign, all that cherishes and sustains, that fosters growth and fertility. The place of magic transformation and rebirth…are presided over by the mother” (Jung 82).

The mother is in constant dance with the child, and this relationship is instrumental in the child’s perception of Self, and reality. The security of this connection is vital for obvious reasons, and if it is unstable or unsafe, it can cause long-term wounding. This wounding can manifest in relationships, career, parenting, finances, and more. That said, even in the most secure relationships, our mothers are human. It is our nature to fall short, make mistakes, or miss the mark. As adults, it is our responsibility to be aware of our inner-child’s unmet needs, and notice if/when we revert into child-like behavior, seeking the mother’s love outside of ourselves through friends, partners, coworkers, and even children.

You may need to work on your relationship to the mother if you:

  • Frequently abandon Self to caretake others, leaving you exhausted and resentful.

  • Don’t know what your needs are, or how to attune to them

  • Struggle to trust that you are taken care of, and release control

  • Have an insecure attachment style (though this can result from relationships with mom and/or dad)

  • Lack understanding of your emotions, and/or sense of self

  • Invalidate your emotions, intuition, and frequently gaslight yourself

  • Feel crazy for having big emotions

  • Feel like your emotions take up too much space, and worry about being a burden

  • Don’t know how to protect yourself with healthy boundaries, and communication

  • Have blocks to being vulnerable, and allowing yourself to safely be seen in your authentic light

  • Are unable to practice self-care, and ask for support when needed

  • People-please, seek approval, or feel pressured to live someone else’s dream (though this can result from relationships with mom and/or dad)

…and so much more.

Healing begins when we work with a mother archetype who can care for us in the ways we always needed, but never received. She provides us an opportunity to meet our edges and resistance to receiving the love, care, and nurturing we actually deserve. This can be incredibly uncomfortable at first, as it highlights our deepest wounds and fears. But when we bring light to this part of ourselves, the ice surrounding our hearts begins to melt, and we start to show up differently in the world.

It is at this stage when can take on the role of the mother for our inner children…this is when we can stop embodying the unmet inner-child in the world, and instead, show up in our power - as the adult, as the mother

When we work with the mother archetype and surrender to Her love, we are connected to the umbilical cord that attaches us to a larger force. We can release control and rest in the internal knowing that we are supported, cared for, and held. The mother’s love is unconditional, allowing us to remove our masks and be truly seen for all of who we are without judgment. She is the great protector and advocates for our well-being, giving us permission to release toxic patterns rooted in self-preservation. Within the darkness of her womb, we can practice the ultimate level of faith, trust, and vulnerability, knowing that She is the source of our survival. With her unwavering compassion, the mother lovingly mirrors our emotions back to us, allowing us to build deeper understanding of Self, and find safety in big emotions. She intuitively knows what we need, and gives it to us with pure intention.

As you work with the mother archetype, remember that you deserve the same level of care that you give to your loved ones. Lean into the pleasure that comes from feeling supported in this way, especially if there’s resistance, and edge (the discomfort that is felt in the presence of something new and healthy can point to shadow, and unhealed wounds). It’s important to challenge yourself to experience the level of love that you truly deserve. Take this as an opportunity to expand your definitions of what love, and intimacy mean to you.

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