Mothering with a Pagan Perspective
To incurve means to curve or to bend, specifically to curve inward. During my pregnancy I frequently curved my arms around my belly. I wrapped my attention, spirit, and energy bodies around the ever-increasing roundness holding my growing child. After her birth I continued to curve my body around hers: nursing her in the cradle of my arms, sleeping nestled together like spoons, walking with her secured to my chest in the circle of a carrier. I bent, too: bent to pick her up, to sit at her level, to retrieve her toys or silverware. I bent the entire path of my life to curve around her.
And yet, she must always spiral away from me, and I must let her. The responsibilities of our roles as parent and child align in many respects but differ significantly in this way: my incurving cannot impede her dancing fully into her own life. I may hold her hand for those first steps down her own winding path but I cannot hold on forever. Sooner than I want, she will walk forward without me. My own parents allowed me to explore the twists and turns of my life; I will do the same for my daughter. (I never understood what a gift my parents gave me until now, when I must give it to my own child. My life continues to spiral forward; motherhood spins a new loop of it; and that too comes from the blessings bestowed by my upbringing.)
There are other ways of imagining motherhood, of course. Many metaphors inform me, including: the spiral of the labryinth and the Spiral Dance both of which have motion inwards and outwards (like a wave, like the undulations of birth); every man and every woman is a star (each body, celestial and sacred, in its own orbit); or the Feri paradox (which to me means the striving to balance opposites, often requiring holding both currents at once). All of these ideas deserve time and space for discussion; I shall do so as this column unfolds.
I strive to mother from a strong core of spirituality, thoughtfulness, ethicality, flexibility, and kindness. These things must be developed; the mother must be cultivated just as carefully as the child – maybe more so, because the mother has wounds to heal and complexes to overcome that a child hasn't developed yet. Fortunately, I have a large box of tools to use in this process, including mediation, divination, ancestor practice, purification, and hearth magic. In other words, all the tools I used to shape me into the person I am today. The call heard during a magical twilight made me a Witch; these tools make it possible for me to be the best Witch I can. I've long held the desire to achieve my best humanity and deepest self-knowledge because the world needs strong, self-actualized people, and I'm proud enough to desire excellence. However, now I have an even better reason: I want to mother like a Goddess.
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