None of the Goddess myths portray the intensely emotional mother daughter relationship more than that of Demeter and her daughter Persephone.
Like every good story, there is a beginning, middle and end. It begins with Persephone as the epitome of innocence and beauty, just as every daughter is to her own mother. In the middle is the metaphorical death of Persephone when she is abducted by Hades and descends to the underworld, followed by Demeter’s inconsolable grief. In the end a new way of life is forged; a compromise that serves both daughter and mother.
Having passed (by quite a few) the required number of years and an appropriate series of experiences, it appears that I have become a sage. I can now look back over the events of my life and connect the dots.
As a young man I felt that I was a reincarnated sage who was constantly seeking reconnection, through my vague but compelling memories, to my former wisdom and power. I now see clearly that it's silly to split hairs over titles. Druid, hierophant, teacher, bard, yoga philosopher - titles are just signposts. They indicate a certain type of calling that can never be fully encompassed by words.
Mother’s Day this year had me thinking about my mother and my journey with Goddess. As a child, my mother was my first Goddess- I looked to her to keep me alive. My physical and emotional needs were met by her. As I got older, my mother shared the pantheon with the Virgin Mary. My mother is a Virgin Mary devotee with a liberal attitude toward divorce, birth control and other women’s right issues. As I grew up, I learned to look to my mother also as prophetic Goddess, showing me where our life was leading to. I would then turn to the Virgin Mary in my dreams to comfort me and shield me from my nightmares.
As a teenager, I became aware that Goddess existed as a truth beyond my own personal experiences. I grew away from seeing my mother as Goddess, archetypal mother providing me with all the love I needed. As I drew away from my Catholic upbringing I could no longer find solace in the Virgin Mary with her submissive undertones. As I grew into my sexuality, the Virgin did not resonate with me. I researched the Goddess in the Neo-Pagan movement-- I welcomed the Goddess who saw all acts of love and pleasure as her rituals. I started shifting my need for greater mother love to the Goddess as well. I learned more about all the different Goddesses-- especially Ariadne, Kali and the ancient Goddesses of Neolithic times.
Esther Williams gave me my first swimming lesson. I didn't know who she was at the time, but my parents told the story often as I grew older. My mother was a movie star, too - she was at Paramount and Miss Williams was at MGM. They were only a year apart in age, so they had a lot in common and became friends.
Whether through myth, fairy tale or film, one of the most easily recognized archetypes is that of the Mother. Archetypes are universally understood patterns of behavior that transcend geography, ethnicity or era.
Triple goddesses spanning many cultures have three expressions: Maiden, Mother and Crone. The Maiden, or Virgin, reflects independent women who are often unmarried. The Mother is the second stage heralded by fertility and growth. The last stage, Crone, is the archetypal expression of the “wise old woman” who has come into her own. Perhaps the most popular Goddess Triad found in mythology is Persephone (Maiden), Demeter (Mother), and Hecate (Crone).