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Author Topic: Problems with the idea of the nurturing mother-Goddess archetype  (Read 2532 times)

Zephyrine

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Problems with the idea of the nurturing mother-Goddess archetype
« on: November 25, 2015, 02:12:31 pm »
I am a celibate, adult woman. I don't have an with the male and female deities, but I am very uncomfortable with the goddess being defined as pre-sexual, sexual, and post-sexual when I am none of these things (I am not asexual, but choose celibacy because it allows me to lead a lifestyle that suits me). I am more like Artemis or Athena that the "Earth Mother".

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Re: Problems with the idea of the nurturing mother-Goddess archetype
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2015, 02:35:38 pm »
Quote from: Zephyrine;182778


 
Is there a question?  There doesn't seem much of anything to respond to.

It would be one of the reasons that many, many, many people do not subscribe to the extremely modern notion of "the goddess" in the first place, yes.
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Re: Problems with the idea of the nurturing mother-Goddess archetype
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2015, 09:08:53 pm »
Quote from: Zephyrine;182778
I am a celibate, adult woman. I don't have an with the male and female deities, but I am very uncomfortable with the goddess being defined as pre-sexual, sexual, and post-sexual when I am none of these things (I am not asexual, but choose celibacy because it allows me to lead a lifestyle that suits me). I am more like Artemis or Athena that the "Earth Mother".

 
I am of the belief that there are many, many expressions of Goddess and God. I do relate to the mother goddess, but I find your view valid, as well. We are mere mortals trying to make sense of the divine, we are bound to have different viewpoints.
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Zephyrine

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Re: Problems with the idea of the nurturing mother-Goddess archetype
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2015, 09:33:17 pm »
Quote from: ViolaRae;182795
I am of the belief that there are many, many expressions of Goddess and God. I do relate to the mother goddess, but I find your view valid, as well. We are mere mortals trying to make sense of the divine, we are bound to have different viewpoints.


I find my goddess always seems to be more masculine (active, warrior etc) than feminine. Since I am celibate, my womanhood is really just incidental to me. Can the Triple Goddess be a virgin?

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Re: Problems with the idea of the nurturing mother-Goddess archetype
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2015, 11:19:50 pm »
Quote from: Zephyrine;182797
I find my goddess always seems to be more masculine (active, warrior etc) than feminine. Since I am celibate, my womanhood is really just incidental to me. Can the Triple Goddess be a virgin?

 
Two quite-distinct angles particularly strike me on this.

One, do you associate only with other celibate women? If not, then why restrict your deity-associations in that way?

Two, the Gravesian Maiden-Mother-Crone is NOT a required belief in paganism - paganism isn't a single religion, but an umbrella term encompassing many, often widely different, religions, most of which don't involve MMC at all; and of those that do, many consider it to be just one possible perspective on the feminine divine.

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Re: Problems with the idea of the nurturing mother-Goddess archetype
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2015, 11:21:09 pm »
Quote from: Zephyrine;182797
I find my goddess always seems to be more masculine (active, warrior etc) than feminine. Since I am celibate, my womanhood is really just incidental to me. Can the Triple Goddess be a virgin?

 
The Triple Goddess is a Power of a specific religion (or set thereof); look to that specific religion's mythologies for an answer to that.  (My understanding is that none of the religions that have a Triple Goddess form have a celibate one, but I have not looked into it deeply, as Not My Religion.)

If you relate to, as you said, Artemis or Athena, or other Powers, it might do you more good to look into the religions where they are present rather than pursuing the TG, who you say does not suit you.
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Re: Problems with the idea of the nurturing mother-Goddess archetype
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2015, 12:26:15 am »
Quote from: Zephyrine;182797
I find my goddess always seems to be more masculine (active, warrior etc) than feminine. Since I am celibate, my womanhood is really just incidental to me. Can the Triple Goddess be a virgin?

On the one hand, I get where you're coming from. I'm a (mostly) celibate lesbian, so trying to worship a fertility deity that doesn't correlate to one of my fundamental perceptions of the world can be really difficult!

If you really connect to a Triple Goddess and don't mind incorporating UPG into your personal practice, I don't see a problem with seeing the "mother" aspect of her as asexual. Mother goddess-like qualities could simply be seeing her like a protective role model or someone responsible for new possibilities or inventions instead of new life. If that doesn't work for you, it may be worth looking into non-TG religions, as others have already suggested.

That said, as a devotee to Demeter, I don't think it's accurate to say that mother-like deities can't be warriors or "masculine"--Demeter is a little infamous for her unbridled fury! Hell, in the real world, some of the most aggressive people I've met are soccer moms. Someone's genitals doesn't define their personality (or even their gender, for that matter). Just something to keep in mind.

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Re: Problems with the idea of the nurturing mother-Goddess archetype
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2015, 08:54:15 am »
Quote from: Zephyrine;182778
I am a celibate, adult woman. I don't have an with the male and female deities, but I am very uncomfortable with the goddess being defined as pre-sexual, sexual, and post-sexual when I am none of these things (I am not asexual, but choose celibacy because it allows me to lead a lifestyle that suits me). I am more like Artemis or Athena that the "Earth Mother".

 
Can I ask you something? Does it really matter? Is worship supposed to be about you specifically?

I mean, loads of my gods are warrior gods, and even ones who are not still like to wave weapons about. Yet would you believe that I have never killed so much as a single person?

Ritual and worship are essentially about the world we live in. As individuals we can set our own level of involvement and association. Even so, the gods do not exist to cater to our personal identity issues. You might not embrace motherhood, but you are hear today because somebody else did.

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Re: Problems with the idea of the nurturing mother-Goddess archetype
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2015, 03:28:26 pm »
Quote from: Zephyrine;182778
I am a celibate, adult woman. I don't have an with the male and female deities, but I am very uncomfortable with the goddess being defined as pre-sexual, sexual, and post-sexual when I am none of these things (I am not asexual, but choose celibacy because it allows me to lead a lifestyle that suits me). I am more like Artemis or Athena that the "Earth Mother".


The goddess is not celibate, nor were your parents, or else you would not exist.

We don't have to be everything our parents were either.

I respect your choice of celibacy, however you're missing some important points:

The sexuality of the goddess is related to her ability to CREATE. This creativity is related to not just birthing babies, but ANY aspect of creation. I'm a writer, and thus my books and my articles are my creations. I've never had a physical human baby in my life, but I am still a mother to my books. (And books sometimes take a heck of a lot longer than 9 months!)

I'm also the mother of 3 pit bull mixes and 2 black cats, none of which were birthed from my body, but all of which require my nurturing to support.

The Goddess is also the fertile earth that grows the grain that we as humans need to eat to live, Don't eat grain? That's okay, you need to eat SOMETHING to survive, or else you wouldn't be alive to post here. Assuming you're a real live human and not a computer algorithm sent here to make us crazy :) you eat SOMETHING. And she is the source from which that comes.

Just because your personal choice includes celibacy, does not mean that the rest of the planet runs on that modus.

For the record, I don't see the Maiden as "pre-sexual" I see her as someone who has FREEDOM to choose who she lies with and why.
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Re: Problems with the idea of the nurturing mother-Goddess archetype
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2015, 09:09:08 pm »
Quote from: Lionrhod;182838

I respect your choice of celibacy, however you're missing some important points:

...but the entirety of this reply illustrates *very* clearly that you don't respect OP's choice of celibacy? Using a qualifier doesn't render the rest of this post defunct.

Quote
The sexuality of the goddess is related to her ability to CREATE. This creativity is related to not just birthing babies, but ANY aspect of creation.

I see what you're saying here, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's accurate. Sex and creation can certainly go together, but sometimes sex isn't for creation but fun, and sometimes, sadly, it's for destruction. There may be a correlation between the two, might be a partnership, but that does not mean the two concepts cannot work *independently,* nor does it mean that they're meant to work together.

The act of nurturing is not related to mothering, nor to sex.

Quote
The Goddess is also the fertile earth that grows the grain that we as humans need to eat to live, Don't eat grain? That's okay, you need to eat SOMETHING to survive, or else you wouldn't be alive to post here. Assuming you're a real live human and not a computer algorithm sent here to make us crazy you eat SOMETHING. And she is the source from which that comes.

If you're a specific variety of Wiccan, then yes. Not everyone is Wiccan, though, and therefore might not ascribe to your personal set of beliefs. Therefore, it's just bad form to apply your beliefs to someone else.

Quote
Just because your personal choice includes celibacy, does not mean that the rest of the planet runs on that modus.

This right here is an example of invalidation. This may very well not be what you're saying, but what I get from this line is that you're attempting to explain to OP that their choice is illogical in the context of your worldview, and that they should rethink it. If that's not what you're saying, then forgive me, but that's how it's reading to me.

Quote
For the record, I don't see the Maiden as "pre-sexual" I see her as someone who has FREEDOM to choose who she lies with and why.

And the Mother and Crone don't? I'm very confused here. Care to elaborate?

Finally, as someone who is asexual, meaning I don't feel sexual attraction or sexual urges, tying sex to creativity and the act of creation is something that has never and will never apply to me, nor will it apply to many people, whether celibate by choice or orientation. I may write, but does that mean it is an act rooted in the sexual? Not to me, no.

The only thing that's rooted in sex is sex.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2015, 09:11:44 pm by HarpingHawke »
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Re: Problems with the idea of the nurturing mother-Goddess archetype
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2015, 11:09:49 pm »
Quote from: Zephyrine;182778
I am a celibate, adult woman. I don't have an with the male and female deities, but I am very uncomfortable with the goddess being defined as pre-sexual, sexual, and post-sexual when I am none of these things (I am not asexual, but choose celibacy because it allows me to lead a lifestyle that suits me). I am more like Artemis or Athena that the "Earth Mother".

 
People often forget that even the most outwardly gentle of Mother Goddesses have a fierce and wild element. People don't like to talk about those elements though because they scare them. Even Demeter has an aspect that reigns over death. However if you do not connect one particular Deity or another, then my advice would be to seek a connection with one that resonates with you.
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Re: Problems with the idea of the nurturing mother-Goddess archetype
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2015, 09:50:42 am »
Quote from: HarpingHawke;182906
...but the entirety of this reply illustrates *very* clearly that you don't respect OP's choice of celibacy? Using a qualifier doesn't render the rest of this post defunct.



I see what you're saying here, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's accurate. Sex and creation can certainly go together, but sometimes sex isn't for creation but fun, and sometimes, sadly, it's for destruction. There may be a correlation between the two, might be a partnership, but that does not mean the two concepts cannot work *independently,* nor does it mean that they're meant to work together.

The act of nurturing is not related to mothering, nor to sex.



If you're a specific variety of Wiccan, then yes. Not everyone is Wiccan, though, and therefore might not ascribe to your personal set of beliefs. Therefore, it's just bad form to apply your beliefs to someone else.



This right here is an example of invalidation. This may very well not be what you're saying, but what I get from this line is that you're attempting to explain to OP that their choice is illogical in the context of your worldview, and that they should rethink it. If that's not what you're saying, then forgive me, but that's how it's reading to me.


 
And the Mother and Crone don't? I'm very confused here. Care to elaborate?

Finally, as someone who is asexual, meaning I don't feel sexual attraction or sexual urges, tying sex to creativity and the act of creation is something that has never and will never apply to me, nor will it apply to many people, whether celibate by choice or orientation. I may write, but does that mean it is an act rooted in the sexual? Not to me, no.

The only thing that's rooted in sex is sex.


What I was attempting to point out here - badly, in your eyes, and I apologize if you or especially the OP took it wrong - is that there are other ways of looking at the goddess than in terms of sex and where they fall into it on the scale of before and after.

Let's get to that freedom thing for a start.

The Mother has her children to think of in any decisions she needs to make. She may also have a mate who she needs to consider. The crone has her grandkids (and/or the village, those she teaches, those she is an elder to) to consider in her decsions. The Maiden doesn't have to worry about those things. Obviously any and all of them can sleep with or not sleep with whom they choose.

In my trad (and granted this is only MY trad I'm talking about now) we see the Maiden as the power of birth and of freedom. The Mother as the force of creation and descruction (think lava) and the Crone as the force of binding and dissolution. (We have a 4th face of the Goddess, as well. The Matron is pre-menopausal and seen as the protector of her sister's children, and the defender of the hearth. Often referred to as a "bitch goddess" and probably because of that hot flash thing she's got going on.

The point about creativity is that acts of creation do NOT have to include sex. One can be a mother to a book, to a cat, to a business or to any number of other things. Yes, I do happen to have sex on occasion. That's not what makes me a mother. I have zero human children. I have 4 legged and paper children. And having just pushed out yet another paper child (well a digital one) I can say it's very much a birth process.

As such, a celibate can be a mother, and a man (who doesn't have a physical womb, obviously) can be a mother.

As for celibacy, yes I do absolutely respect that choice. I don't know why the OP in particular made that choice, nor is it my business. Either way, that choice is hers and I respect that. Additionally I respect that she has made it a choice. (Lots of people have sex because they think they "need to" to make someone else happy. That's having sex for all the wrong reasons!)

My point was that just because a god/dess has sex or does not, having sex or not does not define who that god/dess is. (Except maybe in the case of goddesses like Aphrodite :) who probably isn't the OP's first choice of a patron anyway. And even Aphrodite has aspects other than what she's doing with her lady parts.)

From the OP's post, I gather that she would LIKE to incorporate Maiden/Mother/Crone into her belief system, but has trouble doing so because others have defined the Goddess via her relation to sex.

It so happens that I'm one of Arianrhod's projects (thus the -rhod in my name) so I'll also mention the concept of virginity as told by her story, and in my understanding.

Research seems to conclude that Arianrhod's story came about at a time when the definition of the word "virgin" was changing from, "a woman beholden only to herself" (a Maiden) to "a woman with an intact hymen." Very possibly a clash between a newer patriarchal religion and an older matriarchal one.

When asked if she was a virgin, she said, "I know not but that I am," meaning truthfully that though she'd certainly had sex before, she had made no vows to anyone and was "her own woman." Then she stepped over Math's wand, which revealed her to be pregnant, and the "intact hymen" crowd took this to mean that she was a liar.

So, there are more than one way of seeing "Maiden" than whether or not she has sex.

If the OP desires to incorporate Maiden/Mother/Crone into her belief system, it is certainly possible for her to do so, while maintaining her self-definition as a celibate.

Alternatively, she can find another system that works for her, dispense with a system all together, find a God/dess that she relates to because of or despite the fact that lore says they may have or not have had sex, or any number of other myriad possibilities.

Hope that was more clear. :)
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Re: Problems with the idea of the nurturing mother-Goddess archetype
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2015, 04:33:22 pm »
Quote from: Lionrhod;182924
From the OP's post, I gather that she would LIKE to incorporate Maiden/Mother/Crone into her belief system, but has trouble doing so because others have defined the Goddess via her relation to sex.

 
We need the OP to come back, of course, and clarify whether she is seeking a religion that has a "the goddess" and operates with the MMC model, or whether she was unaware of the many pagan religions that have no truck with that model.
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Re: Problems with the idea of the nurturing mother-Goddess archetype
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2015, 04:52:03 pm »
Quote from: Lionrhod;182924
... and a man (who doesn't have a physical womb, obviously)....

 
Except, of course, when he does.

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Re: Problems with the idea of the nurturing mother-Goddess archetype
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2015, 09:29:58 pm »
Quote from: Yei;182822
Can I ask you something? Does it really matter? Is worship supposed to be about you specifically?

I mean, loads of my gods are warrior gods, and even ones who are not still like to wave weapons about. Yet would you believe that I have never killed so much as a single person?


While I agree with much of this, I think you're missing that when people are seeking a new belief system, they generally want a) something they can relate to (once established this can be less important, but it's hard to start something with a complete disconnect) and b) to feel as though their existence is at least acknowledged.

But again agreeing with you, I mean, it's not like the OP even has to be looking at lady god/desses, or adult ones, or fully human beings.

Quote
You might not embrace motherhood, but you are hear today because somebody else did.

On the other hand I pretty hardline resent this sentiment. I don't think it's relevant and it hearkens to 'what if your parents didn't want kids/had an abortion!?' reasoning.

I understand that's not your intention, obviously, but it's not palatable either.

Quote from: HarpingHawke;182906
...but the entirety of this reply illustrates *very* clearly that you don't respect OP's choice of celibacy? Using a qualifier doesn't render the rest of this post defunct.

I see what you're saying here, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's accurate. Sex and creation can certainly go together, but sometimes sex isn't for creation but fun, and sometimes, sadly, it's for destruction. There may be a correlation between the two, might be a partnership, but that does not mean the two concepts cannot work *independently,* nor does it mean that they're meant to work together.

[...]

This right here is an example of invalidation. This may very well not be what you're saying, but what I get from this line is that you're attempting to explain to OP that their choice is illogical in the context of your worldview, and that they should rethink it. If that's not what you're saying, then forgive me, but that's how it's reading to me.

[...]

Finally, as someone who is asexual, meaning I don't feel sexual attraction or sexual urges, tying sex to creativity and the act of creation is something that has never and will never apply to me, nor will it apply to many people, whether celibate by choice or orientation. I may write, but does that mean it is an act rooted in the sexual? Not to me, no.

The only thing that's rooted in sex is sex.

Mostly +1ing all of this, and also on your second paragraph, I'd add (as you alluded to in the second-last) that as well, creation does not always need to come from sex any more than sex needs to lead to it.

And I get that some people are meaning these as complete metaphors, but just because something works as a metaphor doesn't mean it's concretely connected- in fact, that's kind of the opposite of a metaphor.

Quote from: SunflowerP;182933
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Randall

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