- Religion and Philosophy»
- Paganism & Witchcraft
Red is for the Mother Goddess
The Mother in Wicca
Queen of the Earth and Stars, the Mother aspect is possibly the most well known in Wicca. Although "the Great Goddess" or "the Goddess" includes all aspects, the Mother is at the forefront.
She is the Full Moon under whose guidance we are asked to come and worship. In her evocative poem Charge of the Goddess, Doreen Valiente (perhaps one of the greatest influences on modern Wicca) writes, "...for behold I am the Mother of All Living, and my love is poured out upon the earth...." In many derivative and complementary forms, as well as the original, it has become a standard of Wiccan practice.
As the Earth Goddess she manifests her living flesh in the body of our planet itself. The rocks and mountains are her bones, the air her breath, the sap of trees her blood, and the ocean her potent womb. All creatures (we humans as well as animals, trees, insects and fish) form her nerves and brain. And we are all her beloved children.
The color of the Mother is red, hearkening to the blood of childbirth, the warmth of the hearth-fire, the color of roses in passionate bloom and the molten fire that moves in the Earth beneath our feet.
Her element is Fire, symbolic of creation, destruction, transformation and passion.
A few of the named Mother goddesses include: Cerridwen, Gaia, Freyja, Demeter, Danu, Nuit, Isis, and Yemaja.
This article is part of a 9 part series on The 8-Fold Gods and Goddesses, a Wiccan Pantheon for Eclectic Covens
The Mother as Archetype
Perhaps one of the most powerful archetypes of our human experience, Mother represents nurture and care. Before our birth, we grew in her womb, protected from the outer world. Her body fed us from its own blood and nutrients, and we rocked to sleep to the sound of her heartbeat.
She may have spoken to us, becoming the first voice we knew, and we may even have dreamed her dreams with her.
As a child, she tended us; calming our fears, nursing us from her breast, and cleaning up our messes. She told us stories and cuddled us to bed. Helped us learn to walk and talk, and guarded us as we made our first explorations.
In our modern time the archetype of Father is changing as men become more involved with the nurturing of their children. In older days, fathers often did not have much involvement with their children until the child was older, in some societies as late as three or seven.
Archetype extends to our observations of the natural world. Therefore our understandings of both Mother and Father are colored by the fact that in many animal species, the father does not take part in the nurturing and raising of the young.
As archetypes (particularly those that are this strong and ancient) take time to change, it will be many years, perhaps even millenia, before the Father equals the Mother in terms of this.
For those children unfortunate not to have known the love of a birth or adoptive mother, this archetype holds such power, that they often spend years seeking a similar connection.
Ruling fertility, childbirth, and the blood that pumps through our veins, the Mother represents a woman who has left the carefree days of childhood and Maidenhood behind, ready to embrace her own power as a woman, and to take on the challenges of caring for others.
Ways to Honor the Fertility and Body Facet of the Mother Goddess
- Eat healthy foods.
Your body is not only a temple, it's the vehicle from which life is born into the Earth. Even if you're past the age of childbearing or have no intention of having children, you still bring life to the world with your creative actions and projects.
Some foods that are especially associated with the Mother aspect include pumpkins and other squash, cucumber, root vegetables, apples, milk, red wine, honey and grains.
- Learn about your body and how to take care of it.
The more you know about how your body works, the better. Whether you decide to have children or not, protect your fertility or lack thereof.
One book on feminine healing which I highly recommend is Susun Weed's Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year. Susun is a local Wise Woman and Herbalist in the area of upstate NY where I come from. She has been a mentor and healer for many of the women I know. This excellent book covers herbal preparations to help women of childbearing age maintain their health, assist fertility, and assist the lack of that when needed.
- Attend a Birthing Class or Even an Actual Birth
Obviously to attend a real birth, you'll need to be invited by a friend. I was the coach at the birth of one of my nieces, and to say that it was informative would be the understatement of the week.
- If you don't have children of your own, offer to babysit a friend's child.
Or volunteer at a youth group, your library's story hour or some other place where you can interact with children.
- Take a healing bath, such as the one below.
White Bath for Healing
Okay nevermind the RED theme of this article, This is a bath recipe that I give out to those who spend their energy working to heal others. So moms, nurses, priests, counselors, and others have found it helpful.
It aids us in returning to base and to healing ourselves so that we can continue on healing others.
This is based on a recipe I learned through my former HP's Orisha practices. In those methods, you use it on a factor of 9 - every 9 days or at 9 a.m. or p.m., associated with Obatala, the Orisha who rules clarity and peace.
In my experience this is an excellent bath to use approximately once a week, or whenever you feel the need, and especially after any draining experience.
Milk is wonderfully nourishing to the skin and is certainly aligned to the whole Mother concept. Salt helps release negativity and Star Anise is allied with the Star Goddess.
Do shower and moisturize after this bath, as salt can be drying to the skin.
- Star anise or anise seed, several stars or a palmful of seed
- Can of evaporated (NOT condensed) milk
- Salt (Sea salt or table salts or more exotic, either is fine) a handful or so.
- White Candle(s)
- White Flowers ( Optional, but lovely. Yarrow or White Roses are my favorite for this,)
- Sage, lavender or other "blessing" incense.
- Clean the tub well before and after - no need to allow stale energies to infect your bath!
- Make a tea of anise, strain and pour it into a tub full of bath water.
- Light an incense of sage, lavender or other cleansing, wisdom or blessing herbs.
- Add in the salt.
- Add in the milk
- Light white candles
- Surround yourself with white roses, yarrow or another blessing herb or flower, You can add these to the bath as well.
- Pore breathing can also be effective.
- Soak and relax till the water cools, letting negativity drain away.
The Full of the Moon
In my path, the Mother is associated with the waxing and full moon, The time from the first Quarter to the end of the Full is seen as particularly strong for magick associated with her.
Note that although our modern astrology can pinpoint the exact moment when the moon goes Full, normal use is a bit more generous than that, considering the day before, the day of and the day after equally good for casting spells. Hey, if it worked for our ancients who might not have had the benefit of modern telescopes and computers and such, then it just works, right?
A line from the long version of the Wiccan Rede (also called "Advice of the Ancients") says, "when the Lady's moon is new, kiss the hand to her times two; when the moon is at her peak, then your heart's desire speak."
This quote speaks of the fact that sometimes we need to just be grateful and send our Lady a kiss, and at other times we are allowed to ask for help,
Traditionally, the Full Moon is the time for doing exactly that -- ask Mama for a hand! Use the time from First Quarter to Full to put extra oomph into projects that are already underway and give them extra power and potency.
This is one of the times when Wiccans gather to worship, celebrate, cast spells and strengthen our knowledge of the Craft.
Just as the ocean tides are affected when the moon reaches peak, so too, the tides and energies in our bodies are magnified and intensified.
As you might guess, the ocean itself is aligned with and symbolic of the Moon. Its flow and tides, evoke the flow of our own emotions. .
This is the moment for asking for wishes, crafting and releasing spells.
A gift for the Mother Goddess in your life
The spiral represents our journey of evolution and the powers of Life, Death and Rebirth. This symbol is especially sacred to the Goddess.
Ways to Honor the Full Moon Facet of the Mother Goddess
- Walk or meditate under the moonlight.
Don't use a flashlight unless safety without one is an issue. (Carry one with you just in case, but leave it off unless needed.) Even in the countryside, where there are few if any street or house lights, the light of the Full Moon will generally be enough for you to see your way.
- Wear silver or white.
The metal silver and its color are associated with lunar energies. A silver charm representing the Moon, or a Goddess figure is especially appropriate. Silver cloth also works. White is another color associated with the Moon.
- Open your blinds or curtains and sleep in the light of the Full Moon.
Naturally, this one depends on whether your bedroom is situated where the light of the moon can reach you. Alternately, if you have a back yard or porch, you could take a sleeping bag and spend a night outdoors.
- Swim in the ocean.
Or if you prefer, just walk along the shore. Naturally, this assumes that you have an ocean nearby or are able to visit one. If not, pour yourself a bath and add a generous handful of sea salt. You can even collect water when you're near the seashore and bring it home, then pour that into the bath.
- Cast a spell.
This is my own book, where I teach you the theory and basics behind spell crafting so that you can cast and create your own spells.
Available right now in paperback. A 2nd Edition ebook is in the works as soon as I can pry it out of my dead desktop.
On Casting Spells
It's my belief that no spell that anyone else creates or casts for you is as effective as your own.
When you make your own spell, the magick begins to build from the moment of conception through the birthing and casting of the spell itself.
For centuries, the secrets here have been handed down in...well, secret...leaving many students of magick at a loss on how to create and cast spells on their own. But magick has very simple rules and steps. This book demystifies the process.
Based on my live classes, and the teachings I received from my mentor, Lord Ash and other teachers, Spellcraft Secrets walks you through the steps needed to brainstorm your spell, find the most effective and useful symbolism, remove obstacles and create powerful change in your life.
The Bounty of Earth
The Mother asks no sacrifice other than your effort and love. She instead spreads her bounty across the land, making plants fertile and gardens grow. Hers are the orchards hanging in full fruit, lakes and forest teeming with fish and game.
She is the bee goddess, Potnia and Melissa, who fertilizes the crops and sweetens our life with her dripping combs of honey. She is Ceres and Demeter, goddess of agriculture and grain.
The Mother (along with her daughter the Maiden) rules wealth and prosperity, bringing riches and joy into your life.
Summer, when the Earth grows and overflows with abundance (And if you've ever planted zucchini you can attest to that!) is her season. It's blazing heat reflects her connection to her element of Fire.
Ways to Honor the Earth and Bounty Facet of the Mother Goddess
- Plant a garden. Or a rock garden.
- Walk barefoot in the dirt or mud.
- Say a thank you to the animals or plants that gave their lives for you at mealtime.
- Hug a tree.
Yes, for real. If you've never done this, you'll find that it's very grounding and steadying.
- Lay in the grass and focus on the feel of the planet beneath you and the weight of gravity that holds you to Her.
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen, or donate to a food bank.
13 Easy Things You Can Do to Help the Earth
Take care of the Earth Mother who takes care of you. These tips are so simple you can do most of them in 10 minutes or less.
- Carry a garbage bag and pick up trash when you're hiking.
- Keep a shovel in the trunk of your car. If you see a roadkill animal (assuming it's safe to stop) move it from the roadside so scavengers such as crows or vultures aren't hit by cars. This will also help prevent yourself and other drivers from puncturing tires on the bones.
- If you're on Twitter, Facebook or some other social site and you see a lost pet or one that needs a home, re-tweet or share it. The more folks who see it, the more likely that baby will get home!
- If your area has bear or other dangerous animals that scavenge, keep your food trash locked up tight. If the animal learns that humans are a food source, it might have to be put down.
- If you recycle aluminum cans and your neighbors or friends don't, offer to take theirs to the recyclers. You can even donate the extra cash to an Earth-based cause if you want.
- Plant a tree or bush, or even a pot of herbs and contribute to the world's oxygen.
- Ask nice before you pluck a plant from the Earth. And teach your kids the same! Never pick all the plants away from one spot. If you can, leave a small BIODEGRADABLE offering, such as a strand of hair or bird seed, to help nourish the plant or the local wildlife.
- If you see a turtle or other slow moving critter crossing the road, help it across. Do not try this with poisonous snakes or animals such as alligators! With turtles that snap, (both snappers and soft-shells) a stout stick or shovel can help you move them safely. Make sure you move it toward the direction it was traveling, otherwise it might go right back again in search of a mate!
- If your neighborhood has feral cats, check online in your area. There's probably someone nearby who will catch and neuter/spay them and release them back.
- Give the contents of your offering bowl to a plant or tree to help fertilize it. (Note: do NOT dump salt water on them.)
- Never leave offerings in nature or sacred sites unless they're biodegradable. Make sure they won't snare a critter as well. Cluthie trees (cloth offerings for the faeries) are lovely, but if they don't biodegrade, they can harm the tree.
- Keep a craft box for your children -- or yourself! Fill it with items like rolls from toilet paper and paper towels, leftover pvc tubing, scraps from sewing and other crafts, leftover gift paper or ribbon, Not crafty? The Recycler Contributor can send you in the right direction! No kids? Save them as a gift for your neighbor's children, and keep them out of the landfill!
- Smile at folks you pass by. Making other humans happier makes the world a better place too!
The Dance of Passion
Dancing eternally with her beloved, the Father God, the Mother rules passion and ecstasy in all its forms, whether the creative drive or that of the bower.
Sensuality is her gift to us, and she asks us to "...dance, feast, make music and love all in my presence..." (Charge of the Goddess)
Many traditions say that she drew her male counterpart, the Father to her and that joining with him in lovemaking, she birthed the cosmos and the Earth itself in her ecstasy,
In Wicca we celebrate this union in the "Great Rite" a symbolic joining of athame (sacred knife) and chalice. (Yes, some witches perform a more literal Great Rite but only between consenting adults and in private.)
In my path it is done in this way:
Priest: Takes up the athame and holds it above the chalice, blade pointed down.
Priestess: Takes up the chalice holding it beneath the athame, (The chalice is usually filled with wine, mead or ale, but milk or fruit juice are also fine.)
Priest: "As the athame is to the male..."
Priestess: "...so the cup is to the female."
Priest lowers the athame into the cup.
Both: "Joined together they are Light and Love"
Priest: "As in the beginning..."
Priestess: "...so at the end."
Both: "So mote it be." (All in attendance repeat.)
Priest: Raising the chalice high, "Behold, the Wine of Life reborn!"
Priestess: Takes the athame and cuts the cakes (or breaks them by hand) saying, "I divide the cakes. I divide the cakes into four, for all who would come to my altars." (Four represents the Elements and the directions, thus including all the world. "Cakes" are often cookies or bread. They can be actual cake. My favorite is home baked bread or zucchini or banana bread.) "So mote it be." (All echo the "So mote it be.")
The cakes and wine are then passed clockwise around the circle, starting with the Priest, who feeds the person to his left. Each person feeds the next one, saying, "Wilt thou share the Cakes and Wine of Life with me?"
In our path we often dip the cakes in honey. The rule is that if you drip honey on someone else, you have to lick it off!
Another tradition we have is that once the goblet is passed to the Priestess (who, standing to the right of the Priest, is fed last) she must drain the rest of the cup except for a small offering to the Gods. This can make for an amusing situation in cases where a large chalice has been used!
Ways to Honor the Sensual Facet of the Mother Goddess
- Go out dancing.
Or stay home and dance. If you don't know how to dance, take a dance lesson in whatever flavor appeals to you.
- Spend a romantic evening with your partner, if you have one.
- Make and enjoy Sensual Damiana Rose Honey.
You might even want to share it with someone special.
- Get (or give) a massage.
- Buy yourself a rose and meditate with it.
Or meditate in a rose garden if there's one nearby.
The Fires of Creation and Destruction
Birthing the world ever new, the Mother is the epitome of creativity. As such, she rules cooking, crafts, art and tradeskills.
But creativity and destruction are part of a whole. The volcano that spews lava and ash, builds new land masses, and the ash releases nutrients from deep within her core to fertilize the plants. Some trees need a forest fire to release their seeds.
To grow a garden, we must first remove the weeds that were there, and then continue to kill the weeds that crop up.
Our very lives depend on this cycle. Whether plant or animal, we must take the life of something else to eat.
The goal is to keep our creation vs. destruction in healthy balance.
Ways to Honor the Creator/Destroyer Facet of the Mother Goddess
- Meditate while focusing on a candle flame, campfire or fireplace.
- Create something new - a painting, a poem, a sweater, a recipe, a birdhouse--whatever works for you.
- Build a sandcastle then tear it down.
- Weed a garden.
- Wear red or flame colors.
- Clean your house.
As you do so, keep in mind your ability to destroy the negativity associated with dirt (not soil, but the bad kind of dirt) and to create order and tranquility.
Is it Okay to do Magick for Your Kids?
Obviously, it's not good to do spells on other adults, Your children (and I'm NOT talking adult kids) are under your protection. So is doing so okay? What if anything is an exception?
Is it okay to do healing and protection magick for your small children?
My Experiences With Motherhood
I determined rather early that I was not going to have human children from my body in this lifetime. Between my passions for writing and magick, I knew I had a choice to make: Be a mother to one or two children, or be a "mother" to many students and friends.
Sometimes, when my biological clock was ticking away, I wondered if I'd made the right choice, but looking back I have no regrets. Besides, as a Cancer if I had my own kids, I'd become more of a worse worry-wart than I already am.
My children are my dogs and cats, my garden and the books and articles I have spent decades learning to birth. And of course my beloved students and the Unfolding Path itself. I'm glad I decided to make time for them all.
I do love actual children, though I often joke, that they might make good candles.
Fortunately, between my brother and sister I have a nephew and five nieces.
One of my recent books is a children's story, The Spider's Yule Gift. It's already on Smashwords and I hope to have it on Amazon soon.
The Ostara Worm is also almost ready to publish, a tale I wrote for a kid-friendly ritual with my local pagan church. The kids had a great time at it. Especially the worm poop part!
Another project I'm working on is compiling some of the pagan teaching songs I wrote for my nieces. I'll get that done eventually, as soon as I re-learn to read music. (I play by ear.)
I had to get three copies! One for my mom, one for my sister and her kids, and my own copy too! Folklore, crafts, songs, seasonal celebrations and suggestions on raising pagan kids. I love Starhawk and her group. A must for your family bookshelf.
One of my favorite memories is a former job where I got paid -- yes, actually paid! -- to play Dungeons and Dragons with the 9-14 year old boys from a local homeschool group. I still miss my boys. Gosh, even the youngest must be out of college by now!
It was inspiring to see how the game turned them into a team (all of them against me, of course). And how their math and reading skills skyrocketed!
I love creating educational games, and have put together some for the children of a bunch of Asatru folks I used to hang out with, for a weekend camp out. Eventually those might get published too.
Circle Round, by Starhawk, Diane Baker and Anne Hill is an excellent resource for Goddess inspired games, songs, stories and craft projects for children.
A Children's Story for Moms (and Dads) to Share With Their Families
- The Spider's Yule Gift
On Smashwords. All the animals are making Yule gifts for the newborn Sun except poor Spider. A traditional tale from Poland, told by my father, and adapted to paganism. It includes info on holiday celebrations to share with your kids.
Tomato Seedlings photo by Lionrhod
These photos via Flickr:
Creative Commons No Derivatives:
Holding Her Together Jacqueline Wachell
Creative Commons Share Alike:
World Environment Day Jose Roberto V Moraes
Full Moon Through Trees JMR Photography (Once available on Flickr, this person seems to have removed their account.)
Apple Branch Sharon Mollerus
Rose Goddess adapted by Lionrhod
Volcanic Eruption Gnuckx
These photos via Wikimedia Commons by Public Domain::
Cerridwen painting by Christopher Williams
Articles in the 8-Fold Gods Series
Does your group have challenges deciding whose gods to worship? A look into the basics of the 8-fold Gods, and how they streamline the process of determining what pantheon to work with, as well as how they can be utilized for study and inner growth.
More Articles on Wicca and Witchcraft
Releasing the Circle in Wicca, Witchcraft and Magic
An in-depth discussion of this often overlooked facet of casting the Circle.
© 2014 Lionrhod