On Mother’s Day
Our Two Mothers
In the Eye of the Storm
An individual response to the Global Crisis
May 10, 2020
Ashok Bedi, M.D., Jungian Psychoanalyst
Robert BJ Jakala PH.D., Jungian Psychotherapist
In a storm, the safest place is in the eye of the storm. My colleague BJ and I will share our daily reflections on this centering process from an Analytical perspective, sharing from the repertoire of our personal and professional experience. BJ is a psychologist and a photographer and will pick an image of the day that catches him in this collective crisis. I will amplify it from a Jungian Analytical perspective. We hope that this may offer you a baby step on the path to your own unique response to this chaos.
Like any other archetype, the mother archetype appears under an almost infinite variety of aspects. (Jung, 1934/1954/1968, p. 81)
The basket of sweets and adornments is used by a monk who comes daily to strip, clean, and re-dress the goddess Laxmi. “She is the most revered of the Hindu goddesses and unlocks our potential for peace, prosperity and plenty in our inner and outer life “.(Bedi, 2007) The basket holds a variety of ways to show love and gratitude for the blessings and stirrings.
I felt this image to be very appropriate for Mother’s Day because both the container and its contents are simple. Today is the celebration to honor and remember those who gave us life, and those whose gifts along the way may not have been pleasant to us, but necessary in their eyes.
The photo does not show the recipient but rather the offering and its container. It demonstrates and expresses feelings toward another for what has been received and encouraged.
As we honor the day of the Mother: we celebrate, both our personal mother and the archetype of the Great Mother. Fortunately for us, each one of us has two sets of parents; our personal biological parents that give us life. But the best of parents can only give us a finite slice of what we need to nurture our Self-potentials. The rest of us stays unmirrored, unsupported, not optimally nourished by our biological parents. These unmirrored and underdeveloped parts of us need deeper support, guidance and nourishment to grow and blossom. For this we need those aspects of parental experiences which are beyond the potential of our blood parents to offer. So then, we dig deeper into our own Unconscious to get support for these potentials. Deep inside each one of us is a 2 million years old database to offer the wisdom and guidance we need to cultivate these potentials.(Stevens, 2005) This ancient and priceless wisdom is hardwired into the DNA of our Limbic System in our brain and is available to us when we need it.
These two million-year-old databases are unique to each one of us. It is a concentrate of our ancestors and their best practices on all the issues and challenges that we can potentially face in our lifetime. It is called our ancestral or Archetypal wisdom. There are many ways in which this 2-million-year-old information is available to us. This archetypal data has its’ own system to communicate to us to deal with problems and to cultivate potentials that confront us in the NOW. In earlier publications, I have discussed this at some length in my publications(Bedi, 2000). But for starters, it sends us signals or prescriptions via our dreams and synchronistic events. This is the Subjective method. Objectively, these inner archetypal parents and prescriptions are projected onto individuals we admire. For me, these were my mentors that I had the good fortune to encounter in my life and they still are available as inner figures, whenever I am lost in life. This subject is complex, but I am merely able to present a broadest hint of how these archetypal energies manifest in our Consciousness.
So, behind the face of our Personal parent lies the Archetype of the parent. Behind every mother, we have access to the Archetype of the Great Mother in her many manifestations. In Jungian lexicon, we have the archetypes of the Holy Virgin and the Sophia for instance. In the Indian mythology, we have similar archetypes: Saraswati- the archetype of academic pursuit, Kali – the goddess that destroys the darkness in our Soul and those who traumatize her, Laxmi- the goddess of Peace, Prosperity and Plenty, Aditi – the goddess of Void and New Creation, Shakti – the guide of the Shiva and the masculine principals among others.
But today is the day of the Mother: both our biological mother and the Archetype of the Great Mother that stands behind it. As we confront the pandemic, the great mother archetype will guide us and protect us. This energy is carried by Mother Earth. So today: we honor our personal mothers, the Mother Earth and the Archetype of the Great Mother. We will survive the pandemic by working with these energies rather than dismissing them.
Many years ago, I had the privilege of working with a woman who was abandoned by her mother to an orphanage. Later adopted by loving parents, she grew up to be a successful professional woman; but she always felt abandoned – an echo of her mother abandonment. Then on August 14th, she had a dream as follows –
I am at church helping Rev. Father to adorn the church for a festival for the next day. She was a little girl in this dream and was very excited at the opportunity to decorate the church for the festival.
The dream had a very numinous impact on her. The festival the next day was of course the festival of Mother Mary – Assumptio Maria. The message to my patient was from her archetypal depths. It said to her that she may feel abandoned by her blood mother, but the Virgin Mary was present in her soul, watching over her and guiding her. She felt the presence of the Great Mother and this has become an enduring presence for her since.
Points to Ponder:
How have you been mothered?
What patterns of mothering do you replicate during the pandemic?
What visions of our future world do you envision?
How do you re-mother those aspects that still need it?
What individuals have carried the projection of mother for you? A mentor, teacher, friend, aunt, neighbor, nurse, doctor?
In what ways did these individuals mirrored back to you the love and guidance of the mother?
In what ways did these mother energies guided you that were lacking in your experience of your personal mother?
How do you live out the archetype of the mother in your life as you love and nurture those around you?
Do you honor and value the Mother Earth?
What do you do to protect and value your mother, the mother archetype, your motherland and the mother Earth?
Do you have dreams that you remember that carried the images of your mother or mother archetype in its varied manifestations?(Jung, 1969)
Photo taken in India
Bedi, A. (2000). Path to the soul. York Beach, ME: S. Weiser.
Bedi, A. (2007). Awaken the Slumbering Goddess – The Latent Code of the Hindu Goddess Archetypes: BookSurge.
Jung, C. G. (1934/1954/1968). The archetypes and the collective unconscious (2d ed.). Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, Psychologica Aspects of the Mother Archetype, para
Jung, C. G. (1969). The archetypes and the collective unconscious, Volume 9 – Part 1 (2d ed. Vol. 1). Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, Psychological Aspects of the Mother Archetype, para 148-198
Stevens, A. (2005). The Two-Million-Year-Old Self, (Carolyn and Ernest Fay Series in Analytical Psychology). Texas A&M: University Press.
© Ashok Bedi, M.D. and Robert BJ Jakala, PH.D.