Maeve on Daughter/Mother Equinox

by Elizabeth Cunningham

First, thank you to everyone who read my first blog and left comments. (Is there a derivation for the word blog? Eliz just looked it up online. Web log became We blog? Here is an alternate derivation. “Blabber” plus “Falling off a Log” equals blog.) Anyway, it is good to know I am not just talking to myself, although I often do, and there is nothing wrong with it, especially if you are a good conversationalist. So keep that in mind.

I am pleased that several people suggested topics, and the first two balance each other, so as today is Autumn Equinox, I am going to write on both daughters (Maeve, what would you say to my two daughters, ages eight and seven?) and mothers or the Mother (Maeve, write about serving the Mother). And speaking of mothers and daughters, let us not forget Demeter and Persephone. There is some scholarly dispute about the actual timing of Persephone’s descent based on when grain came ripe in the ancient Mediterranean world. But here in the Northern Hemisphere, things are beginning the journey to underworld: sap into root, seed into ground, snakes and bears and other creatures to earth. Day is tipping into night.

Back to the daughters, ages eight and seven. Most of what I would say to you, I think you know already. The main thing is not to forget as you get older. Love yourself from the inside out. Enjoy yourself from the inside out. Know yourself from the inside out. What do I mean by that? Be inside your own skin and don’t worry about what other people see or think. Find something that makes you happy to be yourself–running, skating, jumping from rock to rock, swimming, dancing, singing, drawing, writing, climbing trees, or just lying on your back and staring at the sky. Know that pleasure in being yourself and know that no one can take it from you, no matter what. Make friends with trees and animals and rocks. I am sure you already have. Just remember: you can have those kind of friends all your life, and they will help you when times are hard. Find people that you can trust in the same way. People of all ages, younger than you and older, old. It is good to have fairygodmothers and fathers and fairy grandmothers and grandfathers. Then when you are older, you will get to be a fairygodmother, and that is wonderful thing.

Now I will tell you a little about myself as a daughter and a mother. (Some of you already know a lot about me from The Maeve Chronicles; others, here’s an introduction). I was the only daughter of eight warrior-witch mothers. We lived on an island in the Otherworld (which means you can only get there if the conditions are right). I think it might be fair to say that I was spoiled, but in a good way. My mothers were pleased with me, and I was very pleased with myself. They taught me all kinds of things about animals and birds, fighting, chariot racing, and best of all weather magic. There were some things they forget to tell me till too late, but that is the subject for another blog. My fairygodmother was an old, old woman called the Cailleach. She took over teaching me when I was about thirteen, and my very first lesson involved a journey underground. She also taught me to speak all the languages I would need to know how to speak.

I loved her, and I loved my mothers, and I loved the goddess Brigid (or Bride) from who we claimed descent. But did I serve the mothers or the Mother? I have to admit I did not. Not consciously, anyway. I took them for granted, like the air and the earth, the sun, sky and sea, which are also worthy of our care and reverence. When I was a teenager at druid school, there were some long suffering priestesses that had charge over the female students, and another old woman named Dwynwyn who helped me save life of the boy I loved. But the concept of service had not entered my consciousness and did not until years later.

Fast forward to Rome when that immensely self-impressed, self-possessed little girl had fallen on hard times, lost her freedom, become a slave. Enter the all sovereign, all-compassionate Isis who called me to her service as a priestess and a healer. I answered, at first reluctantly, but with deepening and lived understanding of the goddess’s own long, bitter journey. Even then, I did not serve Isis as the mother goddess, but as the lover goddess, who searched the world for her lost beloved, even serving for a time as a sacred prostitute. When I founded my own holy whorehouse, we received the god-bearing stranger in the name of Isis.

How did I come to love and serve the mother? In a very particular, human way. I became the mother of a daughter I adored with the strength of eight mothers, a daughter who vanished for a time, just as Persephone also disappeared from her mother’s sight. I also became a daughter again, not of my eight mothers, but of my mother-in-law Ma, Miriam, aka the Blessed Virgin Mary, who swore that whither I would go, she would go, and that my goddess would be her goddess. If you want to know the truth, I was none too pleased with the responsibility at the beginning. But by the end, I did put myself in her service, and through her, in service to the Mother of all. (See my Hymn of Ma of Ephesus in Bright Dark Madonna).

It is getting close to the actual time of Equinox, so I will bring the blog to a close. Before I do, I want to say this about mothers and the Mother. There is a correlation between the way we treat mothers and women, and the way we treat the Earth. When we expect them to give without limit (when we, as women and mothers, refuse to set limits) we get ourselves into the mess we’re in today. We exhaust her and ourselves. Mothers, children, it is time to give back to the Earth. Time to let her replenish and renew herself. Time to remember that we also need to stop, be quiet, let the sap sink into our roots, go into the nourishing dark and rest.

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faerian September 22, 2009 - 10:04 pm

your words went straight to my heart

then back out my tear ducts

when i read what you and Elizabeth write Maeve, i feel like i am coming home

thankyou for your answer

Anonymous September 23, 2009 - 5:51 am

Shalom Maeve!!!!
"Be inside your own skin and don't worry about what other people see or think… Know that pleasure in being yourself and know that no one can take it from you, no matter what."

You know how someone can say something to you, and it's the exact thing you needed to hear at that moment, on that day? I needed to hear those words…today. Big time.

Thank you for your words, your confidence and your wisdom.

I am so thankful for you and for Elizabeth.

Unknown September 28, 2009 - 6:12 am

rabbits rabbits
much and ever love, nicole


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