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  • Resilient Practice

How to Invoke the Mother Within

“Of all the things my hands have held, the best by far is you”

- unknown


In our article ‘The Mother Wound’ we spoke about the unresolved ancestral ‘stuff’ that is handed to us by our mothers and is for us to process lest we pass it on to our own children.


This is an integral part of the human experience, and we are wise to resist apportioning blame to our parents or feel guilty about how we have parented our children. Since when do we come into the world ‘entitled’ to the perfect childhood and what would that look like anyway? From birth we are hardwired to learn and there is no-one better place to teach us some of our most intense lessons, consciously or unconsciously, than our mother.


Some of us were not mothered by the one who biologically nurtured us in her womb. Some of us were not mothered by a woman. All of us, however, have been mothered by numerous people in various ways at different stages of our lives – and those people were invoking the ‘mother’ archetype in one form or other.


In her abundant publications about archetypes, renowned author Carolyn Myss explores the concept of archetypal psychology. She further develops the beloved philosophies of Carl Jung, suggesting that all of us are born gifted with a collection of archetypes at our disposal as part of our genetic blueprint. She goes on to explore the idea that certain archetypes are common to all of us. These include the judge and the four survival archetypes, child, victim, prostitute and saboteur. This is because these archetypes are commonly called upon in an unconscious way when we have become fearful – and we all do that – it is part of our survival mechanisms.


In her audiobook ‘the Language of Archetypes’ she does however suggest that the ‘mother’ may not be available to all of us. There are those of us who can relate to this feeling of disconnection to the mother within us, but we would challenge the premise that it is missing and invite our audience to look at the concept in a different way.


There are many accepted versions of the mother archetype. The list includes nursing mother, present mother, future-orientated mother, working mother, public mother, happy mother, creation mother, teacher mother, protector mother, death mother and devouring mother. When we invoke the ‘mother’ within the Self we are employing a version of her. She can be nurturing, protective and intuitive but she is also capable of devouring or suffocating her young. As with all archetypes, mother can step forward in either a positive or a negative way. Again, we are not necessarily talking about the biological mother here, although she will be part of the group, but about anyone from whom we have received mothering. This might include our boss, colleagues, friends, siblings, teachers, religious leaders or other family members. Even those in authority over us as adults can employ mother. This is most obvious when health promotion becomes control, and the phrase ‘nanny state’ is used. Nanny is mother.


Let us examine then the archetype of mother.


There is no one way to mother a child. As mothers ourselves who met through parenting groups, we spent a good number of years marvelling at the wide variety ways that our friends, both male and female, utilised the mother within themselves. There were those of us in whom creativity flourished and who could adapt to any situation. There were the immensely organised ones who always had the right equipment and knew the dates for all upcoming events. There were the hard-boundary consistent ones who were able to stick to the rules and were unmilkable at the hands of their little challenges.


As with the Three Sisters we wrote about two weeks ago, we were always better together, working as a team, drawing on each other’s unique talents without judgement or comparison. This is why we remain friends even though our days of mothering our young children are coming to an end.


Just as there are many ways to mother a child, there are many ways to utilise the mother within. Many of us are doing this unconsciously throughout our lives without knowing it.


We all know people who mother their pets. There are the those amongst us who appear to have a greater affinity with animals than humans. These are the advocates of those with whom we share the Earth. Where would we be without them? There are people who devote their lives to advocating for people more vulnerable than themselves who are without a voice. Some of us mother the land and the Earth taking special care of the ecosystem and understanding the need for everything to be in balance within it. Some people tend beautiful gardens, paint masterpieces or coax the most incredible sculptures from stone.


One of our favourite authors HeatherAsh Amara had been quoted as saying that her books are her children. Each one is lovingly gestated and grown in the creative womb of her psyche until it is ready to be born and shared with the world for benefit of all.


We would like to suggest that each of us is in possession of the divine feminine spirit in the shape of a mother. Each one of us has our own individual expression of maternal nurture, nursing, protection, teaching, making healthy demands, setting healthy boundaries, knowing when to save and when to let go, encouragement and giving comfort. Each one of us is capable of calling on the great archetypal mother within us when appropriate and timely in our own unique way. We only need ask and she will come.


When we recognise that we are mothering by default, when something else might be better suited to the job – we can ask her to step back while we call on alternative internal force.


When we know that those characteristics common to the mother archetype are needed to soothe or encourage, embolden or protect – we simply ask her to step forward.


But we must know her first…….



Try this:

Set the intention to meet and develop a connection with the mother archetype within your own psyche.

Make a plan to know her

Where have you seen your mother archetype at work historically?

What are your completed works?

Did she have a hand in birthing or nurturing them to fruition?

In what guises does the mother archetype currently show up in your life?

Are you birthing a project?

Tending a garden?

Nurturing or supporting a colleague?

Are you making demands of a student?

Are you introducing someone to something new and exciting?

Are you cutting away dead wood to foster growth?

Whom are you defending or protecting?

What are you feeding and coaxing towards independence?

Where are you of service to others?

Sit with her now

Where do you feel her in your body?

What are the signs and sensations?

Set the intention to recognise the presence of your internal mother

Ask her ‘how will I know you?’

So that you will notice when she has unconsciously stepped forward during situations within your


When you do this, you can make the invocation conscious

You can decide whether to let it run or not

You can develop the ability to invoke her when needed

Ask yourself:

Where do I need more nurture in my life?

More teaching?

More protection or defence?

More nursing or affection?

Healthier and more consistent boundaries?

To be of service to others?

The courage to cut away what no longer serves?


Championship and Self-belief


When you need the help of the mother within – you only need to ask

Know that when you tend to the relationship between you and your internal mother – you gain the wisdom of the universal mothering force within all of us and the ability to mother yourself home

For more insights and a host of tools and techniques for exploring the Self and improving your

human experience see our book:

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