The Always Present Mother
“This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man” (Gen. 2:23). History has shown us that the “Great Mother” archetype has been with society since the beginning of time. Through stories, songs, poems and thoughts, man has always found the need for the “Mother” and the women that make this archetype possible. Some are consider myths and legends, while others have been documented in history. Regardless of what they have done or thought to have done, they have made an impact on the way man foresees woman. I will discuss three women characters that play a role in the mother archetype, and explain why these rolls are important to their culture. Demeter will be the first goddess in this examination on the mother archetype, followed by Isis. These women are man made stories, to try and help explain why certain things are the way they are. The last mother archetype I will discuss was a woman that is still worshipped today, and with the help of man made stories, she has become immortal. This woman is the Virgin Mary. Before this is discussed, I will explain what an archetype is and what traits and similarities one must have to become a “Mother Archetype”.
The mother archetype is a term derived from a man by the name of Carl Gustav Jung. Jung was a predecessor of Sigmund Freud. “According to Jungian psychology the archetypes of the collective unconscious are manifested in similar mythological motifs which are universal…”(Trachy and Hopkins 166). Jung defines a archetype in many ways.
Archetypes appear in conscious as a universal and recurring image, pattern or motif representing a typical human experience. Archetypal images come from the collective unconscious and are the basic concepts of religions, mythologies, legends and Arts…they emerge through dreams and visions…they convey a sense of transpersonal power which transcend the ego. (Jung 46)
The ego is the center of the consciousness and the base of the individual’s experience of subjective identity. The mother archetype has definite qualities of her own, such as, life giving, wisdom, and nurturing traits. Not all the traits of the mother archetype are good. There is the evil side of the mother archetype as well, such as, darkness, witchery and death. All these aspects are taken into consideration when it come to the mother archetype. Which leads me to my first example, Demeter.
Demeter is from Greek mythology, and is known as the goddess of the harvest. Demeter is most known for the story of her daughter, Persephone, being taken away by Hades. Hades was the God of the underworld. The story is to explain why there are seasons and why these seasons are repeated each year. The myth is fairly simple, Hades takes Persephone away from Demeter. Demeter was so sad by this, that she neglected her duties as goddess of the harvest and...