Archetypes of The Great Mother

August 7, 2008

For those who have read my blog for awhile – you know of my interest in mothering the unmothered child. My recognition of that work began with Salmon boy giving me Warming the Stone Child to listen to. I just about wore the tape out – and since then have purchased my own tape and later a CD of the stories. I find the healing power of the stories and her voice soothing in a way that is pre-verbal – and since the wound is pre-verbal – that is where the mending must occur.

It seemed for awhile, that even though I had grown my own internal mother, and she had matured into a wise woman crone, there was still a hole, a longing that could never quite be filled up. I would grow impatient with myself as I tried to make sense of this – forgetting my own good counsel that our sacred wound is the source of our soul gifts. DUH!

Recently, I have been scouring various dissertations from The Union Institute and Pacifica – reading the scholarly musings of wise women. This is where I ran into the work of Lynn Carol Henderson and more recently of Lillian Lohr Lewis. At the same time, my own explorations of “The Wild Woman” archetype led me to wonder if Clarissa Pinkola Estes would ever, finally, publish her book – The Dangerous Old Woman. It is always listed as “forthcoming…” as is her poetry collection La Pasionaria. These works have had incredibly long periods of gestation and I wonder what keeps them from being birthed into the world?

Then in Lewis’s dissertation, I read her thesis that the Wild Woman and the Wise Woman represent two poles of a continuum and my ideas raced to the conclusion that just as Jean Shinoda Bolen could not write Goddesses in Older Women until she reached the third phase of her life – CPE wrote the bible on the Wild Woman archetype – and was first to name that archetypal energy Wild – and now those of us who have matured and are coming into our crone ways want the next testament – The Dangerous Old Woman – the Baba Yaga, the wise woman, the hag, the ancient one.

The energies of Demeter and Persephone worked through me on my way to see Inanna and her sister Erishkigal – and then I surfaced – blinded by the light in the topside world. There have been some minor descents since – but nothing like that initiatory crossing that led me to my incipient croning.

Now – I have come to the next place in my cycle of maturity – and in this film – there are three modern day crones – offering their wisdom: Angeles Arrien, Marion Woodman, and Alice Walker. This trio of women consolidate their life’s work and offer it as precious manna in Women of Tibet: Gyalyum Chemo-The Great Mother. Watch the trailer and experience it for yourself.



  1. Thanks my dear for your good wishes on my birthday!

    Would you believe I just posted about the “Rainbow Woman” on my blog, you wrote your good wishes, and within the same 10 minutes I received an email (unrelated to my blog) from the last woman who danced in that mask in California in 2006. I haven’t heard a word from her since then. We really are all linked.

    I’d love to see you when I’m in the DC area, come down and help with the project if you like!


  2. I have just discovered Warming the Stone Child and feel like my deepest yearnings finally found an explanation that fits. Now that my unmothered child has been identified… I am searching for further guidance toward healing via deeper work or guided meditation. Where can I find this or more to help me finally grow through this new understanding?

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