The symbols of mother represent not simply our relationship with her, but also how it influences our own growth towards independence. As a baby our consciousness of self does not feel separate from mother.
The gradual separation of the sense of self is difficult. In some people it is never managed, even though they separate physically. Their mother, or their sense of their mother within them, still directs their decisions.
The old joke about My mother wouldn’t like this’ is true. In many older cultures this break was worked out in ritual tribal custom. Today we have to manage these subtleties of our psyche alone.
A woman must find a way of transforming the pleasure—or absence of it—of her mother’s breast into a love for a male.
If she cannot she may wish to return to the breast of another female, or be the man her father never was for her.
A man must find a way of transforming his unconscious desire for his mother into love of a woman which is more than a dependent or demanding baby or youth.
If he cannot he may seek his mother in a likely woman, ignoring who that woman is as a real person. And the acceptance of our mother as she really is—a human being—precedes the acceptance of ourself as we really are.
The symbols of the Great Mother hold in them our awareness, unconscious as it may be, of the forces of nature active in us. These forces, in the guise often of a beautiful woman dancing or beckoning, are both wonderful and dangerous.
The dance of nature is unconscious.
If we get in its way we will be ground under its heel as it dances on its beautiful way.
To meet this aspect of ourself we must be both admiring and resourceful.
The danger for a man might be that he loses himself in desire for all women or one woman, for a woman, that she becomes a spiritual whore, thinking she can uplift all through her womb.