Greek Goddesses of Motherhood
A Tribute to Mother's Day Today
and Every Day
At the time of this writing, Mother's Day is fast approaching. Most cultures designate a special day to honor mothers and motherhood. It the United States, Mother's Day takes place the second Sunday every May. So, in honor of mothers of all kinds in all phases of life, I thought it would be neat to take a look at Greek goddesses for motherly inspiration.
In the US, Mother's Day was proclaimed a national holiday by Congress in 1914. This action was launched by Anna Jarvis, who decided there should be one day a year to recognize mothers. She got the idea after the passing of her own beloved mother in 1907. Anna Jarvis held a memorial service for her mother and asked all attendees wear white carnations. Eventually the tradition stuck. To this day, the carnation is a symbol of motherhood. Some still practice wearing a carnation on Mother's Day. If you choose to take up the tradition, wear a white carnation to honor mother's who have passed into non-physical; wear a red carnation to celebrate mother's who are still living with us.
I'm under the opinion that mothers and motherhood should be celebrated EVERY day, not just Mother's Day. If you are of that same mind-set, this article on Greek goddesses of motherhood might be extra inspiration to honor moms of all kinds at all times. The following is a list of five Greek goddesses. In their own unique ways they embody what it means to be a mom.
I created this post to bring more roots and connection to the idea of motherhood. The deities of ancient cultures are a great starting point for foundational understanding of big concepts. Maybe you're a mother. These Greek goddesses might bring new meaning to the heavy job of being a mom. If you're not a mom, perhaps these mommy goddesses encourage you to tip your hat to the diverse, dynamic, dramatic realm of being a mom.
In both modern and ancient communities, Gaia sits on the throne of 'ultimate mother'. Her name is synonymous with 'Earth'. In fact, her name means 'land' or 'earth' in the Greek language. Lots of conservationist and earth-conscious folks refer to the Earth as Gaia. Among the all the Greek goddesses, Gaia is a pretty big deal. Why? Because she's positioned as one of the first to emerge from 'Chaos'. Chaos was the first thing that ever came into existence in the Universe. From Chaos, everything else in the world became manifest. Since Gaia was the first to come forth from that place of ultimate birth, it makes sense she would be the first mother. And indeed she was a knock-out mom. Myth tells us Gaia made the Earth itself! She made the mountains, the seas and the sky. From her birth came all of life - at least according to Greek myth. As the Earth's creatrix, she is the mother of a massive ecosystem. In essence she is the mother of trees, birds, bees, etc. She is even the source of humanity. That's a lot of community she's mothered over time. All the mother's in the world should 1) Thank Gaia so they are able to have their own babies and 2) Give a heavy sigh of relief they didn't have to give birth to mountains, seas and skies. LOL. Her symbols are: Earth (of course), Fruit and Grains. All of these relate to the bounty that comes from the Earth. Fruit is especially linked to motherhood, especially pomegranates (see Hera), apples and peaches. If you'll notice, these fruits have unique seeds. Seeds are linked with motherhood. Pomegranates have a bucket-load of seeds within their womb-like fruit. Apples form a sacred five-pointed star (symbolic of all the elements, which Gaia is mythological responsible for birthing) within which its seed is the center. Peaches have big, beautiful seeds - a massive pit that, is a reminder of the seed that grows within all mothers.
In conclusion, I hope this article on Greek goddesses and motherhood has given you a different view into what it means to be a mom. Maybe (if you're not a mom), it's helped bring new perspective on what it means to have a mom. Let's face it...some mom's are the coolest. Some moms are tough. Some mom's are not all that great. Other moms are like freaking June Cleaver (Google 'Leave it to Beaver' if you don't know what I'm talking about).
Please keep in mind, these Greek goddesses of motherhood are not the end-all-be-all. They aren't the ultimate. They're not even the whole shebang of mother goddesses. There are more, like: Demeter, Hestia, Rhea, Leto...all of which deserve research and contemplation. What's more, there are tons of motherhood goddesses around the world. Do a little digging, and you're sure to find a goddess with whom you can relate.
There are lots of different moms in this world. Some great, some not. Looking over these Greek goddesses of motherhood displays the same kind of potential. If you look deeper into their history, some of these goddess-moms have some crazy qualities and questionable behaviors as mothers. But they all are strong and powerful. I'm pretty sure these qualities are prime criteria to having the chutzpa to even have a kid. I couldn't do it. There is no way I'd have the 'right stuff' to birth a child, much less raise it. But that doesn't make me inert to appreciating all my mom went through to get me where I am today. In fact, she is STILL being a mom to me! She never gives up, and that's the best mom. These Greek goddesses of motherhood never gave up either. Motherhood is an evolutionary process. It's also a big bonding experience. No matter what the circumstances...once a mom, always a mom.
At any rate, I hope these goddesses offer new perspective to motherhood. And (at the time of this writing) with Mother's Day approaching, I hope that perspective plays a role in your view about moms of all types around the world.
As always, thanks for reading!
Big mamma blessings to you all,
An Important Note About Signs, Symbols and Their Meanings
Signs and symbols cultivate their meanings according to culture, context, passage of time in society as well as mass societal opinion. What's cool and highly important is that signs and symbols earn their most powerful meanings from our own personal perspectives.
This website strives to provide you with the best, time-honored information when defining signs and symbols. However, in the final analysis, "Beauty (and symbolism) is in the eye of the beholder."
Having said that, it's in our best interest to invest the time to do personal research on symbolic events happening to us. This website is just one perspective in an ocean of variety and diversity in the realm of symbolism. So dive in! There is a whole universe of deeper meanings to explore! You can start your research by clicking on the links at the end or to the side of this page. Odds are good I've got a follow-up article about this symbolic topic. ;)
As always, thanks for your willingness to learn more about the language of symbolism. It's a language that is universal and everywhere. It's super-groovy to travel with you on your symbolic path, and maybe offer a little translation along the way. Thanks for reading and exploring!