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“No-one gets to leave until this mess is cleaned up!”
- The Great Mother
Your mother is not the easily typecast being of our childhood’s imaginings. She’s a complex creature who has always had to be all things to all people. The planet with which we revolve and evolve has often been characterised as The Great Mother by her ignorant children. She is, after all, bounteous, forgiving, fertile and generous, the one who provides us all with nourishment and provides the very substance of our bodies.
For uncounted millennia our primate forerunners and human forebears have viewed the Earth as The Mother – Gaia, Tya, Duana – she’s worn as many names as the centuries have had summers. The Great Mother provides everything and cleans up our mess; this is the immature mind-set of the supposedly mature members of Humanity. This is the subtext behind our relationship with our entire environment.
Each individual’s actions in this world will be shaped by the nature of their relationship with their own mother – your beliefs and actions are aimed by and wedged firmly within the particular idiosyncratic primate culture in which you and she found yourselves when each of you were born.
We all know that real mothers are not simple automatons with one-track minds, nor are they mere baby making milk factories. Despite all the ways in which multitudinous Patriarchal civilizations have attempted to control their populations (and Creation itself) by controlling their women’s wombs, conception has always had a way of defying all expectations and prohibitions. Women remain in charge of the most essential and fundamental acts of all – but they are not defined by these abilities.
Mothers are the ring that surrounds the core of all things. Mothers create Humanity and rock the cradle of its dreams and aspirations. Human society is created primarily to allow them to do their thing, to form the ring that makes new beginnings possible.
Real mothers educate their bright-eyed and innocent children in any number of ways, depending on conditions and mood – just as better fathers do; good parents instruct by example. As excellently imitative primates, we’ve always been very good at learning some of our lessons. Much that we are and most of what we know has been gleaned from observing natural forces and other creatures cohabiting the Great Mother alongside our curious race. The mores of our social structures are evident in the pecking-order behaviours of various other species, ranging from insects to chickens - and are virtually identical to those of other simians and monkeys.
All our technologies have already been tested and developed by various life forms and other processes existing on this planet, from nuclear power through to jet propulsion and nanotechnology. We’re still only scratching the surface of what Nature has to teach us – yet we style ourselves as sophisticated and superior Lords and Ladies of Creation, with nothing left to learn except a few details on the edges of our apparently all-encompassing primitive primate sciences, religions and cosmologies.
If we want to become real grown-ups we’d all be a lot better off if we sat back and took a look at what we’ve been doing, as individuals and en masse. We all need to realize that we don’t have the luxury of acting like some fast breeding brood of slow children, making life a living hell for ourselves and our global parent. If the Earth is our mother, we’ve been treating her pretty shabbily – and exposing our attitudes to our own females and feminine aspects in the process.
We’d be better of thinking of ourselves as houseguests in an extraordinarily baroque and artfully designed mansion full of extraordinary entities, rather than young princesses and princes left to run amok in an indulgent parent’s extraordinary house – which is also everybody else’s home. We’re not staying in a mansion that is our own exclusive possession by divine right of conquest and happenstance. We’re all guests in each other’s world.
Gaia has and is a beautiful mansion that she opens regularly to visitors and their children. She even lets many of them move in. She has plenty of rooms. She’s a generous, forgiving hostess who doesn’t discriminate – her guests come in all shapes and sizes, hues and shades. She lets parties go on well beyond the point where everyone should be in bed making love or dreaming beautiful dreams. A good host or hostess allows the party to run its course until it’s time for everyone to make some space for the cleanup.
Some houseguests can make themselves unwelcome even in Gaia’s resilient mansion. Some guests defecate in the bathtub and urinate in the sink. Some vomit on the smorgasbord. Some even eat the hostess’ pets and set fire to her children’s beds. Some tear up the garden and pour concrete over the vegetable garden. Some dig up the floorboards and undermine the foundations in search of buried treasure from her private hoard. Some guests quickly wear out their welcome and the hostess has to sweep them out the door along with the mess they’ve made. It happens all the times.
All Gaia’s guests need do to remain happily entertained at her everlasting party is to respect their hostess and clean up their own mess. If they don’t, they’ll ultimately get to see what happens when the fat lady finally sings; all their entertainment will be drowned out and all their delicate glassware will shatter. Their warm welcome will turn bitterly cold.
While the party’s still in full swing we need to get together through the intoxication of our revelries and realise that rebuilding, repairing and recreating can be fun, profitable, educational and intimately rewarding. Some of Gaia’s recent guests have been so crass and importunate that she may have to close the house to them for a few millennia to make repairs – unless we all pitch in and fix the place up really nicely for her.
Would you do that for your mother – and yourself? It’ll only take a few decades. Come on – give us a hand! It’s grand fun and your mum will love you all the more for it. Besides - you wouldn’t want to meet the Great Mother (or her contract cleaners) in a dim alleyway if you simply walk away from the mess you’ve helped to make! You can’t simply pay someone else to clan up your mess; that’s an option that will eventually rebound in your face in the mirror-maze of Gaia’s great mansion.
A friendly word to the wise from a custodian of an ancient partying rainforest; it’s time to stop trashing the place before you and yours get the bum’s rush, bub. Gaia hosts the best parties in this spiral arm and it’d be a shame to see this one end in tears. Have a great time, care about your fellow revelers and do your best. That’s all it will take for you and your kids to be eternally welcome guests at Gaia’s Great Gathering.
Or you can just leave the party; Gaia has some very formidable bouncers, too – and there are plenty of other mansions out there.
- R. Ayana
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