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Mother and Crone

Recently, I wrote about My Divine Feminine Rite that this pregnancy has been teaching me. And, though I know that the lessons a pregnancy brings often continue beyond the birth, I still thought I had it “figured out” and that would mean it’s mostly done and just a matter of continuing the walk forward with this new information. Clearly not, if you were a cricket on my shoulder for this last week, while my mother-in-law was in town for a visit.

I won’t share what happened exactly. In many ways, the details are irrelevant. What is important, however, is the before, the during, and the revelation thereafter.


Before this week, I have been very concerned with her perception of me. I have always bent over backwards to make her feel comfortable — despite my discomfort, to remain mostly agreeable — despite my inner boundaries, to let her have a throne in my home — despite my own Queenship. In her presence, as an attempt to appease and impress, I have repeatedly allowed her to take the role of Mother and have reduced myself to Maiden.


This week, and leading up to it (without realizing as much until I was processing everything), I did not relinquish my throne. I did not step down from my rightful role as Mother. It was extremely uncomfortable, upsetting, and difficult. A rite of its own.


What I realized afterward — the revelation — was that there have been pieces of me that have never moved beyond Maidenhood. While some parts of me died and were reborn as Mother with each birth of my three children, evidently, some stayed behind. I think, because of my journey with my own mother and sister (the things I mentioned in the earlier article), I still clung to a phantom version of that mother-daughter relationship with my mother-in-law. Not to say that she and I have had no relationship or that there’s no real chance of a relationship with her — but moreover that I think I have tried to please her enough to love me in the ways I’ve been seeking all this time. “My biological mother, who I feel should be loving me this way, is not, so maybe if I’m just extra special to my mother-in-law, she will give me this sought after, unconditional love,” has been my Maiden mindset. I’ve come to realize that this does not serve me in the ways I’d hoped, in my immaturity. It’s time for me to grow up, at least a little more.


That Maiden is now dead, laid to rest at the foot of my soul’s tree, to nourish the roots and strengthen me, as Mother.


Mother does not seek the approval of outsiders for anything. With her sacred partner, she co-creates life for her household and guards it, unapologetically. Mother is an embrace of warmth and safety to her children, and a volcanic fire to those who threaten them. She gets to decide what is and what isn’t. She is Queen of her home; for those invited, it is a privilege to enter.

I wonder what the future holds for this new dynamic in the relationships around me. I wonder if my mother-in-law will allow herself to move beyond Mother and enter her rightful role of Crone. Will she accept these lessons now, or will there be more for her to learn before she is ready? Only God knows. One thing seems certain — my generation of women is having to mother ourselves and rediscover our natural rites of passage because older generations were abandoned and lost, unable to go before us and guide us on our journeys. They are walking blindly forward, like the rest of us.


The only difference between this new generation and the old is that many of us are willing to find the ancient lanterns and relight the path. I hope she will choose to do the same.

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Janet Bartlett
Janet Bartlett
May 24, 2023

"for those invited, it is a privilege to enter" ☺️

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