The death mother wields a fierce, violent and corrosive power, rampant in our society now. When the death mother (Medusa) penetrates both psyche and body, we are turned to a stone which kills hope and cuts us deep into chthonic darkness. The child yearns for the oblivion of death, turning inward and against oneself and their body. The destruction is harder to bear when it comes from somebody we love and trust, our beloved mother. Where we are no longer acceptable, and somewhere, some part of us dies. If we must threaten our mother, the nervous system becomes hypervigilant and comes with a profound sense of abandonment, becoming possessed. We will try to destroy anything that may facilitate change and return to the maternal womb of safety and protection.
Medusa, by making love to Poseidon, expresses an embodied passion which Athena does not want to be expressed, and she transforms the beautiful Medusa into a monster with hair full of snakes. The death mother cuts off all metaphoric and symbolic thinking as we are denied access to the archetypal world, only seen through infantile toxic and distorted images and reasoning. Confusion between the metaphorical and lateral results in addictions and catastrophe, where one gets locked in compulsive and meaningless sexuality to reach an archetypal union in bodily form. For instance, anorexia symbolises profound emotional hunger /food and a need for nurturance.
The child overwhelmingly wants to please, overlaying principle, pleasing those who can unconsciously manipulate them. The death mother is intertwined with the victim, exasperating a cycle of hopelessness and despair, imprisoned by neurotic suffering. If we are blind to the inner tyrant, we will continue to blame the outer tyrant, a person, a political system or our own body. In the healing journey, we work towards healing the wounds of our hearts as we dare to face the darkness and ourselves. We need to be ready to confront the death mother; we need to embrace and integrate our authentic feelings with a willful spirit of vibrance and creativity. The death of the death mother is excruciating but needed to instigate change, the death of values and beliefs rooted in fear and power. A lived life is constantly burning away the veils of illusions, gradually revealing the essence of who you are. Be willing to face cruel truths; we must die to a false image, relationships, and faiths and change our outer life.
The dragon/serpent symbolises a stereotypical mother, depicted as the Ouroboros, the snake biting its own tail. A circle or spiral begins as separate things and becomes an enclosed principle of totality. The dragon represents the dragon mother in both aspects, the gentle, loving and yet the terrible, devouring who seeks to consume or enslave her children to her cause. She moulds her children to suit her personal agendas, giving conditional love only. The child can’t criticise or challenge her morally perfidious outlook and intent. The death mother may express herself as a noble cause and speak about equality and oneness. As the individual cannot separate, the child dedicates themselves to a religion, political party or mystical cause. They continue to castrate themselves under the guise of selflessness and devotion, seeking to return to the maternal womb where the quest for global peace is justified. The right brain relates to the world energetically and governs how we relate. It also provides meaning to experiences, relationships and ideas. Within the right brain, we can access our inner landscape, capable of introspection and self-referencing.
“the imperative to grow will find a way to become manifest, and if we don’t allow it to happen in its authentic domain, it looks for expression in the concrete world, with potentially tragic consequences.”
As the child becomes an adult, they aim for things in life that are not what their soul is really asking for. They continue to perform as an adult, striving for goals that are not really their own. It does not matter if they have contact with their actual mother or not, as they have internalized this voice.
Something has been taken from us: our sense of self, belonging, authenticity, and connection with our souls. These feelings create a ‘death wish’ to remove us from the deepest pain of being cut off from ourselves. This cut-off-ness is so painful because it comes from the very energy that is meant to nurture us as we grow into ourselves, and we internalize the message that we would die if we were ourselves. We learn that we will be happy and have harmonious lives, and this inner pain will go away if we deny our true feelings that must be bad and unacceptable and become perfect.
The feminist female is docile, led by chivalrous males, who she unconsciously envies for the strength and power he wields and has to depend on them. At the phallic stage of development, she wished to steal her father from her mother, with the mother becoming the hated obstacle which needs to be destroyed and removed. She harbours rage towards her mother, but because the death mother defeats her, she becomes over-critical, overbearing and dictatorial.
The Feminised male is not as armoured, just as resistant and narrow-minded. He becomes the ally of most women, a male eunuch to cry on his shoulder. He substitutes love for power, so the surrogate mother structures his days and projects. He finds refuge in ayahuasca, LSD or marijuana, which brings him out of his bodily experience and creates a sense of bonding with the great mother and the universe.
The chivalrous male seeks feminised females who adore him. He believes people envy his sexual prowess, but this underlying wish is not sex but comfort, acknowledgement and pleasure. He turns to prescriptive drugs to mend what he believes is broken and medicate the problem away. Unable to be flexible and let go of beliefs and ideas, where he seeks familiarity and routine. Any sign of the authentic self will be curtailed and repressed.
Homosexual men’s mothers are the centre of their attention, unusually close and inhibit their aggression from staying in symbiosis. He may subconsciously hate his mother’s body due to abandonment and lack of contact, therefore removing themselves unconsciously. Petrified of falling in love with another woman like their mother, who is domineering and manipulative. To enter heaven, the dragon of darkness must be challenged and destroyed. We must integrate the anima and release a great cache of libido and Bioenergy. With more intellectual and emotional power, one can confront the dark side of the female psyche.
The journey of healing aims at unearthing the hidden parts of the Self to bring life back to the frozen aspects of the soul. This demands a long and in-depth examination of our own psyche. We must become our own mothers, learn to love those parts of ourselves, and accept that love, so we may come back to life and become whole. The most important thing to remember is:
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate.“
Marion Woodman and Daniela F. Sieff, “Facing the Death Mother to Claim our lives”