Happy Mother’s Day, any of you who have kids! Good on you for all your care, tending, authenticity and visioning for your children and the world they are inheriting, even though this work is largely unsung and greatly misunderstood. And blessings on our mothers for birthing us!
I have historically found it hard to get into Mother’s Day, particularly the tendency towards Hallmark-y sentiment, even though I cherish genuine recognition and thanks. So it was with a combination of relief, recognition and inspiration that I stumbled upon the original inspiration behind Mother’s Day (in the USA at least, where so many of our Australian traditions come from). The original vision was articulated in 1870 by Julia Ward Howe, an abolitionist, who called for a Mother’s Peace Day.
Julia’s words are a resonant call for this time of year, honouring the themes of death and loss at Samhain (in the Southern Hemisphere), in a world scarred and bleeding in many places by war and fighting and all the instability that goes along with these contexts. And all of us still largely addicted to the fearful ways of being and thinking that create these realities.
“Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of tears! Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
“Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says, “Disarm, disarm! The sword is not the balance of justice.” Blood does not wipe out dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each learning after his own time, the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.
In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.”
I always read this and want to act, do something! May our Samhain/Beltane dreaming be big and potent this year, a lived invocation of the divine feminine in whatever embodied form! Sending much love!