Mother’s Day – The Valley Spirit Who Never Dies

Description

What is it like to be a mother? There are many rituals of participation with the Great Mother, the ancient Goddess. In Daoism, she is the Valley Spirit who never dies. In Chan/Zen, the Mother, the Valley Deep, brings the whole realm of feeling. Recorded on Mother’s Day, May 8th, 2022.

Summary

KOAN: The Valley Spirit Never Dies

The valley spirit never dies.

It’s called dark female-enigma,
and the gateway of dark female-enigma
is called the root of heaven and earth,

gossamer so unceasing it seems real.
Use it: it’s effortless.

—Daodejing, 6

What is it like to be a mother?

There are many rituals of participation with the Great Mother, the ancient Goddess. In Daoism she is the Valley Spirit that never dies.

Though mothers are the ‘culture keepers,’ nurturance or failure to nurture is also a theme related to the mother. This theme of nurturance and of separation from the mother applies also to the landscape, the earth. The caring enveloping of the child in the field of the mother must bless the child as they separate from her in the necessary act of individuation.

What didn’t you tell your mother? This is part of the separation and formation of the self.

Poem readings:

Emily Buckwold, Mothers Music,
Diane Wykowski, Thanking my Mother for my Piano Lessons
Adrian Blevin’s Still Life with Peeved Madonna

We have been held by the Mother Deep down through time.

John reads from Apuleius’ wide ranging ode to all-powerful Isis: Isis and the Golden Ass. Here, the Mother Goddess of Transformation gives Apuleius detailed instructions for correcting himself.

Do you talk to your mother internally?

Wild mothers—hawks and owls loom and fiercely protect their young.

In Chan/Zen, the Mother, the Valley Deep, brings the whole realm of feeling. She is the vastness that holds us all. Chan includes all of life, even the sorrow or the weeping over loss or in grief is not excluded.

We are living in interesting times, where war and suffering, bad government, delusion in high places, and the extremes of climate change are appearing worldwide. This is the world we have, so remember to be tender.

It is up to us to walk through things and rely on a light inside that others may be drawn to.

The Great Mother is there, elusive as gossamer, always here unseen.

Musical interludes from Amaryllis Fletcher on violin and Michael Wilding on sax. As recorded on Mother’s Day, May 8th, 2022.

 

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