“Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws.”
― Barbara Kingsolver
Next to God, we are indebted to women, first, for life itself, and then for making it worth living
—Mary McLeod Bethune
During the ancient African civilization of KMT (Egypt), one of the most power conceptions of motherhood was embodied in the Goddess Mut (Mut translates as mother). She was venerated and celebrated as the Great Mother, the one whom birthed the whole cosmos—the cosmic womb. She was associated with the waters from which all life emanated. One of her totems was the white vulture. Typically the first response to vultures is one of revulsion, a scavenger, a buzzard, a vile and dirty creature who eats what’s already dead. So it follows that one might rightly view any such association with the vulture and Black motherhood as offensive.
The imminent sakhu djaerist (African psychologist) Wade Nobles counsels us that: “The understanding between ancient Egyptian [African] thought and African (Black) psychology requires first and foremost the recognition that the ancient world is a world of symbolism and that much of what is meaningful in African psychology today has gone unrecognized and misunderstood because of our inability to understand the role of symbolism in the African mind—both ancient and modern.”
If we take Seba Nobles’ sagacious counsel, we find that symbolism is nutrient rich in the vitalities it offers us. When we think of vultures we think of a bird that eats what is already dead. But if we step back, so that we can see the forest and the trees, our view becomes more profound: The white vultures life is based on its ability to extract life from what is already dead—to avoid intentional harm and to make a way out of no way. White vultures are also known as highly maternal creatures, so much so that a mother white vulture, if she is unable to find food for her babies, will pierce herself and feed her offspring with her own blood—an act of supreme sacrifice for the greater good.
If we go deeper beneath the surfaces our educations have taught to swim in under the pretense that we are swimming in deep water, it becomes clear: The womb is cosmos personified and motherhood is about birthing and nurturing life in all of its varied manifestations, it is to extract life out of things that seem lifeless—to make a way out of no way—to be the living personification of the reciprocal elegance of sacrifice, ensuring that greatest highest good has a chance to grow and blossom in every circumstance.
The West is an odd place, we celebrate mothers but hate women. The wisdom of our ancestors awaits us—offering us more than things, they offer us possibilities for creating a better, more just, more balanced and egalitarian world, where women and men work in fruitful harmony. All we have to do is find the courage to go back, fetch what was lost, and catch up to them.
Blessings to all our mothers, those here and in the community of the ancestors, those who birthed us-physically and spiritually, those who raised us, those who nurtured and continue to nurture us, making a away out of no way: Happy Mother’s Day.