It is common for people to talk about the Earth, meaning the ecosystem we live in as well as the planet we are on, as our mother.  The metaphors and symbols used include putting things into her, her being the creative resource for all life, things bursting forth from her womb, water being her blood, stone being her bones, needing to be kind and thankful to her for her bounty, momma getting angry and being punishing when we do wrong, on ad on and on.  But it wasn’t always so.

Cherokee Sun MythOther cultures see things differently and attribute different qualities to the things around us.  Take the moon and the sun.  Current wisdom has it that the moon is female due to its association with the tides, with monthly cycles, with women’s monthly cycles, which leads to cracks about PMS and craziness and randomness and contrariness, which I find interesting since if the moon’s actions were contrary we’d be having huge problems on this planet of catastrophic proportions depending on how it spun or didn’t or wobbled close or far.  In fact, the moon is fairly stable and easily charted, so the craziness thing…well good luck with that.  I’ll see you on the full moon.  So the sun is therefore masculine, active, providing the life force for things to grow, providing enlightenment and all things motivational.  Without it everything would just sleep and be stagnant.  Hmmmmm….well in my culture we see things the opposite way.  The moon is seen as male and the sun as female.  It’s somewhat like the god and goddess of the celts with the ever present goddess and the sun king who is birthed in spring, comes to full power in summer and then dies in fall.  These are just different ways of seeing the world around us.  Different means of perceiving our world and making meaning out of it.

Haindl Tarot Mother of SwordsBut those perceptions are not inconsequential.  If the switch the polarities on the moon and the sun, how does that inform our understanding of what it is to be female?  To be male?  If the divine masculine is associated with the moon, with calmness and cooling, with the stead drum beat of the heart that comes with the movement of the moon through the heavens each day/night, if it seeks the sun/female not out of lack, but out of love, then how does that change how men perceive themselves in this physical life? But let’s go even more radical.  Let’s go back to mother earth and flip that on its head as well. And let’s look at where the father is in this.  If Earth is our mother, then who is our father? Which points to a sky father out there of which there are a plethora of myths and religious symbols to choose from.  God the father, Zeus, and Odin are just a few I can think of off the top of my head.  But what if we reversed this?  Well, we’d be in Egypt.

Geb and Nut of EgyptEgyptians saw the Earth as our father and the Universe or sky as our mother.  The Earth was seen, not as the stuff that is impregnated, but the seed of life burgeoning to create and the entire Universe as waiting, as willing, as co creator in life.  Instead of always seeking for a return to the womb, they saw the world as forever in the womb of life, constantly begetting new and wonderous things, constantly creating life.  And the earth was the potential that met with all of this creation bringing life to…everything.  Imagine if the father of everything was not somewhere else judging and forgiving and mandating tasks and lessons, but was us.  Was the Earth from which we came and to which we will return.  What would it be like to be intimately connected with a nurturing father?  What would it be like to be the divine masculine that doesn’t need to strive and conquer and dominate in order to define itself, but instead can be benevolent and in harmony and in connection with everything just because it exists?  What would it be like to be forever suspended in our mother the Universe?  To be the divine feminine that is forever in ecstasy and enraptured by life?

Things can be different.  And we can start by challenging the symbols we use and the metaphors we live.