Archive for December 21st, 2010
At the beginning of Jinling Road, the main street in downtown Changzhou, this statue sits atop a knoll. So far, no one I have met seems to know the story behind the statue so I am left imagining a scene from the past in which a woman held a key role in either protecting the city or serving as the catalyst for others to finally act at a time of need. There is no question in my mind that the statue stands for the archetypal power of the Mother.
As is usually the case, the creator of the statue would be a man. It isn’t unusual for some men to place women on a pedestal, far out of their reach. Women play as large of a role in the affairs of a city, a country or the world as do men. Yet, we rarely accord women of this equality, almost never admit it. When it comes to women, men usually just can’t seem to see them for who they really are. What and who men see is a confusing melange of their personal experience of mother and the archetype of Mother.
“By far the preponderance of men, unconscious of the power of this archetypal contamination, avoid women, seek to control them, or compulsively strive to please them through the distorted lens of the mother complex. They are unable to see the individual for who she is; they see her only through the mythographic lens of their own personal history. Their partner is a giant, psychologically speaking, for she has received powers and numinosity transferred to her that replicate the original matrix of mother and son. No wonder so many relationships go awry, given the distortions they embody.” (Hollis, Mythologems, p. 53)
Mothers and sons – powerful and unconscious movements. Yet, in my opinion, there is even more to the dynamic. The sons must also see their fathers in relation to their mothers. The absence of these fathers adds yet another dimension to the mother-son relationship. How do other men, other than the father, relate to the personal mother? How does the personal mother relate to other men? And, how in turn do these men interact and relate to the sons? There is so much to consider, but in such considerations, it still comes back to the mother-son dynamic. What is there? What is missing? What is activated?
One lives one’s whole life in service to this mother – not the personal mother, but the archetypal mother. Again, more from Hollis:
“. . . so many men remain trapped in this frozen history, controlled by a mythological script which, without conscious effort, can only repeat itself. No matter how much they hate or fear or idealize women, they still live in service to mother, whether they know it or not. No matter what mountain they have climbed, they have served her. Dark, unconscious mother, always near, on soft feet treading through the background of his desperate, driven life.” (Hollis, p. 53)
To face the mother, the dark, unconscious mother, is the work of a hero on a hero’s journey, a hero intent on becoming a whole person, conscious.