Via Tecta (Sacred Way)

From the Book “Braiding Sweetgrass”: ‘A Mother’s Work’

| Nalan for Hygeia | Leave a Comment

Paula Gunn Allen, in her book “Grandmothers of the Light”, writes of the changing roles of women as they spiral through the phases of life, like the changing face of the moon. We begin our lives, she says, walking the Way of the Daughter. This is the time for learning, for gathering experiences in the shelter of our parents. We move next to self-reliance, when the necessary task of the age is to learn who you are in the world.

The path brings us next to the Way of the Mother. This, Gunn relates, is a time when ‘her spiritual knowledge and values are called into service of her children’. Life unfolds in a growing spiral, as children begin their own paths and mothers, rich with knowledge and experience, have a new task set before them.

Allen tells us that our strengths turn now to a circle wider than our own children, to the well-being of the community. The net stretches larger and larger. The circle bends round again and grandmothers walk the Way of the Teacher, becoming models for younger women to follow.

And in the fullness of age, Allen reminds us, our work is not yet done. The spiral widens farther and farther, so that the sphere of a wise woman is beyond herself, beyond her family, beyond the human community, embracing the planet, mothering the earth.

Recommendation from Hygeia: Listen to “Why Is The World So Beautiful?” (Radio Talk) and to the music composed for the book.

“Braiding Sweetgrass”, Chapter ‘A Mother’s Work’, page 96-97, Robin Wall Kimmerer / Painting: Simone McLeod, “Celebrating the Memories”

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