The Dark Mother Archetype: Liberation at the End of Life/Time
The Dark Mother is the archetype that rules over the Dark/New Moon and the Winter Solstice in the in-between time of late December-early January (for the Northern Hemisphere). This is a time of soul-reaping, composting, and re-forging. It is the true death when the Crone forsakes her life to the Dark Mother, and her soul is reaped and prepared for rebirth as the rebirth of the Light.
Associated Lifecycle Stage: Death and Soul Reaping
Associated Moon Cycle Phase: Dark Moon-New Moon
Associated Season (Sun Cycle): Winter Solstice, as the sun appears to turn back toward the northern hemisphere.
Associated Womb Cycle Phase: Menstrual Phase Day 1
Associated Phase in Cosmological Cycle: The beginning of the end. The annihilation of the Universe. Complete Entropy leads to Cosmic Conformal Rescaling.
Associated Gifts: Soul reaping, composting, ego death, full realization, release, letting go, freedom, liberation, completion, incubation, the opportunity for rebirth.
The Dark Mother is a highly misunderstood archetype that is often associated with evil due to misinformation about her iconography, religious abuse, and abusive cult worship. Rather than being evil, She is the soul reaper, the harbinger of death, and time itself come to consume and bring to completion every last part of ourselves and our identity so that we may be fully liberated and experience the completion of the intended cycle and its purpose. In this way, the Dark Mother brings with her a mission of completion and finality, totality, and infinite awareness, wisdom, and realization. In Her, we experience total freedom and liberation without any limits, yet also She is time itself and the very thing which confines us and causes us to experience material existence. She is what consumes us as we grow and age in life. She is also what reveals wisdom to us as the Great Mystery. She is the Mother of Fates and the Force of Causation: That which causes to Become as the Force of Time-Space. In time, all things are known, and all things come to fruition.
She is the Divine Timing, Cycles, and Sacred Seasons.
When we think about the Dark Mother from a Cosmic perspective, we can see that as a Universe is born, time-space is the force that causes all things to become and experience a material existence before eventually decaying and moving into entropy. Entropy is where the Universe is headed when all light eventually burns out, and the Cosmos turns dark. Entropy only occurs because of time-space expansion, which is the Force that is time-space.
Nobel prize laureate Sir Roger Penrose’s Conformal Cyclic Cosmology model postulates that at the end of the Universe, the darkness and nothingness of space go through a rescaling that eventually leads to the birth of a new Universe and that this is how the Universe exists in an infinite cycle. This model is very much in line with Vedic Cosmology, which says that everything is birthed in cycles from the Hiranyagarbha, the Cosmic Egg and that it eventually goes into a state of annihilation (entropy) before the next cycle of rebirth when it will be birthed again from the Cosmic Egg.
Of course, these are just models, but they can give us a frame of reference for who and what the Dark Mother is. She is time, the Ouroboros that is a snake eating its own tail, only to be born again as the head of the snake once the tail has been consumed. The Dark Mother is the force of causation that causes all things to become and all things to end. She then composts and rebirths everything as the Cosmic Black Madonna—the Cosmic Mother who births the entire Universe through the Cosmic Egg (what we call the Big Bang in Cosmology).
In the Northern Hemisphere Winter Solstice, we enter a similar rebirth as the sun appears to descend south as far as it possibly can before it reaches an apex and stopping point. During the 12 days during Solstice (the 12 days of Christmas), the days become the shortest with the longest nights as the sun appears to stop and then begin to travel back toward the north. In actuality, it is simply the Earth, with its 23.5-degree tilt, orbiting the sun and revolving back around the other side of the sun (as shown in the graph below).
In some Christian mystery traditions, Christ’s birth is said to represent this solar rebirth during the solstice. Much of Christmas’ symbolism points to a Cosmic cyclic death and rebirth in which the Madonna, as Cosmic Mother, births the "Son of God".
The “Virgin” Mother conceives immaculately through parthenogenesis. She reaps the prior creation and conceives “by Spirit”. From a singular point (like the Star of Bethlehem), light is birthed, and space-time is born again as space expands and energy becomes matter, reforming the Cosmic creation. Representing even more than a Solar rebirth, the Cosmic Mother births light itself as the Big Bang, resulting in all of Creation.
Therefore, for the Dark Mother, her Cosmic lifecycle stage is the entropy at the end of time, when Creation decays and is composted for a new Creation cycle during the rebirth of the Light.
We see this Cosmic truth mirrored to us also in the Lunar cycles. As the moon turns completely dark in the sky, it simultaneously represents a “rebirth” of the moon. Just as we think the night sky couldn’t get any darker, suddenly, a sliver of light appears, and the moon moves back toward culmination. It is born again in the Light of the Sun.
For womb-holders, the Dark Mother represents Day 1 of the Menstrual Cycle as the menstrual cycle is “born again”. Here, we experience the death of our previous cycle as our womb lining decays, dies, and sheds. Even as this is occurring, however, we experience the immaculate rebirth as stem cells become present in our menstrual blood, signaling a rebuilding of the womb lining. We are born again immaculately, with each menstrual cycle, by the power of the Dark Mother; the Black Madonna, who is The Immaculate Conception.
When we go to connect with the Dark Mother, it is important for us to understand just how incredibly sacred this Force is we are contacting. The Dark Mother is the most sacred being in existence, for she personifies the Cosmic Womb of Creation (in Vedic Cosmology, this is called The Golden Womb). It is Her being that is embodied in the womb of all womb-holders as the Fertile Ground and portal of Life Creation. She is beyond all concepts of gender and human constructs, but by personifying Her, we can form a personal relationship with Her, understanding the ways in which humans are made in the image of the Divine and not the other way around. Indeed, at Her core, the Dark Mother has no form at all and is pure Spiritual Essence and Force (The Force of Causation).
For this reason, when we think of the Dark Mother, it might even help to think of something non-human that we can conceive of as benign and good, such as nutrient-rich soil and Earth. It is dark and full of death and decay, yet it is the very thing that produces life by its ability to compost death, nurture with nutrients, and incubate (provide darkness, a nest, and stability for roots). In a similar way, when life is conceived in a mammalian womb, the womb is dark, warm, and fertile, and the umbilical cord roots into the womb lining to receive nutrients and stability from the mother for growth. This is not a gendered concept, but a natural, evolutionary, and biological concept based on our mammalian/placenta ancestry beyond all human philosophies and concepts.
Connecting with the Holy, Dark Mother Archetype
As stated, when connecting with the Dark Mother, it is important to approach this energy from a space of great reverence and sacrament with no ill intent. Think of it as if partaking of Holy Communion from the Virgin Mother Mary Herself. If we come to this Force with a lack of reverence, it can cause an imbalance in the intent that is then reflected back in us. So being as present and humble as possible is the key. Center and focus on the Force of True Goodness and Light, such as the images of the Madonna (Mary) and Child. This is because the Light is birthed from the Dark and is the most beloved of the Mother. By centering our focus on the goodness of Light, we focus on the goodness of the Dark Mother rather than the constructs of evil that have come forth from the collective unconscious rooted in religious abuse, superstition, ignorance, and misunderstanding.
Sacred Dark Mother Embodiment Mantra: Ek Ong Kar Sat Guru Prasad
Meaning: The Creator and Creation are One: I receive Communion from the True Creator and Great Mystery (Dark Mother)
Other Meanings: The Creator and the Creation are One. All is a Blessing and Grace of the True Creator and Great, Unveiling Mystery.
This mantra is considered one of the most sacred mantras in the Sikh tradition and embodies the Shakti of the Dark Mother or Great Mystery. The Great Mystery is the Dark Mother, who is the veiled wisdom of the Universe and Time itself. This is because time is the unveiler of all things and in time, all things are known to us. This chant is a petition to receive grace and Holy Communion from the True Divine Great Mystery/Creator. This grace and communion is rooted in wholeness and connection and is about coming into union with the Web of Life, the “Dark Womb” that seeds, holds, and connects all Creation (Light/Life) together in Space-Time (the frame/Force of Creation).
I invite you to sit or lay down in a comfortable space. Check your space for cues of safety by looking around the room. Notice if there is anything you can do to make yourself more comfortable or feel safer. Find an object or image in your space that brings you comfort and connect with it.
Now, enter into The Stillness within your own being. It is important here to drop into a state of total and complete reverence, knowing you are about to embark on a journey into communion, liberation, and rebirth.
Slowly chant the following mantra three times in a still, steady tone:
Ek Ong Kar Sat Guru Prasad. Sat Guru Prasad Ek Ong Kar.
Now imagine you are floating in the nothingness of space. Nothing surrounds you but total darkness. From beyond, you feel a presence near you. A dark-cloaked figure approaches you. A hood covers Her head, veiling Her face and form.
Her very presence is pure, holy, and sacred. There is no sound here. Only stillness and silence, what Indigenous People's call Tiyoweh: The Stillness and point of access to the Sacred Web of Life. She takes from your being all that you are and brings it back into Her being. All you feel here is completeness and wholeness, as if nothing is missing, and yet there is no identity. You simply ARE: I AM. She wraps Her arms around you and embraces you, cradling your being as if you are a baby. And from here, She asks you the question:
Do you want to be born again?
You know the choice is yours. You get to decide if you are a yes or no to life.
Sit with this question and be in this space of incubation for a time as you receive “prasad” from the Holy Mother.
To be continued in the next sacred lifecycle archetype: The Immaculate Conception/Birth as the Cosmic Egg (look for it in January’s newsletter).
Now wiggle your toes, legs, hips, and body, up to your arms and hands. move your head from side to side gently and return fully to your body. What was the felt sense of this experience like? Did you notice any sensations in your body when you met with the Dark Mother? Were you able to experience Her essence and being as felt sense in your body?
If you like, you can journal about your experience.