Adrienne Rich reminds us that motherhood is primal in lives of both boys and girls. It is with a woman’s hands, eyes, body, voice, that we associate our primal sensations, our earliest social experience….Most of us first know both love and disappointment, power and tenderness, in the person of a woman.
Moreover, Motherhood is everywhere, since most women have been mothers in the sense of tenders and carers for the young. Yet there is often an unconscious resistance to motherhood in men.
There is much to suggest that the male mind has always been haunted by the force of the idea of dependence on a woman for life itself, the son’s constant effort to assimilate, compensate for or deny the fact that he is ‘of woman born.’
One reason why we need to move beyond the divorce of science and religion which was so prominent in the modern era is that much appreciation of creativity and motherhood was lost when religion and science split in the 17th century.
The 17th century began with the church torturing and then burning Giordano Bruno at the stake—not a good omen for the marriage of science and religion that was to come (including the condemnation of Galileo 33 years later).
A kind of schizophrenia set in when science became more divorced from conscience and wisdom on the one hand, but religion became more isolated and introverted and cut off from the universe, more preoccupied with sin and redemption than awe, wonder, gratitude and birthing. Yet the universe continues its vast birthing.
Potter, philosopher and poet M. C. Richards spoke about the price our culture paid for the divorce of religion and science, psyche and cosmos: There is palpable disunion. This split obstructs the poetic consciousness; it is a characteristic malady of our society….The inner soul withdraws, goes underground, splits off from the part that keeps walking around. Vitality ebbs. Psychic disturbance is acute. Suicide may be attempted.
Has much of American politics and media of late have contracted into a state of “psychic disturbance”? Is the denial of climate change a kind of suicide? And the waging of war and threatening of nuclear war?
If Adrienne Rich is correct when she tells us that patriarchy always embeds “fatalistic self- hatred,” is that what is going on in war? In climate change and its denial? And in dismantling democracy (with no alternative other than autocracy)?
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth, p. 1.
To read a transcript of Matthew Fox,’s video teaching, click HERE.
Queries for Contemplation
Dwell on M. C. Richard’s naming of the result of psyche and cosmos being rent asunder in the modern consciousness. Is vitality ebbing? Psychic disturbance increasing? Suicide more prevalent? What is that telling you?
Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth
Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.