Earth Mother, Part II
Read Part I here.
I believe that the substance of our bodies comes from the earth.
Maybe we are looking for Mother in too far a distant place, maybe she is here with us. Maybe she opted to come with us through our mortal journey. Maybe her role of loving and protecting and providing for us are evidence of her faithfulness to orderliness and her obedience to righteous principles. I love that scripture that talks about our peace being like the river and our constancy like the waves of the sea (1 Nephi 20: 17-19); that in so emulating Her, we see the face of God. Can God have a female face that looks like rich deep brown furrows of dirt?
There is a pattern of stewardship set forth in the care of mothers. Christ asked John to take care of Mary after He left the first time. He wanted to make sure that the welfare of his mom was in good hands. If we have a parallel relationship to the earth, doesn’t this make the commandment for stewardship even more important? What if we treated our mothers like we treat the earth? What if we sought to cultivate the goodness in them like we seek to bring forth good from the ground? I think that our Earthy mother will forgive us for our trespasses against her, but I don’t think it’s an easy burden to bear that her children have forgot her. In fact, it’s one of Satan’s greatest lies that seeks to distance us from her. In so forgetting, we seek refuge in mortal institutions and entertainments. We forget the power and rawness of Godliness. If we will look, she reminds us. Unhesitatingly. The abuses and distancing that we experience from our embodied, Earthy mother marks a move away from the unending, unrestrained, and unconditional love of God. The earth asks only that we take care of her, and she supplies all of our needs and wants. What is a better manifestation of the divine?
We are asked to care for and till the earth, and we are blessed when we have a garden. I find the idea of stewardship a unique facet in the theology of Mormonism. God the Mother is in the garden. She lives and thrives and dies there. She is smoldering under the rocks. An astrophysicist once told me that the way in which a pendulum swings (its velocity and arc) reveals the pulse of the planet. Her pulse.
The substance of our bodies comes from our mother(s).
I am deeply moved by the idea that she mourns our separation from our father with us. Enoch saw it (Moses 7:48-49). She cries forth, saying, “Wo, wo is me, the mother of men; I am pained, I am weary, because of the wickedness of my children. When shall I rest, and be cleansed from the filthiness which is gone forth out of me? When will my Creator sanctify me, that I may rest, and righteousness for a season abide upon my face?”
That she speaks in those verses manifest something profound about female divinity- Our mother has a voice. It is a voice in mourning for our distance from her. It is Mormon scripture. The passage makes Mormonism heretical in contemporary Christianity, just as much as our belief in the separation of God the Father and Jesus Christ, just as much as our belief in additional testaments of Jesus Christ beyond the Holy Bible. She is a part of Mormonism’s revolution- we are radical in our persistent belief in her. Can we seek to hear her still, like Enoch did? She is alive underneath all of her scars and our lives: she is breathing and growing and groaning. Can we turn towards her, ease her mourning? Ease our own?
The earth hasn’t given up on us yet. She has unmatched perspective; I wish I could know what she has known. I wish I could know how long she has been at the work of knowing. We are made of the stuff of her belly. Her winds are powerful and fearsome, sometimes too fearsome. But she takes care of herself in a way that I need to sharpen for my own self. I need to find better ways to heal and recover from mortality generally, and from my own heartaches specifically. How many times has the earth recovered from massive fissures in her surface to raise a majestic mountain range? How deep are her trenches, where she has brought alien life forth? How often has she turned over from a cold winter with her face away from the Sun to be reminded of its warmth? How much longer will she offer her arm for us to drop to in our weakness? Maybe she is teaching us about the process of cycling and becoming. She shows love unbounded, where I falter and withhold. She shows elegance where I lack refinement. She allows and celebrates life in all of its forms, merely because it is, because it exists in a place where doing so is hard sometimes. In her sustaining force, Godliness is embodied in her progress.
Alicia professes the history of Western art in Nebraska, but she would rather talk to you about Indigenous rights or how dirt smells after it’s been frozen. She is a member of the Assiniboine Tribe from Fort Peck, Montana, but she grew up in Southern California. She loves pizza and watching things grow.
She dedicates these thoughts to her mother and the mothers of her tribe.