I was a incredibly blessed at birth, receiving a goddess gift of extreme value… I was born into a line of strong and compassionate women. Although I was expected to be born a boy, according to astrologers, I emerged on a very hot summer’s day in May to a delighted father and grandmother. My own mother was expecting to fulfill her obligations by birthing a male child as her first born !
As we arrive at that time of year when we remember mothers, I would like to share a little bit of interesting history with readers. Did you know that the original intent of Mother’s Day was not to celebrate birth mothers? The first Mother’s Day was actually a Mother’s March in the Appalachian mountains of Pennsylvania in the late 19th century, when women marched to protest the poor economic and health conditions for women and children. Their leader was Anna Jarvis. Fifteen years later, a pacifist and suffragist Julia Ward Howe suggested an event called MOTHER’S DAY so all women could rally for peace. The idea did not receive much support. When Anna Jarvis died in 1905, her daughter, also named Anna, began a campaign to honour her mother’s ideas and to establish one day to celebrate all mothers. Later, Anna regretted the current transformation of Mothers Day celebrations into a Hallmark greeting card kitsch!
In ancient Greece and India, the earth has always been known as the mother- the deep breasted Gaia or Prithvi, who gave birth to the sky, ocean, mountains and the Gods. Over time, Gaia’s daughter Rhea was honoured with an annual festival called HILARIA, which involved feasting, celebration and all night revelry. The word hilarious emerges from that Goddess source. In ancient India, the earth Goddess Aditi is a prominent reminder of our early respect for the sacred feminine.
Over time, the Christian church and successive invasions into India, sought to abolish, defame and diffuse all worship or respect of the female deities. Worship of Isis in Egypt was banned as was Brigid in Britain and Cybele in Asia Minor. India’s pulsating Shakti cult that developed in the 7thh century AD is a universal call around the world for women to unite and rekindle their inner divinity.
At this time, I would like to honour the women who have meant so much in my life. The incredible Leela who birthed me, the magnificent Saraswati, who life continues to inspire me and all her grand and great grandchildren, my sister Pritha who is the best sibling anyone can pray for and my daughter Arya whose independent mind has given me so many years of tears and laughter.
This is a time for all women to feel connected through the passage of birth and the umbilical cord of memories. Much more than a day to give a card or flowers, it is a time to remember that all human life emerges through the female body. Celebrate, breathe, smile.