The other night my cousin was in town and wanted to see the sunset from Council Crest, the higest point in Portland. The weather has been unseasonably wet lately so I wasn't optimistic about our chances for a nice sunset but the cloud cover broke just enough for us to see something besides rain. To the east was a solid wall of dark, red-purple rainclouds, like a curtain dropped between town and the mountains. To the west were fluffy blue clouds rimmed with gold and pink. Above those spectacular clouds was a new crescent moon. I don't think my cousin was as excited to see the moon as I was, but after close to 6 weeks of rain I have hardly seen the moon at all. Hello, New Moon! I'm glad you are back!
The new moon this month is the Mother's Moon which brings unconditional motherlove to all the myriad things. The Mother's Moon celebrates the energy of a love that is given simply because you exist. You are The Mother's beloved child; of course she loves you.
My cousin and I spent some really good quality time talking about our lives and our families during his visit this week. It was interesting to hear his thoughts about his father and stepmother and how little connection he feels with them. He says that even though his mother died when he was very young and his father and stepmother married before he started elementary school he has never called her "mom", only her given name. I contrasted this with my own family and am grateful for what I find. My parents did not have the ability to provide the material comforts my uncle was able to give his family, and from the outside we may look like a less loving family (my dad always half-jokes; "We stayed together for the kids, the screaming and yelling was good for them.") but I know my parents adore(d) me. I know my parents sacrificed their own wealth, their own dreams and even their own friends and relationships to provide my sister and I with everything they could. I have never for a moment, not even in the heat of our adolescent battles, doubted that my mother loves me more than anything in the world. And I am so, so grateful for that.
One of the easiest ways for me to conceptualize god is as an all loving Mother. I have always preferred a feminine pronoun for the divine, love the images of female goddesses of the world and find great strength in knowing that god adores and delights in me as a mother adores and delights in her children. At this time last year I wrote about a couple of my early influences in seeing god in this way and those influences are still strong in my relationship with the divine. The image of God as a mother big enough to hold and rock me, who showers me with gifts and loves me no matter what is comforting. I usually start my prayers with the address "Sweet Mother" in place of the more common "Our Father". I recognize that this isn't the only way to address god, or even always the best way, but it is what feels best to me, most of the time. It feels comfortable and safe. Motherly.
Motherlove, however, is not always comfortable. The Mother loves all her creatures equally and without regard to their merit. This means She loves murders and addicts (see this description of Gabor Mate's In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Additions). She loves unscrupulous politicians and selfish executives. She also loves man-eating tigers, rip tides, blizzards and tornadoes. After the earthquake in Chile this last winter a friend of mine made a quip on Facebook about "Mother Earth just wants to get us off her back." I offered the idea that the earthquake didn't have anything to do with us. The Mother loves the planet and the physical processes of it's geology as much as she loves the billions of humans living on its surface. This is a much scarier idea to me. It's not that God/Mother Earth/Destiny has bad things planned for us, it's that we are rather insignificant in Her plans. Or no more significant than an earthquake.
Holding that juxtaposition of a God that love me specifically and also loves everyone and everything else just as specifically is a hard one for most people to grasp. People like to think of god as loving them so much that obstacles are removed from their path no matter what that means to other people or other beings. I just read the book of Joshua in the Old Testament and the people of Israel clearly worked within that paradigm. God promised them this land and they fought, slaughtered, burned and pillaged to get it. I just kept thinking about the poor people of Jericho and Ai and all the others. What part of God's love was shown in their slaughter?
This is a huge, HUGE question and one that I am in no way prepared to answer. I only have some ideas and some experiences to fall back on. At Meeting a couple weeks ago someone gave vocal ministry repeating the old saying "Never show a fool a work half done." I am the fool to God's work. Sometimes I have to give up thinking that I can know what form The Mother's love will take for all of her beloved. Just yesterday on my morning walk, while meditating on this post, I came across a robin's egg in the trail. It wasn't just the usual shell fragments you see this time of year, it was an egg with a fully formed but still embryonic chick, smashed and dead. Where is the Mother's love in that? That is not my question to answer. I just have to have faith that, as I feel and know Her love for me, that love is extended to all other beings sentient and otherwise. And in this glorious month of June, when the days are long and the garden is green, it's a little bit easier to remember.