The Constellation Cancer
Hercules, the hero of Greek Mythology, was a half-human, half-god champion born from the king of the Gods Zeus and a mortal woman, Alcemene. Zeus’ wife and queen of the gods, Hera, was jealous of Zeus’ affairs and illegitimate children, often plotting to kill them.
In her jealousy, Hera poisoned and drugged Hercules, and in his rage, killed his children and wife. Hercules was vilified and persecuted. In an act of redemption, Hercules was challenged to 12 impossible tasks to redeem himself. One by one, Hercules overcame each task.
On the 2nd task, Hercules was to kill a hydra, a mythological dragon-like beast with many heads. Each time a head was cut from the hydra, even more heads would grow back. Once Hera saw that Hercules was overcoming the hydra, she sent the giant crab, Cancer, to help defeat him. Hercules overcame the crab, smashing it’s shell. For its service, Hera fashioned the image of the crab in the sky.
What is the Mother Wound?
The complicated drama of the relationship between Hercules and Hera is symbolic of the Mother Wound. Our mothers provided the basis and foundation of our emotional health. In the first 3 years of our lives, our relationship to our mother is a matter of life and death. Infants and babies are constantly searching for the mother’s face, scanning for her approval and smile.
Studies show that if an infant or baby, within the first breath of life up until approximately 3 years of age, does not have a mother figure, they have extreme difficulty relating and bonding with others as time goes on. They become emotionally stunted and distant. We see a rising number of babies born without mothers (or without a consistent, nurturing feminine energy in their life) grow up to develop antisocial behaviors and other sociopathic disorders like borderline personality disorder and manic depression or bipolar disorder.
The story of Hera drugging Hercules as a theme of dynamics in which the feminine role sabotages the child is not too far-fetched and imaginative, especially with manic feminine roles who used and abused drugs and alcohol, and the trauma that that develops within children’s self-esteem and self-worth.
Even if you have the perfect relationship with your mother, chances are that someone else in your immediate family has suffered from the mother wound and this wound still infects even the healthiest of relationships. The feminine role can be an older sister, a mother, a grandmother, an aunt — any person in a position of guardianship over a young mind.
Personally, I have a great relationship with my mother. We have done a lot of work in our relationship and I also see this reflected in my cousin’s relationships with my aunts.
Having a good relationship with my mother is important for two main reasons — I don’t so much have a Mother Wound as much as I have a Grandmother Wound. My grandmother was a lifelong alcoholic and manic depressive with bipolar disorder. She also had deeply embedded abandonment issues. From ages 8 to 12, she was my best friend and my worst enemy, depending on who I was dealing with at the time and how much she had to drink that day.
So, it is important that my mother and I have a positive relationship. Through my relationship with her, I heal my Grandmother Wound and she heals her Mother Wound.
What happens, though, when you don’t have someone to heal with? Your chosen tribe becomes everything. You must first address the symptoms of having a Mother Wound and then work to heal those aspects in your life. Self-help groups and safe spaces like women’s circles become the foundation in which your healing begins.
Symptoms of having a Mother Wound
- Seeing all females as competition, frequent feelings of jealousy and low self-esteem — “I’ll never measure up.” — which manifests as indulging in gossip or passive-aggressive sabotaging behavior, which ultimately leads to the inability to maintain close female friendships
- Codependency in relationships and deep seeded fears of abandonment manifesting in controlling or manipulative behavior to avoid the pain of being abandoned, usually attracting a spouse or significant other that is much older, and often times attracting a spouse or significant other that will most likely abandon us, to validate our self-fulfilling prophecy (at least on energetic terms).
- The desire to not have children and avoiding motherhood out of choice (versus uncontrollable circumstance such as infertility), or to be plagued with guilt and thoughts about “ruining” the children you do have because that was your experience with your feminine guardian and you don’t want to pass that on that generational curse.
Angels, for this Full Moon releasing ceremony, let us release…
- The desire to see females as competition. It is not your fault that you do this. This is a self-preservation technique that you learned before you even knew how to walk. It’s not a matter of us vs them — this is a self-sabotaging, toxic mindset to hold onto. Let’s decide today that there is enough room for all of us to be happy and to succeed. That having close female friendships is a positive thing.
- The endless and unfulfilling search for approval of the absent feminine guardian. We all want to know that we did a good job. We are all searching for that smile and nod of approval. It’s nice to feel recognized. But we can’t wait for someone else to give us the thumbs up or the thumbs down when it comes to making our own decisions in life. Let’s stop giving our power away to other people. We will never find true happiness and reach authenticity seeking validation outside of ourselves. Let’s decide today that we will do what feels good and most true for ourselves.
- The obligatory feeling that you must remain small in order to be loved. We shy away from attention and approval when we do get it because we feel like drawing too much attention is unsafe. We learned this mostly through verbally, mentally, and/or physically abusive feminine guardians. This translates to accepting others’ attention — even positive attention like love and praise — enhancing feelings of guilt, shame, and unworthiness. This is the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder coming through. Recognize what it is. Let’s decide today that it is safe to have an opinion, to be seen and heard, to be praised, and even, to be criticized.