Honoring Our Many Mother Figures This Mother's Day
This Sunday is Mother’s Day. While there is no religious affiliation or spiritual significance to this day, celebrations of mothers can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals in honor of the goddesses of motherhood. In the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, people celebrated ‘Mothering Sunday’ on the fourth Sunday in Lent. It was originally a representation of the faithful returning to their “mother church” — the main church nearest their home — for a special service.
It the United States, the holiday began to be acknowledged in the late 1800’s as a celebration of world peace. Forty years later, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a resolution declaring Mother’s Day a day of national observance. On this day, we take time to recognize, honor and serve our mothers and the special women in our lives, including sisters, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, mothers-in-law, aunts, stepmothers, and foster mothers.
What Does It Mean To Honor Your Mother?
The words ‘to honor’ mean to regard and treat with great respect and esteem. There are few people who deserve to be honored more than our moms. They are by our side through every sleepless night, scraped knee, broken bone and broken heart. A mom’s words of wisdom can turn a horrible day into a teachable moment and her hugs can erase the troubles we thought were unfixable.
Different people express their gratitude for the mothers in their lives in different ways. For some, it may include paying her a visit, giving her a gift, or sending her a card. For others, it means making a telephone call to her, writing her a letter, even wearing a special flower on that day to commemorate whether she is living or dead. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to convey the love and admiration you feel for your mom.
The Mother-Figures We Revere
Yemaya. Known as the goddess of the ocean, the mother of all living things and the guardian of mothers and children, Yemaya is one of the most powerful Orishas worshiped in Santeria. A spiritual mother to all those who feel lost and lonely, she is always there to listen and offer maternal love to anyone who needs a mother. Yemaya is a nurturing caretaker who watches over all things with a keen eye. She is the quintessential mother. Yemaya gives life and offers support to all who inhabit the Earth. Her generous and protective nature endears her to those who worship her. In the Catholic religion, she is syncretized with the Virgin Mary.
As Yemaya is a mother figure, she is often called upon in times of childbirth. Present a Yemaya statue with offerings of watermelon and yams. Wear a Yemaya Camino necklace to invoke her strength and protection or present one to a loved one who is preparing to have a baby. When calling on this Orisha for guidance, set some cowrie shells and aquamarine tumbled stones on your altar as offerings and anoint a Yemaya 7 day Orisha candle with Yemaya oil. Light some Yemaya incense in an abalone shell incense burner and repeat the following prayer:
Yemaya, Blessed Mother of the Seas, Let Your Sacred Waters wash over me.
Mother, embrace me, your humble child.
Cleanse me, Nurture me, Sustain me.
Yemaya, Beautiful One.
You who wears the Seven Skirts of the Seven Seas,
Swirl around me and create a flow of energy
that can wash away all bane.
Yemaya, Mistress of the Moon,
Shine your light onto me,
And fill me with your magic.
Help me to accomplish my goals
Yemaya, Healing Ocean Mother
I ask You to fill me with Your Healing Energy
Let Your Cleansing Waters wash over me
Heal me with Your Regenerative Powers.
Saint Anne. The mother of the Virgin Mary and grandmother to Jesus Christ, Saint Anne produced an extraordinary child, as she was born free from original sin. This miracle is referred to as an Immaculate Conception. Part of the reason why Saint Anne is so famous is because she produced a child born of Immaculate Conception.
Saint Anne is the patron saint of mothers, women in labor and minors. Saint Anne’s symbols include a crown, a nest of young birds, a doorway, the Golden Gate of Jerusalem, and the infant Virgin in crib. Her silver shield is festooned with lilies on a blue field referring to the girlhood of the Virgin. She is often pictured as the woman holding Mary or Jesus in her arms or lap, the woman at her betrothal to Joachim, a mother teaching Mary to read the Bible, a woman greeting Saint Joachim at the Golden Gate, and a woman with a book in her hand.
To honor Saint Anne, carry her prayer card with you in your wallet or purse. Wear a Saint Anne medal to offer protection to you and those you love. When praying to Saint Anne, place a Saint Anne statue on your altar. Anoint a Saint Anne candle with Saint Anne oil and light the candle. Focus your intentions on those you wish to have Anne look after. Repeat the following prayer:
Good Saint Anne, you were especially favored by God to be the mother of the most holy Virgin Mary, the Mother of our Savior.
By your power with your most pure daughter and with her divine Son, kindly obtain for us the grace and the favor we now seek.
Please secure for us also forgiveness of our past sins, the strength to perform faithfully our daily duties,
And the help we need to persevere in the love of Jesus and Mary.
Mary. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is the best-known female character in the Bible, and perhaps, in all of religion. She was young, and she was poor, but she was full of faith. She had an obedient spirit and loved God with an unshakeable devotion. She was chosen above all others to love and nurture Jesus and raise Him in the knowledge of God.
Mary's service to God did not end when Jesus was born. Mary mothered and raised Jesus for the thirty years that he lived with her their Nazareth home. From childhood, Mary loved Jesus as he grew into manhood. She did all the things a devoted mother did for the son she knew was no ordinary man.
Mary was a woman who was blessed by God. Though she had nothing material to offer, she was chosen by God himself to be a part of His plan of the salvation of mankind. She possessed no wealth or inheritance and she boasted no social status or fame. Despite all of this, or possibly because of it, she has been honored throughout history for her purity of heart and her faithful obedience to God.
When honoring Mary, the quintessential mother figure, begin by laying a white handkerchief on your altar. Next, place a Virgin Mary statue on your altar. Anoint a Virgin Mary Saint candle with rosemary oil. Fill an incense pot with Virgin Mary Incense Powder. Light the candle and incense and clear your mind. Concentrate all of your energy on your devotion to the blessed Virgin. Recite the following prayer:
Mary, on this day when we honor all mothers, we turn to you.
We thank the Lord whom you serve for the great gift of motherhood.
Never has it been known that anyone who sought your intercession was left unaided by grace.
Dear Mother, thank you for saying Yes to the invitation of the angel which brought heaven to earth and changed human history.
You opened yourself to God's word and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.
Dear mother, intercede for all of our mothers.
Ask your Divine Son to give them the grace of surrendered love so that they could join with you in giving their own decree.
May they find daily strength to say yes to the call to the sacrificial love- the very heart of the vocation of motherhood. May their love and witness be a source of great inspiration for all of us called to follow your Son.
On this Mothers day, Mother of the Word Incarnate, pray for us who have recourse to you.
Each and every one of us has at least one woman in our lives who has played a role in shaping the person we are today. Take some time to open your heart and reflect on the many gifts given to you by the mothers and mother-figures you have the privilege to know.