Kaleidoscopes and Mothers

I attend a local full moon gathering as I am able once a month. The month of May brought Mother’s day and the following theme for reflection: “The word “Mother” is a powerful one for us all – What is foremost in your thoughts at present? Please bring a symbol for the altar”.

My immediate response was a ‘kaleidoscope’. I loved the little toy ones we had as kids and today I have a beautiful oil filled timber kaleidoscope. I love the magic of them, the feel, and the way the colours shift, drop and form into ever changing mandala.

The ever changing happens within the confines of the container of the moving pieces of glass and oil. In the same way, I liken mothers and mothering and being a daughter to a kaleidoscope. Ideally the forms of our relationships in this way are ever changing. I have talked with my own children about not ‘labelling’ and ‘boxing me in’ any more than they can avoid. And yet the label of ‘mother’ will apply and have meaning for them also – it is the basis of our initial relationship. I am their mother AND I want the freedom, just as the kaleidoscope does, to change colour and form!

What was uppermost in my thoughts prior to my response was what is happening around me with mothers. I have a number of friends who now, more than ever, are ‘mothering’ their mothers through elderly age. My mother is not at this stage in her life yet I am more mindful of her well- being. As I age I have greater appreciation of the fullness of her living in a way I didn’t as a younger woman. The kaleidoscope turns and falls into a different place and oozes it’s way toward the next.

My daughter and her partner have just announced their engagement – great news for them and multiple kaleidoscopic moments of reflection for me. That means I am going to be a ‘mother-in-law’ with all the connotations that can go with this. The other mother-in-law and I agreed laughing over coffee that this is yet another progression in our lives as mothers – one that requires ongoing letting go of our own ‘child’ as we welcome the new ‘child’ into our family. The engagement had us as a family turning the kaleidoscope backwards, highly amused at memories from the past and the growing of these two from single to couple.

At the level of my personal being I am very mindful of being held and supported by spirit mother energy. This is a new and deepening experience for me. I feel both a letting go, of being held and a sense of personal connectedness with the great mother spirit. My colours are shifting and changing again within the kaleidoscope that is Kerry-Ann. This is not always beautiful – as the mandala shifts and changes there are periods of transition, of disunion and dissolution, moments of suspension and an unknowing of the particular form that is arriving. I have found thinking about myself – all aspects not just the mother bits – as a kaleidoscope has been helpful. It is a symbol I am continuing to play with.

As one of the women commented, we are all born of a mother and all need sufficient mothering to survive and develop. And we all need to find for ourselves symbols that enliven and sustain our living and our mothering.

How might you answer the questions:
“The word “Mother” is a powerful one for us all – What is foremost in your thoughts at present?

What symbol would you bring to the altar?