The Mother Never Leaves…

Ostara and Easter Sunday are over a month apart this year, leaving much room to sit with the coming of Spring, and all that its seasonal traditions and observances entail.  Many of us continue to flow through and intertwine the religious and ancestral practices of our families as we evolve along our own unique and personal spiritual journey.  In this season of rebirth, and following a recent trip to Italy, where my own ancestry and first experiences with the divine are powerfully rooted, I find myself pondering the mystery of Mother Mary, and how she – the Mother – never leaves.

I travel in order to experience the land, the culture, and its people to the fullest. I travel to expand my vision of what the world is composed of and to better understand that. I desire to take in the food, the smells, the sights, the fauna, the beliefs, the lore, the magic, the architecture ~ natural and manmade, the faces, the styles ~ all in an attempt to embrace the ways in which it is different and all the ways it is so much the same.

It is my wish to allow the land and its people to touch my heart; to change me. In doing so, I can’t help my heart expanding in a way that a part of me remains. I feel as if I leave a little shard of who I am in that place. As if in the opening a drop of my essence spills out upon the land. A direct connection to my heart remains there, in the wind, in the birds’ songs, in the waters, in the sunsets. It’s a connection that I can access in the quiet of my mind and it can fill my being, my cells with the memory as if I’m standing right there.

This shard that I leave behind lives in my daydreams, my night dreams, it brings me musings that inspire me to become, to be more. Decades later, a journey will still weave its way into my process, into the daily grind of my life and bring me joy, hope, and creative expression.


My paternal Grandmother arriving at Ellis Island, 1929.

I have traveled to the magical and delightful land of Tuscany, Italy before. It’s a land and culture that I love deeply and on many levels. It is my paternal lineage – my father’s parents both immigrated from Calabria, Italy.

I’ve visited some of the same cathedrals, chapels, and sacred sights 2 and 3 times now. Each visit bringing me something new. I am always awestruck by the grandiosity and intenseness of the large cathedrals. I have always felt the presence of God within the walls. The masculine energy radiates God. But in the past I have said that he is a lonely God, missing his Divine feminine. Like a bachelor, living alone. And I believe it true for many of the churches.

Mother Mary

Mother Mary and Baby Jesus at the Duomo in Florence.

But this trip I saw and felt something different. I found the goddess nestled in each of the cathedrals and chapels. It was Mary. There she was sitting alongside and often above the other saints. Domes in the center of these grand, magnificent cathedrals were painted with her ascension into heaven. Grand carvings of her decorated chapel after chapel, dome after dome. She was in every nook and cranny of these opulent places. Over and over I realized that these churches were dedicated to Mary, Queen of Heaven. SHE is who they were building these grand structures in honor of – for the mother. For the energy that each one of us know in our hearts. The gentle mercy and compassion of the mother.

She, who walked this Earth in a woman’s body. She who bled like each of us women, she who cried out in pain as she birthed a child into this world and spilled her blood onto the ground. She who feared how she would provide for herself and her child. She who let her baby suckle at her breast. She who reared him into a young man. She who cried as he left home to follow his passions, to fulfill his dreams. She who wept as her child became a rebel in the eyes of the state (peaceful or not, a rebel nonetheless) and was arrested and punished by death for his crimes. She who lived on with a broken heart as she buried her only son in the ground. She who grew old, who stopped bleeding. SHE WAS ONE OF US SISTERS. She knows our pain, our trials and tribulations. The church has tried to take all that away from her, but she was a woman like each of you.

Lighting a Candle for the Mothers

Mother Mary, the most famous mother of them all, may she hold your mother’s heart, protect your children and bring you comfort.

She too has suffered deeply under the patriarchy of the church. Made into a pure virgin, shamed for her body and passions. No, she was a passionate, sexual woman like each of us.

This new insight, this deep aha moment brought me to my knees over and over as I sat in her chapels. I lit candles for the mothers in my life who are enduring the pains of motherhood, of raising their children and all the heartache that it brings. I knelt before her images, felt her look down at me from beneath her crown of stars and smile. I felt the goddess’ energy swell in my heart. I was deeply touched by her tangible presence.

SHE IS THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN. Beneath the shroud of abuse and the oppression of the feminine in the church is the goddess. She is there. In my pantheon she will now sit besides the other Queens of Heaven ~ Inanna, Ishtar, Isis, Ostara, Kuan Yin, Kali, she who is known by a thousand names and a thousand faces.

It feels so empowering to reclaim Mary as a Goddess. I feel a deeper connection to my grandmother who always prayed the rosary to her and had her image all over her house. Thank you, Italy, for not failing to change me once again.

Love & Blessings,   

~ Rhianna

Loving this thread on @elizabethesther ‘sTwitter Feed:


“Mary did not feel ashamed. She proclaimed Jesus her son. At Calvary we see her standing upright – the mother of God, standing next to the cross. What a deep faith she must have had because of her love for her son! To see him dishonored, unloved, an object of hatred. Yet, she stayed upright.” ~ Mother Teresa

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