Malchut. Also known as Shechinah, Archetype of the Mother. One whose guidance is always present. Gevurah. Judgment.
Malchut she’b’Gevurah. Maternal wisdom, a part of good judgment.
Today I just want to celebrate wisdom of the Great Mother. Or, as she’s known in ordinary English, a grandmother.
Last night I dreamed:
I am driving on a five-lane highway. Everyone is going in the same direction. So, the road is very crowded. “Maybe I should turn back,” I think. But I don’t.
Then I realize the road becomes a bridge over big water. “Maybe I should turn back now,” I think. “Because, the next chance is far away.” But I don’t.
Then the bridge ends abruptly. So I shut off my car and get out. I walk to the side of the road, to one of the bridge’s towers. A door leads into the tower. Two grey-haired women walk in. They are going downstairs, where they will walk an underground path. It will take them to a place they can turn their cars in the right direction.
I follow them.
Do I even need to interpret this? Everyone’s going in the wrong direction. Ignoring all the warnings. Finally the only choice is to stop. And follow the grandmothers’ deep wisdom so we can turn ourselves around.
The biblical book of Proverbs (Mishlei) says, “Do not forsake the teachings of your mother.”
What does it think mothers teach? First, cosmic wisdom. How the world works, and how to play in it. And second, practical wisdom. Because mothers seem to know how to do everything. Sew, shop, buy real estate, support the needy. Speak wisely, kindly, cheerfully. And dress like a queen, too.
Of course I can critique this; it’s a bit of hyperbole. But, for the moment, let’s assume it’s true.
How do we learn all this practical wisdom? Through experience. And the older we are, the more experience we have. We watch, absorb, try, evaluate, adapt. It’s a cycle of learning. The more we do it, the better we get. So, the older we are, the wiser we are.
I’m still a very young elder. But I already have lots of cosmic wisdom. And I have practical skills, too. I can free fingers stuck together with gorilla glue, remove an unruly person from a room, and cook a great meal with whatever’s in the fridge. And, like the grandmothers in my dream, I also have some deep wisdom. I’m getting better at finding my direction and turning myself around.
Truth? That last one is a new skill. Because nine years ago, I lost my direction. In fact, when my mother died, I thought my life was over. If I’ve raised my children and buried my parents, I asked, what life tasks are left? But I pressed on, without joy at first. And then I found the inner mother. She taught me, all over again, how to play in the world.
What’s your wisdom, deep, whimsical, or otherwise? And what does your grand inner mother look like?
Today is the 14th day of the Omer, i.e., two weeks.
New to the Omer count? Here’s a primer.