Read an Excerpt
"Your Mother Is Dying"
-A Crucifixion Story for Our Times
We belong to the ground
It is our power
And we must stay close to it
or maybe we will get lost.
The earth is at the same time mother. She is mother of all that is natural, mother of all that is human. She is the mother of all, for contained in her are the seeds of all,
True religion is the original umbilical cord that binds our individual selves back to our larger, universal source. That source, in women's religion, is the Great Mother, who is the great cosmic weaver, the divine potter, the carrier of the heavenly water jar; we participate in her substance, her nature, her processes, her play, and her work.
Wisdom is seen as the all-encompassing divine ground of being out of which the Trinity emerges. It creates the world, guides it to perfection, and unites the creation with its Creator. . . . Wisdom is the ground of being of the three persons of God.
Before creation a presence existed(Lao-Tzu)
Self-contained, complete, formless, voiceless, mateless
Which yet pervaded itself
With unending motherhood.
The mother's battle for her child-with sickness, with poverty, with war, with all the forces of exploitation andcallousness that cheapen human life- needs to become a common human battle, waged in love and in the passion for survival.
A maternal theology will affirm those qualities symbolized by the Great Mother-an assertive, whole motherhood-in all human beings. And it will affirm the "maternal" reality-the material reality-as continuous with the spiritual reality, and vice versa.
Sometimes, looking at it out of the space station I imagine I'm in, I get the definite but indescribable feeling that this my maternal planet is somehow actually breathing-faintly sighing in her sleep-ever so slowly winking and wimpling in the benign light of the sun, while her musclelike clouds writhe in their own meteoric tempo as veritable tissues of a thing alive.
I was not brought up to think of the earth as a being. Such an impression has come to me only in this new outer perspective of space, which so provokes the thought that I cannot but wonder upon it. Could it? just could the earth be alive?
The Earth, its life am I,
The Earth, its feet are my feet,
The Earth, its legs are my legs,
The Earth, its body is my body,
The Earth, its thoughts are my thoughts,
The Earth, its speech is my speech.
We enter into this life with the total knowledge we have learned to help the Mother Earth. Our purpose is to protect the Earth. This is why our children must be born to this world in warmth and love, and raised with such. They must be allowed to keep their Spirit memories and use them to aid the Mother.
Over a year ago, while on a lecture tour, I had a dream that I realized was an important one. Native Americans refer to such a dream as a "big dream"--one meant not just for the individual but for the whole community. It was a Saturday night, and I was leading a retreat at Kirkridge Retreat Center in Bangor, Pennsylvania. I was exhausted and my defenses were down. The climax of the dream contained this refrain: "Your mother is dying." Is my mother dying? Is your mother dying? Is our mother dying? What follows is an exegesis of some possible meanings to the dream, some possible answers to these questions.
1. Mother Earth Is Dying
The first meaning of the warning, "Your mother is dying," can be taken in reference to Mother Earth. That the earth is our mother is a deeply held truth among native peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Among Europeans, the teachings of the great Benedictine abbess of the twelfth century, Hildegard of Bingen, stand out: "The earth is at the same time mother, she is mother of all that is natural, mother of all that is human. She is the mother of all, for contained in her are the seeds of all" (HB, 58). Native Americans speak an ancient truth when they say that "native languages talk of the Creation in family terms such as 'Mother Earth,' 'Grandmother Moon,' 'The Grandfather Winds."
Is our Mother Earth dying? Consider Bhopal; Chernobyl; Love Canal; Times Beach, Missouri; and now-even as I write this-the Rhine River, where one thousand tons of chemicals, including eight tons of pure mercury, were spilled-the river where Hildegard of Bingen and Meister Eckhart, the two greatest creation mystics of Western Europe, lived and preached their message of compassion and interconnectivity with creation. A Swiss government official reports that "the Rhine is now dead. The whole ecosystem is destroyed due to this accident." Today, one out of two fish eaten in cities around the Mediterranean sea are imported because that sea is poisoned. It seems that every month a new ecological disaster is produced by the two-legged ones. Mother Earth is the victim. If this continues, eventually we and our children will pay the price. If we persist in poisoning the "mother of all," then we will ultimately poison ourselves.
Consider these facts. Agricultural practices in North America today destroy topsoil at the rate of six billion tons per year. Topsoil is the matrix of all of our lives-the lives of the plants, the animals who live on the land and eat the plants, and the humans who eat both the animals and the plants. It takes God and nature ten thousand years to produce one inch of topsoil, and the typical agricultural region contains only six inches of this precious gift. It has been estimated that the state of Iowa...Coming of the Cosmic Christ. Copyright © by Matthew Fox. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.