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The Druid's Path
Mother Earth in Keltrian Theology
By Karl Schlotterbeck
We recognize the Earth Mother as the foundation of our being, the active force that supports us, feeds us and spiritually provides us with a “grounded” energy – and we return home to her, giving our spent bodies to her creatures in turn. It’s easy to see the feminine in the earth: her curves, mounds, valleys, strong places to shelter us, soft and wet places to find refuge and pleasure. We draw life from her but not without the participation of the Sky Father, for life depends on both. That being said, the Sky Father seems more distant, changeable and aloof – even though he’s as close as our breath and skin.
The Earth Mother is one of a number of powerful feminine spirits such as the women of the wells (or water spirits), the Washer at the Ford, various war goddesses, and the three goddesses of Ireland that the Druid Amergin encountered, for example. One of the most visible has been the Goddess of the Land, who was/is active in the affairs of humankind and its governing body. If the ruler were good, the land flourished. We see this in the popular stories of the Lady of the Lake who gives and takes the sword of authority.
In the rich tradition of the Celts, other deities and heroic entities took the foreground and so our perception of Divinity did not remain confined to the Mother Earth icon (though she was never far from us). Rather, we have our mythologies, rich in female warriors and warrior queens, tricksters, shape-shifters and women of the Sidhe who, against the backdrop of the Earth Mother, could manifest in all manner of ways – sometimes as a physical presence to be reckoned with and sometimes as a corrective force holding the male to account, affirming his authority and, eventually, bringing him down as well.
The Earth Mother is called upon and (figuratively) embraced in most Keltrian rituals during the Tree Meditation. We not only recognize that our roots go deep into her, but we also have a direct experience in the meditation of her nurturing presence in our lives as we draw her energy into us to be blended with that of the Sky Father.
So, again, the Earth Mother is an essential sustaining backdrop on which a diversity of feminine manifestations are recognized, honored and celebrated, while it is paired with its balancing complement.
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