Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Mountain Mother

All over the world, mountains have been considered sacred—it seems to be a human constant. 
(Jay Griffiths, Wild: An Elemental Journey, 2006, p. 379)

All the great mountains were seen as the Goddess “sitting” on the earth. The mountain was the original throne-womb; it combines the symbols of earth, cave, bulk, height, and immortality. In the towering mountain overlooking the land is embodied the enormous strength of the Goddess. 
(Monica Sjöö and Barbara Mor, The Great Cosmic Mother: Rediscovering the Religion of the Earth, 1987, 1991, p. 73)

Plenty of indigenous people … see mountains as female, … this gendered attitude suggest[ing] a mothering deity, a protective stance both from the mountain and from the people. Ecological writer Dolores LaChapelle, in Earth Wisdom, describes Paleolithic statues that combine the veneration of mountain as mother and the observation that the mother is mountain to the child.
(Jay Griffiths, Wild: An Elemental Journey, 2006, p. 345)

In her autobiography, environmental activist Wangari Maathai describes her people’s traditional understanding of Sacred Mount Kenya thus:

Mount Kenya, known as Kirinyaga, or the Place of Brightness, and the second-highest peak in Africa, was a sacred place.  Everything good came from it: abundant rains, rivers, streams, clean drinking water.  …  As long as the mountain stood, people believed that God was with them and that they would want for nothing.
(Carol P. Christ, ‘The Mountain Mother: Reading the Language of the Goddess in the Symbols of Ancient Crete’,

As a mountain, I can sit, deeply rooted, substantial and strong and completely still, as the winds buffet my flanks, or the rain wears lines of erosion into my skin. I can allow my emotional weather to pass over me as I remain at peace. An occasional earthquake may shatter the stillness, but I move with it, in synchrony with the earth. I ride it out, with patience and acceptance.
(Myself, Being the Mountain, July 2016)

Mountain Mother, watercolours and gouache on gesso prepared card, 2017


  1. This is so beautiful. Thank you. Stunning images too!

    1. Thank you, Corina. This was something I just had to paint (Mountain has been on my mind for several months), and after a somewhat shaky start, when I was tempted to give up, I managed to create something approximating my original vision. Rather a magical result, I think.

  2. Hey Therese, this is an incredible jaw dropping painting that you created! I can really feel your soul in this work. Well done!

    1. Thank you! I'm really pleased with it, and want to experiment with the technique more. I just wish that the scanner showed the shine of the gold. It looks dull in comparison to the photo.


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