Atonement with the Mother


Coyolxauhqui Dismembered and seeking reintegration

A theme that often surfaces in these stories is the issue of the daughter supplanting the mother. When spring arrives, the crone, symbolic of winter and death, must surrender her place as queen to the maiden. The crone is sterile by necessity, past menopause with grown children who reject her guidance. The witch, or “Terrible Mother” is afraid to lose her position. She has already gone from the mother (fulfillment of the quest) to the crone, useful only as a teacher. Now the maiden is the heroine of the story and she is not. Like the witch-queen of Snow White, the crone is enraged that she is no longer fairest in the kingdom. Therefore, she plots the destruction of the heroine. Our heroine descends to the darkest place of all, and there, confronts her.

Llorona, Mexico

Condenado, South America

Medea, Greece

Houmea, Maori

Lilith, Jewish (pictured)

Baba Yaga, Russia (pictured)



Kali is the great goddess “whose stomach is a void and so can never be filled and whose womb is giving birth forever to all things.” --Joseph Campbell, Oriental Mythology

Read: Descent of Ishtar into the Lower World.

Read: The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen