“When the human race learns to read the language of symbolism, a great veil will fall…”
— Manly P Hall
There is a shadow archetype that remains mostly hidden in our collective unconscious. The Devouring Mother is a psychological pattern that may be present in both men and women. She would have us believe that we are sick and wants to keep us safe. She wears the mask of the Good Mother, and it is not by accident that we find ourselves possessed in her devouring grip.
I inadvertently rediscovered The Devouring Mother when a friend shared an interview with me, Oh, Canada, featuring Julie Ponesse and Jordan Peterson. Having lived briefly in Canada, I find something attractive aboot the accent and questions that end in eh?. I also find Canadian political and cultural satire entertaining. But there is nothing humorous about the Ponesse and Peterson interview.
Ponesse is a philosopher specializing in applied ethics, bioethics, and ancient philosophy. Recently she lost her twenty-year position at a Canadian university for failing to comply with their COVID vaccine mandate.
Peterson is a psychologist and behavioral medicine scientist who currently stands to lose his psychologist license after twenty years of practice. He made comments in a public forum criticizing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that should have found protection under free speech. Public debate about the information our elected officials use to justify decisions they make on our behalf is supposed to be allowed in a democracy. Perhaps Jordan Peterson’s two million plus followers on YouTube made him a little too outspoken.
Oh, Canada helped me find an answer to the question: Why do so many women, especially mothers, override their instinctual and intuitional abilities and want to be told what to do? How could a mother collapse in doubt and fear and want follow a narrative that potentially could harm her child? How else could she allow the injection of her child with an experimental gene therapy masquerading as a vaccine and most likely developed as a bioweapon? I could not relate to wanting or allowing such a thing. My husband called it “throwing your children on the altar of the patriarchy to be sacrificed.”
How does a mother reach the point where she overrides common sense and begs the so-called experts to give her five-year-old a poorly tested supposed vaccine. And without informed consent, a packet insert, or a list of ingredients? Even more disturbing is the simple statistical fact that corona is less dangerous to children than the average flu. Why could I sort it out one way and a friend or relative a totally different way? I needed answers.
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Perhaps the difference between “me and them” is multi-layered between fear and denial, the giving away or claiming of one’s power, or the initiations it takes to gain wisdom and insight. Childbirth is one initiation where a woman faces her fears and gains inner strength. But far too many women have been robbed of this primal initiation by Western Mechanistic Medicine to whom we have given away our power.
Around the middle of the interview, Peterson mentions Michelangelo’s Pietà as exemplifying the Freudian idea that the Good Mother necessarily fails. He uses it as a symbol of the female crucifixion – “…to offer your children to be broken by the world.” Letting our children go when they reach maturity is a sacrifice on the mother’s part. But the alternative to the terrifying proposition of propelling our children out into the world and supporting their call to adventure is to devour them. “But no one is talking about that,” Peterson says, referring to The Devouring Mother.
“What is The Devouring Mother archetype?” my husband wants to know.
Familiar with the archetype because of my personal journey with maternal attachment, I did an online search to find him a simple definition. The book, The Devouring Mother: The Collective Unconscious in the Time of Corona, by Simon Sheridan, is what turned up. Mother, in this context, is seen as both literal and symbolic for the state.
“Those who fail to incorporate the shadow are doomed to project it.” – Jordan Peterson.
Drawing on the work of Carl Jung, Sheridan makes the case that the dominant archetype in the west for decades has been The Devouring Mother. She is a shadow form whose primary qualities include co-dependency, gaslighting, emotional manipulation, and guilt-tripping, all in the name of protecting her children. But she only pretends to protect her children.
In my book, Wisdom of the Plant Devas: Herbal Medicine for a New Earth, I write about the importance of fever and learning to trust our immune system. But The Devouring Mother achieves her goal of dependency by gaslighting the child into thinking it is sick (Munchausen by Proxy). When you came down with a fever and the flu, did your mother reassure you, put you to bed with herbal tea, and let nature take its course? Or did she insist on rushing you to the hospital every time a fever struck? That could set a child up for a lifetime of anxiety. In the case of corona people with flu or flu-like symptoms didn’t have the flu. They had COVID. Anybody with a runny nose and a cough rushed to get tested. Those with no symptoms took unnecessary tests of questionable accuracy until we came to believe that we were sick until proven well. That allowed the sowing of distrust in our perceptions to be replaced with the knowledge of “the experts.” No longer could we trust our immune systems or empirical data. A whole data set got thrown out with COVID. We must blindly trust the experts.
To extend this analogy to the state, The Devouring Mother unconsciously hurts its citizens by making them co-dependent or ideologically possessed while claiming to keep them safe. She submits them to unnecessary medical interventions, not in their best interests, but in hers. Political narratives backed by corporate marketing incorporate archetypal themes. Their stories derive power from the underlying archetypes to sell a message. Political stories can rapidly transform into dangerous ideologies because of their one-sided nature.
Remember when the mainstream narrative told you that if you didn’t support the lockdowns, it meant you wanted your grandmother to die? Emotional manipulation and gaslighting are how The Devouring Mother operates and has the effect of keeping a child intellectually and emotionally dependent. It is no accident that we were locked down in our houses – the domain of the female and especially the mother. An individual develops when they leave home and become an autonomous adult. The response to the corona event returned us to the household, back to childhood, and back to our mothers. We were defenseless against the virus and needed to be saved, a ridiculous claim when you look at the science. But truth doesn’t matter when an archetype has taken over. Anyone pointing that out can expect the wrath of The Devouring Mother for threatening her reign of power.
Needing the protection of our surrogate mother, the state, is further evidence that the archetype is at work. Could The Devouring Mother be behind the lockdowns, masks, and the throwing out of the existing and well-established science of public health and what led us into the mass hysteria of 2020 facilitated by the internet? According to Jung, who uses the Nazi movement as an example, it is in a mass movement that the archetypes begin to function.
Sheridan illustrates how the corona event did not come from anywhere. He suggests that it represents an escalation of the existing battle within the unconscious mind of the West and is increasingly moving into consciousness as we individuate at both the personal and societal levels. Jung called the confrontation with one’s shadow, in the act of individuating, the “apprentice-piece.” The time has come for us to face our shadow.
“The Devouring Mother has been ascendant in the West for several decades. We see her in the metastatic bloat of the modern medical industry, especially in the United States where The Devouring Mother will happily bankrupt you for a simple trip to the hospital.” – Simon Sheridan
The two pathways available to the child of The Devouring Mother are to rebel or acquiesce. Understanding these gives us a tool for identifying our patterns of psychological relationship with her.
The attachment to the mother in the form of the state is exemplified in children who acquiesce. They base their politics around establishing the good and bad guys where there are no shades of grey but only absolutes, including the assurance of one’s own self-righteousness. They are invested in victimology, defining others and themselves as victims while playing the game of identifying and propping up victims. Perhaps the ultimate manifestation can be seen in the safe space movement and its trigger warnings, protecting us not against others, but from ourselves and an opportunity for personal growth. Victimhood absolves one from responsibility. The darkest powers in the world have known this power to bend people to their will and create a world defined by oppressors and victims. Every psychologist knows that the victim can very quickly become the persecutor.
Acquiescent children become part of the co-dependent relationship with the mother and as such can be expected to have not developed into fully autonomous adults. Co-dependency says, “I will blame and shame you for not doing what I want you to do.” The child who has acquiesced does not exist as a separate adult person from the mother, or state. The Devouring Mother doesn’t want her children to become independent and devours their potential. She keeps us in the dark and gives us only one option – to acquiesce.
The acquiescent child will find themselves projecting their shadow and need for safety onto the world but The Devouring Mother ensures these are projected not at her where they belong but against the rebellious children. She is happy to play her children off against each other. It keeps us distracted from the real issues at hand.
For those who rebel, The Devouring Mother is capable of harm and violence. The unnecessary brutal and heavy-handed police response against otherwise law-abiding citizens who disobeyed a corona commandment has shown us that. Peterson’s rise to that of a revolutionary figure and worldwide phenomenon speaks to how far the archetype has become dominant. Most of his teachings are what would once have been considered common sense. He has offered an entire generation raised by The Devouring Mother a way to rebel by primarily striving for autonomy and independence.
The mask is perhaps the ultimate symbol of The Devouring Mother’s takeover. Mandatory masks were unnecessary. It claimed to keep the wearer safe even though they have been shown to be less than useless. The desire to wear a mask is the desire to please The Devouring Mother by feigning sickness. Mask-wearing helps to separate the good children from the bad. Silent obedience is what she wants. With mouths symbolically covered in a public display of obedience, we cannot answer back or demand our rights. We were initially told that masks were counterproductive, but then they became recommended. Then mandatory. Then we should wear two. Arbitrary dictates cause damage in the form of psychological confusion and anxiety.
The Devouring Mother’s power depends entirely on the willingness of the child to put up with it. She is the so-called civil rights movement that seeks to suppress free speech in the name of political correctness. She is the unacknowledged social policy that implores parents to lie to their children to “keep them safe,” all the while robbing them of the very life experience they need to face the world with wisdom.
Only the children can grow up, demand their independence, learn to trust their bodies, and find motivation from within. Will we choose to remain perpetually safe? Or will we go beyond a childish dependency on the state, face our shadow, and find our way to common sense once again?
Sheridan, S. The Devouring Mother: The Collective Unconscious in the Time of Corona, 2021
Miller, A. For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Childrearing and the Roots of Violence, 2nd edition, Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1985
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Children’s Health Defense, whose mission is to end childhood health epidemics by working aggressively to eliminate harmful exposures, hold those responsible accountable, and to establish safeguards to prevent future harm
Jordan Peterson and Cathy Newman debate - Peterson’s infamous interview with Cathy Newman where she spent the entire interview misrepresenting Peterson’s arguments. In her attempt to gaslight him and his ability to withstand the attack, he gave a symbolic victory to all those who have been on the receiving end of the establishment’s gaslighting in recent decades.
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