Cycles of Seven in Chinese Medicine The Arc of the Maiden, the Mother, the Crone: Part II The Mother


Note to the Reader: Throughout this article I will be discussing the the arc of life in cycles of seven, which, in one of the foremost source texts of Chinese medicine the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon (Huangdi Neijing) describes the life processes of a woman. Thus, this article in its most superficial, or exterior layer applies only to the feminine or female identified persons. Without question, the overarching themes apply to any human being inhabiting a body, regardless of gender or gender identification. For the sake of these archetypes we will refer to the feminine and use she pronouns. If you haven’t read the first article in the series, on the maiden archetype, check it out here!

This week we introduce ourselves to the archetype of the mother

A remarkable idea and word, mother, brings up many different thoughts and emotions to the fore instantaneously. Today, as we discuss the archetype of the mother, I ask you to substitute the word mother for the idea of “mother-ing.” In fact, the mothering, would actually be a much more apt way to describe this archetype.

When we avoid the distinction between noun and verb (mother and mothering), we have experience a more accurate way of depicting the way that the Chinese conceptual framework would see this. When we make this distinction, “the mother” is not deprived of her verb-ness or her action. Also, we immediately avoid associating this archetype in our minds exclusively with women who have children. This is imperative in understanding that the actions of the mother are of even greater importance than who or what she is giving birth to, or taking care of.

The archetype of the mother is associated with gestational wisdom. This is a time in the a woman’s life wherein they have the capacity to conceive of something, hold on to it, nurture it, give birth to it, and for an extended period of time (and in some ways forever) raise or rear it.

It bears repeating that a critical understanding here is that this archetype is not limited to the association with women who have living progeny, children, or offspring.

This is a time of gestational wisdom and mothering and people choose to mother in many different ways. Careers, relationships, animals, business ventures, hobbies, vocations, these are all eligible “children,” so to speak. There are also many who have children, and a number of other things in the previously mentioned list – this article applies even more fervently to them. In our culture today there is so much noise around who should mother, what they should mother, and when they should mother them. We are not limited in our scope here, today. And also, to be clear, I am under no illusions that often times this mothering happens long before the arc of this archetype occurs, that however is a topic for another blog post.

During the arc of the mother many will find their care of their own emotions being subordinated to the care of whom they are mothering

Be it a job, a degree, a career, or a little human, the needs which previously got to “come first” are now “second” and often times “third or fourth” in line. Sacrifices are often made in the service of the greater good. Too, there can often be a great deal of resistance toward this change and for good reason. Often times it is that which we resist most that is most important to our soul’s evolution. That said, this archetype is the longest archetype in the arc of a woman’s life which means these are dynamics worth considering.

It is of great importance that the mother also take care of herself and that she is wholeheartedly supported in doing so.

In order to maintain such a high level of integrity of function, the mother archetype often benefits greatly from treatment! Anything that can deemed a ritual or reminder of the capacity that is available at the time of this archetype is useful. In these cases, both acupuncture and herbal medicine can effectively treat (and in a sense remind) every single cell in the body of its inherent capacity,

It’s also true that regularly making contact via treatment with our cells and ourselves, we can remind patients that they can ask for support. We can aid in the shift of perspective and we can offer the nervous system some much needed respite.

Throughout this archetype there are many manifestations of menstrual patterns.

Menorrhagia (excessive bleeding), polymenorrhea (too frequent) and amenorrhea (absence of menstruation) are three patterns that are commonly seen (but not limited to) at this archetype. Individuals can also manifest combinations of all three patterns. There are a great many ways in which these patterns come to be; some come from overwork (either physically or overwork of the mind), nervous system tension, being exposed to cold temperatures while menstruating, fatigue, emotional stress.

The secondary vessels we discussed in the first installment apply here too, but this time we are looking at different ones.

Here your practitioner can work with vessels that address self-sabotage, fear of change, and self-stuckness, the resistance we mentioned earlier we can meet head on, and/or work with it gradually over time. This vessel will often be chosen in the treatment of the manifestations of amenorrhea. Another extraordinary vessel works directly with anxiety, helping with symptoms of long term nervous system tension and all the responsibility that comes from a life lived, this can assist in the treatment of menorrhagia, simultaneously. One of the most common things I hear from patients is that while treating the physical manifestation of their symptoms – their mental and emotional state will shift greatly too.

This is an added benefit when working in a system that acknowledges the continuum that exists between the physical and the energetic!

If you experience any of these problems, or think the approach I articulate here could be of use to you, feel free to get on my schedule so we can explore.

Written by Melinda Wheeler, LAc

My care is personalized and tailored to each individual. Through my studies and training, I have developed many techniques and tools to treat anyone, no matter their ailment or injury. Whether you have identified symptoms of physical pain, emotional instability, or you aren’t quite able to put your finger on any form of dis-ease, but you want to try acupuncture and/or Chinese medicine, come and see what we can accomplish together for the betterment and evolution of your well being!