“Mother” is one of the key archetypes in our lives… we all have one, and whether we get along with them or not, no matter where they are, in this world or the next, they deserve our gratitude for the gift of life that they offered us…. and the lessons they teach us…
When I think of motherhood, I think of unconditional love… Mom getting up in the night to tend to a sick child, feeding the family before she feeds herself… words like nurturing, home-making, family, love, acceptance, all come to mind when I think of Mom… but there is one word that has been coming up for me in that list that may perhaps not seem so fitting – “warrior.” In fact, it is the warrior in Mothers that is at the root of the Mother’s Day celebrations…. and perhaps some of the greatest changes in our society and around the globe.
Mother’s Day was originally started after the American Civil War, as a protest to the carnage of that war, by women who had lost their sons. Here is the original Mother’s Day Proclamation from 1870 by Julia Ward Howe who also authored of the classic American anthem, “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether our baptism be that of water or of fears! Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says “Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.
In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.
Julia Ward Howe