The archetypal pattern of the Mother is characterized by someone that is naturally nurturing, shows patience and unconditional love, and shows joy in giving birth to life. An individual with this pattern has the capacity to forgive children and puts their needs before his (yes, this archetype can be male – it is a pattern, remember, not a person) or her own needs. Gaia, whom we also call Mother Nature, is the caretaker of our planet.
In the workplace, you can identify the employer with the Mother Archetype as they treat their staff or clients as children. They will coddle and cater to their every whim. When necessary, both at home and in the workplace, this archetype will mete out discipline fairly and appropriately. How exactly does Gaia meet out discipline to her children? When her children poison Mother Nature, she responds with furor in the form of earthquakes after waiting patiently to see if her charges will mend their ways.
On the shadow side, the Mother Archetype may manifest as one who smothers, abandons, or abuses. The shadow Mother may instill guilt in her children when they reach adulthood and are no longer dependent on her. We see two Mother Archetypes in the fairy tale Cinderella. The wicked stepmother is not the rightful mother and does not nurture the child. The fairy godmother, on the other hand, shows the light side of the mother archetype and is a more caring figure.
If you would like to learn more about archetypes, consider archetypal consulting.
Mother Archetype llustration by Lykkell & Richardt