The Great Goddess is the Mother of all things, the source of all that is. She has been worshiped from the beginning of time, and her worship continues on today by practitioners of earth-based religions.
The Great Mother is the earth we stand on, the air we breathe, the fire we cook with, the waters of life that sustain us, and the spirit that lives inside and all around us. She is experienced through the flowers and trees, the moon and the ocean, the cycles of life and nature, and all living things.
She can be found in the history, mythology, sacred texts, and folklore of every culture. From the earliest civilizations, she has been known by many names, including Ancient Mother, Pachamama, Cybele, Bhumi, Danu, and Gaia. We also know her as Mother Nature and Mother Earth.
Because she represents life at every stage, she can help you embrace your elder years with spiritual power. Loss, grief, a changing body, and a sense of feeling aimless can all be part of aging, but the Great Goddess can help you breathe new life into life.
You will need:
An altar—a lightweight side table, shelf, or desk are all appropriate.
A statue or image representing the Great Goddess
A few photos of your female ancestors
A few photos of yourself
A meaningful piece of jewelry
Representations of the elements: air (a feather), water (small cup of warm water), fire (a candle), and earth (dirt in a small planter or bowl).
A pen and paper or journal
Eleven seeds from your favorite flower
A print-out of the four prayers from parts 1, 4, 7, and 8
Conduct a Ritual to Celebrate Sacred Aging
While you likely bring different skills, life experiences, health practices, options, and awareness to the aging process compared to your mother, embracing the special energy of the feminine that birthed your mother, grandmother, and so on brings you the blessings of a long line of ancestral mothers—and of the most ancient mother of all.
1. Start with a prayer: "Ancient mother, please guide and protect me. Please empower me to know my strength, my worth, and my wisdom. Help me revel in my role as a wise woman. Let me feel the power of the mothers who came before me. And so it is."
2. Create a wisdom altar:
Honor your ancestors. Many ancient traditions honor ancestors as a way of rebirthing the self. Represent your roots by featuring pictures of your beloved womenfolk—your mom, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, and relatives. Add photos of yourself in your happiest moments.
Select a piece of jewelry: It can be something inherited, or something sparkly and new. Choose a ring, bracelet, or necklace that empowers you when you either wear it or gaze upon it.
3. Craft your intentions: Sit by your altar, paper and pen in hand, and write eleven goals for your continual aging process. For example: Grow older gracefully, invoke my inner wild woman, finally find my voice, or travel and enjoy life.
4. Offer a prayer for sacred aging: You can either sit or stand for this. Begin the ritual by calling in the Great Mother, the ancestors, and the elements from all directions. Prepare to symbolically enact each element and face each direction as you state these prayers.
Blow gently on your hand: "I call to the Great Mother from the East. I honor wind and the ancestors and ask that my dreams, goals, and intellect be blessed. Please inspire creativity and new purpose in my wisdom years."
Lift up the candle: "I call the Great Mother from the South. I honor fire and the ancestors and ask for help finding my truest passions. Please give me enthusiasm as I grow into elderhood."
Dip a finger into the water and dab your forehead: "I call to the Great Mother from the West. I honor water and ask to be cleansed and purified for my next steps. Please bless and stabilize my emotions and make me resilient as I age."
Lift a spoonful of earth: "I call to the Great Mother from the North. I honor Mother Earth and pray to remain grounded with a strong foundation beneath me. Please help me find healing and wholeness in nature as my body changes."
"I call to the Spirits of above, below, and within. I pray for harmony and joy as I commit myself to following the call of my heart and soul and to fulfilling my true purpose. May I embrace aging as a sacred honor."
5. Read your intentions aloud: Pause to reflect for a moment, then read your list of intentions as if speaking to the Great Goddess. Hold the seeds in your right hand and place them near your heart to bless them with love.
6. Offer the seeds to the Mother: Using the pot of earth on your altar, bury each seed, saying “Thank you, Great Mother.” When all are planted, take the water from the altar and pour it in, blowing a kiss as you do.
7. Don your jewelry. Your chosen piece of jewelry has now been blessed by the energy of the ritual. When you wear it, you carry the power of the earth, your ancestors, and the Goddess. Offer a prayer: “Dear Mother, thank you for helping me embrace my time of sacred aging with grace and resilience.”
8. Complete the ritual with a prayer. "I thank the Great Goddess and the elements of the east, south, west, and north; of above, below, and within for blessing my body, mind, and soul. I thank the directions, the ancestors, and the elements of our common being for anointing me today with love. May I walk the path of sacred aging with grace and enthusiasm. And so it is."
Learn how to reconnect with your pagan past.