Women's Empowerment Stories ...

History of ‘Mother Wove the Morning’
–Introduction from Book
~ Carol Lynn Wright Pearson

‘Mother Wove the Morning’ is the product of a lifetime of hunger and searching and discovery. I grew up in Provo, Utah, grand-daughter of numerous Mormon pioneers. Life was good and secure and the mountains were clean and the neighbors were kind and opportunities were abundant. God was in his heaven and all was right with the world.

“His heaven.”

I remember saying at nine years of age, as I walked with a friend on a country road one evening, “Well, there’s one good thing about being a woman–at least you don’t have to marry one!”

Where did I get that idea? I was getting top grades in school and was always “teacher’s pet.” My mother was a successful and respected school teacher. I felt myself to be the favorite child of my father, who had three sons and two daughters. Nobody ever told me I couldn’t do something because I was a girl. I was constantly told that God loved me. But for nine years I had lived in a world in which the subliminal negative messages about being female were everywhere.

Without being told, I was being clearly told that maleness was a superior commodity. In society there was no question. It was a man’s world. And at church. God’s world was a man’s world too. The heavenly beings we sang praise to were all male. Every prayer we uttered was to a male and through a male. God’s prophets, ancient and modern, were male. His crowning creation, Adam, was male.

Even the stories in Sunday School were almost always about boys or men. People in the Bible prayed for sons, never for daughters. Every act of religious importance needed the authority that only males had. It was as clear as the vertical line on the blackboard: “God–man–woman.” Eve and I were a beloved support, but we were auxiliary. God’s house was designed and furnished and owned by males and it was a Motherless house. There were no feminine touches anywhere.

However, there was one tiny window in the dark patriarchal space that my eye could not resist. Joseph Smith, the founder of my church, had taught that we have not only a Heavenly Father, but a Heavenly Mother as well. I stared at that tiny window, transfixed. What wonders might be beyond it?

On July 31, 1961, as a twenty-one year-old, I wrote the following in my diary. This evening I began...reading ‘Women of Mormondom’ by Edward W. Tullidge. I skimmed over a few comments, and then lighted upon this paragraph on p. 177:

“Presently woman herself shall sing of her divine origin. A high-priestess of the faith shall interpret the themes of herself and of her Father-and-Mother-God!”

The most glorious dream that I have ever dared to let play upon my consciousness is that of, in some way, discovering and singing the divine existence of woman...My soul cries out almost audibly–with an overpowering desire both to experience and to reclaim the rightful fulfillment of woman’s creation....Whether or not I bear the potential of being a “high priestess” able to sing the themes of womanhood and my Father-and-Mother-God” to ears other than my own–at least I shall sing them to myself.

I have since learned that many “high-priestesses” and “high priests” of many faiths have stared, as I had, at the little window in their own tradition that invited them to consider the forgotten feminine divine. I love to hear their stories. But back to my own.

Holding my breath, I climbed out the window. And the view was stunning. So many witnesses–history, archeology, anthropology, philology, mythology (not to mention common sense)–told me the same story. The human family has not always viewed God as male. The earliest accounts speak of God as Mother. What happened? I could not read fast enough. Delight and rage filled me together–delight to learn that male supremacy was a male invention–and rage that no one had ever told me this before, rage that I had been allowed to grow up female in a Motherless house.

By 1982 my research filled a large cardboard box, but it was put away. Other projects seemed more pressing and were certainly safer, and by this time the demands of four children were enormous. But one afternoon, as I was taking a nap, I had a dream. I have never had a “vision” or heard a “voice,” but I do have dreams that come I believe from my own spiritual resources. In this dream I had been told that my mother, who in actual reality died when I was fifteen, was really alive and being kept at the home of my step-mother. I rushed to the house and my three brothers told me that our mother was in a certain closet. I entered and saw at the top of a shelf a large cardboard box. I climbed up and peeked into it. There was the head of my mother, with her eyes closed. I studied her, wondering if she were dead or alive. Suddenly her eyes opened and she said, “Well, it’s about time you got here!”

My message to myself could not have been more clear. It was about time I took “off the shelf” and “out of the closet” the Mother project. The Mother was not dead, but very much alive and only waiting for the children to find her. Immediately I got out my box of research and began.

But it was years before I found the right vehicle. One day in early 1989, as I was walking in the hills hear my home, the Mother project fell into place in a totally unexpected way: it would be a play, a one-woman play. In it I would embody the women I had met in my search, women who could help to solve the mystery of the loss of the Mother and invite her home. I hadn’t been on the stage for twenty-five years, but I thought, “I’ve got to do it!”

I selected the women, wrote, rewrote, rented our community theater, chose props, costume, blocked, memorized, advertised–and did it.

My very first performance came two days after the major Northern California earthquake in October of 1989. As I hung onto the door frame while the house was rolling, I prayed, “Dear Father and Mother, please don’t let me die before I can do my play even one time!”

I have performed my play well over three hundred times, and my constant prayer is, ‘Dear Mother and Father, I am so grateful I get to do this thrilling thing. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

There are no words to express the level of my gratitude for the privilege of participating in one of the most important shifts that is occurring on the planet today. The reclaiming of the feminine has profound implications for all aspects of society, touching intimately the way we relate to ourselves, to each other, to the earth and to God.

I extend my thanks to each person who has come to a performance of ‘Mother Wove the Morning,’ for helping to create those sacred moments in which the theater has served as a place of spiritual ritual, where together we have moved toward healing, toward wholeness and holiness. To the young woman who told me she was a victim of incest and that her life from this moment on would be transformed. To the elderly gentleman who embraced me in tears and said, “There are no words to tell you what this evening meant to me.” To the young man who handed me a poem after his fourth time at the play: “If you listen you can hear sixteen women singing through her, and sixty billion humming along.” To the elderly woman who said, “I didn’t think I’d live long enough to see what I’ve seen tonight.” To the Catholic priest who said, “I realize for the first time the harm we have done to women and to the Mother.” To the young Jewish girl who said, “Your play made me feel so warm inside, so proud to be a woman.” To the thousands of women and men–Catholic, Mormon, Presbyterian, Mennonite, Christian of all types, Jewish, Sikh, Muslim, and atheist–who have greeted me with such enthusiastic appreciation.

The Mother is returning, in our hearts and in our minds, and eventually in our worship. After every performance someone has said to me, “Let me tell you what my church is doing to bring back the Mother.” Or “This is what my group is doing.” Every religion is dealing with the issue, some enthusiastically, some reluctantly, some determined not to acknowledge the need. The potency of this issue, and the profound change in our thinking that it requires, is such that a backlash of fear and punishment is very much present. But more powerful is the wave of progress and change that is so evident and so desperately needed.

I anticipate in my hopes and my dreams a time in years to come–who knows how many?–possibly fewer than we thought–in which women and men move solidly toward partnership together, acknowledging in our own way the partnership of our Father and Mother God. In that day we will speak of and sing of and speak to a Creator in whose image we all are made equally. We will look at one another with a new reverence, and “women’s work” will be given a respect that is more than lip service. So many of the ills of our society–such as today’s increasing violence toward women and the horrors of incest–will be alleviated, for half of humanity will no longer be elevated over the other half because they are thought to be closer to God and his image and his authority.

To you who hold this book in your hand, I offer my hand, grateful to be with you on this splendid journey.

~ Carol Lynn Wright Pearson

Visit Carol Lynn’s site to explore her play, her books and other offerings.

 

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