History of ‘Mother Wove the Morning’
~ Carol Lynn Wright
‘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.
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
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
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
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