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PFAHL BOOK June 2015
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ARCHETYPE: THE GREAT MOTHER
 

This archetype has been expressed through ritual, mythology, art and records of dreams and fantasies in many cultures since prehistory.

 

The earliest sculptures from the Ice Age caves are statues of a Great Mother, with large breasts and hips. This Good Mother loves children, rabbits, fish, all infant things and all things capable of giving birth. The ancients usually sculpted her sitting, holding a child in her lap. Her colors are russet and brown.

 

Another manifestation of the archetype is the Death Mother, usually portrayed with her tongue stiff and poking out. She is remembered in fairy tales as “the evil witch.”

 

The role of the Dancing Mother or the Ecstatic Mother was to bring happiness into the world.

 

Her opposite is the Stone Mother or Teeth Mother. She represents numbness, paralysis, being totally spaced out, the psyche torn to bits, arms and legs reaching out in all directions. South Asian cultures imagined the teeth on the face, but the Romans preferred to put the teeth in the vagina and in the American Indian culture vagina dentate was often represented by a fish head with teeth.

 

Archetype, the painting, is my attempt to combine all of these outward manifestations of the Great Mother.

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