Greetings everyone, and welcome to the July ChatterBulletin, and to the season of Summer, which began officially on June 21st, the day of the Summer Solstice. The word “Solstice” literally means, “the Sun stands still.” And so it is, on June 21st, the Sun, having reached its highest point in the sky, pauses before continuing on his journey towards the Autumnal Equinox, followed by the Winter Solstice, during which time we will lose one minute of light each day. But that’s a long way off, so let’s stick with the present and this month’s theme, which is Motherhood & Family.
Motherhood & Family
The Three of Us, Scotland, July 1995
Why “motherhood & family” you might ask? Well, July now brings us to the sign of Cancer, who is also referred to as the Archetypical “mother” of the zodiac. Look around you and notice just how many women are walking around with big pregnant bellies at this time of year, all preparing to give birth to a new batch of summer babies. For some reason, I always notice that the women on the Weather Channel are usually pregnant at this time of year as well! And let’s face it, humans are still animals, so in the colder months of the fall & winter, we “mate” and we make babies. I remember years ago in the early 1970’s in England we went through a series of government imposed “power cuts” during yet another “oil crisis.” People were forced to work 3 or even 2-day workweeks and the power was limited, so we were without electricity for countless nights. My mother and I spent many of those evenings playing scrabble by candlelight. And while we were busy playing word-games, others who were also without their TV’s, were busy in bed playing other sorts of hanky-panky games! So not surprisingly, the national population increased noticeably as a result – and I’m not making that up!
As some of you may recall from reading my previous bulletins, my sister and I lost our mother last year. Born on July 14th, our mother was a Cancer! And true to her sign, the crab, she loved the water and being by the sea. Cancer is the sign that says, “I Feel” and because “water” is connected with emotions, they are all about what or how they feel. Their moods are as varied and unpredictable as the ocean itself and just like the crab they protect their vulnerable emotional side with a hard exterior shell. Some of you may also know that July 14th is Bastille Day, a national holiday celebrated by the French to commemorate the storming of the Bastille Prison during the French Revolution in the year 1789. This event was seen as a symbol of the uprising of a modern nation, bringing justice and equity to all instead of just the rich and the royal. Shortly after the storming of the Bastille, on August 4th Feudalism was abolished and on August 26th the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen” was proclaimed.
But back to our theme and Cancer, the “mother-figure” of the zodiac and for whom the qualities of listening and nurturing come naturally. A mother nurtures her children and takes care of the family’s needs, and does a mother not have to listen to everyone else’s opinions and complaints as to why their little brother gets away with everything and who ate the last cookie anyway? Our Great Aunt Bell (who was our grandmother’s sister and our mother’s Aunt) was the unofficial “head” of the family and the one we all deferred to. She too was a Cancer and it is no big surprise to my sister and I that she and our mother were so close as they had a natural “identification” with one another. Both were strong women whose circumstances had required of them to employ some creative survival techniques at times. Perhaps they were also frugal as most Scotts can certainly be but they knew how to “stretch a dollar” as they say. And, their natural ability to listen also meant that many lost souls would gravitate to their doorsteps. I recall many a troubled teenager or confused adult who would seek refuge and advice from both Aunt Bell and our mother. Mum was always interested in other people’s lives, and she could in fact, be downright nosey at times, but she found people and their stories fascinating (as do I) and so visitors were graciously met with something to eat, drink and a listening ear to absorb and give advice on their assorted problems. After all of the stories she heard over the years, she would generally remark that it all usually boiled down to one of two things (sometimes both) and that was sex and money!
© Christopher Auger-Dominguez
Over the years family and motherhood have taken on other meanings for me besides the direct link to my own mother. It may have been a “surrogate” mother figure or “auntie” that helped to fill that role of listener or gave me a shoulder to lean on when I needed it, or perhaps a particular teacher or mentor who helped to guide me along the way. Sometimes we might feel closer to other families than to our own, and maybe we create our own family of assorted creatures who need to belong and feel loved. As a good friend of mine says, “Fathers I may have many, but mothers I have only one.” And certainly, as crazy as our own mother could drive us at times (like all mothers!) she was our “one and only” mother who guided us the best she knew how through the maze of life and we miss her a lot. Now, she is no doubt looking down on us and hopefully continuing to feel proud of her daughters. And one more thought on motherhood which is so beautifully illustrated by this image from Christopher Auger-Dominguez, and that is “family” is about those that love you. So if it takes the form of two mothers, or even two fathers, it is about providing a loving and nurturing home to a child or children in need. So wishing all of you nurturing Cancers out there a very Happy Birthday!