ode to the great mother

A poem for Mothers’ Day.


Goddess Kali - Divine Mother


by Han Marie Stiekema

I’ve had three teachers
My Indian Guru
Life and the Great Mother
The first transmitted me the Light
Through life I was painfully confronted with myself
While the Great Mother took everything I gained

How wonderful were those ten years of bliss
Roaming around like a child
Innocent, carefree and foolish
The world being paradise once again
Wandering around though never leaving Home
Everything continuously smiling at me

How painful therefore being pulled back
In what was forgotten for a long time
That other part of me: the common self
Unaware of the work still to be done
I tried to survive in the world
Suffering setback after setback

As I saw only “winners” all over the place
Everything was constantly taken from me
First my family, then my home, land and work
Once again my children, then success and a future
My ability to function, my credibility, my money
And finally my health and some friends

Never ending confrontations with myself
With everything rejected, denied and suppressed
Drove me crazy, brought me to utter despair
My Self-identity once so gloriously present
Broken to pieces, covered with a layer of mud
Not knowing where life would lead me

How lucky I eventually was
After I thought it was all behind me that
Life confronted me with the greatest crisis ever
Which put me with my back against the wall
In utter helplessness
I surrendered to the Unknown

Without samsara no purification
No liberation from identification either
On the Path suffering appears to be crucial
Peeling off the layers hiding the pearl
Bringing you to the Ultimate Reality
Emptiness Itself

While you are striving for Enlightenment
I have come from It
Identification with the goal prevents you from enjoying
As you climb the mountain with much effort
I met you walking down the road
In your ambition you didn’t even see Me

There is Nothing to achieve
Only relaxing in What You Are Already
To open yourself like a flower in the morning sun
Trusting the wondrous “laws of the Universe”
Getting in touch with the Space in and around you
Restoring the Wholeness of Life

Beyond Enlightenment and Death
The Real Treasure resides
It is the Womb, the Abyss of the universe
How compassionate She was to me
Breaking me down until Nothing was left
Hence I called Her the Great Mother

At the end of suffering the Origin appears
It is the meaning of all destruction and loss
Rather than trying to “save all beings”
You should let it happen
In order to discover what is Behind
To die and being reborn is where IT is all about

Your burn out is a rebirth
This is the meaning of a culture that is dying
Emptiness doesn’t tolerate too much accumulation
Both inner and outer things will be broken down
It is the goodness of the Mother to take
All ignorance, self-centeredness and ugliness back

How dear are all those to me who suffer
They are Mother’s chosen ones
How pitiful on the other hand the many who are
Trying to escape missing the wondrous gifts of samsara
On the other hand surrender to the Mother
In Her Vacuum the Light is born

If you think you have achieved you missed
Her NonReality is beyond all realization
Praise the miraculous Womb of the universe
And your rebirth will be ever lasting
And me? Being Nothing I am determined by everything
She set me free in order to become a prisoner

How poor my compassion when it really matters
Mainly concerned with preconditions
I constantly fail to respond when it is needed
Deep regret about so much lost chances
I return to the Mother who takes the sadness from me
Reminding me of my place in Her plan

The key paradox is this
Only by giving yourself up you will be saved
It is the Mother’s invitation
Her compassion wants to bring you back Home
She has been waiting for you for so many kalpas
So don’t disappoint Her

May all those who have heard the call
Whose passion is to restore the Wholeness of Life
Messengers from the ten directions
Come together practicing Unity in diversity
In this most desperate of times
Leading mankind to its Original Heritage

~ Han Marie Stiekema


Poem source: adishakti.org
Image source: “On the Narrow(er) Ridge” – where you can read more about the Hindu Goddess Kali (pictured).

10 thoughts on “ode to the great mother

  1. When I came upon this poem and cast my eyes down through the stanzas, I found myself holding my breath. Goosebumps prickled my skin. This was my life laid bare, down to the smallest detail. From the first verse to the last, this total stranger had relayed the story of my own encounter with the Great Mother as her own.

    It is, I realize, an archetypal journey – yet the shock of meeting it through the words of another still thrills. Is this your story too? If so, please leave a comment.

    In this beloved Unity
    ~ ml

    • Dear Louisa,
      Thank you for this wonderful and deeply moving poem…
      It also came very powerfully on me, and I feel also that much of my story is here… Both scary and comforting though, as I can sense that this journey of suffering, with its sense of being ripped off of everything, has not yet finished its course, let alone come to its end…

      This will be a poem I will come back to again and again, for its so gentle Truth, its restoring Power, and its keeping us in mind of the great priority of Life… That I may not have been “broken to pieces, covered with a layer of mud” without “restoring the Wholeness of Life”…

      Thank you for all the wonderful and deeply appreciated gifts that you share.


  2. Yes dear Miriam.. also shocked and thrilled upon reading these wondrous words that spoke of the pathless path as it has and is experienced here. Thank you for sharing this on the day we celebrate our birth mothers and the Great Mother of All.
    Hope you are enjoying this blessed day.
    All Love,

  3. there is no spiritual growth without suffering, my suffering was holding on to that which I can only experience through letting go. possession corrupts and obtaining is useless. “There is Nothing to achieve, Only relaxing in What You Are Already”
    A message I am grateful to receive on Mother’s Day!

  4. Thank you so much dear Alain (merci, merci, mercy!), Glenda, and Diana – I feel triply blessed to be in the company of such loving, wise travelers…

    Yes indeed … our story as so truthfully expressed by this poet, is both “scary and comforting”. The ultimate consolation and release comes through knowing it is all happening through no fault/desire/volition of our own. The Great Mother’s agenda (aka Grace) writes the preconditions and causes; we assume responsibility! Until we stop and look, that is. And in the face of what we find there’s nothing to do but give up the whole project.


    • Thanks again Louisa, for your big-hearted message.
      You said it all: “Until we stop and look, that is.”
      “Until now, Until now.” David Whyte wrote in his beautiful poem.
      Let’s give it a chance…

      • Yes, Alain. All it takes is one little crack in our worldview: the crack through which “Grace might enter” as Simone Weill put it.
        “Let’s give it a chance…” I like that! Good title for a new blog post 🙂

  5. Beautiful image of Kali Ma, and an equally strong and beautiful message in the poem and in your words, Miriam Louisa. I, like one of your other commentors, feel that I am a long way from the end of desire and the end of this never-ending story of samsara…. reading these thoughts gives me a bit of comfort though, to know that my own suffering is shared by other souls…. that we are truly never alone in this journey, even though it feels very lonely quite often…. The Great Mother has many faces, I tend to love Maria and Kuan Yin the most…. thanks for the spiritual food and many blessings and namaste, Leigh

    • Thank you dear Leigh for your beautiful comment – and apologies for being so late with my reply.

      When I began this blog I was feeling very “alone in this journey” as, like you, I found myself in a place where there was an absence of folk of similar interests and experience. It has been such a joy to meet others online – in truth I could say “online” was my “lifeline” in those years.

      Yes the Great Mother has many faces. I have been particularly drawn to, and feel a deep connection with, Tara, Yeshe Tsogyal, and Mother Meera. How blessed we are to have these Great Mothers – however they manifest – in our lives!

      So glad to have your company here Leigh.
      ~ ml

  6. Thanks for your reply, dear Miriam Louisa, wishing you loving friends and the beauty of Mother Earth to help and guide you today and everyday….

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