Photo: Iroquois Museum)
In Iroquois mythology there appears the Skywoman. "Before the beginning of time there lived human like beings in a place the Iroquois call Skyworld. A woman from the Skyworld, with child descended into this dark and watery world, carried along on a beam of light. The water and bird animals in this world saw the Skywoman falling. The geese joined wings to hold her while the muskrat placed mud on a great turtle's back where they placed her. The Skywoman began to dance and sing, the mud expanded until it grew into a great land we call Turtle Island." (Skywoman, A Symphonic Odyssey of Iroquois Legends) This mythology suggests the primordial origin of woman who came from the Skyworld.
Gertrud von le Fort speaks of the "Eternal Woman". No creature is eternal, only God. So, what does she mean? She explains that "Woman" has a metaphysical countenance in God as the archetype, model or ideal of womanhood. This archetype is the ideal or woman in God's mind from all eternity and as such is the eternal woman. Womanhood is placed in the order of life ordained by God. Every individual woman is a bond of union with the collective and primal image of woman. She is a partial representation as a virgin or mother in the unfolding of God's eternal plan for womanhood. (Gertrud von le Forst, The Eternal Woman, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 2010, Ch. 1 & 4)
The eternal woman
is essentially a mother. Every woman is inclined by nature to care for the
weak and poor of this world. Even if unmarried, her role is that of the mother
who cares for life nurturing and preserving cultural and religious values.
Unfortunately we know that woman, at times, fails to reflect her eternal nature.
We see this clearly in the biblical account where Solomon is faced with two
prostitutes each claiming that the child before him was her's. Solomon in
his wisdom ordered that the child be cut in two knowing that the real mother
would rather lose her child to save his life. The biblical account tells us
that "The woman whose son was alive was filled
with compassion for her son and said to the king, "Please, my lord, give
her the living baby! Don't kill him!"
But the other said, "Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!" (1Kg 3:26) And so, Solomon gave the child to the true mother.
day in God's plan the true and final archetype of the eternal woman appeared
in time. Mary conceived pure and spotless became the woman at the heart of
God who unlike Eve, said, ""Behold, the
bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word."
(Lk 1:28) She became the
Mother of God and in so doing is the spiritual mothers for all generations
as she said, "For behold, from this time on
all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things
for me; And holy is His name." (Lk 1:48-49)
As she mediated God's saving power by giving us the life of God's Son, so now she is the Mediatrix of all saving grace which Christ gives us. And so we pray the Memorare: