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Spirituality and Mothering

  • By: Ofra Mayseless & Marianna Ruah-Midbar
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

The connection between mothering and spirituality can be discussed in a framework that views spirituality as a sphere of meaning or a sphere of existence associated with the divine. Spirituality is often described as involving “the other world” as against “this world.” Spirituality also can be described as the inner, or esoteric and secret, meaning of religions. Motherly elements or principles are variously prevalent in spiritual traditions, with some traditions less concerned with motherly symbols than others.

Within the spiritual realm, mothering and femininity are often highly connected, and mothering is frequently perceived as the spiritual epitome of femininity. Two central aspects are described and discussed. The first includes the description of various motherly deities (or quasi-deities), namely Mary, Binah, Shakti, and Mother Earth. These deities ...

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