In honour of Mothers

ANu Goddess


“Someone is coming ashore inside her…”

Where do you turn when you’re in need of some inspiration?

I have a couple of fail safes that are guaranteed to reboot my creative juices; one is my well worn DVD (and before it, VHS) copy of the Seventies film version of Jesus Christ Superstar. Call me odd (and blame my background in musical theatre) but it just jigs everything up. I can’t watch it without crying and daydreaming my way into or out of some scenario or other, but it always inspires me when I’m creatively stuck.

The second is a photo by David Cleary that my husband gifted me a few years ago, called The Sun and The Moon – check it out, it’s stunning. It hangs in my sitting room and every time I look at it, I am, quite simply, inspired to go write, paint, draw…anything that makes me create.

Finally (although, a finite list is impossible for a creative) I am always moved by the words of the Irish poet John O’Donohue (he called Anu the earth goddess and mother of fecundity in his book Anam Cara) His understanding of Celtic spiritual wisdom was profound and I always find comfort in the way he wrote:

“We are always on a journey from darkness into light. At first, we are children of the darkness. Your body and your face were formed first in the kind darkness of your mother’s womb. You lived the first nine months there. Your birth was a first journey from darkness into light.”

How can you not smile when he puts it that way? Sadly, this wonderful man left the earth in 2008. Given the approach of Mother’s Day, I’d like to leave you with this poem of his, which I first heard him recite on RTE radio one morning not long after the birth of my own daughter Aisling, and which left me weeping at the joy of being a woman:

The Nativity by John O’Donohue (From the Collection Conamara Blues)

No man reaches where the moon touches a woman.

Even the moon leaves her when she opens

Deeper into the ripple in her womb

That encircles dark to become flesh and bone.


Someone is coming ashore inside her.

A face deciphers itself from water

And she curves around the gathering wave,

Opening to offer the life it craves.


In a corner stall of pilgrim strangers,

She falls and heaves, holding a tide of tears.

A red wire of pain feeds through every vein

Until night unweaves and the child reaches dawn.


Outside each other now, she sees him first.

Fresh of her flesh, her dreamt son safe on earth. 

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