The Outraged Ancestral Mother– poetry selection

by Molly Remer

Explanatory Note:

In the women’s spirituality curriculum Rise Up and Call Her Name in the section about Africa (see http://www.riseupandcallhername.com/riseupcallhername.html for more information about this curriculum), there is a segment of reading about the Outraged Ancestral Mother: “We honor the Outraged Ancestral Mother and the belief that the sacred and secular are one” (“The female divine in all her glorious shapes, colors, and sounds”). I was very caught by the idea of the Outraged Ancestral Mother and during this part of the Rise Up class I am currently leading, we spent some time discussing her and the degree to which humanity has hurt our planet. The next morning while I was practicing yoga, snippets of a new poem came floating to my mind. I had the distinct feeling that the Outraged Ancestral Mother was ready to speak to me and I went down to the woods to listen to what she had to say.  It was different from the kinds of things I usually write and think about and the tone was more aggressive and harsh—I surprised myself! The next day I composed a prayer to the Outraged Ancestral Mother as well.

The Outraged Ancestral Mother Speaks

The Outraged Ancestral Mother
has awoken
she howls through canyons
claws away insecurities and doubts
and stomps illusions into dust.

She rattles hailstones
on rooftops
and whips the seas into
a froth of fury.

She dances the wind
into hurricanes
and she kindles
a wildfire
watch out
it burns
pay attention.

She uproots trees
with her storming
thunders leaves, branches, and houses
down around your ears
crying wake up.

She screeches
on the winds
her voice becoming
a tornado
Swirling madcap
down the corridor
of time.

She lifts a chalice
of armadillo skin and whale bone
and she cries out
for change.

In the howl of outrage
and sweep of fury
in the crackle
of iced lightning
in the waves
which crest
against the shore
and drag
you out to sea.

In the ferocious beauty
of her howling dance
we glimpse the sun-heart
of love
slicing through
the veils
that shroud our thinking

We step through
and join her dance
raising our voices
in the chorus
of her song.

Draping a necklace of skulls
around our throats
and drumming
a wake up call
to our sisters and brothers.

The Outraged Ancestral Mother
calls your name
Your blood is on her teeth
she tastes your fears
and your courage…


A note regarding the armadillo skin chalice: Ever since giving birth to my first child almost ten years ago, I have a strong reaction to roadkill, primarily centered around the maternal experience—that was someone’s BABY! She worked so hard for that life. Recently, while driving to town I saw an armadillo being picked over by crows on the road, its body becoming a hollowed out shell or rind almost. I’d been in a pretty bad mood and in addition to my usual thoughts about poor mothers and babies, I also began to have depressing existential musings about what is the whole point anyway. We can all just be roadkill; nothing cares about us. Our bloody guts could be splattered across the road tomorrow and the Earth wouldn’t miss us. We are not loved by the Goddess/Universe or by anything else—we’re just roadkill. And, then, I had a vision—a dark robed Crone Goddess figure holding the armadillo shell aloft, fully cleaned out and empty and raising it to her lips as if to drink. At this point I realized, nothing is wasted. Everything is recycled. Everything is used. Every part matters, always.

Outraged Ancestral Mother Prayer

Outraged Ancestral Mother
fill my veins
with your singing

Sweep me up.
Stir my passion
until I might be worthy
of your chorus
of enraged beauty.

Embed your
call for action
in my feet
that I may never again
walk in thoughtlessness
or inattention
each step
a beat of your drum.

I will howl with you
in the hurricane’s roar
and the tornado’s fury

I will crack my lightning
and split my life open
gaze at the red pomegranate seeds within
and I will eat
Knowing that some part of me
will belong in the underworld

Lash the remainder of my heart
to hope
bind my heartstrings
around destiny
and open my throat
that I might bellow
on the winds
of change
and inspiration…


Molly is a certified birth educator, writer, activist and mother of three. She is a breastfeeding counselor, a professor, and a doctoral student in women’s spirituality at Ocean Seminary College. She is ordained as a Priestess with Global Goddess. Molly blogs about birth, motherhood, and women’s issues and explores thealogy at http://goddesspriestess.com