By Ethan Indigo Smith and Lucy Morales
Contributing Writers for Wake Up World
The most difficult function we ever learn is how to use language; how to communicate thoughts, needs, feelings and ideas into sounds. The complex nuances of language and communication are the most difficult things we learn as humans, and also the most powerful and important tool we have. Without language, we would not be able to cooperate to obtain food, clothing and shelter with the efficiency we do.
But it's much more than that. With the right sentiment, at the proper time, one word can change a society, inspiring it to new understandings, directions and achievements. And conversely, with the opposite sentiment, words can tear a society to pieces or manipulate its consciousness into willing submission. What we communicate, and how, has the power to change the world. Just as importantly, language, its interpretation and its transformation over time reveals a lot about the collective consciousness of the society that speaks it.
English: Mama/Mum, Afrikaans: Ma,Portugese: Mãe, Dutch: Moer, Greek:Mna, Russian: Mat', Hindi: Maji,Romanian: Maica, Italian: Madre,Yiddish: Muter, French: Mère, Polish:Matka, Punjabi: Mai, Serbian: Majka,Albanian: Mëmë, Haitian: Manman, Slovenian: Ma'ti, Mandarin: M"qīn, Zulu: Umama,Sicilian: Matri, Spanish: Madre, Icelandic: Módegreesir, Swahili: Mzaa, Vietnamese: Mẹ,Swedish: Morsa, Thai: Mæ̀, Ukranian: Me, Nepali: Āmā, Tamil: Am'mā "
While the divine 'ma' is so commonly at the root of "mother" in so many (curiously disparate) cultures around the world, another variation of mother also echoes the sacred Aum. In Hinduism, the "aum" sound is the sound of the original vibration of consciousness; of god manifested in form.
Maltese: Omm, Arabic: Ahm"
The sacred linguistic roots of our words for 'mother' tells us a lot about the reverential, matriotic roots of our ancestral societies. Indeed, there are traces of ancient cultures in which women were not just respected but revered as manifestations of the divine feminine, writes Steve Taylor Ph.D in his article If Women Ruled the World -- Is a Matriarchal Society the Solution?:
The most striking thing about the culture of ancient Crete (or Minoan culture, as it is often called) is how prominent women are. They are everywhere in Minoan artwork, on pottery, frescoes and figurines" They are shown as priestesses, goddesses, dancing and talking at social occasions, in beautiful dresses with their breasts on show. There is a striking fresco of a beautifully dressed woman surrounded by a group of half naked dancing men.
It is clear that -- as many archaeologists have agreed -- this was a society in which women had very high status; at least as high as men.
The feminine influence on our cultures, and correspondingly, the manifestation of feminine nature of our collective consciousness, has diminished throughout recorded time -- an era of increasingly patriotic global elitism. As our reverence for the nature of 'the feminine' has diminished, so too has the influence of women on the priorities of our civilizations. Around the world, entire civilizations have lost their energetic balance, becoming overtly militaristic, competitive, nationalistic and institutionalized. Uncivilized. Our societies embrace priorities that undermine the 'feminine' virtues of individualism and sustainability. Without the natural feminine balance, our most influential institutions are competitive and not co-operative, controlling not enabling, scientific not spiritual, and structured on the irrational principles of militarism, consumption andperpetual economic growth.
This psychological and energetic imbalance is clearly reflected in, and perpetuated by, our common use of language. Obvious examples include the countless derogatory terms for female genitalia and the menstrual cycle. But our distorted perceptions of masculine and feminine are more subtly even evidenced in the way we use the words 'manly' and 'womanly' themselves.
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Definition#1: having or denoting those good qualities traditionally associated with men, such as courage, strength, and spirit.
Example: "a manly torso of perfect proportions".
Synonyms: brave, courageous, bold, valiant, fearless, macho, intrepid, daring, heroic, gallant, chivalrous, adventurous, dauntless, resolute, determined"