Acutonics Institute of Integrative Medicine

Astrological Insights

The Cancerian Mysteries of the Mother Archetype

15 Jun, 2021
"The great work of our time is to bring the feminine into this culture, and it is not an easy thing to do." - Marion Woodman
The Cancerian Mysteries of the Mother Archetype

By: Dr Vanessa Strauss

Solstice blessings Acutonics Family.

The cosmic symphony is entrancing us all to enter into the heart of the feminine, the heart of the Mother. With the Sun fast approaching the Solstice point at 00 degrees Cancer on the 21st of June 2021, delineating Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, we will see the quintessence of the Mother Archetype be enlivened.

Synchronistically, as the Sun ingresses the first aquatic sign of the zodiac (Cancer) there is a magnification of feeling, sensitivity, and emotion, with a grand water trine between Venus in Cancer, Moon in Scorpio, and Neptune in Pisces. These transits will highlight themes in Mother-child dynamics, safety and security, nurturance and protection of the Earth. This time will also offer light upon our emotional complexes that result in defense, projections, ancestral imprints, and patterns. 

Let’s begin with the principles of The Great Mother and her qualities of nurturance, protection, and promotion of growth and transformation. There are three telling myths to understand The Great Mother's principles more thoroughly.

The Abduction of Persephone
Demeter (The Goddess of all things that grow on Earth) has a deeply nurturing, loving and protective relationship with her beautiful daughter Persephone. As Persephone starts to blossom into a young woman, her Father Zeus convinces Demeter to loosen her defensive guard and allow Persephone to venture out with her friends one fine Spring day. Violently, the Earth erupted into a chasm and Hades, the Lord of the Underworld, reached up and grabbed the fair maiden’s ankle. He dragged her down into the land of shades upon his chariot led by his eight powerful black stallions. They descend deep into the Underworld as the Earth clamps shut with no trace left behind.

Upon dusk, Demeter is distraught as her daughter is yet to return. She searches high, and she searches low, she searches near, and she searches far, but there is no evidence of where her daughter could be. Sadly, this search continues day and night, and night and day. Her hair is hanging ragged across her face, her clothes have become soiled and torn while her feet stood blistered and swollen. With elbows and knees bruised and bloody from her search, Demeter continues like a sea-goat. Climbing over every mountain, diving to the depths of every ocean, search will never cease until her beloved daughter is found. 

A Mother's love is a Mother's love.

"There is no other closeness in human life like the closeness between a mother and her baby—chronologically, physically and spiritually they are just a few heartbeats away from being the same person"—Susan Cheever

It wasn't until Demeter went to Helios, the Sun, that all was revealed. Hades has abducted her daughter, and a secret agreement was made between Zeus and Hades. Outraged, Demeter confronts Zeus and demands he rectify the situation. This was to no avail. Consumed by fathomless grief and sorrow, Demeter draws inwards and withholds Earth's bounty, causing drought and food scarcity.

Eventually, it was not Demeter but the people who convinced Zeus to negotiate with Hades to release Persephone. You see, they were desperate and in need of sustenance from the Earth. 

So, on behalf of Zeus, Hermes enters the Underworld and successfully comes to an agreement that was satisfactory for Demeter and Hades.

The agreement was that Persephone would return to her Mother for six months of the year, and the other six months, she must return as the Queen of the Underworld alongside Hades.

As it goes, Demeter releases the bounty of milk and honey, creating fertility and abundance upon the Earth when Persephone returns. This time is known as Spring and Summer. But when Persephone returns to the Underworld, Demeter grieves once more and withholds the food sources during Autumn and Winter.

The Abduction of Persephone demonstrates the Good Mother archetype. She loves unconditionally, heals, nurtures, protects and is willing to sacrifice herself for her children. We also see the mythology that birthed the seasons. This coming Solstice is a demarcation of a change in season: Demeter offering up her abundance in the Northern Hemisphere and withholding her bounty in the Southern Hemisphere.

So, what is the shadow side of the Good Mother?

If a Mother becomes overly protective of her children and hinders their growth and development, or creates a situation that perpetuates the child's dependency on her, she has become the Devouring Mother. Demeter was lurking dangerously close to becoming the Devouring Mother as she prevented Persephone from expanding into her maturing social sphere. But it was Zeus and his conniving intentions that may have allowed Persephone to fulfil her destiny. It's interesting to note that the Good Mother is often put to death in fairytales. It is a common theme that the wicked Stepmother plays on the child's naivety and manipulates them away from the protection of their parents. However, this is a process of initiation, offering the child an opportunity to mature into an adult. This immaturity to maturity motif is demonstrated in Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel and even in the Harry Potter stories.

Baba Yaga the Great
I often think of the Great Baba Yaga and Vasalisa the Brave to grasp this aspect of the Mother Archetype. In this Russian myth, the Baba Yaga is not sweet, and she is not the Good Mother wanting to keep you childlike. She demonstrates the devouring aspect, which can result in transformation and growth through an initiation process.

You must be sharp, clear, and alert when The Baba Yaga comes to test you. Otherwise, she will eat you and put your bones up as a fence around her house. Each task set for Vasalisa feels impossible. Have you ever tried separating the golden corn from a mound of mildewed corn or separating poppy seeds from a pile of dirt? Not only did Vasalisa succeed in these quests, but she completed them under impossible time constraints.

The Baba Yaga, who keeps the daybreak, sunrise, and nightfall in a trunk in her house in the middle of the Siberian Forest is perplexed by Vasalias's ability to meet her grueling demands. When she asks her how she knows to separate the poppy seeds from the dirt, Vasalisa explains it's the little doll in her pocket (her intuition, another Cancerian trait) that her Good Mother gave her before her death.

We see in this story the great forces of Mother Nature herself, the survival of the fittest. Only the strong survive, as Mother Earth will eat you up if you are not at the top of your game. The Baba Yaga is not vindictive, but she is not tender or mollycoddling. She is here to sharpen you up, or else you will be consumed by life. 

There is a time when the Good Mother must fall away and make room for the Baba Yaga to enter the scene. It is only then that naivety may be transformed into clarity, vision, purpose, and truth. 

There is another Mother archetype that Jungian analyst Marion Woodman speaks of as the Death Mother Archetype. This aspect of the psyche has been severely wounded in early childhood, banishing our inner-child and feminine qualities to the deepest recesses. An absent, narcissistic, overbearing, or overly critical Mother will result in emotional complexes in her children. Often these complexes are completely unconscious as adults. 

So let us turn to the story of Medusa, a terrifying, green, scaled-winged gorgon with snakes for hair, to gain an understanding of The Death Mother. Medusa was not always a monster. She was a mortal born to king Phorcys and Queen Ceto, who inherited exceptional hair and beauty that became her pride and vanity. After being raped by Poseidon, the Greek God of the sea, the jealous Goddess, Athena, turned Medusa into a hideous gorgon and exiled her to a bottomless cavern at the World's end. Medusa was so horrifically ugly that anyone that looked at her would immediately turn to stone.

The Death Mother can paralyze and drain us from our vital energy and deaden us to life. We may also project this archetype when we experience unintegrated wounds become activated.

Perseus volunteered to slay Medusa, and he was very careful about how he approached this ghastly sight.

It is rare to willing look at The Death Mother archetype within. One must have developed a relationship with self-compassion before any glimpse may be genuinely acknowledged.

But this journey, however long and arduous, is worth the treasures received once Medusa's decapitated head is returned to our Kingdom of consciousness and integrated.

The myth of Medusa directs us to tend to our emotional complexes and projections and to do the work to discover our shadow aspects. We must turn our eyes back to our childhood and look at ancestral imprints and patterns (more Cancerian traits).

The hieroglyph for Cancer, as explained by Dane Rudhyar, the God Father of Astrology, says Cancer is a mystical sign with a dual nature. Unlike Gemini, the dual nature of intellectual paradox, such as pros and cons, can be resolved by synthesizing factors. The Cancerian dual nature is that of moral dualism such as fulfilment and deprivation, good and evil. The dualism is of feelings.

Just think of the crab in its shell. It has the duality of crystallization, hiding away in the shell to protect yourself and that of liberation, being free from your emotional defenses and armor. Even the best home is something we must emerge from as we blossom into our emotional independence and adulthood years.

Through this integration of the duality of feelings, of the Good Mother and Death Mother Complex, we can activate the higher attributes of Cancer, that of the healer. Cancer is in everyone's chart, and I encourage you to use your natal chart to help identify the Mother Archetypes that may be expressed or suppressed, knowingly or not. 

For reference, in an astrological counselling session, we look to the placement of your Natal Moon, as the Moon is the guardian of the Cancerian archetype, the 4th house, which is traditionally ruled by Cancer, and the zodiac sign of Cancer to attain a complete understanding of which type of Mother archetype you are predisposed to and how they might present in your emotional body. We also look at the planetary aspects of the Moon, 4th house and house with Cancer on the cusp to unravel your ancestral imprints and patterns further. Placement, transit, progression, and aspects of the asteroid Demeter area also explored. This information can be incredibly insightful and supportive to our understanding of self, our shadow, our projections, our emotional body, and our family lineage/ancestry patterning. 

The Big Dipper
Within the heavens, there is a constellation, the third largest of all, known as "Great Heavenly Healer Sage and Eastern Imperial Sovereign of Benevolent Salvation", or more commonly, Ursa Major. The brightest stars in Ursa Major are known as the Big Dipper. It is the turning of the Big Dipper that marks the celestial signals of Earth's changing seasons. In autumn, it rests on the horizon in the evening. In winter, the handle appears to be dangling from the bowl. It is upside down in the evening during Spring, and in Summer, the bowl leans towards the ground. The Solstice is a powerful time to use the constellation as a treatment protocol with our tuning forks and chimes. 

"With her great merit of medicine and healing, manages and harmonizes the five agents, balances the Vital Breaths of Yin and Yang, dissolves the stagnant and eliminates the evil and dark. Under her mercy, those who miss the time of salvation catch up with the time of salvation. In charge of the safety of pregnancy and birth, as well as the healing of diseases, she takes the important role of Heavenly Healer. Seated on her precious throne, the Big Dipper peacefully cultivates divine perfection, refines celestial and terrestrial spirits, concentrates Vital Breath with an empty mind, and enters the Mystery of Mysteries." — The Great Sagely Primordial Sovereign of the Supreme, Mysterious and Numinous Big Dipper

Solstice Acutonics Treatment
The following treatment is based on the article "Sedna the Mysteries, Miracles and Infinite Capacity of Water, Remembering the Past and Future of East Asian Medicine”, by Donna Carey, LAc, Ellen F. Franklin PhD and Michelangelo, MA, MFA, CTM, published in Oriental Medicine Journal.

The points suggested for use in this article are:
KID 1, Bubbling Spring or KID 3, Great Ravine (to ground)
PC 8, Construction Palace
SJ 10, Celestial Well 
LI 15, Shoulder Bone
The three above points are done only on the left side of the patient.
ST 17, Breast Center, left side then Right side
ST 25, Celestial Pivot, Right side, then left side

Thus, tracing the Big Dipper above the body. Please note, we are only applying the vibrations in the etheric field, you may touch down onto the physical body and anchor points on the body, but for points such as ST 17 it is best to work above the body and direct the vibration into the points.

The tuning forks I have used are:
Pluto/Demeter: To confront and purge unconscious material around the Mother archetype and our emotional complexes. 
Chiron/Demeter: Heal the Mother wound and emotional complexes and projection.
Uranus/Demeter: To transform and liberate our emotional complexes and Mother wound. To individuate from the birth parent into the collective Mother and the Inner parent.
Moon/Demeter: To deeply nourish the connection to the liberated Mother and healthy ego construct. 
Complete with Sedna Octave Hand Chimes: Heal this wound of the feminine in the collective and move the energy to a higher level. (Sometimes I use High-Frequency Sedna and Demeter instead of the chimes)

Nothing can be transformed until it is accepted".

Many of us are stuck against a story we can not tell. —C.G. Jung. 

Frequently, we are too overwhelmed by our emotions to tell the story of our struggles. Out of fear and to survive, we might bury it so deep that we can't uncover it. Such a story can grow and crystallize, and then the story begins to tell us. These stories show up in our dreams, our depression and sorrow, weeping or anxiety, and all matter of troubles in living and getting along with others. They lurk in our bodies as excess weight, desires, addictions, obsessions, headache, fatigue, insomnia, and the like.

For each of us, there is a story unknown to us and unknown to the therapist. It is the highest expression between ourselves and our patients to find out this story and bring it to light for transformation and healing. The gift of Astrology is that we have a Star Map that indicates to the interpreter what this story is. With our tools, we can then further tailor our treatment protocols to the patients' unique stories and experiences to bring the gifts of our past and fate to meet the highest destiny and dharma of those that come to us.

With heart,
Dr Vanessa Strauss

Dr. Vanessa Strauss a Registered Dr of TCM is from Queensland, Australia. She has completed all core Acutonics curriculum with Dr. Eeka King of Australia Acutonics. She is an Evolutionary Astrological Counsellor, Acutonics Sound Practitioner, and a Senior Kundalini Yoga Teacher.  

She is available for Astrological Counselling at and can be found on Instagram: vanessa_strauss_astrology.