This is part four of a five-part series on rediscovering, and speaking in, our mother tongue.
How many languages do we ‘speak’ as women?
What streams of wisdom do we have access to?
What is our true mother tongue?
She sits looking Into the ancient pool of Wisdom that is Woman.
The way is dark Yet the light is bright.
Something calls to her. She knows she must Turn within To look, listen, and sense To remember.
She can sense a language With her whole body That only her soul can speak And only her heart can feel.
A Different Kind of Language
My friend shared this after reading the series so far,
“I think you are on to something here – the mother tongue isn’t a language with different words – it’s a different kind of language.”
According to our culture, language is primarily speech. The word language itself comes from the Latinlingua, meaning “tongue.” Its original meaning is “that which is produced with the tongue.” ~ Mario Pei, What’s in a Word? But as Michael Frante sings to us in Speaking of Tongues, the tongue is for so much more than what we sometimes think:
“But a tongue is so much more than a vehicle for greed A tongue is for washing fur Or for licking wounds Or for welcoming newcomers into a room Or cleansing those fresh from the womb Without a tongue there would be no croons Swoons, Junes under the moon No bees pollinating no flowers in bloom No recitation of words at the foot of a tomb Or wills read aloud of the family heirlooms You probably couldn’t even blow up a balloon And that would be a shame Because to exhale’s the name of the game Exhale from the heart Not from the lungs Exhale from the heart Not from the tongue.”
His words bring us into the full richness of life. I sense he is speaking in his Mother Tongue.
The world is a rich, many-layered reality, that holds numinous wonders that could never be put into words. Never. No matter how hard we try, words cannot capture this essence of life. Between the words, Michael’s lyrics are filled with this fullness.
As we stay connected to our hearts, to our bodies, to the earth, to each other, to the children, and to all the furry and winged ones, we stay connected to life. It is here, sitting in the swirl of life that we realize we know what we know.
It is here, when we are connected deeply to life, that this knowing can be expressed through language.
Language is a way of communicating, and we have so many ways and layers with which to do this. Sometimes, our touch speaks volumes, our eyes pierce hearts, our radiance infuses wordless conversation.
When words come forth, so much else does, too. Our bodies ‘sing’ something into being, an accompaniment to the words, making them more full, more real, and more alive.
Mental chatter by itself can simply feel half-dead, only metallic; but words infused with life, with wonder, with the sacredness of this moment come alive. As we sink down into the raw stuff of life, we sink down into a soup concocted and infused with the rich flavor of everything.
This being immersed in the raw stuff of life also opens us up to a collective wisdom that is here, always, waiting to be known and heard. Our matrilines – our female ancestors – weren’t so different than us. Just like us, like any human being, their souls needed to express, to speak, to touch and be touched. And, so many of them were silenced.
Just prior to beginning this series I shared a poem (in fact, that poem was the impetus for this series) that came up out of an underground stream of forsaken voices. That poem was poured into me when I drank from this stream. The poem tells us that there’s a deep well of wisdom voices waiting for us to listen.
Clear-pooled water, collected together, woven in rivulets, meandering through time, waiting…waiting. I can feel these voices, unheard, collected, and ready now to speak. It’s not as if they need a mouthpiece. No, that is not it. It feels as if the silencing of women has created a fog of forgetting. It has disconnected us from each other, from the single thread that weaves all women together, since the beginning. In attempting to put words to this, I find it hard to capture the depth of feeling and image I see, so I tune into the Mother Tongue. The thread is here. It has always been here, this thread that weaves Woman together. It is here, in our remembering, our tuning to listen, our seeing with open hearts that are no longer willing to shut out our mothers, sisters, and daughters – the whole of our ancient lineage of women - that we bring this thread back to vibrant health.
All colors, races, nations, clans, classes, religions.
All of time.
The wisdom of the ages is here, within, and we can reconnect with it. This sacred creativity weaves its way through Woman in this weaving of rivulets, a fluid depth of creative wisdom.
This is the Mother Tongue. She ‘washes fur’ and ‘cleanses those fresh from the womb’. She is the Mother and she speaks through all of us, and as we women come home to our native Mother Tongue, the very first language we knew, we will give voice to something that feeds, welcomes, nourishes, cleanses, pollinates, and ‘exhales from the heart’. We will offer to the world what it is truly hungry for. This language is outside of the culture. She holds the culture in love, yet She doesn’t pay lip service to a world that has silenced this wisdom. She brings moisture to a parched world, fire to a world too complacent, air to oxygen-starved cells, and sustenance to a world hungry to live with touch rather than ‘stuff’.
In the final post of the series, part five, we’ll explore how to discover and speak in your Mother Tongue. Posts in the series are:
Mother Tongue, Part 5: Eyes and Instincts, Knowing and Soul We will discover much together. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.