you & me

Heal Your Internalized Death Mother Archetype.

In order for us to truly heal our relationship with the masculine energy that lives within us and find balance in the world, regardless of gender, we must tend to the death mother.

The internalized death mother archetype we carry is a result of living in a patriarchal culture where she is transmitted through our conditioning. This complex is made more challenging if our own mother rejected, abandoned, feared, envied or disliked us because of her own wounding, not wanting to have a child or environmental circumstances.

To a child, when s/he perceives the energetic rejection and dislike of mother, it feels like death and this archetype begins to weave its way into the cells of the body, emotions, consciousness and relationship with a higher power that is life.

Athena was the daughter of Zeus. Born out of his head and a true daughter of the patriarch, she did not have a mother. She was revered and celebrated for her qualities associated with being successful in a patriarchal world. It’s no accident that she is the Goddess of warfare and strategy, math, law and justice, civilization, courage and skill. She honed the qualities most celebrated in her society.

But, not having a mother, she was also deeply cut off from her deeply feminine nature. She, as Joseph Campbell points out, is also a symbol of the way the patriarchal culture has assimilated the Goddess.

Our inner Athenas are trying to heal our relationship to masculine energies, within and without, but she herself is split off from the primal, dark, elemental, passionate, wise, intuitive sacred feminine energy, who resides in every single one of us. The death mother abuses the Inner Feminine and focuses on the outer world of the patriarch to survive. Just like Athena.

In the myth of Athena and Medusa, Medusa was revered for her glorious beauty and was desired deeply, even by the gods. After many attempts at being courted by Poseidon, Medusa was raped by him in one of Athena’s temples, for he sought to dominate her since he could not win her affections.

When Athena found out about this, she punished Medusa by turning her hair into snake and cursing her, so that anyone who looked upon her would be cast into stone. Nothing happened to Poseidon. People reviled Medusa, eventually Perseus was tasked with cutting off her head in his “hero’s journey.”

When emotions are unmetabolized, trauma is rampant and unacknowledged, grief is given no space to be honored, our dreams written off as New Age nonsense, nature is associated with alternative cultures, the healing properties of Earth are taken to make a profit without respect or care for her body, and the divine, intuitive intelligence of the Emotional Feminine is rejected in favor of science, we have a world that will continually seek to dominate and oppress the Feminine.

This translates to our inner world. We are taught this from a very young age, made even harder if our own mother was a death mother, one often unmothered, wounded and traumatized herself.

There was no place for the Feminine within us to emerge and unfurl, necessary for there to be balance between our natural feminine and masculine energies regardless of gender, or for our wholeness and full expression to form.

What happens is that in a death mother culture, addiction is rampant as a way of seeking, numbing out, hiding from, punishing, hurting or longing for the soothing of the mother — our personal, cultural and universal mothers.

Addiction is the death mother herself. She is toxic nourishment that initially provides some relief. We have a culture of anxiety and depression, Athenas running around desperate to heal their inner nature without all the puzzle pieces.

Healing the death mother is healing our relationship to our inner life and de-armoring all the tension and gripping and pain in our bodies. The psyche, our soul, is infinitely woven into the fabric of our bodies, our emotions, our dream life, our intuition, our connection to the earth, our connection to God and to our deepest hearts.

Repairing this relationship is truly healing the inner mother, the innermost feminine and masculine, where we remember what self-love and nurturing real is.

This truly is radical in a world that right now profits off of our hunger, our desperation for finding mother in scrolling or booze or getting high or shopping or people who aren’t good for us.

We are taught that hunger must be filled from outside of us, but if we take a stand, that we will no longer tolerate the death mother within, we begin to walk the path of liberation and re-claim our true sovereignty while maintaining interconnectedness with all of life. We heal our relationship to our creative energy and build a life that is life-affirming in every which way.

We discover ourselves anew, in ways that we could never expect because once our wounds find love, we realize we aren’t who we thought we were.


Dr. Nandi Hetenyi is a psychospiritual healer, soul mentor and writer. She has carved out her own path based on 20+ years of clinical experience and an equal amount of time studying and practicing Buddhism, yoga, meditation, shamanic healing, ritual and energy healing. After recovering herself from addiction and experiencing an awakening to her soul, she fused her knowledge of psychology and trauma with both her studied and lived experience of shamanic and Buddhist healing modalities, creating an innovative approach to healing the soul wound at the root of so much addiction, shame and ongoing trauma. You can follow Dr. Hetenyi on Instagram and find out more about her work on her website.


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