Yoni and the mother archetype

Idol at Kamakhya temple, Guwahati, Assam. Photo by Subhashish Panigrahi. Creative Commons.

In the image above, we see an icon photographed at the Kamakhya temple, Guwahati, Assam. The image is of the goddess, her yoni clearly exposed. Yoni is a Sanskrit word for the womb or vagina.

In Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious, Carl Jung speaks of the relationship between the yoni and the mother archetype. This relation expands to include anything that takes the form of the vagina or womb: “Hollow objects such as ovens and cooking vessels are associated with the mother archetype, and, of course, the uterus, yoni, anything of a like shape.” (Carl Jung, 9i, para. 157)

The yoni is a symbol for the generative and creative power of the mother goddess. In Tantric philosophy, the yoni is an image of Shaki, as the Devi. The union of the yoni and the phallus or lingam represents the great pulsation of creation.

In Tantric philosophy, the mother goddess is the image of origin. In the Yoni Tantra, it is said that “Hari, Hara and Brahma—- the gods of creation, maintenance and destruction—- all originate in the yoni.” The passage follows:

Yoni Tantra states:

Seated on the peak of Mount Kailasha, the god of gods, the guru of all creation, was questioned by Dirga-of-the-Smiling-Face, Naganandini.

Lord, 64 tantras have been created. Tell me, Ocean of Compassion, about the chief of these.

Mahadeva said: Listen, dearest Parvati, to this great secret. You have asked to hear this 10 million times. Beauteous One, it is because of your feminine nature that
you continually ask me.

You should conceal this by every effort. Parvati, there is mantra pitha, yantra pitha and yoni pitha. Amongst these, the chief is certainly the yoni pitha, revealed to you from affection.

Naganandini, listen closely! Hari, Hara and Brahma—-the gods of creation, maintenance and destruction—-all originate in the yoni.


2 thoughts on “Yoni and the mother archetype

    1. How wonderful! The artist says: “She…the mother of us all—is basically my love, my mother…. When I’m working on my clay, the clay is my hands and my hands speak. My hands sing; my hands dance; and my head is practically not there.”

      Thanks Mike, for sharing the link.

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