Saturday, January 12, 2008


The ancient daddy-war-god Greeks offered us three kinds of love:

Agape – general love
Eros – romantic love
Philia -- friendship

But where’s Mother Love? Why don’t any of us ever raise our eyebrows over the fact that Mother Love is missing from this hoary old list? You know -- Mother Love -- the most powerful, long-lasting love ever witnessed on the face of the earth?

Pretty obvious we’ve been scammed -- and that the scamming goes all the way back to the Greeks.
thnx to TheCleopatra for the foto; go HERE to see more.


Aquila ka Hecate said...

Yes, we have been- scammed by the Greeks, that is.

But there's an Eastern word for what's missing -karuna.

It involoves compassion, caring for others, a wish that all of humanity be free of suffering.
In other words, Mother love.

Terri in Joburg

Athana said...

Terri, at least the East has a word for Mother Love Writ Large! I'm impressed. But they still managed to get rid of the real thing -- somewhere I've read that Buddha's mother was so taken by her son when he was born that she died from delight.

Aquila ka Hecate said...


I think it was Alice Walker in The Temple of my Familiar who wrote something along the lines of: "If you want to join the company of men, first you have to kill your mother".
It's a sick-male thing.

Terri in Joburg

Paul said...

I think there is a classical greek word for motherly love which was also used for the love animals have for their young - storge.

Maybe the fact that this word rarely appears in discussion today reinforces your point though.

Goddess blessings


Athana said...

Terri, yeah, one of our most important tasks in the 21st century I think is to get both men and women to begin respecting the term "Mama's boy." Maybe we all ought to begin using the terms Mama's Boy and "Mama's Man" and "Motherly Man" all over the place. Get people used to them so they stop scaring the pants off people.

Athana said...

Paul, where'd you find your info that "stergo" means mother's love? My source of ancient Greek does give stergo as a fourth term for love, but it doesn't define it as mother's love. Here's how it defines it:

“to love, be fond of; to be content. 1. lovecharm, love, affection. 2. tender love. 3. affectionate.”

(from Classical Greek vocabulary cards, Vis-Ed (1000 cards), Spgfd, OH)

Athana said...

Paul, after googling "storge," I came up with several websites. The Christian websites all seem to define storge as family love. They all assured us that the word "storge" does not appear in the Bible.

It seems that C.S. Lewis, however, does define storge as mother love.

Then I googled "stergo." It too was usually defined as family love.

All this brings up a further question: why is the Bible totally mum on the issue of mum's love and family love?

Paul said...

Athana, you answered before I had even read your first reply :)) It is 24 years since I studied any Classical Greek but somethings stick and I remember a lecture on the four words that are usually translated as love in English. Storge was defined as a maternal love or the instinctive love of an animal for its young.

I may be wrong on this but the Biblical writers only seem interested in mothers as producers of sons who then need a father's hand (literally).

There are lots of stories in the Bible of barren women having miraculous births and everyone of them gives birth to a son. Then the writers of Matthew's Gospel go out of their way to give a long lineage of Jesus going through an all male line to Joseph even though Joseph is not seen as the father.

It is such a seriously skewed way of looking at life isn't it.

BBC said...

So don't read about the Greeks. The future isn't in the past, it's in the future, everything behind us is just monkey crap in the ruts of time and space.

Most mothers are out working and shopping so they can have more, in case you haven't noticed.

Family love? The family I grew up in wasn't worth loving.

BBC said...


So you love me unconditionally?

Anne Johnson said...

I don't know why BBC follows all my links, I honestly don't.

I can't think of an English word for mother love either. Nurturing isn't the same thing.

BBC said...

I don't know why Anne Johnson thinks I follow all her links. Does she think that hers is the only blog on the Internet so that is the only place to follow links from?

The truth of the matter is that I follow very few of her links.

Morgaine said...

How about Latin?

Alma mater is Latin for "nourishing mother". It was used in ancient Rome as a title for the mother goddess, and in Medieval Christianity for the Virgin Mary. mater

Morgaine said...

Found it! It's AGAPE or Agapao-

It's a state of unconditional love

Go here:

Athana said...

morgaine, after following Paul's info on the Greek word "storge" (see above), it seems likely to me that it was storge that was the word for mothers' love in the past. C.S. Lewis defines it directly as "mothers' love" and Paul remembers being taught that storge was a fourth form of love, in addition to agape, eros and phillia. And he too remembers that it was defined as mothers' love.

The question is, why do we always hear about agape, eros and phillia but rarely (or never in my case) about storge?

Athana said...

BBC, yes, I try to love everyone unconditionally. You included.

Anonymous said...

Based on all the hate-mongering you've put on your blog so far, I seriously doubt that YOU ARE SERIOUS when you say you love everyone unconditionally!

Morgaine said...

Athana - any idea how to pronounce Storge?

sheranana said...

Each individual has been scammed by no one save oneself. BTW, When Jesus spoke of love, he used one of four words. Translated into Greek they are: storge (pronounced: stor gee) to describe familial love, philia (fie lee ah) to describe love for a friend and eros for sensual love. The word he used most often, though, was agape (a ga pay, with the first two a's being short vowel sounds)--God's love--the highest form of love [which is even higher and greater than the beautiful love of a mother]. Hopefully this will help all ya'll

Anonymous said...

The greeks didn't compartmentalize the way that you are wanting them to.

The word agape is a different type of love - it covers a mother's love for her child, God's love for us, AND how we're supposed to treat our enemies.

Agape love = loving in a self-sacrificial way.

Yes - it was a patriarchal society. That doesn't mean that they hated women. The way God expects us to love each other (including mother's) is to love sacrificially the way that He does.

It's such a beautiful word.