Essence: Symbolic of water, Mother of all life which shapes, nourishes, informs and forms the material world and all living beings. As water erodes stone, so must we dissolve our stony ego and false ideas of self. Our egoistic desires are sacrificed for the needs of the other. To grow we need to sacrifice our control, release the child and free our love. We must become open and fluid, able to go deep. Rider-Waite Tarot: The Hanged One / Sacrifice
40 ם מ MEM WATER 2ND MOTHER-WATER
Mem is the number 40. It is symbolic of water, Mother of All Life–the primeval ocean. The letter Mem has two forms. When used at the beginning or middle of words it is open. At end of a word it is closed. There are almost twice as manyMem words in the Hebrew dictionary than any other letter.
Nothing can live without water, so all that lives owes its existence to Mem. In the Bible Story of Creation, God is said to have divided water in two, becoming sky, or “the waters above,” and lakes, rivers and oceans of the earth, “the waters below.” Water circulates through all that lives, forming rain, sap, milk, and blood. It preserves, nourishes and forms our world. Mem, being 40, is also particularly significant because the number forty appears numerous times in the Torah. The most well known instances are the stories of Noah and of the Jews’ escape from slavery in Egypt to freedom, where after forty days wandering they receive the Ten Commandments and become a people. Miriam the prophet, who insured her infant brother Moses survived by placing him in the river, and whose wells insured the survival of the Jews in the desert, begins and ends with Mem.
The Mother letter Mem is water (mayim). This Mother letter reflects the original esoteric meanings of Mem as representing the Great Water Goddess, mother of all that lives and the material world. She is Mother Nature who rules the waters within and waters without. She softens and shapes us: forms, nourishes, dissolves, and transforms us. One moment She infuses our dreams and knowing with Her wisdom; the next She is terrifying and destructive, mocking our helplessness and dependence. Mem overturns our reality and forces us to ask why? Both creator and destroyer, She circulates through our lives and reminds us there can be no growth without loss or sacrifice, no life without death.
Mem is the number 40. It is symbolic of water, Mother of All Life–the primeval ocean. The letter Mem has two forms: when used at the beginning or middle of words it is open, and at end of a word it is closed. There are almost twice as many Mem words in the Hebrew dictionary than words of any other letter.
She is the Eternal Question and Eternal Mystery, the miracle of life’s inherent wisdom. Mem is also the water of theMikvah, a bath where we are immersed and cleansed so that our old self may die and we can be reborn, renewed.
We now must become informed and, sacrificing our ego, plunge into unknown depths. Naked, relinquishing all nonessentials, we descend into the dark waters of our hidden selves so we might come up whole. Only then can we choose to become a mensch (a moral and enlightened person), an adult, an artist, a free person shaping our own lives wherever possible. Where we cannot control the circumstances of our lives, we can still shape our emotional response in the face of inevitability.
The Mem corresponds to the Hanged One in the Tarot, in that it doesn’t represent a literal death or end, but rather symbolic death or sacrifice. The Mem can be interpreted as the emotional, spiritual and even physical sacrifice a mother makes as she releases her child to foster her child’s growth to maturity, as well as her own.
When Mem is reversed the sacrifice is more painful or is faced with great reluctance. In either case, this reversal offers us an opportunity for growth and healing. Even when fateappears to be mocking it brings an opportunity. We can turn the hurtful stone in our gut into a pearl of wisdom and gather strength to share our painfully gained understanding. When reversed, this card is a reminder that, since Mem manifests in the material world, so the sacrifice and growth required of us must involve action in the world.