Matron and Patron
In the West crowning the King and Queen of the May is a tradition of fertility, or, for the very young, the promise of a joyful maturity. The Hero/Heroine have completed the long journey of birth, childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. The next decades of their life are spent in productivity, tending to their tasks, turning the Wheel of Dharma for their generation. They are the Matron and the Patron.
Images of the Matron include Demeter, the Greek Goddess of agriculture. Another image is the description in the 31st Chapter of Proverbs of a woman who manages her extensive household and businesses, while being honorable and kind. The word has overtones of valor, for she is competent, capable, and caring. Another image is the Black Madonna, a representation of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Photo Credit: Melissa Westbrook
The physician Luke visits and interviews Mary the Mother, recording her words in his gospel. The disciple whom Jesus loved (John) has taken her to Ephesus, where she has a house. Here she lived her life through her transition from Matron to Crone.
Luke visits her at her home, and records these words, perhaps as she looks back at her long and interesting life, centered around her son.
My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my sprit hath rejoiced in God, my Savior.
For He has looked with favor on his lowly handmaiden.
For behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed
For He that is mighty hath magnified me, and holy is his name.
Latin version available here.
Mary’s son, Jesus, calls all of creation to Love, to caring. It is not too much of a stretch to see him as a Patron for the Greening Earth.
Images of the Patron include Pan, named as “the oldest old thing” in Puck of Pook Hill by Rudyard Kipling. Kipling himself is a positive image for the Patron. A definition of Patron is a person who serves as guardian (protector) for something. A current Patron is mostly named that in the arts as they fund venues and artists, and tends to mean both male and female.
The words for the old energy of the Matron is fertility; her mate, Patron, is of care and protection. These words, along with their archetypal meaning, have faded in recent times. Matron has been given a specific tone from women heads of schools or hospitals; many examples are negative. Patron has been attached to “patronizing”. Let’s restore these words to their original meanings, and celebrate our years in these roles.
Lady Marion and Robin Hood
On May Day in England games, archery contests, and plays about Robin Hood and Lady Marion are performed.
Robin Hood is an evolutionary figure for Pan/Puck, the Green Man, and Marian is an alternative name for Mary. Perhaps it is every year at Beltaine that Maid Marion marries Robin. Perhaps as Matron of Summer she heals the scars of the winter of a bad king, and perhaps as Patron, Robin distributes the ill-gotten gains of the rich to the poor. This is, at the very least, the heart of the archetypes we’ve been exploring. You can find a short play about Robin and Marion on this site here.