There are many clues in the book, Mary Poppins, to suggest that the famous, prim nanny is being portrayed as the Great Triple Goddess of old. Her birthday falls on the Full Moon and, when she admires herself in the shop window, she sees three of herself, which represents each of her three roles – the Maid in springtime, Mother /Queen in summer, the Wise Woman in winter. But why has the Great Goddess entered our world as a humble children’s nanny? It is because, as many know, the Goddess was suppressed in the distant past due to a dark chapter in human history that has been forgotten – a time when the Feminine became cruel and over mighty. That memory emerges in our times in such characters as Cruella de Vil or Lady Macbeth, and in many other female characters that are cruel, ruthless and power hungry. Historically, the Celtic Warrior Queen Boudicca is a hangover from that forgotten period of history. The key to understanding the plight of women and children in many parts of the world today is the fear the Masculine has of the power of the Feminine to create new life at a subconscious level. Tragically, the vital part the Masculine plays in that creative process was never acknowledged – perhaps because it was not understood. And here lies the root of the problem. The only real power worth having – as understood by the peoples then and still buried in the subconscious memory today – was/is the Feminine power. So, when the Male God defeated the Queen/Goddess, he took unto himself the Feminine power to create new life. But the All-Powerful Queen/Goddess had done the same to Him during her supremacy. She had usurped the Masculine power by becoming the Law Giver and General of the Armies. So, the pendulum swung from one extreme to the other. There is a real need to find the balance whereby the Masculine and Feminine have equal and complimentary power, with mutual love and respect one for the other.
Many ills stem from this violent period of history when the Queen was overthrown, as immortalised in the words, ‘The Lion and the Unicorn were fighting for the crown…’. Female sexuality became something dirty. The temples where the Goddess was worshipped and where the sexual act was sacred became brothels and harems, whilst the priestesses became whores. Female sexuality was strictly controlled so that it became imperative that a young woman be a virgin on her wedding night. The children born of the priestesses with no known father were cruelly treated. It is from this period we have the origins of terms of abuse such as ‘son of a bitch, son of a whore, bastard’, as well as words for the sexual act being used to denigrate and used as swear words. That cruelty lives on today finding expression in orphanages and social care.
The power of the Feminine to nurture her offspring was taken away by babies being put out to wet nurses, passed on to nannies and then sent away to boarding schools. In the Middle-Ages sons were sent to other families as squires. Given these conditions, if the Goddess were to return to the world of the 1930’s how would she fulfil her Nature as Maid, Mother and Wise Woman? This is the task Mary Poppins has set herself. She fulfils her role as Maid on her Day Out by ‘walking out’ with Bert the pavement artist. He looks at her with undisguised admiration, while Mary Poppins turns into a coy, cockney girl using such expressions as “Strike me pink!” They step into one of the chalk pictures and are whisked away to a clearing in a grove of trees where they take afternoon tea with a plate of small cakes. Only as a cockney girl is Mary Poppins the young woman free from chaperones.
To be a hands-on mother Mary Poppins is forced to become a children’s nanny and, in those days nannies were, on the whole, Old Maids, which is why she is sharp, prim and haughty. As an Old Maid she is always on her dignity, ever aware of her humiliating position as a woman without husband or children, with only her respectability to give her any status in society. Such a person would be anathema to the Goddess whose very nature is to give life and nurture in abundance. Although the children feel the great love of the Goddess despite her terrifying manner, and love her in return, her adopted persona is actually meant to highlight how unsuitable were the women chosen to rear the nation’s children. Hence we find that one of these nannies is defiant when reporting to the children’s mother, Mrs Banks, that she has lost her charges in the vast London metropolis with all its dangers.