Goddesses in the Dirt - Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo

Unearthing the Divine Feminine, one archetype at a time...

Issue #7: Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo

To this day in Argentina there is a mystery that remains unsolved:

Where are the tens of thousands of people who were 'disappeared' in the years between 1976 and 1983?

During the military dictatorship in Argentina, tens of thousands of young Argentines who opposed the government were kidnapped during a time now known as the 'dirty war.' 

Over the past 3 decades, the mothers of these young Argentines have fought for the return of their children, who were kidnapped  for opposing the military regime that followed the Peronist era. 

The mothers met regularly to support each other in trying to retrieve their lost sons and daughters. On April 30, 1977, a group of 14 women started an official public protest in front of the government headquarters in Buenos Aires known as the Plaza de Mayo. The women took to wearing white scarves embroidered with their childrens' names, to symbolize the blankets in which they would have wrapped their children as infants.  

Sadly, over time, some members of the mothers' group were disappeared as well, suffering the same fate of their children, many who were tortured and then killed.

In spite of the dangers, the mothers worked tirelessly for the return of their children and identified 256 'disappeared' youth, who had ultimately been adopted by others. The majority were not recovered, but the mother's group morphed into a powerful political movement that still exists today. For decades, the group marched in a circle around the Plaza de Mayo in protest every Thursday. On January 26, 2006, they made their final official march of protest, but the Thursday marches continue in support of other causes.

The goddess Demeter, whose daughter, Persephone, was abducted by the god of hell, Hades, would not rest until her daughter was returned to her. These women personify Demeter and the eternal protective power of the Mother figure who will do whatever it takes - including going into hell - to protect her offspring. 

The cause of the Mothers is immortalized today by a series of white scarves, painted onto the bricks surrounding the Plaza de Mayo in downtown Buenos Aires.
Anyone who sees them will never forget the men and women who were abducted and the fearless efforts of the mothers who never stopped searching for their lost children. 

Top three photos courtesy of Google images


  1. it is easy to think, "well, that happened there," but we must all guard against acts such as what happened to their sons. Humans are a funny bunch, aren't they?

  2. Thank you for raising this important matter, Amanda. The mothers of Argentina were and are not alone. For example, the fate of many Chileans was no different during the Pinochet years.

    It is easy to talk about Human Rights, but at a moments notice they can be taken away, by ANY government, if it is convenient for the government to do so. Our Euro-American governments are no different

    As glnroz said do wisely, all of us must constantly guard against government acts like those which took away Argentinian womens' children.

  3. Most of these kids were politically active against the dictatorship. Many of them were just students of philosophy, history, sociology, anthropology and human sciences - therefore considered as highly "dangerous" people. How were they murdered ? Tortured and raped in prisons, drugged and thrown - alive - in the ocean, or cemented into walls. Who "adopted" the kids of tortured and imprisoned women ? Mostly the country's economical elite (the respectable "alta burguesia") and members of the government. They knew who these kids were, they knew it - and they deny it.

  4. such a beautiful symbol for their battle....mothers everywhere feel that pain....

  5. Excellent post. Thanks for drawing attention to a tragedy of which many are unaware.

  6. How horrible that must have been to have their children abducted and not know what became of them. Just horrific.

  7. How horrible that must have been to have their children abducted and not know what became of them. Just horrific.

  8. I am ashamed to call myself an informed woman in today's world. How can we not hear of these atrocities, yet know the exact moment when Justin Beiber cuts his hair?

    May grace fill the hearts of all these mothers and their lost children. Surely there is a special place in hell for the perpetrators.

  9. I remember hearing about this awful tragedy and the bravery of the Mothers..... we quickly forget the headlines of yesterday when it is not in our homeland....but these women continue to live the nightmare. They are indeed like Demeter.... I commend them and will remember to keep them in my prayers. Thank you for reninding us.


    ♥ Robin ♥

  10. Very poignant post. These are atrocities of the worst kind and I am afraid that they take place all over the world. Just the other day I read about a case in Spain, where new born children disappeared over certain period of time, over decades between I believe 1930 to 1980. So many of kids went missing to young parents to be sold on the black marked.
    On a lighter note, I heard on the radio yesterday that Michael Buble got married last Thursday in Buenos Aires and that made me think of you.;)
    Enjoy the erst of your travels.

  11. I have heard about this fact - terrible for the mothers...

  12. How unsettling to hear of yet another group of men in yet another place in the world who used torture on other human beings as an act of power. I love these women who persist in revealing the truth.

    I think that the reason we are experiencing so many horrific unearthings at this time, is the need to feel the suppressed pain fully, as a collective reconcilliation, in order to be able to transcend into a more divine feminine balanced way of beingness.

    It is important to understand that the lesson isn't to bring fear into your heart for your children's future, but to see them as safe and as fully realizing their potential. And to not expect perfection in yourself trying to do this! Way easier to say than do, but I'm working on it.

  13. I learn so much from Bloggers. Through ones like you, I get to roam the world; go to places I wouldn't otherwise get to go.

    Learn about sad things such as this. There's so much anguish in the world. I feel for those with lost children.
    Ann Carbine Best’s Long Journey Home

  14. Beautiful and heart breaking x

  15. this was hard to read and i'm sure not an easy thing to post.

    i'm thinking of you amanda and hoping your time in south america is proving wonderful.

    travel safely

  16. How horrible to stick up for your missing child and suffer the same fate! I admire those mothers and it is a good link to Persephone. It must have been moving to see this with your children.

    It was fun seeing the tango images below. Argentina is a fascinating country – lucky you to visit. It’s fun to get these posts live.

  17. Even Mrs. Margot Honecker, wife of former DDR leader Erich H., who was his Minister of Cultural Affairs, (who now lives in Chile, still dreaming of the good old days)did the same thing to children whose parents either fled or were imprisoned for opposition "crimes" - they were forcefully adopted by Good Socialists! And that was only about 30 years ago, here in Germany! The regimes can differ, but not the intimidating methods.

    I keep thinking that our civilization is only a very thin layer on our raw selfish behaviour. Think of even the Japanese fearing for burglars in their abandoned houses, not wanting to leave. Mankind is so frightening. But is womankind really better? Margot H. certainly not.
    Dear Amanda, call cousin Lorenzo!!

  18. I love the title to this post - and the fierce spirit that we mothers manifest.

  19. My son was born on that very last Thursday march of January 2006...

    The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo have always held a special place in my heart, but after becoming a mother myself, my respect and solidarity for them has quadrupled.

    The 1987 Sting song, "They Dance Alone" is a beautiful tribute to the brave women of Chile, who, like their Argentine counterparts, dance the Cueca for their lost loved ones.


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