As the season shifts toward Winter, and the mysteries of death settle upon the land, my mind turns to the Ancestors, and the insights that came to me during a week-long spiritual retreat in the wilds of British Columbia.
It’s day one of my spiritual retreat, and time for our morning learning circle. I’m part of the Ancestors Path that meets in the shade of a mighty willow tree, with a pristine mountain lake and craggy peaks to one side, and untamed West Coast rainforest to the other.
Our teacher leads us on a guided trance. We’re going to meet our psychopomp: our personal spiritual guide in the land of the dead, and then journey with this ally to connect with the Ancestors.
In the trance, I come to an ancient wooden door. There’s a key in a lock, the key of conscious choice, that I turn and then enter the space beyond. I find myself on silver, shining path suspended in a black void — a vast, fertile emptiness of infinite possibilities.
My psychopomp meets me on this silver path. She takes the form of a sleek black panther who greets me by placing a paw on each shoulder. Even though I’ve never worked with a psychopomp before, my soul immediately recognizes my spiritual guide as an old ally and friend.
The teacher continues the guided trance, and tells us to seek out the land of our Ancestors with our psychopomp.
Although there’s more to this guided-trance experience, this one, crystal-clear insight stayed with me: my body is the body of the Ancestors.My Body is the Body of the Ancestors
On a surface level, this may seem like an obvious statement. My physical form is the result of the coming together of the DNA of my parents, and this DNA holds the material characteristics of the generations that went before me.
In simple terms, this means who I am, how I live, what I give my attention to, how much I let the past and my family patterns determine my now thoughts and actions, and the myriad of other big and small life choices and experiences that make up my everyday existence matter deeply.
Each of us inherits not only the physical DNA of our family lines, but also the energetic DNA of generational stories and experiences, especially those of trauma. For many of us, it’s the unacknowledged trauma, passed on generation after generation, that’s our shadow partner in life. These things live on in our body and life choices. And they can also end, be healed and transformed, through our body and life choices.
The hero’s journey comes to us through the comparative mythology writings of the late, brilliant Joseph Campbell. Stripped to its basic structure: the hero is given a quest or call to adventure; he sets out on a journey, gaining allies, struggling through great trials, and growing through his experiences; he has to face his biggest battle and through his victory he achieves his quest and claims his treasure; and then he returns to the ordinary world as a reborn or changed man.
If this storyline sounds familiar, it’s because we humans have been telling this tale through much of our history, most currently in some of our most beloved movies and books. Frodo, Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter have captivated us with their hero’s journey, activating the archetypal roots of this mythic story in our human psyche.
The assumption in many literary and academic circles is that the hero’s journey is a universal tale that speaks to our human quest for spiritual and personal growth. And though I love these hero stories as much as the next person, this assumption has never sat well with me.
In the basic structure of the hera’s journey: the Goddess chooses to leave the land above and descends to the Underworld; She travels the ways of this realm, embracing its mysteries and suffering its trials; She dies to Her previous life; and then She is reborn and returns to the land above, transformed into Her full maturity and powers.
The Goddess is calling you home.
Long, long ago, in the unfolding of humanity, She was lost to us — Goddess, Great Mother — priestess, healer, wise one — the divine feminine within.
We became the lost daughters, cut-off from one half of the Universe, our humanity, self esteem and our true Self: She who is wild, confident and untameable; She who is liquid sensuality and earthly pleasure; She who wields the powers of magic and mystery; She whose laws are love and the nurturance of all life.
And we have been wounded, hungry, incomplete, ever since.Yet what has been lost can be refound.
Sarah Ashby, a rising, young financial executive, is a lost daughter.
Sarah appears to have it all: good looks, a fantastic career and affluent lifestyle. But, in the secret recesses of her inner world, she’s not happy or well, anxiety and depression lurk beneath. One fateful evening, Sarah has an emotional breakdown that jolts her awake to the longings of her soul, and propels her on a spiritual adventure to a remote, rugged island on the Canadian West Coast.
Here Sarah discovers a pagan world of magic, ritual and the Goddess, and the lost mysteries and beauty of her divine feminine nature. What is lost can be refound. But Sarah must choose to step beyond the everyday, corporate world that she knows, and on to this new path of the divine feminine, the Path of She. And by this choice, her life will be forever changed.Let Sarah be your inspiration and guide.
Journey with Sarah as she dives deep into the healing powers of magic and the mysteries of Hecate, an ancient Goddess whose lost tales of She can return the life-giving ways of the divine feminine to the waking world.
Long, long ago, in our personal story, family history and the unfolding of humanity, She was lost to us — Goddess, Great Mother — priestess, healer, wise one — the sacred feminine within.
One half of the Universe, one half of our humanity, one half of our true Self — She who is wild and untamable — She who is liquid sensuality and earthly pleasure — She who wields the powers of magic and mystery — She whose laws are love and the nurturance of all life — were despoiled and repressed, until we learned to fear and forget Her very existence, and essential place in our inner landscape and shared society.
We became the lost daughters and lost sons, cutoff from the true power and presence of She as Goddess, woman and the feminine side of human nature. And we have been profoundly wounded, individually and collectively, ever since.
Yet things are shifting. Deep hungers are stirring within, arising from a sense that something essential, precious is missing from our life and world. We are waking and finding our way home to the Goddess, our true womanhood and sacred feminine nature.Dreaming of the Lost Daughter
When I began to write Tale of the Lost Daughter, I started from a place of emptiness, of opening to the Goddess to direct my writing and focus. I would sink into an altered state of awareness, place my fingertips on the keyboard and let the words flow onto the blank page of their own accord.
Early in this process, a dream story came to me. I was given a specific day — a very snowy, Saturday, December 21st. With this information I could pinpoint the year. At this time, I was still fast asleep in my corporate career and completely unaware of the depth of my discontent and unhappiness.
On this fateful night, surrounded by the magic of the Winter Solstice, I dreamed of finding a silvery, shining path between the worlds that led me to Hecate’s realm, the Dark Goddess who is the Mistress of the crossroads, and guardian of our human destiny. She bid me to look into Her magic cauldron where She revealed my life story, the beauty and the horror, and everything that I had forgotten and denied. From this place of greater awareness, She asked me to choose how I would live the rest of my life. And I made a vow to remember Her in my waking life and find my way home to Her sacred ways.