Here is my latest SageWoman blog post. The “read more” link below will take you to the SageWoman Blogs page.
Spring is the time of the Goddesses Demeter and Persephone, and their myth of rebirth and return to the Mother-Goddess ways of love and life. Though this ancient Greek tale is typically interpreted as a mythic explanation of the seasons, on a deeper level it speaks to our human spiritual evolution, collectively and individually.
As the tale begins, Persephone, a Maiden Goddess, lives in the sunlit realm within the protective circle of Her Mother Demeter’s love. The Earth is in the full bloom of Summer, overflowing with the love and life-centered powers of the Mother Goddess.
So too, in the long-ago season of the youthful beginnings of our humanity, our ancestors
lived within the protective circle of the Mother Goddess’s love. The Great Mother, as the source of all life, formed the bedrock of our collective consciousness and civilization. Women, as the embodiment of the Goddess, were our leaders and priestesses, and we lived and shared this Earth in alignment with the love and life-centered ways of the sacred feminine.
The myth continues: something shifts in Persephone, and She turns away from Her Mother Demeter’s sunlit realm of light and life. In the Fall, Persephone descends into the Underworld of darkness and death. Demeter, in Her grief over the loss of Persephone, withdraws Her powers and brings Winter to the Earth.
There comes a time when children must leave behind the love and guidance of their mother and find their own way in the world. Persephone left Her Mother Demeter and set off on a journey in search of Her deeper becoming and spiritual evolution. So too our ancestors turned away from the Great Mother, and set off on a path of self-determination.
Though the myth tells us that Demeter withdrew from the world, in truth, it is we who withdrew from the Mother Goddess. Over the passage of thousands of years, we rejected and denigrated the Goddess and Her life-centered ways. The leadership of the Goddess and women was overrun by the rule of men and their patriarchal Gods. The Great Mother’s stories were rewritten, Her powers disassembled, and Her followers persecuted in a relentless battle to purge Her from our human psyche and society.
The seasons of humanity shifted into a long winter of soul, where dominion and death overruled love and life as the bedrock of our shared society, unfolding in a grievous period in our human history. Over the passage of millennia, we, the wayward children of the Great Mother, became lost to the Goddess and Her ways of love and life. In this lostness, we’ve committed great atrocities against each other and the Mother Earth.
In these modern times, our shared society and individual stories, with their shadow and wounding, are rooted in this grievous, collective history, passed down from our ancestors through the generations. We live in a world disconnected from the Goddess, and Her love and life-centered powers.
Yet nothing lasts forever, and the seasons always turn from Winter into Spring. In the myth, the arrival of Spring heralds Persephone’s return from the Underworld into the waiting arms of Her Mother Demeter. Through Her trials and suffering in the land of darkness and death, Persephone is reborn, a maiden no more, but a feminine presence in Her full maturity and powers: the Queen of the Underworld and the Goddess of Spring Growth. Where Persephone walks the land, She leaves a trail of spring flowers in Her wake.
At the portal where the Underworld opens to the sunlit realm, the Goddess Demeter waits for you, just as She has waited for Persephone from time immemorial. She is queenly in bearing and stature, clothed in a flowing gown of warm browns and soft greens, the colors of the good green earth. Her raven-hued tresses, faintly streaked with silver grey, smell fresh and fragrant, like rain-washed wildflowers. Though She smiles warmly in welcome, Her eyes, the blue black of a stormy sea, hold a great sorrow in their depth, and a great love.
One of your feet is still upon the cold, stone stairway that descends into the dark below, and the other touches the downy, green surface of Spring’s first grass. Both places lay claim to you: the Underworld with its mysteries and trials of darkness, sorrow and death, and the sunlit realm with its life-giving energies of light, joy and new growth.
Demeter reaches out a hand and pulls you upward into a mother’s embrace, tight and loving, with no separation between your two beating hearts. Then She takes your face between Her warm palms, gazing deep into your eyes and unearthing what you are made of and how you have changed since the last time She beheld your soul.
“Here, in the sweet-scented land of Spring,” Demeter says, “I have celebrated my daughter Persephone’s return from the depth of the Underworld. And here, I have long waited for this moment when you and your human kin would find your way back to my side and the ways of the Greater Mother.”
“Come, there are mysteries I would share with you so you will know the import of this turning point on your journey of soul, and in this Great Turning in the spiritual unfolding of humankind.”
Demeter leads you away from the biting drafts that reach upward from the belly of the Underworld and draws you deeper into the sunlit meadow, enlivened with bright clusters of spring flowers and the sounds of insects, birds and other wild things. You sit beside each other, with the green earth beneath you, the blue sky above, and the winds blowing fresh and balmy.
“When the world was young, there was no separation between humanity and the Great Mother,” Demeter begins, “Your primal ancestors lived at one with Her life-centered ways, just as Persephone stayed close by my side, and I protected and cared for Her, keeping Her out of harm’s way.
“Yet there comes a time when children must leave the circle of their mother’s love and find their way in the world on their own terms. Persephone left me to descend into the Underworld realm of darkness and death, and your ancestors turned away from the Great Mother and descended into a grievous period of your history. And so a long, cold Winter came to the Earth, where dominion and death overruled the creation and nurturance of life as the bedrock of your human society, and I mourned the loss of my daughter and the immense suffering of the Great Mother’s children.”
As Demeter speaks, you walk beside Her in Her remembrances, witnessing this long winter through Her tear-filled eyes and sorrowful heart. Long She wandered the world searching for Her daughter, and long She beheld the atrocities committed by humanity against each other and the living Earth. And as you walk with Demeter, the restless ancestors gather round you, victim and perpetrator alike, caught in the web of destruction and despair of this old tale, woven of our worst instincts of fear, greed, hatred and will to power.
Without words, you understand that our modern reality is a continuation of our ancestors’ lives, where our shadow overrides our light in a great imbalance between the worst and best of our human nature, and that the pain of your personal story has its roots in this much older tale.
“Yet as the seasons of the Earth turn, so do the seasons of humanity,” Demeter continues, “Many powers are converging, within and without, to wake humanity from its long winter of soul. Spring is in the air; Persephone walks the land above; and here you are, by my side, reaching for the ways of the Great Mother once more.
In late December, I decided to do a major house clean to have a fresh start to the new year. When moving a cabinet, I found a tiny fridge magnet amidst the dust and debris, with the single word — “Here”.
I laughed out loud, and immediately pinned this word up on my bulletin board as a reminder for the new year. The Mysteries, with their quirky, in-your-face communication style, were hammering home a message they’d been giving me over and over during the holiday season. In our community Yule and Winter Solstice celebrations, we have a tradition of pulling divination cards for the new year. Every card I pulled was a version of a common theme: surrender to the process; have patience and await the will of the Mysteries; don’t lust after outcomes; something must die for something new to be reborn.
Be here now, the Mysteries are telling me. This “here and now” is about process, not outcomes; it requires surrender and patience, not pushing and striving; it finds its roots in the will of the Mysteries, within and without, not the personal will of ego and mind.
Here and now in the Northern Hemisphere, January is in the throes of the winter season. This is the time of the Dark Goddess and Her rebirth magic, where new beginnings arise from the vast unknown of the sacred dark, and death, endings and wounding are essential for the birth of new possibilities and growth.
Like so many people, I find January a trying month. I’ve already had enough of the dark, cold, dreary days, and crave the return of bright sunshine and warm weather. Though I’ve done my deep magic at the Winter Solstice, come January 1st, my New Year’s resolution mindset kicks in, shifting me into the outcome focus of goal setting and action taking.
Yet something else in me, more primal and wise, resists these outer-directed activities in favor of rest, simplicity and a slower, inside-out focus and pace. Every January, including right now, I struggle with these counter impulses: one arising from my cultural conditioning, and the other from my soul-based knowing. I get the Mysteries’ message, loud and clear: this culture-soul split within me is my transformative edge and pathwork for the coming year (and beyond), as is the imperative to be here now, in presence and surrender to this journey that is my life.
Though this is most certainly a personal directive for me, it’s also a collective message for our spiritual pathwork in these edgy, world-changing times. When I open myself to this collective message from the Mysteries, this is what comes through.
Consider giving your Self a gift of soul this Yule season with the latest offering in the Path of She Guided Series – Winter Journey: Your Rebirth Magic.
This has been a very challenging year, with the turmoil on the world stage amplifying our personal struggles and shaking up our sense of stability and wellbeing. Collectively we’ve entered a time of profound, turbulent change: a death–rebirth moment of the world as we know it. Fasten your seatbelt; things are going to get bumpy.
Winter is the time of the Dark Goddess, and Her mysteries of darkness, death and rebirth. She is our perfect companion in these turbulent, life-changing times. She teaches us that death, endings and struggle are inevitable, inescapable and essential for rebirth into new, life-affirming possibilities.
The Dark Goddess is an exacting task-mistress. She requires that we turn our focus inward, and reclaim the lost parts of our life story, both the beautiful and the wounding, that are the deep roots of our personal healing and transformation.
Though this is hard, demanding soul work, the benefits are immeasurable. Not only can we learn to navigate life’s challenges with power, presence and love, but we also heal and reclaim what is best and beautiful in our Self. When we change ourselves, we change the world.
The Winter Journey: Your Rebirth Magic guides you through seven lessons with integrated teachings, exercises, guided meditation and journaling tasks, with the Dark Goddess and Nature as your teachers and companions.
On your Winter Journey, you will:
Delve into the winter season mysteries of darkness, death and rebirth.
Brave your own inner darkness in search of the lost parts of your life story, and the seeds of your beauty and wounding that are the makings of your personal rebirth magic at this time.
Learn the essential skills of rebirth magic: traveling the ways of the Dark Goddess; reclaiming your wounded self; and cultivating inner emptiness and loving awareness.
Discover the soul work that’s emerging for you at this time that can guide your healing and personal growth in the months to come.
The Winter Journey: Your Rebirth Magic includes: two pdf ebooks: the Winter Journey Guidebook and Winter Journey Journal, and the Winter Journey Guided Meditation (mp3 audio).
All of this is available to you for the affordable price of $16.99. Buy now on the Path Store.