Photo Credit: Shellyse Szakacs
My friend comes home after an evening of dancing and moving energy with her activist friends. She’s exhausted from an intense week of community gatherings — first a Samhain ritual in honor of the beloved dead, with so many passing this year and so much collective grief in the air, and now tonight, a passionate, full-embodied group prayer for peace and justice.
All of this was a preparation for what awaits her. Death has arrived on her doorstep.
The bucks are exhausted, terrified. Fortunately she has a friend who is a gentle hunter. When he arrives, he’s able to take clean shots, killing the bucks instantly and saving them from an agonizing death. Strangely, in their dying the second stag lands on the first. In death, the combatants lie serenely on top of each other, like a pair of sleeping cats.
As sacred witness and gentle hunter, these two friends speak to the fallen bucks, pray for them, and mourn their passing.
The image of the bucks and the story I’ve just shared, in the words of my friend, appear in my Facebook feed. I stop what I’m doing, my heart wide open and broken, understanding that these bucks have gifted my friend, our community, this world, with a powerful vision that speaks to the tumultuous change of these times.
I too have been sacred witness this week, at our local Samhain ritual. In this role, I sat veiled and silent, dropped into the deep dream of our magic, watching between the worlds as the names of the dead were spoken, and our community danced a spiral in honor of the blessed newborn.
Another powerful vision that speaks to these times: a thousand deaths for a thousand births — we are living an epic death-rebirth moment.
In the fall season, Nature leaves behind the powers of light, drawing inward to stillness and the sacred dark of Mother Earth, where the sleeping potential of new life resides.
So too your spiritual journey calls you inward to quiet and reflection, compelling you to seek within the secret desires, dormant gifts and lost stories of your inner sacred dark where your sleeping potential resides. New beginnings await you in the sacred dark.
Here are four lessons to deepen your spiritual work in the fall season.
1. Step beyond the world you know, and turn your awareness toward the unknown of the sacred dark.
Commit to travel the deepest roots of your spiritual journey. Call up your courage and determination. Lessen your grip on the things you hold true and dear. Open to the mysteries of your inner sacred dark, and let them guide your spiritual work.
2. What you hunger for waits for you in the sacred dark.
Heed your soul’s hunger to seek out your greater becoming. Whatever you truly need to be whole waits for you in the sacred dark of your inner landscape. Here you can discover and reclaim the lost, precious parts of yourself that can nourish your soul and make your life anew.
3. Suffering and sacrifice are integral parts of your spiritual work.
Don’t expect your spiritual work to be pretty or easy. Honor the lessons and experiences that come to you, especially those that challenge you the most. Know that this is how life is meant to teach and grow you. Great beauty, wisdom and resilience emerge from the depth of your struggles.
4. It’s the journey itself that transforms you.
You grow and mature by consciously engaging your life experiences, both the positive and negative. It’s this very toil of sweat and soul that changes you. Life, with its joys and sorrows, is the crucible of your greater becoming.
Are you ready to deepen your spiritual journey?
Let The Path of She Book of Sabbat: A Journey of Soul Through the Seasons transform your life through teachings, guided meditations and pathwork exercises that reconnect you with the seasonal energies of the Earth, the mysteries of the Goddess, and the deepest roots of your life’s purpose and story.
The Fall season is the perfect time to start your journey: to step beyond the world you know, heed your soul’s hunger, and discover the new beginnings that await you in the sacred dark.
With the approach of the Fall Equinox, the energies of the sacred dark begin to stir in your inner landscape — calling you to a new cycle on your journey of soul — compelling you to seek within the secret desires, dormant potential and lost stories that can guide your spiritual pathwork in the weeks, months and seasons to come.
As the seasons turn from Summer to Fall, the days become shorter and colder as the powers of light give way to those of darkness, and the living world draws ever more deeply inward to rest, to quiet, to stillness. Nature abandons outward activity in favor of inner gestation, returning to the belly of the Mother Earth, the sacred dark, where the sleeping potential of new life resides.
Your life too is woven of these primal powers and cycle. The deepest roots of your journey of soul — your life’s purpose, true nature, best gifts, core healing and personal transformation — find their origins in the still, sacred darkness of your inner landscape.
This sacred dark of the Mother Earth, your inner landscape and the mysteries that underlie everyday existence can’t be easily described or comprehended. By its very nature, the sacred dark is the great unknown of hidden powers and knowledge, and the lost parts of our personal stories and collective humanity. It holds both the seeds of new beginnings and the composting decay of death from which life emerges and returns to at the end of its days.
In all these ways, and so many more, the sacred dark is the realm of the Dark Goddess whose death-rebirth magic rides the raw, transformative edge between life and death, light and shadow, beauty and wounding, and joy and sorrow.
Our modern-day sensibilities, locked on the external, material, light-filled world of the things we know and understand, don’t teach us about these deep roots of our spiritual pathwork. We’re conditioned to skim the surface in our life travels, seeking outward for direction and guidance. We’ve forgotten and fear the primal ways of the sacred dark, of Nature, of soul, of the Goddess.
Yet this was not always so. Ancient tales of Inanna and Persephone gift us with the myth of the hera’s journey. In this myth, the Goddess chooses to leave the land above and descends to the realm of the Dark Goddess, the Underworld; She travels the ways of this realm, embracing its mysteries and suffering its trials; and She dies and is reborn, returning to the land above in Her full maturity and powers.
The hera’s journey provides invaluable teachings that can help you navigate the deepest roots of your journey of soul, and source the primal, transformative powers of the sacred dark.
Here are four lessons from this potent myth to guide your spiritual pathwork in the fall season.
Excerpt from: The Path of She Book of Sabbats
In the midday brilliance of the Summer Solstice, find a comfortable place in your home by an open window or a private space outside to do your meditation. Bring your attention to your center and imagine breathing in and out from your solar plexus. Feel your belly rise and fall with the movements of your breath. Slow your breathing down and track its reflexive, rhythmic cycle from fullness to emptiness, fullness to emptiness, over and over until your body is relaxed, your mind is empty, and your consciousness is deeply anchored in your inner core.
With a soft-focused gaze, open to the signs of Summer in your part of the world: the dry heat, the sun-bright green edges of leaves, the fragrant smells of flowers and grass, and the infinite other ways Mother Earth is blossoming around you.
See what plant, bird or other wild thing catches your attention, and notice its beauty and behaviors. Know that this plant or creature is doing exactly what it is meant to do, in accordance with the blossoming instincts of its unique essence and purpose.
Close your eyes and use your breath to shift your awareness down through your flesh and bones, and into the depth of your inner landscape. Draw the enervating powers of sunlight deep inside of you and feel it spark your blossoming instincts.