Posted in:   Sabbats

A Spring Equinox Mystery: Demeter and Our Spiritual Evolution

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 this awakening and Great Turning, Persephone is your teacher. She sought out Her wholeness in the belly of the Underworld, willingly suffering its trials and lessons to test and come to know Herself in the fullness of Her being. By these travels, Her power and selfhood were honed, and She returned to me maiden no longer, but Goddess and Queen in Her own right.

“So too humankind has lived the full range of its nature, both the shadow and light, and horror and beauty. As you individually and collectively emerge from your travels in the Underworld of humanity’s shadow-side, you can follow Persephone’s example. You can become powerful and wise enough to embrace the full breadth of your human nature, ancestral heritage and life experiences — the good with the bad, and the shadow with the light — and in doing so, you become a child no more, but a person honed and matured by your trials and lessons.”

In the warm circle of Demeter’s mother love and wise words, the cold grip of Her remembrances and the lingering despair of the ancestors begin to fade, calling you back to the springtime brilliance of the surrounding meadow.  Whatever pain you feel or burden you carry from your personal and ancestral stories have brought you to this evolutionary cusp. You need not be trapped by a past that no longer serves you; instead you can use its trials and lessons to fuel your journey of soul, and help you step out of this old tale and your own old story, and into a fresh new beginning.

“It is time for we ancient ones to find our rest,” Demeter says, “Humanity’s long winter of soul is ending. The ancestors’ stories are done. They have served their purpose of bringing you to this evolutionary, awakening moment of choosing the Great Mother’s life-centered ethos once more, from a place of power and wisdom. We pass this blessed world on to you. What comes next will be of your choosing and making.

“Let your suffering be the compost that feeds your new growth, and let your joy draw your hungry limbs upward to embrace life. Trust yourself. Trust each other. Begin again.”

Demeter smiles and runs a single finger along the contours of your face, as if to memorize its cherished details. Then She fades into the green meadow and clear blue, cloudless sky. Bird song fills the air. The tips of nearby branches sport the brownish-green of new-formed buds. The air is still, warm and sweet.

Freshly emerged from the Underworld into the sunlit realm, you bridge the divide between what was and what can be. Fill yourself with Demeter’s wise words and Persephone’s powerful teachings; know that this is truly a turning moment in your spiritual evolution and that of our human species. Then give yourself over to the primal promptings of Spring. Turn your face back to the life-affirming ways of the Great Mother. Commit to cultivate the change that will help new growth emerge from the rich compost that is your life and ancestral heritage.

Don’t disappoint Demeter. She has left this precious world in your trembling hands.

Excerpt from The Path of She Books of Sabbats: A Journey of Soul Across the Seasons.

Let The Path of She Book of Sabbats 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.

A Path of She Book of Sabbats: A Journey of Soul Across the Seasons.

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