Posted on:  Oct 7, 2021 @ 10:00 Posted in:  GoddessA Spiritual Journey to the Land of the Ancestors
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.
Beyond the trauma, how I care for my body speaks to how I treat the body of my Ancestors. Giving my body the food, sleep, relaxation, exercise and pleasure it needs to be happy and healthy are the ways I honor myself and my Ancestors, and how I show respect and gratitude for the precious gift of life and physical form that my Ancestors have given me.
This body of mine, the body of my Ancestors, is a great responsibility. It’s a miracle — a living, unfolding story — an opportunity for healing, growth and transformation — an invitation to joy, pleasure and love. Our Ancestors in the land of the dead no longer have access to this gift and miracle. There are things that they can’t undo, can’t experience, can’t touch and care for. Yet I can do these things on behalf of my Ancestors and family line.My Body Is an Ancestor in the Making
Life is short, and there will come a time when I’ll leave this world and join the ranks of the Ancestors. My physical body will be gone, but what I did with my body in this lifetime will continue on in the energetic DNA I leave behind. I can pass on the energetic lineage I inherited, or I can make this DNA anew, and gift the Descendants in my family line with something more healed and whole.
Perhaps more importantly, my son and the younger generation in my family witness and absorb how I’m living my life now. All the things I do, or don’t do, to respect and honor my body, and the gift of my life are on full display to the Descendants of my family line.
No one can live a perfect life. These insights from the Ancestors aren’t coming to me as a burden, or to increase my self-judgment and guilt. Instead the Ancestors are calling me to claim and rejoice in this precious body and life of mine, and to know that I have a great responsibility to them, to my Descendants, and to myself.
As always, the lessons from the dead remind us how to live.
Photo Credit: Benji Aird on Unsplash
With the arrival of Fall, change is in the air as the seasons of light and life turn once more to those of darkness and death. One cycle through these elemental forces comes to an end and another begins. The Fall Equinox is the tipping point, a brief time of balance between light and darkness, before the living world surrenders itself to the waxing powers of the sacred dark.
Light and dark modulate Nature’s primal cycle and responses. The weakening rays of the sun, nip of frost in the air, and ever-increasing erosion of daylight hours speak in the language of physical matter, and plants and creatures listen, adapting their appearance and habits in preparation for the coming Winter — trees shed their autumn foliage; plants give up their harvest, and then wither away; birds and animals shift into to their fall patterns of migration, hibernation, and stockpiling foodstuff for the barren days ahead.
These are the natural rhythms and ways of Mother Earth and Her wild inhabitants, dialed into a seasonal cycle that honors darkness equally to light, and balances times of outward activity and growth with inward focus and repose. In Fall, life instinctively returns to the rich, potent mysteries of the sacred dark where every new cycle and new beginning finds its deep roots and origins.
On a physical level, this may mean wearing warmer clothes, eating different foods, spending more time indoors, or turning the heat up on your thermostat. Deeper still, on the level of soul, you can follow Nature’s lead by slowing down, making room for repose, and reflection, and turning inward to the realm of the sacred dark to seek out the deep, spiritual roots of your new cycle on your journey of soul.
Here, in the rich, potent mysteries of the sacred dark, you can source these deep roots of your spiritual growth in the secret desires, hidden treasures, lost stories, sleeping potential, and other gifts that can inspire and guide your spiritual pathwork of transformative change in the weeks, months and seasons to come.
Every Fall, a new cycle of transformative change begins in the potent depths and great unknown of the sacred dark. Yet we don’t heed this primal truth in our busy, modern lives. We’ve been trained to look outside of ourselves for meaning and direction, limiting our awareness to the material, well-lit world of the things we already know and understand. We’ve forgotten and fear the transformative mysteries of the sacred dark, of Nature, of soul, and of the Goddess.
Every Fall, the Goddess Persephone reaches out with Her ancient story to help you remember and reclaim these transformative mysteries. Persephone’s tale comes from Greek mythology, and is founded in much older Goddess tales of the hera’s journey of descent and return from the Underworld.
Persephone’s tale can inspire you to gather the courage and commitment to embark on your own hera journey. As you travel this ancient path, following in Persephone’s footsteps by your own choice and freewill, much will be asked of you. You begin this journey when you step beyond the border of your comfortable, known world, and open yourself to the vast, unknown realm of the sacred dark. This isn’t a journey you can control or predict. Trials may arise to test and grow you. Your fears of the dark, the unknown, and the shadow places within you may be triggered.
These things are to be expected and honored, because the Underworld, like life, is meant to test and hone you through challenges and trials. Yet great gifts and treasures also await your discovery, because what you seek is nothing less than the deep roots and wholeness of your true, beautiful Self.
Your Fall Journey, through integrated writings, activities and a guided meditation, helps you explore and embrace these powerful teachings, and make them your own as you set off on your hera journey in search of the new cycle of spiritual growth that‘s stirring for you in the depths of the sacred dark at this time.
Open to Nature’s invitation to heed the strengthening, elemental powers of darkness. Embrace the sacred dark in your spiritual pathwork of transformative change. Follow Persephone’s lead, and begin your own hera journey of self-discovery, spiritual growth and wholeness. Call up your fierce courage. Step past your fears. Leave behind the things that bind and block you from your deep roots and wholeness. Then descend into the mysteries of the sacred dark, within and without, and let them guide your Fall Journey in search of the deep, spiritual roots of your new cycle in the fall season.
Fall Journey – You Hera Path: Seeking Your Spiritual Roots
Step beyond the world you know.
Discover the transformative mysteries of the sacred dark.
Claim the deep roots and hidden gifts of the next cycle on your journey of soul.
Your Fall Journey awaits you!
Photo Credit: Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Posted on:  Sep 23, 2021 @ 10:01 Posted in:  Sabbats
Spring is a time of rebirth and new beginnings. Nature buds and blossoms as the seasons of light and life return, and the Goddess offers up Her mysteries of spiritual evolution to guide your journey of soul.
With a Goddess-based conception of spiritual evolution, your whole life — everything you are and everything you’ve experienced — is part of a greater journey that drives your personal growth and spiritual evolution. Your intention on this journey is to become a more whole, mature, powerful version of your Self.
This season’s offering in the Path of She Guided Journey Series, Spring Journey: Your Spiritual Evolution, is grounded in the Mother-Daughter tale of Persephone and Demeter that speaks to this Goddess-based conception of spiritual evolution.
In the Fall, Persephone begins Her journey as a maiden who leaves behind the sunlit realm of Her Mother Demeter. She descends into the Underworld, and spends the Winter months traveling its mysteries of darkness and death, and suffering its trials.
In Spring, Persephone returns to Her Mother Demeter’s realm of light and life as a Goddess reborn into a more mature, evolved version of Her Self. She is the Queen of the Underworld and Goddess of Spring Growth, with a wholeness and bigness of being that is wise, loving and powerful enough to bridge and balance the immense, opposing energies of the death-centered Underworld and the life-centered sunlit realm. Where Persephone walks the Earth, She leaves a trail of spring flowers in Her wake.
Through this mythic Goddess tale, you can embrace a new understanding of your Self, your life story, and your journey of spiritual evolution. Here are four transformative teachings offered by these Mother-Daughter Goddesses, Demeter and Persephone, in the spring season.
1. New growth and beginnings arise from darkness, death, suffering and wounding.
In many spiritual traditions, spiritual evolution is associated with a rarefied, higher state of consciousness: one becomes enlightened, ascends to a higher frequency, and transcends the human, material condition.
The problem with this conception of spiritual evolution is that it’s elitist, granting spiritual superiority to the very few who can achieve this state of purity. It favors the path of the monk or ascetic who chooses to separate themselves from the complexities and messiness of everyday life. It negates the very substance of our human existence, that we are flesh and blood creatures, living in a material world. And, most importantly, it leaves out the vast majority of us traveling a sincere spiritual path of personal healing and growth in accordance with the dictates of our own soul and life story.
Nature and the Goddess illuminate a very different conception of spiritual evolution.
You don’t need to think of spiritual evolution as a rarefied state of enlightenment. Instead, you can understand and engage your spiritual evolution as a journey of new beginnings and growth that arise out of the darkness, trials, suffering and wounding of your life story. Rather than transcending these inescapable parts of your human experience, you can honor and embrace them as the very things that inform and nourish your journey of evolving into your full maturity and power.
2. Your life story is the vehicle of your spiritual evolution.
Persephone sets out on a journey of discovery and self-determination outside of the circle of Her Mother Demeter’s love and guiding presence. She has Her own, unique, personal experiences in the Underworld, separate from the ways of Her Mother and the sunlit realm She left behind.
This is Persephone’s story, not Her Mother’s, nor the story of any of the other Goddesses in the Greek pantheon. And it’s the full range of Her life story — with its beginning in the sunlit realm of Her maidenhood and innocence, travels into the depths of the mysteries and trials of the Underworld, and return to the sunlit realm, stepping into a new level of maturity, power and wholeness — that drives Persephone’s personal growth and spiritual evolution.
Like Persephone, you must consciously choose to set off on a journey of discovery and self-determination by stepping beyond the people and parts of your life that define and limit you, and descending into the mysteries and trials of your inner darkness. Here you’ll find everything you need — amongst the lost and repressed parts of your Self and life story that hold your beauty, wounding and dormant potential — to guide your new, spring-like beginnings of personal growth and transformation.
This isn’t the work of one season, but of a lifetime of descent into your inner darkness and personal trials, and return to the sunlit world of new beginnings and personal growth. The journey itself, drawing on the wellspring of your life story, is your spiritual evolution.
3. Equanimity is an essential skill on your journey of spiritual evolution.
Your spiritual evolution is driven by a special kind of transformative magic. Whenever diverse, opposing energies come together, and are held in a state of equanimity, something miraculous happens. Life is reborn in new, fresh ways that are only possible through the potent meeting and mixing of opposites.
Nature and the Goddess Persephone illustrate this transformative magic, and the essential role played by equanimity in the miracle of springtime rebirth.
In Spring, Nature reveals a living equanimity where the wild world is reborn through the balanced, harmonious interweaving of the primal, opposing forces of life and light, and darkness and death. When Persephone returns to Her Mother Demeter in Spring, She is reborn into a mature, evolved version of Her Self, whole and holy as the Queen of the Underworld and Goddess of Spring Growth. Persephone demonstrates Her equanimity through a bigness of being that is wise, powerful and loving enough to bridge and balance the divergent worlds of the death-centered Underworld and the life-centered sunlit realm.
This transformative magic equally applies to your spiritual pathwork. Whenever you consciously embrace and engage diverse, opposing parts of your Self and life story with equanimity, the miraculous happens. You heal, grow and evolve in powerful, new directions that can only arise out of the complexities and polarities of the wholeness that is your life.
4. Spiritual evolution is a journey toward wholeness.
In Her Underworld travels, Persephone reclaims the missing half of Her nature. Her maiden side lived in the realm of light and life, but She was incomplete without the part of Her that held the mysteries of the Underworld and Her experiences of death and suffering. Persephone isn’t one thing or another, but a wholeness that contains it all. In Spring, it’s Persephone’s wholeness, as the Queen of the Underworld and Goddess of Spring Growth, that reveal Her as a Goddess evolved into Her full maturity and powers.
Nature is this wholeness. It’s an ever-shifting balance and harmony of darkness and death with light and life. With the change of season, one state naturally steps into the foreground as the other recedes, but neither ever totally replaces the other, and both are absolutely essential and interdependent. It’s Nature’s wholeness that gives rise to springtime’s new, green growth.
This spiritual pathwork of seeking and reclaiming will naturally change and evolve you, deepening your spiritual maturity and power, and granting you a sense of peace and rightness as you live in accordance with the rich, complex wholeness that is your innate, true, beautiful nature.
Further explore these transformative teachings through the Spring Journey: Your Spiritual Evolution. The Spring Journey guides you through seven, integrated lessons that take you into the depths of your springtime personal growth and spiritual evolution. Each lesson is complimented with an awareness practice and journaling task to help you experience the teaching for yourself, and apply it to your journey of soul and everyday life.
Your Spring Journey includes: two pdf ebooks: the Spring Journey Guidebook and Spring Journey Journal, and the Spring Journey Guided Meditation (mp3 audio). The cost of this integrated Spring Journey package is $16.99.
Spring Journey – Your Spiritual Evolution: Embracing Your Life Story
Seek Out New Beginnings ~ Embrace Your Wholeness
~ Evolve Into Your Deep, Beautiful Self
Your Spring Journey awaits you!
Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash
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?
The Fall Journey: Your Hera Journey reconnects 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 hera 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.
The Fall Journey includes: a Guidebook (pdf ebook), Journal (pdf ebook), and Guided Meditation (mp3 audio) that offer an integrated, seven lesson program with wisdom teachings, awareness practice and journaling exercises, and a guided meditation.
Buy now at the Path Store: Fall Journey
Artwork: Karen Koski
At the edge of the edge of the sunlit realm, where a rough-hewn stone stairway leads down into the velvety darkness of the Underworld, Persephone awaits you, still and silent, wrapped in a black cloak that rustles in a bone-chilling wind. She is beautiful and fearsome, with penetrating dark blue eyes, pale skin, lips the rich red of pomegranate, and long, lustrous ebony brown hair.
This is not the young maiden Goddess, alight with joy and innocence, that you may have read about in the ancient tales, but a regal being who has fully claimed Her place and sovereignty in the great weaving of life.
Yet the season of humanity is turning and a great awakening is upon you. Your Deep Self is reaching for you, calling you to a life of soul and drawing you back to my side and the lost ways of the sacred feminine.”
She extends Her arm and you wrap your fingers in the soft, black folds of Her cloak. The space around you shimmers and morphs, and you find yourself transported to another time and place, looking out on a scene from when the world was fresh and new.
A younger version of Persephone plays in the meadow before you, picking flowers and smiling Her delight. Her face has the warm tones of skin kissed by sunlight and Her eyes are of a lighter shade of blue gray.
As you watch, the young Persephone wanders further and further from the meadow and the protective circle of Her Mother. Her light-hearted smile has been replaced by an intense focus, as if She is being drawn forward by a compelling, irresistible force.
A great fissure appears in the Earth at Her feet and a God-like being emerges. He emanates a powerful elixir of animal magnetism and ethereal beauty, as if He is equally woven of flesh and of light. A piercing cold spreads outward from His body, withering the wildflowers and yellowing the leaves within reach of His frosty breath. Yet His somber, coal-black eyes are filled with tender warmth as He gazes down at the lovely Persephone.
“Hades,” She whispers with a note of longing in Her voice and taking a tentative step in His direction.
For a moment young Persephone pauses, looking over Her shoulder from where She came and then down into the inky darkness before Her. And in this moment, it is as if you are inside of Persephone, feeling the push and pull of Her trepidation and profound hunger in the face of this vast unknown realm. A calm determination rises up from Her core, quieting Her fast beating heart and steeling Her resolve. Then She slips Her hand into Hades’s, a faint smile playing across Her lips, and the Earth closes over their heads, swallowing them whole.
The scene disappears and you are once more standing beside the older Persephone at the stone steps leading into the Underworld.
“Life never stands still,” Persephone says, “Something inside of us seeks the edges of what we know in search of our deeper and greater becoming.
As Persephone speaks, the light fades from the sky and a profound stillness settles on the land. Fall is in the air and the natural world, like Persephone, has begun its descent into the secret mysteries of darkness.
“I tell you my story so you may know the ways of the sacred feminine,” Persephone continues, “To seek the true power and nature of your Deep Self, you must step past the border of your known world into the depth of the Underworld that resides in the inner folds of your psyche and in the mysteries that underlie waking reality.
“When you brave the Underworld and travel its ways, you reclaim what has been lost, the sacred feminine and the sacred dark, and you begin the hard, hard work of returning balance and wholeness to your life and your world. Your journey will not be easy because the trials and revelations of the sacred dark are meant to test and teach you. And yet, if you follow in my footsteps and stay the course, healing and profound change will come.
Persephone places Her hand on your chest, sending Her wise teachings into the core of your being. Her story is your story, the story of the turning of the seasons into Fall, and the story of the unfolding of our collective humanity. Always at the Fall Equinox, the sacred darkness opens portals that beckon to a new cycle of healing and growth.
Then Her touch and Her presence are gone. Yet you are not alone at the portal to the Underworld. He waits for you on the stone stairs, a magical messenger to guide your journey back to your Deep Self.
“Come,” He says, His hand extended to you and His eyes brimming with tender warmth, “it is time for your awakening.”
Take His hand, descend; the sacred darkness and your deepest becoming await you.
Celebrate Fall Equinox with the Path of She Book of Sabbats.
Artwork by Orphne Acheron