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A Fall Equinox Meditation: Descent into the Sacred Dark

Excerpt from The Path of She Book of Sabbats.

At the twilight hour on the Fall Equinox, when daylight gives way to the dark, settle into an open, meditative state in a private corner of your home. Close your eyes and place your hands on your belly. Breathe in and out, in and out, focusing your awareness on the movement of your belly with breath, rounding outward and flattening inward, slow, rhythmic, entrancing. Feel your whole body soften and relax with every inhale and exhale.

Like Persephone, you must forsake the sunlit world of what you know and descend into the Underworld, in search of the new cycle awakening within you.

Draw your awareness inward, like turning all the lights out in your home and using a single candle to find your way in the darkness. Quiet your mind. Quiet the outside noises of the everyday world. Pay attention instead to the movements and sounds of your breath, slow in, slow out, slow in, slow out.

Turn your attention to the changing season outside your doorstep. Visualize the quality of the light and darkness, and the altered appearance of the trees and plants. Smell the fall scents in the air and feel the change in temperature on your skin. Sense the presence of the descending darkness, calling the natural realm to retreat inward to stillness and rest.

Breathe these seasonal shifts into your body and inner landscape. Imagine them calling forth your own shifting seasons from the hidden places inside of you. Sense them drawing up the deep mysteries and hungers within you, and the parts of you longing for your conscious engagement. Every new cycle begins here, in the powerful embrace of the sacred dark.

Like Persephone, you must forsake the sunlit world of what you know and descend into the Underworld, in search of the new cycle awakening within you. The guidance and answers you seek on your journey of soul await you there.

Take a few moments to check in with your emotions before you begin this journey. Whatever arises, acknowledge it and then let it pass through you. If you experience fear or resistance, take a few slow, full breathes and set the intention to only engage the pathwork that is right for you at this moment, and then let these emotions slip away as well.

Focus your awareness inward and call forth the part of you that knows the ways of Persephone and the sacred dark. Open to your profound hunger to experience and become more, and to seek out the lost pieces of your Deep Self and authentic humanity; here you will find your inner Persephone. Let this part of you lead the way, taking you to the outer edge of your known world to a portal that opens into the dark mysteries of the Underworld.

As you make your way to this portal, feel your feet solid on the ground and your breath and awareness centered within your core. Empty your mind, leaving behind any preconceived ideas or expectations you may have. You are traveling beyond what you know into the wondrous realm of what else is true and possible.

When you reach the portal, take in your surroundings and the powerful draw of the energies emerging from the opening before you. Breathe deep of the magic of the Underworld. Be clear in your intention to do your pathwork in service of your greater becoming and in alignment with your highest good at this time.

Then summon up your courage and determination to follow in Persephone’s footsteps, and say to the sacred darkness, “Show me what I need to know at this turning of the Fall Equinox. Show me where my journey of soul will take me next.”

Someone appears on the steps below you, a magical messenger come to guide your journey of soul. Take whatever time you need to connect, heart to heart and center to center, with this being who has especially shown up to support your pathwork. Speak your name and anything else that comes to you to share. Then reach for this messenger’s hand and follow her/him into the Underworld.

As you descend the stairs, stay with your hunger and curiosity, empty and receptive; you can’t discover anything new if you are too full of what you already know. When you reach the bottom, surrender yourself to your magical messenger and your own intuition and instincts, and see what comes to you.

Let whatever shows ups — images, insights, memories, directives and energies — flow through you. Grab or cling to nothing, just be with your messenger, be with yourself, be with the dark.

When your work together feels complete, let your messenger guide you back to the foot of the stairs. Say your goodbyes and be sure to express your heartfelt gratitude. Feel the rightness and goodness of the energy that flows between you, and know that you are mending and deepening your relationship with the sacred dark. Ask your messenger for his/her continued support as you embark on this new cycle of your journey of soul.

When you ascend the stairs, feel your experiences in the Underworld settle into your flesh and bones. Let them re-arrange your inner landscape in alignment with the profound roots of this new cycle awakening within you. Don’t rush to solidify any of this into words or plans of action. The mysteries of the dark need time to percolate in your psyche.

As you step over the portal’s threshold, you have returned to the sunlit realm of the world that you know. Feel this shift in energy from the dark back into the light. Let it register in your inner knowing and physical body so you will remember the embrace of the sacred dark when you encounter it again. Then bow to the Underworld, honor its beauty and place in your life and our world, and share your appreciation and gratitude.

It is time to return to waking consciousness. Drink in everything you have experienced. Let the connections you have made strengthen and anchor you in the mysteries of Persephone and the sacred dark.

Then use your breath to ground in your physical body and bring you back to everyday reality. Gently tap your body. Say your name out loud. Open your eyes and connect with the darkness that has descended during your meditation.

Know that your Underworld travels can be the beginning of a brave new adventure of healing your soul and transforming your life. Let these experiences and insights guide you in the months to come. Profound, lasting change finds its source in the mysteries of the dark and leads you home to your greater becoming and the beauty and power of your Deep Self.

Celebrate the Fall Equinox

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 Photo Credit: Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

Fall Teaching: Reclaiming the Goddess Mysteries of the Hera Path

Excerpt from The Four Seasons of the Hera Path.  Click here for your copy: FREE E-Book

Change is in the air. For millennia, humanity has rejected the ways of the Goddess and the mysteries of the sacred dark. We’ve lived a half-life, cut off from our deep roots in the Divine Feminine, the primal powers of Nature, and the profound beauty and magic of our body, shining soul and authentic Self.

The hera path directs your spiritual journey inward to the sacred dark where the transformative mysteries of the Goddess and your own life story await you.

Yet the season of humanity is turning, and a great awakening is upon us. The Goddess reaches for us, as we reach for Her. It’s time to reclaim Her hera path, and retell this sacred, transformative tale for these modern times. Here we’ll find the very things we need to guide our spiritual journey and quest for self-discovery, personal growth and spiritual evolution that can truly mend our soul and make our life, and our world, anew.

The Goddess and Her hera path are foreign to our contemporary sensibilities. The original Goddess hera tales have been mostly lost to us. What remains are fragments of myths, like those of Persephone and Inanna, whose deeper meanings and transformative teachings have been relegated to the fringe of our human society and psyche.

Instead, our mythic storytelling and meaning making are dominated by the powers and perspective of God and men. The hero’s journey — that comes to us through the comparative-mythology writings of the late, brilliant Joseph Campbell — is the prevailing mythic storyline of our human quest for personal and spiritual growth.

In its basic structure, the hero’s journey is a quest where outer trials and treasures fuel our spiritual adventures and personal growth: the hero begins in the everyday world, where he is given a quest or call to adventure; he sets out on a journey where he faces greats trials, usually with the help of an ally; he fights 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’ve been telling this hero-journey tale for thousands of years. Joseph Campbell found this story structure in important, surviving myths from around the world, including those of Buddha, Mohammad, Jesus and Moses. Frodo, Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter are contemporary examples of our continued reliance on the hero’s journey to tell big stories of spiritual adventure and personal growth.

But something is missing in these mythic stories. The hero’s journey is presumed to be a universal spiritual journey for humankind, when in reality it only speaks to the masculine, outer- and action-focused aspects of our human nature and spiritual growth. The missing mythic storyline is the hera path, with its inward-focused, Goddess-based tale of descent and return from the Underworld.

In its basic structure, the hera path has four phases: the Goddess descends into the Underworld realm of the sacred dark, leaving behind Her known world as She begins a new cycle on Her journey of self-discovery and spiritual evolution; She travels the ways of this realm, suffering its trials and embracing its mysteries of death and rebirth: She dies to Her old Self, and is reborn anew; She returns to the sunlit realm of light and life, transformed by Her travels into Her full maturity and powers: Queen and Goddess of the realms below and above, who bridges the primal powers of darkness, death, light and life; She walks the sunlit realm, at one with Her Goddess power and presence, leaving a trail of blossoming life in Her path.

When translated to your personal journey of soul, the hera path directs your spiritual quest inward to the sacred dark of your inner psyche and the mysteries that underlie waking reality. In contrast to the hero’s journey, there’s no outer enemy to battle, but more the imperative to brave the trials and challenges of your own life story, and to be present and empowered in the face of the raw truths of your experiences, both the beauty and wounding, and the light and shadow.

To reclaim the hera path is to embrace a Goddess-based conception of personal growth and spiritual evolution. You’re not trying to reach a rarified state of enlightenment that’s often associated with spiritual evolution, nor are you trying to emulate the qualities of someone or something outside of your Self. Instead, your journey of soul is about becoming a more evolved, whole, powerful version of your Self.  You show up to your life and spiritual pathwork with wisdom, love and self-acceptance,  knowing that darkness, death, trials and suffering are inevitable parts of human existence and your life story, and the very things that drive your spiritual growth and evolution.

The hera path has always held these transformative mysteries of the Goddess on our behalf. Persephone has been making Her journey of descent and return from the Underworld over and over again in the mythic realm, waiting for the time when we would once again seek Her guidance and wisdom on our journey of self-discovery and spiritual evolution. Her story, along with the more ancient tale of Inanna, are as potent and relevant now as they were in the distant days when they were first spoken, and maybe even more so given how long we’ve strayed from the life-giving, soul-nourishing ways of the Goddess, and how lost we’ve been from the deep roots and mysteries of our own Self and soul.

What is lost can be refound and reclaimed. As the seasons turn to Fall, Persephone waits for you at the edge of the known world, where the everyday gives way to the deeper Mysteries that underlie human reality. Her hand is extended, reaching to you with an open invitation to join Her at this edge place where the ancient hera path of the Goddess begins.

Click here for your free copy of Four Seasons of the Hera Path: FREE E-Book

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