For many years, I’ve been doing ritual work in anticipation of a momentous turning point in our human society — the Great Turning that would decide the fate of our species and our planet home. Life as we know it has been coming apart at the seams, with the turbulence and growing unrest in our political, economic and social systems, and the looming threat of global warming, driving us toward a moment of irrevocable change.
That moment has now arrived. The Great Turning is here, and it’s looking pretty ugly. The world has never been in more of a mess, with the worst of our humanity on full display. At the exact time we need to be getting our act together, we seem to be heading backwards on the crucial social justice, human rights, economic disparity and environmental issues that threaten to take us all down, and Mother Earth with us.
What comes to me as I dig deep into my magic to find my grounding and place in these chaotic, terrifying Great Turning times is a memory of a dark Samhain night, and a small circle of powerful companions gathered around the wild, fierce flames of a ritual bonfire.
In turns, we let the Mysteries speak through us. It’s the Dark Mother who comes to me, and this is what She says:
“This isn’t a time of despair, but of rejoicing. I don’t call for endings, but for new beginnings. And you don’t need to look further than your own self for the change this world desperately needs.
Don’t believe that you are worthless and made of base elements not deserving of redemption. Don’t believe that the hurts you carry are because of some flaw and distortion in your nature. These are lies that have been fed to you, to make you small, to make you weak, to turn you away from the beauty and gifts that shine so bright within the depths of your being.
For you are woven, like all of Creation, from the light and the dust of the stars. In your core rests a unique fragment of the star-bright Universe that is yours and yours alone. You were made to shine your light, brave, bold and brilliant, into the darkness.
No my children, now is not a time of despair, but of courage.
Step out of the shadows into the light of your own profound beauty. Shed the stories that make you so much less than who you truly are. Trust the path that I lay before you to find your way home to yourself, to love, to my life-giving ways.
Know that in healing yourself, you heal the world.
Shine. That is all I ask of you. Shine, as the brilliant, star-made creature that you are. Shine with your beauty, your presence, your love. Shine and the way forward will be made clear to a brighter, more loving and life-affirming future, with me and other waking ones by your side.
This is the moment; you are ripe, you are ready.
I share this memory with you as a gift from the Dark Mother to us, Her waking children, in our time of transition and great need.
I offer these words as a magic medicine and transformative prayer that can wake you up to your true worth, and place your feet firmly on a path of new beginnings.
I reach deep inside and deep outside of myself, from my shining to yours, knowing that together we can shift the tides of this Great Turning, and find a way forward to a better world.
Shine as you step into the star-bright being that you are.
Shine as you embrace and heal the shadowy, painful places inside of you.
Shine as you share your very best gifts with a hungry and waiting world.
Shine into the darkness of fear, greed, injustice and despair that plague our human society.
Shine with your presence, your voice, your actions, your love.
Shine as a beacon of light of what else is true and possible.
Shine, brave, bold and brilliant, and make our world anew.
Shine and we will light the way forward together.Check out Path of She book offerings in the Path Store.
Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash
The hero’s journey comes to us through the comparative mythology writings of the late, brilliant Joseph Campbell. Stripped to its basic structure: the hero is given a quest or call to adventure; he sets out on a journey, gaining allies, struggling through great trials, and growing through his experiences; he has to face 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 humans have been telling this tale through much of our history, most currently in some of our most beloved movies and books. Frodo, Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter have captivated us with their hero’s journey, activating the archetypal roots of this mythic story in our human psyche.
The assumption in many literary and academic circles is that the hero’s journey is a universal tale that speaks to our human quest for spiritual and personal growth. And though I love these hero stories as much as the next person, this assumption has never sat well with me.
In the basic structure of the hera’s journey: the Goddess chooses to leave the land above and descends to the Underworld; She travels the ways of this realm, embracing its mysteries and suffering its trials; She dies to Her previous life; and then She is reborn and returns to the land above, transformed into Her full maturity and powers.
Long, long ago, in our personal story, family history and the unfolding of humanity, She was lost to us — Goddess, Great Mother — priestess, healer, wise one — the sacred feminine within.
One half of the Universe, one half of our humanity, one half of our true Self — She who is wild and untamable — She who is liquid sensuality and earthly pleasure — She who wields the powers of magic and mystery — She whose laws are love and the nurturance of all life — were despoiled and repressed, until we learned to fear and forget Her very existence, and essential place in our inner landscape and shared society.
We became the lost daughters and lost sons, cutoff from the true power and presence of She as Goddess, woman and the feminine side of human nature. And we have been profoundly wounded, individually and collectively, ever since.
Yet things are shifting. Deep hungers are stirring within, arising from a sense that something essential, precious is missing from our life and world. We are waking and finding our way home to the Goddess, our true womanhood and sacred feminine nature.Dreaming of the Lost Daughter
When I began to write Tale of the Lost Daughter, I started from a place of emptiness, of opening to the Goddess to direct my writing and focus. I would sink into an altered state of awareness, place my fingertips on the keyboard and let the words flow onto the blank page of their own accord.
Early in this process, a dream story came to me. I was given a specific day — a very snowy, Saturday, December 21st. With this information I could pinpoint the year. At this time, I was still fast asleep in my corporate career and completely unaware of the depth of my discontent and unhappiness.
On this fateful night, surrounded by the magic of the Winter Solstice, I dreamed of finding a silvery, shining path between the worlds that led me to Hecate’s realm, the Dark Goddess who is the Mistress of the crossroads, and guardian of our human destiny. She bid me to look into Her magic cauldron where She revealed my life story, the beauty and the horror, and everything that I had forgotten and denied. From this place of greater awareness, She asked me to choose how I would live the rest of my life. And I made a vow to remember Her in my waking life and find my way home to Her sacred ways
Although I have no memory of this dream, shortly afterwards, in early February of the following year, I had a serious ski accident that changed my life forever. My skull was fractured, my face temporarily disfigured from a facial palsy, and my world so shook up that, once I recovered, I began to make dramatic changes. From that moment onward, my life was set on a new course of self-discovery and spirituality that I later came to know as the Path of She.
I was the lost daughter seeking my way home to the Goddess, my true womanhood and my own sacred feminine nature.A Story For These Times
In the natural course of writing Tale of the Lost Daughter, this very dream found its way into the text and became the inspiration for the book’s title. This wasn’t planning or artifice on my part, but more that this was the story that was mine to write and share, from one lost daughter to others.
Sarah, the main character, is a lost daughter who has the appearance of a perfect life, with a fantastic career and affluent lifestyle, yet, in the secret recesses of her inner world, she’s not happy or well. One evening, she has an emotional breakdown that wakes her up and sets her on a journey of discovering her feminine spirituality, magic, ritual and the Goddess.
Though it was my hands and mind that crafted Tale of the Lost Daughter, it was the Goddess Hecate who spoke through me, telling a story for these times. Her message is simple: listen to your soul’s longings that tell you that something essential is missing from your life; commit to follow where these longings lead you and you will find the precious things you have lost.
Like Sarah, if you have the courage to make these choices, change will come. The Goddess and your own soul and life story will guide your way home to the things you’ve lost and hunger for: your wild, untamed nature; sensuality and connection to the living Earth; the powers of magic and mystery; the love and nurturance that are the essence of the Goddess and your own sacred feminine nature; and your own beauty and sacred purpose.
The Goddess is calling you home. Open your heart and your senses to Her presence. Hear Her whispers on the wind: come, I am waiting for you. It is time. You are ready. You are ripe.
You don’t need to be skilled in these matters, or even understand what these things mean to answer the call of the Goddess. It’s enough to trust your soul’s longings and begin, and the skills, knowledge and experiences you need will come to you, in the right way and at the right time. My personal journey started with a vow to reclaim the Goddess and my true feminine nature. I made this vow in a dream I didn’t even remember at the time, and wouldn’t have understood anyways, and yet my life was set on a new course.
Now, many years later, I’m lost no more. The Goddess and Her sacred feminine ways are as natural to me as breathing. I’ve become a woman — doing the work of my soul and living nestled in the forest with my beloved family — I could never have imagined all those years ago. And the best is yet to come; after we’ve found what we’ve lost, the real adventure begins, taking us ever deeper into the mysteries and wonders of the Goddess, our wild, powerful feminine nature, and this amazing journey called life.
I reach out to you, waking person to waking person; come, it is time. We are ready. We are ripe.
Reclaim the Goddess with Tale of the Lost Daughter.
Artist: Heather McLean
The same message — one that seems simplistic and naïve at a quick glance — comes to me over and over again: to mend our soul and heal our world, we need only show up to the love that is Goddess, that is life, that is here, now, all around and within us.
This message first came to me in a group trance led by Starhawk at a spiritual retreat focused on being a positive agent of change in these turbulent, evolutionary times:
Our intention for the trance is to seek guidance from the Mysteries on how to shift the destructive ways of humanity. A sense of urgency and despair fuels our magic. The human world is a mess. We are destroying the planet. And time is running out.
As we close our eyes and begin to visualize together, someone suggests we head to the East, the direction of new beginnings. A path appears that leads to a broken-down stone castle, overrun with vines and weeds. People see and name what appears to them in this desolate place.
But I see only one thing: a voluptuous, naked Goddess floats above the ruins, on Her back, Her legs spread wide, with a river of golden honey flowing from Her yoni — down through the broken castle, down the path we have traveled, and out into the waking world. The image is so unexpected and outrageous that I have to push myself to share with the group.
I have no idea what this vision means. There’s a sense of disappointment with some group members. When you’re looking for practical, concrete spiritual guidance, what do you do with a larger-than-life, honey-gifting yoni?
Yet the peace and grace in this vision stays with me — a seed of wisdom, of power, of hope, of ease — gestating in the secret depths of my inner landscape.Waking to Her Golden Love
Fast-forward several years and many powerful magical and life experiences later — the vision returns to me and this time I get it.
I’m at a community ritual. We’re working with the wild winds of change charging through our waking lives and world. Each of us gives voice to the Goddess.
This is what She says through me: “I am here; the awakening is now.”
What does this awakening look like in my life? Big endings: my dear friend is dying of cancer in the prime of her life, leaving behind her young family. Big new beginnings: I’m publishing my first book, Tale of the Lost Daughter. These immense events push me to the limit and split me wide-open, with the powers of death and creation turned on high.
What comes through this chasm is love — from the community that holds my dying friend and her family in a 24/7 circle of support — from the Tribe that gathers close to witness and charge my birthing of Tale of the Lost Daughter into the world — from my pagan-circle companions who weave magic between the worlds with me — from my beloved partner, son and family who are the beating-heart center of my life.
I feel this love viscerally; it’s thick and sweet and golden. It coats my skin, fills my lungs and overflows from my heart. I lavish it on others, unable to staunch its flow, and let others lavish it on me in return.
The Goddess is here. She is this love. I am this love. It is everywhere and in everything.Mending Our Soul — Healing Our World
Fast forward a few more years to the present moment. The human world is still a mess. We’re still destroying the planet. Time is truly running out. Urgency and despair are still our shadow companions.
The broken-down castle of the vision is real. We bear witness to it every day in the dysfunction, injustice and destructive roots of our political, social and economic systems, and in the heavy burden of personal pain most of us carry from our life experiences and family history.
I turn to the Goddess for inspiration and guidance, continually asking the question: how can I be a positive agent of change in these turbulent, evolutionary times? I open my heart, step out of the way, and let her flow through me.
And I find myself writing and speaking about your beauty, your goodness, your power, your love; these precious, precious things are your, and my, best offerings to this world. I don’t turn away from your wounding, or mine, or the pain and horror of this world. These too are part of our journey forward, cupped in that golden love that is Her greatest gift to us and our greatest gift to each other.
My heart aches, with love, with pain, with life, with death, and with all the moments in between. Each struggle is an opportunity, to show up, to see clearly, to speak truth, to be changed, to love, and love, and love more.
The golden-honey yoni of the Goddess is also real and ever-present, lavishing us with Her life-centered and nurturing love. We’re not separate from this golden love. We don’t have to earn it. Nor do we have to spoon it out to others in small measures.
My mind, the part of me that wants direct, concrete action, still doesn’t understand these things. But that doesn’t matter. We can’t change this world just by doing things differently. First we have to become something different. That difference is the golden love of the Goddess. We must embrace and live this love, be this love.
Check out Path of She book offerings in the Path Store.
Our bodies and souls know the Goddess — from our first yowl of breath as our hunger instinctively reaches for the softness of breast and nourishment of milk — to the last emptying of our lungs when we surrender to Her gaping maw of death — She holds, witnesses and loves us. For we are Her sacred children.
After the harshness of winter, the blossom of chartreuse bud and wild flower return. The gentle dawn light follows the ebony velvet of darkest night. These things we know, can count on. Life cycles continually, miraculously from life to death to rebirth. Out of the vast potential of energy comes form, form inevitably decays and dissolves, only to be born again in new shapes and functions. These are the primal ways of the Goddess held in the dance of energy and matter.
In our ancient past, we knew these things and held the Goddess and Her life-giving ways as holy and central to our ways of living and dreaming. Though we have stepped off of Her path and onto another, always She calls us to return to our true nature and beauty, and our best, life-serving instincts.
On the Path of She, we turn our hearts and knowing back to the Goddess. We rediscover and reclaim Her presence and powers that lie in wait for us — within the most secret, silent places of our inner landscape — among the wild, wide wonders of the natural world — and in the mystery teachings preserved in Goddess traditions.
As we open to our hunger for our own hidden beauty and power, we naturally unleash our more primal hunger to be one with the powers of life and the ways of the Goddess. We heed Her call, and begin to live and dream our life anew.
Check out Path of She book offerings in the Path Store.