Sabbats

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

with the Path of She Book of Sabbats. 

Buy now at the Path Store.

 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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Fall Journey: The Sacred Dark, Persephone and Your Hera Path

Excerpt from: Fall Journey – Your Hera Path: Seeking Your Spiritual Roots: Available at the Path Store.

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.

Follow in Persephone’s footsteps. Begin your hera journey. Descend into the sacred dark in search of the deep roots of your next cycle of spiritual growth.

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.

You too are an inhabitant of Mother Earth, with your primal instincts connected to these natural rhythms and cyclical powers of light, life, darkness and death. The softer light, colder weather and shorter days speak to your creature body, prompting you to make changes in your life.

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.

On your Fall Journey, Persephone can guide your hera journey of descent into the rich depths of the Underworld realm of the sacred dark, sourcing its hidden mysteries and gifts as you seek out the deep roots of the new cycle of spiritual growth emerging for you at this time. 

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

A Lammas Teaching: The Seasons and Cycles of Breath

Excerpt from The Path of She Book of Sabbats.

Our journey of soul is like breath.

On the in-breath, we enter deep inside of ourselves, to the well-spring of our soul and the mysteries of the sacred dark, seeking guidance and inspiration for our pathwork of healing and transformation, and the seeds of our beauty and wounding that are ready to return to the light of our waking-world consciousness.

At Lammas, your journey of soul is like breath. The outer arises from the inner, and then returns to your fertile center to give rise to your next cycle of life.

On our out-breath, we turn our focus outward, embracing the enervating powers of light and life and letting the seeds of our pathwork express and reveal themselves in the machinations of our everyday existence. Life is our teacher, bringing us the insights, energies and experiences we need to heal, grow and blossom in the sunlit world.

On our return in-breath, we gather up and take back inside everything that we have learned and experienced. We harvest our healing work and life story, and ingest their transformative lessons, letting them nourish and change us. And in this process, we become a newer, more profound and brighter version of our Deep Self.

The turning of the seasons is like breath.

On the in-breath, the natural realm turns inward as the balance shifts from light and life to darkness and death. Nature sinks into stillness and repose, while the land rejuvenates and the seeds of the new gestate in the belly of the dark.

On the out-breath, the returning light and warmth awaken the sleeping seeds of life within the land. Roots dig deep and green tendrils reach upward to kiss the sun. Everywhere in Nature, creation expands outward in a rampant, stunning display of the beauty and abundance of new and blossoming growth.

On the return in-breath, the living world offers up the fruits of its labors for the harvest. The death and sacrifice of some threads of life ensure the nurturance and continuance of others. Yet nothing is truly lost, for contained within death are the seeds of a new season and a future harvest.

And then the cycle begins anew, always turning, never-ending, one breath, one season, one chapter on our journey of soul is followed by the next. In these ways, life sustains and creates more life, and the light of our soul shines ever brighter.

Our busy modern world is not like breath. If anything, we are fixated on a perpetual out-breath, with its expansive, external focus. We are always doing and striving, charting our passage through life by the material markers of achievements and possessions. More is better. Growth is everything.

Yet we can never escape the natural order of things. We can’t breathe out, without breathing in. The outer arises from the inner, and that which grows and expands, in the end, returns to the still, fertile center of things to feed and give rise to the next cycle of life.

Individually and collectively we have reached the end of our extended out-breath. It is time to turn our focus to the return in-breath of harvesting and ingesting what we have learned from the fruits of our efforts, and of winnowing out what needs to die and be sacrificed in service of the balance and wellness of the whole.

This is the work of Lammas, where profound, consciously chosen endings gift us with the seeds of profound, life-serving beginnings, and from these seeds our lives and our world are renewed and reborn.

Celebrate Lammas with the Path of She Book of Sabbats. 

Buy now at the Path Store.

 Photo Credit: Rachel Lynette French on Unsplash

 

 

Summer Journey: Thou Art Goddess

Excerpt from Summer Journey: Thou Art Goddess

The Goddess, in simple terms, is the feminine of Divinity, the sacred feminine. Pagan teachings tell us that She is immanent: She exists everywhere and can be found in all things. She is Mother Nature, the living body of the Earth, and the seasons and cycles that govern the physical world and our human lives through birth, life, death and rebirth. Her deepest presence is a golden love from which life emerges, is nurtured, and returns to at the end of its days.

Claim your Inner Goddess wisdom. Align with Nature’s powers of light and life. Blossom as your true, beautiful Self. Your Summer Guided Journey awaits you!

You come to know the Goddess not through words or ideas, but through direct experience of Her presence and ways. Each turning of the seasons offers an opportunity to engage an aspect of the Goddess or God that is reflected in the mysteries and energies of the season. The Goddess who comes to greet you in the summer season is your own Inner Goddess.

The Goddess is a part of you, and you are a part of the Goddess. Your miraculous body is woven of Her sacred matter, your shining soul is a fragment of Her shining presence, and Her golden love flows through your best qualities of goodness and generosity, and your courage and compassion in the face life’s challenges.

You are Divine. You are beautiful. You are precious and worthy beyond your wildest imagination. Your deepest presence is love. You have special gifts and a sacred purpose that are yours alone to share with this world. You are an essential part of the great weaving of life that calls you to blossom and flourish in the summer season, and offer up your very best gifts and qualities for the well-being of the whole.

These are not just pretty words. They’re the lost truths of your Divine origins and Goddess heritage. They apply not just to you, but to every single living being of this Earth: from the tiny plankton to the majestic blue whale; a single blade of grass to the Amazon rainforest; the red-breasted robin to the fearsome condor. The earth, the air, the water, and the life-light within, these too are sacred, precious and essential for our shared existence.

Your Inner Goddess knows these things. She remembers the ways and mysteries of Nature and the sacred feminine, and can help you discover and claim the parts of your true beauty and sacred purpose that are ready to blossom at this time.

See the summertime magnificence of Nature through your Inner Goddess knowing. Wild creatures and green-growing things cannot help but blossom into their true beauty and sacred purpose in the life-giving powers of Summer. Each is doing exactly what it is meant to be doing in the prime of its life; their physical forms and outward behaviors are natural, seamless expressions of their inner essence and primal drive to flourish.

From the bees busy gathering nectar and pollinating plants in their travels, to the raspberry bush offering up its delicious fruits for hungry bellies, to the birds who feast on this fruit and spread it seeds, to the swaying canopy of the giant maple tree that is home and habitat to these birds and many other wild creatures — this is the way life is meant to be, a living, breathing world of interconnected beings doing their destined part to ensure the health and well-being of the whole.

Our human world doesn’t work in these ways. Most people don’t live connected to their inner essence; they don’t bloom into a beautiful, full expression of themselves and their sacred purpose in life; and they don’t offer up their best gifts to ensure the health and well-being of the whole. Much of the unhappiness and destructive impulses of humankind find their source in this core wounding.

Consider these cold, hard truths in relation to your own life. Think about the masks that you wear and the roles that you play in your everyday existence that disconnect you from your true, beautiful Self. Open to your inner longings and unmet needs to live an authentic life, sourced from your inner essence and sacred purpose. Let yourself feel the unhappiness, pain and loss that arise from this disconnect.

This is one way of living. There is another, surrounding you at this very moment, in the beauty and blossoming of Mother Earth. This is the life-centered ways of the sacred feminine, revealed in the abundance of Nature and the goodness in the world, with your Inner Goddess as your guide.

You’ve never lost your Inner Goddess, nor your connection to the ways of the sacred feminine and the living truth of Nature. There’s no separation between you and your true beauty and sacred purpose. These things have always been waiting for you to show up and reclaim them as your own.

In Summer, with the powers of light and life at their peak, it is these very things that call you to take your destined place in the sun-bright world, alongside the wild creatures, green-growing things and your fellow humans. It is time for you to live from your very best gifts and qualities, and to play your part in ensuring the health and well-being of our shared human society and Earth home. This is how you can transform your life, and help build a better, more beautiful, kinder and joyful world. You need to simply show up as your true, beautiful Self.

You are ripe. You are ready to blossom and flourish. Your Inner Goddess can show you the way.

Learn more about the Path of She Summer Guided Journey at: http://www.pathofshe.com/public_html/summer-journey/