In late December, I decided to do a major house clean to have a fresh start to the new year. When moving a cabinet, I found a tiny fridge magnet amidst the dust and debris, with the single word — “Here”.
I laughed out loud and immediately pinned this word up on my bulletin board as a reminder for the new year. The Mysteries, with their quirky, in-your-face communication style, were hammering home a message they’d been giving me over and over during the holiday season. In our community Yule and Winter Solstice celebrations, we have a tradition of pulling divination cards for the new year. Every card I pulled was a version of a common theme: surrender to the process; have patience and await the will of the Mysteries; don’t lust after outcomes; something must die for something new to be reborn.
Here and now in the Northern Hemisphere, January is in the throes of the winter season. This is the time of the Dark Goddess and Her rebirth magic, where new beginnings arise from the vast unknown of the sacred dark, and death, endings and wounding are essential for the birth of new possibilities and growth.
Like so many people, I find January a trying month. I’ve already had enough of the dark, cold, dreary days, and crave the return of bright sunshine and warm weather. Though I’ve done my deep magic at the Winter Solstice, come January 1st, my New Year’s resolution mindset kicks in, shifting me into the outcome focus of goal setting and action taking.
Yet something else in me, more primal and wise, resists these outer-directed activities in favor of rest, simplicity and a slower, inside-out focus and pace. Every January, I struggle with these counter impulses: one arising from my cultural conditioning and the other from my soul-based knowing. I get the Mysteries’ message, loud and clear: this culture-soul split within me is my transformative edge and pathwork for the coming year (and beyond), as is the imperative to be here now, in presence and surrender to this journey that is my life.
Though this is most certainly a personal directive for me, it’s also a collective message for our spiritual pathwork in these edgy, world-changing times. When I open myself to this collective message from the Mysteries, this is what comes through.1. The here and now encompasses the totality of our life experiences.
The here and now includes both the everyday reality of what we know and directly engage, and the vast expanse of the unseen and unknown. It’s a whole, round, complex thing woven of the many strands of our life story and shared society: the light and the shadow; the beautiful and the wounding; the parts of us that we honor and cling to, and those that we repress and run from.2. The here and now is a state of being.
To be here now requires that we be fully present — open, empty and curious — to this whole, round, complex thing that is our existence, and to the specifics of what is happening in and around us in real time. There’s no past, other than how it’s currently revealing itself, and there’s no future. All we ever truly have is this moment, then the next, and the next. Like breath, the moments and specific times in our unfolding life are here and then gone, here and then gone, one naturally following the next, over and over and over.3. Life-changing healing and transformation happen in the here and now.
In any given moment, exactly what we need to heal and grow stirs in our inner landscape and shows up on our doorstep. The kind of truth that can mend our soul and set us free is already here, poking and prodding us to pay attention and do our spiritual pathwork. This is here and now pathwork, requiring our full presence and commitment to: follow where this healing moment leads us; seek out the missing parts of our Self and life story that are ripe for our conscious engagement; and do the hard, wondrous work of transforming our life. One healing moment naturally leads to the next in this unfolding journey of soul.4. To be in the here and now, we need to step past our cultural conditioning.
Our Western-world culture is the antithesis of the here and now. We fixate on a physical, intellectual version of reality that represses and fears the unseen and unknown, and the shadowy, wounded aspects of our personal life and shared humanity. We cling to the past, obsess about the future, and rarely find ourselves in the present moment. Our conception of change is all about ego, willpower and concrete outcomes, skimming the surface rather than engaging the depths and mysteries of true, transformative, here-and-now change. To be in the here and now, we need to shed our cultural conditioning, and learn new ways of understanding and engaging ourselves and our world.5. The here and now is this present time and moment.
The Mysteries have impeccable timing. They’re delivering this collective message in this present time of the winter season, with its Dark Goddess mysteries of the sacred dark and rebirth magic that can help us step past our cultural conditioning, and step into a greater reality and way of being that are in alignment with the here and now.
The Dark Goddess takes us into the depths of the sacred dark, within and without, where we can reclaim what our culture has taught us to deny and reject: the mysteries of the unseen and unknown; the shadow and wounding of our life story and collective humanity; and the lost treasures of our secret desires, sleeping beauty and dormant potential. This spiritual pathwork is truly of the here and now, requiring a loving presence of emptiness and curiosity, and an unwavering commitment to seek out the greater truths that are the lost strands of the here and now of our life, and the deep roots of our transformative change at this time.
The Mysteries offer us this message in this now moment as this year of world-changing turbulence and disruption, comes to a close, and the new year begins with an edge that promises more of the same. Change is coming, deep, fast and bumpy, and the stakes have never been higher, personally and collectively.
Whatever you need to heal what is broken, inside and outside, awaits you in the vast unknown of the sacred dark. Whatever is coming next will be reborn from this whole, round, complex weaving of the here and now of your life and our world. This is the transformative, rebirth magic of these here and now times.
If you’d like to further explore this winter season pathwork with the Dark Goddess, check out the latest offering in the Path of She Guided Journey Series:
Winter Journey – Your Rebirth Magic: Braving Your Inner Darkness
Turn Inwards ~ Discover Your Rebirth Magic ~ Make Your Life Anew
Let the Dark Goddess be your guide in this season of the sacred dark and magic of rebirth.
Your Winter Journey includes seven lessons with integrated teachings, exercises and journal tasks in: the Winter Journey Guidebook (pdf ebook), Winter Journey Journal (pdf ebook), and Winter Journey Guided Meditation (mp3 audio).
Winter Solstice excerpt The Path of She Book of Sabbats.
On the longest night of the year, in the thick of the mysteries of the sacred dark, turn your mind to the Great Below and the fearsome voice of Ereshkigal:
“I am the still, held breath of the dark that precedes the dawn.
I am the hands of the Earth that cup the seeds of new life.
I am the dark powers that pulse within the fleshy matter of your body.
I am the death that promises rebirth, and the kiss that awakens you from your death slumber.
I am the keeper of the lost parts of your soul, and of secrets that can set you free.”
Inanna turned Her mind to the Great Below and Her Goddess sister Ereshkigal. She surrendered everything, even Her life, to the Underworld mysteries of death and rebirth. And through these mysteries, Inanna was transformed into Her full Goddess presence and power.
As terrifying as this journey may seem, know that its rewards are immeasurable. On this darkest of nights, the seeds of brilliant new beginnings, within and without, are stirring from their death sleep, ready to return from the darkness to the light.
Ereshkigal does not rise from Her throne as you enter Her inner sanctum. She is dressed in a red velvet sheath that molds itself to Her voluptuous, curvy form, with a silver circlet as a crown and silver snake bangles on Her ankles and wrists. A smoky heat and feral power rises from Her amber skin and strong, bare limbs, marking Her as a dangerous, commanding being that could easily reduce you to ashes. With an imperial scrutiny, She pierces through your outer veneer into the core of your being. There is no hiding in Ereshkigal’s realm.
Hold your own under Ereshkigal’s probing, black-eyed stare, and stay in your center and power. As formidable as She appears, Ereshkigal’s intention is to help you, not to harm you, though She will ask much of you in service of your greater becoming.
“I know why you are here,” Ereshkigal says, “You have dared to stand before my throne in the Great Below because you seek the miracle of my rebirth magic in your own life and journey of soul, where new beginnings emerge from death and darkness. But be warned, there is a price to be paid for so potent a magic. As the new dawn is born from the darkest night, so too the beautiful new beginnings you desire emerge from the depth of your wounding.
“Long has been the dark night of soul of your human species. Long have you done great harm to each other, and to the good green Earth. Long have you run from the pain and sorrow of this grievous wound. Whatever personal wounding you carry is a reflection of this greater harm.
Ereshkigal leaves Her throne and circles around you. Her movements are sinuous and creature-like, and Her nostrils flare as She sniffs the air, seeming to take your measure from the scent-signature emanating from your form.
“However you have learned to deny and hide from your wounding will not serve you in your pathwork with me,” Ereshkigal whispers in your ear, “I strip you of these things so you can see the truth that is your life and your world, though you travel my ways by your own freewill, and I never ask more than what you are able to bear.”
She presses Her hands, firm and hot, into the front and the back of your mid-torso. Your mind and body become still, silent, empty. Whatever you think you know, think you are, think you want, vanish. There is only the pulsing, fleshy darkness of your inner landscape and the pulsing, potent darkness of Ereshkigal outside and inside of you.
As Ereshkigal withdraws Her hands, something passes through your skin. She uncurls Her fingers and two shining seeds rest within Her open palms.
“These are the seeds of your beauty and wounding that are waking within you,” She says, “Within their compressed interior are the makings of a bright new beginning — a magic that can heal your soul, brewed from the illuminating meeting of your beauty and wounding. You cannot reclaim one without the other.”
Ereshkigal turns your hands palm upwards and places the warm, pulsing seeds within their cupped interior.
“These seeds come with challenge and choice,” She says, “You can take them inside of you and then change will come. Or you can cast them back into the dark. But to no avail, because change will still come. What is waking in you will not let you rest until you have taken the next step closer to the soul-based life you are meant to live, and the new dawn waiting to be born from your inner darkness into the sunlit world.”
The darkness around you begins to lighten as the longest night gives way to the new dawn. Ereshkigal and Her realm grow fainter and fainter until they disappear altogether. Yet the power of Her presence and words remain, beckoning to you from the shining seeds.
One more time, be brave. Raise your hands to your lips and swallow the magic of these seeds whole. Take them inside of you and feel the stirrings of a new dawn within your gestating interior. Though you cannot know where these seeds will lead you in the months to come, you have dared the Great Below and claimed its powerful rebirth magic as your own. You have taken the next step into the soulful life that is yours to live and in the weaving of a new-made world.
Give yourself a gift of soul this Yule season. The Path of She Book of Sabbats takes your deep into the Winter Solstice mysteries of death, rebirth and personal transformation. Available in paperback and e-book at the Path Store.
Artwork by Julie Dillon
Winter can be an edgy time. Nature strips itself bare in the face of harsh conditions of darkness, cold, death and scarcity. These natural occurrences can trigger our primal fears of darkness, death, and the loss and suffering that come with our mortality. Our winter-season spiritual work can also be edgy as we turn inward to the dark, hidden places in our inner landscape, and come up against the painful, vulnerable parts of our life story.
It’s this very edginess that makes Winter one of the most powerful times of the year for transformational pathwork. Winter is the season of the Dark Goddess and Her rebirth magic. From darkness and death, new light and life are reborn. From the dark night of our personal wounding, we reclaim and rebirth our true, beautiful Self.
Here are four transformational lessons for your personal rebirth magic in the winter season.
1. Your personal rebirth magic arises from the depths of your inner darkness.
Rebirth is a potent magic. It offers profound transformational change that can make your life anew. This magic doesn’t come from an outside source, nor from the things you already know and understand about yourself and your life. Rebirth is a special kind of transformative magic that emerges from the lost, forgotten and denied parts of your life story, secreted away in the dark folds of your inner landscape.
In Winter, Nature reveals the powerful workings of the Dark Goddess’s rebirth magic. Beneath the outer dormancy and death of the natural realm, the seeds of Spring’s new growth gestate in the dark belly of the Earth. On the Winter Solstice, the darkest night births forth the light of the new solar year. Life and light are reborn from death and darkness.
Together these seeds can illuminate and guide your healing and personal growth in the months to come. When you find and reclaim your wounding, you awaken and reclaim your beauty. Just as life and light are reborn from death and darkness, so too your true beauty is reborn from your deep wounding — this is the personal rebirth magic that can make your life anew.2. Your wounded self is your ally, not your enemy, on your journey of soul.
When you turn to your inner darkness in search of the deep roots of your healing and personal growth, you’re going to encounter your wounded self. This is the part of you that carries your experiences and stories of loss, pain and sorrow, as well as your personal dysfunctions and tangled emotions related to your wounding experiences.
Our culture teaches us to fear and repress our wounding, and to run as fast as we can in the other direction. Yet none of this works, and will only block and delay your healing and personal growth.
To embrace your rebirth magic is to make an ally of your wounded self. This part of you has suffered on your behalf, and deserves your love and tender attention. As your cherished partner on your journey of soul, your wounded self can guide your way through a painful, limiting past and into a new, more positive and empowering future.3. To transform your life, you need to cultivate inner emptiness: a silent, fertile space of what else is true and possible.
If you truly want to transform your life, you need to learn to cultivate inner silence and emptiness. Profound change, the kind the can make your life anew, happens when you step past the stuff-filled space of what you know, and your busy, noisy mind, into the open, empty space of greater truth and possibilities.
When you achieve this inner emptiness, you also become your own sacred witness — a silent, loving presence that watches whatever shows up in your inner emptiness, with curiosity, compassion, respect and gratitude. The silent witness doesn’t judge, take action or seek resolution.
Though these skills aren’t easy to master, they’re invaluable to your spiritual pathwork, and the ongoing challenges of your everyday life. What happens in this convergence of inner emptiness and sacred witness is transformational magic: whatever you need to focus on in your life, right now, shows up to guide your healing and personal evolution.
4. Whatever shows up is your work of soul at this time.
You are master of your own journey of soul, working at the level of depth and pace that are right for you. Self-care and self-responsibility are essential to your spiritual pathwork. And you always have a choice whether or not to do the soul work that shows up in your inner emptiness and explorations of your inner darkness. But you don’t control what shows up.
Life is meant to be a tricky, bumpy business. Great beauty, wisdom, complexity and resilience can emerge from the depths of our struggles. And sometimes things have to end, to die, for something new to be born. This is just how things are, inevitable, inescapable and essential for our healing and personal growth.
In your rebirth pathwork, honor that whatever shows up is your soul work at this time. Let your wounding and your beauty inform and guide your spiritual journey in the months to come. Expect things to be messy, challenging and confusing, as well as inspiring, breathtaking and life changing. Your life story, everything you’ve experienced, the beautiful and the wounding, matter; it’s the very stuff of your rebirth magic that can mend your soul and make your life anew.
Winter Journey – Your Rebirth Magic: Braving Your Inner Darkness
Turn Inwards ~ Discover Your Rebirth Magic ~ Make Your Life Anew
Let the Dark Goddess and Nature guide you in this season of darkness, death and rebirth magic.
Your Winter Journey includes: two pdf ebooks the Winter Journey Guidebook and Winter Journey Journal, and the Winter Journey Guided Meditation (mp3 audio).
Excerpt: Path of She Book of Sabbats
The natural world and our human psyches turn toward the mysteries of death at Samhain. Cold and darkness descend upon the land, and the wild world shifts into decay and a death-like sleep. In many cultures, this time of year is marked by offerings and rituals to honor the dead, our beloved ancestors.
Usually we don’t like to think about death. Most of us run as fast as we can from the frightening specter that decline and death conjure in us. It is the ultimate irony that the moment we are born into life, with our very first breath, we are also born into death. And we must live every moment, every breath, knowing that we will die, and that everything around us, all that we love and cherish, will eventually come to decay, to death, to dust.
Samhain teaches us that there is no hiding from death. It comes in the falling of leaves, the lengthening darkness and the cold grip of Winter. It comes in our remembrances of our beloved ancestors that have passed on. It comes in the wrenching of our heart as we witness a dear one slip from this world into the next. It comes with the graying at our temples, the sagging of our flesh and the unstoppable march toward our last breath.
And death comes with gifts in hand if we have the courage to show up raw and naked to our pain, losses and fears.
that every breath is a miracle not to be wasted;
that each person, each creature and life form, is worthy, precious, sacred;
that life is oh so hard and oh so exquisite;
that pain and loss help us remember what we cherish most;
and that love, at the end of all things, is what remains.
Love is death’s most precious gift to us. Love, not money, possessions, career, social esteem and the many other alluring outer trappings of life, is the balm that soothes us in the face of death. Love is what connects us to those who have passed on. Love calls us to reach out and hold each other in our grief. Love is what joins us heart to heart and soul to soul to another. Love is our best offering from our Deep Self to the world.
Samhain is a time to contemplate the mysteries of death, not from a place of fear and resistance, but from an acceptance of death as a teacher and guide for the living. Yes we are born into life and born into death, and it is this very, inescapable fact that makes every moment so precious, fragile and bittersweet beautiful.
Death isn’t a summons to fear, it is an invitation to love, deeply, wildly, joyfully. And when death seeks us out at the end of our days, let our last breath be a prayer to love.
Honor the Mysteries of Samhain
with the Path of She Book of Sabbats.
Photo Credit: freestocks.org 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