With the approach of the Fall Equinox, the energies of the sacred dark begin to stir in your inner landscape — calling you to a new cycle on your journey of soul — compelling you to seek within the secret desires, dormant potential and lost stories that can guide your spiritual pathwork in the weeks, months and seasons to come.
As the seasons turn from Summer to Fall, the days become shorter and colder as the powers of light give way to those of darkness, and the living world draws ever more deeply inward to rest, to quiet, to stillness. Nature abandons outward activity in favor of inner gestation, returning to the belly of the Mother Earth, the sacred dark, where the sleeping potential of new life resides.
Your life too is woven of these primal powers and cycle. The deepest roots of your journey of soul — your life’s purpose, true nature, best gifts, core healing and personal transformation — find their origins in the still, sacred darkness of your inner landscape.
This sacred dark of the Mother Earth, your inner landscape and the mysteries that underlie everyday existence can’t be easily described or comprehended. By its very nature, the sacred dark is the great unknown of hidden powers and knowledge, and the lost parts of our personal stories and collective humanity. It holds both the seeds of new beginnings and the composting decay of death from which life emerges and returns to at the end of its days.
In all these ways, and so many more, the sacred dark is the realm of the Dark Goddess whose death-rebirth magic rides the raw, transformative edge between life and death, light and shadow, beauty and wounding, and joy and sorrow.
Our modern-day sensibilities, locked on the external, material, light-filled world of the things we know and understand, don’t teach us about these deep roots of our spiritual pathwork. We’re conditioned to skim the surface in our life travels, seeking outward for direction and guidance. We’ve forgotten and fear the primal ways of the sacred dark, of Nature, of soul, of the Goddess.
Yet this was not always so. Ancient tales of Inanna and Persephone gift us with the myth of the hera’s journey. In this myth, the Goddess chooses to leave the land above and descends to the realm of the Dark Goddess, the Underworld; She travels the ways of this realm, embracing its mysteries and suffering its trials; and She dies and is reborn, returning to the land above in Her full maturity and powers.
The hera’s journey provides invaluable teachings that can help you navigate the deepest roots of your journey of soul, and source the primal, transformative powers of the sacred dark.
Here are four lessons from this potent myth to guide your spiritual pathwork in the fall season.
Excerpt from The Path of She Book of Sabbats.
As the sun begins its downward arc toward the horizon, the God Lugh greets you on the summit of a hill, backlit by soft, descending rays. His long flaxen hair is tied back with a leather strip and He is dressed in the simple, handspun garments of the country folk who worked the land in ages past. He smells of sunshine, soil and sweet growing things.
In the circle of His shining presence, you feel safe, protected and nurtured. Somehow you know that everything that He has to offer, He would gladly give to you and to others, and that wherever His blessed light touches the Earth, a natural abundance arises and flourishes.
With wide-sweeping arms, Lugh draws your attention to the panorama of golden fields that spreads out before you; tall, slender stalks of wheat bend and rustle in a hot wind, top-heavy and ripe for the harvest.
A sword appears in His hands, its hilt toward you and the tip pressed against His breast.
“Everything has its season,” He says, His sky blue eyes locking onto yours, “The seed of the new resides within the body of the living; the grain must be cut down for the seed to find fresh soil. All things of the material world are governed by this ever-repeating pattern; one cycle must end so another can begin.”
Lugh gently draws His fingertips across your field of vision, and your awareness shifts so you can view the landscape through His unclouded awareness. You take in the weaving of life that underlies the golden fields: the parched, barren soil, the particles of contaminants in the air, and the murky sludge in the nearby stream.
“Like the green-growing world, humanity has also come to the end of a cycle,” Lugh says, “For millennia, your species has lost sight of the natural ways and rhythms of the Mother Earth. You have taken more than She can bear, and despoiled the air, water and land that sustain you. Now you are reaping what you have sown; this imbalance has come to a breaking point, threatening the very elements that support human life.”
“I do not share these things to burden you with a vision of gloom and despair,” Lugh continues, “Within everything is the seed of a new season and a new harvest, and their miracle of a new, life-affirming beginning.”
The sword now appears with its hilt in Lugh’s hand and its sharpened point pressing against your tender skin.
“You too have come to the end of a cycle on your journey of soul,” Lugh says, “and your personal healing and evolution are intimately intertwined with that of humanity and the Earth.
“The outer imbalance in the natural world and the malaise of humanity reside within you, side by side with your inner imbalance and discontent; each reflects and informs the other. And the seeds of the new are there as well, within your living body and life story. With these seeds, you can mend and renew your life and this world. But there is a price to be paid for this miracle; you must be willing to change in profound ways.
The sun now brushes the horizon and you feel the chill of the impending darkness. Lugh’s light is dimming and you reach out to touch Him, and infuse yourself with His illuminating wisdom, wide-scope vision and truth-seeing powers.
A great sadness and sweet hope fill your heart, a knowing that a time of reckoning has indeed arrived and that you must change, humanity must change, if we are to preserve the beauty and abundance of the Mother Earth. Some things must end, must die, for something new to be reborn.
Lugh speaks to you one last time, “Remember that the seeds of the new are held within the body of the living. Everything you need to heal, grow and transform yourself and your world is present in this now moment, in the golden field that is your life story. Be guided by your journey of soul, and the endings and new beginnings that naturally arise within you, moment by moment, and season by season. Be bold, be brave, be wise. From the depth of this cycle, a profound new beginning arises.”
With a sudden gust of wind, Lugh and the hilltop vision are gone, transformed into a descending spiral of golden chaff. And in your cupped hands are the seeds, the miracle, of the new harvest to come.
Celebrate Lammas with the Path of She Book of Sabbats.
Artists: Brian Froud and Jessica MacBeth (Faery Oracle Deck)