At the portal where the Underworld opens to the sunlit realm, the Goddess Demeter waits for you, just as She has waited for Persephone from time immemorial. She is queenly in bearing and stature, clothed in a flowing gown of warm browns and soft greens, the colors of the good green earth. Her raven-hued tresses, faintly streaked with silver grey, smell fresh and fragrant, like rain-washed wildflowers. Though She smiles warmly in welcome, Her eyes, the blue black of a stormy sea, hold a great sorrow in their depth, and a great love.
One of your feet is still upon the cold, stone stairway that descends into the dark below, and the other touches the downy, green surface of Spring’s first grass. Both places lay claim to you: the Underworld with its mysteries and trials of darkness, sorrow and death, and the sunlit realm with its life-giving energies of light, joy and new growth.
Demeter reaches out a hand and pulls you upward into a mother’s embrace, tight and loving, with no separation between your two beating hearts. Then She takes your face between Her warm palms, gazing deep into your eyes and unearthing what you are made of and how you have changed since the last time She beheld your soul.
“Come, there are mysteries I would share with you so you will know the import of this turning point on your journey of soul, and in this Great Turning in the spiritual unfolding of humankind.”
Demeter leads you away from the biting drafts that reach upward from the belly of the Underworld and draws you deeper into the sunlit meadow, enlivened with bright clusters of spring flowers and the sounds of insects, birds and other wild things. You sit beside each other, with the green earth beneath you, the blue sky above, and the winds blowing fresh and balmy.
“When the world was young, there was no separation between humanity and the Great Mother,” Demeter begins, “Your primal ancestors lived at one with Her life-centered ways, just as Persephone stayed close by my side, and I protected and cared for Her, keeping Her out of harm’s way.
“Yet there comes a time when children must leave the circle of their mother’s love and find their way in the world on their own terms. Persephone left me to descend into the Underworld realm of darkness and death, and your ancestors turned away from the Great Mother and descended into a grievous period of your history. And so a long, cold Winter came to the Earth, where dominion and death overruled the creation and nurturance of life as the bedrock of your human society, and I mourned the loss of my daughter and the immense suffering of the Great Mother’s children.”
As Demeter speaks, you walk beside Her in Her remembrances, witnessing this long winter through Her tear-filled eyes and sorrowful heart. Long She wandered the world searching for Her daughter, and long She beheld the atrocities committed by humanity against each other and the living Earth. And as you walk with Demeter, the restless ancestors gather round you, victim and perpetrator alike, caught in the web of destruction and despair of this old tale, woven of our worst instincts of fear, greed, hatred and will to power.
“Yet as the seasons of the Earth turn, so do the seasons of humanity,” Demeter continues, “Many powers are converging, within and without, to wake humanity from its long winter of soul. Spring is in the air; Persephone walks the land above; and here you are, by my side, reaching for the ways of the Great Mother once more.
“In this awakening and Great Turning, Persephone is your teacher. She sought out Her wholeness in the belly of the Underworld, willingly suffering its trials and lessons to test and come to know Herself in the fullness of Her being. By these travels, Her power and selfhood were honed, and She returned to me maiden no longer, but Goddess and Queen in Her own right.
“So too humankind has lived the full range of its nature, both the shadow and light, and horror and beauty. As you individually and collectively emerge from your travels in the Underworld of humanity’s shadow-side, you can follow Persephone’s example. You can become powerful and wise enough to embrace the full breadth of your human nature, ancestral heritage and life experiences — the good with the bad, and the shadow with the light — and in doing so, you become a child no more, but a person honed and matured by your trials and lessons.”
In the warm circle of Demeter’s mother love and wise words, the cold grip of Her remembrances and the lingering despair of the ancestors begin to fade, calling you back to the springtime brilliance of the surrounding meadow. Whatever pain you feel or burden you carry from your personal and ancestral stories have brought you to this evolutionary cusp. You need not be trapped by a past that no longer serves you; instead you can use its trials and lessons to fuel your journey of soul, and help you step out of this old tale and your own old story, and into a fresh new beginning.
“It is time for we ancient ones to find our rest,” Demeter says, “Humanity’s long winter of soul is ending. The ancestors’ stories are done. They have served their purpose of bringing you to this evolutionary, awakening moment of choosing the Great Mother’s life-centered ethos once more, from a place of power and wisdom. We pass this blessed world on to you. What comes next will be of your choosing and making.
Demeter smiles and runs a single finger along the contours of your face, as if to memorize its cherished details. Then She fades into the green meadow and clear blue, cloudless sky. Bird song fills the air. The tips of nearby branches sport the brownish-green of new-formed buds. The air is still, warm and sweet.
Freshly emerged from the Underworld into the sunlit realm, you bridge the divide between what was and what can be. Fill yourself with Demeter’s wise words and Persephone’s powerful teachings; know that this is truly a turning moment in your spiritual evolution and that of our human species. Then give yourself over to the primal promptings of Spring. Turn your face back to the life-affirming ways of the Great Mother. Commit to cultivate the change that will help new growth emerge from the rich compost that is your life and ancestral heritage.
Don’t disappoint Demeter. She has left this precious world in your trembling hands.
Photo Credit: Banter Snaps on Unsplash
Excerpt from The Path of She Books of Sabbats: A Journey of Soul Across the Seasons.
Let The Path of She Book of Sabbats transform your life through teachings, guided meditations and pathwork exercises that reconnect you with the seasonal energies of the Earth, the mysteries of the Goddess, and the deepest roots of your life’s purpose and story.
Available in ebook and paperback--visit the Path Store.
Excerpt from the Path of She Books of Sabbats.
In the velvet darkness between the worlds, a welcoming light shines bright and steady. Here Brigid tends Her holy well and sacred flame, offering up their life-transforming magic that grants the gifts of healing, inspiration and wisdom for those who seek Her guidance. She does not call us to Her side, for She knows that we will find Her when the time is ripe.
As Nature shifts from the dark dormancy of Winter to the life-inducing powers of the strengthening sun that herald the approach of Spring, our desire for the spring of new possibilities and the end of the long winter of our soul drives us to Brigid’s doorstep. Our mind turns to the seeds of our beauty and wounding, sourced from our Deep Self and life story, that hold the next pieces of our pathwork, and our soul turns to Brigid’s loving, gracious presence and Her tremendous powers that can make our life anew.
When you reach the threshold of Brigid’s realm, you’ll discover a thick oak door with an ancient key, greened by age and the elements – the key of conscious choice. Your soul desire has led you to Brigid, now you must consciously choose to turn the key, knowing that to stand before this mighty, generous Goddess is to commit yourself to Her healing ways. And once you have made this commitment, it is not easily unmade; when you open the door that connects you to Brigid, it can never truly be shut again.
As you step over the threshold, Brigid welcomes you with a warm, captivating smile, Her cheeks flushed slightly with the heat of Her forge. She is breathtaking to behold, with long, fiery red tresses, creamy white skin, and a tall, slender form draped in a dark green mantle. Though Her beauty is as bright as the flames She tends, it is the palpable presence of Her love and kindness that is your strongest impression of Her.
Both the flames and Brigid’s radiance seep through your flesh, swiftly thawing the frozen places in your heart. When you look into Her startling green eyes, you see the life you are longing for reflected in their soulful depth, and Her desire to help make your dreams come true. You do not need to speak these things to Brigid, She already knows you, inside and out, deep and true.
With Her long, expressive fingers, Brigid beckons you to a shallow, black stone bowl filled with the waters of Her holy well. She directs your gaze to its still, flat surface, illuminated by the flickering lights of Her sacred flame.
Images arise in a swift procession from the close-up and intimate of your life to the wide-scope of the greater world. Brigid’s scrying waters do not spare you from the ugly and the painful. You are shown the hurt places inside of you and their symbiotic expression in your outer existence, and then, broader still, to the same patterns that exist in human society.
Brigid passes Her hands over the basin’s surface and new images appear, this time offering a mélange of the beautiful and inspiring, again drawing both on your personal life and the greater world. Some of the images you recognize from your current existence and others feel achingly familiar, like a longed-for possibility that has yet to take form.
With a swirling motion of her fingertips, Brigid activates Her holy water’s visionary magic one last time. The previous images blend and merge, entwining the stories of your beauty and wounding, both in their personal and collective manifestations. And you see, from the depth of your being, that your beauty and wounding are mirrors of the same thing; there is really only one story, the story of your life, woven from all that you are, and all that you’ve ever experienced, defined and constrained within the matrix of collective reality.
Together you step away from the scrying bowl. Brigid turns to face you and says, “Everything has a place and purpose, even the most painful and challenging of these images. Life, with its joys and sorrows, is the crucible of your spiritual healing and evolution. You would not be who you are now, standing here with me on the cusp of your greater becoming, within having gone through these trials and experiences. Great beauty and power are forged from great wounding and suffering, tempered by a wisdom, love and compassion that a life fully embraced, in its light and shadow, can grant you.
“My scrying bowl has revealed to you the seeds and stories that are the makings of the new beginning ready to emerge from within you. They are the raw materials that will drive the healing pathwork that is before you now.
“Are you ready to take this next crucial step on your journey of soul? Will you commit yourself to the sacred task of tending your seeds of beauty and wounding, and letting them guide you in your pathwork?”
Think hard before you answer Brigid, for this is a special, powerful kind of commitment — a vow spoken before Her sacred forge, where the old is made anew. She will hold you to this commitment, and your life will be forever changed.
“So it is chosen, so it will be,” She says.
Three times Her hammer strikes Her anvil, hard steel against hard steel, ringing your vow outward into the listening Universe.
Then Brigid kisses your brow and presses Her palm against your solar plexus. A warm, swirling energy passes between you, and you sense the visions of Her scrying waters now alive and brewing in your belly center. She smiles one last smile, filling the space and your heart with Her radiance, and then She is gone.
Yet Her kiss remains, a token that She will never leave your side. The visioning magic of this Imbolc eve will bring you the healing, inspiration and wisdom you need to tend your seeds of beauty and wounding. As you tend your seeds, discovering and embracing their place and purpose on your journey of soul, Brigid tends them with you, coaxing out their healing and creative impulses. And as you shift and grow, bringing positive change to your life and the greater world, Her joy shines down on you, filling you up with the bright flame of Her nourishing love.
with the Path of She Book of Sabbats.
Photo Credit: Christian Holzinger on Unsplash
Excerpt from The Path of She Book of Sabbats.
As the wheel of the year turns to the Winter Solstice, Nature settles ever deeper into Her cloak of darkness and repose. At the opposite end of the scale, our Western culture marks the holiday season in a flurry of shopping, social obligations and overconsumption — a busy end to a busy year in an outward-focused, ever-doing, hungry-for-more world.
Nature remembers what we humans have forgotten:
every cycle must return to stillness, silence, the dark;
every out-breath requires an in-breath;
every outer endeavor turns back inward to its origins, its center, and begins again;
from death comes new life, and from the darkest night, the new dawn is born.
Beauty sleeps in the belly of the dark, be it the seeds of the green growth of Spring, the powers and mysteries of the unknown, and our own dormant gifts and potential. Yet the dark has a gatekeeper; our pain, losses and the denied, repressed parts of our life story and humanity also await us in the belly of the dark. We cannot reclaim our beauty without also embracing and healing our wounding; both dwell within the shadowed folds of our inner world, side by side, a mirror of the other, each with gifts and blessings to share.
If you are one of the fortunate ones, with few bumps and bruises in your life story, still the darkness has gifts lying in wait for you. Because the sacred dark is the truth keeper of the profound potential and mysteries of our authentic, whole/holy humanity that have been denied and repressed in our collective culture.
Open to the ways of Nature at this turning into the Winter Solstice. Heed the call arising from the belly of the dark that invites you to stillness, silence, and opens portals to your inner darkness. Let go of the frenetic activity of the season; follow your breath inward and return to your center in search of the fragments of your life story and true Self ready to return to the light.
So without, so within; as the new dawn is born of the darkest nights, so too can your beauty blossom from the depth of your wounding, and your whole/holy humanity shine forth into the returning light of a newborn day.
Celebrate Winter Solstice
with the Path of She Book of Sabbats.
Photo Credit: Aaron Burden on Unsplash
Winter can be an edgy time. Nature strips itself bare in the face of harsh conditions of darkness, cold, death and scarcity. The Winter Solstice is the darkest night of the year. 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 from The Path of She Book of Sabbats.
At Samhain, when the veil between the worlds is thin and the mysteries of the sacred dark permeate the mundane world, Hecate calls to us. Never before has Her voice been so loud, so urgent. She speaks to us not only in our dreams and ritual magic, but also in the stark language of wildly erratic weather patterns, dying oceans and barren lands, and in the cold despair and hungry hopes of our own warm, beating heart.
Photo Credit: Neven Krcmarek on Unsplash
It`s not easy to heed Her call. She raises our own spectral fears about the fate of our human society and planet home. Environmentally, socially, politically and spiritually, we are destroying the fabric of our physical and social world. We have reached a critical tipping point, and if we continue on this trajectory, things are not going to end well.
But how do we change? How do we shift from denial, apathy and despair into a place of hope and inspiration? How do we turn this destructive momentum into an evolutionary, birthing moment? And what is our personal part in weaving a better world into being?
Take a deep breath, summon up your courage and say, “Yes, Hecate, I am coming. Guide me to your crossroads.”
In the world between the worlds, where the mysteries lie in wait, you will find Hecate. She appears before you in Her Crone form, with a thick mane of moonlight silver hair and intense, amethyst eyes that shine bright with Her ageless presence. She wears a cloak of midnight black that shimmers as She moves, as if brushed with starlight. An aura of light surrounds Her, a way-showing beacon in the enveloping darkness to guide travelers to Her crossroads. Her arms open wide to welcome you, casting a circle of illumination that draws you into its center.
With a sweep of Her hands, two roads appear before you.
To the left is a neglected path, overgrown with the luscious fecundity of the wild realm. Memories arise within you of the feral innocence of childhood with its simple pleasures of play and wonder in your dance with the outer world. And beneath this, older, ancestral memories percolate, of a time when humanity lived in loving, sensual communion with the powers and mysteries of the Mother Earth.
To the right is a paved-over surface that obscures any trace of the living land under an unforgiving, tar black sheen. This path exudes a deadness that lays bare the tear in our human psyche from the natural world and our true, beautiful essence, and echoes with the keening pain of our battered souls and broken hearts.
“One path holds the good dream of humanity where you walk the Earth in accordance with my life-centered ways and your best nature of love, generosity and communion with others. The second path holds the bad dream where your worst instincts of dominion, fear and greed lay barren the wild realm and the heart of your human society. It is this second path, reeking devastation on the living world, that rules humankind.
“Both of these paths exist inside of you and in your greater society. Humanity is neither good nor bad, but some complex weaving that includes the best and worst of your nature.”
With another sweep of Her hands, the two paths merge into one.
“This is my middle path,” Hecate says,” it holds the opposing paths of the good and bad dream of humanity. A mirror path exists inside of you that contains the joy and sorrow, and beauty and wounding of your life story.
“To transform yourself and your world, you must walk this middle path. To travel its ways is to accept and take responsibility for all that you are and all that you have experienced, and from this greater awareness choose whether the good or bad dream of humanity will hold sway in the core of your being. You must choose whether love or fear will rule you.
“This love is my way, the way of the sacred feminine, that is awakening within you and leading you home to your Deep Self and a better world.”
As Hecate speaks, the light that emanates from Her being shines brighter and brighter. This wondrous luminosity is the very love that She speaks of, offering a beacon of guidance and hope in these turbulent, Great Turning times. Hecate, the sacred feminine, all life on this stunning Earth, your life, are woven of this love.
Hecate turns to you, taking your hands and squeezing them tight.
She folds Her arms inward, drawing Her brilliant light back into Her body until She is gone, and you find yourself alone under a star-studded sky. Your hands still tingle from Her touch and the responsibility She has bequeathed to you shines strong and bright within you.
After the crossroads vision is done, the real magic begins. With your every thought, every word, every action, you choose which path your lives serves, and the kind of a world you want to create. Never have the stakes been higher; life as we know it hangs in the balance. To change this world, you must start with yourself.
with the Path of She Book of Sabbats.