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A Winter Solstice Tale: Ereshkigal & Our Beauty and Wounding

Posted on:  Dec 17, 2021 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Sabbats

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.”

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.

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.

Be brave, follow in Inanna’s footsteps. Make this conscious descent, stripping yourself bare of your worldly masks and illusions, and habits of belief, thought and action that stand between you and your truest, most beautiful potential. Do these things and Ereshkigal will grant you entry to Her realm and help you discover the seeds of your new beginning and the way forward to the soul-based life you long for.

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.

“But all is not gloom. Nothing lasts forever. The dark night of soul for you and your human kin is ending. A new dawn beckons for those brave enough to dare the rebirth magic of my Underworld realm. As a reward for your bravery, I will show you what you seek.”

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.

“Where you find your wounding, you also find your beauty,” She says, “When you show up to your pain, you also remember your joy. In stepping into the fullness of your life story, you shed a smallness of being for a bigness of presence and power.”  

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

A Winter Solstice Meditation: Ereshkigal and the Great Below

Posted on:  Dec 16, 2020 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Sabbats

Guided Meditation excerpt from the Path of She  Book of Sabbats.

On the Winter Solstice eve, set up a cozy, private spot in your home where you can be warm and comfortable. Turn off the lights and have a candle close at hand, but do not light it. Close your eyes and begin to track the movements and sounds of your body with breath.

Descend to the Great Below. Brave the realm of the Dark Goddess Ereshkigal. With respect and humility, seek out Her rebirth magic to guide your journey of soul.

On every in-breath, infuse yourself with the still, quiet darkness that surrounds you. On every out-breath, release any stress you may be carrying from the holiday season. Soften your facial muscles, loosen the stiff, tight places in your body, and empty your mind of thoughts and concerns. Be with yourself in the all-encompassing dark.

Open yourself to the natural world energies of this longest night of the year and the awakening tendrils of new light and new beginnings that will soon be birthed from this deep darkness. Imagine taking these energies into your body and sense them calling forth your inner darkness and emerging light. Let your soul longings bubble up to the surface, stirring up the seeds of new beginnings waiting for you in the belly of the dark.

Stay in your center and observe any emotional reactions that you may have. No matter what arises, be it fear, anticipation, pain or joy, just keep your breath slow and steady, and your body and awareness open and receptive. Winter Solstice work can be edgy, awakening painful, fragile places in your psyche. You travel these pathways by your free will, so set the intention to be guided by your highest good and only go as deep as is right for you at this moment.

Continue to breathe and ground, slow and steady; let go of your emotions and settle into the empty silence within you.

Like Inanna, turn your mind to the Great Below, seeking out its rebirth magic to guide your journey of soul. See a portal before you with a passageway that leads down, down, down to the realm of Ereshkigal, Queen of the Underworld. As you make your descent toward Ereshkigal’s throne room, sense yourself traversing a series of gates where invisible hands strip you of your worldly masks and pretenses, and anything else that stands between you and the new beginning awaiting you this Winter Solstice eve.

At each of these gates, notice what is being taken from you, and how it feels to be free from its influence. Know that the ways you have learned to deny and hide from the truth that is your life, both the beautiful and painful, will only block your pathwork with Ereshkigal. But you engage this pathwork at your own pace, and need only strip yourself as bare as feels comfortable.

When you reach this point, you will find yourself on the threshold of Ereshkigal’s throne room. Look deep, deep inside: is there one more thing that you are still clinging to that must be surrendered to the dark? Name this thing and gently let it fall away.

Step past the threshold and stand before Ereshkigal, empty and humble. Take in your surroundings: the look and feel of the Great Below, the fearsome and beautiful presence of Ereshkigal on Her throne, and your physical, emotional and energetic responses to this sacred, powerful place.

Bear Ereshkigal’s scrutiny in silence, waiting for Her to speak and direct your engagement. This is Her sovereign realm, and you are here by Her grace and consent. Yet also stand proud and sure of yourself; you have made this descent and brave this encounter of your own volition.

There is no hiding in Ereshkigal’s presence. She knows why you are here and what you seek in the deepest dark of this Winter Solstice eve. Speak words of respect, and humbly request that She help you activate Her rebirth magic and discover the seeds of your beauty and wounding waking within you.

Ereshkigal descends from Her throne and directs your attention to a mirror of polished, black stone. This mirror has special powers; it can reveal the parts of your inner landscape and life story that are ready to return from the shadow places in your psyche to the light of your conscious awareness.

Focus your awareness on its reflective surface, and whisper to the mirror, “show me my beauty and wounding.”

Open yourself to the images and energies the mirror reveals: the hidden gifts, dormant potential and secret desires of your beauty, along with the repressed and forgotten pain, losses and suffering of your wounding. Do not deny or push anything away. But do practice self-care, and only delve as deep into your wounding as feels right for you.

Remember that your wounding is your ally, not your nemesis, and that the dark holds the lost jewels of your Deep Self and authentic humanity that have long waited to return to their rightful place and purpose in your waking life. You cannot move forward in reclaiming your beauty without also reclaiming your mirror wounding.

See the intertwining of your beauty and wounding, and the blessings and challenges offered by each. Spend as much time as you need to connect with these vital roots of your life story
and spiritual unfolding. Then reach for the parts of your beauty and wounding that are meant to guide your journey of soul at this time, and imagine them transforming into warm, fleshy seeds in your cupped palms. From these seeds, your pathwork of new beginnings will be born.

Hold the seeds outward for Ereshkigal’s perusal. Like Inanna, surrender yourself to Ereshkigal’s wisdom and ways. Heed Her words of guidance on the potent pathwork offered by these seeds, and let Her presence and rebirth magic settle into your flesh and bones. Though She can be a fierce and demanding taskmistress, Ereshkigal’s sacred intention is to help you transform into the fullness of your Deep Self.

If you are ready to do the pathwork revealed to you this Winter Solstice eve, bring these seeds of beauty and wounding to your lips and swallow them as a conscious act of receiving and ingesting their transformative energies. And in this powerful act, know that you have truly begun the work of mending and reclaiming your beauty and wounding, and of birthing a bright new beginning on your journey of soul.

Look one last time into Ereshkigal’s eyes as you bid Her farewell, seeing beyond Her ferocity to Her infinite love. Bow and offer Her your gratitude and reverence, for it is She who has guarded these lost parts of your life story and Deep Self, and the rebirth mysteries of the sacred dark, for the time when you would remember Her sacred presence and your own.

Use your breath to bring yourself back to waking consciousness and your physical body. Open your eyes and sit for a few minutes in the enveloping darkness. Then light a candle as a symbol of the new light and new beginning that will be born of this Winter Solstice magic with Ereshkigal. Take this light into your core, infusing the seeds in your belly with the hope and promise that from death comes new life, and from the darkest night of your wounding, the new dawn of your beauty is born.

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 Christian Schloe

Gifts of the Hera’s Journey: Four Spiritual Lessons for the Fall Season

Posted on:  Sep 11, 2016 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Sabbats

Listen to the Podcast

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.
…read more

From Tale of the Lost Daughter: Inanna and the Great Below

Posted on:  Dec 14, 2015 @ 9:00 Posted in:  From the Tale

Photo Credit: Aleks Dahlberg on Unsplash