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

Posted on:  Sep 23, 2021 @ 10:30 Posted in:  Featured, Sabbats

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

Your Spiritual Evolution: Four Transformative Teachings for the Spring Season

Posted on:  Sep 23, 2021 @ 10:01 Posted in:  Sabbats

Spring is a time of rebirth and new beginnings. Nature buds and blossoms as the seasons of light and life return, and the Goddess offers up Her mysteries of spiritual evolution to guide your journey of soul.

With a Goddess-based conception of spiritual evolution, your whole life — everything you are and everything you’ve experienced — is part of a greater journey that drives your personal growth and spiritual evolution. Your intention on this journey is to become a more whole, mature, powerful version of your Self.

Everything you are and you’ve experienced are part of a greater journey that drives your spiritual evolution of becoming a more whole, powerful version of your Self.

This season’s offering in the Path of She Guided Journey Series, Spring Journey: Your Spiritual Evolution, is grounded in the Mother-Daughter tale of Persephone and Demeter that speaks to this Goddess-based conception of spiritual evolution.

In the Fall, Persephone begins Her journey as a maiden who leaves behind the sunlit realm of Her Mother Demeter. She descends into the Underworld, and spends the Winter months traveling its mysteries of darkness and death, and suffering its trials.

In Spring, Persephone returns to Her Mother Demeter’s realm of light and life as a Goddess reborn into a more mature, evolved version of Her Self. She is the Queen of the Underworld and Goddess of Spring Growth, with a wholeness and bigness of being that is wise, loving and powerful enough to bridge and balance the immense, opposing energies of the death-centered Underworld and the life-centered sunlit realm. Where Persephone walks the Earth, She leaves a trail of spring flowers in Her wake.

Through this mythic Goddess tale, you can embrace a new understanding of your Self, your life story, and your journey of spiritual evolution. Here are four transformative teachings offered by these Mother-Daughter Goddesses, Demeter and Persephone, in the spring season.

1. New growth and beginnings arise from darkness, death, suffering and wounding.

In many spiritual traditions, spiritual evolution is associated with a rarefied, higher state of consciousness: one becomes enlightened, ascends to a higher frequency, and transcends the human, material condition.

The problem with this conception of spiritual evolution is that it’s elitist, granting spiritual superiority to the very few who can achieve this state of purity. It favors the path of the monk or ascetic who chooses to separate themselves from the complexities and messiness of everyday life. It negates the very substance of our human existence, that we are flesh and blood creatures, living in a material world. And, most importantly, it leaves out the vast majority of us traveling a sincere spiritual path of personal healing and growth in accordance with the dictates of our own soul and life story.

Nature and the Goddess illuminate a very different conception of spiritual evolution.

In Nature, green-growing things arise out of the dark belly of the Earth, nourished by the decay and death of composting soil. The Goddess Persephone comes into Her full maturity and power through her trials and suffering in the Underworld. Persephone’s experiences in the realm of darkness and death are the very makings of Her personal growth and spiritual evolution.

You don’t need to think of spiritual evolution as a rarefied state of enlightenment.  Instead, you can understand and engage your spiritual evolution as a journey of new beginnings and growth that arise out of the darkness, trials, suffering and wounding of your life story. Rather than transcending these inescapable parts of your human experience, you can honor and embrace them as the very things that inform and nourish your journey of evolving into your full maturity and power.

2. Your life story is the vehicle of your spiritual evolution.

Persephone sets out on a journey of discovery and self-determination outside of the circle of Her Mother Demeter’s love and guiding presence. She has Her own, unique, personal experiences in the Underworld, separate from the ways of Her Mother and the sunlit realm She left behind.

This is Persephone’s story, not Her Mother’s, nor the story of any of the other Goddesses in the Greek pantheon.  And it’s the full range of Her life story — with its beginning in the sunlit realm of Her maidenhood and innocence, travels into the depths of the mysteries and trials of the Underworld, and return to the sunlit realm, stepping into a new level of maturity, power and wholeness — that drives Persephone’s personal growth and spiritual evolution.

Your life story, from the moment you are born to your very last breath, is the vehicle of your spiritual evolution. You aren’t here on this Earth to live by the dictates of anyone else’s story, or to become anything other than your true, deep, beautiful Self.

Like Persephone, you must consciously choose to set off on a journey of discovery and self-determination by stepping beyond the people and parts of your life that define and limit you, and descending into the mysteries and trials of your inner darkness. Here you’ll find everything you need — amongst the lost and repressed parts of your Self and life story that hold your beauty, wounding and dormant potential — to guide your new, spring-like beginnings of personal growth and transformation.

This isn’t the work of one season, but of a lifetime of descent into your inner darkness and personal trials, and return to the sunlit world of new beginnings and personal growth.  The journey itself, drawing on the wellspring of your life story, is your spiritual evolution.

3. Equanimity is an essential skill on your journey of spiritual evolution.

Your spiritual evolution is driven by a special kind of transformative magic. Whenever diverse, opposing energies come together, and are held in a state of equanimity, something miraculous happens. Life is reborn in new, fresh ways that are only possible through the potent meeting and mixing of opposites.

Equanimity is your capacity to remain present and open, in a balance and neutral frame of mind and emotional state, no matter what life brings your way. With equanimity, you can face your life’s trials and challenges, and hold the tension of the complex, opposing parts of your Self and life story, with wisdom, love, acceptance and trust.

Nature and the Goddess Persephone illustrate this transformative magic, and the essential role played by equanimity in the miracle of springtime rebirth.

In Spring, Nature reveals a living equanimity where the wild world is reborn through the balanced, harmonious interweaving of the primal, opposing forces of life and light, and darkness and death. When Persephone returns to Her Mother Demeter in Spring, She is reborn into a mature, evolved version of Her Self, whole and holy as the Queen of the Underworld and Goddess of Spring Growth. Persephone demonstrates Her equanimity through a bigness of being that is wise, powerful and loving enough to bridge and balance the divergent worlds of the death-centered Underworld and the life-centered sunlit realm.

This transformative magic equally applies to your spiritual pathwork. Whenever you consciously embrace and engage diverse, opposing parts of your Self and life story with equanimity, the miraculous happens. You heal, grow and evolve in powerful, new directions that can only arise out of the complexities and polarities of the wholeness that is your life.

4. Spiritual evolution is a journey toward wholeness.

In Her Underworld travels, Persephone reclaims the missing half of Her nature. Her maiden side lived in the realm of light and life, but She was incomplete without the part of Her that held the mysteries of the Underworld and Her experiences of death and suffering. Persephone isn’t one thing or another, but a wholeness that contains it all. In Spring, it’s Persephone’s wholeness, as the Queen of the Underworld and Goddess of Spring Growth, that reveal Her as a Goddess evolved into Her full maturity and powers.

Nature is this wholeness. It’s an ever-shifting balance and harmony of darkness and death with light and life. With the change of season, one state naturally steps into the foreground as the other recedes, but neither ever totally replaces the other, and both are absolutely essential and interdependent. It’s Nature’s wholeness that gives rise to springtime’s new, green growth.

You are this wholeness. Yet, like Persephone, you have lost connection with parts of your true nature. By seeking out these lost parts of your Self and life story in your inner darkness, and bringing them back to the light of your conscious engagement, you reclaim your innate wholeness woven of the fullness of your Self and life experiences of light and shadow, beauty and wounding, and love and suffering.

This spiritual pathwork of seeking and reclaiming will naturally change and evolve you, deepening your spiritual maturity and power, and granting you a sense of peace and rightness as you live in accordance with the rich, complex wholeness that is your innate, true, beautiful nature.

Further explore these transformative teachings through the Spring Journey: Your Spiritual Evolution. The Spring Journey guides you through seven, integrated lessons that take you into the depths of your springtime personal growth and spiritual evolution. Each lesson is complimented with an awareness practice and journaling task to help you experience the teaching for yourself, and apply it to your journey of soul and everyday life.

Your Spring Journey includes: two pdf ebooks: the Spring Journey Guidebook and Spring Journey Journal, and the Spring Journey Guided Meditation (mp3 audio).  The cost of this integrated Spring Journey package is $16.99.

Spring Journey – Your Spiritual Evolution: Embracing Your Life Story

Seek Out New Beginnings ~ Embrace Your Wholeness

~ Evolve Into Your Deep, Beautiful Self

Your Spring Journey awaits you!

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

A Fall Equinox Mystery: Persephone and the Sacred Feminine

Posted on:  Sep 20, 2021 @ 10:10 Posted in:  Featured, Sabbats

At the edge of the edge of the sunlit realm, where a rough-hewn stone stairway leads down into the velvety darkness of the Underworld, Persephone awaits you, still and silent, wrapped in a black cloak that rustles in a bone-chilling wind. She is beautiful and fearsome, with penetrating dark blue eyes, pale skin, lips the rich red of pomegranate, and long, lustrous ebony brown hair.

Your journey of soul begins with wherever you are right now, at this moment. Whatever is ready to awaken in you waits for you in the sacred dark.

This is not the young maiden Goddess, alight with joy and innocence, that you may have read about in the ancient tales, but a regal being who has fully claimed Her place and sovereignty in the great weaving of life.

“Change is in the air,” Persephone says after She has greeted you, “For millennia, humanity has rejected the ways of the sacred feminine and the powers of the sacred dark that reside within the Underworld. There is a grievous imbalance in your world that cuts you off from the natural cycles and powers of life, and your own whole/holy nature.

Yet the season of humanity is turning and a great awakening is upon you. Your Deep Self is reaching for you, calling you to a life of soul and drawing you back to my side and the lost ways of the sacred feminine.”

She extends Her arm and you wrap your fingers in the soft, black folds of Her cloak. The space around you shimmers and morphs, and you find yourself transported to another time and place, looking out on a scene from when the world was fresh and new.

A younger version of Persephone plays in the meadow before you, picking flowers and smiling Her delight. Her face has the warm tones of skin kissed by sunlight and Her eyes are of a lighter shade of blue gray.

“You see me here when I lived in the bright circle of my Mother Demeter’s loving embrace,” the older Persephone beside you says, “Life was very, very good. The green-growing realm was my playground and I wanted for nothing. Yet I was restless, always seeking the outer edge of things, hungry to know more, experience more, become more.”

As you watch, the young Persephone wanders further and further from the meadow and the protective circle of Her Mother. Her light-hearted smile has been replaced by an intense focus, as if She is being drawn forward by a compelling, irresistible force.

A great fissure appears in the Earth at Her feet and a God-like being emerges. He emanates a powerful elixir of animal magnetism and ethereal beauty, as if He is equally woven of flesh and of light. A piercing cold spreads outward from His body, withering the wildflowers and yellowing the leaves within reach of His frosty breath. Yet His somber, coal-black eyes are filled with tender warmth as He gazes down at the lovely Persephone.

“Hades,” She whispers with a note of longing in Her voice and taking a tentative step in His direction.

“Come,” He says, extending a hand to Her, “it is time for your awakening.”

For a moment young Persephone pauses, looking over Her shoulder from where She came and then down into the inky darkness before Her. And in this moment, it is as if you are inside of Persephone, feeling the push and pull of Her trepidation and profound hunger in the face of this vast unknown realm. A calm determination rises up from Her core, quieting Her fast beating heart and steeling Her resolve. Then She slips Her hand into Hades’s, a faint smile playing across Her lips, and the Earth closes over their heads, swallowing them whole.

The scene disappears and you are once more standing beside the older Persephone at the stone steps leading into the Underworld.

“Life never stands still,” Persephone says, “Something inside of us seeks the edges of what we know in search of our deeper and greater becoming.

“No matter my worldly knowledge and gifts, and all the lovely things that gave me joy and pleasure, I was incomplete in the sunlit realm of my Mother’s world. The dark side of my feminine nature was missing, compelling me to descend into the Underworld, with Hades as my companion and guide, to find and awaken the dormant pieces of my whole/holy nature.”

As Persephone speaks, the light fades from the sky and a profound stillness settles on the land. Fall is in the air and the natural world, like Persephone, has begun its descent into the secret mysteries of darkness.

“I tell you my story so you may know the ways of the sacred feminine,” Persephone continues, “To seek the true power and nature of your Deep Self, you must step past the border of your known world into the depth of the Underworld that resides in the inner folds of your psyche and in the mysteries that underlie waking reality.

“When you brave the Underworld and travel its ways, you reclaim what has been lost, the sacred feminine and the sacred dark, and you begin the hard, hard work of returning balance and wholeness to your life and your world. Your journey will not be easy because the trials and revelations of the sacred dark are meant to test and teach you. And yet, if you follow in my footsteps and stay the course, healing and profound change will come.

“This journey of soul begins with wherever you are right now, at this moment. Whatever is ready to awaken in you waits for you in the sacred dark.”

Persephone places Her hand on your chest, sending Her wise teachings into the core of your being. Her story is your story, the story of the turning of the seasons into Fall, and the story of the unfolding of our collective humanity. Always at the Fall Equinox, the sacred darkness opens portals that beckon to a new cycle of healing and growth.

Then Her touch and Her presence are gone. Yet you are not alone at the portal to the Underworld. He waits for you on the stone stairs, a magical messenger to guide your journey back to your Deep Self.

“Come,” He says, His hand extended to you and His eyes brimming with tender warmth, “it is time for your awakening.”

Take His hand, descend; the sacred darkness and your deepest becoming await you.

 

Celebrate Fall Equinox with the Path of She Book of Sabbats. 

Buy now at the Path Store

 

Artwork by Orphne Acheron

A Fall Equinox Meditation: Descent into the Sacred Dark

Posted on:  Sep 20, 2021 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Sabbats

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

The Goddess and the #Metoo Movement: Mythic Tales for these Modern Times

Posted on:  Jan 18, 2019 @ 12:41 Posted in:  Goddess

Something essential is shifting in the foundations of our world as we witness others tell their long-hidden, #metoo stories, and tell our own stories in turn. We’re speaking truth, and being heard. We’re saying: you’re time is up, and holding male perpetrators accountable. We’ve woken up en masse, and we’re not going back to sleep. And we’re not alone.

It’s time for a new myth and reality, inspired by ancient Goddess tales, and our modern #metoo stories, in service of women’s beauty, sovereignty and power.

 

The Rape of Persephone

From the long ago of Greek civilization, comes the #metoo tale of The Rape of Persephone.

Demeter’s trim-ankled daughter whom Hades rapt away, given to him by all-seeing Zeus. Apart from Demeter, lady of the golden sword and glorious fruits, she was gathering flowers over a soft meadow, roses and crocuses and beautiful violets, irises also and hyacinths and the narcissus, which Gaia made to grow at the will of Zeus and to be a snare for the bloom-like girl–a marvelous, radiant flower. And the girl was amazed and reached out with both hands to take the lovely toy: but the wide-pathed earth yawned there in the plain of Nysa, and the lord, Hades, with his immortal horses sprang out upon her. He caught her up reluctant on his golden car and bore her away lamenting. (Source: Homeric Hymn 2 to Demeter (abridged) (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th or 6th B.C.)

Let this piece of Persephone’s story sink in. Persephone is a Goddess. Her Mother Demeter is a Goddess. These are big, powerful, feminine beings that bring life, abundance and beauty to the Earth. Yet the God Hades, with the help of the almighty Zeus, can do want He wants to Persephone.

Hades desires Persephone so He abducts and rapes Her, and makes Her his bride.  Persephone is taken against Her will, and Demeter can’t protect Her beloved daughter.  Later in the tale, Persephone is returned to Demeter, but the damage has been done. She’s eaten the fruit of the Underworld, and is forced to be with Hades, Her abductor and abuser, part of every year.

Here we are, some 2500-plus years later, and Persephone’s tale still speaks truth to women’s experiences of male power and sexual violence. Rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and the pervasive sexism of everyday life find their deep roots in this ancestral, mythic negation of our feminine divinity and sovereignty. As the Gods do to the Goddesses, so men do to women. 

Our #metoo stories are this old, and older still.  We modern women are the latest manifestation of the suffering of our mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and the long, long female line that went before us. And the Goddess stands with us in our suffering, and our awakening.

Persephone’s story is our story. We didn’t write or choose this story. It was written by men in power with the intention of usurping and subduing the sovereignty and powers of the Goddess, and we, Her earth-bound daughters. The purpose of this story was, and still is, to make us forget and fear our vast, mysterious feminine nature, and to make divine and normal our powerlessness in a male-defined reality.

As ancient as Persephone’s story may be, and as entrenched as sexism and misogyny may appear in our current, status-quo reality — this is just one story and one version of reality. It’s not truth, not inevitable, and not even original.  The Rape of Persephone is an abomination that debases and distorts a much older tale of the Goddess and Her descent to the Underworld.

 

The Descent of Inanna

Dial back another 3000 years to ancient Sumeria and the tale of The Descent of Inanna:

From the Great Above She opened Her ear to the Great Below.
From the Great Above the Goddess opened Her ear to the Great Below.
From the Great Above Inanna opened Her ear to the Great Below.
Inanna abandoned Heaven and Earth to descend to the Underworld.

When Inanna arrived at the outer gates of the Underworld, She knocked loudly.
She cried out in a fierce voice: ‘Open the door, gatekeeper! Open the door, Neti!
I alone would enter!’

Neti, the chief gate keeper of the kur, asked: ‘Who are you?’
She answered: ‘I am Inanna, Queen of Heaven, on my way to the East.’
Neti said: ‘If you are truly Inanna, Queen of Heaven, on your way to the East,
why has your heart led you on the road from which no traveler returns?’
Inanna answered: ‘Because of my older sister Ereshkigal, Her husband,
Gugalanna, the Bull of Heaven, has died. I have come to witness the funeral rites.’
(Source: Wolkstein, Diane; Kramer, Samuel Noah (1983), Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer)

Let this fragment of Inanna’s story sink in. Inanna is the Queen of Heaven and Earth.  Ereshkigal is the Goddess of the Underworld. This is a story and reality where Goddesses, not Gods, reign in the Great Above and Great Below, and hold between them the primal mysteries of life, death and rebirth.

Later in the tale, we discover that Inanna, like Persephone, suffers the trials of the Underworld. But She does so by Her own choice and great courage. Through Her descent, She submits to the transformative mysteries of the Dark Goddess Ereshkigal. She is stripped bare, and dies to Her old self in order to be reborn into Her full powers and beauty. When She emerges from Her journey in the Great Below, Inanna is whole, holy in the full spectrum of Her Goddess powers and wisdom – Queen of Heaven, Earth and the Great Below.

Inanna’s story is also our story in these #metoo times. By our own choice and great courage, we are turning our ear to the Great Below, and embarking on a journey into the Underworld that underlies our everyday reality. Here, in the dark, shadowy places in our inner psyche and shared society, we are seeking out the lost and repressed stories of sexual violation and gender discrimination that have scarred our lives.

The Great Below isn’t the realm of Hades and male power. The dark isn’t a place of rape, violence and domination. These are lies and distortions that block us from the wild, raw depths of our women’s power and mysteries, and from the very things that can mend our lives and world: our pain, grief and rage, and our truth, beauty and sovereignty. And, like Inanna before us, when we emerge from this journey, we can become whole, holy in the full spectrum of our feminine powers and wisdom, transforming not only our personal lives but also our shared society.

Our Modern #MeToo Tales

Persephone’s story is our story. Together we share a #metoo legacy of sexual violation and descent into a hell of male dominion that speaks to the everyday reality of sexism, misogyny and violence that’s endemic to our society.

Inanna’s story is our story. Together we share a heritage of the feminine mysteries of life, death and rebirth, and their pathway of descent into the Underworld as a journey of transformation into our full beauty and powers.

Feel the power of Persephone’s and Inanna’s legacy. Your #metoo story is a part of these ancient Goddess tales, and the lived experiences of the long line of women ancestors that have gone before you. Your voice is part of a world-changing movement of women speaking truth that can unravel the past, and reweave a collective reality that returns women to their rightful place in our shared society.

We’re in this together — Persephone, Inanna, you, me and the countless others braving their #metoo tales. Our lives, truth and stories matter. Safety, respect and honoring our feminine nature are our birthrights. It’s time for a new myth and collective reality, guided by the tales of Persephone and Inanna, and yet fresh and inspired by our personal stories and lived experiences.

Hades, Zeus, the male ancestors who wrote these mythic tales, and the men who continue to abuse and dominate women: their time is up.  Whatever comes next will be of our writing and choosing, in service of our greater womanhood and sovereignty, and beauty, love and justice for all.

Image Credit: Rupert Bunny, Rape of Persephone, via Wikimedia Commons