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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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Artwork by Orphne Acheron
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Photo Credit: Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash
Posted on:  Sep 21, 2017 @ 15:00 Posted in:  Sabbats
The path of spiritual growth and evolution first leads us into the dark. The lost parts of our selfhood and humanity — hidden treasures obscured amongst the shattered fragments of our pain and wounding, mysteries long repressed and forgotten in the waking world, secret stories that can set us free, wondrous possibilities not yet imaginable — await us in the sacred dark.
It’s the cusp of the Fall Equinox. I’m at a secluded Buddhist retreat center. The focus of our dharma talk is love. The teacher rings the bell to start our meditation. Within a few breaths, a vision comes to me. The wooden floor gapes open and reveals a stairway. A man is standing on the stairs, his hand extended to me. I can sense him more than see him. He emanates a powerful elixir of animal magnetism and ethereal beauty, as if he is equally woven of flesh and of light.
“Come,” he says, “it’s time for your awakening.”
I take his hand and descend into the waiting darkness.
So began a new cycle on my journey of soul, one that returned a precious missing part of my humanity and womanhood to me — my beloved — God, man, husband, father, brother, son and my own inner masculine. The promised awakening was one that led me over and over again to lost pieces of my Self and life story that held both my beauty and wounding, and the light and dark of my greater maturity and wholeness.
For the next several years, this soul work of reclaiming my beloved became the central theme of my dreaming, magical workings and personal healing, mending a tear in my soul that I’d carried since my early childhood, and lifetimes before. In the end, I came to the infinite grace and communion of love, with myself, with God and with the men and boys who blessed my life.Persephone’s Tale
This vision isn’t unique to me. As the wheel of the year turns to the Fall Equinox — a moment of balance between the light and the dark, before the land retreats from the sunlit world of Summer into the cold sleep of Winter — a portal opens to the Underworld and the Goddess Persephone makes Her mythic descent into the sacred dark.
Persephone is a stunning Goddess maiden, full of the juice and joy of Her worldly powers and nature. But She is incomplete in the sunlit realm of Her Mother Demeter. The Underworld calls Her to seek out the missing parts of Her nature in the sacred dark. Persephone descends and walks among the dead and the rich mysteries of the Underworld, drinking in bitter tears and hidden magic. And She grows and matures through Her trials and sorrows.
In Spring, the powers of life call to Persephone once more. She stirs in Her Underworld travels, turning Her awareness to the rustling of green grass, freshening winds, and the life-inducing heat of sunshine on the waking landscape. She returns to the sunlit realm, no longer a maiden, but a Goddess transformed into Her full maturity and wholeness, Queen of the Underworld and Goddess of Springtime Growth. As Her feet touch the living Earth, flowers bloom in Her path, for Hers are the powers of transformation and rebirth.
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Photo Credit: Photo by Will Fuller on Unsplash
Posted on:  Sep 11, 2016 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Sabbats
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.