Path of She: Walking with the Goddess

The Path of She invites you on a journey of transformation with the Goddess. Heed the call of the Goddess and your soul’s longings. Step beyond the world that you know. Reclaim the life-centered ways of the Goddess. Let your own life, with its beauty and wounding, lead your journey of healing and personal growth. The Path of She can guide your way home to your true, beautiful Self, and the powers and mysteries of the Goddess.

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Karen Clark

Karen Clark

 Karen Clark is the author of Tale of the Lost Daughter, The Path of She Book of Sabbats: A Journey of Soul Across the Seasons, and the Path of She Guided Journey Series. As a writer, teacher and waking woman, Karen’s passion is to return the Goddess and our sacred feminine nature back to their rightful place in our everyday lives. Her Path of She work translates Goddess mysteries to our modern search for meaning, healing, personal growth, and collective transformation.
Karen has been walking the Path of She, with the Goddess as her constant companion and guide, for thirty years. Her writings bridge everyday and magical realities, drawing upon her: in-the-world feminist studies and gender-equity consulting work; between-the-worlds magic and dreaming with the Goddess; and her personal, life-transforming pathwork of reclaiming her inner Goddess, feminine soul and womanhood.  
An Imbolc Mystery: Brigid and the Making of Vows

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.

Trust these powerful hungers and impulses stirring within you. Trust that life-transforming change is possible, and that Brigid can help you in this essential soul work. Trust that your shining inner light is kin to Her shining light, and in the spirit of this kinship you will find your way to Her realm between the worlds.

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. 

“Let us see what hidden knowledge and healing visions await you at this time of Imbolc,” She says.

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. 

“These images tell the one story of the seed of your wounding,” Brigid says, “What is inside is outside, and what is outside is inside; your inner world reveals itself in your outer existence, and your personal life is both trapped within the strictures of collective reality and you help re-create this reality with your day-to-day choices and actions.”

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.
   
“These images tell the one story of the seed of your beauty,” Brigid says, “Just as with your wounding, what is inside and outside both inform and infuse the other. By the beauty and goodness of individuals, the beauty and goodness of human society emerges.”

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.

“You must tend these seeds in preparation for your springtime of new growth. Your life is their soil, your love their water, and your conscious awareness their sunshine. With proper care, they will show you the way of your healing and transformation, and your path forward to the life of soul you are longing for.

“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.

With a simple “yes”, you bind yourself to Brigid.

“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.

Photo Credit: Christian Holzinger on Unsplash

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A Winter Solstice Mystery: Beauty in the Belly of the Dark

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 and begins again;
from death comes new life; 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.

The part of you that holds your wounding is not your nemesis; it is the truth keeper of how you were hurt, what was taken from you and the choices you made in order to survive and even thrive in the face of adversity. It has stood guard and shielded your tender, beautiful, true Self, waiting for the ripe moment of your healing and blossoming.

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.

Photo Credit: Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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Your Undimmed Lightness of Being

One Reality:

I’m in magical circle, celebrating Samhain. We’re in a group trance, traveling to the isle of the dead to commune with our beloved Ancestors. I’ve done this meditation many times before, yet this time is different.  As we reach the shore of this blessed isle, we unzip our flesh coats and step forth as beings of pure shining light, tethered to our living, breathing bodies by a silver cord.

There will never be enough words to capture such a lightness of being. For this blessed time, I’m free of my human body, and my mindscape of fears and tangled habits that make me less than I am.  I’m pure light, untainted love, unbounded beauty, in the company of other bright shining beings, both my living companions and our blessed dead. 

I understand, in the deepest parts of my being, the truth of this moment: that I am this being of light, always. This is my naked, true Self, and our naked, true humanity. We are, always, pure light, untainted love, unbounded beauty. When I follow my silver tether back to my human body, and zip myself back into my flesh coat, my skin seems to loosen its fibers, letting more of that inner light shine outward.

Another Reality:

A few weeks later, I’m on the treadmill at the gym, working to make my body strong.  There’s a screen in my face, blasting out the daily news: a gang rape by teenage boys from a Catholic high school; a high profile, high drama murder of an international journalist; the latest Trump cringe-fest fiasco.  My heart squeezes tight and my adrenals spike. Barely halfway through my cardio routine, I’m already drenched in the toxicity of status quo reality.

Damn! It’s caught me again, off guard, that constant, outer noise pushing its way past my defenses, triggering my fears and negative mindset, trying to spellbind me into believing in the worst of my humanity. I forget, in these short moments, my Samhain experience of the light being in my core. Loathing rises up in me, and horror, grief and rage. I feel dirty and ashamed of my flesh coat and our collective humanity.

Big breathe in. Big breathe out. I tune out the screen, and focus instead on the reassuring rhythm of my striding legs, my hard-working muscles and sweating skin. I love my wondrous flesh coat; I clear my mindset of fear and loathing; I remember the shining light of who I am, and the true, untainted nature of my humanity — the spell of our shadow humanity is broken.

Two realities.  Two versions of our human nature. 

Which do we choose to believe in? Which do we give our attention and juice to? Which do we allow to steer our choices and actions? Which will help us build the world we want to live in?

The shadow side of our humanity is true. We are doing terrible things to each other and our planet home.  Rape, murder and political fiascos are daily occurrences. Our flesh coats and mindsets are burdened down by fears and tangled habits born out of our personal and collective histories of trauma and wounding.   Yes, these things happen; they are real and seemingly omnipresent. 

The pure, shining brilliance of our humanity is true. We are blessed with the glorious gift of living in a light and beauty infused world. We ourselves are light and beauty infused beings. Love, kindness, justice, compassion, creativity, courage, humor, sensuality, and so much more: these are the shining of our inner light outward.  These things are real and truly omnipresent.

We talked about this dual nature of our humanity at the end of our Samhain ritual, and the overwhelming challenges and atrocities that have come to dominate our shared society and non-stop news cycles.  How can we be a force of positive change, we asked ourselves? How can we make a difference?

One of my brilliant companions answered simply, “we have to bring a little of our light into today, and then tomorrow after that.”

Nothing or no one can ever dim our lightness of being.  We’re meant to shine bright, gifting the world with the brilliance of our pure, naked Self, unbounded beauty and untainted love.  But we’ve been convinced to do the dimming ourselves. 

Individually and collectively, we’ve been bullied, shamed and abused. We’ve been indoctrinated into the shadow reality of humanity, fed to us constantly, unrelentingly through the one-sided messaging of mass culture. We’ve been spellbound through lies and illusions about our unworthiness and tainted nature. We’ve become lost and fear tangled, our flesh coat and mindset made into prisons, and our shining inner core forgotten.

But this doesn’t have to be your truth. You don’t have to give your attention and juice to the shadow reality of humanity.  You can choose to believe in the shining brilliance of your Self and human nature.  You can begin to undim your life light, loosen the fibers of your flesh coat, and let more and more of that glorious beauty that you are shine through.

Big breathe in. Big breathe out. Tune out the outer noise. Focus instead on the reassuring rhythm of your beating heart, the wondrous motions of your hard-working body, and the caress of air on your sensing skin. Reach inward to that shining light at the core of your being. Unzip your flesh coat, just a little bit, as much as feels good and safe. Take a little bit of your light into today, and tomorrow after that. Little by little, breathe by breathe, moment by moment, shine your lightness of being outward, and brighten the world around you.

In each of these undimmed moments, the shadow spell of humanity is broken, and you are set free. You may forget, be caught off guard, or choose to hide again. Don’t worry, these are natural parts of your journey of reclaiming your full-shining Self. Once you unzip your flesh coat, and taste your own innate brilliance and beauty, even a little, you’re no longer lost. You’ve woken from your spellbound sleep, and set your feet on a path that will guide you home to your true Self, undimmed moment by undimmed moment.

Trust that this journey takes time and practice. It’s done in small steps and big leaps, where, again and again, you choose to wake up, disconnect from the negative, shadow-reality messaging and experiences outside and inside of you, and re-align yourself with your shining core and a positive, love-filled vision of our humanity.

With every bit of your light you reclaim, you’re gifting yourself and everyone who crosses your path with bright new possibilities.
 
In these small steps and big leaps, we build the world we want to live in, each of us bringing a little of our unzipped light into today, and tomorrow after that. Together we can break the spell of our shadow humanity, forever, and bask in our collective, undimmed lightness of being.  From this vast, untapped resource of love, beauty and power, anything and everything are possible.  

Photo Credit: Seraphina Capranos & Ben Skorguson

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  • Karen Clark
    Karen Clark says #
    Thanks so much for the lovely comment Tasha.
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Nicely said and beautifully put. Thanks you for shining your light, Warmest joyful greetings ato your light that shines so brightl
Samhain Teaching: Born Into Life, Born Into Death

The natural world and our human psyches turn toward the mysteries of death at Samhain. Cold and darkness descend upon the land, and the wild world shifts into decay and a death-like sleep. In many cultures, this time of year is marked by offerings and rituals to honor the dead, our beloved ancestors.

Usually we don’t like to think about death. Most of us run as fast as we can from the frightening specter that decline and death conjure in us. It is the ultimate irony that the moment we are born into life, with our very first breath, we are also born into death. And we must live every moment, every breath, knowing that we will die, and that everything around us, all that we love and cherish, will eventually come to decay, to death, to dust.

Samhain teaches us that there is no hiding from death. It comes in the falling of leaves, the lengthening darkness and the cold grip of Winter. It comes in our remembrances of our beloved ancestors that have passed on. It comes in the wrenching of our heart as we witness a dear one slip from this world into the next. It comes with the graying at our temples, the sagging of our flesh and the unstoppable march toward our last breath.

And death comes with gifts in hand if we have the courage to show up raw and naked to our pain, losses and fears.

Death strips us to the basics:
that every breath is a miracle not to be wasted;
that each person, each creature and life form, is worthy, precious, sacred;
that life is oh so hard and oh so exquisite;
that pain and loss help us remember what we cherish most;
and that love, at the end of all things, is what remains.

Love is death’s most precious gift to us. Love, not money, possessions, career, social esteem and the many other alluring outer trappings of life, is the balm that soothes us in the face of death. Love is what connects us to those who have passed on. Love calls us to reach out and hold each other in our grief. Love is what joins us heart to heart and soul to soul to another. Love is our best offering from our Deep Self to the world.

Samhain is a time to contemplate the mysteries of death, not from a place of fear and resistance, but from an acceptance of death as a teacher and guide for the living. Yes we are born into life and born into death, and it is this very, inescapable fact that makes every moment so precious, fragile and bittersweet beautiful.

Death isn’t a summons to fear, it is an invitation to love, deeply, wildly, joyfully. And when death seeks us out at the end of our days, let our last breath be a prayer to love.

Photo Credit: Chris B on Unsplash

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Reclaiming the Goddess Mysteries of the Hera Path

Change is in the air. For millennia, humanity has rejected the ways of the Goddess and the mysteries of the sacred dark. We’ve lived a half-life, cut off from our deep roots in the Divine Feminine, the primal powers of Nature, and the profound beauty and magic of our body, shining soul and authentic Self.
 
Yet the season of humanity is turning, and a great awakening is upon us. The Goddess reaches for us, as we reach for Her. It’s time to reclaim Her hera path, and retell this sacred, transformative tale for these modern times. Here we’ll find the very things we need to guide our spiritual journey and quest for self-discovery, personal growth and spiritual evolution that can truly mend our soul and make our life, and our world, anew. 

The Goddess and Her hera path are foreign to our contemporary sensibilities. The original Goddess hera tales have been mostly lost to us. What remains are fragments of myths, like those of Persephone and Inanna, whose deeper meanings and transformative teachings have been relegated to the fringe of our human society and psyche. 
 
Instead, our mythic storytelling and meaning making are dominated by the powers and perspective of God and men. The hero’s journey — that comes to us through the comparative-mythology writings of the late, brilliant Joseph Campbell — is the prevailing mythic storyline of our human quest for personal and spiritual growth.
 
In its basic structure, the hero’s journey is a quest where outer trials and treasures fuel our spiritual adventures and personal growth: the hero begins in the everyday world, where he is given a quest or call to adventure; he sets out on a journey where he faces greats trials, usually with the help of an ally; he fights his biggest battle, and through his victory he achieves his quest and claims his treasure; and then he returns to the ordinary world as a reborn or changed man.
 
If this storyline sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve been telling this hero-journey tale for thousands of years. Joseph Campbell found this story structure in important, surviving myths from around the world, including those of Buddha, Mohammad, Jesus and Moses. Frodo, Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter are contemporary examples of our continued reliance on the hero’s journey to tell big stories of spiritual adventure and personal growth.
 
But something is missing in these mythic stories. The hero’s journey is presumed to be a universal spiritual journey for humankind, when in reality it only speaks to the masculine, outer- and action-focused aspects of our human nature and spiritual growth. The missing mythic storyline is the hera path, with its inward-focused, Goddess-based tale of descent and return from the Underworld.
 
In its basic structure, the hera path has four phases: the Goddess descends into the Underworld realm of the sacred dark, leaving behind Her known world as She begins a new cycle on Her journey of self-discovery and spiritual evolution; She travels the ways of this realm, suffering its trials and embracing its mysteries of death and rebirth: She dies to Her old Self, and is reborn anew; She returns to the sunlit realm of light and life, transformed by Her travels into Her full maturity and powers: Queen and Goddess of the realms below and above, who bridges the primal powers of darkness, death, light and life; She walks the sunlit realm, at one with Her Goddess power and presence, leaving a trail of blossoming life in Her path.
 
When translated to your personal journey of soul, the hera path directs your spiritual quest inward to the sacred dark of your inner psyche and the mysteries that underlie waking reality. In contrast to the hero’s journey, there’s no outer enemy to battle, but more the imperative to brave the trials and challenges of your own life story, and to be present and empowered in the face of the raw truths of your experiences, both the beauty and wounding, and the light and shadow.
 
To reclaim the hera path is to embrace a Goddess-based conception of personal growth and spiritual evolution. You’re not trying to reach a rarified state of enlightenment that’s often associated with spiritual evolution, nor are you trying to emulate the qualities of someone or something outside of your Self. Instead, your journey of soul is about becoming a more evolved, whole, powerful version of your Self.  You show up to your life and spiritual pathwork with wisdom, love and self-acceptance,  knowing that darkness, death, trials and suffering are inevitable parts of human existence and your life story, and the very things that drive your spiritual growth and evolution. 
 
The hera path has always held these transformative mysteries of the Goddess on our behalf. Persephone has been making Her journey of descent and return from the Underworld over and over again in the mythic realm, waiting for the time when we would once again seek Her guidance and wisdom on our journey of self-discovery and spiritual evolution. Her story, along with the more ancient tale of Inanna, are as potent and relevant now as they were in the distant days when they were first spoken, and maybe even more so given how long we’ve strayed from the life-giving, soul-nourishing ways of the Goddess, and how lost we’ve been from the deep roots and mysteries of our own Self and soul.
 
What is lost can be refound and reclaimed. As the seasons turn to Fall, Persephone waits for you at the edge of the known world, where the everyday gives way to the deeper Mysteries that underlie human reality. Her hand is extended, reaching to you with an open invitation to join Her at this edge place where the ancient hera path of the Goddess begins.

Photo by luizclas from Pexels

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  • Karen Clark
    Karen Clark says #
    I checked out your website and oracle deck. Very cool. Yes, we share the same passion. I write about the transformative mysterie
  • Dver
    Dver says #
    Wow, you've hit on something very close to what I've described as the Girls Underground archetype - something that begins with Per
  • Karen Clark
    Karen Clark says #
    Thanks for the positive feedback Tasha. I'm so glad the article speaks to your Truth. Blessings.
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    This is an interesting piece of writing, and I experienced it as very true, or should I say a veritable Truth. Thank you for your
The Goddess and the #Metoo Movement: Mythic Tales for these Modern Times

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.

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

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.

PHOTO CREDIT: Rupert Bunny, Rape of Persephone, via Wikimedia Commons

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  • Judith Shaw
    Judith Shaw says #
    Great look at these two stories and the differences they reflect. I've often thought of Inanna as the original Whole Goddess of t
  • Karen Clark
    Karen Clark says #
    You are welcome Judith. And thanks for the great comment. I too love Inanna in Her wholeness and sovereignty, and find the parall

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The Yes Magic of New Year’s Resolutions

With the Winter Solstice, the new solar year has begun, followed closely by the turning into a new calendar year. Now is a time of endings that mark new beginnings, and the tradition of New Year’s resolutions.

New Year’s resolutions can be a catalyst for profound, soul-sourced change, drawing on the Path of She practice of yes magic. Yes is the most powerful magical word in our vocabulary. It’s a word that the Universe pays close attention to. Say ‘yes’ and doors of possibilities open. Say ‘yes’ from the depths of soul, and you can transform your life.

Right now, at this very moment, the power of yes magic is at work in your life. Every choice you make and action you take, consciously or unconsciously, is a yes spoken in the language of the material world that weaves the fabric of your everyday existence. This is powerful magic: you are, in effect, spellcrafting your life.

Yes magic is a form of spellcrafting that aligns the potent, twin powers of desire and will through a specific, consciously chosen intention. Desire is what you want, will is your ability to make things happen, and intention is the spark that ignites the magic between them, and sends this magic outward into the listening Universe.

When you make a New Year’s resolution, you’re focusing your will by setting an intention for the coming calendar year. This is a perfect opportunity to use yes magic in service of your personal and spiritual growth for the new year.

Making Your Yes-Magic New Year’s Resolution

1. Heed Your Soul Desire

Yes magic operates in the domain of soul, not surface-level needs and wants. To use yes magic for your New Year’s resolution, you start by turning your awareness inward, and seeking out the soul desires that are reaching for expression in your outer life at this time.

Take out your journal book. With a few full, slow, grounding breaths, settle into your body and empty your mind. Then focus your attention on heeding your desire for profound, transformative change in the new year. 

Start by exploring your existing thoughts about change in the new year. What healing and personal transformation are you hungry for? What are your fears and hopes at this time? What new skills, knowledge, lifestyle enhancements and resources would you like to cultivate?  Why do you want to make these changes in your life?

Then take a few more deep, grounding breaths. Let go of everything you’ve written, and imagine yourself slipping beneath these things you know, and the wants and whys you can readily name. What is beneath these things? What soul-based longings are trying to make their way into your conscious knowing at this turning into the new year?

When your journaling feels complete, put your writing to one side, and let your insights and discoveries percolate inside of you.

2. Connect With Your Will

Yes magic is also about being grounded in your everyday life, and working with the impetus for change that’s already present in your outer environment. Desire turns your awareness inward, seeking out what you want to change. Will’s job is to focus your awareness outward, and to drive change in relation to your existing life circumstances.

Now that you’ve heeded your soul desire for change in the new year, you next turn your attention to your will, and its connection to what’s happening in your life at this moment.

Place your hands on your abdomen, and anchor yourself in your will by tracking the movements of your breath in the rounding and flattening of your belly. Then expand your awareness outward to your greater environment, and the energies and events of your outer life.

Ask yourself: what’s up for me right now, and demanding my attention, positive or negative? What opportunities and challenges am I facing?  What unusual or synchronistic events have come my way? How are these things revealing the personal change that’s ripe for me at the beginning of this new year? 

Answers may come to you immediately, or you may want to let them brew for a day. When this activity feels complete, move on to step 3.

3. Align Your Desire and Will

Yes magic sources its immense, transformative potential from the alignment of the twin powers of desire and will. When you say yes to your soul desire, and fire up your will to make this desire manifest in your outer life, you’re tapping into the deep, foundational roots of spellcrafting magic. It’s like sending up an intense, focused beacon into the listening Universe, and activating its mysteries of manifestation in service of your personal transformation.

Close your eyes, and put one hand each on your heart and belly. With several full, slow breaths, imagine yourself connecting to your heart with its inner knowing of your soul desires, and your belly with its outer knowing of your will. Open to the meeting and mingling of the insights that came to you in your step 1 and 2 activities. Feel these energies come into alignment in the core of your being, with your will primed to service your soul desire.

From this powerful place, ask yourself: what is my intention for 2018? How do I want to heal, grow and transform my life?  Be specific and concrete. Know you can choose to change in big or small ways. What matters is not so much the size of the change, but more the depth of the vision and energies that you’re tapping into when setting your intention for 2018.

Move directly from this activity into step 4.

4. Craft Your New Year’s Resolution

From the insights and information that came to you in the prior steps, craft a specific, yes-magic New Year’s resolution.

Words matter. Your soul, will and the mysteries of the Universe heed the specifics of your intention. Speak in empowering terms, naming what you want to bring into your life, rather than what you want to get rid of. Keep your resolution simple and brief, yet also use words that have power and meaning for you, and that make your soul sing. Make sure there’s an action element to your resolution, something that you’ll do to help manifest your intention. Leave lots of room for the unexpected and the unknown, so the Universe can weave its manifestation magic.

An ideal New Year’s resolution would support and nurture the new direction of your personal and spiritual growth, without being overly directive or goal-oriented. For example, you could set a resolution to develop a new skill, knowledge area or lifestyle choice that would support and enhance your soul’s desire to take your life in a new direction.

Symbolic actions matter.  Design a simple ritual that can charge your New Year’s resolution, and send its message outward into the listening Universe. You can create sacred space, light a candle, and speak your New Year’s resolution out loud three times. You can charge a symbolic object, like a piece of jewelry, an altar item, or a written affirmation that can be a touchstone to your New Year’s resolution yes magic as 2018 unfolds. Or you can come up with your own ritual that speaks to your soul and intention for change.

It doesn’t really matter what you do, as long as it’s symbolically connected to your New Year’s resolution, and anchors your 2018 intention in your soul, body and physical surroundings.  

5. Release Your New Year’s Resolution

With yes magic, like all spellcrafting, you don’t grip tight to your intention. Gather up your presence, commitment and power. Charge your New Year’s resolution through your ritual. Then release your intention, setting it free to work its yes magic, as it will, in your life.

Change will come, but not necessarily change that you can control or choose. The potent alignment of your soul-sourced desire, outer-anchored will, and the mysteries of the Universe will bring you whatever you deeply, truly need to heal and transform your life in keeping with your New Year’s resolution.  

For example, if your resolution is to become a more loving person, this might show up as a big fight with your mother. As counter-intuitive as this may appear, on a deeper level your heart might be blocked because of an unresolved issue with your mother. So the Universe delivers to you what you truly need: a conflict to heal your heart with your mother so you can continue on your chosen path of becoming a more loving person.

Yes magic and your soul have their own timeframes which can manifest change in an instant, or take a long time to unfold. In practice, the work of your soul is all about process, not outcomes. What matters is the depth of your engagement, not the speed of your journey or your destination.

6. Do Your Soul Work

Yes magic isn’t about words. What you do is your true yes, not what you say. Unless your actions back up your New Year’s resolution, nothing is going to happen, or more accurately, something will happen, but it’ll be in alignment with the yes communicated by your actions.

In the coming weeks and months, follow through on your New Year’s resolution by backing your yes words with yes actions. Trust that the challenges and opportunities for change that arrive on your doorstep are your work of soul.  Embrace the negative and positive, the light and shadow, and your beauty and wounding, knowing that all these things are the makings of your personal and spiritual pathwork in 2018.

And remember to look for the unexpected. With your yes-magic New Year’s resolution, you’ve activated powerful manifestation energies, and these energies will reveal themselves in the insights, dreams, issues, challenges and opportunities that come your way. Expect to be surprised, to dig into places that you’d rather avoid, and to be led by mysteries that you don’t fully understand.

Do your spiritual pathwork to the best of your ability, and trust that this is enough. With conscious awareness and commitment to your New Year’s resolution, you can change in profound, transformative ways, and become ever more masterful at the yes magic of spellcrafting the blessed gift that is your life and the living of your soul desire.

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