Winter is the season of the Dark Goddess and Her rebirth magic.
Beneath Nature’s outer state of dormancy and death, new life gestates in the dark belly of the Earth. On the Winter Solstice, the new light of the solar year is reborn from the darkest night. So too we reclaim and rebirth our true beauty from the depths of our wounding. These are the Dark Goddess mysteries that call to us in the winter season.
The Dark Goddess’s wisdom teachings reach out to us from the ancient Sumerian myth of Inanna’s descent to the Underworld realm of Her sister, Ereshkigal. Together, these sister Goddesses gift us with the forgotten ways of the Dark Goddess’s rebirth magic.
Here are four Dark Goddess teachings to guide your personal rebirth magic in the winter season.
1. Turn your mind to your inner darkness to seek your personal rebirth magic.
Rebirth is a special kind of transformational magic that can heal your soul and make your life anew. It doesn’t come from an outside source, nor from the things you already know and understand about yourself and your world. Instead it emerges from the lost, forgotten and denied parts of your Self and your life story, secreted away in the dark folds of your inner landscape.
Inanna turns Her mind to the Great Below. She chooses to leave the land above to descend into the Underworld realm of the Dark Goddess Ereshkigal. She steps beyond Her known, secure world in search of the transformation that awaits Her in the vast unknown of the sacred dark.
The Dark Goddess is Mistress of the sacred dark that exists both in the greater world, and in the depths of your inner landscape. Here you can discover the very stuff of your rebirth magic: the lost stories of your beauty and wounding, as well as the hidden treasures of your dormant gifts and potential.
Be brave. Turn your mind to your inner landscape. Follow in Inanna’s footsteps, and descend into the vast unknown of the sacred dark within. The healing and transformation you seek awaits you there.
2. Commit to show up, empty and open, to the raw, unedited truth that is your life.
There’s no hiding, running away or distraction when you descend into your inner darkness in search of your rebirth magic. An empty, open state of being is an essential requirement in your rebirth pathwork with the Dark Goddess.
To enter Ereshkigal’s realm and descend to Her throne room in the depths of the Underworld, Inanna must give up Her royal accoutrements. This is the law of the Great Below. Inanna passes through seven gates; at each gate something is taken away, until naked and humbled, She stands before the mighty Ereshkigal.
The Dark Goddess doesn’t ask these things of Inanna, or of you, because She is cruel or domineering. She knows that you can’t learn, heal or grow when you’re burdened with a busy life, and stuff-filled mind. She strips you down so you can be present to the greater truths and possibilities within you.
Be still, empty, open. Know that when you work with the Dark Goddess, She will demand much of you. She will take away your masks, pretensions, judgements and anything else that stands between you and your work of soul. You’re the master of your own journey, working at the pace and level of depth that are right for you, and ensuring your self-care and self-responsibility in your spiritual pathwork. But, step by step, healing moment by healing moment, the Dark Goddess will return you to the raw, unedited truth that is your life, and the inner space of your deepest transformation.
3. Sometimes something has to die, to end, for something new to be reborn.
Decline, death, suffering, wounding – these are parts of our human experience, and the reality that governs all things of the living Earth. Try as we might, we can’t escape them. Instead, we need to embrace these aspects of our mortal existence as our allies and guides in our rebirth pathwork of healing and transformation.
Ereshkigal takes Inanna’s life. Inanna makes this ultimate sacrifice in service of Her greater becoming. This too is the law of the Great Below.
Both Goddesses understand that suffering and sacrifice are the price of admission to the Underworld, and to life itself, and that the old self must die for something new to be born in its place. These are the deepest roots of the Dark Goddess’s rebirth magic.
Be wise and let your unfolding life lead your soul work. Don’t expect your spiritual pathwork to be pretty or easy. There’s a sacred purpose in everything that comes your way, even those death-like endings, and wounding experiences. Rebirth magic will take you to the deepest roots of your soul work. It will ask you to die to your old self, over and over again. But trust that something new will always arise in its place.
4. Rebirth is the Dark Goddess’s gift and promise.
To travel the ways of the Dark Goddess isn’t for the fainthearted. It requires bravery, commitment, wisdom and resilience, as well as a high level of self-care and self-responsibility. The Dark Goddess is a demanding taskmistress, but She gives so much in return.
Ereshkigal grants Inanna the ultimate gift for Her suffering and sacrifices — a new life. Inanna is reborn, transformed into Her full beauty and power: Goddess of Heaven, Earth and the Underworld. Inanna accepts Her death, trusting that rebirth will come, because this is the way of Ereshkigal.
Inanna knows these things. She descends into the Great Below and abides by its laws by Her own freewill and choice. She stands before Ereshkigal humbled but undiminished, still a Goddess in Her own right. She surrenders to death and is reborn into a more powerful, whole version of Her Self. This is the Dark Goddess’s gift and promise to anyone who braves the Great Below and Her ways of rebirth.
In the winter season, with the powers of death and darkness reaching their peak on the Winter Solstice, the Dark Goddess calls you to Her rebirth magic. Like Inanna, you get to choose whether to say yes to the ways of the Dark Goddess, and let Her guide you into the depths of your inner darkness where your rebirth magic awaits you. Though the work may seem hard and daunting, remember that the gifts are immeasurable, because what is reborn is nothing less than your true, beautiful, powerful Self.
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Winter is the season of the Dark Goddess and Her rebirth magic.
Who is she, I asked Maria. My husband Fred and I were at Maria's studio during our visit to Belize. We had made a special trip to see her work. Maria gazed into my eyes and asked: You don't recognize her?
Not answering, I carefully studied the statue--an old woman with a serpent headdress, wearing a skirt decorated with crossbones, and carrying an upside-down water vessel
She spoke to me, I finally said.
You're a healer, Maria said.
I'm a psychologist who sees herself as a seeker.
Healer and seeker are the same. Both want to heal themselves, Maria replied. Both want to heal the world.
Can I hold her? In response, Maria placed the statue in my hands. As I caressed the figure, Maria looked lovingly: She is IxChel, the Maya goddess of healing, medicine, and midwifery. She is our Mother.
I had gone to Maria's place to see her sculptures. But I found much more than art.
My review today is not the one I had planned. In fact I have a hard drive filled with other reviews that really should be posted before this one. However this deck is speaking the loudest, is pulling me more to it and has just captured my heart. I am speaking of course of Lisa de St. Croix's stunning deck Tarot de St. Croix.
This deck arrived in my mailbox Easter weekend and has not left my hands since. It has mesmerized me, entrapped me and left me longing to experience more. Yes I am still talking about a deck of cards. I could feel the energy of this deck before I even opened the bubble wrap postal envelop. This energy only intensifies the moment you get it into your hands....
In the midst of my studies and quickening social and family life, it has been a refuge to gather with the women at the monthly circle. Their energy is gentle and genuine, and they speak my language. In the isolation I found myself in for the past few years, I hadn’t realized that – besides the loneliness of my world being greatly reduced to my own household and family – I had lost having anyone to talk to who knows anything of magic and spirituality. For the first time, I was alone in those waters.
Well, I was kind of alone in them in my youth, but in a less lonely way, since I was in a more magical thinking type of society (though less spiritual than they’d like to think) than the society I’m in now. So the waters were broader back then, when I explored alone – I never felt alone.
This has been more like a small cave lake, where the spirit-fish are quiet, if present at all.
It is interesting to me that coming back out of the underworld, into the sunlight and warmth of new friends, and renewed dedication to mothering my family, and reconnecting all the connections, has brought connections to moonlight, as well.
Come to your house, Osiris!
Long, long have I not seen you
My heart mourns you.
Shall I not see you, Good King?
Come to your beloved
Gods and men look for you, weep for you together
While I can see I call to you . . .
In ancient Egypt, each person hoped to make the pilgrimage to Abydos at least once in their lifetime to attend the Osirian mysteries, observed in early November, near the end of the season of Akhet, the annual flooding of the Nile.
As the waters began to recede, they left behind rich black silt, leaving the land fertile for another year’s crops. Until the late 19th century, no one knew why the Ninle so dramatically flooded most of the country, or where all the excess water came from, and yet, the Nile, with its accompanying cycle of flooding, sowing, harvest and dry season, was the most powerful force in Egypt. With a reliable food source and a way to travel through the country, ancient Egypt became the richest and most powerful country in that part of the world.
The ancients carried a memory of the great ones who came before them, the children of Ra named Osiris, Isis, Nephthys and Set (the Egyptians called them Asar, Aset, Nebt-Het and Sety). Firstborn and king Osiris, with his sister wife Isis, ruled the land with care, teaching the people to weave linen, make papyrus, brew beer and wine, and beautify (embalm) their dead.
But the most important lesson, the mystery of life, death and rebirth, came through the story of Osiris, which Temple Osireion presents annually as a ritual drama. It is a timeless story, with echoes in other mysteries throughout the classical world - Demeter and Persephone, Attis, Dionysus and Jesus.
The festival opened with a procession in the streets led by a priest wearing the mask of Anubis (Anpu). The soon-inebriated crowd re-enacted the murder of Osiris by his brother Set. Inside the temple, priests conducted the sacred rituals in private. Two priestesses played the parts of Isis and her sister Nephthys, each reciting a solemn lamentation. The first day, the priests placed seeds in a coffin-like container with water and soil. On the third day of the festival the priests opened the container to reveal that the buried seeds, like Osiris, had germinated and come to life....