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Happy Lammas/Lughnasadh! On this day (August 1-2) the Wheel of the Year turns again and the growing season of summer gives way to the harvest season. In many Goddess Circles, it is traditional to tell the story of Kore (meaning "young maiden"), or Persephone, the daughter of Demeter, Goddess of Agriculture and Fertility. This version that follows is a more matriarchal point of view, written by Starhawk:
Circle round, and I'll tell you a very ancient story…
On a beautiful day in spring, Kore, daughter of Demeter, was gathering flowers with her maidens in a green meadow. The earth was green with new growth and lush with bright crocuses, sweet narcissus, and fragrant hyacinths. The young women sang as they picked the flowers and danced on the new grass.
In a far corner of the meadow, Kore noticed a golden gleam. She left her maidens and went to investigate. There grew a golden flower, more beautiful than any she had ever seen before. The flower's perfume made Kore feel joyful and carefree and just the tiniest bit afraid. She wanted to pick the flower and keep it for her very own. And even though she knew that you should never pick a flower that is the only one of its kind, she reached out her hand and plucked the blossom.
Instantly, she heard a great roaring and cracking sound, and the earth shook under her. She fell to the ground. When the air grew still, she looked up and saw that a deep chasm had opened just in front of her, like a tunnel leading into the heart of the earth.
Kore was a very curious maiden. She had lived all her life on the surface of the beautiful earth, loved and protected by her mother, Demeter, who was the Goddess of all green and growing things. Her life was filled with pleasure and abundance.
But she had always secretly wondered what lay underneath the bright surface of the world. Where did the spring flowers come from when they pushed their way up from below? If they were so bright and lovely when they emerged, what wonders might lie in the place where they originated?
"Here's an opening that leads beneath the earth," she said to herself. "Now I can explore the realms below. Oh, maybe I shouldn't go down. I know my mother wouldn't like it. But I will, just a little way, just to see what's there."
She left her maidens and the bright flowers above and entered the cavern. At first the way was wide. Light came from the opening behind her, and she could see the beautiful colors and interesting shapes of the stone.
But the chasm began to narrow. At first it was as wide as a room, then it was as narrow as a hallway. Kore could not see very much, as the stone walls blocked most of the light from behind. But somehow the gloom made her even more curious.
"I should turn around," she said to herself. "My mother will be worried about me. But I think I'll go on, just a little bit farther.
So she went on, and the passage became narrower and narrower. Soon she had to stoop down and bend her head to avoid the low roof of the tunnel. Then she had to drop to her knees and crawl. All the light disappeared, and she had to feel her way through the dark.
"I should go back," she told herself. "This could be dangerous, and my mother will be so worried if I don't come home! But if I just go on a little farther, I might come upon something wonderful."
So she continued on, until she was lying on her belly, squirming along the ground. Suddenly she realized that the passage had become so narrow and tight that there was no room for her to turn around. She tried to push herself backward, but her hips stuck. For the first time she felt afraid.
"Oh no!" she said to herself. "Now I've done it! How will I get out of here? My poor mother will be so worried! I can't go back, so I'll have to go forward and hope I come to a wider place where I can turn around."
But the passage continued to narrow, until she was fighting to squeeze through the crack in the rocks.
"Stupid me!" Kore said to herself. "Why did I ever come here? Why did I leave the bright meadows and the beautiful flowers? Now I might never see my mother's face again, or dance on the new green grass."
At that moment the earth gave way beneath her, and she fell, tumbling and turning over, down and down until she felt like she was flying through the dark.
"I'll be smashed to pieces!" she cried, "Oh, Mother, why did I ever leave you?"
But she landed as softly as a feather floats to earth, in the heart of the Underworld.
All day long, Demeter was waiting for the return of her daughter. While the bright sun was high in the sky, she didn't worry, but went happily about her tasks of helping the grain to grow and the trees to set fruit. But as the sun dipped into the west, she felt a chill in her heart. When evening fell, Kore's companions came running back from the field.
"Demeter, Demeter, Kore is lost!" they cried, "The earth shook and opened up, and when we looked back, Kore was gone. We can't find her anywhere!"
"Kore!" Demeter let out a heart-rending cry, "My dear, only daughter! Kore, where are you?"
Nobody could tell her where Kore had gone.
"I'll search for her," Demeter vowed, "I won't rest until I find my daughter!"
And so she began to search. Through the fields and the meadows, under the tall trees of the woodlands and along the rocky coasts of the sea, she wandered.
"Have you seen my daughter?" she asked every person she met, "Kore, the bright flower-maiden of spring, have you seen her?" But no one knew where Kore had gone.
Farther and farther Demeter wandered. From the hillsides of Greece she crossed the sea to the islands, climbing steep mountains and following the banks of streams. But no one in the islands knew where Kore had gone.
At last she wandered back to her homeland. She came to rest outside the gates of the town called Eleusis, in the middle of a broad plain that was the most fertile land in all of Greece. She sat beside the well, covered her head with her cloak, and mourned. She cried until she felt completely empty. Then she got mad.
"I am the Goddess, Demeter!" she cried, "I shouldn't have to suffer like this! I am the one who makes all things grow, who gives the gifts of food and life. No more! Until Kore is returned to me, there will be no more growth! No food, no life; no seeds will sprout, no fruit will set, no grain will ripen, no young things will be born! Nothing, until the whole world is as dead and empty as I feel!"
And so the gardens died, the grapes withered on the vine, and the fields were parched and empty. The people went hungry, and there was no joy anywhere.
In the Underworld, all was shadowy and dim. Kore wandered and wandered through wide halls of stone. The spirits of the dead surrounded her like twittering ghosts.
"Help us, help us," they hissed and whispered, "We are so cold, so gray, so lonely. You are so full of life and color and the memory of the bright sun."
"How can I help you?" Kore asked, "I am lost myself. Oh, why did I ever come down here? I want to go home, to the bright meadow and the flowers. I want to see my mother's face!"
"Stay with us, come close to us," the ghosts pleaded. They frightened Kore, and she ran from them, through the twisting passageways of the Underworld.
At last she came to the largest hall, a great underground cavern. In the center, on a huge, black throne, sat a God. He was dark and handsome, dressed all in black, and Kore knew instantly who he must be.
"Hades!" she greeted him, "Lord of the Underworld! I am your cousin Kore, the Maiden of Spring. Once this realm belonged to my Grandmother Hecate. You took it from her, and now you must help me get back to the living world of sunlight and flowers."
"Kore," Hades greeted her. As soon as he said her name, he fell in love with her. In that realm of gray shadows, she was like a golden gleam of spring sun, like a rare flower that scented the air. He wanted nothing more than to take her and keep her forever as his very own.
"My dear cousin," Hades said, "I am sorry to have to tell you that no one ever returns from this realm. You will have to remain here. But since you are a Goddess, I will happily make you my bride, and together we will rule the land of the dead."
"But I don't want to be your bride!" Kore protested, "I want to go home to my mother."
"Come sit here beside me," Hades said. She noticed a second dark throne next to his. "Rest from your wanderings, and have some food and drink. You'll feel better."
"I want to go home," Kore said, but she was very tired. So she sat on the throne next to Hades.
"Don't be sad," Hades said, "The Underworld is a place of great riches. All the gold and jewels and precious stones belong to us. We are wealthy."
"I don't care about gold and jewels," Kore said, "I want my mother! I want flowers and fruit and living, growing things." She was so sad, she couldn't eat or drink.
Back on earth, the harvest had failed. Demeter still sat grieving beside the well. She was so shriveled and withered that no one recognized her as a Goddess. To the people of Eleusis, she appeared to be just and old beggar woman. Still, they took pity on her, and tried their best to cheer her up. They brought her a soothing drink of mint and barley water, but still she mourned. Baubo, the clown Goddess, came and told her jokes, but she did not smile. The Queen of Eleusis herself invited Demeter to her home. The Goddess was not comforted, but she did appreciate the kindness of the people of Eleusis. Their city became the site of her temple, and their fields were ever the most fertile in Greece. And so, if you ever meet an old beggar woman, be kind to her. Remember, she may be the Goddess in disguise!
Since there was no food to harvest, famine covered the land. Everywhere, people starved. At last even the Goddesses and Gods up on Mount Olympus began to feel hungry. No one was feeding them with sacrifices. No one was making offerings.
"This can't go on," Zeus the Thunder God said at last, "We must get Demeter back on the job. Can't anyone reason with her?"
"Until Kore is returned to her, she won't make fertility for the land or the people," said Hecate, the old Goddess who was Kore's grandmother, "Demeter can be very stubborn when she's angry. I think you'd better help her if you want to eat again."
"Well, where is Kore?" Zeus asked, "Didn't anyone see where she went? She can't just have disappeared."
"That's exactly what she did," said Helios, "I saw. I see everything. She went down to the Underworld, and now Hades wants to make her his queen."
"The Underworld! That's a serious matter," Zeus said, "No one returns from the land of the dead."
"Then the people will starve and the earth will die," said Hecate, "And even we, the Goddesses and Gods will go hungry."
"Perhaps we could make an exception in this case," Zeus said, "As long as Kore hasn't eaten any food down there, we can let her come back."
"Please, eat something," Hades begged Kore. She had grown sad and pale, and yet to him she seemed even more beautiful, like a silver pearl gleaming in the dark.
"I'm not hungry," Kore said, "I want to go home."
Hades begged her to eat, and tried to cheer her by showing her all the beauties of the Underworld: the caverns of crystal and the glowing, jeweled halls, the underground rivers and vast lakes, the streams of molten golden lava. He was so kind, so attentive, so worried about her that she actually began to feel somewhat fond of him. Still, she wanted nothing more than anything to go home.
"Please eat," Hades urged her, "You are growing so thin, it hurts me to watch you suffer."
He held out to her a handful of the seeds of a pomegranate. They were red as rubies, a brightness among the shadows. They appealed her.
"After all, I can't go back home," she told herself, "I might as well enjoy what is here."
She reached out her hand and took the seeds. Popping them into her mouth, she sucked the sweet, tart juice.
Instantly, everything changed. The shadows came alive. They were the ghost memories of all that had ever taken place above, but they were also the images of what had not yet been, rich with all the possibilities of change and growth. The dead and the unborn danced together like colors in a kaleidoscope, and from their movement new life would be born.
Suddenly Kore was filled with a joy and power she had never known before. She plucked two flaming torches from the wall of the cavern and began to dance. She whirled and spun and leaped, playing with fire, dancing the way from death and rebirth and back again. The dead followed her, and as they spiraled together, women in the upper world began to feel new life stirring in their wombs.
"This is where the seeds come from!" she proclaimed, "This is the wonderful place where flowers are born. And I am its Queen, Queen of fire. I am no longer just little Kore, Demeter's daughter. I am myself, Persephone, Queen of the Dead."
"She has tasted the food of the dead," Zeus said. "Now what do we do?"
"She has changed," Hecate said, "No longer is she the sweet young maiden Demeter grieves for. Now she is Queen in her own realm. She can never again belong wholly to the upper world, but she cannot belong completely to the Underworld, either. She must be a bridge between them, showing the dead the way to rebirth and reminding the living of life's end so they remember to be fully alive."
"For every seed she has eaten, she must spend one month each year in the Underworld," Zeus agreed, "But in the spring, she can return to the upper world with the new shoots that rise from the bare ground, and bring life and hope and rejoicing to her mother."
"And so for part of each year the earth will be bare and brown and support no life," Hecate agreed, "But in the spring, when Persephone returns, all of nature will rejoice."
And so Persephone rose from the Underworld, and Demeter greeted her with great joy. They danced together on the new grass, and everywhere their feet touched, spring flowers bloomed. And so each year when Persephone returns, life blossoms everywhere. But when she descends, Demeter covers her head with her cloak. Leaves fall, the harvest is gathered in, and life rests until Kore returns once more.
Download Goddess Diaries Prompts here:
Persephone's Abduction Worksheet
Today's Episode: Interview with Elise Marie Collins, author of "Chakra Tonics: Essential Elixers for the Mind, Body and Spirit"
Elise Collins has created the perfect guide and recipe book of smoothies, teas, and tonics to help us transform our overall health and vitality. Her restorative recipes contain powerful superfoods, herbs, minerals, and ph-balanced liquids designed to nourish the physical body and revitalize its central energy system--the chakras. In Chakra Tonics, Collins outlines a brief description of the chakras and addresses the source of health problems in our energetic bodies, describing how the tonics assist the subtle body and chakras to release stale energy that, if not processed, can lead to disease and illness. She also describes ways to use these healthful drinks in combination with yoga techniques in an ongoing preventative manner or in conjunction with a specific meditation, visualization, or affirmation to enhance its power.
Click here to listen to the podcast!
I am so excited about today's guest, imho a Goddess in her own right, the tremendously talented, confidently kooky, Lifestyle Entrepreneur, Joanna Devoe!
Joanna is creating the kickass life of her dreams, sharing her Hollywood/Rock & Roll perspective on spirituality, psychology, business, and--well, life! She blends it ALL together in a magically alchemically delicious swirl of online zaniness over at her blog, “KickAss Witch_.”
Pour yourself a nice cuppa' and listen in as this Goddess chats with the KickAss Witch.
One of the most courageous things you can do in life is show up. But if you wish to truly live a life of your own creation, you must show up and continue to show up and trust that life will prompt you in a way that you will know what to do next.
If you just show up and expect stellar results you are fooling yourself. Life wants to reward you, but the process of receiving begins with the act of opening--cracking wide open and taking action that feels most true in the moment. It is not about acting perfectly. Sometimes we show up and then we fuck up….bad. This is a fact of life. Showing up and acting accordingly is about sustaining the courage to feel into this one moment. It is about meeting Life in the here and now without any agenda. Feeling into the reward. Trusting in your truth.
If life only asked of me to simply show up, then all of my relationships would be perfect, I’d have an unlimited bankroll, my boss wouldn't be breathing down my neck and I’d be (ahem…) a much healthier size for my 5’3” frame. I have to engage with my friends, family, spouse, children to thrive in my relationships. I have to perform the work I was hired to do in order to make the money I need to sustain my chosen lifestyle. I have to actually bend and stretch and work those muscles to stay fit.
While it is true that showing up is probably one of the most courageous things you can do, it is only half of the equation to living a life by design. So show up, yes, but it does wonders when you show up with a healthy dose of curiosity and a willingness to act accordingly in the moment.
Yes, showing up is half of the battle, but the winning strategy will always ask for your acts of courage during the second half.
Last night our Goddess Circle met under the energies of the Capricorn full moon and we talked about how we show up for the world. It was a revealing look into our collective psyche as women.Our days are so full of activities--work, family, chores, kids activities, parties, car washes, pets, yard work... (not necessarily in that order…)
Consensus was met. Hell, yeah we show up! We are showing up because if we didn’t, sadly, most of IT would not get done!
And then there was a pause in the discussion as the flaw in this logic descended upon the group. Quietly, someone asked the question, “but where does that leave You? Not little you, lowercase you….but You, uppercase You? I seem to be showing up for everybody else, but not often enough for myself!”
It is a fact that many of us begin our mornings thinking about all the people who need us, all the things that need to get done, but rarely pause to take time for Ourselves. But what if you could start your mornings with the intention of tending Your own needs first? What would this look like for you? What benefits could this give you and everyone else with whom you may come into contact?
Part of being present means tending to our own needs. If we do not place value on our presence, we run the risk of emptying our tanks. Living with the belief that we are the only ones who will show up to get stuff done is actually disempowering to you and all you tend to. And truly, if everyone needs our time and talent, then it is important to keep our tanks full. What are Your needs? What fills Your tank? How can You tend to Your needs, ensuring the best of Your Love is pouring forth, and not just a resentful obligatory fulfillment?
Showing up for the world begins with showing up for Yourself.
The flawed logic is not so flawed, then..."if you don’t do it, no one else will." And perhaps you can do this by simply ritualizing your day. It might look like shifting from a rushed morning to simply waking up 20 minutes earlier than usual to enjoy the sunrise with a cup of tea. Or, it can mean turning down the lights after 9 pm and turning down the sheets on your bed, and preparing a nightly bedtime routine. This does not have to be an elaborate ceremony (there is a difference between ceremony and ritual, after all) but just a presence of mind to attend to the smaller moments of daily life. Many of us celebrate the bigger events--birthdays, weddings, graduations--with ceremony. But what about the little moments in between? Are these not where the juiciness bursts forth?
It is so important to attend to the little moments in life, for if we are not present , the moment passes us by and its gone. Forever. and that is a mighty long time, forever. But more importantly, it is required practice if we are to tend to our own needs to keep our tanks full.
Use these questions as journal prompts, or just reflect on them as you go about your day. What can you do to ritualize your daily life? What small things are bursting with juicy goodness that, when acknowledged, makes you feel well-cared for? After reading this, how do you intend to show up for the world?
If you would like more information about working with the moon's energies, you can sign up for The Goddess Diaries newsletter, delivered on the New Moon and Full Moon. http://eepurl.com/XW6hX
On July 12, 2014 we will experience the third of five SUPERMOONs in 2014. In scientific lingo, this means the moon is closest to the earth in it's elliptical orbit, making it appear much larger in size than normal.
In metaphysical speak, it means the influence of lunar astrology is particularly potent! Because the moon will be in the sign of Capricorn, themes around traditions, authority and stability may be in the forefront of your emotional awareness this weekend.
This full moon will be great for working with anything that has to do with long term goals, achievements, honoring your ancestors, etc... You might also consider shifting your focus to your physical health needs during this time, too.
The elemental energy here is EARTH, and my local group will be working with this energy over the weekend. But you do not have to part of the local group to invoke this power in your life. Here are few considerations for working with the Capricorn Full Moon...
1) This moon compliments the energies of the New Moon in Capricorn, which occurred on January 1, 2014. Remember the intentions you set for your New Year? Now is a good time to revisit those goals and ground them into your physical presence.
2) Consider your presence. How are you showing up? How do you present yourself to the world? What is your big "I AM..." statement? Consider the brevity of anything you say after the words, "I AM..." Like a stone thrown into the energetic pond, your words ripple out into the Universe, impacting all.
3) This energy is excellent for working with the Ancestors. You might consider a simple ritual for honoring your passed-on loved ones.
4) What legacy are you creating for your future generations?
If you would like to know more about what is up with the moon, check out my Facebook page, The Goddess Diaries, or sign up for my newsletter (goes out every new and full moon and is chock full of moon magic and goddess lore information...) http://eepurl.com/XW6hX
Love you to the moon and back!
While I am not into dogma, religion or anything that feels like a noose around my neck, I do think this poem is a great work of art. It is often recited during Wiccan esbats as a formal call to the Goddess, that we remember Her and what her commitments are to us.
The Charge of the Goddess
by Doreen Valiente
Listen to the Words of the Great Mother,
Who was of old called among men Artemis,
Astarte, Diana, Melusine, Aphrodite,
Cerridwen, Dana, Arianrhod, Isis, Bride,
and by many other Names.
Whenever ye have need of anything,
once in the month and better it be when the moon is full,
then shall ye assemble in some secret place,
and adore the spirit of me, who am Queen of all witches.
There shall ye assemble
ye who are fain to learn all sorcery,
yet have not won its deepest secrets;
to these will I teach all things that are as yet unknown.
And ye shall be free from slavery;
and as a sign that ye be truly free,
you shall be naked in your rites;
and ye shall dance, sing, feast, make music and love,
all in my praise.
For mine is the ecstasy of the spirit,
and mine also is joy on earth;
for my law is love unto all beings.
Keep pure your highest ideals;
strive ever towards them,
let nothing stop you or turn you aside.
For mine is the secret door which
opens upon the Land of Youth,
and mine is the cup of the wine of life,
and the Cauldron of Cerridwen,
which is the Holy Vessel of Immortality.
I am the gracious Goddess,
who gives the gift of joy unto the heart of man.
Upon earth, I give the knowledge of the spirit eternal;
and beyond death,
I give peace, and freedom,
and reunion with those who have gone before.
Nor do I demand sacrifice;
for behold, I am the Mother of all living,
and my love is poured out upon the Earth.
I am the beauty of the green Earth,
and the white Moon among the stars,
and the mystery of the waters,
and the desire of the heart of man.
Call unto thy soul, arise, and come unto me.
For I am the soul of Nature,
who gives life to the Universe.
From me all things proceed,
and unto me all things must return;
and before my face, beloved of gods and of men,
let thine innermost divine self be enfolded,
in the rapture of the infinite.
Let my worship be within the heart that rejoicest,
for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals.
Therefore, let there be beauty and strength,
power and compassion, honor and humility,
mirth and reverence within you.
And thou who thinketh to seek for me,
know thy seeking and yearning shall avail thee not,
unless thou knoweth the mystery;
that if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee,
thou wilt never find it without thee.
For behold, I have been with thee from the beginning;
and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.
What if we could truly understand that all we desire is already available in our current experience? Vision boarding is not about creating a wish list of things we want to manifest--because “wanting” implies a state of “lack.” Instead, this experience is all about calling into the depths of our souls to see what is echoed back to awareness. Supercharged vision boarding is all about having fun and exploring who we really are.
The new moon begins a new lunar cycle, and this is an auspicious time to think about the goals you wish to accomplish over the next 29.5 days. Dreaming is a form of planning, after all, and something fun you can do to create a goal list for yourself is to use the energies of the new moon with the power of a vision board!
A vision board is simply a collage of images, words and symbols that serve as a focal point for your intentions. The subconscious mind loves symbolism and seems to get a jolt of energy every time you look at your vision board. I believe in the power of the Law of Attraction and know that we can not attract what is not in resonance with who we are. Therefore, vision boarding is not about grasping for things we are not--instead, it is an exercise in deep-soul diving to explore our highest potential, to explore who we are. Everything we want is already within our grasps..and we have the power to manifest it into being simply by discovering where within ourselves it resides.
And I know that vision boards may have taken some ribbing in the recent past, but I can attest to their power and effectiveness. Through my own vision boarding over the years, I've manifested trips overseas, cars, money, friends, jobs, business gigs, random fun events...the list goes on...
It's super easy, super fun and makes for a great get-together event! Last night, a group of Goddess Gals met at my place to make some magic and we used the power of the Cancer New Moon to help us feel into our desires and reflect back to us the depths of our own souls.
I hope this inspires you to make some #NEWMOONMAGIC of your own!
Over to you...have you used the power of Vision Boarding to help you accomplish your goals? How can you use this information for your own benefit? Leave your comments in the space below and be sure to share this blogpost on Facebook!