Death. Destruction. Fear. Pain. Is that the Darkness? What have you been taught about the darkness?
Darkness is complicated, especially in a culture that has serious problems with white supremacy and spiritual ideologies that idealize the "light." But this is the season of darkness, and it's time to learn about it. One way I work spiritually is through exploring relationship with mythology and the stories of different deities. I offer this with the caveat that exploring our personal relationships with different goddesses or gods is beautiful, but also requires us to take a look at cultural appropriation. Think about your relationship with your own culture or ancestry. Think about how to develop a respectful relationship with a deity that is not from your own culture or lineage. Is there a deity from your own ancestral line that would like to work with you?
Why do we want to learn about the Dark Goddess anyway? The Goddess is story. She is the process of a story unfolding. The stories of goddesses we know and read about can serve as mirrors of our own power and the process we have to go through in order to see that power, to understand ourselves more deeply.
The mysteries of life, the pain that creates strength, and the magic in our interrelatedness – that is the Dark Goddess.
If we close ourselves off from one aspect of life by denying its existence and blocking its natural channels, then it comes out distorted and could very well cut us off from the things we want: connection, love, passion, creativity, support. The Dark Goddess has been reviled and feared because she shows us what we do not want to see. And she cannot be controlled.
To look around at the major destruction, violence and degradation on our planet is to know that we need the Dark Goddess to wake up in each one of us. This power only works when we are open and willing to take a look at new information, to trust what we feel, to entertain the possibilities…
Who is the Dark Goddess? Some aspects she might embody are the Crone, the Destroyer, the Wise Woman, the Witch, the Grandmother, the dangerous femme, the oracle, the hag. Whoever she is, she means business. She is destruction of old forms, the Goddess of death, which is a part of life. She is the wise woman who has seen it all. She is what we are afraid of. She lives at the crossroads, the place where we have to decide, where we have to change. And in order to change we often have to give up something, leave something behind, and let ourselves surrender. She is the healer, the herbalist, the midwife of souls, the priestess and counselor. She is what is essential. Justice, death, release, choices, deep healing, transformation.
The Dark Goddess is:
- Connected to the earth, specifically caves, underground, dark groves. The Wise Woman archetype within each of us, teaching us about the cycles of death and renewal.
- Connected to the cycles of nature, specifically the time of dying, incubating, releasing, ebbing.
- Guardian of the crossroads, the midwife of our souls, helping us accept the dark places within us in order to step into wholeness.
- The terrifying, devouring mother, who forces us to face our fears, to be consumed. The power of process, opening to all forms of information – even the painful parts – so that we may be whole.
- A guide into the realm of painful emotions in order to discover compassion find healing.
- The wisdom of the body and of feelings, ways of knowing beyond rational thought.
- She is soul-centered and mystical.
- She has the gift of prophecy and insight.
- The all-loving grandmother, who never leaves our side through sickness, injury or emotional affliction
Some of Her names are Hecate, Kali, the Morrigan, Erishkegal, Cerridwen, Maka, Fata Morgana, Medusa, Persephone. Are there some stories you associate with this energy?
Using the name of a specific deity can be a key to unlock the door to a part of your Higher Self. This is a great time of year to deepen and expand your spiritual path, and one way to do that might be dedicating to a specific Goddess. You can see if someone shows up today and wants to work with you. A fairly simple way to do this is to do a bit of research to find out more about a particular goddess, and then to set out at the beginning of each day with a prayer: “I am doing your work today and I want to get to know you. Walk with me and see through my eyes.”
(Again, please check in and ask yourself about cultural appropriation. Being a witch who has white-skin privilege means I have been brought up with the idea that I can take on or take over anything. That's a product of colonization - the stealing and use of what others consider sacred without respect and/or interrogating the consequences. We can develop a healthy relationship to the Darkness and the Dark Goddess without disrespecting or pillaging others' cultural heritage. and religious practices.)
Embodying the Dark Goddess
So, let’s take a moment to get into a comfortable position. I recommend standing for this, so you have greater access to your bodies. We are going to explore the crone energy as it lives and moves within our bodies. So let’s reconnect to our breath. Do a silly sound and gesture release, stretching, to access our bodies.
Now, we call on the Dark Goddess. The Destroyer, the Wise Woman, the Witch, the Grandmother, the Dangerous Femme, the Oracle, the Hag.Call her into your body. She who lives at the crossroads, the place of choice and possibility. The Crone, who is wise and clear in her seeing. The Dark Goddess knows the dance of change and the way of surrender. She is less attached to the world and more in tune with the mystical, magical threads of life. Call her in, and feel how she moves, how she feels, in your body. Where does the Dark Goddess live in you?
She changes and changes and changes again. She is untouchable and yet touches everyone. She is Time. She is Life, but she is Death too. Her power is the power of release and renewal. Her power is the power of destruction, of letting go, of dying back, just as the leaves of the trees fall to the earth in the autumn. So, we too die back in phases. So, we too die to these human bodies.
Where does this aspect live in you? What does the quality of the crone feel like in your body? Does it center in a specific part of your body? Does it fill you up?
Within her is the power of destruction, the power of death, the power of completion. But she is a spiral, with no beginning and no end. So in her destruction are the seeds of life, the promise of creation. What is it that is calling out for healing, for transformation, for death within you? The Dark Goddess is also the potency and magic of our sex. She is regenerative and fills us with pleasure. Feel her connection to your sexuality and the blood mysteries of being a woman.
This place in you, the place where the crone lives, knows that there is more to life than meets the eye. She knows herself in all her parts and accepts them. What does this power feel like in you? What is the temperature, the pace, the rhythm of this aspect of the goddess? Do any colors, images arise? If there is a specific body part that you feel her most strongly in, put your attention there, or maybe put your hands on that part of your body, and breathe into it, sending it a bit more energy. Let it grow and get a bit bigger. Move with this energy a little, and see the ways you are able to let go, the ways you are wise. Maybe you need to ask the Dark Goddess to fill you with her perspective, the perspective of time, the peace of darkness, the place of stillness. Maybe she is telling you to slow down, to let the old growth of your life die and fall back to the earth, to honor your own intuition and trust in spirit. Feel whatever she is telling you now…
And now let it go, send this energy flowing back down into the earth, as though you have roots at the bottom of your feet and can just let her slip down those roots, merging again with the great below…
Shake it out. Pat the edges of your body, bringing yourself fully back into the room. Sit down and write a bit about your experience. What did the Dark Goddess feel like within you? Did she have something to show you? How can you access this power within you?