Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Goddess of Dark and Light

For the four or five years I have been running various workshops as well as presenting lectures about the Dark Goddess - and in fact this year, 2010, I have given two major presentations on what is fast becoming a favourite subject of mine.  Is it a sign of the times that people are curiously peaking into the shadows to see what lies beyond the light?  Or is it a sign of spiritual maturity, an awareness that, as the Daoist believe, the "dark" is just as necessary as the "light"?  In fact, once we ponder this statement we soon release that we cannot actually appreciate the "light" or even truly understand it, without the "darkness". 

At each workshop and during each presentation, different themes become evident as participants pick up on different comments, interpretations, and some even brave enough to offer up their own opinions - the latter is always most welcomed.  It was at the Goddess Association in Australia conference however when I was actually asked if I every worked with the "light" Goddess.  Of course I do - in fact to me Goddess is both light and dark, as well as any other connotations we humans wish to add in order for us to attempt to understand Her presence.

There are a number of ways of approaching not only this topic but also the topic of Deity in general.  Often Deity is perceived as an archetype and within the Jungian school of thought, the "dark" Goddess therefore is representative of our "shadow" self. One book about working with the Dark Goddess in this concept is "Mysteries of the Dark Moon: The Healing Power of the Dark Goddess" by Demetra George (1992).  In this book not only are various "dark" Goddess myths are examined - those belonging to Llith, Medusa, Kali, Morgana etc - but how to use these myths to understand our own "shadow" self .. that part of us which we reject, ignore and which, as George points out, is not necessarily a perceived "negative" trait either as what is rejected can also very well be a talent that we do not want to acknowledge or accept out of fear and/or ridicle ...

My personal perception of Deity is that they very much present - and not just an archetype.  This does not mean, however, that I do not use the sacred myths and legends as anyone else would in the sense of providing guidence and lore - for I do.  However, and I can only talk from personal experience, Deity is very much alive, living and breathing, touching and caressing .. and all this is reflected in the perfect balance that is all around us in the natural world.

Why we tend to lable things, Deity or otherwise, is an individual thing.  The word "dark" for an extremely long period of time has come to relate to something "negative", unpleasant, even "evil" - whereas "light" is positive, nice and pure.  In the West these stereotypes surround us all the time and are so deeply engrained in us, that it can be nerve-wracking to investigate the truth behind the lables.

Dark Goddesses themselves fall into a number of catagories.  The more common one is that of the "Crone" or the aged wise hag.  However, for Goddesses such as Pele, Lilith and even Morgan le Faye, "hag" hardly seems appropriate.  Even the Goddess Hekate is who often referred to as a "Crone", has been worshipped in various guises, many of which appear to more closely resemble a "Maiden".  Likewise the Hindu Goddess Kali-Ma is often actually referred to as "Dark Mother" by Her followers.

To me the Dark Goddesses are not only the Crones and wisdom keepers (who can reflect any age) but they are also the transformers, those who challenge us and are waiting to not only guide us along our spiritual path, and who will (usually when we are dragging our feet) "help" us along with a large slap across the head.  They also reflect our own mortality, which is probably why they have long been feared as we humans have tried to hang onto this life and forgetting about the cyclic nature of things. 

Dark Goddesses are also very reflected of the beginnings, not only of our own existence but also of life itself.  They are of the earth as well as being the earth itself.  Many Goddesses, such as the Scottish Cailleach actually created the Scottish mountains from the rocks she carried in her apron, whereas the Babylonian Tiamat was the creatrix of the celestial and earthly realms.

But regardless of how we perceive them, of how uncomfortable they make us feel, or how much dislike we may have for what these Goddesses force us to realise, there is an underlying beauty of working with the Dark Goddesses.  This beauty is obtaining a deeper appreciation of all things - of life itself and whatever situation we find ourselves in.  It is through working in the shadow realms that we come to an understanding of just how interconnected everything in the Universe is .. with the final realisation that just as day and night are opposites, so to are the "light" and "dark" Goddess.

Blessings Frances

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"Dancing the Sacred Wheel" now available again

"Dancing the Sacred Wheel" now available again
The second edition of "Dancing the Sacred Wheel: A Journey through the Southern Sabbats" is now available through or direct from the author (Australian customers only) for an autographed copy.

Great Goddess Isis

Great Goddess Isis

Exhortation of Isis

You are She in the dust of whose feet is the hosts of Heaven,
Whose body encircles the Universe,
Who turns the Earth in its orb,
Who gives light to the Sun,
Who rules the World.

You tread death underfoot.
To Thee, the stars are responsive,
To Thee the seasons turn and the Gods rejoice
And the elements are in subjugation.

You are She that is the natural Mother of all things,
Mistress and governor of all elements,
The initial progeny of worlds,
Chief of Divine powers,
Queen of Heaven,
Principle of all the Gods celestial and the light of Goddesses.

At Your will are disposed the planets of the air,
The wholesome winds of the seas
And the silences of the unseen world.