The darker aspect of the Goddess can be a rather strange and unsettling figure who has been inhabiting a corner of our minds since the beginning of time. Within written memory, she was merged in ancient Greek drama and literature, she appeared in fairy tales, myths and songs; and she has also made herself known amongst the pages of sacred text, such as the Bible.
According to Linda Schierse Leonard, in her book Meeting the Madwoman: Empowering the Feminine Spirit, the Dark Goddess frightens yet fascinates us, threatens and intimidates us. She can destroy and transform us. Through dreams and traumatic experiences, we are reminded of her energetic presence. If left in the shadows of our subconscious, she weaves havoc. We need to acknowledge her and learn how to use of her energy constructively in our lives.
But there is more to this aspect of the Goddess than what we often care to acknowledge.
We live in a society that is extremely cut off from our roots, from nature, and from the very essence of what it means to "be human". Our overly sanitised existence embraces "protection" against the elements with our reliance upon central heating and air conditioning. We are "fed" the opinions (or more often, speculation) of others to prevent our own free thinking. If we speak out against popular opinion, we are shunned.
More than just being the "shadow" or neglected side of ourselves, the Dark Goddess is also the primordial aspect of Deity who actually birthed us. It is through her touch that we are awaken from the "force fed" slumber that we have been subconsciously accepting.
By awakening the “darkness” within our own souls, we can cast aside those rose-tinted glasses and see things for what they truly are. Through her guidence and drawing upon her strength and power (that is often feared), we find the courage to stand up and voice our own "truth" - to stand in our own "power".
Just as the "shadow" self is still very much a part of us, only that, according to Jungian psychoanalysts, it is that part which we tend to ignore, disown or even neglect, so too is the Dark Goddess a part of the Goddess (the Divine Feminine) as a whole. It is only our fragile human conditioning that has shunned this aspect of the Divine Feminine - and that is because she speaks and represents the "truth" our fragile ego wishes to ignore.
To me all aspects of the Goddess are equally important because when their associated myths are properly understood, there is no actual distinction between "dark" and "light". This division has only occurred through what we are "willing" to acknowledge.
In embracing the Dark Goddess we are embracing our own power ... and that is what this weekend's workshop is all about.