As winter draws near, we tend to turn inward, often displaying a reluctance to venture out into the cold and wet weather. As we find ourselves doing this, we are offered an excellent opportunity to explore the inner reaches of our psyche, those hidden aspects of our selves that are often ignored, neglected or we simply don't want to acknowledge. Psycho-analyst Carl Jung called such aspects of our inner selves "the Shadow", and venturing into these uncomfortable areas is highly recommended if we are to become a "complete" person.
One way that I personally find beneficial in doing this is working with Gods and Goddesses, especially those which are often classified as "dark". This four letter word conjures up an assortment of emotions, many negative and therefore I have found that when I talk about the "dark" Gods and Goddesses, it is assumed rather erroneously that I am referring to an assortment of evil or malevolent beings. Whilst, indeed, over time, some of the Gods and Goddesses have found themselves caught up in such perceptions, when, however, the distracting layers are removed to show their truer and orignal story, something completely different is revealed.
For the last six years I have been leading workshops on working with the various aspects of the "dark" Goddess where this "darkness" label is commonly attached to the "Crone" (the older asepct of the triple Goddess the author Robert Graves associated with the phases of the moon in his poetic work The White Goddess. The Goddesses who fall into this category include the Slavic Baba Yaga, the Welsh Cerridwen, and Germanic Frau Holle.
In Ariadne's Thread: A Workbook of Goddess Magic, Shekhinah Mounterwater reminded us of the "Dark Maidens" who were grouped together as being sorceresses (the Greek Circe), seducers (the Hebreic Lilith), and the weavers and enchanters of dreams and the mytical realms (Greek Persephone). The Dark Maiden was also the ferocious warrior such as the Egyptian Sekhmet and Pele from the Hawaiian.
Keeping true to Graves' triple nature of the Goddess, the most terrifying aspect is the "Dark Mother" who not only births us but also devours it. Her motherly love is "tough love" as she swipes away our rose tinted glasses, forcusing us to face reality and the much needed transformation. The Hindu Goddess Kali is a particular favourite of mine due to her multitude of layers and ongoing worship that makes her a "living" Goddess in today's world.
While it is nice to pigeonhole the Goddesses as such, we should not forget that there are aspects who shapeshift through all three categories and more. Many of these Goddess (and Gods) reside in the Underworlds, the hidden reaches, where we need to journey to visit them. Many also form part of some of the oldest mythologies known to man, or in their own myths, are said to be the original creatrixs. Kali, for example, is said to have created time itself. Other Goddesses, such as the Mesopotamian Sea Serpent Tiamat, created the heavens and earth from her body, while in one myth concerning the Sumerian Goddess, Ereshkigal, she actually ventured into the Underworld and claimed this realm for herself.
On Saturday, 14 June 2014, I will be inviting people to journey with me into the Underworld in order to meeet three of these wonderfully powerful and often grossly misunderstood Goddesses. In doing so, we will not only discover who the "Dark Goddess" truly is by coming face to face with her, but learn how to work with, acknowledge and embrace her aspects within our own psyche.
Limited places are available and payments can be made through Paypal so do not miss out.
It is envisioned that a workshop on the "dark" aspects of the God (the divine masculine) will be held in 2015.