owl & crow

stephanie anderson ladd

Inanna, Goddess of Love and Sacred Sexuality

Posted By on April 9, 2014

Inanna by Lisa Hunt

Inanna by Lisa Hunt

The New Moon in Taurus will be arriving at 2:14 a.m. on April 29 (EDT) about the same time as the solar eclipse, 2:04 a.m. (EDT), signaling a powerful time of initiation into the mysteries of sacred sexuality and feminine empowerment. The perfect time to start our personal work with Inanna in my 2014 New Moon Goddess Mystery School. Taurus’s ruling planet is Venus and the planet’s journey across the sky and enigmatic appearance as both the morning star and evening star is the basis of the Goddess Inanna’s story of traveling to the Underworld and back.

If you don’t know, Inanna is an ancient, Sumerian goddess who predated Aphrodite/Venus as the Goddess of Love. So Inanna is the original source of the embodiment of love and beauty and the innate life-giving power of the feminine.

2013-10-02 13.39.11-1

Also known as “Queen of Heaven and Earth,” Inanna was a unifying force of opposites. She was a goddess of love and war, sexuality and sacredness, earth and sky, hill and valley, light and dark, life and death. She was seen as both woman/priestess/queen as well as divine goddess. The poems and hymns that were written about her, some of the very first written documents existent, inscribed on clay tablets in cuneiform, dating from 2500 BC, tell of a great love story between her and the shepherd, Dumuzi, who became king. We will explore this story and how they came together as lovers, performed the heiros gamos, or sacred marriage, which wedded man and goddess (or the human and divine) and assured fertility across the land for both people and the vegetation that sustained them.

inanna and dumuzi

Inanna personified the heirodule or holy servant, sometimes known as the sacred prostitute. This is a term that seems like an oxymoron to us now, but in ancient goddess-loving times the sacred and the sexual were not separate, they were one–whole and holy. As part of this upcoming e-course on Inanna, we will be exploring our own sacred sexuality and what it means to let go and love–ourselves or another.

Click here to listen to a 10-minute audio talk on:  The Sacred Prostitute

When Inanna heeded the call to go down to the Underworld to meet her sister, Erishkigal, the Dark Goddess, she did so against everyone’s advice. After all, no one had ever returned from the Underworld. But Inanna was determined, and so she went down, dressed in full queenly regalia and let go of each precious item as she descended the 7 levels until she stood naked before her sister, her own dark mirror.

InannaSC

Her journey is one of letting go, of releasing the things that define us in the outer world, but which have little to do with who we are on an inner level — as spiritual beings on a human journey. And when she rises from the Underworld, Inanna, transformed, reclaims her power in a new way. We will learn how to make our own Underworld journey with conscious intention, how to let go of ego trappings, and and how to transform our wounds and reclaim our True Self.

This letting go could also be applied to the journey into ourselves and our own sacred sexuality and the experience of the ultimate letting go, the cosmic release – orgasm. One of the bonuses of this course will be lessons on the Wisdom of Orgasm by Diva Carla, a coach and teacher of sacred pleasure. So, join us for this enlightening and empowering journey to meet the Goddess Inanna, where we will learn to meet ourselves as sexual, instinctual, creative, transformative, powerful feminine beings.

“The Spirit of the Valley never dies;
This is called the dark feminine.
The doorway into the dark feminine
Is called the root of heaven and earth.
It is there within us all the while;
Draw upon it as you will, it never runs dry.”
~ Tao Te Ching 6

new_moon_goddess_14_200

Click here to enroll in this affordable e-course that lasts for one full lunar month starting on April 29, and includes an e-book, audio, and video files as well as sharing in a secret Facebook group of like-minded women: 2014 New Moon Goddess Mystery School

Note: You can join us for just the Inanna e-course or the next three e-courses of the 2014 New Moon Goddess Mystery School, that include the goddess archetypes: Inanna (Spring), Artemis (Summer), and Cerridwyn (Fall).

Venus_von_Willendorf_01

How might it help us to work with goddess archetypes?

The myriad goddesses that were once revered by peace-loving people who worked together in agrarian societies provide mirrors of womanhood and femininity in a patriarchal world that tends to define women using decidedly masculine standards. This is done by either stereotyping, pigeonholing, or putting women in their place i.e., in a less equal status since the patriarchy places such a high value on hierarchy and competition.

By understanding and working with feminine archetypes of the goddesses that are found in every culture and corner of the world, we are able to explore the many and varied aspects that make women singular and distinct from men at the same time that we are able to celebrate our shared humanity. By exploring the qualities and attributes that the goddesses carried, we can learn much about ourselves and how to integrate these various aspects — both human and divine — as modern women. The goddess archetypes are useful models of feminine power and divinity that can help us with our own personal growth and individuation here on planet Earth in the 21st century.

 

New Year’s Journey: A Gift For You

Posted By on January 19, 2014

Jana-goddess106

I invite you to take a journey with me as we stand at the crossroads of past, present and future. January, named after the Goddess, Jana, who is seen with two faces looking backwards and forwards, refers to the doorway of the New Year. It is the perfect time to review the past, take stock of the present, and look ahead to the future.

future-past-present

I recently facilitated a 2014 Vision Board Playshop and I’m sharing the worksheet and guided journey with you here.  As part of this meditation, you will review the year 2013, become aware of who and where you are now, and envision 2014 rolling out before you, including selection of a word of the year. I recommend printing out the PDF of the work sheet, which you can download here: WORKSHEET

Then listen to my guided meditation, designed to allow you to fill out your worksheet as you go. Click here to download MP3: GUIDED JOURNEY

Next, create a vision board, a poster collaged with images and words, based on your discoveries to set your intentions for the New Year.

Vision boards are easy to do. All you need is a collection of words and images culled from magazines, cards, and other ephemera that inspire or reflect you and your dreams, scissors, glue and poster board (I like foam core for its sturdiness).  I think it’s always good to include at least one photo of yourself since it is your vision. Any other fun embellishments you want to use like paint, glitter, and bling are fair game. I like to buy stick-on letters to form words I can’t find and want to add to my board.

My 2014 Vision Board - Can you guess what is my word for the year?

My Vision Board – Can you guess my word for the year?
It rhymes with go…

I hope your New Year’s vision includes journeying with me and a group of magical women from around the world for my 2014 New Moon Goddess Mystery School. It is designed to be an enriching and inspiring e-course for women who want to learn more about the mysteries and lore of goddess archetypes and what they can teach us about our own feminine mind, body, soul and spirit. This course will be delivered to your email box four times a year and you can join in the conversation if you wish by joining our secret Facebook group (although this is not required).

2014NMGMSbutton

We start our work with the Celtic Goddess Brigid on the Aquarius New Moon on January 30, 2014. Among other things, she is an oracular goddess who was able to intuit things to come. This is the ideal time to ask questions, draw oracle cards or use other divination tools, and seek answers. Who is your goddess guide of the year? What animal will be your ally this year? Discovering these guides and helpers is a great way to fortify yourself as you step through the doorway into the Unknown of the New Year.

Brigid has many surprises in store and is waiting for you to meet her. You can join us to learn about one goddess or all four goddesses as we circle around the Wheel of the Year, meeting a new goddess on a new moon in each of the four seasons. Click here to learn more and to register: 2014 NEW MOON GODDESS MYSTERY SCHOOL

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Candlemaking & The Goddess Brigid

Posted By on December 8, 2013

In preparation for the holiday season, Brigid’s Day on February 2, and the launch of the 2014 New Moon Goddess Mystery School, here is a video I made with Kate Stockman about how to make rolled beeswax candles. Creating candles is a great way to set your intentions for the New Year, and they make for beautiful and thoughtful gifts.

I hope you will join us for the newest Goddess Temple e-course that starts on the New Moon in Aquarius on January 30, 2014, when we meet and work with the Celtic Triple Goddess, Brigid, whose official day is February 2, the same as the cross-quarter day, Imbolc and Candlemas. Watch the video for more information about what this goddess is about and join the Goddess Temple to be a part of it and learn the mysteries of Brigid, Inanna, Artemis and Cerridwyn on four new moons in each of the four seasons of the New Year. There’s still time to get the early bird price for the series if you register by December 21, 2013: New Moon Goddess Mystery School

Download your pdf about bee and honey lore here: Beeswax Candle Making Playshop

Go here to find the resource links for ordering candlemaking supplies (at bottom of page) as well as essential oils and herbs: Resources

 

 

How to Work With Goddess Archetypes & Manifest Your Dreams

Posted By on November 16, 2013

I am often asked: How do you work with a goddess archetype? and How might it help to work with a goddess? So I’m offering three steps to help you align yourself with the divine feminine and bring forth your innermost dreams and desires. Is it inner peace you want? prosperity? a relationship? to find your soul’s purpose? Or maybe you need healing or help with a problem? Perhaps you would like to manifest a new job or a new home… Anything your heart desires can be yours when you tune in and create an opening for Spirit to come through and for magic and miracles to happen.

Working with goddess archetypes allows us to see a bigger vision for ourselves and it helps us feel nurtured, loved and cared for. By seeing goddesses as reflections of ourselves, we are connecting with our own inner divinity. The Goddess, the Sacred Feminine, the deity of a loving Mother being reflected back to us is missing from the patriarchal power structure and most religions, and it’s time we reclaimed Her.

The Mirror of Venus by Edward Burne Jones

I have found in my personal life as well as in my business as a therapist, writer and teacher, the more I have embraced the goddess and worked with the powerful archetypes that abound in every culture and corner of the world, the more I have felt free and nurtured to do my soulwork and shine.

Working with goddess archetypes is something you can easily do for yourself on a daily basis. You are essentially tuning in to your inner guide, therapist, teacher or, Goddess–your higher Self, the Wise Woman, the part of you that really does know what’s best for you and wants what’s best for you. She’s the Good Mother, who would do anything to help her daughter see that she is worthwhile, that her thoughts and feelings matter. The Good Mother supports and encourages her daughter to keep going and follow her heart, to take leaps and put herself out there. This is the kind of mother who’s got our back, she’s rooting for us, she trusts in our ability to accomplish our dreams, and she loves us unconditionally.

The Madonna of the Lillies by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Choosing to work with the archetype of the Great Mother is especially important for those of us who have a mother wound, meaning we were wounded in our relationship with our personal mother who may not have known how to nurture us or give us what we needed, and who may have even harmed us through neglect, abandonment or abuse. We can create a new mother-daughter relationship on an inner level by aligning with a goddess archetype that we resonate with.

Demeter and Persephone

There are three steps to working with goddess archetypes that I find to be the most practical and empowering:

Step 1: Find a goddess archetype you resonate with and want to work with. There are hundreds of goddesses in every culture and corner of the world. You may have grown up knowing about one or two that you feel you already have a relationship with and want to work with more closely. For many in our western culture, this is Mary, the mother of Jesus, who stands in for the ancient goddesses of old. I do believe Mary is a miracle worker and those who align with her and put their trust in her often receive abundance, healing, and good fortune that they never knew before.

Compassionate Kali

Part of the fun of working with goddess archetypes, at least for me, is exploring their different natures and attributes and seeing who I resonate with and need help from at a particular point in time. You may find an obscure goddess that you want to explore and research. There’s usually a good reason why you are drawn to one goddess or another that has to do with your own soul’s yearning. Trust this process and allow whatever goddess comes to be with you for a while and see what she has to offer. It’s much like finding a mentor. I have gotten to know a number of archetypes in the past 10 years or so of serious study and relationship with the Divine Feminine and I am always eager to meet a new goddess when the time is right. If you explore my blog, you will find descriptions of many of these goddesses.

Diana of the Hunt by John Byam Shaw

You want to look for a goddess that carries the archetypal energy that you are looking to manifest or align with. For example, if you want to bring in more money, you might choose to work with Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of abundance and good fortune. If it’s love you want, you could work with Aphrodite, also known as Venus, or one (or both) of the Two Marys (the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalen). For peace of mind and healing, you might choose Mary or Quan Yin or Tara. If you are embarking on a creative endeavor or wanting to embrace a more creative lifestyle, you could choose to work with any of the mother goddesses. These are the goddesses of fertility and creativity, such as Aphrodite, Brigid, Demeter, Yemaya, Bona Dea, Anu, Saraswati, and Spider Woman or Grandmother Spider.

Kwan Yin

When I was working on my soulwork book, In the Lap of the Goddess, Connecting With the Divine Feminine, I learned about creative flow by working with the West African mermaid goddess, Yemaya. I had never tried to write and self-publish my own book, so I felt nervous and unsure of myself initially. Yemaya became my goddess guide, and she was also featured in the book as a Creator goddess. However, I found that as much as she inspired me to tap into my Creatrix self, I first needed to destroy some old thoughts and beliefs that were getting in the way–you know, those two naysayers, Fear and Doubt?

So I called in Kali. She’s the Hindu goddess of destruction, and despite her frightening appearance, she is a compassionate mother goddess who helps us slay the demons like fear and doubt and feelings of not being enough. My work with Kali helped me burn up the obstacles that were getting in the way, so that watery, creative Yemaya could flow through me like a river.

Step 2: Bring Her to life. You can start by finding or creating images of the goddess you choose to work with. As I put together my workbook I surrounded myself with images of Yemaya. I created a mermaid wall, made a Yemaya paper doll, and created SoulCollage® cards of Her. She was by my side as I worked, literally next to my computer so I could see her and be inspired by her fertile, ever-flowing, creative energy. I made Her presence known. I highly recommend creating an image of Her by collaging, drawing, painting or sculpting Her because then you are truly fashioning Her from your own hands and heart.

Another way to get to know Her is through shamanic journeying or guided journeys. There are free guided journeys to meet five goddesses on my website here. You can get to know the goddess you align with through meditation and prayer, and by opening up to messages from her by asking questions and sitting quietly to receive divine inspiration and direction. You can also do this through active imagination exercises such as creating a dialogue with Her in your journal. Write down a question and wait for the answer. Try writing Her answer with your non-dominant hand so you are more likely to bypass the logical, left brain and tap into your intuitive, right brain wisdom. Let it flow through you.

When I got stuck or wasn’t sure what to do next while creating my workbook, I would turn the problem over to my creative helper, Yemaya. I asked for help, and you know what? It always worked. She always came through. Yemaya was my midwife in birthing that project, which led to my creating e-courses and workshops. One thing flowed into another.

When I turned over the need to know and do everything a certain way and allowed new ways and answers to come, to flow through me, it happened. I was constantly amazed that when I felt blocked or discouraged, if I just sat with it, journaled with it, asked for help, it came. The divine inspiration happened because I was aligned with Her and I trusted Her to see me though the creative process. I Let go, and Let Goddess. And as the creative juices flowed, so did sacred abundance.

Step 3: Create an altar to Her. This is a powerful tool because you are setting up a place to honor Her and a place to go and connect with Her. This is where you can get clear about your heart’s desire. If it’s abundance you want, be specific about what kind and how much you need, while at the same time staying open to surprise and how it might show up. Envision yourself already attaining it. Put these requests, dreams and desires into a container on your altar such as a dream box or wish jar.

Make your altar a beautiful reflection of Her and You. Include gems, crystals, stones, herbs, plants, flowers, feathers, candles, totems, elements of earth, water, fire, air, figurines and anything that feels symbolic of the goddess and the divine feminine abundance you are wanting to create for yourself. This is also a place to put the images or creations you have lovingly made of Her.

Sit at this altar everyday, even if only for 5 minutes. Offer a prayer, ask for help, express gratitude, write in your journal, draw oracle cards, and stay open to Her presence. By the way, this altar could be on your desk, on a shelf, a table, or outdoors in nature. It can be makeshift and portable if necessary. Make it work for you.

Yet another way to work with goddess archetypes is to take my e-courses. I would love to have you join me and a group of magical women from around the world for next year’s 2014 New Moon Goddess Mystery School, where we will work with four goddesses, Brigid, Inanna, Artemis, and Cerridwyn, over four new moons during the four seasons. To learn more and to register, click HERE.

In addition, there are 10 goddesses which you can learn about through my self-study e-courses available HERE and HERE.

I don’t know if you’ve figured it out yet, but by honoring a goddess in these ways, you are honoring the goddess in you.

May the Goddess bless you and help you bring about your fondest dreams and desires.

“I found god in myself and I loved her,

I loved her fiercely.” - Ntozake Shange

 

 

Priestess Pilgrimage

Posted By on October 19, 2013

 

It has been too long since I posted here. I find that when I am holding space for my Goddess Temple e-courses, which I did over three moons this summer, and traveling to faraway places, it is not easy for me to gather my thoughts and emotions in writing as I need contemplative time.

My friend, Susan Wells, a magical potter who has been channeling Mother Mary as she works her alchemy with clay, posted a new offering of a “Contemplative Cup,” and I knew I had to have one. Sure enough, drinking my new favorite tea, Iron Goddess of Mercy (She is Quan Yin, another form of Mary) in this wood-fired vessel has helped me ground into my being. I am starting to make sense of the many images and ideas, forms and feelings, that have been bubbling in the cauldron in both my waking and dreaming state. So please, pour a cuppa tea and join me in my reminiscing…

At the end of my New Moon Goddess Mystery School in early October, I jetted off to England on a two-week journey with 11 sisters. As with my Goddess Pilgrimage last year to Greece, once I had arrived, I crossed the threshold into liminal space. A sense of timelessness set in, where past, present and future meet at the crossroads. This is the Crone Goddess Hecate’s hangout, where I seem to find myself again and again at this stage of my life.

It seemed no accident that these particular women were also meeting at the crossroads at this particular time to walk upon the soil of our ancestors and to revisit the sacred sites of England we knew in our sense memory. As I had felt on last year’s pilgrimage, I had been here before as a priestess and I am returning to remember, to be the hollow bone for spirit to flow through, to move through the spiral dance of life on the body of the Great Mother. For that is the job of the priestess: To act as mediator between the human  and the divine, to hold sacred space, and to be a vessel of transformation for herself and for others.

The journey began with a reunion with my dear friend, Sarah Jane, in London and a visit to the British Museum, where we beheld these goddesses, all sacred to me. Meeting them in the whirlwind of the first three days in London was an initiation of sorts. They seemed to give us their blessings for the journey ahead…

Sekhmet, Fiery Egyptian Crone Goddess of Destruction and Healing

Inanna/Ishtar, Sumerian Queen of Heaven and Night, an Underworld traveler

Golden Tara (one of 21 Taras), Tibetan Bodhisattva who enables us to manifest and fulfill our life’s purpose

 Aphrodite (Venus), Mother Goddess of Love and Beauty

Nine of us (two would meet up with us along the way) set out for the standing stones, first Stonehenge and then Avebury, on our way to Glastonbury. Stonehenge is stunning, but it felt removed, as it has become more like a museum now. When I first visited these stones in 1976, there were no ropes or barriers and I could lean my back again the sarsens and watch the sun came up through a stone gateway. Now they are protected and must be viewed from afar. Still, I can easily imagine how these magnificent stones once provided an outdoor arena, of sorts, where people gathered millennia ago, performing rituals of celebration, worship, or perhaps burial. It is clearly a monument to the earth and sky, the sun and moon, and the great wheel of the seasons.

 

From there we traveled to Avebury, the largest group of existent standing stones (actually comprising three stone circles) that surround the quaint village of that name. These we could walk amongst, touch, sit on, and feel their warmth, the subtle vibration of lifetimes lived here. The day was spent ambling around the village, stopping in a grove of beech trees whose roots were exposed in a dazzling display of interconnectedness.

Late in the afternoon, we gathered on the top of West Kennet Barrow, a long mound that housed a tomb. We sat on top of it in a circle, sharing our stories and what brought us to this point. Then we formed a line and entered the tomb, circling underground, offering prayers and songs of gratitude to the ancestors who whispered their thanks to the priestesses who honored their all-but-forgotten labors.

From Avebury we traveled to Glastonbury, the heart of our pilgrimage, where we stayed at the Chalice Well Inn for four days. The Inn is like a small monastery with a beautiful well-tended garden where the Chalice Well is nestled, fed by an iron-rich, red spring, that produces a delicious, iron-oxidized water, that I believe had a healing effect on me. On the first night there, we circled around the chalice well and offered blessings and prayers for the healing of our Mother Earth, to the wounded feminine and masculine, and to the energy of the Well Maidens who once guarded the waters and provided sustenance from a golden cup to wayfarers who happened upon them. These Goddesses of the Wells were considered sacred and the kings and knights of old Britton were bound to protect them in a chivalric manner for thousands of years until one day the tradition was broken by a king named Amangon. He and his men raped some of the maidens and took the golden chalice, symbol of the divine feminine. The maidens disappeared, the kingdom became a wasteland, and thus the search for the Holy Grail began.

We learned that there were two springs here, the red and the white, that once joined and flowed together, but that have since been divided. Their source was the tor, the hill that overlooks Glastonbury. The tor is an unusual geological formation, a rain-fed aquifer that formed a type of underground vessel like the alembic of alchemy. In the bottom of the alembic, the heavier shale and limestone holds the iron-saturated water of the red spring. The top of the alembic contains the calcium-rich waters of the white spring, whose flow fluctuates much more unpredictably than the steady surge of the deeper red spring. Both flow in the same direction towards the Chalice Well, but the white spring has been diverted by man so that it no longer joins the red spring.

As Nicholas Mann and Philippa Glasson describe it in The Red & White Springs of Avalon, “The Red and White Springs, emerging out of their never-failing, world-mountain source, added to the potency of the extraordinary, otherworldly landscape [of Avalon]. The great mysteries of life and death, of the divine masculine and feminine, of queenship and kingship, the nature of goddess and god, and of the journey between this world and the next–are all evoked by the striking polarity of the two springs. Through them, the pilgrim can connect with powerful initiatory symbols: the Philosopher’s Stone, the Holy Grail, the Cauldrons of Plenty and of Rebirth, and Excalibur, the Sword of Sovereignty. Most importantly of all, the Entrance to the Otherworld was said to be located on this ‘Fortunate Isle,’ the mysterious ‘Isle of Glass’ that became known as Avalon.”

Could it be that the duality that we have known since the end of the goddess-loving times and the beginning of the patriarchy will be resolved when the two springs run together again? In alchemy, from the black nigredo of the earth comes the white albedo of the water, which, when mixed with the red rubedo of fire creates an interplay that results in the sacred marriage of the divine feminine and masculine, the magnum opus that is the Philosopher’s Stone, the Holy Grail, or the Divine Child. As Mann and Glasson put it, “By hastening the release of human consciousness from identification with dualism, and by learning to transmit radiant streams of the elixir-like energy of love-wisdom from the portal opened by the opus, the alchemized soul learns to connect with and honor all beings.”

The beautiful wrought-iron lid of the Chalice Well contains rich symbolism of these two worlds meeting in the form of the vesica piscis, two overlapping circles that form a mandorla, or almond-shaped yoni in the center. This is the vulva or birth opening of creation, where opposites unite, and which is, in itself, a portal to the Otherworld that Avalon represents.

From the Chalice garden, the tor can be seen rising up from what once was an inland sea, known as Ynys Witrin or the “Isle of Glass,” thought to have been the center of the mystical Isle of Avalon.

We struck out in the early morning, shrouded in mist, able to see only a few feet in front of us as we climbed higher into the clouds, seemingly compelled by an invisible force urging us onward.

It was easy to see how this nemeton could be perceived as the axis mundi, or world axis, which connected the above and below, and from which the cosmos revolved. As Mann and Glasson describe it, “The implicit invitation to the Avalonian pilgrim [is] to be guided by this sacred geography towards a profound understanding of the place of humans within the cosmos. When these natural and man-made features are considered in their entirety, they reveal that the Isle of Avalon possesses an extraordinary genius loci, a spirit of place where the veil between the worlds, between the solar, the terrestrial and the daemonic realms, dissolves; a place where the anima mundi or world soul, connects with the life of the individual soul to provide healing and initiation.”

After our magical time here amid much tears and laughter, a smaller group of us continued on to the wild coast of Cornwall, a region I have longed to see since I first read the gothic fiction of Daphne DuMaurier as a young girl. We stopped in the picturesque town of Boscastle to visit the Museum of Witchcraft, where my favorite exhibit was a dark mirror that seemed to hold an infinity of dark reflections. What stories could it tell, I wondered. Could this have been the mirror that the evil queen in Snow White used to ask, “Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, Who’s the fairest of them all?”

 And then on to Tintagel Castle on the high cliffs above the Celtic Sea. This is where King Arthur was said to have been born. And Merlin’s Cave beneath it, where priestesses gathered and looked out to the sea on one side and the sand on the other, glimpsing fairy lights and rainbows about us. Was that the chuckling of Merlin we heard or the lapping of the sea upon the stones?

And finally, one last magical day in St. Nectan’s Glen, a place where fairies and spirits abound, and where I sensed the presence of my mother, who met me in the realm of the imagination and encouraged me to believe in things unseen, and my father, who also stoked the fires of my imagination and taught me playfulness.

The seven of us priestesses who were left were like little girls playing in the forest on the last day of our journey. We reluctantly said good-bye to this ancient land and spirit and stepped back across the threshold toward home.

I’m ready for another cuppa tea. How about you?

Much love and gratitude to my priestess sisters, Pixie Campbell, Sarah Jane Owen, Christine Mason Miller, Clarity Beaumont, Jennette Nielsen, Latisha Guthrie, Erin Faith Allen and Poppy, Lisa Wright, Katariina Agnes Fagering, and Sara Eliason.

What do The Two Marys, Sekhmet and Guinevere Have in Common?

Posted By on July 4, 2013

Until I started creating my latest e-course, The New Moon Goddess Mystery School, I might have thought these four goddesses had very little in common. I chose them (or they chose me) because of the New Moons occurring this summer: July 8th in Cancer, the watery, feeling sign of the Great Mother, suggested The Two Marys (The Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalen), archetypes and spiritual guides I am familiar with, who teach us about nurturing ourselves. August 6th in fiery Leo, the sign of the Amazon Queen, suggested the great lion-headed Egyptian goddess, Sekhmet, who teaches us about anger and passion. September 5th, earthy Virgo, the sign of the priestess/queen led me to Guinevere (or Gwynhwyfar in the Welsh spelling), who teaches us about the queen aspect missing from the triple goddess of maiden, mother, crone, and about the sacred marriage between the inner feminine and masculine, also known in the mystery schools as the hieros gamos.

The more I have explored and delved into the mysteries of these four archetypes from different times and cultures the more I have been blown away by what they share. Here are some similarities and overlap that I have discovered that you will learn more about in the Mystery School course over the next 3 moons:

They are all queens: The Virgin Mary is known as the Queen of Heaven and is often depicted sitting on her sky throne, the moon under her feet; as the wife of Jesus Christ, would-be King of Israel, Mary Magdalen would have been Queen through the sacred marriage, which in apocryphal lore, was arranged to unite two royal families and end the Roman rule of Jerusalem; Sekhmet is both a goddess and queen, shown on her throne, holding a sceptor and an ankh, ruling over two warring regions of Egypt that eventually made peace; Guinevere was the queen to King Arthur, who brought peace for some time to the warring tribes of Britannia.

They are all virgin goddesses: To be a virgin goddess, in the sense of the ancient mysteries, has nothing to do with sexual abstinence. It speaks to a goddess who is whole or sovereign unto Herself. While these goddesses may be related to masculine counterparts as consort, husband, or son, they have their own power and divinity, separate from them and do not derive their power from them.

Together they make a triple goddess: Guinevere is most often associated with the maiden of spring and rebirth; The Two Marys are both creator mother goddesses; and Sekhmet is most often associated with the crone and the destructive aspect.

Each one has triple goddess aspects: Mary Magdalen is the mother; her daughter, Sarah, is the maiden, and the Virgin Mary is the grandmother/crone; in the Egyptian tripartite goddess, Bastet, the playful cat goddess is the maiden, Hathor, the pleasure-loving cow goddess is the creative mother, and Sekhmet is the destroyer crone; Guinevere is the maiden of Beltane, the mother of Brittania who unites her people at the round table, and the crone who eventually brings the round table to an end.

Each goddess has twin aspects: The Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene are often seen as two aspects of the one Mary: one divine, the other human; Sekhmet and Hathor are often seen as two sides of the same coin: one destroyer, the other creator; there was said to be a True Guinevere and a False Guinevere, not to mention Guinevere’s dark other half, Morgaine. When we put these goddesses’ two halves together they make a whole, multi-dimensional woman/goddess with light and shadow, human and divine, birth and death features.

Each of these goddesses had a sacred marriage: The Virgin Mary could be said to have had  a sacred marriage to God or the Holy Spirit, although not in any worldly sense; Mary Magdalen had a sacred marriage with Jesus (both Marys are referred to as the Bride of Christ); Sekhmet with Ptah; and Guinevere with Arthur. The hieros gamos wedded man and woman with god and goddess in a holy rite that was widely practiced in the temples of the old world, as part of the ancient mysteries to bring about the sacred union. This not only united the feminine and masculine, but the human and divine, and the goddess to the land and its people (providing protection and fertility).

Each goddess has an association to the lion, an animal that denotes royalty: Jesus was known as the lion of Judah, one of the first tribes of Israel; the lion is a symbol of solar energy, connecting Jesus as the son (sun) of God; Sekhmet was the solar goddess of Egypt with her lioness head and female body; Guinevere was known as the “Lady of Lyonesse,” where she was born, which was also the site of the final battle between Arthur and Mordred.

These are just a few of the commonalities I found between these goddesses and which you will discover, and much more too, when you take The New Moon Goddess Mystery School e-course this summer. It officially starts on July 8, but because these are self-paced courses, you can really start them any time and do them whenever it’s convenient for you. You can also opt to take one, two, or all three New Moon courses.

I hope you will join us as we explore the mysteries of these feminine archetypes and learn how they have meaning for us today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Moon Goddess Mystery School Video Chat

Posted By on June 2, 2013

If you’re thinking about joining me in the Goddess Temple this summer, enroll by June 8 and get the early bird special of $20 off the full price: ENROLL HERE

If you’re wondering what this New Moon Goddess Mystery School is all about, you may enjoy my chat with my best friend, Pixie Campbell

 

New Moon Goddess Mystery School – Enrollment Open

Posted By on May 8, 2013

 The Goddess temple is opening its doors again for an exciting 3 Moon e-course to meet 4 powerful goddesses:

The Two Marys (The Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene) on the Cancer New Moon – July 8

Sekhmet (The Lion-headed Goddess of Ancient Egypt) on the Leo New Moon – August 6

Guinevere (Priestess/Queen/Goddess of Avalon) on the Virgo New Moon – September 5

 

Click here to find out more and enroll:

New Moon Goddess Mystery School

 

 

 What does it mean to be a priestess?

You are invited to join the Goddess Temple as a priestess, but what does it mean to be a priestess? In the tarot, The High Priestess is the number 2 card (the number of all life), right behind the Magician. She is the yin to his yang, and reigns over the rituals of women’s mysteries. She is Spirit brought down to earth. Her three-pronged headdress evokes the Triple Goddess and points to the past, present and future. The moon is at her feet, where water flows, symbolic of her feminine power and dominion. The pomegranates surrounding her symbolize the fertile womb of creativity, openness, receptivity. She sits between the two pillars of Solomon’s Temple. One represents severity and the other mercy. She is the mediator between the two, the golden mean. The priestess holds the potential for the spiritually developed Self.

In the book, Spiritual Tarot, the High Priestess speaks her truth: “I am the eternal keeper of ancient wisdom. Mine is the quest for knowledge. I show the balance of dark and light in this world, as well as the harmony between the spiritual and mundane.. I am not merely an observer; I radiate the energy of experience… As the divine feminine, I stir deeper feelings of personal and universal love than you have ever known. As a result, you are free to be receptive and active in your relationships… I am your memory, the storehouse of all your successes, failures, dreams and fantasies. I am your dream guide. I inspire through mediation. Use me to translate your experience into personal wisdom… My presence encourages you to become discriminating in your choices and to become conscious of the difference between the image you have of yourself and who you really are.”

Are you ready to learn the mysteries of these goddesses and step into your priestess power? Join us in the Goddess Temple. This is Summer School for the Soul.

Priestess of Bacchus by John Collier

 

 

What Women Most Desire

Posted By on May 1, 2013

Guinevere Going A-Maying by John Collier

Happy Beltane! And on this happy day when men and women in days of yore leapt over the sacred fire and met in the fields and meadows to frolic and couple in revelry to ensure fertility across the land, we may ponder what makes a sacred marriage… For this is the time of divine union between the solar masculine and the earthy feminine. A time to embody one of the great truths the alchemists, priestesses, shamans and initiates to the mysteries know: as above, so below, as within, so without.  

As you find balance between your own inner masculine and feminine, you attract this partnership in the outer world. As the inner masculine — the active, thinking, doing part — learns to serve the inner feminine — the receptive, feeling, being part, integration and harmony find expression. But you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince, they say. And sometimes you have to kiss a hag before you find your queen.

Let me tell you one of my favorite stories, the Arthurian legend of the Wedding of Sir Gawain, that speaks to the task of the knight and the lady, and what trust and serving a higher purpose bring to relationship.

King Arthur by Arthur Rackham

This story begins with the battle-weary King Arthur on a hunt, separated from his men, astride his horse alone in the forest. For a moment he stops, his memory taking him to another time and place where the smell of death and the sound of men dying on the killing fields is very much with him.

And then, through the mists, he becomes aware of a visage that makes his blood run cold. A knight twice his size, bedecked in black from his head to toe, a mantle of black cormorant feathers rippling across his broad shoulders, rides forth on a large, black steed. Before Arthur realizes that his sword, Excalibur, is not at his side and he has but a dagger to defend himself, the knight is upon him, his cold, steely blade pressed against the young king’s neck.

“The crown is mine,” Arthur hears the black knight intone, “unless you can answer a simple question.”

“What is it?” Arthur asks, feeling a trickle of blood from the blade cut ever so slightly into his skin.

“Tell me what it is that a woman wants most,” the black knight growls. “You have three days to solve the riddle, and if you answer correctly the kingdom remains yours; if not, it is mine.”

Knights of the Round Table – Crane

That evening at court, the knights of the round table and the ladies of the court, indeed, even Queen Guinevere, buzz with excitement and consternation, puzzling over the black knight’s challenge and offering up their own answers.

“A queen wants a good king, a noble husband and partner,” Guinevere says, “like you.”

Guinevere with Ladies in Waiting

Others offer up their opinions: A family, a home, wealth, good humor, honesty, a knight in shining armor — the usual. But Arthur knows it isn’t enough. He queries Merlin, who only answers that he must solve the puzzle or pay the price. His men ride furiously to supplicate the wise men and women of the land while Arthur rides out into the forest alone, wondering if his days are numbered, if the battles he has fought have been for nought.

And as he rides deeper and deeper into the forest he comes upon a crossroads and halts, stopped by a horrifying sight and a putrefying stench — what appears to be a heap of filthy rags writhing and moving like a bag of snakes.

There arises from the pile a loathesome creature, the ugliest crone he has ever laid eyes on, her face pockmarked and warty, her eyes bloodshot and rheumy, her nose crooked and running, and her teeth — what few she has — blackened and broken. She farts and belches in greeting as she stands before him, cackling and scratching at her sores, her one good eye looking him up and down.

She thrusts a gnarled finger at him and points, beckoning him closer. Arthur feels compelled to dismount and approach the old woman, although he draws his sword, wary of her intentions. She laughs, a gutteral, hacking grunt that sounds more like death than mirth.

“I have the answer you seek,” she tells him, “and I will give it to you for a price.”

“What is your price?” he asks.

“That I may marry a knight of your court.”

And so accepting the bargain, Arthur rides forth to the castle of the black knight and answers the question the crone whispered to him, and the kingdom remains sovereign under the reign of Arthur and Guinevere.

Yet Arthur has to go back to his round table and tell the knights of the quest and of the hag’s bounty. All is quiet. No one steps forward to exact the price as they each contemplate the fate of marrying such a wretched being, until the youngest knight, Sir Gawain, Arthur’s nephew, stands. Everyone tries to talk him out of it and implore him not to go through with it. Even Arthur is ready to renege on his promise rather than see his nephew make such a choice.

But on the first of May the wedding day arrives, and Sir Gawain meets his bride — the loathesome, stinking hag — at the altar, and they exchange vows.

No one can watch Gawain walk back down the aisle with the hag on his arm.  Few words are spoken and there is little joy at the wedding feast that follows. Those in attendance avert their eyes as the couple make their way to the wedding chamber where they will spend their first night together as man and wife.

As she sits on the bed and turns to face him he stands staring at the countenance of the shriveled old woman before him. And he realizes for the first time that she is a human being who has no doubt been through a great deal of pain and suffering. As he looks deeply into her eyes, he feels a wave of compassion flow through him.

She smiles. “You are a true and gallant knight,” she says, standing up to meet him. Though he wants to pull away, he does not move, and her lips press against his. He stumbles backwards seeing the woman before him — a beautiful maiden, her lips parted, her breasts heaving in their queenly robes.

Take the Fair Face of Woman by Sophie Anderson

“Who are you?” he stammers in amazement.

“I am your queen. But I cannot remain like this always. You must choose: You may have me as you see me now at night and as the hag by day, who others will see and judge. Or you may have me as you see me now and for others to see by day and as the withered crone by night. What do you choose, My Lord?”

Sir Gawain, cognizant of the impossibility of such a choice tells her, “I cannot choose, My Lady. You must decide.”

And with that she smiles the sweetest of smiles and takes his hand. “Thank you,” she says, “You have broken the spell by giving me what a woman wants most.”

“And what is that?” Sir Gawain asks, aware that it is the very same riddle King Arthur had learned the answer to that had saved the kingdom.

“Her own way,” the Lady tells him, “A woman most desires being sovereign unto herself.”

And so it is that every knight and king gains his full power through marriage to the lady or queen who represents the sovereignty of the land and of her own body and soul. In the service of true equality and sacred right relationship, a woman must remain sovereign to herself and not to any man.

La Belle Dame Sans Merci by Waterhouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time of the Maiden: A Bouquet of Spring Goddesses & Their Messages

Posted By on April 3, 2013


It’s been a slow awakening for me this spring. I really did hunker down in my bear’s den for some deep, much-needed rest this winter. I had to wrestle with my inner taskmaster and guilt-tripper who kept pushing and nagging me to do more with my time. What about that book proposal you wanted to write? Get on it, Sister!

And I had to answer, “In due time. I am not ready. I’m still hibernating and gestating, so leave me alone.” I needed to paint and play and was able to pull together a couple of low-key workshops — or playshops as I call them — to remind me of what I really want to do: Breathe. Play. Enjoy. Connect. Rest. Just Be.

As the great wheel turns and Mother Earth begins to green and blossom, the sleepy mama bear in me is struggling to open her eyes and face the world and the things she wants to accomplish this year, while another part of me is rising joyfully to meet the thawing warmth of spring.

As the wheel turns, so do we all sense the turning and churning of transformation within us. The maiden is being reborn. It doesn’t matter how old you are in real time, the crone of winter, who has slept and rested and stirred her bubbling cauldron in the cave all winter long, now gives way to the maiden.

You do know that the maiden and the crone inhabit the same body, don’t you? Just as surely as the moon changes from new, to full, to dark, a woman moves through the phases of maiden, mother and crone.

Sometimes the maiden awakens and rises slowly from the matrix making her way to the world above in measured steps, and at other times she springs forth all in a rush, throwing off the crone’s snowy mantle, fairly bursting at the seams to frolic in the warming upper world.

Do you feel the sap rising? The energy surging up from the depths? The bubbling of creative juices? The stirrings of longing? The push to arrive like a newborn babe from the darkness of the womb into the glistening light of the world above? It is the maiden within, the renewed feminine, awakening, ready to sing her anthem of rebirth.

The maidens are many, celebrated throughout the world as the promise of youth, the fool who ventures out into the brave, new world caring not a whit if she stumbles and falls, for she will just get up, dust herself off, and continue on her journey, reinventing herself as she goes…

she is the wild child who cavorts and plays in the woods, discovering who she is as an artist, writer, dancer or other creatrix…

she is the unselfconscious girl who dances with boundless enthusiasm and energy wherever her feet lead her…

she is the curious student filled with wonder and the need to learn more about the world and what makes it go round…

she is the lusty lass who is unashamed of her body and ready to test her powers as a sexual being…

She resides within every woman, no matter her age, waiting to break free and have her day. Here are a few maiden goddesses with messages for you:

Meet the Springtime Goddesses…

There is Persephone, the Greek goddess whose maiden self is known as the Kore. She spends half her days in the underworld with the crone, Hecate (for really they are one and the same–the maiden within the crone within the maiden), and the other half with her mother, Demeter, the goddess of grain and growth. Persephone learns to turn her sorrow into strength and becomes a queen in the underworld. When she rises each spring, she is transformed–the maiden once again, bringing warmth, beauty, light, and serendipity with her.

Persephone’s message: Give yourself time to wake up to the inner stirrings bubbling beneath the surface. Pay attention to your dreams and write them down. Plant seeds of ideas and watch and water them, taking time to smell the flowers as you cultivate your dreams and desires.

Flora and Zephyr by William Adolphe Bouguereau

Meet Flora, the Roman goddess of the flowers, patroness of prostitutes (and secret patroness of Rome) whose feminine body was considered the sacred vessel of life, just as the flower is the sex organ of a plant. Women’s naked bodies were honored in ancient Rome at the Floralia, a celebration that took place from April 28 to May 3, when all of Rome came out to play.

Flora’s message: Honor your body by doing something that feels delicious or nurturing to it. Get a message. Learn to belly dance. Take perfumed bubble baths. Anoint yourself with a fragrant body oil. Wear something sexy and then take it off for your lover. Declare your love for your holy body temple.

There is Ostara, or Eoster, the Germanic maiden of April who lent her name to the Easter holiday we celebrate. Easter comes from the word estrus, the time when animals are most fertile and open to conceiving. The tradition of painting eggs began as a way to honor her renewing fertility and the bountiful colors of spring.

Ostara’s message: Come out of your shell and try something new that you’ve always wanted to do but never allowed yourself. Wear bright colors and let yourself shine.

Maia by Alphonse Mucha

Maia is the May goddess of both Greek and Roman tradition, who was celebrated on the first of May or May Day, now given over to Mother Mary. She was considered a fire goddess who stoked the fires of passion and warmed the earth with her solar heat. In Greece she was also known as “Wise One,” or Grandmother, and acted as midwife to women giving birth.

Maia’s message: Pay attention to the fire in your belly. What wants to be birthed this year? Take care to nurture it and fan the flames regularly so that it ignites and burns brightly and doesn’t peter out.

Butterfly Maiden is a Native American goddess who is one of the Hopi kachinas. She is honored for her transformative ability, her fragile beauty, and her importance in flying from flower to flower to help the plant people pollinate and thrive.

Butterfly Maiden’s message: Look for beauty everywhere around you, within and without. When you see something that you want to judge harshly, look for the beauty in it and transform your thoughts, gaining new perspective.

Freya by John Bauer

Freya (considered by some to be the same as Frigg) is the Scandinavian goddess of fertility, the one who presided over life, which she celebrated through her unabashed sexuality, and death, presiding over the underworld much like Persephone. She was a magical maiden who rode through the sky in a cat-drawn chariot.

Freya’s message: Wake up to your sexual nature and desires. Don’t let yourself stagnate. Treat lovemaking as a playful experience whether alone or with your partner.

Renpet by oh-no-heather-jo
http://oh-no-heather-jo.deviantart.com/

Renpet, an Egyptian maiden, symbolized by the palm sprouting from her head, represents time and the eternal nature of the earth’s cycles, the return of spring and new growth each year.

Renpet’s message: Get your hands in the dirt. Plant a garden or flower bed. Keep fresh flowers on your table to remind you of the fragile beauty of each day, each hour, and each moment. 

Enjoy spring and the maiden within! 

 

Note: All images are credited except for the first one, which I would be happy to credit, if anyone knows who the artist is of this stunning illustration. The ones not captioned are SoulCollage® images I have created.