The Dark Mother: Snake Goddess

I am the Darkness behind and beneath the shadows. I am the absence of air at the bottom of every breath.

I am the Ending before Life begins again, the Decay that fertilizes the Living.

I am the Bottomless Pit, the never-ending struggle to reclaim that which is denied.

I am the Key that unlocks every Door.

I am the Glory of Discovery, for I am that which is hidden, secluded and forbidden.

- excerpt from "Charge of the Dark Goddess" by Lynne O'Connor

One of the very earliest manifestations of the Dark Goddess was the Minoan Snake Goddess, who reigned during the 16th century BCE. She holds two snakes aloft, symbolic of the dual nature we see on earth: masculine and feminine, light and dark, life and death. The goddess acts as the fulcrum, the one who holds both in balance. The netlike pattern on her skirt reminds us that She is the weaver of life, her womb the center of the web. The seven layers correspond to the number of days in each of the moon's four quarters. Sitting in the lap of the goddess invites one to experience the matrix of time and eternal transformation.

The Aries full moon on October 11 and the Scorpio new moon on October 26 provide a portal to walk through the door and meet the Dark Mother. This is her season, the time when the veil between the worlds starts to dissipate, culminating on the Celtic cross-quarter day, Samhain, or Halloween, on October 31, when the veil is thinnest.

The full moon initiates us on the Quest, the journey to find our True Self, and the creative and artistic expression that is our Soul's purpose. It is time for the Kundalini serpent power that lies coiled at the base of the spine to awaken and move up through the chakras into its full power. This feminine life force has been recognized and celebrated since ancient times. It allows us to reconcile the dark and the light, the positive and the negative, to let go of that which no longer serves us and to transform.

The Dark Goddess helps us see in the darkness of our own being, that which lies beneath the surface, wanting to be seen, heard, known, born. It has but to be cultivated so it can reach up through the rich soil of the unconscious towards the light. We can help it by looking inward now and sitting with the feelings that are percolating, shining light on them, and tending them.

If it is fear, we can observe it and wrap it in a blanket of security and safety, transforming it into love.

If it is hurt and pain, we can cry and release it and hold it in our arms, nurturing and calming it, allowing it to turn into understanding and peace.

If it is anger and negativity, we can allow it to speak and be heard and then release it, changing it into gratitude, acceptance, and serenity.

But, first we must acknowledge these dark places, illuminate them, and then work with them to bring them into a higher state of consciousness and integration. For they are all parts of the shadow that must be seen and taken care of, for they will get our attention one way or the other. Like the snake that sheds its skin, we can release the old, shadowy parts and claim our new skin.

Ancient people used to think that the snake died when it shed its old skin and was reborn with its new skin.  The Greek word for the snake's cast off skin is "geras" meaning "old age." After shedding the skin, one was reborn, and made new again. Snakes were seen as magical beings and were associated with the mother goddess as symbols of transformation.

But once the patriarchal religions supplanted the worship of the goddess, snakes, along with women, were vilified and seen as the source of evil, seduction, and temptation.  Since Eve listened to the Serpent who guarded the Tree of Life and ate the apple as the snake implored her to, women have been blamed for the fall of man.

However, Eve's biting into the apple was what allowed us to enter into consciousness, and it is a role that women continue to play in the world. It is the feminine that shines the light, and brings consciousness to relationship. As we begin to enter the cycle of the dark half of the Wheel, Autumn and Winter, it is time to shine our light and do the healing work that starts with each one of us. Healing ourselves we do our part to heal the world.

There are a number of pages in my workbook, In the Lap of the Goddess: Connecting With the Divine Feminine, which are devoted to this deep, soul work and transforming negative emotions into positive ones. I would love to gift you with my 57-page self-care manual so that you can work with the five goddesses that make up the chapters. Please leave a comment here about what you would like to transform and I will randomly select a winner on October 26 and send the book to your door.