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.
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 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 (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, 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.