Death Mother/Creation Mother

"The Creation Mother is always also the Death Mother and vice versa. Because of this dual nature or double-tasking, the great work before us is to learn to understand what is around and about us and what within us must live, and what must die. Our work is to apprehend the timing of both; to allow what must die to die, and what must live to live." - Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves

This is what I love about studying the goddesses. I love seeing all that primal stuff just laid out there for us. For every young, beautiful maiden and light goddess there is an ugly, old one, a dark goddess, saying, "Don't get too caught up in all that loveliness, Sister, there's more to the story. Life ain't no bed of roses all the time. You better smell the flowers while you can, cuz there's some decay a comin'."

And at the same time, just when you think life is a big, steaming pile of shit, the goddess of love and life comes waltzin' in saying, "Hey, that ain't all there is, Sister. Get your head out of your ass and start living cuz there's beauty all around you. Life's too short. And what is it you want to be doing anyway? Get to it! You better be loving yourself. Look in the mirror, Sister. You got it going on!

For every Persephone, there's a Hecate. For every Bast, there's a Sekhmet. For every Athena, there's a Medusa. For every Kali, a Lakshmi; for Rhiannon, there's Cerridwyn; Cinderella/wicked stepmother; Snow White/Dark Queen, Vasilisa/Baba Yaga. You get it: Birth and Death. The endless cycle. Two sides of the same coin.

But, wait! The wisdom of the divine feminine is that it's not just black and white, either/or, crazy-ass, patriarchal dualistic thinking. There's a triple goddess to be found here. She is life, itself. She is the in-between. She is the one who travels the bridge to both worlds: the conscious and the unconscious, the upper and the lower, the internal and external, masculine and feminine, and understands that it's not one or the other, it's both/and. She knows the third way that moves betwixt the worlds and doesn't get stuck in the extremes. She is the wisdom that comes from living and knowing that birth follows death and death follows birth, but in between there is a life to be lived.

So don't be fooled by those old hags, or that stone cold evil eye of the Medusa. She contains the beautiful, wise goddess Athena. And don't be thinking that little girl don't know nothing. She's hiding the wise old hag within her very bones. Remember to live, Sisters, live it all. Remember to cherish the dark days as much as the glory days for they portend something else is coming. Nothing stays the same. And we can either wallow in the shit, complaining about the stink, or we can stand up and walk through it until we get to the other side, smelling like roses again.

And in case you forget, just walk outside and look up into the night sky. And there she is. Shining a little or a lot, for all to see. The Death Mother becomes the Creation Mother becomes the Death Mother becomes the Creation Mother and everything in between.

The Goddess Temple e-course on the Alchemical Goddesses starts in one month. We will be exploring the Death Mother when we meet Kali and the Creation Mother when we meet Yemaya and Aphrodite, that Great Mother Goddess of Love and Beauty, will be leading the way. What are you waiting for, Sister? Don't miss the boat. Life's too short.

Goddess Temple e-course: The Alchemical Goddesses July 8 - August 4, 2012

You are invited to enter the mystery in the sacred Goddess Temple, where you will meet three powerful goddesses of alchemical transformation: Kali, the Hindu Goddess of Destruction; Yemaya, the West African Goddess of Creation, and Aphrodite, the Greek Mother Goddess of Love and Beauty.

Over the four weeks from July 8 - August 4, 2012, you will take a journey of initiation, as did Psyche, the young mortal woman who dared to shine light upon the face of her lover, whom she met only in the dark of night and was forbidden to look at. She discovered that he was none other than Eros, the beautiful God of Love. When he opened his eyes, the spell was broken, and he flew away. Psyche was bereft. How to find this missing part of herself, her soul?
For Psyche means Soul. The only way back to herself and to wholeness was to follow the instructions of the mighty Aphrodite, mother of Eros. She gave Psyche four tasks.

And so, upon entering the Goddess Temple, you, too, will be given four assignments on your way to meeting the Great Mother herself. These challenges (which promise to be soulful, creative, and magical) will arrive in the mail in separate envelopes to be opened each week.
Your mission, if you decide to accept it, is to meet each of the goddesses and accomplish the tasks set by Aphrodite. In the end, You, like Psyche, will have gone through an alchemical transformation and become the goddess.

Register now. Aphrodite begins mailing instructions on June 20, the Summer Solstice.

Don't miss this golden opportunity.

Click here to register.

Who is Psyche?

Freya and Beltaine Magic

Freya is the unapologetic goddess of love and sexuality in Norse mythology. We celebrate her on May 1, Beltaine, a cross-quarter day between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice.

As described in Elizabeth Cunningham’s first book of the Maeve Chronicles, Magdalen Rising, in which Mary Magdalen is brilliantly transmogrified into a Celtic goddess, “the eve of May was a socially sanctioned orgy. Running off into the woods with someone who wasn’t your spouse was practically your civic duty. You were obeying the oldest law. You were multiplying the orgasms of the sexy, fecund earth. Hey, it could only help the crops--and hence the tribes. So just this once, go ahead. Surrender. Let go and let god/dess. That was the mood of Beltaine.”

Freya is perfect for the season. She is a sassy, bawdy and bold goddess archetype who, like Aphrodite, has many lovers -- pretty much whomever she chooses -- and her legions are legend.

Her story is one of love and lust for life, men, and beautiful objects like the necklace of amber tears she obtains after bedding the four dwarves who made it. (Makes you wonder about Snow White and what she was doing in the beds of the 7 dwarves, doesn’t it?)

It turns out these four dwarves represent the four directions in Norse mythology, and through these acts of consummation, Freya embodies the energy of these directions as well as the elements of earth, air, water, and fire. The necklace came to symbolize her life-giving power, and though many tried to steal it, including the trickster, Loki, Freya held onto it with fierce determination and supernatural authority.

For she is a goddess with magical powers and knowledge of Seidr, a form of Nordic shamanism that allows her to shapeshift into various animals from falcon, to sow/boar, to goat. She rides in a chariot drawn by two cats and is sometimes described wearing a white catskin cloak, gloves, and shoes, and at other times wearing a cape made of falcon feathers.

Freya shares some qualities with the Greek triple goddess, Persephone, Demeter and Hecate. She has the ability to resurrect after being killed in initiatory rites much like the Eleusinian mysteries allude to, and has the role of leader of the Valkyries, who bring half of the dead warriors from every battle to her (the other half going to Odin, who may or may not be her husband referred to as Od). She is adept in the magical arts like Hecate, a seer and spinner of the Great Wheel of life and death with all of its lustiness, messiness, and juiciness.

So enjoy, this frisky time of the waxing moon, Sisters and Brothers (Oh, did I mention that one of Freya’s lovers was her twin brother, Freyr, similar to Isis and Osiris, the holy rulers of the land who ensure fertility and abundance through their divine union?). These gods and goddesses remind us of our primal nature and connection to Mother Earth whose bounty we enjoy but often take for granted. Beltaine is a day to jump over the fire, have a picnic, “go-a Maying,” (or roll in the haying), and remember who our mother is.

In Honor of Gaia

We Have a Beautiful Mother

By Alice Walker

We have a beautiful

mother

Her hills

are buffaloes

Her buffaloes

hills.

We have a beautiful

mother

Her oceans

are wombs

Her wombs

oceans.

We have a beautiful

mother

Her teeth

the white stones

at the edge

of the water

the summer

grasses

her plentiful

hair.

We have a beautiful

mother

Her green lap

immense

Her brown embrace

eternal

Her blue body

everything we know.

HAPPY EARTH DAY. Every day we can... Give thanks. Pick up trash. Reuse. Recycle. Consume less. Use less plastic. Plant a tree. Grow a garden. Use less water. Give back.

Eoster's Message

Eoster, Celtic goddess of spring, known as Ostara in the Germanic tradition and Frigga in Norse mythology, Persephone and Eos in Greek mythology, was celebrated at this time for all of the riches she brought: Light, growth, green, fertility, abundance, renewal, the chance to start again.

Her totem is the hare, who performs courting rituals of dancing, boxing and springing in the air to attract a mate. In olden times it was believed that this strange dance of the hares helped Mother Earth wake up from her long winter's sleep. They thought hares laid eggs because their lairs looked like bird's nests and were similar to those of the lapwing, who did lay eggs. Thus the idea that the magical March hare brought eggs for spring was hatched.

Eoster, where the name Easter derives, comes from the Latin root, estrus, the time when animals are in heat, and oestrus, a time when sexual desire is heightened, the sap rises, and fertility reigns. Under a full moon, such as the pink moon, playful passion is unleashed. Did you know that Easter is always celebrated the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox? A time for frolicking!

Eoster's message is simply this: Enjoy the abundance that is yours. Look around. It is everywhere. You have everything you need. Rejoice!

Happy Easter!

Brigid, Triple Goddess of the Fire

In Celtic tradition, February 2, Imbolc or Candlemas is celebrated. This is the time when Brigid or Bride, makes her presence known. She is goddess of the fire; Imbas was the word that described inspiration that came from her creative and transformational fire. Imbolc refers to the time when the ewes are lactating in preparation to give birth to their lambs in spring, just six weeks away. it is a time for the maiden Brigid to bring in the light so as to usher the old crone of winter out and let the sunshine in.

Brigid's triple aspect is as goddess of poetry, smithing, and healing. The fire is important to each of these crafts. The poet receives enlightenment and passion from the fire, and the stories and poems told by the bards were like fire themselves, unable to be harnessed, touched or held. They could only be passed from mouth to ear in a sacred way by those who were skilled in the art of storytelling. Both the white-hot fire of the blacksmith that shapes lumps of metal into useful objects, as well as the healing fire of the hearth that boils the herbs and potions, bring about transmutation. And so it is with each of us as we honor Brigid's fiery presence. She has the power to enlighten us.

When Christianity usurped the worship of the goddess, St. Brigid was born in the fifth century CE, with many of the same attributes as the beloved goddess of yore. St. Brigid was born at sunrise just as her mother crossed the threshold of her home, associating her with the idea of liminality--existing between worlds. There were many legends about St. Brigid's connection to fire, like the goddess of her namesake. One such is that when she was an infant, she was left in the house while her mother tended the animals. Neighbors saw great flames of fire engulfing the roof of her house and rushed to her. But when they reached her, there were no flames or burnt remains. She was said to perform miracles, like the magical goddess herself, healing the afflicted, bringing stillborn babes to life, and having a never-depleted cauldron of food for those who were hungry.

St. Brigid's fire is still tended by 19 nuns in Kildare, Ireland and never allowed to go out. Tonight I gather with a group of women who celebrate these sabbats as the Great Wheel turns, and we will all light candles from one that was lit from Brigid's sacred flame in Kildare. I invite you to light a candle in honor of the returning sun, the bright goddess, and the passions that stir within each of us.

Kuan-Yin & the Year of the Dragon

Happy New Moon and Chinese New Year! It is my birthday today, on the cusp of the New Moon in Aquarius on January 22 and the Chinese New Year on January 23, when the Year of the Dragon commences.

I have this very picture of Kuan-Yin, goddess of compassion, mercy, magic, and fertility on my wall. Her name means "one who perceives sounds," which means she can hear the cries and prayers of the people, particularly the children of the world.

She is often depicted riding a dragon over the sea. The dragon is an ancient symbol of power, wisdom and transformation. As we enter the year of the dragon, which occurs every 12 years, we can be sure that this will be a year of getting things done on both the spiritual and physical plane.

Whatever you set your mind to this year, you have the strength and power of the dragon to propel you forward. In Chinese astrology, each animal of the year is paired with one of the five elements, and this is the year of the water dragon, also bringing Kwan Yin to mind.

So this is the time to find compassion for ourselves and others, a year to transform on a feeling (water) level, and to complete whatever needs to be healed or transmuted. Water calms the fiery dragon, so there may not be as much upheaval and anger both on an inner and outer level with this tranquil influence.

How auspicious as we enter this new moon in Aquarius, the water bearer, we also welcome the water dragon. We can call in the great bodhisattva (near-Buddha), Kuan-Yin, who vowed never to forsake us as long as there was one human being who had not yet seen the light of truth. She is with us, another form of the Great Mother protector, whenever we need her. We're in good hands.

If I were adrift upon the ocean

with demons and dragons all around.

I would think of sweet Kuan-Yin

and the hungry waters would subside.

If I were trapped within a furnace

as hot as hell's own blazes,

I would think of Kuan-Yin's power,

and the flames would turn to water.

If enemies pursued me, if I were thrown

from a high mountain peak, if knives

were raised against me, if I were imprisoned

or beset by beasts, I would call on her.

Her pity shields me from the lightning.

Her compassion is like a cloud around me,

which rains down sweetness and

puts out the fires of my sorrow.

- Chinese prayer to Kuan-Yin

Yemaya, Goddess of the New Year

Ready to plunge into the New Year, Sisters?

Yemaya, Yoruba goddess of the ocean, is one of my favorite goddesses. She is Mama Wata, Star of the Sea, Stella Maris, a Mother Creator goddess who gives birth to us in the New Year as we give birth to ourselves, with new skin, fresh eyes, and an open heart.

She grants wishes, midwifes our dreams into reality, buoys us to dance in the creative waters, helps us flow through life and swim in the liquid pools of our being. She encourages us to dive deep and find the essence of our soul's yearnings and bring them up to the surface. She invites us to play like little seals and otters, allowing our creative juices to spill out and over the canvas of our lives.

There is no right or wrong, she says, when it comes to creating. Follow your intuition, let it flow! It doesn't matter whether you step in and slowly find your footing, wading further and further out, or jump in feet first. She opens her arms to you. The water's fine.

I accidentally brought this goddess into being three years ago before I knew much about her and before I started working with her intentionally. When I was creating my SoulCollage® card for my sacral chakra, center of creativity and emotions, sensuality and sexuality, I journeyed to meet my animal ally of this place.

There I was met by a manatee, a great, soft, gentle creature, which can be found in both salt and fresh waters. Manatees were once mistaken for mermaids because of their feminine, cowlike form. In the image I created, I included a mermaid queen who fed the manatee of my creative chakra. Behind her danced the goddess, Thetis, a Greek sea nymph, who like Yemaya, represents fertility, as well as pleasures found in dancing and singing. Only later, as I actively explored the mythology of the mermaid goddess Yemaya, did I realize that I had already met her and cast her in the important role of feeding my creative soul.

I started actively working with her in 2010 and got to know her well, calling upon her by literally sending a message in a bottle to her by dropping it into the ocean. She heard my call and helped me give birth to my SoulWork book, In the Lap of the Goddess: Connecting With the Divine Feminine in 2011. I kept the SoulCollage® card I made of her archetype (below) next to my computer as I worked. I thought sometimes of my creative work as the steady drip, drip, drip of water until it forms a pool. At times I imagined myself swimming around in the murky depths until I found clarity. I saw myself opening shells and finding pearls. I honored her with a chapter in the book about working with this creator goddess. With Yemaya's help, I persistently kept moving through, diving deep and resurfacing, again and again.

And I call upon her now as I take another leap in 2012. My dreams include:

  • adding another chapter to my book on Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty. This chapter will be on self-love and self-care.
  • launching Goddess Temple, where I will offer 2 e-courses based on my book, the first of which will run from March 4 - 31, and will explore The Triple Goddess, the maiden, mother and crone within each of us.
  • sending my workbook to publishers to secure a book deal, which I envision in an expanded form with more goddess goodness to work and play with
  • traveling to Greece to visit the sacred goddess sites, temples and caves, and soak in the Mediterranean beauty

Remember, Sisters, Dream Big. Size Matters.

What are your wishes and dreams for the New Year? Yemaya is waiting to hear your call.

Go here to register for the Goddess Temple e-course, a 4-week exploration of The Triple Goddess, Persephone, the maiden, Demeter, the Mother, and Hecate, the crone using my SoulWork book, In the Lap of the Goddess (discount available if you've already purchased the book):  Goddess Temple

Cerridwyn and the Winter Solstice

I am Cerridwyn, daughter of Wales. I live alone on an island in the middle of Llyn Tegid (now Bala Lake). Some call me a hag witch, which I consider a compliment for they are only acknowledging my powers as a holy woman, a fierce healer. I have two children, a daughter, Creidwy, and a son, Morfran, who I would fight to the death to protect from harm's way. And that is what I do for you, my children, protect and guide you through the dark nights of winter.

For this is a time to be brewing new potions in your cauldron for the coming year. It is time now to sit by the hearth fire and stir the thick soup, letting it simmer over the long dark nights to come. Don't be afraid to add new ingredients, to play with the recipe. I encourage you to add generous dollops of Courage, magnums of Inspiration, and heaping cupfuls of Trust. Circle the cauldron throughout the winter months, remembering its power, touching the container of life, death and rebirth, the never ending cycle, the beginning and the end.

Seek the light in the pregnant darkness. Gestate. Care for yourself. Renew. Restore. Release. And do it now my children, on December 22, the longest night of the year, when the sun appears to stand still in the sky. It is the time to release all that has been accumulating and weighing you down so that you can make way for the new.

I invite you to follow the lead of my sister, Pixie Campbell, as she guides you in the Mother of All Releasings Ceremony: Winter Solstice, 2012.

Happy Solstice!

Winter Solstice Blessing by Stacy Anne Murphy

Shed away your tired old coats my darlings. Shed the tears that tear you from within. Like a snake who has outgrown her skin, writhe and scrape until the dull old scales fall away.

Slough off the remnants of your worn-out self. Peel away the layers that no longer suit you, that constrict you, so a shiny, smooth, lissome you emerges.

Glide effortlessly into the new year adaptable, flexible, amenable, joyful.

Enter your new beginning with grace, warm, bright, glistening, grace.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Tomorrow is her feast day, a national religious holiday in Mexico. It commemorates the day in 1531, when a lowly peasant named Juan Diego, climbed the hill at Tepeyac, north of Mexico City, where the sacred pyramid to the Aztec lunar mother goddess, Tonantzin or Tonan, once stood. There, Juan Diego met a young, dark-skinned woman who speaking to him in his own native language, Nahuatl, requested that a chapel be built upon that site. Diego took her message to the local Catholic bishop, who refused to believe his story without proof. Diego went back to the site where the woman told him to gather roses to bring back in her honor, which he thought would be impossible to find in the desert in December. But when he turned around, much to his surprise, he found a bush of roses in full bloom and gathered as many as he could in his cloak and returned to the bishop. As he opened his cloak, the roses fell out in a profusion of color, and an image of the lady appeared on the fabric of his cloak, convincing the church father that she was an apparition of the Virgin Mary.

There were some in the indigenous tribes and villages of Mexico who believed she was, in fact, the goddess Tonan, who had returned to help her people after being conquered by the Spanish, whose mission was to convert them all to Catholicism. But many came to see her as the blessed Mary of the Americas, who, no matter what name you give her, watches over her people. But as we know, Mary has her roots in the ancient mother goddesses that exist in all cultures. I like to think that she is powerful enough to live on through the patriarchal structure that has prevailed even today. You can see her as a Catholic religious figure and the mother of Jesus, or you can see her as an ancient mother goddess who represents fertility, and the bounty of the earth. It doesn't matter for her meaning is deeply embedded in her image, and in our collective unconscious, in our very DNA.

She is also known as "Mother of Maguey," as she stands in the middle of a maguey, or agave plant, which appears to be rays of light or spiny leaves. The plant has medicinal and healing properties and its juice is known as "virgin milk." Her blue-green mantle of stars is symbolic of the divine Aztec couple, Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl and her place amongst the stars. Her belt is said to indicate her pregnancy with the divine child. She stands upon a crescent moon, reminding us of her origins as an ancient lunar goddess.

Even her appellation of Our Lady of Guadalupe harkens back to her indigenous origins. It is said that the name Guadalupe came from one of two similar sounding words in the Nahuatl language, which did not contain the letters "g" and "d," so could not have been Guadalupe originally. One similar-sounding Nahuatl word meant, "She whose origins were in the rocky summit," alluding to the ancient goddess, Tonan, and the other from a similar-sounding word that meant, "She who banishes those who devour us," again referring to the return of Tonan as protector of her newly-conquered people. To the Spanish conquerors, she was a useful icon to gain converts from the native people who once revered Tonan and had a system of understanding the world through the Aztec iconography and mythos. While the Christian churches were built on the very ruins of the Aztec temples, the pagan beliefs and practices were not so easily demolished, and the goddess triumphed.

So when we look at the beautiful black Madonna of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we can see her through time as an enduring image of the divine feminine. It is ironic that even as she stands as a national symbol of Mexico, where pilgrimages to Tepeyac hill occur every year, women are banned from approaching the sacred relic on display behind the altar at the cathedral of Guadalupe. The patriarchy endures for now, but the goddess lives on. Light a candle for Her on December 12 as we bring in the return of the light that the Winter Solstice promises on December 22.

In honor of Our Lady, I am again including information about how to order your own goddess rosary from Jennifer Mantle, who is happy to put together a custom order for you with the goddess and beads of your choice.

There are many more styles of rosaries and pendants available than are shown in her Etsy store, so just let her know what you have in mind and she will work with you. Jennifer wrote her master's thesis on "Reclaiming the Rosary in Her Name," in which she maintains that "The mythology of the rosary is decidedly Marian," that indicates a "recovery of the goddess" and a way to connect to our own divine feminine. This is reflected in the beauty of the feminine form of the goddess pendant and the roundness of the beads. These rosaries can be used like prayer beads or worn as necklaces or both! Here is the link to Adore Her Designs: http://www.AdoreHerDesigns.etsy.com/

Hestia, Goddess of the Hearth

I'm just waking up from my long Thanksgiving nap, wherein I gave myself permission to rest and not be productive for a week, other than plowing through The Hunger Games trilogy and cooking a homemade tofurky with all the requisite side dishes. I had planned to write this blog post on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but alas it is past and now I am ready. Friday was the first day of the new moon (truly a black Friday), generally a good time for new beginnings. However, on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, Mercury went into Retrograde (maybe that's why I couldn't get myself to the computer). It does seem like a Coyote-like predicament to start something on the new moon only to find that Mercury in Retrograde may throw it in reverse, much like one step forward, two steps back. Therefore, a good time to stand still: Do less, Be more.

That brings me to Hestia, goddess of the hearth and home. There is an old Greek saying, "Start with Hestia," which means "Begin at the Beginning," from the original fire, or first spark, and perhaps because she was the first of the Olympian goddesses to be born. In ancient Greece, when a woman moved into a new home, she lit the first fire in the hearth with fire from her mother's hearth. No mistake that heart and hearth are almost the same word.

Hestia is what we mean when we refer to ourselves or another as a "homebody." I think I have a lot of Hestia myself. I love nesting and sticking close to the fire, be it in the kitchen or near the hearth. A working fireplace is a must for me in any home I've lived in. Hestia women get their energy from their home and family. They take that fire with them out into the world when they venture forth and need to return and revive themselves before they're ready to set out again.

Hestia is not a lively one. She's as steady as they come. She tends to stay close to home, tending the fire, which could be the creative fire of the writer, artist, gardener or cook, as well as housewife and stay-at-home mom.

In the ancient Greek temples, Hestia's flame, considered the heart of the temple, was always lit. The priestesses tended and guarded it, making sure it never went out. There are very few images or statues of Hestia as she was thought to be faceless, and exist in the fire. We provide the face of Hestia by how we live our lives, stoke the flames, and keep the home fires burning.

As we approach the Christmas season, I wanted to share with you a wonderful gift idea for the goddesses in your life  and that is a goddess rosary made by the luminous Jennifer Mantle. Jennifer's rosaries are one-of-a-kind and she loves to do custom orders. That means you can work with her to choose the goddess pendant as well as the gems and beads that adorn it, depending on what kind of energy you are wishing to draw in. There are many more styles of rosaries and pendants available than are shown in her Etsy store, so just let her know what you have in mind and she will work with you.

Jennifer wrote her master's thesis on "Reclaiming the Rosary in Her Name," in which she maintains that "The mythology of the rosary is decidedly Marian," that indicates a "recovery of the goddess" and a way to connect to our own divine feminine. This is reflected in the beauty of the feminine form of the goddess pendant and the roundness of the beads. These rosaries can be used like prayer beads or worn as necklaces or both! Here is the link to Adore Her Designs: http://www.AdoreHerDesigns.etsy.com/

Lakshmi and the Taurus Moon

On this Taurus full moon, with the pulsing energy of 11/11/11, a time of wish-fulfillment upon us, the goddess Lakshmi asks us to check in with our self-worth and to own our power as creative women deserving of abundance. Lakshmi is the Shakti or activating female goddess counterpart of Vishnu, the preserver of all life. She is much like the Greek goddess Aphrodite; both are seen as ancient Mother Goddesses who are said to have been born from the ocean, the Great Mother's womb.  They are goddesses of love, beauty, fertility, and abundance.

Taurus is governed by Venus, the planet named for the Roman goddess of love and beauty. A Taurus full moon helps us bring into being that which we have been longing for and to get our needs met in ways that are self-fulfilling and rewarding to us.

Lakshmi wants us to know our self-worth and act from this place of personal power. When doubt and fear creep in, Lakshmi can help us transform these shadowy energies into confidence and love, and create a bountiful harvest.

Lakshmi reminds us of our wealth, both on a soul level and on the earthly plane. She reminds us that the Universe is abundant and plentiful. We have all we need and more. If we're feeling needy and lacking, where is this idea coming from? What old story are we telling ourselves that may need to change so that we can embrace the life-giving, loving, sustaining energy of the Goddess Lakshmi?

Lakshmi stands on a lotus, a symbol of spiritual enlightenment and beauty. By seeing and embracing our own inner beauty and the beauty that surrounds us, we allow our perception to create our reality. This is our secret power, simple but profound. As we change the way we see things, our reality shifts and reflects how we think about ourselves and the world.

I am whatever is. Whatever is, I am. I am whatever is visible. Whatever is visible, I am. I am whatever is invisible. Whatever is invisible, I am. I am whatever is alive. Whatever is alive, I am. I am whatever moves and breathes. Whatever moves and breathes, I am.

I am the very spirit of life. The very spirit of life, I am. Everything that exists in time is part of me. I am everything that exists. When time ends, I will end. I will vanish, disappear, dissolve. And with me, everything else will vanish, disappear, dissolve. I alone can create, and I alone destroy, this universe.

Everything that exists is mine. Everything that exists is me.

- Invocation to Lakshmi, India

The questions to ask yourself now are:

What is it I want to manifest?

What is my plan to fulfill it?

How am I living or not living in abundance?

How might I be giving my power away?

How can I own my power and manifest my dreams?

What am I willing to let go of that may be in the way of making this happen?

What do I need to add to my life or change to make this transformation complete?

How can I better love myself?

How can I better love others?

Namaste.

Hecate and the Threefold Path

If you see an old woman walking down the road one dark moonless night, take heed, because that may be the "Distant One" who has words of wisdom for you. Be kind to the woman who stands at the crossroads for that is said to be the threshold to the underworld, the realm of Hecate and the maiden-turned-queen, Persephone.

And if you come upon such a crossroads, leave an offering for Hecate's supper.

If you honor her, she will honor you by showing up whenever you need help, whenever you stand at a crossroads and need to make an important decision, a choice about which direction to take.

She is the one who will stand beside you and help you summon the courage to step into your power, to listen to that inner voice that knows what is the right decision for you in that moment.

She is the one who will help you hear the answers that your ancestors have to give you if you will but ask and listen.

She is the one who protects you in remote places, when you have lost your bearings, when you feel trapped, hemmed in, without a safety net.

She is the one who is the Dark Mother, who will hold you in the blackness until the first streams of light illuminate your path.

She is the one who midwifes you through your own birth, death, and rebirth and who helps lost souls pass over.

Hecate is one of the oldest manifestations of the triple goddess and her power is in threes:  

She embodies the three faces of the goddess: maiden, mother and crone. Sometimes she is depicted as having three animal heads: lion, snake and dog or at other times the dog, horse, and bear.

She travels with three black hounds or some say the three-headed dog, Cerebrus.

She stands at the crossroads where three roads meet. From there, she can see into the dimensions of past, present and future.

She is the moon in its three phases of waxing, waning, and full.

She walks between the three realms of earth, sky, and the underworld, where she presides over the passages of birth, life, and death or of birth, death and rebirth, a reflection of the moon's phases.

She represents the three stages of the mysteries of agriculture: the green corn (Kore, the young maiden), the ripe ear (Persephone, the queen) and the harvested corn, symbolized by Hecate, herself.

She is a goddess of magic and transformation and carries three sacred objects: a key, a rope and a dagger. Use these symbols to help you unlock the wisdom of the ancient mysteries.

The key is the way into the underworld, where we must go to transmute fear into love and bring unconscious stirrings into the conscious light of day.

The rope is the umbilical cord that when cut allows us to experience rebirth, renewal and enter a new cycle.

The dagger, like Kali's sword, cuts through the illusion of control and duality and allows us to see things in greater dimension, no longer in black and white, either/or possibilities. She helps us give up control when its needed to allow magical transformation to occur.

Hecate represents our medial nature, our ability to see beyond the ordinary, and thus she can help bring magic and mystery into our lives.

Hecate, daughter of Nyx or Ancient Night, is with us now, during the dark, new moon and especially on Samhain, October 31.

It is on October 31 that the veil between the worlds is said to be most transparent, and a good time to converse with the ancestors, leave offerings, and discard what no longer serves us into the fire. What do you need to release? Halloween is a good night to name it and cast it into the fire.

Hecate stirs the cauldron of creativity. What is brewing in your cauldron tonight? The new moon is a good time to start a new project or claim a path you want to take and step onto the road with Hecate at your side.

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.

Baba Yaga Rides Again

The full Harvest Moon on Monday marks the time when farmers bring in the last of the summer crops, the late harvest of root vegetables and cruciferous plants that will warm our blood over the colder months to come. The weather is starting to change, the sky to darken, foreshadowing the turning of the Great Wheel towards fall. We celebrate the autumn equinox on Friday, September 23. There's something in the air. Do you feel it? The stirrings of the Wild Woman, the dark goddess who arrives on owl's wings, silently gliding through the forest to awaken us? Do you hear it? The yip of the coyote, the howl of the wolf, the yowl of the cat, as they pad stealthily through the underbrush in search of sustenance?

As September wanes, what does your inner Wild Woman want? Before we start to draw inward, there's still time to dance under the light of the moon, to stir something up in the creative cauldron. What is your passion? Art? Writing? Dancing? Singing? Cooking? Teaching? Nurturing? Healing? If you don't know, it's time to listen to your inner voice, to the Wise Woman within, to The One Who Knows.

You know the story of Baba Yaga, don't you? It all starts with a little girl named Vasalisa, who much like Cinderella, must live under the watch of a horribly jealous stepmother and two mean, ugly stepsisters after her mother dies. But on her deathbed, Vasalisa's mother gave her a little doll, dressed just like Vasalisa. She tells her to keep it in her pocket at all times and to ask her for help whenever she needs it.

So, as in all such stories, Vasalisa is sent out into the forest, into the dark unknown, where the old woman, Baba Yaga lives. Her mission is to fetch an ember from the Yaga as her stepmother and sisters secretly conspired to let the fire burn out. Everyone knows Baba Yaga is an ugly old witch, a frightening hag who flies about in the dead of night in a cauldron with a pestle as an oar. It's well known that she eats children for breakfast and uses their bones for toothpicks. Oh, and did you know her house dances around on chicken feet? Go on, little girl, there's nothing to be afraid of.          

And so the brave, little Vasalisa ventures into the deep, dark woods, just as we all must step into the darkness at times and face our worst fears. What are they?

That you may fail?

Look foolish?

Not be liked or approved of?

Or perhaps that you won't live up to others' expectations?

Name your fear: ____________________

But at each twist and turn of the path, Vasalisa consults the doll in her pocket and is advised which way to go, until at last she arrives at the crazy house that careens about on chicken feet.

Vasalisa sees the fire for which she has been sent inside of a skull perched on a fence post. As she starts to reach for it, the unmistakable cackle of Baba Yaga causes her to pull her hand back in fright. Baba Yaga demands to know why she should give her the fire.

"Because I ask," Vasalisa replies. That is the right answer, Baba Yaga tells her. Why? Because we cannot get the help we need unless we ask.

Baba Yaga tells her she will give her the fire if she will complete the tasks she sets for her, seemingly impossible ones. She must cook three meals and clean her entire filthy house during the night, which Vasalisa is able to do with the help of the little doll. The next night she must sort thousands of seeds from the dirt so that Baba Yaga will have oil the next day. This she is again able to do with the help of the little doll in her pocket guiding her.

Satisfied, Baba Yaga gives the skull with the burning ember inside to Vasalisa. She carries it home trumphantly, much to the surprise of the evil stepmother and sisters who thought they had seen the last of her. And, as is often the case with evildoers such as they, the fire consumes them, and leaves nothing behind but a few charred bones.

And so it is with Baba Yaga, the witch, the crone, the hag -- for hag comes from the word, haggia, meaning holy wisdom -- the wise, old woman who teaches us. Her words are sometimes harsh, her demeanor frightening, her lessons hard. But as the dark goddess, the dark mother, she helps us burn up our fears and transform from frightened little girls into women of courage, women who are willing to take the necessary risks to reap the rewards of consciousness and creativity, to fuel the fires of our passions.

And so, the Wild Woman learns to listen to her inner voice, follow her intuition, and dance by the light of the moon. Are you ready?

If you're in the Triangle, come to my Art & Soul workshops at Dancing Moon Bookstore on Saturday, September 24 and October 1, where we will meet and explore five goddesses: Persephone, the Maiden, Demeter, the Mother, Hecate, the Crone, Kali, the Destroyer, and Yemaya, the Creator, using my workbook, In the Lap of the Goddess: Connecting With the Divine Feminine. Pay by September 19 for a discount. Go here for more information: http://owlandcrow.saladd.com/goddess-workshop/

Mother Mary Comes to Me

Mother Mary and Mary Magdalene have been with me as spiritual guides for a long time now and lately, Mother Mary has been coming to me in unexpected places. I bought two statues of Mary that caught my eye at a couple of vintage stores I recently stopped into. One is of her face, which I am decoupaging, and the other is a full figure with chipped paint and a little angel peeking out from beneath her robes. The two Marys came to me again recently after my annual exam since having thyroid cancer and my thyroid removed in 1997. A lymph node lit up on a PET scan in my lung area. I called in the two Marys, who had helped me though my healing process before, and after 3 months of probing and questioning by doctors and talk of removing it, the lymph node disappeared without medical intervention. Through this, I was reminded of the healing power of these two goddesses once more. They have guided me through some dark times.

I'm feeling the need for Mary's protection and guidance now as I step into somewhat new territory of leading goddess workshops based on the goddesses in my workbook. I am feeling a bit tender and vulnerable and even a little overwhelmed as I prepare for this new leadership role. It is times like these that I seem to need her most.

I think there is a part of me that has resisted the mother, Mary, because of the way she has been sanctified and even made a bit saccharine in Christian tradition, so I have been trying to meet her--the Christian version of her--and see her in her full depth and meaning.

I find her more approachable and accessible in her old, chthonic forms. I've found that her spirit lives in every culture, going back to the images of the Great Mother from Neolithic and Paleolithic times. In the round, full-figured Venuses that have been dug up throughout Europe and Asia.

She is Stella Maris, mother of the sea, personified as Yemaya in West Africa. She is Artemis of Ephesus, the ancient many-breasted goddess before she became the Greek goddess of the forest and its creatures. She is Kwan Yin, the Buddhist goddess of mercy.  She is Brigid, the Celtic earth goddess. She is Isis, the Egyptian goddess who gives birth to a divine child. She is even Kali Ma, the blue-faced Hindu mother goddess. All of these goddesses are considered midwives who watch over women during childbirth, where life and death hover at the crossroads.

The Christian mother of God could be said to be one of the later incarnations of this powerful, earthy archetype. Except, in Christian tradition her earthiness and sexuality were split off and given to the other Mary, of Magdalene. Both she and Lilith, goddess of Jewish tradition, were cast in the role of prostitute by Judeo-Christian patriarchy because in that dualistic worldview, the feminine was not to be sexual unless she was "bad." Only the feminine divorced from her earthiness, fecundity and sexuality, was "good." That put women in quite a bind.

This is also why I have struggled with Mother Mary, a supposed virgin mother. She represents only part of the feminine whole, an exalted part, an idealized version that is hard, if not impossible, to reach. Only by embracing the two Marys have I felt that there is completion and a mirror in which I can see myself.

Mary Magdalene, the human Mary, carries the energy of the error-prone, often misunderstood wife/mother, who must find her way in the world. Only recently has the Catholic Church admitted that there is no evidence she was a prostitute and allowed that she was, in fact, a disciple, although many believe she was more than that. They're not ready to admit that she may have been the wife of Jesus and the mother of their child, Sarah, a girl -- what was cryptically referred to as the Holy Grail -- a cup, a feminine holder of Wisdom, the missing part to the masculine divinity that took hold and has prevailed ever since. In many ways, we're still searching for the Holy Grail, the feminine divine.

Mother Mary comes to me, perhaps asking to be understood, accepted, allowed in, as she is. After all, she has survived the patriarchal attempts to mute and transform her. Now when I look at her I can't help but see the hidden layers, knowing there is a deep, dark goddess at her heart, a timeless being that cannot be thwarted.

There is no question that the Madonna and child is beautiful in art, but in most paintings I find her remote. I am drawn to the black Madonna, which seems to hold more of her down-to-earth nature: dark, black, warm, moist, like the soil.

On my altar, I have both the light and the dark Mary to remind me of the riches to be found in both places, above and below, in the shadow and in the light, in the labor of birth and in the release of death, in her humanness and in her glory. Symbolically, we are giving birth over and over again as we create every new permutation of our lives. And, so, too, are we dying many little deaths throughout the spiral dance of life. We need our mother, the Great Mother, to see us through these often cataclysmic changes.

I have found that when working with the energy of whatever goddess is making herself known, it is important to bring her into the world, to find or create images, symbols, and totems to see and touch, to work with on a daily basis. It is through images and symbols that we can create a dialog with our soul, and thus find the deeper meaning of our existence.

I offer here the Gnostic prayer to Mary Magdalene:

I am first, I am last,

I am loved and I am scorned.

I am life, I am death.

I am pure and I am soiled.

I am the knowledge

that hides within all questions.

I am what is sought, and I

am the seeking itself.

I am all that is within you

and all that is outside you.

I am the garment that shows you

the secret shape of your soul.

Ariadne

I've been thinking about Ariadne, who, the story goes, was a princess whose father was the King Minos of Crete. She was the one who helped the hero, Theseus, who came to slay the Minotaur -- half-man, half-bull -- by giving him a ball of red thread so that he could find his way out of the labyrinth, where the minotaur lay in wait. She struck a deal with Theseus that if he returned, they would marry and he would take her away with him, from her father's kingdom to a new life. But here's the interesting thing about Ariadne and the myth that has been told so many times in this way: it's not the real story. The true story is that Ariadne wasn't a princess, she was a goddess, the Mother Goddess, the primal Snake Goddess of Crete, the Great Goddess. That's the way she was seen and celebrated long before the Judeo-Christian religion took over and demoted her to the role of a princess, a daughter of the patriarchy.

But perhaps it is the later version that we can most relate to today: a maiden who must face the authority of the father, the culture, the patriarchy, and forge her own path, gain experience, until she can find the roots of her own power and divinity deep within. Until she can discover the true goddess that has been buried deep inside and almost forgotten by history, and, indeed, by Herself.

In Sue Monk Kidd's awakening and transformation beautifully told in her book, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman's Journey From Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine, she grapples with the minotaur as she casts off the role of the dutiful daughter in both the practice of her religion and in her way of writing. She describes the half-man, half-bull monster who lives at the center of the underground labyrinth as carrying the spirit of the Old King, the negative animus, the inner critic. We each have to slay our own minotaur, the self-hatred, the self-doubt, the self-destruction that would eat our own soul if it had its way, that would gladly devour the sacrificial lamb of our dreams and desires if we allowed it.

When I was working to birth my book, In the Lap of the Goddess, I was very much aware of this inner voice that tried to waylay me and tell me I couldn't do it, who, when I encountered obstacles, and didn't know where I was going, suggested I give up. I still hear that voice when I contemplate the task of marketing my book and finding an audience and a publisher. The road seems daunting, much like the long, labyrinthine tunnels Theseus had to find his way through.

But he did it with the help of the feminine, Ariadne, who provided a way back: a red thread. Red, like the color of blood, thread, like the umbilical cord that connects the newly-growing fetus to the mother, like the one the Fates spun and wove into the warp and woof of each person's life. It's important to hold onto that thread, that lifeblood, when we are in the midst of it, when we don't know our way.

It's important to have something to hold onto, to remind us of what we wanted when we started, so we can feel our way through the uncertainty, the unknown, and to help us return home, to ourselves. And so it was for me. I held onto a thread that I started with, and it became a lifeline I dared not let go of, that allowed me to move into uncharted territory and find my way back.

It took the inner masculine and inner feminine working together to set the course, kill the beast, and complete the journey. The feminine provides the inspiration, the vision, and charts the creative path. The masculine does the hard work of getting it done, manifesting it in the world, and slaying dragons. Both must work together and help each other. Without the feminine muse spinning the dreams, the masculine has little to work with. Without the masculine energy to get through the day-to-day and put the ideas into form, the inspiration dissipates like a will o' the wisp.

And so each of us becomes Ariadne, a mortal princess who must leave the known, safe world on the sacred journey to reach the goddess. And to borrow a quote from Monk Kidd's book, "When I speak of Goddess I am in no way referring to an entity 'out there,' who appears miraculously as a fairy godmother and turns the pumpkin into a carriage. I am in no way referring to a Goddess 'back there,' as if I participate in resurrecting an ancient religion. In the sense that I am woman I see the Goddess in myself." - Nelle Morton

On my odyssey I have been meeting many wonderful women who are writing blogs that tell of their own journeys. I have been honored to provide guest blogs for the soulful Aja Blanc at Moon Woman Rising on the Beauty of the Crone (yes, I declare myself a beautiful crone) and on the bright and beautiful blog of Jo Crawford, Crafting the Sacred, where I talk about my Soul Work. Please visit and become acquainted with these women of wisdom and join us in the Goddess Circle.

Corn Mother

Corn Mother is a Native American goddess from the Seminole tradition. In this time of bountiful plenty, abundance and fertility, the Corn Mother reminds us to be grateful for all the gifts Grandmother Earth has to share with us. My garden is healthy and happy and it gives me pleasure to go out and water the tomato plants, squash, cucumbers, basil, peppers, and herbs that are  growing there in the hot July sun.

Corn Mother is a grounding influence and right now after a two and a half week whirlwind with my sister, Lynn, visiting for the first time in North Carolina, I'm ready to enjoy being back down to earth.

We went to Asheville in the mountains of North Carolina one weekend and Williamsburg, Virginia the next. That's us at the Indian village in Jamestown, imagining what life would have been like if we were Powhatan. They gave the Colonists a lot of help when they got to the new land and prevented many from starving, although the first winter in Jamestown is known as the Starving Time.

It's something to imagine what life would have been like stepping foot on land that had never been tamed with no amenities except what little you brought with you on the ship from England. It really does give you pause to look around and see all that we now enjoy as a result of these courageous men and women who came here with next to nothing and made lives for themselves and a legacy for all of us to enjoy.

Speaking of bounty, I went to the Farmer's Market today, my Saturday morning ritual, and found such wonderful goodies as pecan peanut butter and Blue Ridge Mountain sour cherry preserves. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches never tasted so good.

Fresh corn, green bean and tomato salad, Southern squash casserole, and fresh pesto potatoes made a lavish summer feast for dinner tonight.

I haven't talked about our new girls in the family, but they deserve mention here, because we enjoy them so much. We have 6 pet chickens, who will be laying eggs in about another month. You can see some of the girls here: Kali, Chipmonk, Ginalolabrigida, Charlotte, Thelma and Louise are as cute as can be and come out clucking to greet me when I let them out into the yard to eat up the bugs, especially those ticks. These girls will always be egg layers and will never end up on anyone's dinner plate.

While my sister was here, we were able to join a powerful circle of women in Hillsborough (like last year, a coven of 13 magically convened) and make dolls with Outsider artist and Cherokee storyteller Cher Shaffer. This year we made dolls out of clay, healing dolls or soul dolls to remind us of our own feminine power, divinity, and healing abilities. It's always a rich experience hearing Cher's stories and sharing food and comraderie with interesting, creative, and soulful women.

May we all enjoy the fruits of summer and bask in the providence and nurture of the Corn Mother.

Mother and Daughter: Demeter and Persephone

to be a fool while spring is in the air                 

my soul approves.

--e.e. cummings

As spring gives way to summer and the return of the sun on the solstice, June 21, we are in the time of these two goddesses. Persephone, the maiden, represents the new moon, the emergence of spring, rebirth. Demeter, the mother, who represents the full mother moon, greets her daughter as she emerges from the Underworld, to reign together over the Earth in spring and summer. These goddesses work together to bring about fertility and growth and to remind us that as above, so below.

The mother-daughter dyad helps us remember our own inner maiden and all that is new, innocent, playful, growing, free and light-hearted, as well as our inner mother and all that is cultivating, blooming, active, abundant, and full. This is the time of year when we are witnessing both of these aspects at work on Mother Earth and  within us.

Of course, we must not forget the third part of the triple goddess, Hecate, the crone, whose time is winter. And while it is not her season and we feel her less strongly during the bright days of summer, she is there, in the shadows. There is a lunar eclipse today in Sagittarius, reminding us of her presence, the things that are hidden from consciousness that may be revealed over the next days and weeks to come. Hecate also reminds us to stay in balance between doing and being, and the need to rest and restore. She has the gift of overview and helps us discern what is important and what is not. She is Persephone's companion in the Underworld, so she and Persephone can help us during times of darkness and shadow and guide us back to the light.

Many of us may be looking forward to summer vacations as a time to unplug and and recharge, sitting in the quiet and beauty of long, summer days at the beach, in the coolness of the mountains or lazy days at home enjoying our gardens, children, and a good book. Summer vacations can also be busy times of actively doing, going, and seeing.

I'm already seeing my summer laid out before me: my sister, Lynn, is visiting us in North Carolina for a busy 2 weeks of sight-seeing and weekend trips to Asheville and Jamestown; my daughter, Chloe, is going to a filmmaking camp in July for 3 weeks, she and I are going to California for 10 days to visit our dear friends whom we have missed these past three years since moving to North Carolina. I am facilitating a SoulCollage® summer solstice gathering in June, an introductory playshop in July, and will be preparing to lead a SoulCollage® facilitator's workshop called SoulCollage® and the Divine Feminine: Nurturing Your Soul With the Goddess Archetype in Her Many Forms in early September. Whew! The active mother is very much alive in me this summer, but so is the maiden who will be embarking on some new new ventures and playing -- with friends and family with a carefree heart.

On June 21, as the Sun enters Cancer, ruled by the moon, with the lunar eclipse energy casting its shadow, we can expect to have emotional stirrings, and for family bonds and relationships to take center stage. Persephone and Demeter  help us mend, heal, and strengthen the relationship between our daughters and our mothers. For as Jung said, "Every mother contains her daughter in herself and every daughter, her mother, and every mother extends backwards into her mother and forwards into her daughter."

Three chapters of my interactive SoulWork book, In the Lap of the Goddess: Connecting With the Divine Feminine, are devoted to the triple goddess of Persephone, Demeter and Hecate. Summer is a good time to get to know these aspects. I hope you'll take a look...