Meetings with the Dark Goddess & Finding the Seeds of Renewal- an online course.

Meetings with the Dark Goddess

Collectively we are in the domain of the Dark Goddess, a liminal space between one state and another; behind the scenes a mystery is unfolding…we are in the birthing canal. It is a precarious time as we have not yet fully let go of the dissolving world or yet grasped the meaning of the new one. Astrologically this state can be likened to the 12th  house, the house of undoing before a new beginning emerges. In the lunar cycle it is the balsamic phase when everything is mulched down from the previous cycle providing fertile compost for the new to be born. It is the Phoenix rising from the ashes. States of transition however are not without danger. Folklorist Arnold Van Gennep describes the perils of transition within society thus,

A house with rooms and corridors in which passages from one to another is dangerous…. danger lies in transitional states, simply because transition is neither one state nor the next, it is undefinable…. the person who must pass from one to another is in danger and emanates danger to others…. the danger is precisely controlled by ritual which precisely separates [her] from [her] old status, segregates [her] for a time and then publicly declares [her] new entry to [her] new status”

Danger lies in the overwhelming and extraordinarily confusing glut of information, widening and fractious polarity, and above all perhaps in the social pressure to conform to an accepted reality that may be at odds with our inner truth. What if our voice sounds different even to loved ones and family? Our authentic voice may be rising up against not only societal injustice and pressure but also against the ways of being that have made us small, sick, victimised, or in any way diminished from who we truly are and what we are here to embody.

In these times we need containers, support,  ritual, and positive affectation. Once the lid comes off, what is revealed is sometimes a life time of playing small, of being fearful, shamed, or shrouded in false self-identity and beliefs about ourselves. And yes, maybe our psyches and our bodies have been damaged in systems that have not always supported life and healthy growth… much has been revealed to this end. I believe we can heal and make the transition a positive, affirming one in which we retain or claim our sovereignty.

Ritual and initiation may offer a connecting thread between the worlds, the inner and outer, the old and new. For the ancient Gnostics, ‘initiation worked to make initiates aware of their unconscious selves as a source of their greatest anxiety and their greatest power’. What have been, or are, your greatest anxieties during the pandemic, and how might they serve you now as a means of transformation and reclamation?

This is the time of the Dark Goddess, suppressed and exiled for millennia, she stirs beneath the Earth inviting us to meet Her, to face Her and to learn from Her wisdom but first we must make the descent into our own unconscious to illuminate what programmes, beliefs, wounding and rejected parts lay waiting to be brought home. She is the rage we feel at the injustices of the world, the terror and fear that paralyses us, and the quivering eruptions that explode when we are tired, stressed, diluted, or fragmented. She stands beside us now, willing us to talk truth, to utter the words from our wombs and release the tension of living in systems and circumstances that tether our soul and feminine essence. We are not victims however, we hold the key to our own liberation, and the Dark Goddess is the ultimate Wayshower. She appears to us in dreams, in our creativity, our sexuality, our bodies, our sickness, our darkness,  our “Enough!”;  She exists in the spaces in between, in the irrational, the liminal, in our rages and passions and the moments of silence. She is the language of the Soul; She speaks in symbols and intuitions. She is the ultimate Liberator; She appears to us as Lilith, Inanna, Ishtar, Hecate, Persephone, Demeter, and the Black Madonna. She dances through the veils.

This course does not provide a platform for political discourse, nor is it able to hold therapeutic space for individual women beyond the possibilities of group sharing. It is a course for women who would like to work with other women in a safe and respectful group exploring what it means to reclaim themselves in a time of change. The course invites the symbolic and mythic worlds as an imaginal aid to help see the bigger picture both personally and collectively. It is for women who are largely unsatisfied with the current narrative and who are therefore seeking a new way forward even while that may necessitate major change in their lives.

Personal astrology and therapeutic sessions may be arranged in addition to the course.

We begin our journey with the Descent of Ishtar, exploring the rich symbolism contained within this myth.

This is a 7-week course, open to all women who would like to be supported through this time as we cross the threshold. The course may also be beneficial for women who are experiencing personal change such as menopause, pregnancy, career change, death of a loved one, or a major new life circumstance.

The cost of the 7 weeks  is £105 (if paid before 1st August); Thereafter it’s £126.

The group will be limited to 13 participants to ensure a level of intimacy, safety & support.

I am a qualified counsellor/shamanic councillor, a professional astrologer and shamanic practitioner. I hold an MA in Myth, Cosmology & the Sacred.

Please contact me for ffi about payment and booking.

Lilith & the Mystery of the Dark Moon

Lilith-John-Collier-painting

Lilith by John Collier

Today’s new moon at 21 ° Taurus is closely conjunct both True Black Moon Lilith and Mean Black Moon Lilith. The “Temple” of Lilith between these two points is no more than a silver slither as both are within a few arc minutes at 22 ° Taurus. Fixed star Algol- the blinking eye of Medusa- is also involved in this Dark Goddess union with the Sun and Moon, a few degrees away at 26 Taurus.

When Mean and True Black Moon are conjunct, we may brace ourselves for a potent Lilith visitation arising suddenly and intensely into our awareness- a breaking through of repressed unconscious material: rage; a sovereign declaration; an inconvenient truth; an admission of desires long buried under the polite weight of the superego; that which is taboo; a refusal to participate in the inauthentic; something beyond the bounds… the realm of the divine is not always “good” but it is always pure.

The heavy door dusty and stiff with the passing of time opens, sometimes a creak, sometimes an explosion. Lilith is in the house.

Lilith has been demonised as bitch, witch, ball breaker, succubus, child killer, femme fatale, demoness, and malevolent wind spirit. Echoes of her voice emerge from exile in the moments when our well-honed skills of self-denial and society pleasing can no longer contain a deeper primal urge for raw authentic expression. This can be harsh and destructive, and sometimes there’s no going back after the showdown… the only way is through. If we learn to surrender to Her wisdom, if we learn to quieten the voice of reason, the rational, safe limitations of dualistic thinking, we may enter the Temple of Lilith- Her temple is a sacred container which holds and oversees the mysterious processes of transformation and initiation. Rather than being blown apart by Her awesomeness, we are guided through steps that may not always make sense; perhaps we are even blindfolded… just because we have for a brief moment entered the realm of the gods there is much we must not see. We feel the Dark Goddess and yet She herself remains a mystery.

The things of Lilith which have been banished and imprisoned in the personal and collective repository of the unacceptable and demonised, or what Sigmund Freud calls the ID, cannot stay locked away for ever. If we are to claim the truth of who we are in all of our multi-dimensional flow of human and divine facets, we must also claim that which has been rejected and exiled. This is a process of symbiosis: feeling and freeing the pain of what has been outcast and unblocking the energetic channels gives way to an influx of pulsating living energy to fuel our renewal.

Lilith is concerned first and foremost with our personal liberation and releasing our unique code or vibration into the collective strata; She is the space where we interact with the anima mundi, the world soul; She facilitates our coming into alignment with our unique vibrational field and plugs us into the wider matrix of life, Earth, and Cosmos.

While we each have a different Lilith story there may be similarities when we consider the collective narrative around the maiming of certain aspects of feminine, or soul expression. This is the territory of the Dark Goddess of whom Lilith is but one, however she is a potent and activated one who forbids us total rest or complacency until we form a relationship with Her and open ourselves to receive Her wisdom.

While Lilith is very much an expression of the feminine divine, her impulse and intention to liberate us from the shackles of ridgified and oppressive thought forms and beliefs is felt in both women and men. Lilith and the other Dark Goddess figures are concerned with freedom of the human soul through contact with the divine… the divine here is not white angel wings and holy on high, it is also the deep fertilising blackness of the void full of potential and the transformative power of the moon. It can be terrible and taboo, shaking our conditioned mind and shut down bodies right to the core. Things can look quite different after an encounter with Lilith.

Who are you really? she asks, looking you boldly in the eye with an unwavering gaze that seems to reflect the many facets of your diamond soul. Her lithe body, muscular and tight, shimmering as a pale blueish grey, snake-like pulse of luminous light. She lifts her upper garment in a swift provocative gesture, her eyes are seductive and even perhaps just a little menacing and you expect the revealing of voluptuous breasts, nipples, erotica… but her naked body is tight and coiled with compressed energy and you realise… the lifting and removal of her garment is the shedding of her skin. Her hair falls in thick sandy coloured tresses over her shoulders, down her undulating body, serpentine streams of light cascading toward the earth. This goddess is calling you home to the very centre of your being, in and down, spiralling through the layers yourself, through the armouring that was put in place to protect and guard the shining pearl at the centre of your being where you and the All are aligned in perfect resonance. “It’s time for deep diving”, she says in a breathy whisper.

This new Moon/Lilith/Algol conjunction could be a portal to contact what lies beneath and what is ready to emerge in you on your journey of self-reclaiming and realisation. It is an opportunity to bring more of yourself home.

In my ongoing Chiron exploration, the question that seems to be arising for myself and others is, can you stand in your truth and claim your uniqueness even while it may be unacceptable to others, even while it has caused you pain and loneliness. What will it take to boldly and unwaveringly state “this is me”.

If you would like to explore Lilith and or Chiron in your life and in your natal chart, I am available for online astro-shamanic sessions.

Chiron’s Cave

Cave1
In Chiron’s cave- well, my version of it at least. Preparing for part 3 of the “Chiron in Aries: Reclaiming the Self in a Time of Awakening” journey happening this evening with a group of fellow Chironians.
With the group well underway and my own Chiron return building momentum, lots of (sometimes uncomfortable) insights are surfacing. The Chiron wound can bring about a sense of victimhood, especially as we often feel that the wounds we received, like Chiron in the myth, were of no fault of our own. Overcoming victimhood and learning to reclaim personal power and autonomy, especially for the Chiron in Aries group is a big part of the healing.
Also exploring the relationship between Chiron and Black Moon Lilith- one of the topics of tonight’s session. Both Chiron and BML take us into the realm of our energy body to see how we operate on an energetic level and learn how to clear our energy; this is a deep diving into the subconscious and unconscious to see what forces are in operation, often without our awareness. This process is aided in the Chiron return with the spiritual light of Uranus. But it can be a rocky ride…
If you missed the group but would like a Chiron focused astrology session, I am available for online consultations.

Aries New Moon: The Gods of Love.

‘Psyche Entering Cupid’s Garden’ by John William Waterhouse

April’s new moon on the 12th heralds powerful new beginnings inaugurated by the messengers of spring and bathed in the amniotic sap of rebirth. Aries is the first sign of the zodiac;  the first moon in Aries marks not only a new lunar cycle but a whole new annual cycle. This Aries new moon is particularly strong as a host of other elements accompany and reinforce the luminaries.

Sun & Moon are at Aries 22°- Mercury at Aries 14°- Venus at Aries 26°- Chiron at Aries 9°- asteroid Amor at Aries 11°.

That’s a lot of cardinal fire, a burst of cosmic energy penetrating even the densest matter. It’s the kind of signature that can set the world on fire; it is sheer warrior (of love) energy, and the question presented to us at the threshold is-

What will we pull through the birthing canal. What precious things shall we lovingly tend and hold dear until they take root creating a strong foundation for the coming year and beyond?

The Sabian Symbol for the new moon is-

PHASE 23 (ARIES 23°): A PREGNANT WOMAN IN LIGHT SUMMER DRESS.                        

KEYNOTE: Fecundity.

Masculine aggressiveness and the woman’s desire for fulfilment (Phases 21 and 22) are integrated and realized in the expected child. This three-fold sequence can be seen operating at several levels, and the third term, the child, can take various emotional and cultural forms. The basic meaning remains the same. Summer is the period of fruition. Man – at the receptive “woman” level – reaps the fruits of his dynamic activity.

This is the third stage of the fifth five-fold sequence of cyclic phases. It combines the two preceding ones and suggests INNER FULFILLMENT.

Also in Aries is asteroid Amor at Aries 11°- asteroid Cupid (which is the same as Amor) has just ingressed over in to Taurus 1°. The Greek counterpart of Amor and Cupid is Eros, at Capricorn 7 ° forming a trine with Uranus, god of liberation and change at Taurus 9°.

The Gods of Love are asking us to reconsider our ideas and beliefs about love. What blocks us from expressing and receiving love, and ultimately are we ready for a higher love. Are we ready to enter the garden of Cupid?

Asteroid Amor is conjunct Chiron by 2 degrees facilitating greater awareness of our personal and collective wounds of love, highlighting the hurt places that cause us to contract and cut ourselves off from universal love.

As the Sufi mystic, Rumi says,

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

Even though the barriers to love at this time appear impenetrable, it is another great soul, Mahatma Gandhi who reminds us of an “indefinable mysterious Power that pervades everything”. Of this power Gandhi  says,

And is this Power benevolent or malevolent? I see it as purely benevolent. For I can see, that in the midst of death life persists, in the midst of untruth truth persists, in the midst of darkness light persists. Hence, I gather that God is Life, Truth, Light. He is Love. He is the Supreme Good.”

Though it may seem that we are in the midst of darkness and death, many of us sense a deep stirring in our being calling us to rise beyond the oppression of the soul in captivity and reclaim liberation from the purveyors of doom and life stealing schemes.  In the midst of death life persists and nowhere is this urge to life more tenaciously reflected than an Aries new moon where the impulse to life pushes through even the most barren ground and hardened hearts.

We stand on the polarity point between Eros, god of life and Thanatos, god of death, and like many before us on the quest for sovereignty we must discern what is ready to die and what is ready to be born. Father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud believed Eros and Thanatos are two states locked in a perpetual battle within the human psyche. It is Eros’ consort Psyche who finally sets us free through the depth of her love, commitment, and devotion in the face of adversity. Psyche chooses love at every turn and in pursuit of her beloved enters the Garden of Cupid.  

The polarity between Eros and Thanatos is not a duality of good versus evil, it is more like a continuum of reflection, tension, balance, and rebalance. Without Thanatos, Eros would have nothing to stive toward, nothing to push against, becoming complacent, apathetic, and dull. Without Eros, Thanatos would have nothing to destroy as everything would already be in a state of decay and undoing and before long there would be nothing left -a perpetual wasteland… some may argue that we are currently living in the wasteland. The King is sick, the land is sick, and the people are sick; the vice like grip of Thanatos has held reign for too long culminating in a petrified state of unbalance and near stasis. Fear and aggression are expressions of Thanatos, both break down and reduce rather than open and release. It is love that liberates the soul.

We need Eros’ reviving kiss this new moon as never before; the strong Aries energies are a mighty band of warriors ready to defend life. The pregnant woman in a light summers dress, the fecundity of spring, the bursting array of life in the plant and animal kingdoms are at their strongest. That same principle is in us… can you feel the sap rising, the juices flowing? The west wind is blowing away the dead wood, the Zephyr is fructifying all living things- the messengers of spring have spoken.

In mythology, Psyche is a beautiful mortal woman who falls in love with Eros, and he with her even though their love seems impossible, prevented by a spiritual law that states mortals and gods cannot love equally. Each night Psyche is visited by Eros who makes intense love to her bringing her to the height of ecstatic bliss; their union is consummated in the dark so that Psyche is not aware of her lover’s godly status and in her ignorance their partnership is for a few hours equal. Though she can feel Eros, Psyche never sets eyes on him, however once she becomes pregnant her curiosity gets the better of her and one night she hold a candle over her love to gaze upon him… an act that is strictly forbidden. It is not a horrendous monster before her as she has been told but a breathtakingly beautiful man who upon awakening is accidentally burned from the hot wax of her candle. He tells Psyche, “the one thing I asked you never to do you have done, and because of this I must now leave you”. And off he flies.

Heartbroken Psyche is set a series of seemingly impossible tasks by the goddess of love Aphrodite including making a descent to Hades to request a drop of beauty balm from Proserpina. Although the tasks set to Psyche seem unobtainable, through help from the gods, tenacity, and an unshakable love for Eros, Psyche completes her mission. As she goes at last to set her final prize before the goddess Aphrodite, she is tempted to steal a drop of beauty balm and opens the little box given to her by the goddess of the underworld. Instead of beauty it is “infernal and Stygian sleep,” that is released causing Psyche to fall into a deep state of unconsciousness… the god of death, Thanatos lurks close by in a hazy fog waiting to claim her soul.

Catching wind of his love in danger, Eros now healed and deeply moved by Psyche’s devotion comes to her aid and revives her with his kiss. The lovers win the blessing of the gods and Psyche is admitted into Olympus- a rare honour, and in fact maybe the only mortal to be made divine. Psyche became the Greek goddess of the soul; she and Eros gave birth to a daughter, named Voluptas or Hedone, meaning bliss or pleasure.

‘Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss’ by Antonio Canova, in the Louvre.

With the warrior planet Mars at her side this new moon Psyche’s commitment and devotion is stronger than ever. Mars (Gemini 23°) conjunct Psyche (Gemini 25°) is the Warrior of Love reborn with the aid of a powerhouse of gods at the astrological point of rebirth and renewal. And in Gemini the relationship between mind, our thought processes, and psyche or soul is highlighted. What messeges are we sending into the world as this will influence how the world reacts and interacts with us. As James Hillman says, it is not so much that we have a psyche, it is more that we are in psyche. Everything is in psyche and the Aries new moon is the kiss of Eros that we need to revive us.