Return of Spring: Return of Persephone

Spring is blossoming all over the place in the Pacific Northwest and I am welcoming the new brilliance, the flowers exploding from soft earth, the luminescent green buds forming on previously stark trees.  My heart feels like a tender sprout after navigating so many storms these past months. Clarity is arriving, at long last. In ancient times, the spring equinox marks the time of the return of the goddess Persephone from the Underworld. Persephone is the daughter of Demeter, goddess of the earth and, at the fall equinox, she descends downward into the Underworld to visit with the dead.  In her absence, Demeter searches in vain for her daughter, and becomes consumed by grief, causing all of the earth to wither and die.  The gods later intervene, bringing Persephone back up from the Underworld to reunite with her mother at spring time, thus the blossoming of the earth anew. Grecian history marks the story of Perspehone's descent with an abduction or snatching and later a rape by Hades, Lord of the Underworld. His desire for the beautiful maiden Goddess drives him to pull Persephone down into his Underworld lair. While Persephone is in the Underworld, she eats the ancient fruit of the dead, the pomegranate. Curiously, this fruit is also a fruit of fertility and birth in many cultures, linking the two together. In many traditions, the Goddess is connected to both birth and death, the power of woman being intimately woven with creating new life and tending to the dead in human lives, in the planting of seeds and the fallow of fields. Often portrayed in a triple goddess form, the transition of girl to woman to mother to crone is a powerful reminder to connect [...]

Quan Yin: Goddess of Compassion

For the last year and a half I have been crunching through the thicket of a very intense, emotional breakup.  It has been quite the dharma lesson.  Facing my ex's rage and anger as well as my own has been one of the hardest and intense journeys of my life.  Often I have felt so much pain, confusion and turmoil that I just wanted to give up moving forward altogether.  However, a great many wonderful gifts and blessings surfaced through this intense journey.  I continue to learn about taking accountability for my own choices, facing fears and emotional storms and recognizing over and over again that indeed love prevails all trauma.  One of the many many helpers along the way has been Quan Yin, the inspiring goddess of compassion. Quan Yin's name means She who hearkens to the cries of the world and is one of few goddesses that was once a god.  Originating in Tibet as Avalokiteshvara, the Tibetan Buddhist deity of compassion, as his shrines travel through Tibet, China and into Japan they slowly transform from a masculine deity into the female form now known as Quan Yin. Quan Yin is similar to Mary and also the White Tara of Tibetan Buddhism, a gentle, clear quiet form of the divine feminine.  She hears all the suffering of the realms and is so moved by compassion that she reaches out to touch us with her graceful and loving presence.  Carrying a vase of pure water or divine nectar, she attends to those in need sprinkling them lovingly with drops of compassion. On a recent winter road trip I encountered the beauty and pristine awareness that is embodied by Quan Yin.  As my girlfriend and I traveled across [...]

Healing Waters, Mami Wata

This summer I have been tuning in deeply with the bountiful beauty of water and all its forms. Water is a precious source of life and I'm remembering to connect with beauty of its simplicity. Especially in these times when much of our water is toxic and filled with chemicals, it is important to remind ourselves that this diminishing necessary vital life force is sacred. Indigenous cultures give thanks to water with such reverence and joy, connecting us back to the waters of being in our mother's womb and the primordial force of our evolution that emerged from the sea waters. Creating our own water ceremony is way to connect back to the healing presence of water in our daily lives.   In honoring and celebrating the waters, I am inspired by Mami Wata, the wild, mysterious water spirit who inhabits oceans, lakes, rivers and streams in a myriad of forms. She has ancient feminine roots from Africa to India to Brazil and yet comes in clothed in contemporary beauty of popular African art forms, sometimes white, sometimes black; sometimes male, often female; sometimes of the huge ocean waters, sometimes of the smaller tiny streams and everything in between. Her form is transracial, transgendered, transcontinental as she swims through the waters of our world reminding us to open the loving healing grace that endlessly supports us.   This summer I told the story of Mami Wata several times. I told the story to my daughter, to my niece and nephew, to sisters in Fire of the Goddess water ceremony, to friends and my beloved.  Each time was beautiful and magical, however the most profound moment was on a small beach in Providence, Rhode Island.  We made our flower offerings [...]
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    Gyhldeptis: Transforming the Whirlpool of Chaos into a River of Peace

Gyhldeptis: Transforming the Whirlpool of Chaos into a River of Peace

Life spins, it whirls, it wanders, constantly changing and transforming.  How do we deal with the intensity of emotional storms? How can we better surf the oncoming waves of change rather than be pummeled by them?  What inspirations might show us an alternative to freaking out and running amuck? When chaos reigns I turn to my trusty healer's toolbox to assist me along the way.  Although I found relief in meditation and Reiki self-healing over the course of the last week, it was tools from my work with the divine feminine that helped the most: the power of myth and story. Myths are epic stories that hold keys in the form of archetypes to aid us in understanding the bigger,more powerful events of our own lives. ~Fire of the Goddess These past weeks, it is the story of Gyhldeptis, a goddess that I found in The Goddess Oracle Cards not only inspired me as a story, it moved me to take action.  Gyhldeptis is a Native American goddess of the Haida and Tlingit tribes of Alaska and Canada.  Her name means "Lady Hanging Hair" representing the long moss hanging from the cedar trees along the coasts.  As a protector spirit of the forest and its inhabitants, she is associated with the creatures, trees and the beautiful moss that hangs like hair reminding us of gentleness and soft calm even in times of trouble. In one of the myths of Gyhldeptis, a wild whirlpool named Kaegyihl Depgeesk, "upside down place," is wreaking havoc along the coastlines, devouring ships (relationships?) and the land.  Gyhldeptis sees this energy and knows it is extremely out of balance, yet she cannot fix it alone.  She decides to ask for help from the  elemental [...]