Returning From Eleusis

I’m home. And yet I feel like I am in a strange place.

Eleusis, spring mysteries, spring mysteries festival, journey to Eleusis

It’s always difficult returning from extended magical space – whether it is a festival or a course or just time with loved ones – and moving back into the mundane day to day life. Returning from Eleusis is no different.

I was in a world outside of time and space, a world apart from the concerns of daily life. It wasn’t that time didn’t exist – there was definitely a sense of treasuring and honoring the moments that I had with the family that was not of my blood, serving my community in such a unique and special way.

I’ve been home nearly a week. I’m back at work, and done (most of) the laundry. Not everything is put away yet – there are still a few bits to get put back in their homes. I’ve even had an opportunity to rest. I was forced to rest, really. My body decided it was going to get sick and make me take a day to do nothing.

The most challenging part of coming back is reflecting on the lessons and integrating what I’ve learned. Once out of the magical space, it starts to fade, like waking from a dream.

One thing that doesn’t fade is the connection that I worked so hard to establish with the Goddesses I worked with in the months leading up to Spring Mysteries – Hekate and Ereshkigal.

These two work very well together. I even learned that in the Greek Magical Papyri, they were event conflated as Hekate-Ereshkigal. Many people are afraid of the Dark Mother and the Underworld. And I’ll admit, if you are not ready to meet Her, or your own Shadow, She can be frightening. She is not soft and gentle, though She is beautiful. Terrifyingly beautiful.

Hekate, and Ereshkigal, will hold you accountable. She will kick your butt to keep you going. She pushes you to grow. And I love Her for that. She pushed me a lot. She is STILL pushing me to be more, be better, keep growing, and keep serving.

If you’d like to meet these Dark Mothers, you can go for A Walk with Hekate, or A Walk with Inanna (to see Ereshkigal). Are you ready for the lessons She has for you?

Blessings,

Mary

Journey to Eleusis: Walking with Hekate

I’ve posted a few times already about my Journey to Eleusis this year, and I haven’t really talked about the Goddess I am working with yet. This year, I will be holding the energy of Hekate at Spring Mysteries Festival.

Temple of Hekate

“Hekate”
by Cassie Gendlek and Dusty Dionne
Model: Mary Malinski
Aquarian Tabernacle Church – ATC Intl.

Hekate is the patron Goddess of the Aquarian Tabernacle Church. She is known by many names – Torchbearer, Keeper of the Keys, Goddess of the Crossroads, Mother of Witches, Psychopomp…

In modern paganism, a lot of people see Hekate as the Crone face of the Triple Goddess, the wise woman. Others see her as the hidden fourth face, the Dark Mother. To the Greeks she was a young woman, or the triple Goddess all on her own (Hekate Trivia). One thing Hekate keeps telling me is, “Just because I am ancient doesn’t mean I am old!”

Walking with Hekate, I’m seeing more patterns in the world.

“It’s all been done before.”

“There is nothing new under the sun.”

Hekate has been around for a very, very long time. I personally believe she is pre-Greek. I believe she was a Goddess of Place, local to the area that became Greece, long before the Olympian mythology. Not unlike Brigid to the Irish, she was popular enough among the people that the incoming (invading?) religion could not push her out. So they included her as one of the Titans, one who came before the Olympians.

After the Titanomachy (the overthrow of the Titans by the Olympians), Zeus divided up the rule of the worlds between all those who had assisted him. Hesiod tells us:

And she [Asteria, wife of Perses] conceived and bore Hecate whom Zeus the son of Cronos honored above all. He gave her splendid gifts, to have a share of the earth and the unfruitful sea. She received honor also in starry heaven, and is honored exceedingly by the deathless gods. For to this day, whenever any one of men on earth offers rich sacrifices and prays for favor according to custom, he calls upon Hecate. Great honor comes full easily to him whose prayers the goddess receives favorably, and she bestows wealth upon him; for the power surely is with her. For as many as were born of Earth and Ocean amongst all these she has her due portion. The son of Cronos did her no wrong nor took anything away of all that was her portion among the former Titan gods: but she holds, as the division was at the first from the beginning, privilege both in earth, and in heaven, and in sea. Also, because she is an only child, the goddess receives not less honor, but much more still, for Zeus honors her. Whom she will she greatly aids and advances: she sits by worshipful kings in judgement, and in the assembly whom she will is distinguished among the people. And when men arm themselves for the battle that destroys men, then the goddess is at hand to give victory and grant glory readily to whom she will. Good is she also when men contend at the games, for there too the goddess is with them and profits them: and he who by might and strength gets the victory wins the rich prize easily with joy, and brings glory to his parents. And she is good to stand by horsemen, whom she will: and to those whose business is in the grey discomfortable sea, and who pray to Hecate and the loud-crashing Earth-Shaker, easily the glorious goddess gives great catch, and easily she takes it away as soon as seen, if so she will. She is good in the byre with Hermes to increase the stock. The droves of kine and wide herds of goats and flocks of fleecy sheep, if she will, she increases from a few, or makes many to be less. So, then, albeit her mother’s only child, she is honored amongst all the deathless gods. And the son of Cronos made her a nurse of the young who after that day saw with their eyes the light of all-seeing Dawn. So from the beginning she is a nurse of the young, and these are her honors.

~Hesiod, Theogony

We see here that she had a great many roles and honors, more than some of the Olympians even!

I’ll leave you with the lovely Orphic Hymn to Hekate:

Hekatê of the Path, I invoke Thee, Lovely Lady of the Triple Crossroads,
Celestial, Chthonian, and Marine One, Lady of the Saffron Robe.
Sepulchral One, celebrating the Bakchic Mysteries among the Souls of the Dead,
Daughter of Persês, Lover of Solitude, rejoicing in deer.
Nocturnal One, Lady of the Dogs, invincible Queen.
She of the Cry of the Beast, Ungirt One, having an irresistible Form.
Bullherder, Keeper of the Keys of All the Universe, Mistress,
Guide, Bride, Nurturer of Youths, Mountain Wanderer.
I pray Thee, Maiden, to be present at our hallowed rites of initiation,
Always bestowing Thy graciousness upon the Boukolos.

Blessings,

Mary

Hecate, Torchbearer, Guide Me

Do you ever get the feeling that you’re approaching a crossroads? Like whatever you decide next will have a major impact on the shape of your life moving forward? Yeah, that.

I am (once again) off work (mostly) for the summer. Even though I’ve technically been off since the beginning of the month, because of my trip to see my family and other obligations, I only feel like my time off is starting now. It feels different, somehow, than other summers. I feel like I’m being called to make a choice.

Two cards have been coming up in my tarot readings for other people a lot lately. Not every reading, but often enough to make me notice. I was taught that when a card comes up frequently in readings, that is my lesson. Apparently my lesson is The Chariot and The Tower. Some of you are familiar with the tarot, and have your own meanings for these cards, and some of you are not at all familiar with the meanings. I’ll share what they mean to me.

The Chariot, from The Robin Wood Tarot

The Chariot, from The Robin Wood Tarot

The Chariot: I’m feeling pulled in two different directions. Both of them are things that I want, things that are important to me. However, I’m not able to make much progress with either because they are not going the same direction. It’s time for me to take the reigns, and not be led along at the mercy of others, or these conflicting desires. When the question is either/or, the answer is both. When I can get the two working in alignment, I will make progress a lot faster.

The Tower, from The Robin Wood Tarot

The Tower, from The Robin Wood Tarot

The Tower: There’s a lesson coming around again that I haven’t fully learned yet. Or that the Universe is testing me to see if I have truly learned it. It’s been around often enough that I can likely see the patterns, if I’m aware. However, it’s also been around often enough that it has the potential to turn my life upside down. Our lessons get tougher if we don’t learn them well! The Cosmic 2×4 is headed my way, so it’s time to sharpen my senses, open my mind and see this pattern for what it is – an opportunity to grow, or be forced to grow.

Other messages have made themselves known to me recently. Astrologically, Venus is retrograde right now.

When Venus is retrograde, it provides lessons in evaluating the real worth and value of people and things in our life (Taurus-Libra issues)…

It is NOT a time, however, to act upon any unfavorable awareness. It is purely a time of evaluation rather than direct action. As little frictions and disagreements crop up, they serve to remind you that the relationship is not perfect. Under the retrograde influence, you must assess the severity of the problem and the “cost-benefit” of the relationship. Only after Venus turns direct should you initiate any alienation if this is deemed necessary.

-Lynn Koiner, Venus Retrograde for 2015

And from a book I just read:

Almost every woman I know has waded right out into the river and has been overwhelmed. Almost every woman I know is too busy. She is into this, studying that, driving in a car pool to this and to that, working hard on some big project, racing around until she is ragged. She needs to be quiet, to approach the vastness of life’s responsibilities in a more orderly manner, to do one thing, take one crystal goblet at a time, concentrate on it, and do it well. Then she may move on to other things.

-Robert A. Johnson, She: Understanding Feminine Psychology

So. It is time to evaluate. Be aware, watch for patterns, pare things down.

HecateHecate, Torchbearer, shine your light brightly that I may accurately assess the options that are before me. Stand before me at the crossroads to guide me on the path that is for my highest good and the highest good of all. Help me to stay focused on the task before me, and let me not be led astray by the shiny distractions that tempt me. Hecate, grant me the key to serve my community in a healthy way. Blessed be.

Blessings,

Mary

Under the Influence

I’m a goody two-shoes, a prude even. I’ve never smoked a cigarette, and I have never been full out drunk. On the very rare occasion that I do drink alcohol, I rarely get past “tipsy”. Pot smoke gives me a headache. The one substance addiction I do allow myself is sugar, and sometimes caffeine. I know. Pretty hardcore stuff, right?

The influence I am talking about here is the influence of the Gods. In my case, it is Goddesses. They act on my psyche in sometimes subtle, sometimes very obvious ways.

For example, when I was working with Hecate, I started feeling like maybe it was time to get another dog. It has been several years since we had a dog, and I kind of miss cuddling and playing with one. I grew up having a dog in the house. And then I remind myself that I really don’t have time to take care of a dog. My children already complain that I don’t spend enough time with them. Not to mention the extra costs for feeding and keeping a dog healthy. But one day I went as far as looking on the local SPCA website to see what kind of dogs were available for adoption. Hecate is very strongly associated with dogs. Dots connected.

Athena, Goddess of WisdomRight now I am working with Athena. And the more I work with Her, the more I see Her influence in my life. I’m taking online courses, and doing a lot of reading on mythology and Greek architecture and sculpture. My book choices are all non-fiction, even the audio books. I’m feeling a desire to champion a cause (because I have SO much spare time to do that). I spent most of the day yesterday picking the fringe off a piece of fabric strand by strand because I want to use it for a sewing project (Athena invented weaving).

And if I really think about it, the Goddess of Wisdom has been an influence in my life for many, many years. I was always a good student – learning comes easily for me and I enjoy learning new things. I also love sewing – I haven’t learned weaving, yet, but the idea intrigues me. There was a point where I wanted my own spinning wheel and loom (and then I had three boys). She’s the patron goddess of cities, and while the idea of self-sufficiency is wonderful, I am definitely no farm girl!

Sure, some of these could be pretty obscure references, and could be applied to a lot of different Goddesses. And still, somehow, working with Athena feels like coming home. (Does that make me a hero? She also helped most of the heroes of Greek mythology.)

What Gods or Goddesses do you find yourself coming under the influence of?

Blessings,

Mary

Working With Hecate

HecateHecate is the patron Goddess of my church – The Aquarian Tabernacle Church of Canada. I never felt called to work with her, until I went to visit the Mother Church (aka The Tab) in Washington last June.  Then, it was like she tapped me on the shoulder and said, “You’re finally here. Good. Follow me.”

And when a Goddess taps you on the shoulder like that, it is usually a good time to give her your attention.

I’m working on a meditation featuring her right now. I had actually written one several years ago, but my computer ate it. I only had the very beginning – no real journey, no closure. I guess She didn’t like it. So I’m starting over. Only, I’m having a hard time getting started. I think I have added one paragraph in the last 24 hours. Which is why I am writing about it, and Her, here – to get the inspiration flowing.

When I was at The Tab, I read a poem to Hecate that really touched my imagination and inspired me. Perhaps re-typing it now will help inspire me with the meditation.

Daily Prayer for Guidance

Blessed Goddess Hekate
Please continue to show me the path I am meant to walk
And alert me to choices open to me along the way,
So that I may fulfill my own chosen destiny
And make the most of the skills and talents I’ve been given.

Please continue to guide me,
Through symbols and dreams,
Intuition and synchronicity,
And keep me safe and strong,
Healthy and inspired
So that I may follow you, serve you,
And learn whatever you would teach me.

Please keep me under your watchful eye,
And your divine protection,
Lighting my way with your torches
Surrounding me with a shield of light,
That I may walk with confidence,
Knowing that you guide me and guard me,
Now and always.

~Krysta S Roy, Bearing Torches, A Devotional Anthology to Hekate

Where do you turn for inspiration when your creativity isn’t flowing? Share what inspires you in the comments below.

Blessings,

Mary