CALLING THE DARK GODDESS: The Rise of the Rebellious Woman

Laura Sheridan

 

Image: Laura Sheridan

“What’s the worst possible thing you can call a woman? Don’t hold back, now. You’re probably thinking of words like slut, whore, bitch, cunt (I told you not to hold back!), skank. Okay, now, what are the worst things you can call a guy? Fag, girl, bitch, pussy. I’ve even heard the term “mangina.” Notice anything? The worst thing you can call a girl is a girl. The worst thing you can call a guy is a girl. Being a woman is the ultimate insult. Now tell me that’s not royally fucked up.”

Jessica Valenti

I don’t know if I have been thinking a lot about the Dark Goddess because that is what our third book focuses on and so my creative mind is kind of already there; I don’t know if it’s because I honor the Dark Goddess in all Her forms and walk Her path; I don’t know if it’s because there really is a trend happening.

Maybe it’s all three, and more.

But, the Dark Goddess is EVERYWHERE.

Kali. Lilith. Hekate. Baba Yaga.

Just to name a few.

What is it about these Archetypes that is calling out to Women (and Men) of all walks of life?

Why are these deities resonating with us on a Soul level?

Because we are in great need of their lessons.

Let’s face it, the world is full of angry Women.

I know, I know, lots of people are angry but I am focusing on the Women because this part is important.

For centuries upon centuries Women have been oppressed, our place in recent history always dictated by Men.

Our worth, our body image, our sensuality, our sexuality, our intelligence, our independence and then some have all been stolen, watered down, demonized, stigmatized, and dictated by a Patriarchal structure that was put in place to serve Men; giving them power to decide what we can and cannot do with our own bodies, for example.

Funny how Erectile Dysfunction drugs are (usually) always covered under insurance plans but birth control, annual exams, abortion, and all issues related to the Vagina and Women’s overall health becomes a political debate.

Our issues often having to go through every branch of Government multiple times to deem what is constitutional and what is not. Our Sisters in countries with no Constitution have it much worse.

That speaks volumes.

The fact that this even happens is proof that Women are NOT treated as equals; we are in some cases not even treated as human beings.

This is NOT some woes me post.

This is NOT a man hating post, either.

If you are not one of the Men I refer to; the kind who oppress, abuse and inflict some ridiculous double standard on Women then none of my words should affect or offend you. If they do, maybe you should evaluate those parts of yourself.

Men face their own set of challenges. Just one example: ridiculous standards of what Masculinity is, and if they do not meet those standards and/or criteria they are called “gay”.

Which our society has somehow twisted it into being an insult.

Being a Woman, and/or a homosexual is an insult.

What have we become?

Now that my disclaimer is out of the way and we make sure there are no misunderstandings, let me carry on with the article.

What do these Goddesses teach us?

What do they all have in common?

Let’s go over that a bit.

Kali teaches us the power of justified rage, and wrath that knows no bounds. She teaches us to be unapologetic with our less than savory emotions and feelings. She teaches us the power of destruction, and the necessity of “killing off all that is old” in order to rise anew.

Lilith teaches us that sexuality, sensuality, lust, individuality and power are not to be feared in a Woman; they are to be honored. She teaches us not to be shamed, or ashamed of what we are and the Serpent and Fruit we carry with us.

Hekate teaches us that life is neither black nor white but it’s full of gray areas; just like Magick. She teaches us how to hunt; in this modern-day context that means she teaches us when to fight, and when to save our energy. She illuminates truth and calls for justice; she is a voice for the forgotten Woman, child and every underdog of society. She teaches us that death is not to be feared but respected. Our journeys into the Underworld of our Soul are essential to the ascension process.

Baba Yaga teaches us the power of our anger and nastiness; she teaches us that we do not need to conform to what society wants us to be, or thinks we should be. Baba teaches us the wisdom of the Crone, the liberation of being self-reliant and the strength that comes from being forced to survive “a night in the woods alone”. (Only a few will understand that last reference.)

These Goddesses would be considered Rebellious Women.

Women who are too opinionated, too wild and completely unable to be tamed. They would be shunned—labeled as outcasts, misfits.

As we face an uncertain future we need angry, loud, unafraid, non-conforming, NASTY WOMEN more than ever.

I know the future is never clear but with the current political firestorms erupting, times are even more uncertain.

These Goddesses are not coming to us, calling out to those who will listen for no reason, they know they are needed. More and more Women are starting to find their voice, and are willing to speak up and speak out about what they are willing, and not willing to put up with.

In laymen’s terms:

I will not be silenced; we will not be silenced.

This is my body and I will do with it what I see fit—it should not be a Government issue.

My body should not be regulated because I was born with a Vagina.

My body was not created for the pleasure of a Man, or any other human being.

I was not created to be ruled over.

There is only so long you can beat down a group of people before they awaken to the truth, and begin to RISE in protest.

We have seen it coming for years with many marginalized groups—Feminists/Women, LGBTQ and People of Color leading the way.

We are reclaiming our power.

Caged birds don’t remain caged forever; they will always find freedom and their voice to sing.

The Dark Goddesses teach us just that.

MIGHTY HEKATE: Keyholder of the World!

bill

Image: Bill Crisafi

“By Hecate, the goddess I worship more than all the others, the one I choose to help me in this work, who lives with me deep inside my home, these people won’t bring pain into my heart and laugh about it.”

Euripides

There are few deities who seem to have a strong appeal to Witches and Mystics across all paths, one of these deities is Hekate. She is the Greek Goddess of Witchcraft (among other things) and has rule over Heaven, Earth and Sea; a gift she can thank her parents Perses and Asteria for bestowing her with.

The story of Hekate among each path seems to differ slightly; some only consider her to be a Moon Goddess, or part of the Triple Goddess—Persephone and Demeter being the other two but, this is most likely a mistranslation of the myth (in my opinion). Hekate guided Demeter with her torch down into the Underworld to find Persephone; Hekate is, or could be known as a Priestess of Hades, not that she followed his rule or bowed to him, no, no; more like she had domain on his turf.

Talk about girl power.

There are so many layers to this Goddess of the Shadows and folklore surrounding her that it is no surprise she calls out to a wide variety of practitioners.

First let us try to get a basic understanding of who Hekate is.

As mentioned above she is considered by some to be part of the Triple Goddess; Persephone the Maiden, Demeter the Mother and Hekate (Hecate) the Crone.

The most common depiction of Hekate was (obviously) from the Greeks who believed her to be a Goddess of the Three Paths (Triple Roads): Guardian of Hearth and Home, Protector of the newly born, and the Goddess of Witchcraft and Magick.

Other myths go deeper and consider her to be the Goddess of Night, Ghosts, Necromancy, Key Bearer of the World, and Light bringer.

I know a lot of you who are familiar with her energy are probably confused or shocked that she is considered a light bearer when she herself dwells so deep in the shadows but, she carries her torch for a reason.

When we are amid life’s most perilous journey’s this Goddess appears, and helps to guide us through; her tests are not easy, and they are like no other deity I have ever worked with but, her blessings are infinite. She teaches us that with death comes life, and the world we live in is not black and white; it is gray as we are gray, it is neutral as nature is neutral and we are nature.

She teaches us wisdom by forcing us to find the light in the dark; by forcing us to become the light in the dark.

Hekate is known as a Triple Goddess on her own, as well; having the ability to see in all directions always. A trident being one of her symbols, it is clear to see that the number three follows her. So, it is no surprise that she is depicted in art and myth as having ownership of Cerebrus, a three headed Hell Hound.

She has connections to other Goddesses but her Triple figure appears as a three-headed Woman: Dog, Snake (sometimes a Cobra as seen below) and Horse with her famous torch, dagger and skeleton key in hand (again three).

hecate-redux-by-artemisia-synchroma

Image: Artemisia Synchroma

While other depictions have Hekate wearing a Snake, Horse and Boar head. Much like Artemis, animals are Sacred to Hekate.

Hekate is a Goddess for everyone and of everything; she is, in fact, an all-encompassing Goddess who knows when to appear to us as the harsh Old Hag lurking in the Shadows forcing us to make a choice, and change, or the guiding light when we are lost in the dark.

Hekate opens new doorways to us, and as a Goddess of death and the underworld she can walk us through the journey as we cast our skin, go deep into the Earth and come out reborn.

She is both Mother, and Crone, both shadow and light.

She was the first Goddess to ever come to me and the lessons I have learned from her along the way cannot be quantified. She has taught me to accept death and with this acceptance I could release my fear. She has taught me that only through darkness can light be found. And, she has taught me that there is always more than one path; no matter how stuck, lost or confused I am, there is always a choice, there is always a crossroad.

Hekate is a Goddess for both the living and dead, she is a Goddess who is unapologetic and forces us to evaluate ourselves; the Crone wisdom of going within.

She is the Goddess of Witches and without her I would not know my own power.

Hail to Hekate, Keyholder of the World!

Resources for further, deeper reading into this Goddess along with a link to the story of Hekate Enodia:

http://www.theoi.com/Khthonios/Hekate.html

http://www.goddessgift.com/goddess-myths/greek_goddess_Hecate.htm

http://hekatecovenant.com/resources/about-hekate/hekate-goddess-of-magic-sorita-deste/

http://www.hecateslantern.com/2015/04/26/hecate-enodia-before-the-gates/

http://awitchalone.com/crossroads/index.php?post/2016/09/27/Ancient-Necromantic-Practices-in-Averno

Medicine and Magick: The Chronically Sick Witch

 

Marta Bevacqua

Image: Marta Bevacqua

“Miraculously recover or die. That’s the extent of our cultural bandwidth for chronic illness.”

S. Kelly Harrell


An UPDATE  on my story.


I want to talk about a topic that is extremely personal and close to my heart; it was after reading an article similar to this the other day that I realized I had something to say on the matter, too. I allowed myself to collect my thoughts over the last two days, making sure I am clear in what I want to say and how I want to make my point.

I have a feeling that this blog will resonate with many, and give new hope to people who otherwise have lost it. I will link you to the article that inspired me at the bottom.

This piece is about Chronic Illness and how it does or does not affect one’s Magick; I am bringing this topic up and discussing it because I am plagued by Chronic health issues.

Let me first define Chronic Illness or Disease: “A chronic disease is one lasting 3 months or more, by the definition of the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics. Chronic diseases generally cannot be prevented by vaccines or cured by medication, nor do they just disappear”.

Some examples of Chronic Illness include but are not limited to: “The leading chronic diseases in developed countries include (in alphabetical order) arthritis, cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks and stroke, cancer such as breast and colon cancer, diabetes, epilepsy and seizures, obesity, and oral health problems. Each of these conditions plague older adults in the US (and other developed nations)”. Note: Age has nothing to do with it, in my opinion.

Some other Chronic Illnesses that I am referring to are auto immune diseases such as Lupus, Hashimoto’s Disease, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Syndrome; let’s not forget diseases like Depression, Bipolar Disorder, even Asthma.

These conditions affect millions of people, primarily in developed countries, and there are so many theories as to why.

I like to read threads of comments, I find that it gives me a good idea of where the world has shifted as a collective. I know that “it’s just Social Media” but it’s a good indicator of the state of our planet; watching the Trending topics will allow you to see a pattern that is used when mainstream media wishes to distract us from something bigger, from something actually worth reporting, which seems to be more and more common these days.

Anyways, on a particular thread I saw a comment that has played over and over in my head since and it read:

“If you are truly spiritually aware and spiritually awakened then you do not need to be on medications, you will also not need any substances to assist you. When your mind and Spirit are truly in tune, your body will be in perfect balance”.

I personally believe the opposite; I think the more spiritually aware we become, the higher in consciousness we go, the more our bodies and minds begin to feel the symptoms. I think that Occultists, Witches, and Spiritualists in general are prone to depression and anxiety (even just social anxiety) because we see the world differently, we ARE different and society is quick to point out just how different we are.

I also believe deeply that there is a connection between consciousness and past life wounds with chronic conditions.

As for substances, drugs and such in regards to Magick: it’s a personal choice.

Am I condoning drug use? No, I am not but I am standing up for one’s right to choose, even if that choice is harmful to themselves—they will either learn their lesson or they will die, it’s simple. I have never been into “hard drugs” and I don’t judge those who are. I did cocaine a bit when I was in my early twenties, and haven’t touched it since.

I have tried and loved hallucinogenic mushrooms a few times (acid scares me) and everything else is too hard for my taste.

In regards to weed, it’s part of my everyday life and Magick; I am a true advocate for it, and I have seen the health benefits first hand, not just in myself but in others, too.

When my Mom was going through Chemotherapy and Radiation for Breast Cancer and her mouth tasted like metal and she couldn’t eat, it was smoking a bowl or two that allowed her body to calm, her appetite to come back and for a brief moment she was taken away from the pain she had become accustomed to.

My personal experiences and chronic health conditions are vast; I had a full hysterectomy due to a uterine fibroid, cervical cancer, ovarian cysts and endometriosis at 27 (now 33).

I experienced a Soul Wound and massive Auric tear at this time because it was such trauma and changed who I was as a person, or so I thought at the time.

I mean, a Witch in her Maiden and Mother years harnesses her power from her Womb and her monthly blood; all of that was taken from me, and it took me years to come to grips with the fact that my Magick now comes from the darkness of the Crones, and I had no choice but to adapt.

I then faced the true reality that we can draw from all three phases of our Womanhood; at any given time we can be Maiden, Mother or Crone–think about it.

From this point my “little pains” I had experienced since my late teens could no longer be ignored.

I had a grand mal seizure in August 2013 and it was at that exact moment that my Spiritual awakening kicked into overdrive, and I have not been the same since.

Two months later in October is when I took my vow of celibacy; a personal, not permanent vow to myself.

It was once believed that Seers would have seizures induced by Hekate to test their will, and to invoke Her power into them. I will link you to the story at the bottom.

I have never since, and never before had a seizure, I do however get severe muscle spasms and ‘twinges’ when a vision is about to occur; this happens during waking or sleeping hours. And, yes, I went through more neurological tests than I can count and the only thing they could find is that I have an extremely overactive mind, and I use parts of my brain more than the average person. There were and are no defects to my brain, no nerve damage, nothing.

I have been diagnosed with Bipolar 2 (have not faced a manic or severe depressive episode, the focus of my “disorder” is on mood swings), Anxiety (general, social and agoraphobia), ADD, PTSD, Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s Disease (a form of Hypothyroidism), Chronic Pain and Fatigue Syndromes, Sjogren’s Syndrome, Systemic Lupus, Severe Dermographism and some pretty nasty allergies (the kind where I need to carry an epi pen everywhere I go.)

I have been through the ringer with the pharmaceutical world, and I know what to do and not do in regards to what I put my body through; that was a painful lesson to learn.

I treat myself Holistically with a splash of Modern and a whole bunch of Ancient methods.

Some medications can and absolutely will affect your Magick, and fog your mind but there are times when medications serve their purpose and can actually help you.

When the mind is clear the practitioner can focus intent with better precision, and is that not the end goal of any adept?

I don’t think people should become dependent on medications or drugs for their ailments, be them spiritual or physical; I also don’t believe it makes us weak as people, or as practitioners if we have to rely on something to better our quality of life, and overall health.

Of course I believe that we should lead the healthiest lifestyles we can, and believe it or not I actually do lead a healthy lifestyle and still find myself stricken by these chronic conditions.

We need to listen to our bodies and minds in regards to health as much as we listen to our intuition in regards to Magick.

So many Witches practice under the rule that one must be calm with focused intent to cast, to some degree that is true. However, I have seen many Witches who CAN harness their madness and incorporate it into their Magick.

We are all individuals and should stop comparing and competing with each other so much.

Live and let live, live and let live.

I will end this saying, in most countries even to this day mental illness and/or chronic conditions are seen as a sign of spiritual enlightenment; too bad the West can’t adopt that theory and wish to over medicate instead.

The Article that inspired this:

http://www.maskmagazine.com/not-again/struggle/sick-woman-theory

The story of Hekate and epilepsy:

http://walkingthehedge.net/hedge/epilepsy-as-sacred-part-one/

My most favorite article on Mental Illness:

http://themindunleashed.org/2014/08/shaman-sees-mental-hospital.html