Isis, by Mother Julie

So, why am I drawn to the mothers of the goddesses? Persephone, Athena and now Isis.

Many of the goddesses Jessica and I have met together feel like daughters to me. I find that really interesting.

Is she drawn to daughter goddesses? Or do I resonate more with the mother goddesses because I am a mother of adults, and in my Crone years?

Artemis is a goddess with whom my daughter fiercely resonates. Our tiff over the Artemis blog nearly derailed this project. It’s ironic that in my rant against Artemis, I didn’t check out her mother.

Her name is Leto, by the way. Leto conceives twins, Artemis and Apollo, after her hidden beauty accidentally catches the eye of Zeus. Leto’s only myth story is her pregnancy and journey to find a place to give birth, because the goddess Hera was jealous and caused all lands to shun her. Finally, Leto finds a floating island, so it is not considered land, and she can give birth. This is her only one active mythic role. After Apollo and Artemis are grown, Leto withdraws, to remain a dim and benevolent matronly figure upon Olympus, her part already played. How sad is that? Yet I identify with her.

I digress.

Each new goddess blog post begins (for me) with days of reading and studying books and online sites. I usually go down several goddess rabbit holes as I find things that interest me.

This time is no different. Once again, I’m drawn to Isis’ mother.

Perhaps the problem is my goal, the purpose for my role in this project. I’m looking for my Mother God. I’m looking for her activity in the world before She was cut down and desecrated by the sin of patriarchy.

I’m looking for the strength and wisdom of The Great Mother with whom I can relate intellectually and emotionally, but also find rest in her arms as a daughter.

As a daughter, Isis was beloved from birth. As goddesses go, she is tenacious. From as early as 2600 BCE until today her reign, which began simply and humbly, has grown to usurp most of the high-ranking goddesses in the Egyptian pantheon. For nearly 3000 years her power, majesty, wisdom and responsibilities grew exponentially, to seat her on the throne of kings, mother of kings, even mother of Ra, where, by the time of Christ, she reigned not only in Egypt, but the whole of Mesopotamia and even Rome. Not only that, but she was so popular, her image as the Mother of God, suckling her god/son was usurped by the Church in their images of Mary and the child Jesus.

Unlike other Egyptian goddesses, she spends her time with her people teaching corn grinding, bread making, spinning and weaving. Isis is also passionate that her people are literate and she is worshiped as a goddess of medicine and wisdom. Not only, back in the day, was she “the assistant” to the pharaohs at their funerals, and attributed with the resurrection of Osiris, but she now is also considered the protector of children and goddess of childbirth!

Go Isis! I wonder what your mother is like?

Her name is Nut. (okay, don’t laugh). She’s one of the oldest Egyptian deities. The Sky Goddess. Her headdress is a pot (part of her name), which alludes to a uterus. She receives the dead into her arms, and her image is found on the inside cover of many Egyptian coffins. The image is strikingly similar to that of Isis with her wings and seating position.

Beautiful, isn’t she? 

The most prevalent images of Nut are of her duty as Sky Goddess. Her brother/husband, Geb, is the Earth God. Which is fascinating because most other cultures associate goddesses with the earth and their male counterparts with the sky. Nut is beautifully adorned with stars covering her nude body, hovering over Geb, her feet and hands touching the four corners of the earth.

Each morning she births the Sun and Moon. They travel across her body and are swallowed up in the evening. The stars drift down her body throughout the night. If I drew a mandala, her yoga pose would be Downward Dog.

She is one of a handful of the most ancient Egyptian deities.

Her titles include: Coverer of the Sky, She Who Protects, Mistress of All, She Who Bore the Gods, She Who Holds a Thousand Souls.

Here is the birth story of her daughter, Isis, and Isis’ siblings:

Some myths interpret the image of Nut and Geb, as Sky Goddess and Earth god, in continual intercourse before she births her own children. Ra, the Sun god fears another will take his throne when he discovers Nut is with child. He forbids her to give birth any day of the year. In those days, one year was 360 days. Nut, being wise, consults with the god of Wisdom (Thoth) who devises a plan to gamble with the Moon god, Khonsu, whose light rivals that of Ra. The bet is: If the Moon god loses, he gives up some moonlight to Thoth. The Moon god loses so many times,  that Thoth now has enough moonlight to add five extra days to the year. Since these days are not part of the regular year, Nut now has extra days to birth five children! After their births, Ra, in his rage separates Nut and Geb for eternity.

Nut also protects the ordered world below from the chaos above. She is friend and protector to the dead, who find rest in her. It is believed she draws the dead into the starry sky and refreshes them with food and wine.

“I am Nut, and I have come so that I may enfold and protect you from all things evil.”1

To my own children: How I wish that were me.

1. "Papyrus of Ani: Egyptian Book of the Dead", Sir Wallis Budge, NuVision Publications, page 57, 2007, ISBN 1-59547-914-7


Download the Isis Coloring Mandala.
Go to the beginning of our coloring journey.

Goddesses at War: Healing Our Fragmented Feminine Natures

Listening to the sacred sound of bees in Maplewood State Park, Minnesota and praying for peace.

Listening to the sacred sound of bees in Maplewood State Park, Minnesota and praying for peace.

When my mother and I began this project of exploring the Goddesses, our faith, and our relationship back in January I thought we could push this baby out before Lent.  Then Lent came and went and we decided we could make this happen in the season of Easter.  But the Goddesses refused to be squeezed into our timelines and demanded that we give them more time and space to tell their stories.  As we were wading through centuries of mystery and mud, the deeper we went, the more strained our relationship became; my mother and I found ourselves feeling misunderstood, hurt, and silent, ironically at the gate we had designated for the throat chakra.  

In the midst of all of this, more violence erupted in our culture, making this work feel almost irrelevant.  But the more I considered the systemic roots of violence, I realized that the return of the Goddess brings the essential healing for which we are all searching.

Many women have issues at the throat chakra from history's long silencing of our stories.  It is well known that the church traditionally focused on stories written by men for men and that history is written by those who won wars.  The stories of women were omitted in the lectionary readings and the characters we often heard about growing up (as we do in many modern day stories and movies) women often play the side kick—as if they are not a subject in and of themselves.  Today women are groomed to lower our naturally high pitched voices in order to talk and act in more masculine ways so that we can be heard and respected in our communities.  We have been trained to act like a man to survive; we divide and conquer ourselves in order to survive in a patriarchal culture where the feminine is devalued.  The Goddesses war. 

Our collective consciousness still bears the pain and taboo of thousands of women who were hung (at the neck, the throat chakra) or burned at the stake for speaking their truth or for simply being a woman who was perceived of as evil during the Inquisitions and the witch trials.  Before the rise of scientific rationalism, women were the natural healers in their families and local communities.  Women were the gatherers of herbs and medicines and the knowers of the magic of human touch, which is often restricted in modern day societies and hospitals where more invasive--even life threatening treatments-- are preferred to natural “weaker” solutions.  Doctors who were unable to heal a patient often blamed a witch for thwarting his efforts.  Women’s wisdom was systematically demeaned and dismissed and then, adding insult to injury, women were labeled hysterical for reacting to their suppression and domination. 

Recently I watched the revolutionary documentary, The Mask You Live In which explores the way boys are raised to repress their emotions.  (Anger seems to be the one acceptable emotion men can express.)  Men share how the worst thing you can call a young boy is 'a girl.' In our culture boys are constantly getting the message early on that being perceived of as weak is a threat to their manhood.  Men are socialized to hate and despise the more feminine aspects of themselves like vulnerability, emotionality and tenderheartedness.  Not only men are taught this, but everyone who wants to get ahead in our country is taught this.  In order to make it in the real world the qualities of compassion and empathy often get in the way of the accumulation of power which often requires that one disassociate from the human family and see the world in terms of “us” vs. “them.” 

This devaluation of the feminine side of our humanity, and the loss of our empathetic relatedness, is fueling our culture of violence and apathy. 

I remember an old friend telling me how he was beat up one day in elementary school and how when he got home his father hit him again for not hitting back.  These are the powerful cultural forces that boys and men are up against, forces that make being perceived of as weak dangerous for all of us. 

If God was never a woman, if being a girl is the lowest common denominator, then how were we ever supposed to learn to value the feminine qualities of vulnerability and connectedness in the first place?  If Eve (the mother of creation) is to blame for sin entering the world, if the Goddesses are only evil witches, if emotions are only experienced as manipulation by a culture that would prefer to stay disconnected so that it can dominate without feeling guilt, then it’s no wonder we are so fragmented by violence today.

When we demonize weakness, the weak appear to us as demons. 

When we demonize weakness we become possessed by violence towards self and others in trying to rid our human family of essentially more feminine aspects of our intrinsic nature. We overvalue independence separating ourselves from the consequences of our actions, from our connection to the earth and to one another, and demonize our natural dependencies upon the earth and community we need to survive, as if any kind of dependence was intrinsically bad. 

Maybe this is why so many people are so angry today.  We were raised to shun weakness in ourselves and in others and now we are supposed to have compassion and love others who embody the very qualities we were taught to see as evil? Many of us lack the internal structures to have compassion for others in need because we have been taught that our true needs were selfish and our weaknesses and emotions were bad.  Many feel that the rules are suddenly changing (and they are) and we are smarting from a world where we did what we thought was right, only to discover it was actually wrong.  Some of us are still fighting that realization because it is a painful one. 

Most of us remember the uncomfortable years of navigating the social pecking order that arises in junior high and high school.  At an early age children are trying to determine (consciously and unconsciously) who is on top and who is on the bottom of the totem pole.  The ones on the top receive our projections of glory, worship, and popularity (and conversely our jealousy—when we can’t also see our likeness in them too) and the ones on bottom serve to hold our disgust, our hatred and our fears (and conversely our compassion—when we can see our likeness in them too). 

Where were you in the social pecking order?  What did you do to remain there?  To rise up or fall?  Who did you break relationships with to make it?  Who did you betray?

As a military child who moved around the country every three years switching schools often, I had the opportunity to experience many different places on the social pecking order totem pole.  I learned a lot about the power of projection and how people in one town may adore you and value your gifts and people in another town may not.  While I don’t know what it’s like to be black in this country, I do know what it’s like to feel the projections of misplaced hatred and shame of a community that perceives you as being at the bottom of the social totem pole.  For one year of my life I held the dark space of the school slut.  I had just moved to a new town before eighth grade, made the wrong friends, and I was sexually abused by a trusted youth leader in the community who was well regarded by the adults.  In his efforts to maintain power and silence me, he spread rumors about me, and before my first day of school in a town where I knew nobody, I was crowned the school whore by my peers.

Every school seems to need a girl to hold this space for the community; it is a difficult place in the human psyche and crowded lunchroom to reign.  Being publicly marked as a slut or a feared minority is like being that piece of sacred earth designated for a landfill.  People need to put their shadows somewhere.  It has taken me a long time to understand that the shadow comes out in order to be healed.  The shadow wants to be integrated.  It is bursting forth from within all of us, and those who are unlucky or brave enough to hold dark space for our most unconscious projections are giving us the gift of consciousness.  Ultimately, they hold the keys to our healing. 

In my darkest days I wondered how I would survive in a world that couldn’t see my true self or value.  On those days, the black female voice has saved me.  Writers like Maya Angelou and courageous women like Rosa Parks modeled to this timid white girl dignity and bravery.  I only had to serve as the school slut for one year—then I moved.  I got to be a cheerleader, I got to experience popularity and white privilege.  I could hide in my looks where others could not hide the color of their skin.  I don’t know how they survive a lifetime of prejudice.  But I want to learn where they find their strength.  I believe they can teach humanity how to recover our dignity against all odds. 

In a culture that raises up leaders and praises them for dominating and controlling others, our human dignity is marred on both ends of the spectrum: the strong and the weak are traumatized by violence.  Those of us who are unable to meet our society’s expectations to be tough and to dominate, end up dominating our souls and our inner worlds, hating our very selves for our inability to conform and be “successful” while still depending on a violent family (as children) or a violent society for our survival.  (See: Stockholm syndrome).

In individuals insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs it is the rule.
-Friedrich Nietzche

Maybe this is why we continue to fear and oppress women and minorities and unconsciously deny what we are doing—we cannot be held personally accountable for following society’s codes, right? We’re not really bad people, right?  Maybe some people don’t view the #blacklivesmatter as a movement for equality; instead they fear (maybe unconsciously) the pendulum swinging in the opposite direction. Maybe those in power fear that what they did to someone else will also be done to them.  Maybe they fear (even unconsciously) that the victims will draw from their years of oppression and finally bring forth justice, and this justice (an eye for an eye type) would bring the same death and destruction that was brought to them.  Who can hold all that darkness?  Where do we put that landfill?  (Jesus is like: bring it.  Lay your burdens on me, stop laying them on other people.)  Archetypally this space also belongs to the great Mother Goddess, the black Madonna, the dark feminine that has been the target for centuries of disdain of our own human frailty and femininity. 

St. Paul wrote about the law bringing death, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  (Romans 3:23).  Unconsciously we do to others what has been done to us; there is no escaping the consequences of our sins, or the effects of our karma.  When we hurt others, we fuel the cycles of violence.  When we deny the consequences of our actions we fuel the illusions and kick the can of healing and reconciliation farther down the road.  Jesus said the greatest teaching is this:  Love God and love your neighbor as yourselves.  (Mark 12:30-31 & Luke 10:27).  To love in the face of hatred and follow this high vibrational way of human life requires that we have a self—that we know what that self feels and we know what that self needs.  But if we are dominating and silencing the needs and feelings of that very self in order to survive in a culture that is constantly telling us not to feel and to simply follow orders so that we can gain power and be successful in life—then we have no idea how to treat our true self—nor anyone else’s for that matter. 

It seems to me that many of us are terrified of facing how we really truly feel.  And who has the time to descend into the basement of our very being and retrieve the soul from the jaws of death? If we aren’t getting paid to do things: like raising our children and salvaging our souls, then it is assumed in our capitalistic culture that these things aren’t really valuable to the greater good. 

Some people decide that things are so messed up that maybe it’s best just to numb ourselves and live lives of denial because we believe we are powerless to change anything. 
And yet, the violence is erupting; the shadows are demanding to be seen.  We are not going to be allowed to stay numb.  We will either have to descend into the darkness we have inherited and do our healing work consciously, or we will be dragged into the underworld kicking and screaming to face what we have left rotting there in order to experience resurrection.  We can't escape it; resurrection must happen in the natural cycle of life.

In a society like ours that has become a world power by dominating and stealing the land from native peoples, raping and pillaging the earth of its vital resources, and destroying others countries and economies for the benefit of a few, we have created a lot of natural consequences which are now returning to us.  We have a chance now to open our eyes and face the horrors that we have created in our quest for power and in our blind ignorance (of things known and unknown, things done and left undone). In our collective efforts to divide and conquer the world, we are now waking up to the consequences of how we have allowed our communities and our very souls to be divided and conquered, if we are brave enough to behold the truth and surrender to our healing while resisting the powers that wish to control us through fear and violence.

In the ancient days hell was not understood as a destination for punishment at the end of one’s lifetime; the flaming underworld was known as a realm of the Goddess who helped humans transform their pain into new life. Jesus also teaches a similar message when he says, take up your cross; our salvation is found in walking through our pain, not avoiding it.  For many of us the descent is a journey down from our rational thinking mind into the wisdom of the heart.  Here the flames of love can make all things new.

Just as the bees are experiencing colony collapse disorder, so too are we experiencing the breakdown of our society.  The totem poles and ladders of power are toppling all around us and giving way to a new emerging form: the sacred circle of the human family where no ground or person is allowed to be a designated landfill for our unconscious shadows.  We are waking up to the holographic universe of which we each hold an essential part.  We are realizing that what we do to another we do to ourselves.  We are connected.  We are integrating what we know.  This is a time of tremendous healing and transformation.  We have gifts to use.  We have voices to share.  We are ascending into our higher natures.  We are leveling up now.  We can do this.  In fact, we were born to do this.


This brings us to our next gate in our Divine Like a Girl, Descent to the Goddess project:  the heart chakra where we will explore the Mary, the Black Madonna and the Goddess Isis.  These images of Divine Feminine energy hold keys to help us descend into the depths of our human suffering, to search for all our fragment parts, and rise to new life again.


Divine Like A Girl
Descent to the Goddess: A Sacred Coloring Journey

Gate Seven
Crown Chakra

Gate Six
Light Chakra
Hecate & Persephone

Gate Five
Sound Chakra
Athena & Artemis

Gate Four
Love Chakra
Mary & Isis

Gate Three
Fire Chakra
Hestia & Demeter

Gate Two
Water Chakra
Aphrodite & Hera

Gate One
Earth Chakra



Artemis: Goddess of the Woods by daughter, Jessica

Gate Five
Sound Chakra


Chant to Artemis

Original Chant created by CathyMoon

This candle I dedicate to thee

Light the way so I might see

Your presence I do call

Mother, nurturer to us all

Hail Goddess Artemis


I dream of leaving the city one day to live a solitary life in cabin, in the woods.  I hunger for silence, for enough quite to hear the music of the birds.  I long for the scent of wet leaves, that brush across my skin and open my pores to misty green air.  I want to feel the dark fertile ground beneath my feet and live in harmony with the natural world.  

I imagine that I would live simply.  I would grow a garden.  The dirt underneath my fingernails would fall into the cracks of my keyboard as I poured out my inspirations upon paper and piano--both creations of the wood the Goddess rules. 

I hunger for privacy, for a sacred place to listen deeply to the seasons, for time to know in my bones the wisdom of the wind and the fierceness of the crow.  

I ache for space to rest when my moon cycle appears.  To swap secrets with women who demand time to self care and grow wise together.  

I long to establish myself in life independent from a man.  I want to discover my own strength. I want to know how to stand on my own two feet, not just hanging at his side or constantly cheering for his success (and hoping some of it trickles back to me someday).  I want to sharpen my own skills and figure out how to kick ass at being me.  

The wild feminine calls women to discover the power of their own nature in a realm apart from the world of men.  This is the energy of the Goddess Artemis.

Artemis is one of the most famous of all the Greek Goddesses.  At times she is also personified as Mother Earth or Gaia herself.  She rules over three essential phases in a woman's life and guides young girls through vital transitions.  Artemis is the Goddess of virginity, menstruation and childbirth.

Artemis is the eternal virgin.  As a virgin, the Goddess is one in herself.  No one else completes her.  As a young girl Artemis asked her father Zeus for this gift, and to rule over the natural fields, mountains and woods beyond the city.  She doesn't want a man, she doesn't need one. She penetrates the world just fine with her swift arrows.  As Artemis can be cold towards men, she can be cold in general to humans as she prefers her solitude in nature to their constant drama.

Imagine little girls 5-10 years old dressings up like bears and dancing wildly in the temple of Artemis. Young girls participated in these celebrations "to get the wild out" before settling down in marriage.  

Before a marriage, young women gifted their chastity belts to Artemis.  Girls would also offer their beloved childhood toys and blankets to the Goddess before their first sexual encounter as a recognition that they were leaving the Goddess' virginal realm as they entered marriage (ruled by the Goddess Hera).

Legends say that after Artemis was born, she helped her mother, Leto give birth to her twin brother, Apollo. For this reason, Artemis is also the tender midwife who helps women through the wild journey of childbirth.

Artemis enjoys her solitude and her single life.  Her creative introverted energy is often found in women writers, painters, and poets.  Her powerful hunting and defending aspects are found in many female athletes, ecologists, feminists, and lesbians.  You won't find Artemis at the center of politics, or maneuvering upon the world stage-- there you would find instead her counterpart, the more extroverted strategist, Athena.  

As an interior wild Goddess, Artemis rules over menstruation, and the sacred solitude that women need throughout their lives to reconnect with their own inner wisdom and natural rhythms.

Artemis reminds us (as did Hecate) that the Goddess has a dark side.  In a jealous rage Artemis slaughtered the daughters of a woman who dared to boast she had more children than her mother, Leto.  The Goddess is paradoxical in her nature (as is God in the Old and New Testaments) as she mothers new born infants, young girls and small animals, and she also hunts game and she kills her favorite male companion, Orion.  

The story of Artemis and Orion may reveal to to us an ancient violation of feminine power. The two became great friends and hunting companions.  Apollo her brother grew jealous of the two (after a tryst with Orion) and suspicious that Orion had tempted his sister away from her eternal chastity.  He sent a scorpion to chase Orion to the sea  and then told Artemis that one of her beloved nymphs had been raped.  When Artemis vowed to slay the attacker, Apollo pointed to Orion fleeing from the scorpion in the sea.  Artemis swiftly directs her arrows towards Orion and kills him.  Artemis rushes off to comfort her nymph and then discovers the truth.  Her brother lied to her and betrayed her and caused her to kill her friend. Grief stricken, the Goddess finds Orion's body and tries everything she knows to revive him.  When all is lost, she sets him in the stars, with the scorpion at his feet.  

Apollo is the beloved light bearer, the dashing intellect who can rapt us all with his wit and charm. As much as Artemis is all wild instinct, her brother Apollo is all in his head (and all in his ego).  He uses his divine powers to sever the Goddess from her joy out of his deep insecurity.  We see this in action today wherever our intelligence or our collective common senses are co-opted to serve that which destroys the earth, our innocence, our children and ultimately our love.  There are many crafty insecure ones in the world who use their power to incite drama, betraying even their own family members to grasp for power they can't ever seem to posses without the integration of the instincts and the wildness of love.  

This ancient betrayal lives on today in the severing that our culture has done in keeping women from sharing in sacred menstruation, the medical industry's unnecessarily over-controlling of the birthing process (sterilized healthcare vs. wild women's instinctual wisdom, the demonizing of midwifes in ages past...), pollution of the natural world, and societies where women's rites of passages have been forgotten and little girls have lost the safe spaces of childhood by being raped or forced to to grow up too fast and marry too young.

A vulnerable aspect of the masculine fears the fact that this Goddess does not need him. (How many feminists must justify:  "I don't hate men...I just want equality..."?) I think many men work so hard in order to feel valued.  I'm guessing that there is an essential aspect of the masculine psyche that needs to be needed.  And it's this deep vulnerability within all of us that keeps us cutting ourselves off from our beloved-- We are so insecure that we don't really trust the beloved or the solitude and companionship that our beloved is calling us to.  Like Artemis, we swiftly kill before seeking out all sides of the story.  We betray our beloved because we are unwilling to behold the true heart of love and our own bruised egos.  

In another variation of the story, Orion is walking with Artemis through the woods when he boasts, "Someday I will kill every living thing."  The tale goes one of two ways, either Artemis kills him or Gaia herself sends a scorpion to kill him. Both versions of the story reveal a violation the sacred private feminine realm by the masculine who is often willing to destroy life at any cost.   

At the same time, we know the dark side of the Goddess and we fear her swift (sometimes irrational) wrath.  We long for the beautiful and gentle mothering aspects of the Goddess and dread her cold silent treatment shadows.  But Mother Nature will not allow us to cut her in two and take the parts of Her we like and throw away the parts we don't.  The Goddess asks us to behold all of her children, to see the light and the dark of all of Her creation and to pursue Her sacred symmetry and discover how it all fits together into Her one sacred creation.  

The grief of Artemis reminds us how we have all participated in betraying the Goddesses' realms of earth, birth, childhood, and the sacredness of women's blood.  This feminine wound is why at times the Goddess lashes out with her arrows in irrational vengeance.  But her passion calls us to remember the ways of our wild instinctual soul and to honor her realms again.  Her strength teaches us the impenetrable safety of the womb and a seed before life blooms.  She protects the vulnerable before their time has come.  Artemis touches our hearts with her innocence. And this is a gift that we do not need to grasp for with power and manipulation.  Innocence is gifted to those who live in right relationship to the truth about their mistakes and act with compassion towards their own tender shoots.  



Gate Six: Persephone, by Mother Julie

I am Charlie Brown.

Jessica is Lucy, and she’s always holding the football, coaxing me to believe she will not do what she’s always done.

“Let’s do this project together, Mom. It’ll be fun.”

“Well, I don’t want to get into any weird stuff. I mean, I’m kind of nervous about all this goddess stuff, and, will it freak out my family and friends?”

“No, it will be good for us, Mom.”

So while reading Jessica’s Persephone blog, I’m thinking, “She moved the football, again.”

I’m Charlie Brown, again, whack! I’m flat on my back.

After reading only two paragraphs, I’m like, “Really, Girl?!?! You've embraced pantheism?!?!” And I’m wondering how I can smooth over the shock value and turn it into something humorous and non-scary … and hoping the 2nd half of her blog pretty much says: "just kidding!"

I’ve now read it all. Several times. I still love her, but she really scares me. What have I gotten in to?

I’ll make no comment about baptisms and devotion to goddesses. Yes, she and I “span our own dance of the opposites and [Jess’s] orbit always seems to move into the realms of the forbidden and strange.” Fiddle-dee-dee. Let’s talk about something else.

Persephone’s story of abduction, rape and imprisonment by Hades is extraordinarily similar to Jessica’s journey. In our “dance of opposites,” I am the embodiment of Persephone’s mother, the Goddess Demeter. I am Mother Bear. Demeter (wife of Zeus) dropped everything to search the world for her daughter. Demeter’s story is all about rescuing Persephone. Sadly, while Jessica was in her own hell, I was focused on navigating the family through her fiery eruptions. I knew I’d lost my happy little girl, but didn’t know I was supposed to go search for her. I didn’t know why that shy child had become an angry teenager who hated her mother. Had I known. Had I only known.

Even now, after years of therapy, the scars still occasionally swell and burn a little.

Although Demeter found Persephone and facilitated her rescue, Hades urged Persephone to assuage her hunger before she journeyed out of the Underworld. Persephone had not eaten a single thing since her abduction, so she ate a single pomegranate seed. Sadly, Persephone did not know, “Anyone who tastes the food of Hades must remain in the Underworld.” She is now fated to spend half of each year with Hades and half of each year with Demeter.

Hmm… isn’t there another ancient story where the eating of a fruit results in eternal bondage to the underworld and banishment from the garden, from home, from Parent?

The absence of Persephone myths prior to her abduction story make me wonder if Hades’ despicable act awakened something in her. Perhaps that horrific event and her subsequent rebirth afforded her value, and made her useful for universal myth.

Persephone’s story reminds me that we cannot control the events in our lives. Shit happens. Real bad shit. But in God/Goddess there is redemption and resurrection. The Creator restores, rebirths. There is always death. But there is always new life. Always. Resurrection is real because it is the Divine nature of Goddess. As Jessica’s story unfolds, the Presence of Light, Love and Life is rebuilding her out of the darkness that carried her away so long ago.

Jessica doesn’t think she is strong, but she is.

She is Persephone, Resurrected Queen.


Persephone’s Mandala of the Humble Warrior pose is comprised of four symbols. 

At the center are pomegranates, signifying what sealed her fate as Queen of the Underworld.

Next is the symbol of the river, Styx, which represented the boundary between Earth and the Underworld. The river Persephone had to cross twice each year.

The Persephone myth reveals that while she spent her half year with Hades, Demeter would cause plant life to go dormant. Earth grew cold. As Persephone emerged from the Underworld (always in Spring), warmth returned and Earth came to life. The symbol of the vine represents Persephone’s connection with new life and new growth.

Lastly, there is the eternal fire, a universal image of the Underworld, Hell and Hades. Fire also conjures up feelings of strength and power and leadership, traits of Persephone as well.

Gate Six: Hecate, by Daughter Jessica

Hecate (or Hekate) is the Goddess of the Gates, so before we descend to the next one, we will need to get to know this Goddess a little bit better.  Getting to know her though is challenging.  Hecate still feels like an enigma to me, even after reading about her and wondering about her nature for the past ten years.  Scholars struggle to understand her origin and nature as well as her role seems to overlap those of Artemis or Demeter and Persephone.  Many think she is an older Goddess from another culture that became later incorporated into the Greek pantheon.  As Hecate rules the intersections of our lives, maybe it's no wonder that she remains mysterious to us; it is she who invites us to explore the edges of what we know to be true and she is the guardian Goddess of the other realms of which we do not yet know.  

As far back as 300 BCE statues and pictures of Hecate show her as one in three forms.  It seems that one of the earliest forms of the trinity belonged to Hecate, who was also known as the triple Goddess.  Anyone who has preached on the trinity knows how difficult this divine concept is to grok, which also adds to Hecate's mystery.  Because she tipped off Demeter on where she could find her daughter Persephone and because Hecate accompanies Persephone's return to earth, these goddesses seem to hold together three divine aspects of the feminine: the daughter, the mother and the wise (possibly old) woman, the crone.  

Hecate's triple nature teaches us how to interface with different realms.  She is associated with animals, with the deep instincts, and the wisdom of the night. As a military child, I learned that each culture I lived in had it's own unspoken rules. These secret rules revealed a lot about what a particular group of people collectively valued and feared.  Every place was different.  Every place required careful listening to learn how to interact in each realm.  I learned early on that what worked well in one place, didn't always translate to the next.   Hecate is the energy and wisdom that helps decipher the structure of the many different realms that we rule or move through in our lives.  

Often people left Hecate offerings at crossroads.  She is the one who can see all of the different realms at the same time, so she can help us transition from the familiar to the strange.  Sorta like Jesus stands at the door and knocks, Hecate stands at the threshold and guides us to new realities.  Because she is able to see all of the realsm that war against one another, Hecate was often called upon in battle and at sporting events.  One of her triple statues stood outside of Nike's temple.  It is Hecate who can weigh the opposing forces, and she who can guide us through the realms for the highest good of all beings.  

Hecate also helps us navigate the realms within--which are sometimes even farther away than the stars.  She can keep her many eyes on the many pieces of us we have yet to discover and integrate into our consciousness.    As we are learning and acquiring new skills, she guards the gates that we are not ready yet to open, and opens to us the gates that are most needed to lead us to deep healing.  Following her energy through the unknown is like experiencing a river of "ah ha!" moments.  

Because Hecate traversed the realms, she knew her way around the underworld.  Her many faces mirrors the many faces of the moon.  She rules the dark feminine realm like a wise grandmother.  Often boundary making is seen as a masculine energy, but Hecate reveals how the feminine also makes boundaries with the power to open or close her many secret gates at her command.  

As we unveil many illusions learning wisdom, Hecate lovingly guides us to new discoveries like a caring mother or school teacher guiding a child. She is also a Goddess to the children and she helps them through their rapid transitions and dangerous rites of passage.  

Ancient Greek Invocation to Hecate
You encompass the vast world at night,
You make the Daemones shudder and the Immortals tremble,
O Many Named Goddess who brings glory to men,
Whose children are fair,
O Bull Eyed One, Horned One, Nature, All Mother,
Who brings forth both Gods and men.
You roam around Olympus and traverse the wide and fathomless Abyss,
You are the Beginning and the End, and
You alone are Mistress of All:
For from You are all things,
And in You, Eternal One, do all things end.

Translated from the Greek Magical Papyri

Yoga Pose: Triangle
For Hecate I chose Triangle pose which reflects her triple nature.  Stand with your legs apart and arms out wide.  Line up your feet underneath your wrists.  Now turn the right foot forward so that the heel points at the back arch of the left foot.  The left foot is angled at about 45 degrees, so that the heel is the farthest point back.  Place the left hand on the left hip and square your hips to the front right foot.  Now reach with your right arm straight in front until you come to your edge.  Then place the right hand underneath your right shoulder, on the ground, your shin, or a block.  Keep turning the left hip down to the ground as the heart is turning up towards the sky.  Lengthen the spine on the inhale, and on the exhale engage your core and squeeze out any toxins and old ways of being in the world that no longer serve you and your highest good.  Stay here for about 5-8 breaths and then use your core to bring your spine vertical again. Repeat on the other side.  

Download the mandala coloring page for Hecate.   This also supports Episcopal Relief and Development: Gender Issues and Women's Development.