RITES OF PERSEPHONE: PART I
QUEEN OF THAT WHICH IS BELOW
Descend with her into the darkness; She will guide you as you navigate your inner depths. Illuminate the abyss of your subconscious and nurture the parts of yourself that have been long neglected, soothing the demons of your soul. She will teach you how to unite the parts of yourself that others taught you to reject. She will show you that your dark energy is something to be embraced, not feared. Only when the light of the conscious dares to explore the full extent of its depth can we truly know ourselves, and knowing oneself implicitly is a step on the pathway to wholeness. Seeds nurtured by Persephone in the dark shall be the strongest, for they have weathered destruction; they have forged unyielding foundations before they have been allowed to flourish into the light.
Here is the month of January Animara Oracular Reading by Memorie Ov Eden:
WE WILL BE WORKING WITH 6 SEEDS OF INETNION IN THIS 3 PART COURSE:
SEED 1: UNION
Unity is the feeling of wholeness that we experience when our subconscious mind is in alignment with our conscious mind. Persephone’s story can act as an an allegory for uniting the subconscious with the conscious, as she unites the light with the dark. Working with her role as Dark Goddess can help us to heal past trauma and mend hidden wounds. We cannot feel whole with a divided mind, and Persephone can help us heal the splits in our psyche. These splits are otherwise know as the shadow self and contain the hidden, repressed aspects of our personality. The parts of ourselves that we are not consciously aware of, or have rejected because they cause us shame. Everyone has a shadow, that is part of the human experience Exploring your inner world through Persephone’s descent and discovering your own shadow helps you to unify it with the conscious mind. This means that you can work with your shadow self, rather than have it work against you, influencing you without your awareness.
Choosing to deny darkness in favor of light, can lead to burnout, fatigue and a lack of depth. Darkness is restorative, allowing for rest and rejuvenation. Darkness is sacred stillness and introspection, allowing for a deeper understanding of ourselves. If you don’t allow yourself periods of restfulness then you will exhaust yourself to the point where you drain your energy and have nothing left to give.
When discussing light and dark energy , there is a problematic historical tendency for ‘dark’ to be viewed as bad, or less than. A dark Goddess, such as the Queen of the Underworld is falsely seen to be evil, and her gifts are overlooked and ignored to our own detriment. However the darkness is not ‘bad’ just as light is not ‘good.’ Both are beneficial in their own wan, and both are necessary to the other. The dark phase of a cycle is necessary for transition and rebirth to occur. Whilst it is rational to have a healthy reverence for death, we ought not to treat it as a shameful secret that we refuse to acknowledge. Death is a natural and inevitable part of the life cycle of all organic matter. Making peace with this idea frees us to enjoy the life we have here and now, while embracing the ongoing cycles of death and rebirth both within and without from a place of veneration.
When working with Persephone as the Dark Goddess, she shows us that there are times when something has to be destroyed in order to be reborn fresh and vital. The Pathway of Persephone is to embrace her as a Dark Goddess as well as a Light Goddess. Dark Goddess energy has been ignored for a long time in favor of the ‘love and light’ approach. This school of thought puts a focus on positivity and avoidance of negativity, when in reality we need both to be balanced. It can cause people to shut out information that is painful or unpleasant in order to fill their minds with only pleasing ideas. Focusing on positivity certainly is important, but it shouldn’t be used as a defense mechanism to avoid difficult truths. Facing up to aspects of your life that cause you pain or trauma can be immensely healing and involves utilizing both positive and negative energy. Both work together like a battery which also has a positive and negative side. Neither side is good nor bad, and both need to be in contact with the circuit in order for power to be generated. So too must we work with the whole energy spectrum if we wish to enjoy the fulfillment experienced by the union of the conscious and unconscious, the dark and the light.
It is through these necessary actions that we can truly stand sovereign as Queen of our own Underworld.
Let us begin our ritual process with Persephone for reclaiming our throne of shadow….
UNDERWORLD UNION ALTAR:
If you have already followed the Altar suggestions from the Conjurer Power Prompts for January, you are already pretty much good to go with your underworld altar. If not, you can find the instructions for that here:
This is the perfect time to revisit your altar, give it a dusting, and incorporate the color RED to honor Persephone and the color of the Goddess. We are also approaching Imbolc and Red is also shares a beautiful correspondence with Brigid and the eternal flame.
1 Black Pillar Candle
1 White Pillar Candle
1 Red Pillar Candle
1 or more Pomegranate
Image of Persephone as Queen of the Underworld
Black Copal, Sage (ethically sourced!), Myrrh, Dragons Blood, Rosemary, Cypress or Patchouli
Milk with honey
Red wine or Pomegranate juice
Grains and seeds
SYMBOL OF PERSEPHONE:
The Persephone astronomical symbol appears to be imbued with a well thought out meaning, as it is quite notably a combination of the the Pluto (Hades) astronomical symbol and Ceres (Demeter) astronomical symbol.
In the image depicted above, a few embellishments have been made for magickal purposes.
Six circles were added to represent the six pomegranate seeds that secured a Srping Goddess the position of Underworld Queen. Three of them are hollow and three are solid to represent the balancing of equal and opposite forces.
A waxing crescent moon sits at the top, whilst a waning crescent moon sits below. The moons are representative of Persephone’s attribution as a triple Goddess, her rhythm of ebb and flow, and as a symbol of hidden knowledge and intuition. Lastly, the two triangles positioned in the curve of the crescent moons represent ascent and descent; the endless cycle of Persephone’s rhythm above and below the earth.
You can print this symbol, or draw it if you like and using red ink with a dash of pomegranate juice is even better!
Shadow work is a valuable method for healing those splits in the psyche, it is the process of introspective investigation to find out what lurks outside of your consciousness. Persephone’s descent into the underworld can be seen a s a metaphor for our descent into our subconscious to find our shadow and transform it The shadow self is a collection of all the parts of us that we repress in order to preserve a positive self image. The shadow develops over time based on reactions we perceive from those around us, leading to a subconscious accumulation that can result in triggers, projections, and unhealthy patterns. This can be problematic for our relationships, and can cloud our judgement because choices can be influenced by drives that we aren’t fully aware of. Until we take the time to address these aspects of our shadow selves, we can’t move past them. However, addressing them does not mean ridding ourselves of them either. Its about owning it, loving it and alchemizing it. Accepting that these are aspects of who we are does not make us any less worthy of our own love. Recognising that we experience these emotions is the key to unifying it within our conscious mind, bringing it bafk to the light for a conscious and loving conversation. If we have the self awareness to recognise these aspects of ourselves then we are gifting ourselves with an opportunity to decide how to act. Without having undergone the process of shadow work, we may never become aware of how we are acting without self awareness.
FINDING YOUR SHADOW:
Carl Jung the Swiss psychologist was a pioneer of shadow work and dedicated many years of his life to mapping out the human mind to help people find what is in their shadow self. His work has influenced the following ritual for exploring the shadow. It is a journey of self discovery and much like an internal housecleaning. BE GENTLE, and don’t force yourself to take on too much at once. Shadow work should be treated like routine maintenance to keep things running smoothly. Your journey into shadow work starts with noticing clues that point to the direction you should be delving into. Find these clues by carrying out some self observations in your day to day life. Notice whenever something elicits a negative emotional response from you; in other words, when you feel triggered. Does being stuck in traffic infuriate you? Do you feel irritated at a person who moves slowly or is indecisive? Make a note of these feelings as they occur, but don’t think too hard about it at the time; your shadow work should be performed later, preferably alone once you’ve centered and grounded. There are many ways to perform shadow work, with the intent being to identify what is in your shadow, recognize it as part of you, and accept it as valid. Unity is accepting that we as human beings are not charming and delightful all of the time; we have complex emotions which are not always pleasant but they are necessary. Shadow work requires that you feel your feelings because they are authentically you. Feeling your feelings and not being ashamed of them helps you grow spiritually because you are not denying or covering up your true nature. Repressing your true nature leads to inner conflict, and ultimately inauthenticity. It takes energy to keep slices of your soul concealed in the darkness, so bringing them into the light is ultimately liberating, and very empowering.
Gather your tools.
You will need your 3 pillar candles
A small sharp instrument to carve with.
A journal and pen for writing with
PREPARE YOUR SPACE
It would be ideal if you can be somewhere private, and if your altar is there – even better. If not, its ok, you can always transfer everything to your altar once the prep work is done. Set the tone with some soothing music, and soft lighting. Take a cleansing bath and smudge your space.
CUT YOUR POMEGRANATE
Cut your pomegranate into 4 sections. you can leave them attached at the bottom or place them in a circle, side by side at the center of your altar. If you still have the dish of dirt there from our New Moon in Capricorn ritual featured in the Conjurer Power Prompts – you can place them on top of it our around it.
Take a few moments to bring yourself into the present and quiet the mind. Breathe deeply for a count of seven, hold it for a count of five and breathe out for a count of seven. Repeat this ten times, focusing on nothing but your breath, and noticing the rise and fall of your chest. Let your breathing return to its natural rhythm and invite the Goddess to be with you while your explore your underworld.
JOURNAL PROMPTS FOR SHADOW UNION: LET IT ALL OUT
Take your writing equipment, choose a topic from your observed list of triggers, and write down everything about what bothers you. Don’t concern yourself with spelling, grammar or neatness – this is just for you. Allow the thoughts to travel from your mind to your hand as you pour out every though you have on this subject, purging yourself of every negative thought connected to the topic. Don’t stop until you’re satisfied that you have expelled every fragment of vitriol.
READ WHAT YOU HAVE WRITTEN
Read it through once with the mindset of compassion, feeling love for the version of you that has experienced pain. Read it through again, noticing any themes that appear multiple times in your writing such as a tendency to criticize yourself, or a feeling of being unworthy.
CHALLENGE WHAT YOU HAVE WRITTEN
Continue your journaling by questioning what you’ve written. Ask yourself:
Why do I feel like this?
What if the opposite was also true?
How can I use these feelings to help me grow?
How can I accept that I feel this way?
CARVE YOUR BLACK CANDLE
You can anoint your candle with an earthy essential oil to dress it if you like. Cypress, Cedar, Copal or Patchouli to name a few. Breathe into your candle and make sure it is infused with your energy. Carve into your candle the word SHADOW with the letters going from top to bottom. Now carve as many other words from your journaling that you feel fit in the shadow category. Seal it with a symbol of 2 circles intertwined (one overlapping the other) to symbolize UNION. Once your black candle is carved, place it on the left side of your altar.
Reflect on your shadow work journal writing. Spend a few moments reflecting on what you’ve discovered and acknowledge that you’ve take a big step towards personal growth. Be proud of yourself, be kind to yourself. Give thanks to yourself for taking this time to grow, and you can also give thanks to the Goddess for her guidance.
~ Light your Black Candle and eat 1 pomegranate seed ~
Practice the Tree of Consciousness Meditation while holding your white candle in your lap or in one or both of your hands.
SEED 2: BALANCE
We bloom our brightest after a period of rest; it is the stillness of winter that amplifies the effervescent joy of Spring. Flowing with the alchemy of the universe enriches our minds and bodies.
Working with Persephone is a reminder to live in sync with the pattern of rest and renewal. Her descent into the Underworld is often used as a metaphor for descent into the personal Underworld of our own subconscious, although it is also a metaphor for regeneration. In the darkness of the soil, seeds slowly absorb the nutrients that they require to one day shoot fourth into the light; fertile earth produces healthy, blooming plants. Retreating from the outside world for short periods of time gives us the opportunity to tend to our own needs.
JOURNAL PROMPTS FOR FINDING BALANCE:
How am I feeling in this moment?
How would I like to feel in this moment?
What am I grateful for?
What are my 3 key priorities?
What do I want to give today?
List 3 things you can do for your body today.
How can I integrate self-care into my day?
Who am I going to connect with today?
What are 3 things that would make today an amazing day?
CARVE YOUR WHITE CANDLE
You can dress your candle with a clarity of mind essential oil like rosemary, mint, frankincense, eucalyptus etc. Carve into your white candle the words clarity and balance + any number of the most vital words of affirmation that came through from your FINDING BALANCE journal prompts and seal it with a symbol of 2 triangles (one pointing up & one pointing down) to represent BALANCE. Wrap a strand of your hair around it spiraling from bottom to top.
LIGHT YOUR WHITE CANDLE
And practice some restorative yoga. Breathe, stretch, take some time to integrate all of the work you have done and move the energy through your body somatically. You can also dance, sway, shake and bounce it out. Whatever feels medicinal for you in this moment.
~ Eat 1 more Pomegranate seed ~
CARVE YOUR RED CANDLE
You can anoint and dress your candle with essential oils that enliven and invigorate you with a divine feminine frequency. Geranium, Rose, Vanilla, Bergamot, Myrtle etc. You can also anoint it with pomegranate seed juice or even your menstrual blood if you are on moon your cycle.
You have the option of stopping there and sealing it with a symbol of your choosing.
OR you can seal your candle with the symbol of Persephone shared in the above notes.
This candle now serves serves as a link directly to Persephone, to welcome her into your journey of renewal.
Carve the name Persephone and any of her epithets that feel appropriate for you at this time. Her Epithets are listed in the COVEN COMPANION.
LIGHT YOUR RED CANDLE
Place your Red candle in the center of your pomegranate.
You can say this incantation to charge the ritual:
Hear me Persephone, Maiden of Light
Be with me Persephone, Queen of the Night.
Come blessed Goddess, source of life,
Underworld Empress, Hades’ honored wife.
Lend me your wisdom, your clear sight and justice,
Shroud me with sanctuary, this space shall encompass.
SIT AND BREATHE HER IN AS YOU WELCOME HER INTO YOUR TEMPLE AND HEART.
PULL SOME CARDS:
You can access the Persephone Underworld Spread by following the link below:
~ Blessed Be ~