Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Encountering the Dark Goddess

The Dark Goddess is often associated with the Jungian “Shadow self”, an archetype that represents the neglected side of our nature that can drag us down into a pit of despair.  In his book, Shadow Dance: Liberating the Power and Creativity of Your Dark Side, David Richo describes the shadow as "that part of us that is incompatible with who we think we are or are supposed to be. It is the realm beyond our limits, the place where we are more than we seem".  He further states that it is "ironically humorous because the opposite of our self-image proves to be true in spite of all our tricky attempts not to believe or display it."

When referring to the Dark Goddess in this manner, there can be a danger in over-analysing our suffering whereby we become a victim of circumstance and the “blame” is passed onto  someone or something else (our parents, society, karma, etc).  Such action does not free us from the “darkness” nor does it ultimately transfer responsibility to another.  At the end of the day, how we act and continue to react to a situation or a person is our responsibility alone. 

In Kissing the Hag, Emma Restall Orr notes that the Dark Goddess is "... the primordial aspect who birthed us.  By her touch, she awoken the “darkness” within our own souls allowing us to perceive and reflect on things around us.  For without this reverence, we are lost." 

Often we often ourselves without reverence towards this aspect of the Divine Feminine for she is the one who reminds us of our mortality.  Yet it is she who guides us towards and through the cauldron of transformation.  We shun her because at some point we have been even subtly programmed to believe that light is the pivotal focus of growth, just as our planet relies on the sun for light and heat.  In adhering to this belief we overlook one vitally important fact: the actual source and potential of all creation is a place of darkness, the "dark womb of creation" as Orr describes it. 

Since 2006 I have been running workshops that incorporate myths surrounding various aspects of the Dark Goddess that have included Kali, Persephone, Hekate, Hel, Baba Yaga, Sekhmet and Oya to name a few.  I am delighted to announce that later in 2017 the long awaited book based on these workshops will be released.  More details will be made available when they come to hand.

Orr, Emma Restall, Kissing the Hag: The Dark Goddess and the Unacceptable Nature of Women, (O Books, 2008)
Richo, David, Shadow Dance: Liberating the Power and Creativity of Your Dark Side (Shambhala Publications, 1999)