Love thyself.....words we all need to hear and probably practice more often than we do. In light of the #metoo movement and the call so many women are waking up to answer, women are stepping back into their power, finding their voice and taking back control over their sacred bodies-who can see them, who can touch them, and who can honor them. In addition to that we often fall into the business of life, taking care of others, or for any other reason, find the beliefs of our own beauty and Divine feminine essence can get diminished, stifled or even forgotten with insecurities, the media and stereotypes, or a disconnection to our sensual nature. Well, no more, I say!
Loving yourself and feeling good in your own skin is essential to any kind of growth or healing. Our internal power is limitless and we find we can tap into that part of ourselves for self expression, intimacy and yes-self love. Goddess archetypes can serve as an extension of aspects already within ourselves, and whom we can petition to reawaken the spark that already lays smoldering within our being.....so I've taken the liberty (and had fun doing it!) of creating a self love ritual working with the West African Yoruban Goddess Oshun.
Oshun-Goddess of luxury, beauty, fertility, sensuality, divination, the rivers, prosperity, sexuality, sweet waters and dancing. She is your girl to call upon to get your self love groove on. She teaches us how to love ourselves and our bodies, and there are many tales of her compassion and healing of the earth, while maintaining her independent and sensual nature. Used in the Yoruban traditions as well as Voodoo and Santeria, there is no doubt that she will help deliver your devotion to yourself so that you may practice giving, receiving and expression love for yourself as well as others.
This ritual involves tokens to her and a means to connect to your intimate self and bring out the Divine Goddess waiting to express herself. Many things are sacred to her, including honey, mirrors (to love herself, of course!), water, peacocks, yellow copper and more, and she is said to be connected to our solar plexus or Mani Pura chakra which rules our personal power, self esteem and confidence.
Oshun Altar Tool Ideas:
First be sure to give some quiet time to yourself, preferably with an empty house if possible. This is sacred space and love is for only you....for now anyway.
Remember you are a beautiful goddess capable of not only giving but receiving all of the love in the world. We can be forces of compassion and healing, while remaining our strong, independent and bad ass selves. Give yourself some love this Valentine's Day......you deserve it! Want another bad ass goddess to work with for some sensual self expression, check out a new moon ritual working with my other girl, Lilith!
Happy Valentine's Day, beautiful one.....
In modern day spiritual evolution and practices we are often told to stay positive, overcome our flaws, and only embrace the light along out path to enlightenment. However, is it possible that if we ignore the darker, repressed, untamed and fearful parts of our psyche that we are robbing ourselves of personal alchemy, cohesion and full transcendence?
Psychotherapist Carl Jung made popular the idea of different parts of psyche-including the shadow, the light, the persona are a ways we become fragmented from childhood to only show what we think the world wants to see and hide away that which is taboo or not socially accepted. The word persona is derived from a Latin word meaning mask, and he suggests that we put on a persona with certain archetypes of roles we play in life, the social masks we wear, if you will. These archetypes are fragmented parts of ourselves to organize how we experience life in different roles, what we would like to be or how we wish to bee seen in the world. (the mother, the co-worker, the spouse, etc.) Some say in today's modern day it's simply our persona we put on social media, not expressing the deeper, darker aspects that may not be accepted. This of course all up for debate, and I certainly don't accuse anyone of not living a full, authentic life, but I find this is something to explore....so let us dive a little deeper.
The shadow according to Jung is the hidden place within our own subconscious that holds repressed ideas, beliefs, weaknesses, impulses, fears, embarrassments, perversions and the untamed and chaotic parts of ourselves. That these accumulate along our life journey and often time ignored causing a block of living a fully authentic life and to truly love ourselves. If we allow ourselves to acknowledge these core wounds and dark spaces with full ownership can we then work to let go of anger, guilt or shame? Can we change the pattern of self-sabotage if learn that we hate to feel vulnerable and weak?
We've been taught our whole lives to be afraid of the dark, but there is a strong creative energy in that space that longs for you to shed your light upon it. Seeds take roots in the darkness and we can often find a fertile underground just waiting to be tapped. There cannot be light without the darkness, and we are after all the sum of all of our parts...so why not explore, acknowledge and walk boldly and lovingly into our darkest of places? We are all light and dark, weak and strong, and can find a balance of all that we are with love.
I love to find creative ways to move towards transformation, and I'm all about ritual and Goddess work to bring about aspects of myself I want to explore and shift. So here are a few ways to can delve into the darkness for creativity and exploration, and Dark Goddesses we can call upon when doing our own shadow work.
How to Explore your Shadow Self:
Now these woman are not to be feared, but revered! Working with Dark Goddess energy can bring about a sense of personal power, protection and creativity. These Goddesses embrace the shadow, follow the darkness and tread where others only fear. Create your own ritual to call upon one of these bad asses of the dark to illuminate your truest self so that you may wrap your arms around every aspect of yourself-mind, body and spirit.
Kali-The Bad Ass Destroyer
Kali, meaning black, is the Hindu Goddess of destruction, chaos, transformation, rebirth and primal energy. She helps to liberate us from who or what we think we are, so that we may find wholeness. Call upon her to help slay some demons and explore the darkness from which the entire universe was created. Read more about Kali here.
Hekate (Hecate)-Queen of the Underworld
The Dark Moon Goddess-of the night, and of the crossroads. Hekate is the guardian of the spirit world, protectors of travelers of the crossroads & Goddess of all witches, magic, ghosts and witchcraft. Her sacred animal is the black dog and she is depicted holding two torches-call upon her for protection, insight and guidance in the dark. Petition her for direction at the crossroads and she will give you the key to taking your own, truest direction.
Persephone-The Balance between Darkness & Light
The story of Persephone, daughter of Zeus and Demeter, is one that leaves her another Queen of the Underworld. Abducted by Hades, Lord of the Underworld, she became a symbol of the cycles of the seasons as well as death and rebirth. When first abducted Demeter called upon Hekate to help find her child. This Goddess of harvest and fertility was made to live among the shadows and the dead for half of the year, and each time she left her mother Demeter dried up the earth, creating winter. When she was allowed to return into the Upperworld in the spring, the earth would then come back to live with new growth. She was tricked into eating pomegranate seeds during the negotiations of her return, and she's forever obligated to make this return to the Underworld each year.
Inanna & Ereshkigal-Sisters of Light and Dark
Inanna, Sumerian Goddess of Heaven and Earth, love and war. Ereshkigal, her dark sister of the Underworld, and represents the unseen parts of ourselves. There tale tells us that neither side is more important than the other. When Inanna ventures into the Underworld her sister kills her, they then merge into one reminding us that that we are both the light and the darkness. Read their full story here.
To work with these Goddesses follow your own intuition to invoke these energies.
Create your own ritual to petition for guidance and support as you explore your Shadow as well as your Light. Some ideas for ritual can include:
Hello lovelies. Thank you for letting me express my journey of discovering my magic and Divine Feminine. I am happy to share my experiences with you to heal, love, and evolve.