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Persephone, Spring, and the Long Dark Night of the Soul

While I love Winter and the introspection and solitude that it brings, I confess to a feeling of relief the day I wake with the undeniable feeling that the Wheel has Turned. It has nothing to do with the date, or the weather forecast, or what a rodent in the next state had to say. For me, its a sense of life swelling within. A feeling of untold potential and newness that is dancing from foot to foot like a two year old waiting for the bathroom!

This year it came about a week after Imbolc, that was when I knew that the long dark was over, Persephone had returned.

Who?

I'm SO glad you asked … and if you didn't ask, i'm going to tell you anyway.

Persephone is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. Like all the women in mythology she was very beautiful, but, her mother kept her close at home and scared off any potential suitors. Enter Hades, Lord of the Underworld, he was not put off by Demeter's refusals. He simply stole her one day while she was out picking flowers and spirited her away to the Underworld.

Demeter was heartbroken and swore that nothing would grow until her daughter was back home again. Unfortunately, no one knew what had happened, and those that did know, said nothing because they didn't want to get involved. All except Hecate.

Hecate revealed that Persephone had been kidnapped by Hades. When she heard that, Demeter grew angry and wanted revenge. Others suggested that it was not such a bad thing for Persephone to be the wife of Hades and queen of the dead. Eventually, Hermes ventured into the Underworld to bring Persephone home. Because she had eaten six pomegranate seeds, it was declared that she must spend six months in the Underworld every year.

Mythology always has several meanings to every story. The story on top, the wider meaning to the world, and the personal meaning that we each take from it. On the surface, this is a story of a mother's love. More widely, it's an explanation of the yearly seasonal changes.

On a personal level, it is a story of the Dark Night of the Soul. A time when we retreat inwards into our own shadows. We take time out for meditation, for healing, for inner work and growth. When Spring comes, we emerge from our isolation knowing that we bring with us new seeds to plant in our lives. New gifts to offer the World, and a deeper appreciation of love and friendship and oneness with self and soul.

When you look at the current panic in this light, it seems a lot more manageable. Suddenly you can see past the fear, to the deep strong currents of love and cleansing that flow beneath it. Now is a great time to allow ourselves to sink down through that fear. Give yourself permission to rest in the deep currents knowing they bring with them soul and heart healing. Knowing that these currents are healing the entire World, the planet and every resident of it that knows how to reach into them.

Everyone's dark night is different, what most of us have in common is that it comes in Winter when we have time to sit with ourselves. We aren't caught up in the busyness of Summer, we are curled up in our warm homes with time on our hands. It is a private and personal journey that is also a shared journey. A journey that will always end with the celebration of light and life as the first flowers of Spring rise up from the frozen ground.

Image by Katherine Slade from Pixabay 

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