Do you wish to know more about the Goddess in her dark aspect? Are you having a hard time and you’d like to have a map to this uncharted territory? Do you want to know you more yourself, contacting your dark self (not necessarily ‘bad’) we all have inside? If so ‘Journey to the Dark Goddess. How to Return to Your Soul ‘ by Jane Meredith will surely interest you.
This book deals with the journey to the underworld, with the aim of finding the dark aspect of the Goddess, in a very practical way through the ritual work and presentation of other exercises designed to be performed primarily in sacred space. It assumes that the reader has its own method of creating it, but also gives simple tips on how to do for those who are not familiar. The whole book is built this way: presenting rituals and structures extremely flexible and adaptable to the needs and peculiarities of the reader.
The book advances through the telling of several myths: Innana and Ereskighal (the main one), Psyche and Eros and Persephone declining. Also offering hints of the author’s interpretation and parallels of theses different descents into the Underworld. It is divided into four parts:
- Preparing the descent: The author talks about the value of this trip as a way to integrate all of our parts (the anima to animus as Jung would say). It also explains the worth of doing this consciously and voluntarily, as a way of trying to avoid us and the strong shocks that produce the unexpected dark periods in our life (serious illness, depression and, in general, when everything seems to be upside down), or at least, when they occur, having better tools to deal with them, such as a ‘map’ with your past experience. It also gives practical suggestions on how design a system for someone to support us, that can help us when needed it.
- Descending to the Underworld: It presents a beautiful ritual following the myth of Inanna to descend to the Underworld. It talks about the need to avoid getting lost in the details and motives, that would be a resistance to the process, and how to find the shortest path. We also have the very valuable account of different personal experiences of this process.
- In the Underworld: Here we are given a tool to contact the Dark Goddess and three simple but effective techniques that can help us with the issues we want to work on.
- Leaving the Underworld: This part presents rituals to integrate the power to do the Dark Goddess we found (the part of it that is in us) and to exit the Underworld, following the scheme in reverse. It also talks about how the deal with the changes gradually integrating them into our lives and the need to give them time as sometimes they need to be seen from the distance.
Also at the end of each party, you are invited to create a map: a memory written, graphic or more artistic to help us remember the experience for future trips.
My personal opinion is that it is an incredibly valuable book to help you with this process; right now I’ve only read but I have every intention to try it out and I’ll tell you the result. Besides that, I love the knowledge and the way the mythical themes are expressed, especially when one of the characters speak with their own voice. Although for me, the most valuable is precisely that the author shares some of her experiences in the Underworld; it is a truly sacred gift that really helps me to understand the processes that are explained. Finally I think that, in addition to those interested in the topic of the Dark Goddess (even though we talk about a trip to the Underworld, the land of the dead, it is not about contacting them but about engaging in a deep personal and interior journey), it may be of interest to anyone that creates and facilitates rituals, as it is a beautiful sample or ritual planning and experience sharing.
Both Aphrodite’s Magic and this book are written in a simple but beautiful style, with a pocket edition that can be defined with the same virtues. Being, the present one, in my opinion, even better thanks to the extensive personal comments from the author, a person who clearly knows the territory she is talking about. So highly recommended!
This is one of the books I read as part of the Pagan Reading Challenge 2012. Curious about my pickings? Check them here.
Original review in Spanish published in Vozpagana.com. Leelo en Español allí.