By Amy Brucker
It’s going to be dark this week–new moon, solstice–so I created a SOULstice ritual to support your journey.
But first, a few thoughts about the darkness…
The Descent into Darkness
When all that’s familiar is stripped away, you’re left with darkness.
Some people tremble with fear when they encounter this place. Others revel in the mystery, using it as an opportunity to discover the depths of their being.
The choice is yours, but what you do here influences your entire life.
The ancient Greek myth about Persephone illustrates this struggle, but it also gives clues about the best way to move forward.
Persephone is innocence personified. One day she tends her garden, joyfully gathering posies, when out of nowhere, Hades comes to abduct her and pulls her into the underworld.
Persephone is separated from everything she knows and holds dear–the light, warmth, her mother. She slips into the darkness and loses herself. Devastated by her predicament, she goes into depression and denial.
Her life has been hijacked. It’s no longer her own. She will never be the person she was.
How many times have you been innocently enjoying your life when some drama or trauma abducted you from your blissful moment?
A break up.
A micro-managing boss.
This is Hades pulling you from your holy garden into the darkness, against your will, where you will be faced with the most important decision you can make.
Denial or Acceptance
Although Persephone’s Descent is an allegory that explains the transition from the warm, sunny days of summer to the bleak, dark days of winter, it’s a myth with another message.
This story is about choice.
Hades, god of the underworld, presents Persephone with a pomegranate, a deliciously ripe fruit. It’s a gesture of good will, but it also serves as food to nourish her.
Persephone looks at the fruit, but refuses to eat. Days go by, weeks. She grows weary and hungry, hoping her fast will miraculously return her to the garden of innocence.
Persephone wants to ignore her situation in hopes that it will go away. But that denial keeps her stuck in hell, where there is no life, only death.
Then one day, she cannot take the bleakness any longer. Persephone makes a decision and eats the fruit. Her bite is the acceptance of her fate. She decides to make peace with her situation. She eats the fruit, and with it, steps into her new life.
Because of her choice to nourish herself, Persephone begins to heal. Through healing, she becomes one with her Self.
It’s only through acceptance of her situation that she can move forward to create a healthy and new life.
She chooses life.
Where was your life hijacked?
At some point your life took an unexpected turn.
Maybe the evil queen ripped your heart out and locked it in a box; or your knight in shining armor ran off with another maiden; or your health was poisoned by a shiny red apple.
Perhaps this situation hijacked your life, linking your soul with suffering.
And maybe this situation has become the Story of Your Life, influencing your health and wellness, like Persephone’s abduction into the underworld influenced hers.
Expect it isn’t the whole story.
There’s a decision to be made.
How long are you going to stay in the darkness before you taste the sweet, delicious fruit that is yours for the taking?
When will you choose life?
Connecting with your Soul at Soul-stice
What is the BIG decision you need to make to return to wholeness?
Bits of you may have been quietly or abruptly pushed aside. Your spiritual gifts. Your purpose. Your peace of mind.
Something in you was abducted and only you have the power to call it back.
Is it time to make a choice? How much suffering will you endure before you feel ready?
SOULstice is the perfect time to go into the darkness–consciously–to explore what’s missing. Reflect on what you’ve lost so you can acknowledge your journey and make a choice to bring all of you back into the light.
Your SOULstice Ritual
I created this SOULstice ritual for you to help you call back the bits of your soul that are lost.
One pomegranate (if you can’t find a pomegranate, an apple or any other fruit will do).
Take a few moments to contemplate a situation in which you were abducted from your metaphoric holy garden.
What derailed you and became the Story of Your Life in a way that is not supporting you?
Imagine that part of you is in the underworld. This aspect of you holds part of your soul, and with it, part of your power.
It’s time to choose: will you let it linger in the underworld, or will you call it back?
If you’re ready to call it back, have the supplies on hand and imagine you are talking with a part of you that is in the underworld. Say this prayer out loud (or write your own). Feel free to change it so it resonates with you:
You are a part of me, but you were abducted into the darkness.
I know it was difficult to leave the life you cherished.
I know you felt ripped away from innocence.
Your journey was difficult and I honor it.
I acknowledge your pain.
I see your suffering.
Yet now it’s time to call you back into wholeness.
I call you back by eating this fruit, which carries the seeds of life to nourish me.
I eat the fruit and nourish myself.
I eat the fruit and make myself whole again.
May it be so.
Eat the pomegranate seeds.
Light the candle and say this:
As I light this candle, I call back all parts of me and honor the beauty of my soul.
Feel the parts of you returning and integrating into your being, and say,
May it be so.
When you’re ready, close the ritual by giving thanks and blowing out the candle.
Notice how you feel.
Happy Solstice and Hanukkah to those who celebrate.