Wednesday, September 16, 2015

In the Time of the Mysteries

The season turns, the days grow shorter, and I feel myself turning inwards as Persephone descends to the underworld.  It's funny how quickly it can happen.  Last week we had the hottest weather of the summer; this week is feeling like Fall.   (And may the blessed rains that are just barely beginning to sprinkle come and soothe this parched and fire-ravaged California earth.)

This is the time of year when the Eleusinian Mysteries were celebrated for several thousand years in Greece - initiation rites honoring Demeter and Persephone.

Last June, I made a promise to write four poems to Persephone this year.  Here's my second (still not happy with the first - I'm working on it).

There are a lot of poems where kindness is the theme.  I think of Naomi Shihab Nye's, for instance.  I'm just beginning to understand what treating myself with kindness really means.  Is that odd, at this late stage of the game?  I think to myself, "Well, duh," but that response demonstrates exactly the point - how easy it is to slip into self-talk that's anything but kind.

Here's the poem.  To you, Persephone!

The Way Through

Head tilted back,
Gaze lifted to the heavens -
The posture, in and of itself,
Causes spirits to rise.

But the One I honor
Is not in those realms above.
All the stories tell us
That She reigns below.

Under the earth?  
Not only that, but also
Beneath the surface
Of one’s own being -

The deep place which is
Hard to remember, hard to find,
Hard to acknowledge,
Hard to face.

The pulls of the surface world
Are strong and compelling.
Ascent into light is
A magnetic draw.

But following this goddess
Means agreeing to go into
Dark and buried places.
There is no escaping it.

I muse, is there no way
to both rise and descend? 
Are spirit glory and soul wisdom
Mutually exclusive?

“No!” She says. 
“The way of the life dream
Is to go deep and to rise,
To dwell and thrive

“In the paradox.
Come to the Dark One, 
And find the light.  After all,
I am the one who travels

"Between all the worlds.
 And one more thing –
the trickiest task of all -
Kindness must be the way through.

“To others, yes,
But above all, to yourself.
When you learn this,
You will truly find your way.”

My SoulCollage® card of Persephone

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