Spring Equinox (or Eostar as it is often named) may be storied as the Seasonal Moment of Heraic Return. I have summarised the Moment as ‘stepping into the joy and power of being’[i] … as the light has grown strong at this time, and warmth and growth can be sensed in the land: the return of the Beloved One, strength of being, the promise of life, is certain. She appears, emerges, from below. The story I base both Equinox ceremonies on is that of Demeter and Persephone, and importantly, it is the older matristic version as told by Charlene Spretnak: wherein Persephone descends of Her own volition[ii] (at the time of the Autumn Equinox) and returns at the Spring Equinox with new wisdom from the depths.[iii]
Persephone, or the Returned Beloved One, is a courageous one who has journeyed through trials, through the Underworld, and emerged victorious. I name it as “Heraic Return”, because “hera” pre-dated “hero”: that is, the “hero” (Heracles) was carrying out the biddings of his Goddess Hera, who was native Queen in the pre-Olympian times. Thus as Charlene Spretnak suggests, “heroine” is an unnecessary derivation, “hera” may be used as a term for any courageous individual,[iv] and not bound to any particular sexual identity. And the Returned Beloved Ones are winners – like Olympic athletes, except that the earliest games at Olympia were Hera’s games at Her Heraion (temple),[v] so we may understand ourselves as winners in Her sacred journey … how it is that we each have made it through great challenges. In the Spring Equinox ceremony at my place as we have done it for decades, with some creative variation, we wait for each Journeyer as they take the lantern and wander outside of the circle, enacting and remembering their Underworld journeys. These journeys may be remembered within the context of collective lost wanderings – over eons … as they are actually: and we greet each journeyer with cheers and praise as they emerge “into the light & strength of Spring & Being”.[vi]
Persephone’s return is the certain return of manifest Creativity. She brings with Her, knowledge of the depths, from whence springs all Creativity (autopoiesis). Persephone’s journey is about becoming familiar with the inner realms in herself, falling in Love with these depths. In the creation story of the Faery tradition, all manifestation springs forth from Goddess falling in love with Her reflection in the curved mirror of black space.[ix] The ancients understood that the essence of creative power springs from self-love, known and seen only completely in the dark.
It is this self-knowledge that each returns with, bringing back this beauty and integrity, from the deep source of Creativity, the autopoiesis of the Cosmos within the self: to enhance the world – with new strength of Being. Each of us may be celebrated as courageous ones on the everyday journey of being and becoming, and Spring Equinox is a good Moment for that, for recognising our sacred status as returned beloved ones.
Here is a photo of Organic Power – that each being must have:
it is a power to be, a Gaian power: it has resonances with the image above don’t you think? May you know the joy and power of being.
© Glenys Livingstone 2015.
[i] Glenys Livingstone, PaGaian Cosmology, pp. 286-291.
[ii] Charlene Spretnak, Lost Goddesses of Early Greece, pp. 105-118
[iii] For more on Persephone as Redeemer: http://pagaian.org/2015/03/17/the-equinoxes-as-story-of-redemption-sacred-balance-of-maternal-creativity/
[iv] Charlene Spretnak, The Politics of Women’s Spirituality, p. 87
[v] See Charlene Spretnak, Lost Goddesses of Early Greece, p. 87-88.
[vii] initiated by the group doing PaGaian Spring Equinox ceremony, Memphis TN, March 2013.
[viii] Glenys Livingstone, PaGaian Cosmology, p.141.
[ix] Starhawk, The Spiral Dance, p.31.
Austen, Hallie Iglehart. The Heart of the Goddess. Berkeley: Wingbow Press, 1990. (for images) http://heartgoddess.net
Livingstone, Glenys. PaGaian Cosmology: Re-inventing Earth-based Goddess Religion. Lincoln NE: iUniverse, 2005.
Spretnak, Charlene. Lost Goddesses of Early Greece. Boston: Beacon Press, 1992.
_______________ (ed.) The Politics of Women’s Spirituality. NY: Doubleday, 1982.
Starhawk. The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the ancient Religion of the Great Goddess. NY: Harper and Row, 1989.