“This Witch Reads” is a podcast about learning how to be a witch and tend to the soul through books.
In this episode, I share what Demetra George’s book, “Mysteries of the Dark Moon: The Healing Power of the Dark Goddess”, taught me about being a witch and tending to my soul.
Demetra is someone I was introduced to when I started studying ancient and Hellenistic astrology and whenever she is being interviewed on “The Astrology Podcast” I listen to, I swoon over her vast knowledge of the stars and the Goddess. What a phenomenal woman and role model! I looked up to her before I read this book so it was a treat to actually be with her words and stories for awhile.
In “Mysteries of the Dark Moon”, she incorporates mythological archetypes, transpersonal healing therapies and astrology as she explores the mystery, wisdom and power of the dark phase of the moon’s cycle.
In this episode, I summarize some of the teachings you’ll find in her book and share my experience reading it.
If you are familiar with me and my work or my Facebook group “Art Journal with the Moon”, then you know I love working with the moon in my art journal for both my personal healing and for creating the changes I want to see in my life. Obviously any book on the moon is going to be interesting to me.
This book was no exception. Generally speaking, as it describes at the back of the book, Demetra presents a lunar-based model for moving through the dark times in our lives but honestly, the book was so much more than that. It shared myths about certain goddesses. It went over history and chronicled the events that led to the abolition and death of the Goddess, the suppression of women, and it explained how patriarchal society changed our relationship with nature.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I was reading this book and watching the TV series, “The Power” at the same time. Both the book and the series feel like an explosion of feminine power. On page 62, Demetra refers to this time of feminine power as the “Return of the Goddess”.
The book was first published in 1992 so I’m late to the party – I’m sure this will happen often on this podcast. As I explained in the first episode, I haven’t read a lot of books about being a witch until now. Instead of learning about being a witch from other people, I was just doing my own thing with my art journal and the moon so there are many popular books I haven’t read yet. This is one of them. I’m so glad I finally got to it.
This book is not a light read. It’s well-researched, long and a deep dive into the subject of the Goddess – which is lovely but also times a bit tedious and definitely hard for me to sum up because it triggered so many insights and awakenings. It was also emotionally triggering. I had to pause, put the book down for a while and regulate my nervous system a few times. It’s hard to read about the root of women’s oppression. It also hard to read a play-by-play account of society moving from respecting and revering nature to dominating it.
The fascinating thing about this book is Demetra was so very good at giving a chronological account of the destruction of the Goddess and clearly demonstrating the devastating effects that destroying the Goddess had on both women and men and the earth. Reading about it made me feel like when you watch a horror movie and you watch someone choose to go down the long dark staircase alone – you just want to scream, NO! Don’t do it! Because you know only death and ruin are waiting to greet them. Nothing good will come from their decision. Except Demetra is writing about our history – my family’s history, my grandmother’s history, my history – and there is no way for my screams to reach the past. As hard as I want to scream, “Don’t do it! Don’t destroy the Goddess! Nothing good will come of this!”, I know they will never hear me.
What I Loved About the Book
Which brings me to what I loved about the book.
Reading this book felt like someone put into words what I’ve felt my whole life.
I grew up in small French Catholic towns and I grew up feeling very different from the people around me. I didn’t believe in worshiping a male God, especially not the patriarchal version of God that was presented to me. It just didn’t speak to my heart or my soul. It didn’t resonate. It felt off to me.
Whenever I read about the ancient matriarchal nature religions of old Europe, my soul lights up. I find this odd and frankly unexplainable to my logical mind.
Why does a girl from the Canadian prairies feel like she belongs in a society that reveres the moon and the Goddess?
It’s odd to realize who you are is actually far more in line with ancient spirituality than it is with what you’ve been surrounded by your whole life.
Why did I carry so many of those memories of the Goddess with me in this life? Why do I know her so intimately when no one around me knows or feels her?
It’s strange having an experience that no one around you is having.
I mean I should be used to it. So many of my spiritual adventures have been experienced by me alone – well me alone with my spirit allies. This is the case with most spiritual experiences – they are typically solitary adventures. And me being off in my own little world doesn’t just happen in the spiritual realm. It happens in the physical realm too. The way my Mast Cells overreact, (I have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or MCAS) I’m often off on unpleasant physical reactions that no one else around me is experiencing so veering off on my own experience should feel somewhat usual to me – but still, most times it doesn’t. It feels isolating. Not always obviously, since the spiritual adventures I have with my angels and the Goddess are transcendent, life-affirming, healing and expand me in beautiful, soulful ways. But there is something to grapple and wrestle with when you don’t relate to those around me. And most of the time, I don’t. I’m sure some of you listening to this right now relate.
Thankfully, in my work, I’ve come across many people who I resonate more closely with. It makes me feel a lot less awkward. Still, there’s a part of me that yearns to live in one of the early societies Demetra describes in her books, if only to feel what it is like to live in a community of people who worship the moon or nature and the Goddess together. What would it be like to be surrounded by people who believe the same things I do or whose heart and souls speak a spiritual language similar to mine?
I’ve had tastes of that sense of community but not to the degree I imagine I would have living during those times. Demetra’s description of those early matriarchal cultures definitely caused me to long for those ancient times and those ways of being with each other, nature and the moon.
Don’t get me wrong. It didn’t all resonate. I’m not into sacrificing pigs or keeping rituals and ceremonies cloaked in so much mystery but I do wish the majority of people saw the Earth as holy and treated her that way.
Obviously a podcast about a book can never truly do justice to the book itself but I want to share some of Demetra’s teachings that stood out for me this time around. I say “this time around” because this is the kind of book you can read again and again and learn something new each time or at least have something new stand out to you each time.
This being my first time reading the book, one of the teachings I resonated with was the idea that in modern times we fear the dark. I could write a book of my own on this topic I’m sure – especially in terms of repressed emotions and shadow work. In my profession, I live in the shadows. That’s where I help people when they come to me for an Intuitive Support Session. We work with the MAP Method to clear blocks, limiting beliefs and self-sabotaging patterns that live and have been stored in the subconscious realm (or in other words, the shadows). Most of us have to do this kind of inner work because we grew up surrounded by people who repressed their dark, heavy feelings. How the heck could anyone teach us to skillfully navigate our confusing, overwhelming or scary emotions when they were too afraid to face their own?
As Demetra explains on page 5, in our culture the dark is seen as terrifying. We associate the dark with loss, abandonment, alienation, failure, isolation, disintegration and madness. In her words, “The dark symbolizes our fears of aging, illness, death, and dying.” It keeps our secret feelings of shame and grief and rage buried deep in the unconscious mind.
Demetra also explains on that same page how “society’s attitudes towards people of color, woman’s sexuality, the occult, the unconscious, the psychic arts, the aged and death itself are all manifestations” of our fear of the dark.
Our fear of the dark leads us to fear transformation or, more specifically, the point in transformation where we are no longer who we used to be but we’re not yet who we are becoming. This particular in-between space within transformation is unsettling. I arrive at this point often when my inner healing work or magic causes a dramatic shift within me. I want to change something in my life, so I work with the new moon in my art journal to declare that to the cosmos. Then I work with the full moon to deepen and amplify that intention. Finally, I work with the waning moon phases and the dark moon to dive into my shadows and ask my spirit allies for help tending to younger or past life or wounded parts of me who don’t like my new moon intentions because they don’t feel safe to change. I dive into my shadows and do the inner work and this brings on transformation which throws me into the void. I’m no longer who I was before I declared my intentions but I’m not yet who I will be when my intentions become a reality. I’m in-between those two ways of being and there’s things I have to let go of in order to change and become who I want to be. There’s limiting beliefs I have to release. I have to stretch and grow and become something I’m not yet and it’s usually uncomfortable. My body likes the familiar even when the familiar isn’t what I want.
On the outside, my world looks the same but inside I changed dramatically in some way. I didn’t move or have a relationship end or experience any major change in my physical world but inside, I’m different. An old unhealthy pattern died and can no longer be repeated or a new part of my identity was revealed and I no longer feel like the same person. Sometimes, these internal transformations cause me to not know where I am. I’m thrown into unfamiliar territory. My inner landscape is new.
It’s like being in a foreign land where I don’t know the language yet and I don’t know how to navigate my way around. I feel lost and confused. Even when I know the changes are good, the unfamiliar is still unsettling and it can be particularly unsettling to my nervous system. My brain isn’t convinced yet that I am safe so it’s on alert. It’s more cautious. It has a harder time feeling rooted and grounded and settled.
Transformations that we consciously seek out through doing inner work or practicing magic lead to this kind of discomfort but so do external ones like the death of a loved one, facing natural catastrophe or a major life crisis, a relationship ending, moving, becoming a parent, facing a career change, confronting illness or experiencing a life-changing accident, losing your faith or changing your spiritual beliefs, making a decision that plunges you into the unknown, experiencing any kind of new beginning or any kind of ending or closure and even, as Danielle Blackwood describes in her book “A Lantern in the Dark”, certain astrological times in our lives naturally signal transformation.
In whatever way I come face to face with it, whether it is self-initiated through inner work and magic or it is imposed upon me by Life and the unpredictable circumstances she throws at me, transformation is hard because it throws me into the unknown – which is another way of saying it throws me into the dark.
But, as Demetra explains in her book, life is a cycle. Just like the moon we are meant to experience different phases in our lives. There is a time, like the waxing and full moon, for energy to build and grow and there is a time, like the dark moon, for energy to wane and decrease. There is a time to be in the light of the full moon and see where you are and there is a time to be in the dark moon and greet the unknown. We tend to like the building and growing phases and we especially like the light and the familiar and knowing where we are. We tend to fear, resist and reject the waning and decreasing phases and the dark of the unknown.
In the book, Demetra highlights specific dark moon times and suggests we learn to embrace them, do the inner work and see them as a time of transformation, rebirth and renewal.
The dark times she describes include, the month before one’s birthday, the winter solstice, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause, aging, death and any time of personal loss.
I was familiar with each of these dark moon times in our lives except the month before one’s birthday. I had never heard anyone point this particular dark time out but on page 17 Demetra describes how, at some point in midlife, instead of looking forward to our birthdays, we start to dread them. We can feel lonely and overcome with despair during this time. She reassures us that it is natural for feelings of uncertainty and fear to surface at this time (pg 18).
My birthday is coming up and I think she’s right. I hadn’t noticed it before but now that I’m in my late forties I see what she means. My birthday definitely reminds me how much closer I’m creeping towards death.
I know that’s morbid but I think that’s her point.
On a lighter note, can I just say that after watching the TV series Dickinson, Death has become a cool, dark, romantic man whisking me off in a fancy carriage with Emily Dickinson by his side so it’s not all bad.
Instead of Fearing the Dark
In the book, Demetra not only helps us locate the dark phases that will greet us in our lives, she offers words of advice based on the ancient wisdom of the Goddess.
She suggests that instead of fearing the dark, embrace it. Embrace the uncertainty. Understand you are in the midst of some kind of transformation even if you don’t know where it is leading you yet. Know the Goddess is right there with you. You do not navigate the dark alone. If this applies to your culture too, remember that part of the reason you are afraid of the unknown is because the cycle of life has not been celebrated. Instead, death and annihilation are feared. We’ve forgotten life is a never-ending cycle of birth, life, death, transformation and rebirth. As Demetra describes on page 12, “all life emanates in spirals of circles as it cycles from new to full to dark, and then again to new. The essential movement of all life is cyclic in nature…life creates, fulfills, and destroys itself, only to be reborn anew.”
The powers of healing and transformation are hidden in the dark phase of the cycle and in ancient cultures this was represented in the dark phase of the moon. It came to symbolize inspiration, prophecy and divination. On page 13 Demetra says, “the role of the moon was both to be and to become. It underwent death and yet remained immortal; and its death was never an end but a pause for regeneration.”
So maybe the endings and deaths we face in our lives are how we become something new.
Some of the things Demetra suggests to do during a dark phase in our lives is to descend into our unconscious (pg 14) and find the secrets of renewal. Use it as a time of contemplation. Be curious. Feel your feelings don’t bury them. Trust them. Use the dark phases in your life or the dark moon times as a time to cleanse, revitalize and regenerate (pg 15). Realize it’s a time of deep inspiration and a time to tune into your intuition. Draw inward. Be still. Make time to do the inner work. Face the pain. Heal. Meditate. Pray. Perform rituals. Seek truth. Confront the loss. Grieve. Rage. Face the inevitability of your death if that’s the inner work that wants to be done. Withdraw. Journal. Be with yourself. Reach out to the Divine. Bring your shadows to the light. Face your fears. Strip away what you no longer need. Access the deep insights and psychic power that are given to you at these times (pg 265). Communicate with the spirits and return to the world of the living with renewed hope for the future (pg 265). Restore meaning and hope to your world. Embrace the dark because that is how you accept the wholeness of your being (pg 25)
On page 266, Demetra reminds us how important it is to do this especially in these times. She was writing this in the 1990s but obviously its still so relevant. Change in our society happens so fast and just as she said, “People can no longer expect a predictable future and, in many cases, not even a safe or secure one.” If all of humanity and the earth is undergoing huge transformation, which I think it is, and we resist letting go of the old and are afraid to embrace the new, it will only make these times that much more frightening for us. The dark times are stressful but they are even more stressful when we resist or reject them and refuse to tend to our emotional or spiritual needs as we go through them.
Rejection of the Dark Goddess
The journey of how and why we started to fear the dark is outlined in Demetra’s book as the journey society took from a nature-based matriarchal culture to a dominating patriarchal one.
On page 27, Demetra explains how ancient cultures shared knowledge about the cyclical nature of reality and they revered the moon and her many phases. They personified the moon as Goddess and they were taught to accept the dark moon phase as part of the cycle. The Dark Goddess was associated with the dark moon and she was seen as the renewer.
They worshipped the moon. How lovely is that?
And not only did they worship the moon, they worshiped her as a female deity. In fact, Demetra shows how as early as 40, 000 years ago there exists evidence that humanity worshiped a female deity (pg 30) One of my favorite facts sited in the book is on page 31 where she explains how the sacred art of ancient societies has been unearthed to reveal over 30, 000 female images made of clay, marble, rock, crystal, copper and gold through Old Europe and Near East. Imagine you in the center of a circle with 30, 000 female images carved in rock or marble or crystal all around you – some dating back to 40, 000 years!
30, 000 sacred images of the Goddess speaks to my soul.
This ancient religion had a deep respect for natural cycles – natural cycles of the moon, natural cycles of the season and natural cycles of women.
The rhythm of the moon held a special place in the myths, religion and symbols of the Goddess. (pg 31) The moon was personified as the Great Goddess who ruled over the mysteries of birth, life and death.
The concept of time was cyclical rather than linear, and the cycle of the seasons, with its phases of waxing and waning, of life, death and revival, was the basic pattern of all thought (pg 33) This means they had an intrinsic belief in rebirth (pg 34)
In Demetra’s words on page 34, “They saw that just as the moon disappeared and then reappeared, so did the seed sprout, fruit, wither, disappear, and then reappear with new germination. There was no reason to think that human beings would be any different from the lunar and vegetative cycles with whose rhythms they lived in intimate harmony. As the moon’s light remembers after its period of darkness, so would individuals be reborn into the light. This was the law of the cycle and no power could prevent its turning.”
The dark moon phase was the time between death and life. It was a time of darkness, stillness and the unknown but it wasn’t something to be afraid of because it was seen as a deeply sacred time. The Dark Goddess presided over the passage between death and rebirth so she was honored and revered.
5000 years ago (so 3000 BCE) things changed.
I’m going to describe what happened in a collection of Demetra’s words intermingled with my own. I’ve done my best to illustrate where in the book you can find these quotes but if you want to see the distinction between my thoughts and Demetra’s words, visit my blog and look at the written version of this episode.
On page 36, Demetra describes how tribes who worshipped a Father God who came from the skies and wielded bolts of lightning descended into western Europe, the Near East and India (where these nature-aligned, matriarchal societies existed) “The primary enemies of this God were the peoples of the Mother Goddess, and his followers invaded, conquered and destroyed the indigenous Goddess cultures.”
Large-scale destruction of Neolithic cultures of Europe and the Near East happened.
On that same page, she continues to explain how the Goddess-worshipping people “were raped, slaughtered, their homes and communities pillaged and burned, their values and beliefs suppressed. They were enslaved, exploited, and exiled.”
“The patriarchal tribes quickly rose to power, and built their civilizations upon the ruins of the peoples whose lives were attuned to the rhythms of the earth as Mother and the moon as Goddess. They imposed their ideologies and ways of life upon the peoples and the land they conquered.” These invading tribes were “based on a dominator model of social organization” who built wealth by destruction not by production.
The conquering men supplanted women as religions and political leaders.
Goddess became a secondary figure – In Demetra’s words on page 29, “When humanity shifted its allegiance to the worship of solar gods, the symbols of the Goddess began to disappear from western culture and her teachings became forgotten, repressed and distorted.”
God was now the creator and interestingly enough, creator myths took on some strange qualities like gods giving birth from their heads and women being made from man’s ribs. The myths of creation no longer reflected what we see in nature.
The wars against the Goddess were conceptualized as battles between the forces of light and darkness which contributed to racial inequality. For instance, on page 38 Demetra explains how “in India, the light-skinned Aryans from the North took over the matriarchal dark-skinned Dravidians from the South. They instituted the caste system in order to keep the dark-skinned Goddess-worshiping peoples subordinated in the lowest castes.”
Even in myths, the goddesses became powerless. As Demetra states on page 37, “They only had power through their husbands.”
And in life, royal bloodlines were now transferred through patriarchal bloodlines not matriarchal bloodlines.
The Goddess who was once loved and seen as good and helpful became the destroyer.
The consequence of all this domination reigned down on women over millennia.
On page 38, Demetra describes how, “As the Goddess became distorted from an image of the compassionate mother, the source and sustainer of all life, into a symbol associated with the forces of darkness and evil, women, her earthly manifestations, were likewise considered impure, evil, and guilty of original sin – people who must be punished. They (too) became the property of their fathers and husbands.”
In classical Greece, hailed as the birthplace of democracy, women were deprived of their citizenship, of the right to vote, and the passing on of their names to their children. Women were considered unworthy of meaningful emotional and intellectual relationships; their only function was that of bearing legitimate children who could inherit property. (pg 38)
On page 39, Demetra explains how “by the Middle Ages, the Inquisition and witch-hunts systematically eliminated all those who continued to remember, practice, and pass on knowledge of the old religion. Midwives, healers, and diviners, the ancient devotees of the Goddess were branded as witches. They were persecuted, murdered and their properties and holdings confiscated by the church.”
On page 40, Demetra describes how “Humanity lost sight of the roles of sex and death as intrinsic parts of renewal that reside in the dark phase of the cyclical process, and belief in cyclical renewal was tantamount to heresy.”
And on page 43 she explains how today the teachings of the Dark Moon and the Dark Goddess are rejected. Things like divination, magic, healing, sacred sexuality, spirit allies, nonphysical dimensions of being and the mysteries of birth, death and regeneration are not seen as legitimate areas of study.
The dark moon and the dark feminine have been ostracized. Negative feminine archetypes are common: the Bitch, the slut, the terrible mother, the bossy woman, the wicked witch, the domineering mother, the bag lady, and the ugly hag.
And this oppression and belittling of women is what I witnessed in my own society and family. Women did not feel confident enough to leave abusive husbands. Sons received favors that daughters did not. Women planned and slaved over holiday meals and did the dishes when the meal was done while the men sat on the sofas and rested – never offering to help.
In my childhood religion, there were hierarchies of power that started with the pope and ran down to the man of the house. It was gross and oppressive. Intuition was whispered about because you weren’t allowed to use it. You could never know if you were being influenced by the devil after all. Only a man in power could discern whether or not you were following the right light.
That’s so gross it makes my stomach turn. It’s so ridiculous and also so very convenient for old white men in power.
My mother told me that in her time they were told they could not read the bible on their own. They had to let the priest interpret the bible for them because they might misunderstand what they were reading. You could not trust your own thoughts. Again, super convenient for old white men in power.
Sorry. My stomach hates this. Let’s regulate a little here in case your nervous system is getting all activated like mine.
Let’s think about our arms and legs. Maybe even give them a little squeeze. Scrunch your toes like you’re standing in warm sand. Take a few calming breaths.
I get so activated when I think of how oppressive it has been for the women in my family and how very okay most people (including women) are with this fact. We’ve been conditioned to be nice, accommodating and agreeable. We’re scared of rocking the boat or making a fuss.
I get it. I get scared of the same things because I was raised in the same gross soup after all but I don’t agree with it and over my lifetime, I want to do the inner work to have a strong spine and a voice. Being a nice submissive woman who doesn’t speak up just isn’t my idea of a wise or healthy way to be but Demetra’s book was so enlightening in showing me exactly how we got here.
Repressing these natural parts of ourselves for thousands of years and dominating women gave us negative feminine archetypes, made us fear the natural mysteries of life, made us fear sex, death, magic, divination and made us repress our natural desires and emotions. It’s now all one big hot mess!
And as Demetra explains on page 48, the more narrow and restrictive the society in which we live, the larger will be the collective shadow.
And I’m afraid our collective shadow has grown horrifyingly big.
What I learned from “Mysteries of the Dark Moon” is that the difference between the ancient Goddess and nature-based religions and the newer male dominated ones is that the Goddess religions revered life – they didn’t try to dominate it.
In Demetra’s words on page 77, “The kernel of this seed vision was reverence for the mystery of the life-giving powers of the universe, and an intention to decipher the secrets of how it is that life is created, sustained and regenerated. This veneration for life included not only humans but also plants, animals, the earth upon which they all resided and the heavens, which linked them to the universe. This reverence for the life force carried over into reverence for women.”
She sums that up on page 78 by saying the central concern for Goddess and nature-based religions was how to “keep the life force alive and continuous.”
Imagine if that was the central operating concern of our present-day society? Imagine if, before any decision was made, we asked, “Will this keep the life force alive?”
As Demetra argues on page 88, “When all of life and its inhabitants are valued, there is no need for any one person or single nature or culture to enforce and maintain a stance of superiority and domination.”
Questions I’m Left With After Reading the Book
This actually brings me to some questions I was left with after reading the book.
As Demetra explains in her book, the ancient matriarchal cultures were invaded by cultures that believed differently and oppressed their spiritual practices. The invading cultures were based more on a power structure of domination but I was left wondering:
Were those invading cultures always based on a power structure of domination even before they invaded the ancient matriarchal cultures?
Who were they exactly and why did that oppressive and dominating way of being take such a strong foothold?
Was it because they were violent and forceful?
That oppressive, dominating power structure has existed for 5000 years as Demetra George outlines but for 35, 000 years things were different in the ancient cultures who worshiped the moon and the cycles in nature.
Can our modern culture change to be less violent, oppressive, superior, and domineering?
I confess I have long believed it could not but Demetra’s book gives me hope. There have always been cultures who think differently than the patriarchal one that dominates my culture today and there have even been ones that existed for thousands and thousands of years so why not?
Why can’t things change again?
The Rebirth of the Goddess
On page 62, Demetra suggests they are already changing. She explains that the death of the Goddess in the last 5000 years happened as a natural part of a larger cycle and we are now in a phase many are referring to as the “Return of the Goddess”
She also hypothesizes that perhaps the abolition and death of the Goddess in our culture is a natural part of her cycle and was the Goddess herself retreating into her own dark moon phase so that she could return in a new way – which Demetra suggests is what is happening now – her rebirth. I loved this way of looking at all the chaos, collapse and transformation we are currently seeing in the world.
She goes on to explain how we are discovering and remembering her myths, symbols and rituals. A more compassionate approach to death and dying has been entering the mainstream of consciousness. Our sexuality is coming out of the closet of repression. Healing energies are awakening within the earth and within people. More people realize our interdependence with the Earth Mother whose body supports our existence. Women’s spirituality is being reborn and women’s liberation movement is underway.
On page 89 Demetra argues that over the last 5000 years the change from Goddess religions to ones that seek to dominate and suppress the feminine was the Goddess entering her dark moon phases, where she retreated and disappeared in order to heal, transform, and renew herself for another round of growth.
On page 100, she explains how with the Return of the Goddess the wound that now wants to be healed is the horrors we faced during the time of polarizing the male against the female (including the war between the male and the female within our individual selves). If we can heal and change, how we react to one another today and form interactive, cooperative and loving relationships we will experience fusion and integration, heal the wounds that exist between men and women, balance the polarities within ourselves, transform the power-struggle and become whole.
And finally, on page 101 Demetra surmises that “The Goddess can then restore balance, wholeness and well-being to the earth and her inhabitants.”
The way Demetra ties this history of the Goddess and her journey from being worshiped to being destroyed to astrological cycles is enlightening and gave me hope. I’m not going to explain it all here but it is definitely worth a read and since I love the moon and astrology was something I found really interesting.
In the end though, it made me realize that if the death of the Goddess in the last 5000 years is part of a much larger natural cycle perhaps I can trust these dark, unpredictable, uncertain times we’re in now?
And if the death of the Goddess is part of a larger 40, 000 year cycle that has 8 phases of 5000 years and we are coming out of the dark phase, that means we are entering 20, 000 years of being in the growing light phases. This feels like something possibly good to look forward to.
What I Found Challenging About the Book
So I want to stop here for a moment and talk about what I found challenging about the book because the same thing that brought me peace – the idea that the death of the Goddess was part of a larger cycle – also brought up difficult feelings because of the logic Demetra followed this idea with.
I don’t want to go into a lot of detail about it because the good far outweighs this aspect of my experience reading Demetra’s book but I did find pages 96 – 107 emotionally triggering. The reason I have a hard time with this section of the book is because I felt like it was bypassing an important emotional experience anyone who has been victimized feels.
Don’t get me wrong, I accidentally bypass myself and others far more often than I want to. I don’t mean to of course but like learning to go at my body’s pace, being with pain and suffering without trying to fix it or find the spiritual silver lining is a learned skill that takes time to develop and I am by no means great at it. But I’m also a deep feeling person so reading about the destruction of the Goddess and the oppression of women triggered a lot of emotions because of my personal history of trauma. Having those emotions rise up then reading on page 96 that I need to release attitudes of victimhood which reinforce my sense of powerlessness felt like a slap in the face. It made my gut turn inward.
The more I read about the perception of oppressor and victim the angrier I became. I just don’t understand why there was a whole chapter about women learning to forgive and see the unity of all humanity and there isn’t a chapter helping men understand how they oppress women. The solution to the problem of women being oppressed felt like it was in women’s hands. Women, stop seeing yourself as the victim, develop compassion and forgiveness, let go of your anger and realize the oppression you experience or your ancestors experienced was just a phase in a larger cycle.
Demetra sums up patriarchy and it’s oppressive, destructive qualities as a natural, cyclical process of the Goddess – which wouldn’t be problematic for me if this whole chapter didn’t exist and instead a whole chapter existed on how men and changed behaviors and patriarchal systems being destroyed and rebuilt and changes in societal structures were pointed out as being the solution – not women changing their victim thinking.
Yeah, so I deeply disagree with this chapter in the book and definitely don’t like the spiritual bypassing part of it but it was written in the nineties and we are all learning and growing so it doesn’t ruin the entire experience for me but it definitely triggered some fire in my belly.
How the Book Deepened My Spiritual Practice
Despite my emotional triggers, the book is, of course, changing how I approach my moon rituals in my art journal.
When I first started art journaling with the moon I started with the new and full moon phases. Then I played for a while with the eight lunar phases. That journey helped me deepen my experience and appreciation of all the phases. Then I started a daily art journal practice where I sat with the energy of the moon as it moved through the zodiac signs which has also been rewarding and enlightening. I can tell after reading Demetra’s book though, I feel the pull to art journal with the new, full and dark moon phases to deepen my relationship with the Triple Goddess archetype. I want to experience the lunar cycle as a division of three phases I play with for a while and see how that feels.
The book also deepened my connection to the Goddess and Goddess archetypes. I didn’t dive into that part of the book in this episode because there was already so much to say but Demetra’s descriptions of Medusa, Lilith, Nyx and the Daughters of the Night and Demeter and Persephone are rich and will be chapters I revisit again and again. I also now want to draw more Goddesses in my art journal and include more Goddess symbols like the snake and the curved knife. And I want to read Demetra’s books about Asteroid Goddesses to bring even more of those archetypes into my life and magic.
As you can tell I’m sure, this book is not a one-time read. This is a deep journey inward with mythology I will revisit again and again.
I hope you enjoyed my journey with the book. If you’re part of my Facebook ART JOURNAL WITH THE MOON community and you read the book too, let me know what you thought of it or, if you’re not part of the group, shoot me an email. I’d love to hear what your experience with the book was like.
MY FAVORITE QUOTES
Personally, I think one of the most enjoyable ways to get a feel for a book is to savor some its more delicious or meaningful phrases so here’s a little collection of my favorite quotes from Demetra George’s book “Mysteries of the Dark Moon: The Healing Power of the Dark Goddess”.
Well my friends, that was my adventure with Demetra George’s book. I hope you enjoyed it.
Stay tuned to discover where the next book leads me in my magic and the care of my soul.
If you know a witch who would love this episode, please share it with them so they can be inspired by the book too. Witches who read together get free together.
And so you don’t miss the next episode, make sure you subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast app.
If you like what you hear, leave a review on your podcast app. It helps me grow and improves accessibility to other listeners. Why have a book club of one or two when you can hang out with a whole gaggle of witchy book lovers? Plus, my heart does a happy loop de loop when I receive a little support and love.
We all need a little more love in our lives.