Tag Archives: Dark Goddess

The Dark Goddess

Modern Paganism identifies the Dark Goddess as an archetype, and there are many historical Goddesses who are often associated with that title.

I’m currently world building, and it is a world full of Goddesses who have titles rather than names. Of course there is a Dark Goddess.

She is the balm of darkness after the agony of too much light. She is the peace of oblivion, free to rest without scrutiny for a while. The paths to her are many, and they are strewn with bones and broken dreams. There is no pain she does not understand. There is no horror that she cannot witness. She is the comfort when all comfort is gone. She is the last, desperate breath, and the breath that comes after it.

Come to her in despair. Come to her on your knees when you can no longer stand or walk. Bring her the broken wreck of your body and the ruined tatters of your mind.

Her temples are the cairns of stones on battlefields where no one remembers any more what the fighting was supposed to be about. Her temples are the mass graves of the nameless dead. Worship her when the night is pitch dark. Honour her when there is no way forward and yet somehow, you must continue. Whisper to her the names of those you know you will never see again. In her embrace, no one is lost or insignificant.

She does not offer redemption or forgiveness. Sit with her for long enough and you might find out how to make those things for yourself.

(Art by Dr Abbey)


Encountering the Dark Goddess – a review

Encountering the Dark GoddessEncountering the Dark Goddess, by Frances Billinghurst isn’t out until March 2021, but I saw it and I had feelings so I’m doing an early review. It was the book I needed to read, as I felt my own life plunging out of control (again).

Dark journeys happen. Dark nights of the soul happen. Sometimes we have no choice but to crawl on bloody hands and knees through some kind of personal Hellscape for a while. Working with Dark Goddesses, or The Dark Goddess as an aspect of the Goddess, is about having the tools for those journeys. Find yourself in the thick of one and you may reach for a book like this for guidance and wisdom.  Being prepared won’t save you, but it will help you make sense of things.

This is an excellent book. Frances takes us through 13 Goddesses of the dark. Each one is put in their mythological context and we get information about their cultural context, and who honoured them and when. It’s a good overview on this front, enough to give you a sense of place, people, culture and to put modern devotion into some sort of context too. From there, if you want to dig deeper, you have a strong starting position and the clarity that deities exist in contexts and that those matter.

Each section includes something personal that the author has written in response to the Goddess, and an exercise that you can do to explore that Goddess. These are guided visualisations, and they’re very good.

This is a book that will work no matter what you believe. If you’re exploring Goddess as archetype and energy, with no particular belief, then this book will work for you. If you believe that all goddesses are aspects of one great goddess, this book will work for you. If you are a hard polytheist seeing each Goddess as a specific being with their own personality and intentions, this book will work for you. It’s been written with great care and inclusivity, and there is room for all outlooks here so long as you are at least broadly interested in the subject matter.

I found it a helpful read during a hard time. There is wisdom here, compassion and life experience. I can entirely recommend getting a copy.

More about the book here – https://www.johnhuntpublishing.com/moon-books/our-books/encountering-dark-goddess-journey-shadow-realms 


The Ways of the Underworld

“Quiet, Inanna, the ways of the underworld are perfect
They may not be questioned”

These lines have been in my head a lot in recent days. Partly because of the Dark Goddess book I’ve been reading. The words have settled on me with a weight that I cannot ignore, a sense of presence and truth that overrides everything else that has been going on for me. The ways of the underworld are perfect…

It’s been a tough few weeks, and my blogging about what’s happening has been fragmentary. Partly this is because I only tend to write about things when I’ve properly processed them and think I have something useful to say. Partly because I’m not the only person caught up in this and I can’t check in about what it’s ok to say, because that’s part of the problem. I am not the only one to have taken a sudden and very intense underworld journey.

My own journey has taken me through issues of what happens when my most basic needs aren’t met or respected. I’ve been into the darkest places of PTSD triggering. I’ve questioned everything. I’ve stared into a future that looked like no kind of future at all. I broke down, and wept and broke until there came a point where I could break no further, and breakdown shifted, dramatically and gloriously into breakthrough and healing.

It was a bloody tough journey, but there was no way of getting from where I was to where I am now without something on that scale. The ways of the underworld are perfect. Terrible, terrifying, but also perfect.

At the time of writing, it’s left me in a strange place of simply having to trust to that perfection. I’m not the only person on an underworld journey, and the shape of my future may depend a great deal on how others emerge after walking their own dark roads. I can’t do that for them, or with them. All I can do is wait and trust, that what is happening is what needs to happen. That’s not easy either, and so I come back to those lines, over and over – the ways of the underworld are perfect, they may not be questioned. All of this is beyond me, bigger than me, and I get no vote in a lot of it. All I can do is surrender to the process, and accept it, and wait.

But, that’s actually a choice, that’s not simply passivity. There have been choices all the way in this journey. Letting go is a choice, fighting is a choice, belief is a choice. Even hope is a choice and often it’s hard to see that those are things you are choosing. But they are. My recent journey has revealed them to me as deliberate choices, over and over. The choice to get up, again, to move again no matter how much it hurts. The choice to love and trust and hope no matter how irrational that seems. I write this from a place of peace, settled into that irrational love, hope, trust combination, accepting the perfection of the journey in all of its emotional brutality and challenge.

The instruction to be quiet isn’t a knock-back, or a denial of the experience. It comes to me as comfort. Quiet, Nimue, the ways of the underworld are perfect.