Charge of the Goddess
Traditional by Doreen Valiente
Listen to the words of the Great Mother, Who of old was called Artemis, Astarte, Dione, Melusine, Aphrodite, Cerridwen, Diana, Arionrhod, Brigid, and by many other names:
I who am the beauty of the green earth and the white moon among the stars and the mysteries of the waters, I call upon your soul to arise and come unto Me. For I am the soul of nature that gives life to the universe. From Me all things proceed and unto Me they must return. Let My worship be in the heart that rejoices, for behold — all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals. Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you. And you who seek to know Me, know that your seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without. For behold, I have been with you from the beginning, and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.
Transformer Celtic Goddess, Brigid – Healing, Creativity, and Transformation
In the Center of Our Circle is the Void and realm of the Transformer; the primordial womb of creation and possibilities, that which exists as unseen potential, the unknown and the unknowable, the undefined mystery of life. The essence of this Archetype is the place of center, the meeting place of the beginning and the end, the point where all directions originate and return, that sacred place where the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth unfolds. It is through the Transformer that we cross the threshold of life’s transitions, that we surrender the roles by which we identify ourselves and shed the skins of the past, that we burn to ash that which is no longer useful, that we are cleansed in the holy waters of our tears and our blood, where we share the flame of connection with each other, reclaim our power and renew our spirits … all the while sheltered, nurtured and loved in the Womb of the Great Cosmic Mother.
The Transformer teaches us:
- the secret of a happy life is revealed through transition, change and adaptability
- to accept, honor and move through the seasons of our lives with courage and curiosity
- to heal ourselves of feeling guilt and shame of failure and the powerlessness of victimhood
- to shed false identities born from the roles we’ve played and the heart breaks we’ve experienced
- to step into the fire of change with curiosity and hope
- to discover and wield the power within us in the creation of a life that is fulfilling in every way imaginable
The Daughter (Artemis, Persephone) Invincible Innocence is the essence of the Daughter Archetype. From infancy to pubescence the Daughter connects to and expresses her essence as a quest for connection and individuation. She surges with possibility, revels in the joy of life, finds inspiration everywhere and encourages us all to be playfully curious. She is daring and tentative, wistful and intense, whimsical and deliberate, contrary and agreeable, decisive and unsure, bold and yielding – a paradox embodied! Through perceived judgments, shaming, and criticisms of unmet expectations placed on her, She is the one who writes our story, the one we tell ourselves that unless we ‘conform to the norm’ there is something wrong with us and are unworthy in some way – and thus we become either the victim or the heroine.
The Daughter teaches us:
- to be wildly curious, playful and to listen to the ‘wee small voice’ within.
- to stop depriving ourselves and add to our life that which creates joy, inspiration, and satisfaction,
- to be open to possibilities and discover our potential without fear of reprisal
- to express ourselves authentically and not let anyone steal our joy for doing so.
The Amazon (Athena, Wonder Woman) Freed from the pressures of mothering, teaching, career building and nurturing the Amazon Archetype finds her power (again) in the reclamation of her originating nature; her soul’s intentional calling. She has more time for herself, freed from the “constraint of responsibility to others” she strives to pursue new endeavors, to delve into a time of self discovery; to stand firmly in the truth of who she is – wiser and more confident, unfettered with “good girl restraint”; initiator of change in the inequalities within traditional male and female paradigms; she is power fueled with the wildness of the Daughter and the wisdom of her life’s experiences.
The Amazon teaches us:
- to stand in the truth and own our power, and to allow others to stand in theirs – free from anger, competition, criticism, ridicule.
- She guides us in ‘making a plan for life’ by using the intuitive energy of discernment in the face of adversity
- to unravel the falsities about ourselves and re-write the story created by the Daughter
- to discover the strength of our hearts and how to stand as the presence of undefended love
The Maiden (Ostara)- The Maiden’s essence is virginal innocence, the season of Spring, she is budding – in body and mind – her sensuality and sexuality is beginning to bloom. Her moon is the waxing 1st quarter moon, equally light and dark. She strives to balance her purity with a growing desire to share her-self with another. She struggles with a fierce need for independence while reluctant to let go of the child she has been.
This is time of first blood as Moon Cycles begin and she flowers into womanhood. The Maiden struggles with a range of feelings, (I’m sure you remember what I mean, especially if you have daughters!) Powerful, vulnerable, soft, tough, vocal, silent, brooding, explosive, willful, yielding, headstrong, curious, sensually alive!
The Maiden teaches us:
- what we need for growth when we wish to blossom again
- to connect with the virginal innocence of our inner child
- to experience the purity of desire
- to share our selves and gifts with others, independent and free
The Matriarch (Hera) – When we no longer feel the urge to bear children, our careers are well established and we have attained a greater sense of Self mastery – that’s when we’ve entered the realm of the Matriarch. Symbolized by the waning moon and the season of Autumn, we now harvest the wisdom of our life’s experiences, give birth in new ways. Not yet in menopause, deeply involved with responsibilities, longing for something more as She remembers the ancient rite of blood bonding.
The Matriarch teaches us:
- to move gracefully with the ebb and flow of life’s rhythms
- to develop an awareness of ourselves and our abilities
- to have a better sense of timing to offset the waning energy of fading youth.
- to use the power of our blood and tears with a clear and loving intention
- to create opportunities to exert influence and effect change with feminine compassion and gentleness
- to acknowledge the strength of an intimate circle of sisters
The Blood Sister (The Nymphs) – This Archetype represents the concept of female bonding and the seeking out of “trusted sisters” with whom we can share our life experiences. She first enters our lives when we are in our late teens or early twenties and her waxing moon is more light than dark. Her arrival helps us overcome culturally conditioned competitiveness and jealousy – a masculine trait indeed. She boldly expresses her wildness and unique style as she emerges into society, finding “her place” in the world. Dedicated to mutual empowerment, the Blood Sister leads women to regularly circle with others in the exploration of womanhood. Later in life, when we experience the pain of loss and illness, depleted by sadness and despair, perhaps finding it hard to ask for and accept help and support, the Blood Sisters come to our rescue to help us survive.
The Blood Sister teaches us:
- to open our hearts and minds so that we can connect deeply with other women
- to creating close ties of support that motivate us to fully explore and clarify our life’s purpose.
- to give selflessly to one another encouragement, support and love
The Priestess (Isis) arrives with the onset of peri-menopause as we begin to experience unstable hormonal conditions appearing as surges of heightened emotion and insight. Her moon is waning, more dark than light, and material concerns are surrendered to spiritual exploration, soul searching, and time for reflection. This time coincides with the end of fertility and a quieting of the ticking clock that drives us to bear children. If childbearing is delayed, She helps us balance an often-misunderstood inner conflict – the responsibility of caring for young children vs. a need to indulge an urge for spiritual connection and support from a circle of women willing and able to understand these concerns.
The Priestess teaches us:
- to be a joyous student of the Mystery, in service to others, merging the solidarity of sisterhood with loving insight from our individual experiences
- to again seek out women’s wisdom to guide us through troubled waters and help others do the same
- to shed the skins of outmoded beliefs (about ourselves) and behaviors through the process of truthful self inquiry, forgiveness, and compassion
- to wield our power in ways that serve the highest good of all
- to passionately seek knowledge and be devoted to that which we seek
- to surrender to vulnerability and be known for who we truly are
The Lover (Hathor)- In the life of a woman, the Lover ushers in the time when we seek out a mate and experience the “not always rational” hormonal urges that drive our desire to bring forth new life. This is a challenging time for a woman as she strives to hold her power and find her place in the male/female dance. This challenge is greater in women partnered with women for they face prejudice and discrimination, especially when they desire children. The Lover is not linked with age, as even those in their later years often find themselves falling madly in love as if it were the first time. This is the time when “sweet desire weds wild delight”, and we dance the timeless dance of life renewal. When love kindles our essence, and we succumb to sensuality, the challenge we face is to completely surrender to another without giving ourselves away. The Lover’s lunar phase is the nearly full moon, bright with possibility and the promise of pleasing experiences just over the horizon.
The Lover teaches us:
- that conception is not just about child-bearing, that it also includes any creative endeavor about which we are passionate
- to connect to inspiration, growth, beauty and the magic of creation
- to re-kindle our essence of being and the pleasure of sacred union
- that in connecting with others in the giving of our selves we can stay true to our personal desires and truths
The Sorceress (The Cailleach) – The waning light of the darkening crescent moon is linked chronologically to menopause, the time of the Sorceress – too often considered the “madwoman”. She is introspective and yet she surges with brilliant energy. Where the Priestess surrenders to the Mystery, the Sorceress takes command of it. Her power is incredibly strong and can be described as alchemical in its ability to transmute and merge the female and male energies within Her. Far from being wild or out of control, She is decisive, serious, and driven. Her choices become clear as her path narrows. She explores the sacred gateways between life, death and eternity, stepping out of time, becoming the seed of her own rebirth. She is Magic, mystery and mysticism potently embodied. When we’re drawn to follow a different path, to choose a new direction and we move forward with expanded clarity of vision, excited and inspired, yet grounded and determined to go the distance – whatever it takes – we are embodying the Sorceress.
The Sorceress teaches us:
- to face our deepest fears and courageously step through the fires of change and pain
- to stand confidently and steadfastly united within ourselves
- to dance with the Mystery as a leader, in full command of the steps, unafraid to step on a few toes
- to see with her eyes and to know exactly what to do in any situation especially when survival depends upon inner strength
The Mother (Gaia, Blessed Mother Mary) – Bursting with the urge to bring forth new life, the Mother’s time is Summer, the time of growth and abundance. Her moon is full, like the fertile egg which fills her body as it grows. With full breasts and open arms she welcomes and nourishes new life. Her rite of passage is the initiation of “child” birth – be that a small human, a new project or creative endeavor. Ushering in the second Blood Mystery, this is the time when women meet the Great Creatrix and merge with the Sacred Feminine aspect of that which we call ‘God’, growing the roots of many women’s identity, and transforming us completely. The lesson of this Blood Mystery is to both surrender and control – a paradoxical understanding that by letting go we attain mastery. The Mother’s focus is directed outward on family and creative projects. Starhawk describes mothering as “a love so complete that all dissolves into a single song of ecstasy that moves the worlds.” With tender care, total faith and extraordinary restraint, The Mother supports growth and the continuation of life. She helps us understand that our loving presence nurtures life in all its forms.
The Mother teaches us
- that all forms of birth are opportunities to stand at the gateway between the worlds, the place where change take place
- to bring forth and nourish the vital source of our power and creativity
- to bring grace, warmth, comfort and inspiration to challenging and demanding times
- to acknowledge and meet our own personal needs for nurturing so that we can better nurture others
The Crone (Ereshkigal & Hecate)) – Her essence is reflected in Winter, a time of introspection, contemplation, reflection and renewal. Linked to the Dark Moon and Winter Solstice, both represent a time of endings and beginnings. The Crone makes peace with her life, and comes to terms with death – symbolically, metaphorically, and perhaps … literally. The Crone, much like the Mother is a caretaker, but of society and community. Her Blood Mystery is menopause completed, her nurturing is in the wisdom she has stored within the cells of her body. She clearly sees and deftly harnesses a power found only in the darkness of her being, bringing forth not only wisdom, but also prophesy and protection. She is a trickster with a sense of humor, and expresses her well-honed insights through storytelling. The Crone counsels by example and models behavior for society, as Mother’s model behavior for their young.
The Crone teaches us:
- to face the darkness use our dark wisdom and insight to lovingly stare to death that which needs to die
- to see the humor in all things and remind others to do the same
- to compassionately tell our stories as inspiring contribution
- to speak with directness the hard messages that need to be spoken in order to help others safely navigate life’s hurdles
- to watchfully stand back and allow other’s to fall, to get up and to stand on their own
- to align our activities with our abilities, knowing when to act and when to rest
- to peacefully prepare for and accept death as a sacred celebration of life
The Midwife (Diana) is the ‘expert’ on the transformation of birth – be that of a child or an expression of the creative self, ready to help others bring forth new life from unrealized dreams, unexpressed inner talents, forgotten ideas. She helps to manifest the unseen, the unexpected, the unknown beauty of our creative power. She is aligned with ‘body wisdom’ and intuitive insight informed by the natural world. Her time is early afternoon, her moon and days are waning and she begins to perceive mortality, triggering confusion, feelings of loss and fear of the unknown and prepares us for the shift from nurturer to sovereignty.
The Midwife teaches us:
- to trust ourselves and take a leap of faith, knowing that the net will appear to trust our intuition and know that it is valuable
- to walk on the wild side of life feeling excited and ready for what’s to come
- to use our mothering skills and the lessons learned about love, responsibility, faith and transformation and extend them to others in an all embracing, compassionate way
- to fearlessly delve into our inner darkness and bring to light that which is life-affirming and our most elemental needs for growth and happiness
The Dark Mother (Kali) is the polar opposite of the Midwife as She is the one who stands at the gateway of death, The “Queen of Shadows”, at the end of desire and life’s quest. She is the Reaper who feeds on old life to support the growth of a new one. As Her body declines Her spirit is freed, there is nothing left to lose. This is a private journey into the unknown, one She must walk alone. She is fierce, passionate and ferociously devours everything that has outlived its usefulness. Her moon is the early crescent moon, that slim sliver of light at the end of the tunnel, that symbolizes rebirth and the end of suffering.
The Dark Mother teaches us:
- to BE uncompromising truth about what is truly essential in life
- to see and accept that which is so and to distill meaning and purpose from that which we cannot understand in our earlier years
- to re-create our lives when we experience a and actual death or a symbolic death – of a way of being, the sudden passing of a loved one, a relationship abruptly ending, retirement from the working world, leaving behind the comfort of home
- to relinquish control through surrender to the inevitable
- to release outmoded beliefs and behaviors that keep us prisoner,
- to take necessary risks in order to survive
- to meet death consciously and deliberately
- to move from our darkness into the light
- to find release of pain and suffering through transformation that sets our souls to flight