The Goddess of The Betrayed

Medusa head repurposed as the base of a pillar at the bottom of a cistern in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo David Sutherland

I’m watching the sun go down today, and I’m thinking about the paradigm shifts born out of abuse.

Today, not October 31st, is the actual day the Sun is at the halfway point between Fall Equinox (Mabon) and Winter Solstice (Yule). This is Solar Samhain. In previous times, this date was the night Pagans would celebrate The Wild Hunt, The Blood Harvest, The New Year, born in darkness. This stretch of the year is, in fact, the darkest part of the year, even more ominous, in a sense than the correlative time in Winter, because there, we are heading into Spring. But now, we are heading only into further darkness, further into the unknown, further into The Fear.

Coincidentally, we also have the New Moon in Scorpio happening at the same time. Every month, the night leading up to the New Moon in Ancient Greece was dedicated to Hecate, and to worship Her, practitioners would hold a dinner and discuss their magical acts for the month, bringing drinks and leftovers out to crossroads where three roads met. Every year, the Kali Puja is held on the days and nights of the New Moon in Scorpio. Her temples are filled with devotees laying sacrifices at the Great Goddesses feet, in hopes that She will protect the faithful, destroying their enemies and granting them peace from their Karmic struggle.

This day is also the birth of Tiamat, the great Serpent Dragon Goddess of the Babylonians, who held all of reality in Her coils, killed by the solar god Marduk.

It is the Day of honoring Divine Justice in the form of Ma’at, Themis, and Forseti.

The Night of Hoka-Maat also falls on this day. This was a version of Ma’at concerned with reciprocity.

And finally, we also have Witch’s Remembrance Day, a Global holy day to remember the millions of people who have been murdered in the name of the god Yahweh and Abrahamic faiths over the last 5,000+ years.

I have been fighting with myself to write this piece. It does not want to come out. Behind every #metoo story, behind every person who is saying #timesup, underlying the print of every story documenting every abuse that is destroying our world, there is this chorus rising into One Voice. It does not matter who is speaking, She is talking. It is Medusa, screaming. It is Lilith, betrayed and cast out. It is Hina, seduced by Her father, it is Persephone, dragged to Hades. It is Saule, wailing for her daughter, violated. Nemesis, Leda, Akycha.

Rape, betrayal, and abandonment are well documented in the religions of the past. Anywhere The Goddess reigned, and Patriarchy moved in, The Goddess was raped, crushed underfoot. Romans would literally carve statues of the local Goddesses being raped or on their knees in chains at the foot of a Roman soldier. But it happened everywhere. From Greenland to Hawaii, from the Ojibwe to the Slavs, the destruction and subjugation of The Goddess has been universal.

I feel like when I start to open my mouth to speak when I begin to type, She is so desperate to come out, She will break my jaw to climb out. She will destroy me to get Herself to the surface. She will immolate. She will rend. She will obliterate.

Kali, standing on the body of Shiva, so wild with the abandon of utter destruction She would kill Life itself.

Who can blame Her?

Those who have experienced abuse are tired of the world poking at the wounds. Why dig all that up just to have to relive it again and again? Often, those who have not experienced abuse don’t know how to begin the conversation, even though they have been hurt as well, just not in ways as apparent.

I think of Hera, formerly a loving, happy, hearty Mother Goddess, recast as the jealous shrew wife, continually trying to kill the Other Woman (who, incidentally was raped by Zeus/Jupiter.) rather than ever trying to correct Zeus. Her legacy, bowed to the aim of petty men, reinforcing the patriarchal ideal that all is of and for Man-ness. Even Hera’s emotions are just a tool for someone else.

There are so many wounds, so many voices trying to tell their story, trying to be heard in their pain, that it is deafening.

For those for whom this kind of work is safe, now is the time to face The Wounded and Betrayed Deity. She/they are vast, immortal, often ignored, and most important; SHE/THEY ARE TELLING THE TRUTH.

For anyone attempting this work, there’s a few different perspectives to keep in mind or consider.

There are three separate energies here. There are you and your experiences, your ancestors and where that connects to you and to time, and then there is the archetype of the betrayed Femme. I believe we (as in humans) are experiencing a type of conjunction of all three, and it’s going to resonate on all three levels, for the individual, our collectives, and the species.

I recommend actually pushing into this darkness as much as is safe and healthy for you to do so. This energy, created from abuse, betrayal, and a deep yearning for revenge and karmic balance is bubbling up to the surface, and part of the problem is that we reflexively push it back down, further betraying and refusing to acknowledge the original wound.

THE RITUAL

I do not recommend this ritual for anyone who would think of themselves as “casually” into ritual work. You need to know be able to differentiate between yourself and other energies. I recommend grounding and securing yourself before and after this work. Stay alone. Do not do this work around other people. Make a promise to yourself that you will not harm any of your own bodies unconsentually.

If at any time you feel like you are losing control, immediately stop and snuff out the black candle. Ground the energy and laugh loudly. Stomp your feet to bring yourself back to the here and now.

Light a white candle. As you light the white candle, see yourself surrounded with silver or pure light. Know that you are loved and protected. Light an incense like Myrrh, Jasmine, or Rose. Stay away from Solar oriented scents like Frankincense, Cedar, or Palo Santo. Use any other sealing or protecting methods you regularly work with. Circle your work area in salt, walking deosil.

When you are ready to engage with this deity, lay out a couple pieces of fresh fruit or candy, a glass of clean water, and some fresh flowers. Light a black candle. Sit down.

Close your eyes and face your abuse. Witness it. See how it has warped you unfairly. See how you have pushed that negativity on to others. Record anything that comes up for you.

Witness the abuse your femme ancestors experienced. See how your family line was warped unfairly. Witness how they pushed that negativity out into the family and communities around them. Record anything that comes up for you.

 Witness how The Femme has been abused for the last several thousand years. See how humanity has been warped. Witness the abuses we perpetrate daily as a species. See the line of abuse that runs through you, connecting you back to this original wound. Hear Mother Earth crying out. See her/you in Her rage and pain and fear. Feel the helplessness there. Let Her say whatever She needs to tell you. Do not ask Her for anything. Simply SEE Her, acknowledge Her. She may talk for a long time. She may have the face of a Goddess or an ancestor, or something else. If She does not speak, just watch Her. If She asks you to speak, do so if it feels right. Record anything that comes up for you, especially if it seems like nonsense. Cry, scream, or freak out if you need to, but stay inside the salt circle and don’t harm yourself.

Thank Her for sharing Her experiences with you. Forgive Her for the pain She has caused, in Her pain. Forgive yourself for the pain you have caused in your pain. Thank Her for being the toughness in you that kept you alive, the toughness in the world that keeps the species alive despite ourselves. Say anything else you need to say to Her. When you are done talking to Her, say thank you again.

Now, look beyond the Goddess, almost as if you are looking back into Deep Time. Witness beyond all that pain a great rumbling.
See the gears of time turning.
See The Rising Eternal Goddess, in whom all these iterations of divinity live. See what is in her hands. Hear what She is saying. When the time is right, ask Her for a piece of wisdom to help you help Her.

If She does not speak, just watch Her. Record anything that comes up for you, especially if it seems like nonsense.

When you come back from this dark vision, immediately snuff out the black candle and ground ground ground the energy. Take a few deep, cleansing breaths and when you are ready to leave, break the circle and take all the offerings outside and leave them. Turn on all the lights, or do whatever you need to break the vibe of the ritual, stomp your feet, turn on loud happy music, clap your hands, etc. You can use any clearing methods you feel appropriate, but remember to be respectful. You’re not “sending away” the Goddess, you’re asking Her to back up enough that you can do you. Eat some bread, potatoes or something grown in the earth or low to the ground. No meat. Nothing that suffered. Take a bubble bath. Drink a little wine or have a little smoke, but be careful with substance unless you genuinely feel happy. Laugh and masturbate to bring yourself back to your body, your joy, your life in the here and now.

Continue to journal any images, dreams or flashbacks that come from this work in the days to come. Be aware that the most harmful effects of this work may come up days later. Cleanse your space and carry black tourmaline and clear quartz to keep you grounded and focused. PLEASE talk with a trusted confidant, a therapist, or a spiritual counselor if you need to. This is hard work, and we may not be able to fix 5,000+ years of abuse in one little ceremony. Be forgiving of yourself, and don’t try to take it all on your shoulders alone.

Blessed Be.

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