An excerpt from Book of Shadows: A Modern Woman’s Journey into the Wisdom of Witchcraft and the Magic of the Goddess
“For countless years, the archetypal story of heroic descent into the realm of shadows, confrontation with fear, death and devastation, and rebirth through the divine use of our inner resources and sacred, healing tools, has been told in terms of the lives of men—Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, and others. In these versions of the story, the conclusion for women is always the same: Men are to journey forth to meet the divine, and women are to remain at home, or at best, to follow their leaders. But its earliest expression, which preceded all of these male reinterpretations, was the tale of the Goddess’s descent into the Underworld. And in these early versions, the Goddess is not abducted but goes willingly to confront and transform the mystery of death into rebirth.
The Goddess has reached out her hand, dragon-winged messengers arrive in the nether realms, and with her summoning, we remember who we are and why we are here. At this moment of greatest crisis, at the end of a millennium, at the end of the great patriarchal epochs, a quantum shift is occurring. This is the moment of rebirth, the moment of return from the Underworld. It is no longer enough to believe in the journey of another, or to listen to the interpretation of that journey by hierarchs and psychopomps. Their stories cannot substitute for our own quest. Instead, they must inspire it, for there will be no lasting change until people have changed themselves, until they have awakened to their divine inheritance. In the mirror of this ancient tale, I realized the greatest magic of all: That we are all a part of the self-aware consciousness of a divine, living universe seeking to understand itself. Together, on this miraculous quest, we will restore to the world the gracious gifts of love, compassion, and reverence for life in all of its sacred forms. Then the wasteland will blossom forth as paradise. It is a journey being taken by women, and men must accompany them, for only together can we embody the mystery of rebirth. And this was a part of the journey that waited ahead for me.
I looked into the ancient mirror of the Goddess, and there I saw not only the past, but the radiant future. I saw my sisters and myself, beloved of gods and men, stepping forth from a realm of shadows, and we cradled the future life of this sacred, beloved planet in our arms.
Moonlight filters in through the city skylight. The air is fragrant with the scent of flowers and the smoke of burning incense. Candles flicker and glow, bathing our bodies in golden light…. I inhale slowly, feeling the energy rushing through me. I have never felt so alive. I look around the circle of women who stand with me—their eyes full of fire, skin flushed and glowing, their hair dancing about their radiant faces.
“Thou art Goddess,” the woman next to me says. “Thou art Goddess,” I reply and turn to send the blessing around our circle.
Our magic has just begun.”