Welcome Spring! Light is returning with a vengeance, but spring’s promise of growth is delayed for us in the northeastern United States as we prepare for yet another snow storm. Someone seems to have hit the reset button for winter. Somewhere, however, Demeter’s heart bursts with joy to see her daughter Persephone rise again. My sister in north Alabama and my daughter in Paris tell me that where they are spring is in bloom. Somewhere deep inside us crones, no matter where we are on the globe, we feel the life force struggling to renew itself after many cycles of freeze and thaw.
As a crone I am not always in touch with the green edge of life pushing me toward growth. It is easier at times to wrap myself in the mantle of the past, of remembering and dreaming. A goddess frequently associated with the crone stage of life is Hekate. In the Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone–which is both an explanation for the seasons, and the text for the Eleusinian mysteries which brought initiates into the presence of the divine and took away their fear of death–Hekate is Persephone’s constant companion on earth and in the underworld. Hekate has gone through many cycles of life, death, and rebirth. As crones, she is our companion too whether we are preparing for a period of new growth in the northern hemisphere or gathering in the harvest in the southern one.
Life can become exhausting, boring, or meaningless. How do we shake off our worries and burdens to connect with the wide-awake energy of our younger selves? Walking through town yesterday, I observed a mother with her two sons as they approached a driveway that intersected the sidewalk. “You can’t let him do that,” the mother yelled at the 7-year old debating over a puddle as she grabbed her wayward toddler who had heedlessly walked ahead while the older child had paused to wait for the mother at this dangerous junction. My mind was with the 7-year old. He had on boots, and I know he wanted to jump in the puddle created by the melting snow. Of course, I understand the mother’s real concern, but being older now, I want to ease up a bit on responsibility and recall how much I loved to splash in puddles when I was young.
When I was 5 years old I imagined that the life I was living with my parents, my whole existence, was a dream I was having as I lay in my hospital bassinette. I believe now I was on to something. There is a companion spirit in each of us, a witness to everything we experience in this life. This spirit unites with our bodies at birth and leaves them at death. Perhaps, we do return to some lost home, but while we are on earth “the Dreamer” is not asleep. She is wide awake taking note of all that happens in our lives.
As crones, what makes us love life? What new experiences are we called to now while we are still alive, and growth is possible? The Dreamer’s voice calls us to prick up our ears of inner knowing. What old dream curled up in a corner is quickened to desire by the growing sun, the fire of our tomorrows? We are of the earth and our blood quickens to spring’s clarion call. We might ask ourselves, what needs to be done in my corner of the world now that can best be done by me? How can I blossom in a way that best reflects the beauty and love of the source from which we all come?
May Persephone rise within us and remind us to attend to our own deepest longing, to hold the center, and bring to manifestation the promptings of our inner dreamer who lies with one ear attuned to the spirit realm and one to earth.
Dreamer awake! It is spring.
Buy a flowering daffodil or hyacinth in a pot. Place it on your altar. Next to it light three candles to Persephone. Light the first for Kore, the maiden whose innocent entrancement with life led her to bend to pick a narcissus and get pulled out of the warm world into the shadows of experience. Light the second for Persephone Queen of the Underworld who gathers the spirits newly released from life lovingly to her bosom. Light the third for Persephone Risen, she who returns to the world of her mother, as new life is welcomed into being with joy and delight be it in the form of lambs, bunnies, chicks, or baby humans. All embody hope.
Lady Persephone, teach us to love life, to live it to our fullest potential, and not to fear death.
“Narcissus” by John William Waterhouse