There is a temple in my heart, a sacred vision dedicated to the Dark Goddess.
Kimberly Hirsch’s Embodying Aphrodite – Using goddess archetypes to heal western woman’s split between heart, power and sexuality (at one point downloadable from the Barbara Brennan School of Healing website) maps out psychological archetypes in relation to the Greek goddesses, exploring both the light and dark sides of their personalities.
She has a lovely quote from Jalaja Bonheim’s Aphrodite’s Daughters: ‘The dark goddess teaches us how to say yes to existence in its totality; how to embrace our suffering, our rage, and our despair; how to value the dark layers on our path as much as the light-filled peaks…’
To the east as I enter the temple, the goddess Aphrodite, crowned with wild golden curls and silhouetted against the rising sun, emerges unclothed from the sea, a dawn birth in foaming waves. She strides through the water towards me with confidence and a warm sensuality.
Aphrodite is spontaneous, loving, sensual and creative, often giving no thought to consequences. She enjoys pleasure and beauty, and the power of her own sexuality, and she cannot be tied down to a single relationship. She is charismatic, and encourages, energizes and inspires. (Based on Kimberly Hirsch’s tables.)
To the west is a dark forest. Not the savage wood that Dante awakes in, although I’ve never been able to banish that image entirely. A river coils playfully around rocks and between the roots of trees, and glistens merrily in the light of the full moon. It is here that the goddess Artemis bathes with her handmaids, a secret gathering only glimpsed through the surrounding trees.
Artemis is emotionally distant, ruthless and merciless, but will act against injustice. She is independent, never falls in love, forms strong friendships with women but often has rage against men. Sex, if any, is not an expression of intimacy. (Based on Kimberly Hirsch’s tables.)
To the north is a doorway into a chamber, the sumptuous four-poster bed inside laid with sheets of scarlet and gold. The goddess Lilith awaits here unseen, her presence tangible and the promise of pleasures certain.
Few gods have been vilified the way Lilith has. In Christianity she is the ‘evil’ first wife of Adam, and in popular culture she is a vampire goddess, but behind the lies and fiction is a goddess as powerful as any. Aaron Leitch’s Lilith: From Demoness to Dark Goddess has an excellent account of the ancient spirit’s evolution.
Lilith is wild and passionate, natural and animalistic, defiant and sexual, mysterious and darkly beautiful. She is the great seducer, the corrupter of the enlightened mind, and the enemy of ordered society…
The rules of this place are simple. The goddesses must be equal, in power, beauty, wisdom. The balance between these identities must be maintained. Too often in the past I have chosen, as Paris did, and suffered greatly through grief and guilt. The love that Aphrodite brings can both create and destroy me. The vengeful fury of Artemis makes me a ruthless hunter but will cleanse me of my lingering humanity. Lilith, the defiant seductress, offers forbidden ecstasy, but to pursue her is to be consumed by her.
— Quotations from Suzie and the Monsters.