Hecate and the Summer Solstice Strawberry Moon

Strawberry Moon

Maiden, Mother, Crone. Each of these symbolizes both a separate stage in the female life cycle and a phase of the Moon. In this weekend, I touched the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone in backwards order, reminding me of the triple-headed Goddess Hecate. Hecate stands at the three thresholds, at the place of intersections, of transitions, from the beauty of youth to the ripening of motherhood to the wisdom of the aging.

Hecate and the lunar phases

We also stood at the place of intersections, of transitions, at three thresholds this weekend. Not only was it the intersection of of the solstice and the strawberry moon, but a third, more unusual thing was happening – a major lunar standstill which only occurs every 18.6 years. This is a moment of stillness that can grant us unusual insights.

We find the Crone waiting for us at the Charming Owl in LaPorte, inviting us to begin our full moon ceremony.  Elsbeth teaches us higher wisdom in these ceremonies, wisdom she has strengthened over time and is sharing with us on this day. We leave the expected donation in the box for the energy transfer.  This offering is the way we develop generosity and open our heart chakras to receive her wisdom. We write down our hopes and prayers and place them in a bowl.

Selenite Tower with my Blue Fairy Agate Crystal charm attached

She has decorated an altar with white cloth and flowers, a tower of selenite capturing the light from outside the window. We each bring a gift for the altar, something the spirit called us to share with each other. She asks us to scoot closer and draws a circle of protection around us.  There are only three of us seeking wisdom tonight, so together we form a circle of four.  She invites the spirit guides and angels to surround us. We pass around the talking stick and share with each other what is in our heart.  Each of us brought a poem.  She teaches us about the significance of the season and leads us in a meditation. We all closed our eyes and concentrated on sending positive energy out of our heart chakras and into the bowl of hopes and prayers, which was unexpectedly full due to the buildup over months. An unexpected blessing for joy came over Elsbeth. As she shared with us, we all felt the energy running through us from our open palms.  After this, we all felt filled by the spirit and sang a song together that Elsbeth taught us before opening the circle up for us to depart.

The next night, a group of four of us joined a ceremony and drum circle on the beach to celebrate this lunar event.  On this night, a couple dozen people of varying types, but mostly women, gathered in camp chairs around a fire. A man fed the flames while the two female spiritual leaders led us in a spiritual ceremony.  After the ceremony, the drumming began.  I watched the other women during the drum circle, reflecting on their beauty. A primal feeling welled up inside me, and I had to dance and drum and move my body.  I remembered what it was like to rage inside my cage and I let it all out.

On the way to the beach, Jonna had shared a piece of art with us that depicted a woman in a womb of sand, umbilical cord reaching to the surf. With my eyes closed, listening to the surf and feeling the drums, I felt like this woman, connected to the universal Mother: the surf the blood pulsing through the womb, the drums her heartbeat.  We are mothers and we are daughters, connected by blood and soul and spirit to all the mothers before and after us.

The next day, Jonna and I were doing a hot yoga class in the Heights.  The class was taught by beginning instructors, each who took a twenty-minute turn leading the class.  The first instructor was a young, lithe blonde woman in form-fitting yoga gear with exposed midriff : the beautiful Maiden.  She had us start in a seated pose, arms before us resting on our legs.  She said that we could leave our palms up to receive energy, or have them face down to retain energy and ground ourselves.  I chose to leave mine up.  She led us through a series of sun salutations, and then left us with the second instructor to lead us through stretching moves.  I was periodically wiping the sweat off my face and attempting my best not to lose my balance in some of the poses.  This first instructor was walking around the room, helping to support the students in their poses. At one point, she placed her hand under my outstretched palm to steady me.  I didn’t want to accept her help, because I was embarrassed about how sweaty my hand was.  She held my gaze and encouraged me.  “Come on, its okay,” she implored. I wanted to look away from her because I felt too aware of my own shortcomings in light of her youthful beauty and grace.  She held eye contact with me and continued to support and encourage me, and I accepted this help because in the end, I truly needed it.

In my tarot card reading from a few weeks ago, the reader said that I should reflect on Demeter as a goddess to show me my path. Hecate was intricately involved in the story of Demeter and Persephone.  She witnessed Persephone being abducted and taken to the underworld, and helped Demeter find her by lighting a torch.  I am wondering now if this weekend I was being shown the light in my journey to find my stolen “daughter”, and what does it all mean spiritually. Perhaps in the past I had been more like Persephone, lost in the underworld, but then as Demeter, I went searching for my lost self, and the heady inspiration and divine light of Hecate helped me find my way. 

I contemplated the meaning of the references to energy through these weekend experiences.  In each of the experiences, there was a transfer of energy. The Maiden gave me strength, the Mother gave me connection, and the Crone gave me wisdom. My job now is to carry those lessons into the next chapter as I continue to seek spiritual enlightenment on my way to self-actualization.

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