Thirty Days of Persephone’s Return has now ended and it was a great experience for me overall. It involved an interesting juxtaposition of feelings and experiences as I’ve alternated between feeling renewed and disheartened, energetic and depleted, as we’ve moved through this course. I feel like I recommitted to myself and my spiritual practices in several ways thanks to my participation here.
Based on quotes I’d read in previous 30 Days classes from Seasons of the Witch by Patricia Monaghan, I bought a used copy and was struck by this quote about spring and our relationship to it as women:
But when growth begins, things break. Shells and bud casings, those intact perfections, fall away. What is revealed is unprotected tenderness. It is no illusion, this fragility. A fierce storm can shred the new leaf, a cat consume the tiny bird, a hapless word pierce the young woman’s heart.
To the beholder, there is only beauty: the frail green hue that rivals all of autumn’s glory, the soft maiden gaze with its vulnerable longing. Springtime empowers its witnesses. And the woman gazing back may feel, indeed, the riveting power of her growth and potential. Or she may feel only the pain of new skin against cold wind, of exposed flesh against cruel stares.
There are times the hatchling yearns for the shell, the woman for her girlhood. There are times the new body seems alien and ill-formed, the new skills awkward and mistaken, the new knowledge not power but frailty. Growth may be exhilarating, but it is never easy.
And it is costly. Just as the bulb devours itself in order to burst above the soil, just as the hatchling digests its egg’s world, the woman tears springtime out of herself. She has little time for generosity, for she is focused on herself, on her deepest movements, her pain, her hopefulness. She is all stunned inwardness.
She is one, alone, unique. She is pierced with wonder at her existence.
Patricia Monaghan, Seasons of the Witch
Then, I was getting ready for Red Tent tonight and I drew a Womanrunes card to set the tone. The Tool dropped out of the deck first, which felt a little disappointing…the Rune of Labor…but then I picked another and got The Flying Woman, Rune of Transformation and reflected that transforming, becoming, unfolding, uncovering, can be quite hard work. And, the work of priestessing, which is what I’m pouring my heart into exploring with my current group of Practical Priestessing students, while transformative and liberating and powerful, is also quite a lot of hard work! So, they’re perfect cards after all…