The Goddess Path  Issue #45

Good Grief

July, 2006

This Issue: Table of Contents

Running with Wolves, Tai Chi with Dog
Goddesses of Grief
Helping Loved Ones in A Crisis
Why Do We Grieve?
Where Do Pets Come From?
Coming Full Circle: Birthing

Woman Who Runs With Wolves. . . 

was forced to switch to Tai Chi with dog when he went blind, then deaf, and finally so arthritic that he could not keep up. Now she walks through the neighborhood alone, for her 'familiar' died this month.

Fang was 'long of tooth'. In his 18 years (that's 126 in dog years) he had plenty of time to teach me a lot. He was my guardian, a wonderful spiritual guide and a constant companion.

I grieve, but it is lighter because we had ample time before he left, time that allowed us to ease the pain that would be caused by his transition to the Otherworld.

My thoughts turn to the notion of grief. What is it for? What purpose does it serve in our lives and in our relationships?  And what do the goddesses and others have to say about it?

And what about pets and 'familiars', those spirits who inhabit animal forms, who willingly leave their wildness behind to serve us with unconditional love and with their intuitive wisdom? 

These will be our subjects this month...

Why Do We Grieve?

What purpose does grief serve our lives?

It is a way to keep us connected to the one we have lost. . . at least for a while until we find other, less painful ways, to stay connected, if only in memory. But, as the myths of Demeter and Persephone remind us, eventually it will be time to release the suffering (or sometimes even the connection itself) and to get on with our lives.

The Goddesses of Grief

The Greek goddess Demeter wandered endlessly throughout the world, her piteous cries for her daughter, Persephone (who had been abducted by Hades, god of the Underworld), resounding through the night. Some believe that it was her prolonged, unresolved grief that made Demeter the most compassionate of the goddesses, the one best able to empathize with humans because of her experience with pain and suffering.

The experts say that the death of one's child, no matter the age, is the hardest thing that there is to bear . . . it ranks as the most stressful event on the Holmes-Rahe scale that is widely used as a measure of stressfulness and a predictor of illness.

The Norse goddess Frigga experienced such pain with the death of her beloved son Baldur. The white berries of the mistletoe, the plant that had unwittingly become the agent of Baldur's death, were formed from Frigga's tears of mourning. In some versions of the myth, Baldur is restored to life, and the goddess Frigga forgives the baleful plant and turns it into a symbol of peace and love and promising a kiss to all who stand under it.

But it was the Greek goddess Hecate, the crone aspect of the ancient Triple Goddess, whose official responsibility was as a 'grief worker'. She is best known as the Goddess of Witchcraft and most closely allied with the magical arts and the supernatural.

Hecate, like Artemis, was often accompanied by her sacred dogs. Hecate and her dogs were sometimes depicted with three heads, it was said that they could see in all directions (the past, present, and future).

This farsightedness played a role in the myth of the abduction of Persephone, for it was the goddess Hecate who "saw" the abduction and told the frantic Demeter what had become of her daughter.

Hecate continued to play an important role in the life of Persephone, befriending her and helping her adjust to life in the Underworld. A grateful Hades  repaid Hecate for her kindness by allowing her to live as a permanent guest in the spirit world.

Hecate occupied a role that resembles today's "hospice nurse", helping the dying to make a smooth and painless passage into the next life and staying with them, if need be, in the otherworld to help them prepare for their eventual return in their next life.

In her role as 'Queen of the Night', she often traveled with a following of  "ghosts" and other social outcasts. She was both honored and feared as the protectress of the oppressed and of those who lived "on the edge". Familiar with the process of death and dying, the goddess Hecate was wise in all of earth's mysteries.  

She was called "The Distant One", but Hecate is always close at hand in times of need, helping us to release the old, familiar ways and to find our way through new beginnings.

Read the story of Hecate

Sometimes our grieving begins when, like Hecate, we must anticipate the loss or decline of someone we love. And it is usually the woman who takes on the mantle of Hecate, caretaking for elderly parents, children, and other loved ones.

We are blessed to bring you a moving account of a man's recent experience in becoming 'Hecate's Helper' and his sage advice on how to not only survive, but grow from such a journey.

Helping Loved Ones in a Crisis . . . Without Sacrificing Yourself!

By Steven E. Hodes


When my elderly parents fell ill, I found myself in a very human predicament: I was thrust into the role of parent and advocate while simultaneously dealing with the almost paralyzing fear of their imminent deaths. . . .


In our lifetimes, many of us will have the experience of caring for a loved one too ill to care for themselves. For some of us, it may be the inexorable and heartbreaking decline of a loved-one, which though painful may allow time for a gradual acceptance of their fate.  Others will be confronted with a sudden, unexpected illness or death of a close friend or relative.  There can be some preparation and planning in dealing with the former, almost none for the latter.  Each, however, can be equally devastating.


Here are some insights to help you survive and, yes, spiritually grow.               

Read the article . . . .

From Grief to Humor

We're also reminded of the healing power of laughter (recall how the maidservant Baubo lifted the weight of Demeter's grief with her humor).

For the message below we can thank a clairvoyant friend of mine who seemed to know that I needed these words (and a chuckle) in my life at this moment and passed them on to me. And we are grateful to the author, who kindly gave his permission for us to share them with you.

Where Do Pets Come From?

Where do pets come from? ?

A newly discovered chapter in the Book of Genesis has provided the answer to "Where do pets come from?"

Adam and Eve said, "Lord, when we were in the garden, you walked with us every day. Now we do not see you any more. We are lonesome here, and it is difficult for us to remember how much you love us."

And God said, "No problem! I will create a companion for you that will be with you forever and who will be a reflection of my love for you, so that you will love me even when you cannot see me. Regardless of how selfish or childish or unlovable you may be, this new companion will accept you as you are and will love you as I do, in spite of yourselves."

And God created a new animal to be a companion for Adam and Eve.

And it was a good animal.

And God was pleased.

  And the new animal was pleased to be with Adam and Eve and he wagged his tail.

And Adam said, "Lord, I have already named all the animals in the Kingdom and I cannot think of a name for this new animal."

And God said, "No problem. Because I have created this new animal to be a reflection of my love for you, his name will be a reflection of my own name, and you will call him DOG."

And Dog lived with Adam and Eve and was a companion to them and loved them.

And they were comforted.

And God was pleased.

And Dog was content and wagged his tail.

After a while, it came to pass that an angel came to the Lord and said, "Lord, Adam and Eve have become filled with pride. They strut and preen like peacocks and they believe they are worthy of adoration. Dog has indeed taught them that they are loved, but perhaps too well."

And God said, "No problem! I will create for them a companion who will be with them forever and who will see them as they are. The companion will remind them of their limitations, so they will know that they are not always worthy of adoration."

And God created CAT to be a companion to Adam and Eve.

And Cat would not obey them. And when Adam and Eve gazed into Cat's eyes, they were reminded that they were not the supreme beings.

And Adam and Eve learned humility.

And they were greatly improved.

And God was pleased.

And Dog was happy.

And Cat didn't give a %#&! one way or the other.

John Mark Ministries

Coming Full Circle: From Death to Birth

Goddess Gift: Discover Your Goddess Type, a book about goddesses and how you can discover and connect with your inner goddess, is about to enter the world! And you are invited to join us in a celebration of this grand event.

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In closing, a reminder to...

Make memories -- they will sustain you.

And use your gifts, whatever they may be. They are unique, just like you.

Till next time,


Visit us at:  Goddess Gift