The Goddess Path  Issue #22

Sacred Space

October, 2004


This Issue: Table of Contents

Mazes and Missing Persons
The Labyrinth
Love Your Belly: The Goddess Baubo
'Tis the Season: Hecate, Halloween, and
Gifting for Goddesses


Mazes

In my little part of the world the corn is now as "high as an elephant's eye" and many farmers are joining the 'maze craze', hoping to wrest a bit of extra income from the soil this season. Maybe even enough to be sure there is something "special" in Santa's bag this year, something more than just shoes and candy for the kids.

Hopefully my grandchildren are going to accompany me this year, not suddenly finding themselves too grown up to enjoy such silly stuff. Our favorite maze last year had clues posted at each decision point, clues requiring arcane knowledge such as "You put your right foot in, your left foot out, you do the hokey-pokey, and ???". That one gave me a chance to shine (a good thing since my abysmal ignorance about super-heroes and rap musicians had created considerable doubt about whether I could have found my way back to civilization had they not come along!)


Missing Persons

On the subject of wandering off: The Goddess Gift website is proud to be a sponsor of Code Amber, a non-profit organization that provides assistance to law enforcement agencies when children are abducted. I wanted to make all of you aware of a valuable new product they are offering.

It's a downloadable Digital ID System that provides families with everything they need to collect and maintain identification information on up to ten family members. In the event anyone goes missing you can create a diskette to give the police with all pertinent information including the person's picture. The Software prints posters/flyers at the click of a button for you to distribute as well.

Sells for $9.95 with all profits going to support Code Amber's valuable work. I recommend it not only for families with children or elders who wander, but also for wives with errant husbands, pets who don't come when they are supposed to grannies who love mazes, etc. The kits are available by clicking below.

For complete details and instant access please visit:
http://codeamber.org/idkits.html


The Labyrinth

Mazes are often confused with labyrinths, but they are really quite different. A maze has twists and turns and even some blind alleys. It is puzzle requiring logical and analytical left brain tasks if you are to find the correct path.

Labyrinths have only one path...they lead you to the center and out again. They are places of great archetypal energy, places where spiritual and personal growth often occur.

When you walk a labyrinth you create a sacred space. A labyrinth represents a journey to the center of your deepest self and an eventual return to the world with a better understanding of who you are.

Labyrinths have been discovered in most cultures, most thought to have been used by goddess cults. One of the earliest, dating back to 5,000 B.C.E. in Mesopotamia, was created to honor the Great Goddess Inanna.
 

        Its design, called the "classic labyrinth", has 7 circuits or paths that lead into the center.

In her myths, Inanna had to give up a part of her identity as she descended through the seven levels of the Underworld. Innana dies, is reborn, and returns to earth empowered by her journey.

To learn more about labyrinths and how to they can help you connect with the inner goddess, visit:
Labyrinth
 


Love Your Belly

Another sacred space, one that has the great convenience of being close at hand, no travel needed, is your own belly. Many of us (dare I say most of us) have a love-hate relationship with this love-basket, baby-cradle but saggy/baggy part of our anatomy. How delightful it was to discover an entire book devoted to the subject--an unusual book, a guide to activating the energy concentrated in your body's center.

      

     

The Woman's Belly Book features breathing exercises, invigorating moves drawn from yoga, playful ways to befriend you belly, and words of wisdom that help you learn to treasure your belly, your body, yourself, no matter what kind of shape you're in.

There's even a belly-breathing/muscle relaxing exercise that will literally empty your mind and put you to sleep. I've shared it with a couple of my insomniac clients, and they report it really works!

Yoga instructor and author Lisa Sarasohn has graciously agreed to share one of the chapters with you. So, with gratitude, we pass the rattle to Lisa for the story of Baubo.


The Belly Goddess

In myth, ritual, and sacred image, woman's belly is a goddess.

The ancient Greeks named their belly goddess Baubo and gave her the pivotal role to play in Demeter's search for her daughter. Baubo makes the difference between the live and death of the world.

This is the story: Hades has raped and abducted Demeter's daughter Persephone, taking her away to his underworld realm. Demeter--also known as the earth goddess, Gaia--is devastated. The earth reflects her despair in fields that are barren, crops that cannot grow. Famine threatens human survival.

Demeter arrives at the place called Eleusis, nearly immobilized by grief. Baubo comes to stand before her. She tells bawdy jokes, dances a hip-wiggling jig, lifts her skirt, and flashes her vulva.

Baubo's rowdy antics make Demeter laugh and laugh. Seeing Baubo bare her belly, Demeter remembers who she is and the power that she holds.

The belly laughter that Baubo provokes dispels Demeter's depression and restores her will. Now Demeter has the guts to continue looking for her daughter. She eventually finds Persephone and the earth becomes fertile again, saving humankind from extinction.

The ancient Greeks enacted this story annually in the Eleusinian Rites, a secret initiation. The details remain a mystery. What is known, however, is that those participating in the ritual lost their fear of death. In some manner, they received a taste of eternal life.

The belly goddess personifies--deifies, really-the power of life to reach beyond death. She is the life-restoring force not only in the Greek story of Demeter but also in the Egyptian myth of Isis and in the Japanese myth of sun goddess Amaterasu. The belly goddess figures in stone carvings that ornament English and Irish churches, European cathedrals, and Indian temples. She appears in Eastern European embroidery and in motifs that have appeared for thousands of years in Africa, Asia, the Pacific islands, and the Americas. Such images are kin to the engravings that our earliest ancestors etched into cave walls.

The belly goddess, in her many names and guises, lives in the origins of human consciousness. She is the sacredness of woman's belly.

by Lisa Sarasohn
Yoga teacher, health educator, and yoga therapist
www.loveyourbelly.com 


'Tis the Season

Halloween is just around the corner . . . time to reflect on the meanings of the myths of the Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft. (Warning: Leave the stereotypes behind--she's something else entirely!) You can read her story here:
Hecate

And, while you're at the website be sure to visit the:
History of Halloween
a fascinating account of the origins of our customs and a reminder to reflect, give thanks for the harvest, and to honor "those who have gone on before us", a reminder of the eternal cycle of life.

Then, nipping on the heels of Halloween comes the season that we all love and dread--the "High Stress Holidays". That time of year when the wise woman smacks hundreds of post-it notes throughout the house, each of the reminding her to "Remember to Breathe"!

All the goddesses at our place are putting the finishing touches on the new improved, and totally revamped Goddess Shop. We'll be sending you an announcement when the doors are ready to be flung open.

So watch your email box for the "Gifting for Goddesses" supplement arriving mid-October, in plenty of time to stock up on goddess goodies for all the divas on your shopping list.

To see what else we've been up to this month, feel free  to read the monthly progress report:
Blog


In closing, a reminder to...

Create, visit, inhabit, and honor the sacred spaces in your life.

Sharon

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