Demeter and Persephone

demeter

Demeter and Persephone

We think we are a modern society but really we are still greatly influenced by the Ancient Greeks, in our architecture, literature, theater, politics, education, philosophy and psychology.   Although the Greeks got their knowledge from the Egyptians, our modern culture more commonly credits the Greeks.

The gods and goddesses of Greek mythology are the reflection of the human psyche both ancient and modern.   Our culture may have changed but the drama of the human mind and heart is still the same.  Love, jealousy, war, peace, hate, envy, gluttony, joy, sorrow are still played out everyday by everyone on the planet.  Myths are stories that express these emotions and experiences.

I too have played my roles in these timeless Greek tragedies.  My heart is my stage and my relationships my drama.   I was told many years ago that the archetype of Demeter was very prominent in my life.  Demeter is the goddess of the harvest and the mother archetype.  Being a mother was all I ever wanted and it came very naturally to me.   I enjoyed my role as Demeter and happily stayed at home to take care of my girls.

What I didn’t realize was that the myth is not just about Demeter but Persephone and Demeter.   In the myth mother and daughter are bound together.   When Persephone was abducted into the underworld by Hades, Demeter searched for her ceaselessly and made a bargain with Hades to get Persephone back.

When my eldest daughter Caroline was a teenager Hades also abducted her to the Underworld of depression.   I went searching for her and found her and through years of difficulty and love I was able to help her find her way out.   When we were deep in this underworld journey I realized that as a Demeter I had to have a Persephone or the drama would not be played out.   I never told her about this drama but it helped me to see our challenge through a larger story.

It wasn’t until my daughter’s second year of college that the difficult times seemed to lift for good.   That summer she found a beautiful buff colored kitten near a local coffee shop.   She brought it home and since we name our female cats after goddesses, she decided to call her Persephone.   Unconsciously she had transferred that archetype to this kitten so she could now take on a different role.  The cat Persephone is oblivious to the part she plays.

Now my daughter is Athena the warrior goddess of wisdom, taking on the male dominated world of math and science and thriving.   I will continue to enjoy my role as Demeter, knowing I have done my part but now I too enjoy other roles like Athena the warrior, Artemis the sister, and my husband’s favorite, Hera the wife.

Good books on Jungian archetypal psychology:

The Goddesses in Every Woman and

The Gods in Every Man by Jean Shinoda Bolen

persy

Persephone Jane

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Beauty Remembered

Peur 2011

The great composer Rachmaninoff has once again has been woven into my life in a deeply meaningful way. The concert to mark the 70th anniversary of his final concert was an outstanding success. The auditorium which holds 1000 was overflowing and many had to stand in the back. The excitement of this historic event was palpable and the pianist, Evgeny Brakhman, played with enormous talent and deep love and understanding of his idol’s music. The room was electric with the immense beauty and appreciation for art at its highest level.

My father-in-law, John, was a patron of the concert, but unfortunately he died the day before the concert from pneumonia after emergency surgery. At the concert he was honored and it made the evening all the more poignant for his family and friends. Once again Rachmaninoff’s music brought healing and solace for me during this sad time.

Beauty was everywhere in John’s life. Raised on a small farm in southern Mississippi during the depression, survival was what life was about, but education was important to the family and he worked hard and went to Medical school. He was a typical Taurus and loved land and home. Although he had a wonderful career, his home and farm were his deepest love. He nurtured his place on earth for 60 years, restoring his home and tending the land. He said to me just last fall, “I can’t believe I get to live in a place this beautiful.”

John and my mother-in-law Dusty had a deep appreciation for all things beautiful, fine books, well made clothes, beautiful music and wonderful food. They lived a beautiful life and they passed this love to all who were part of their lives, introducing them to fine art and music and gracious southern living.

Dusty can no longer remember her beautiful life after many years of dementia but her family is making sure the she still lives with the grace of a “Southern Belle”. A coal-miner’s daughter from Kentucky, she also improved her station in life through education and an appreciation of beauty. She was very social and found an outlet for her enthusiasm at the Knoxville Opera and it is through her influence that I have become a great opera lover. Dusty brought beauty into the lives of her granddaughters by gifting them violin and ballet lessons.

Beauty is the greatest way to raise your vibration and level of spiritual development. The great composers, artists, architects, writers and poets knew how to touch the Divine and bring it to the human level. The beauty of our planet is stunning; mountains, oceans, lakes, trees, flowers and animals. Beauty is all around. Everyday find something of beauty and let it bring you closer to “Heaven on Earth”.

Rachmaninoff

Rachmaninoff

photo by panoramia.com     Rachmaninoff Statue, Knoxville TN

Knoxville Tennnessee doesn’t have many claims to fame but it does have a few notable events in its history, the 1982 World’s Fair, the moonshine running roots of Nascar, the home town of a few celebraties and authors. There is one event that has always been important to me, the great Russian composer and pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff played his final concert at the University of Tennessee Alumni Gym 70 years ago this month. He died a few weeks later in California.

I’ve been helping my friend Jane, a fellow music lover, organize a concert to commemorate this great composer on the same stage and date of his final concert. February 17, Evgheny Brakhman an award-winning pianist from Russia is going to play an all Rachmaninoff concert in the Cox Auditorium. We will have several parties and visit the statue of Rachmaninoff at the World’s Fair Park as part this event. I went to the 50th anniversary concert in 1993 before the new auditorium was built. In the audience were a dozen or so people who had attended that final concert 50 years before.

Rachmaninoff and his beautiful music have been a part of my life since I was a little girl. My piano teacher saw Rachmaninoff play in Chattanooga and would tell me stories of that experience. When I got accomplished enough I was required to learn the famous Prelude in C# minor, a devilishly difficult piece that took months to learn and required my long fingers to play large, complicated chords. I can still play the first few measures by memory.

The Friday after 9/11 I had symphony tickets to hear Rachmaninoff’s masterpiece the 2nd Piano Concerto. The Russian pianist Alexander Toradze drove down to play the concert since there were no planes allowed to fly. It was a somber audience that night. The orchestra first played Barber’s Adagio for Strings in memory of the tragedy. During the spectacularly beautiful second movement of the 2nd piano concerto I felt my personal sorrow healed. I will never forget that evening and the healing music gifted to me by the great composer and pianist.

It is popular to say in spiritual circles “we all are intuitive”. Yes, that is true, but that is like saying we can all play the piano. Everyone can play chopsticks, some can play hymns, others can play sonatas but only a very few gifted individuals can play Rachmaninoff. When you come across the teachers and intuitives who are “Rachmaninoffs” your world is changed forever by the mastery and beauty they bring to your life.

Remembering Rachmaninoff:   February 17, 2013  8 pm, Cox Auditorium, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

The King of Wands

King of Wands

Here we go again. Yet another wand card which of course perfectly reflects the current experiences of my life. These cards may be pieces of paper but the story they tell magically reflects our world.

The King of Wands is the fire king and represents our skills and talents. He sits on his throne, living wand of power in hand, flaming crown on his head and salamander at his feet. The King now has command over his skills and is ready to use them. He has learned the lessons of the 13 other wand cards and feels comfortable with his power. He isn’t threatened by other people’s talents and power; he is secure in his own accomplishments.

The salamander beside the King and on the tapestry behind his throne represents the element of fire that he has learned to control in himself. He is claiming his spiritual power and authority and no longer misuses his power to control others.

Spiritual power is not well understood because unlike worldly power it is subtle. It is an interior power and knowledge rather than an exterior force. David Hawkins wrote a ground breaking book, Power vs. Force, that is a must read for all spiritual seekers. He describes how seekers gain spiritual power as they raise their level of consciousness. Spiritual power is about mastery over mind and emotions to grow and raise the level of joy and love in the world.

The rules of spiritual power are totally different from worldly power. No one can steal it from you but you can give it away if you aren’t careful. When you have true spiritual power it can never be lost unless you start to use in for ego purposes. You are also not threatened by other people’s spiritual power because you know that their power only raises the love vibration of the earth and therefore supports your power.

This last weekend Amaru Li, a Peruvian Shaman, led a local drumming circle in a journey to meet the Golden Jaguar of the East to claim our spiritual power. It was a full moon in the fire sign of Leo; we asked our inner golden jaguar for guidance. After we shared our experiences in small groups and many people had very profound experience of healing with this powerful archetype.

This last month I’ve been reading Spiritual Power; How It Works by Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee. I’ve read it slowly, savoring every page of profound spiritual wisdom. Funny enough it has a picture of a wand on the cover. After you read Power vs. Force, I would definitely add this book to your list. This spiritual master knows true power and teaches how to combine the inner and outer worlds to live a fully integrated life so the magic of our everyday life keeps us in Joy.

Athena

Athena

As much as I like to travel the world to experience sacred sites, one of my favorite sites is actually in my home town Nashville Tennessee. Yes, Nashville! The city devoted to Country Music, the “Buckle of the Bible Belt”, has the largest indoor statue in the world, Athena, Goddess of Wisdom.

In 1897, Tennessee held a large exhibition to celebrate 100 years as a state. An exact replica of the Parthenon in Athens Greece, as well as a Pyramid, was part of this elaborate celebration in downtown Nashville. The Parthenon was later rebuilt in aggregate (a concrete and pebble mixture) and is the only remaining part of that exhibition, located in a beautiful park complete with pond, train, and fighter plane.

The original Parthenon, dedicated to the patron goddess Athena, sits on the Acropolis high over Athens, and is the most important surviving building of Ancient Greece. It is aligned to Hyades in the constellation Taurus. The Temple of Athena is a perfect example of architecture using sacred geometry and the Golden Ratio. The exterior columns slightly angle in and when that line is followed meet a mile in the sky directly over the temple. The Nashville Parthenon may not be the original but as an exact replica the sacred geometry of the temple brings you into the same harmonic resonance with the Divine as the original.

The Parthenon in Athens had an ivory and gold statue of Athena and now Nashville has a gilded reproduction of that same statue. Athena is 42 feet tall and has her shield and sword on her left and in her right hand holds a 6 foot tall statue of Nike who is dwarfed by the giant goddess.

I went to the Parthenon many times when I lived in Nashville. My parents would take me to see art shows in the then dank basement and hear concerts in the nearby outdoor amphitheater There was no goddess at that time, Athena was recreated in the late 90’s and gilded a few years later. Now when I’m in Nashville I always go to see her, I love to just stand in front of her and ask for wisdom and guidance. Her blue eyes and calm but determined look give her regalness and her golden robes, crown and shield make her glow.

I was in Nashville just this last week visiting my daughter who is in college at Belmont University just a mile away from the Parthenon. While she was in class, I went and got a cup of coffee and then went to see my Goddess. Being a winter, weekday morning, there were no other visitors and I had time alone in the Temple of Athena. I just sat on a bench and enjoyed the silence and Athena, then walked around the exterior columns.

As a young girl in Nashville, I never felt I fit into the culture of my conservative Christian schools. The visits to the Parthenon and the concerts I attended at the War Memorial Auditorium, a temple like complex with a statue of the god Mars, are some of my happiest memories. Now I see that the seeds of my future were being planted, I was being raised in the great Temples of Nashville.

Parthenon