Demeter, Goddess of the Earth and mother to Persephone, grows depressed. In her grief, she allows nothing to grow. The world burdens under a land bare and quiet.
This is the time of the Dark Goddess, the Queen of the Underworld.
These seeds are often self-sabotaging thoughts, beliefs, or behaviors that work against our own growth.
They undermine us when we keep repeating, “I am okay. I am okay. I am okay.” While not getting on the scale, not opening the credit card statement, not opening the text, not breaking up with someone toxic. It is the mantra of kidding ourselves because we are scared.
A dark seed loves ignorance. A dark seed convinces us to pretend that problems aren’t real until those very problems threaten to undermine us. Swathed in darkness we become ‘comfortably numb’ to the quality of being alive. We adjust to accepting a life that is mere fragments of what we know we are capable of. We allow childhood conditioning capsize our sense of worth and work.
During this Dark Time, from the 23rd of September until the winter solstice on December 21st use this time to identify, truly and bravely identify, your 6 dark seeds.
Seed Number One:
Identify one internalized belief from childhood that has undermined your sense of worth.
Example: “My Mom was a neat freak growing up and I just can’t measure up to her housekeeping. I feel like a lazy person who is unable to keep anything nice.”
Seed Number Two:
Identify one self-belief that actively discourages you from reaching towards your goals.
Example: “I will never be thin. I have been overweight my whole live and, well, I am just not one of ‘those’ people.”
Seed Number Three:
Identify any area where you are being willfully ignorant. This could be your health, your finances, a relationship, or something else.
Example: “I am desperately unhappy in my marriage. But I can’t ruin the kids’ lives and I don’t want to end up broke and alone in a crappy apartment.”
Seed Number Four:
Identify one belief that is negative and malicious. This could be a belief about yourself, someone else, or an aspect in the world. You usually can recognize these when you use “all” or “nothing” statements.
Example: “I am always the fuck up.” “Humans are horrible.” “Wall St. bankers should be hung.” “Carla must be sleeping with the boss.”
Seed Number Five:
Identify something (or someone) that you are jealous about.
Example: “My sister has more money than me and I just know she looks down on me.” “I am sure his success was by luck alone.” “How did they deserve a house like that?”
Seed Number Six:
Identify a bigoted belief regarding another class, race, political affiliation or action.
Example, “People who litter are ignorant, selfish people.”
Usually, if we examine our seeds closely, we can see that they are often tied to one another. The seeds run in currents and themes, often closely related to one another.
By identifying these dark seeds, we start to become aware of the nature of the Underworld Queen: that shadowy, greedy aspect of ourselves that we are not proud of. Often we shove her down as much as we can and other times she rises up to make us into aspects of ourselves that can shock us.
So let us peer into the dark together.
See the trauma in them.
See how a family culture and models influenced you before you could question them.
Peering at your seeds starts to dismantle them.
Looking at your dark seeds without judgement begins to break shame.
Being kind to yourself (and others) during this process helps you stay open. As your eyes adjust to the darkness, you will see how the seeds will grow into something revealing about your Underworld Queen (or King).
Journal The Descent
Right now, all I want you to do is to identify your seeds. Get curious about them. Watch how they show up in your life. Grab a journal and jot down when you catch a dark seed in action. This is a mindfulness activity. You aren’t going to go head to head with them just yet. During this dark time, until the Solstice, jot down when you notice them.
If you feel overwhelmed by that process, take one Dark Seed and work with watching it for 2 weeks. Then, choose another to observe.
“Just as Persephone, the Goddess of spring, now descends to meet her husband in the underworld. I, too, am heeding the call to peer into my own darkness. I ask that my eyes adjust to the dim.
I ask that my mind and heart be brave and open, curious and thorough by what I find there. I know that without winter, there is no spring, without darkness we cannot truly be bright. During this dark time I allow its lessons to open me, shake me, and nudge me into the life long process that is becoming human.”
If you are comfortable with it, keep the candle lit until it burns all the way down. If not, then light it every consecutive night until it is done.
I might follow up with an activity for you for Halloween (but I am not sure yet). Or I will definitely follow up with work on the winter solstice. Don’t worry, I am not going to leave you hanging. I want to give you plenty of time.
Don’t rush this.
This Is Tough Work
If you feel like you cannot do this alone, please reach out to me, or speak to a trusted advisor or therapist. If you feel this might be too intense for you right now, put it away for another time.
In the Dark, holding hands with you,
Impermanence, also called Anicca or Anitya, is one of the essential doctrines and a part of three marks of existence in Buddhism. The doctrine asserts that all of conditioned existence, without exception, is "transient, evanescent, inconstant".
I adore the equinoxes and especially favored is the Autumnal equinox which (northern hemisphere) is September 22, this year.
This day of being in-between reminds me of other pivotal moments. Like the top of the first loop of a roller coaster, it is a second of nothingness, neither ascending or falling back to earth we delight in the seeming weightlessness of this sparkling moment.
I like the space that exists between inhalation and exhalation, the quiet between the heart’s thumping and the moment before a thought coalesces. What is that undefinable nothingness before your best idea pops in from nowhere?
What does it feel like to capture the moment of nothingness?
Who are you when you are not DOING anything?
Why does not doing make us uncomfortable? What are we afraid of finding there?
One of the many goals of meditation is to fully realize that we are nothing.
We are... No... Thing.
And everything else are no things. When we can fully grasp the realization that everything is no thing, we can understand that all of the suffering we endure is truly an illusion. (Our egos love to resist that fact, our fear wants us to turn away from it and that is the illusion that keeps us suffering.)
That no thing is not about that we lack substance, that we do not exist. Realizing that we are no thing is also to realize that we are unified into a far greater some thing, those somethings built on relationships, seasons, interconnectedness, and change. We aren't the particles, we are the field, the waving, dancing undulating field. The separation between things is an illusion.
We strive to make things fixed, permanent, unchangeable but since everything is truly no thing this is an impossible task we have set for ourselves. Because we can never meet that desire we hurt and we suffer.
When we meditate in the space between breaths, it allows us to perceive ourselves as is. Stripped of desires, wants, agendas, whining, wishing and striving we come to a place of equilibrium. We come to the moment between moments and when we find ourselves there, we can truly see the nature of our no thing.
The equinox is an excellent reminder of our impermanent nature.
Listen Sariputra, this Body itself is Emptiness
The Heart Sutra's translation by Thich Nhat Hanh talks about this state of emptiness. As a mini ritual for this exceptional, no moment equinox go ahead and give it a read. It also has an accompanying mantra you can use.
If you do not meditate, if you find it difficult then I challenge you to find 10 minutes on the equinox to sit and just be. Read the heart sutra and deeply regard the concept of your own no thing ness.
Embrace the ambiguity. Embrace doing nothing. Embrace just Be ing.
You do not need to be a Shaman, Lightworker, Medium, or Ghost Buster in most cases when house clearing. For most cases, you can easily clear your own home of negative energy whenever you feel like you need to do so. I personally think that House Clearing is a wonderful thing to do with every season change, and especially for any major occasion.
House Clearing is the simple removal of negative, stagnant, or even hostile energy and replacing it with beneficial, positive, flowing, and protective energy within and around your home.
Have you ever entered a room or a building and felt a sudden sense of uneasiness? Conversely, have you entered a space that just felt...well, good? Often you had no real reason for why you felt the way you did but this is in fact you being affected by the energy of the place.
Negative energy can happen when there has been negativity in that place. Depression, divorce, loss, arguments and so on can get trapped in a place and continue to infect the people who come in contact with that place. Just like cleaning the house and changing the sheets after you have been ill, you also have to clear the energy of a place to invite a healthy vibration in.
The start of a new year is a perfect time to clear your house of unwanted energy and replace it with good. For the purposes of this practice, this is NOT covering homes which are haunted. I am only talking about the living energy, or qi, that effects our spaces and is also generated by us.
When clearing a home I follow these basic tenants:
Declutter, Organize, and Clean
The first step to house clearing is actually cleaning and organizing your home! Energy gets stuck in places that have too many things, dirt, or too much clutter. Additionally, the emotional energy of things no longer used, needed or valued leave a kind of negative vacuum pull on a place. So the first part is to clean your space from top to bottom, get rid of all the things no longer needful, useful, or important. Qi likes a lot of open space to move around in. It is no coincidence that cultures who value the work of Qi have homes and spaces spare and clean. This alone will have a HUGE impact, even if you do nothing else.
Clean You—At this point, you need to clean yourself. I recommend a salt scrub or Epsom salt bath as part of your personal clean up. Wear something simple, that you can move in. No makeup, no jewelry, and go about your home barefoot. Have a ‘come as you are’ frame of mind. At this point, only you (and anyone also actively involved in your house clearing) should be in the house. Your husband who looks at you questioningly, your darling 13 year old daughter who is too cool for school need to go out for the day. It is important that everyone in the house is crafting the intention or setting, or out. Pets and babies are okay, their energy does not disrupt even if their noises do.
There are many, many ways to clear energy from the home. One of the most popular is to burn sage and smudge your home. If you burn sage to smudge your home, do so in a thoughtful fashion; begin on the top floor and follow the lines of the walls in a clockwise fashion, making sure to cover every space but not needing to go over it again. While you do this, open your windows so the negative qi has a place to escape. Yes, I know, it’s cold in January so bundle up while you do this part!
Florida Water—A favorite of Santeria, voodoo, and hoodoo practitioners. You can get a bottle for $5. It is often used for clearing energy. You can sprinkle it like you would smudge your space. I use Florida water when I am on travel and reading at festivals, it is easy to carry, smells nice and has no clean up. It has a long history of good uses. Another thing you can do is add Florida to all your house cleaning preparations!
Broom—If burning sage or smelling up your place with Florida water is not your thing another handy way you can do this is to buy a broom. It should be all wood and corn husk, nothing synthetic. It does not have to be a long handled one, but a hand one could do. I have a special broom that I use just for this purpose. Just like with smudging, you should start at the top and work your way down through the house (yes, with windows open) sweeping the air, the walls, the corners—imagine that you are pulling dust up and sending it out through the windows. When you are done, leave your broom against the wall outside the front door of your home. This also acts as a powerful protection aid (you might not have noticed, but next time you see me you will notice a nondescript broom laying right outside my reading room.)
Now that you have cleaned and cleared your space, you are ready to invite beneficial energies to your home.
The blessing part is tricky because your blessing should reflect your own spiritual beliefs. It does not do to say the Lord’s Prayer if you’re Buddhist. It has to be something you have faith in, something YOU believe. If you are a follower of a religion, simply look up what they do and follow that. For those of you who are nondenominational of heart, yet spiritual, I offer these words below:
Jenna’s House Blessing
I adapted this from the more traditional Navajo House blessing. I really like the inclusive family and community aspect of this blessing. I light a white candle and carry it with me from room to room wherein I read this prayer in every room or large transit space like the hallway or stairs. If you want to include other people who live in the home, having them come with you and recite this prayer with you as you move from room to room only increases the goodness.
This home, my home, shall be surrounded with light, love, goodness, and prosperity.
This fire shall be for the good of the family. And the children that are born in this house will all be in good health. Any plans we make in this house will be for the good of the family.
May this be a good place for us to live, may our lives be long and happy in this home.
May I live in this home happily and peacefully and with respect.
May I have a happy life in this house. Myself, my spouse, my children, my relatives, whomever may come into this home, may they relax peacefully and rest. May all of us have no sickness, no misfortunes.
May my house be in harmony; From my head, may it be happy;
To my feet, may it be happy; Where I lie, may it be happy;
All above me, may it be happy; All around me, may it be happy;
May my fire be well made and happy;
May the sun, my mother's ancestor, be happy for this gift;
May it be happy as I walk around my house; May this road of light,
my mother's ancestor, be happy.
I bet by this time, your house is feeling pretty amazing right now. You have cleaned it, cleared it, blessed it and now we need to seal in that goodness. There are many, many ways to protect your home. When I think of protection, I think about protecting space from both the outside and the inside. We want to protect our space both from things that filter in from the outside, as well as things that may erupt on the inside.
Things to be placed inside the home.
Salt—I buy kosher salt from the Jewish section of my local grocery store because I like the texture but any salt will do. Salt has long been used for protection rituals and perhaps that came from its ancient use, salting meat, literally protecting meat from putrefaction and disease. Sprinkle your salt inside every entrance or window to the outside. It does not have to be a lot. As you do so just recite the following, “Encase all negativity inside your crystalline structure. Gift of the Earth, protect this home.” Leave the salt as long as you can, but if you later vacuum or sweep it up as part of your house cleaning that is okay, it will have done its job.
Candles—I like to use those white 7 day candles in the long glass jars you can get at the dollar store. Instead of salt, you can light one and leave it burning at each window sill and near the outside doors. Of course, be mindful of any fire risk. Lighting each one, you can say a prayer over them such as, “Light of the World, repel all darkness with your glow. Gift of Fire, protect this home.” I usually let the candles keep burning for days until they are done. But, you can decide whether that is a safe choice for you.
Mirrors, Crystals, and Lights—Notice any areas that have darkness to them, an underused corner? A room that is not well-trafficked? These are areas where negativity can collect within a home. Say you get into a fight with your loved one, that energy can linger and get stuck in places. Spot the dark areas and place things there that increase the qi vibration such as mirrors to reflect light, crystals that raise vibrations, and actual lights in those areas.
Plants—Things that are living also bring raise vibrations to spaces that may be underused. (If you have noticed, I have a lot of plants in my reading room. Since I spend time in my office only when reading and that energy can often be lo, I have worked hard to incorporate things that will purify and raise the vibration of the space.)
Things that help to stop unwanted energy from coming inside your home. Again, use any or all as you feel comfortable with. There is no one right way, just the way that feels right to you.
Bagua Mirror—This 8 sided mirror should be placed outside the home, facing out. It is a great repellent for outside misfortune being directed at you.
Funny story, last year I was dealing with someone who was a real nasty character, she tried to turn a whole community of folks against me with lies. I came home one day to find that my bagua mirror that had been sitting outside my bedroom window for the last 3 years was on the ground and broken. But how it fell was really strange, it had somehow fallen from my second floor window hen doubled back to land on my porch below. That means it would have had to fall in an arc, I don’t know how that happened. But I learned days later that this very same person hired someone to come to my home to hurt me. It never happened. I am a big believer in the Bagua.
Nazar—The blue eye that is meant to ward off jealousy, evil eye, negative thoughts directed at you and so on. You can have these in the house, but I find that placing one right at the entrance to my home stops any bad energy in its tracks.
Mezuzah—Mezuzah are a Jewish tradition of placing a scroll in a lovely container nailed to the doorframe of the entryway to a home. You can also place one at the doorway of every room. There are so many Mezuzah of all different kinds, all truly beautiful.
Bowl of Stones—A pagan aspect of this (and one I have used in the past) is to get a terracotta bowl and fill it with stones. As you place each stone in the bowl, recite this small spell, “By Rock, By Granite, By Stone, By Earth—Capture hex, Capture Crime, Capture bain, Capture hurt. So Mote it Be.” Then, place the bowl of stones at the foot of your front door. This will sink any bad energies before they enter your home. You can also make one for other entrances to your home like the back door or the door to a garage, for example.
Finally, after all this good work you have put into clearing and making your home (or any personal space) feel amazing, it is time to fill it with happiness and good cheer to truly lock in all the blessings of the new year.
Family Time—Having a nice dinner with your loved ones who all live in the space would be great. Have a candlelit dinner and spread good cheer and affection for each other. Reaffirm your feelings, tell your loved ones how much they mean to you, snuggle with your pup. A home stays positive because YOU are also building the good energy. Make your home a place of love.
Invite Others—Have a nice get together with friends and family who spread positivity and love. Don’t invite bitter Aunt Melba for this, or anyone you have friction with. Just your besties and those who feel really good to you. Allow their love of you to also fill your home.
Get Freaky—Sex with someone you truly love is a beautiful thing. It is opening, and intimate and it has powerful energy. Use it to your advantage.
It is a lot of work to fully clear a home and make it as energetically healthy as possible, but the effects are so worth it. Please see above as a general guideline to get your started and know that there are many ways to clear a home. Follow your heart and your instinct to create something that works for you. If you are in the Philadelphia area and would like me to conduct a House Clearing for you, please contact me for a quote (I’ll do everything except for the cleaning!)
You can reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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