About the Author
Michelle Skye (Massachusetts) is a Pagan Priestess with over ten years' experience following the Path of the Wise. An active member of the Wiccan and Pagan communities, she teaches classes, leads workshops, and has founded Massachusetts Pagan Teens and Sisterhood of the Crescent Moon. Her articles have appeared in Circle Magazine and SageWoman, and she's a regular contributor to Llewellyn annuals and Renaissance Magazine.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
starting on your journey
Hail and welcome! May your path to the Goddess lead you where you need to go. This
book, Goddess Alive!, is a celebration of the many faces of the Goddess, focusing exclusively
on the Irish, Welsh, and Norse cultures. Through ritual, invocation, guided
meditation, and hands -on activities, you will welcome these goddesses into your life,
allowing their lessons to guide you and their energies to transform you. The heart of
your experience with each goddess will be the guided meditation, during which you
will meet, get to know, and talk to her. Guided meditation is a relatively easy activity
that everyone can enjoy. You do not need to have any prior meditation knowledge or
skill in order to experience a wonderful, fulfilling, and magical journey. In fact, I believe
that guided meditation is one of the best ways to introduce the body, mind, and spirit to
meditation as a life practice. All you need to do is sit back (or lie down), relax, and allow
me to guide you through the labyrinthine passages of your mind and heart to the center
of the universe, to the center of the earth, to the divine energy as manifested in the Great
Throughout time, ancient peoples have worshiped the image of the Goddess, as protector,
provider, and creator. She is the grain that feeds our bellies, the midwife who
helps us birth, and the water that sustains our lives. She is the sun, the moon, the earth
beneath our feet. She nurtures animals and babies, giving of her warmth and love. Yet
the Goddess, like us, is not one -dimensional. When provoked or wronged, displays of
her power can be as violent as lightning and as wrathful as a woman scorned. She has
gone to war and returned, covered in mud, the blood of her enemy on her spear tip. She
has rejected society's rules, to live as a woman alone, without husband or fealty, dominant
in her own right. She has learned and excelled at skills considered to be manly
or masculine. She is herself-caring, powerful, loving, strong, determined, nurturing.
The duality of the Goddess allows us to look into our deeper selves and know that
there is both darkness and light within us. We learn, through her example, that both are
equally important to achieve balance in ourselves, in nature, and in the universe.
In this book, you will meet thirteen different goddesses from the ancient Irish,
Welsh, and Norse pantheons. Some people view these culturally specific goddesses as
facets of the all -powerful Great Goddess, who, along with the Great God, is the energy
of the divine. Others see these goddesses as separate entities, complete and whole unto
themselves. Whatever your beliefs, know that each goddess has a different energy and
has a specific lesson to teach you. Be open to that lesson, to the teaching of the divine
female spirit. This knowledge will lead you closer to your true self and the path you are
supposed to walk. Do not run from it, but embrace it and begin.
in the beginning
In order to truly experience the guided meditations in this book, you must be able to
perform and master a few necessary skills. Just as you cannot run without first learning
to crawl and then to walk, you cannot pathwork without accepting into yourself several
abilities that are indispensable for the journey. So take out your magical, meditative
backpack and prepare for the trip!
The first activity of extreme importance when meditating is grounding. Grounding
focuses your mind, body, and spirit on exactly where you are in the world. It helps you
connect to the energies around you and to the energies of Mother Earth, on whose body
we live and breathe. Grounding helps you tap into her power, allowing it to buoy and
strengthen your own innate energy.
There are many different ways to ground. Perhaps you've grounded without even
knowing it. When your day at work has been awful or you're feeling a little sad or depressed,
have you ever reached for bread, crackers, oatmeal cookies, or something else
made from a grain product? Have you walked outside barefoot (or even with shoes on)
and felt lighter and more focused afterward? These are two of the simplest methods for
grounding, for connecting yourself to the earth and to your place and location in the
world. They help alter your mind, bringing you to a relaxed state, which is extremely
important in order to fully experience a guided meditation.
Although the simple grounding methods work wonders when your everyday life
feels a tad out of control, a more detailed grounding method is necessary when entering
into a journey or guided meditation. Since our goal when grounding is to connect to
the earth's energies, take a few minutes right now to close your eyes and think of a plant.
It can be a flower, an herb, or a tree-anything to which you feel an emotional attachment.
I use a willow tree when I ground, but any green, growing vegetation will work,
even seaweed or grass.
Once you've decided on a plant, close your eyes, breathe deeply, and feel your spine
lengthening, burrowing into the soft, rich soil. It is becoming the stem, the stalk, the
trunk of your chosen plant ally. As you breathe in, envision the energy of the earth filling
your body, and as you breathe out, release any stress, fear, anxiety, and worry, pushing
them into the soil. As your spine lengthens and burrows farther and farther into
the earth, know that any negativity that is released into the earth will be recycled into
positive energy. Continuing to breathe in and out, notice that your spine has branched
out and started to form roots in the earth. The roots grow, drawing more and more of
the earth's energy into your body and releasing more and more of your worries and
fears. When you feel that all your negativity has been released and that your entire body
is filled with the earth's energy, feel the energy inside your body leave through the top of
your head and, like the branches of a tree, the petals of a flower, or the leaves of an herb,
arch back down to the ground, creating a circle of energy. Now, the earth's energy is entering
your body through your spine, mingling with your own energy, and then leaving
through the top of your head, arching back down to the ground, creating a connection
between you and the earth. After several minutes of this, you should feel completely
relaxed and at ease. You are grounded!1
If grounding connects you to where you are in the world, then the next exercise,
centering, connects you to who you are in the world. Centering focuses your mind, body,
and spirit on acknowledging and accepting yourself as an individual, as a divine creation,
and as a conduit for divine energy, knowledge, and will. It helps you see yourself
as a perfect and whole human being, with all your faults, your assets, your weaknesses
1. This grounding technique is a modified form of the Tree of Life exercise explained in the book The Spiral
Dance, written by Starhawk (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1989), p. 58.
and strengths. In essence, centering allows you to come to terms with the whole you,
stripped of pretense and false fronts. You will get to know and receive yourself in your
entirety, while focusing on the positive traits that you bring to the people around you
and to the world as a whole. As with grounding, there are many different techniques
that can focus your attention on yourself as a manifestation of the divine. The following
technique is the one that I use and have taught to others with great success.
Close your eyes and breathe deeply in and out. Focus your attention on the center of
your body, near your heart, right in the middle of your breastbone. This is the location
of your heart chakra, one of seven energy points in the body that help keep the body's
systems running together efficiently. The heart chakra helps create a balanced emotional
center, allowing you to nurture healthy relationships with others and with yourself. It
is usually visualized as a ball or disc of green or pink light. Once you have the chakra
visualized, feel it spinning in a clockwise direction. If you looked down at your chest, it
would spin from right to left. The clockwise -spinning chakra indicates a healthy, open
chakra that is working at an optimum level. If your chakra is spinning slowly, not spinning
at all, or spinning in the opposite direction (counterclockwise), then you are probably
experiencing some emotional or relationship problems or have experienced them
in the past. Work with the chakra so that it is spinning in the clockwise direction easily,
without a struggle. Do not go on to the next step in the centering process until your
heart chakra has a strong color and is effortlessly spinning in the clockwise direction.
After you have aligned your heart chakra, feel the energy of the chakra spreading
throughout your entire body in the form of either a green or pink color. It flows from
your breastbone down through your belly, out to your ribs, and up to your throat and
shoulders. The energy continues to ebb and flow, down your thighs, down to your elbows,
around to your back, and up to your face. The colored energy maintains its path,
pouring into your fingers, your legs and toes, and your head. Just when you feel that
you can hold no more of your heart chakra's energy, it radiates out of your body in
shining pink or green light and, just as quickly, collapses in upon itself and centers
once more in your heart chakra. You are now completely centered and ready for any
type of pathworking.
Any time you choose to visit another realm of existence, you are pathworking, moving
outside of yourself to experience something or someplace new or different. It sounds
difficult but is actually a lot simpler than you might think. Have you ever watched a
movie and experienced the theater fading away around you? Your entire focus is on the
movie, and you feel as though you are alone. When this happens, the movie becomes
your reality and the myriad noises of the crowded movie theater no longer exist. You are
pathworking. This type of experience can also be felt when listening to a great song or
reading a well -written book. If the world blurs around you and your whole mind and
body connect to the song or book, then you are pathworking.
Generally, however, pathworking refers to soul -visiting other realms of reality, such as
the angelic realm, Faerieland, the land of our ancestors, and the homes of the gods and
goddesses. Soul -visiting is not quite astral projection, nor is it dreaming, but is something
in between. While in a relaxed state, your spirit reaches out to a reality beyond the
physical senses of sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. In most cultures, this reality is
divided into three sections: the Upper World, Middle World, and Lower World.2 For the
purposes of this book, we will be working mostly with the Upper World, the world of
the gods and goddesses, spirit guides, and angels. While you are soul -visiting this Otherworld,
the faeries, angels, animal and spirit guides, ancestors, and gods and goddesses
will give messages to you that are filtered through your own individual mind, through
your memories and life experiences. In essence, you will be raising your energy, or vibration,
in order to interact with them, while they will be lowering theirs to interact with you.
There are many techniques that can be used to raise your vibrational energy. Drumming,
chanting, singing, smelling herbal incenses, or imbibing of ritual potions are just some of
the techniques. For our purposes, we will be raising our vibration through meditation.
There are three distinct forms of meditation: inward meditation, guided meditation,
and journeying. Inward meditation is the type of pathworking that we usually associate
with Buddhist monks high in their mountainside temples. It is the achievement of stillness
and peace within the body, mind, and spirit, allowing the divine to descend upon
you. It is a knowingness, a feeling of being deeply connected to your present, to the time
2. This concept was first explained to me by Trish Casimira, a wonderful healer and shaman of Cherokee
ancestry. Contact her at http://www.souljourneying.com/home.html. (This shamanic idea is also stated
in numerous scholarly and spiritual books.)
and place in which your body rests. You feel a tie with all living organisms on the planet
and know that they are all directly connected to Spirit. This type of meditation takes
years to perfect and, although important, is not our focus in visiting the goddesses. We
will use the other two types of pathworking, guided meditation and journeying, in order
to access the realms of the gods.
Guided meditation is like listening to a story. It harks back to our childhood days,
when magic was everywhere! Our clothes magically appeared in our bureaus, and our
food magically appeared on the table. We had few worries, many questions, and a lot
of time to explore, always sure of our parents' love, which served as our tether or safety
net. The words and images of the guided meditation are your safety net as you begin to
venture into the Otherworld. They allow you enough freedom to become familiar with
soul -visiting the places and beings in the Otherworld, without becoming overwhelmed.
You will be able to interact with other realms of existence without worries, in the comforting
parameters of the story.
Journeying takes away that safety net and leaves you to fend for yourself. You have
grown up and no longer need limitations on your movements. When journeying, you
choose the purpose of your soul visit, sometimes even the entity you wish to visit, and
then you raise your vibrational energy and journey there. There is no meditation to
guide you; you simply move into the Otherworld on your own. Some of the guided
meditations in this book have journey sections in which you talk to a goddess on your
own or perform a task or learn a skill that she puts forth just for you. These sections
allow you to try a less structured form of pathworking while still attaining a goal and
keeping the original intention in mind.
Pathworking, in the form of guided meditation or journeying, is usually undertaken
for a specific purpose or intention. You might choose to go on a pathworking journey in
order to effect change within yourself, to find answers that you seek, to learn about past
lives, or to explore the ramifications of various choices in your life. Some experienced
pathworkers and shamans will journey in order to help other people, but this should be
done only after years and years of learning. Indeed, any kind of pathworking should not
be undertaken lightly, as the experience will change the way you view yourself and the
world around you. There are also dangers within the landscape of the Otherworld. Dark
places and dark entities reside there, right beside the crystal palaces and beings of light.
It is important that you stay focused on the guided meditations as you take your first
forays into other realms of reality. The guided meditations will steer you through the
maze of the Otherworld, allowing you to become used to the beings who reside there
and the new sensations in your body and mind. Remember, even if on a guided meditation,
you always have the ability to leave the journey and return to your own body, your
own time and place.
One of the best ways to remember your free will while performing a pathworking
is to have a protective talisman. This is either a physical object or a thoughtform that
protects your spirit and body while you are journeying in the Otherworld. It could be
a mantra or chant, a memory, or an ancestor, guardian angel, or spirit. You might find
that your protective talisman is a stuffed animal, or a picture of your daughter or son, a
crystal, rock, or herb, or even a particular incense scent, like sage. Whatever form your
talisman takes, it will remind you that, should things become too uncomfortable in the
Otherworld, you can leave and return to your own body at any time.
The following mini -meditation will help you find your protective talisman. As with
all the meditations in this book, I recommend reading the meditation onto a cassette
tape or CD or having a friend or family member read it aloud, in order for you to truly
experience the full power of the pathworking. Also, you might want to create a journal
of some kind to record your experiences with each meditation. You can then look back
on your notes and see if there are any connecting threads throughout the meditations
or if they correspond to events that occurred in your everyday life.
meditation to find your protective talisman
Take a deep breath, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Take another
deep breath, filling your stomach, your diaphragm, and finally your lungs. Hold this
breath for five seconds . . . 1 -2 -3 -4 -5 . . . and exhale, allowing the breath to exit your lungs
first, then your diaphragm, and finally your stomach. Take one more deep breath, and as
you breathe in, feel the energy and the wonder of the world around you in your fingers,
your toes, your legs and shoulders, even the top of your head. Hold the breath for seven
seconds . . . 1 -2 -3 -4 -5 -6 -7. As you exhale, feel all tension leave your fingers, your toes,
your legs and shoulders, even the top of your head. Feel the ground under your body
touching every nerve ending and muscle. The ground is warm and radiant. Continue
breathing deeply, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Allow the earth to
hold and support your body, cradling you in warmth and comfort. You have never felt
so relaxed, so secure, so calm.
You are lying in a spring meadow. To your right is a forest. Birds play among the
branches of the trees. You hear their sweet songs and see their intricate patterns against
the sky. The sky is soft blue. Fluffy white clouds float above your head, cooling the rays
of the bright, warm sun. You stretch and feel the heat suffusing every muscle in your
body, making you more and more relaxed. A wooden staff of perfect height and weight
rests next to you. It is made of oak and inscribed with symbols and glyphs of protection.
(pause) You trace the carvings with your finger, and they glow with a golden gleam. You
know that nothing can harm you while the staff is nearby, guarding your resting form in
a circle of light and security.
Inches from the staff, a bag rests next to you. Your fingers graze the soft material and
pull the bag closer to you. Leaning up on one elbow, you look inside. What do you see
there? A bouquet of wildflowers? A bird feather? A gleaming stone? Or something else,
completely different? (pause) Whatever you see, take it out of the bag and lie down on
your back. Rest the object on your chest, placing it over your heart. Feel the energy of
your heart reaching out to this object, making it one with you and with the universe.
(pause) This object protects you and is your gateway to the Otherworld. It allows you
access to the houses of the gods, to the realms of angels, to the land of faerie, and the
domain of our ancestors, where you can move and fly free. (pause) At the same time,
this object connects you with your body here on the earth. If you should wish to return
at any time, you need only touch the object and you will be once more in your body.
(pause) The object sparkles brightly with the universal life force. It is warm and comforting
in the palm of your hand. Squeeze the object lightly and place it in your pocket
for safekeeping. Know that any time you undertake a journey to the Otherworld, you
need only reach your hand into your pocket and your protective talisman will be there.
Begin to focus, once again, on your breathing. Take deep breaths in and out, in and
out. (pause) On the next deep breath in, feel the energy and the wonder of the world
around you in your fingers, your toes, your legs and shoulders, even the top of your
head. As you exhale, wiggle your fingers and toes. Shake your legs and move your shoulders
up and down. Take another deep breath and, as you exhale, move your head from
side to side. Feel the ground under your body touching every nerve ending and muscle.
Hear the rustlings of the people around you. Notice the movements outside. Continue
breathing. Stretch your arms out above your head. You are returning to the present, to
the here and now. Continue stretching. Continue breathing. When you are ready, open
your eyes, blink and focus, and sit up.
After performing the protective talisman meditation, take a few minutes to write down
your impressions of the journey. What talisman did you receive? What was your favorite
and/or least favorite part of the journey? What seemed clear to you and what seemed
hazy or foggy? Did you stay within the structure of the meditation or did you deviate
from it? Everyone experiences a guided meditation differently, as we all put different
life lessons, memories, expectations, and personalities into our pathworking backpacks,
along with our magical meditative tools. Therefore, everyone receives a unique message,
meant just for him or her. So write down that message and pay attention to its meaning!
The gods are talking to you!
Not only does our individuality affect our encounter within the meditation, but it
also affects how we perceive each meditation. Since most guided meditations are written
as though the story is enfolding right before our eyes, they are often very detailed
visually. However, not everyone experiences a journey through the eyes. We can also
undergo a meditation through the ears, fingers or skin, or heart or spirit. I can't tell you
how many times people have come up to me at the end of one of my meditation classes
and told me that they didn't see a thing. However, when I ask them if they felt something
or knew something was happening or heard a specific noise, they nod their heads vigorously.
Don't think that just because you didn't see anything that nothing happened. It
did! It will! It does! You just have to understand your body, mind, and spirit's unique
way of interpreting the message.
Visual interpretation is the meditative perception most understood by the general
public. You listen to the guided meditation and literally see the images behind your
closed eyelids. You feel as though you are watching a movie but, oftentimes, with the
sound off. If the meditation states, The wind is blowing softly, then you will see the
treetops moving or your scarf billowing, but you won't hear or feel anything. As a visual
perceiver, you see colors, people, places, and events with ease, but if you need to ask a
question, you will often have a hard time getting an answer that you can understand, as
the answer will be symbolized in the pictures before your eyes.
Audio interpretation, on the other hand, will often give you very clear answers to
questions, but you won't see any picture when you close your eyes. You will, however,
hear sounds and voices very easily. When the meditation suggests wind, the person with
audio perception will hear the wind as it whips through the trees but won't see the trees
moving or feel the wind on his or her skin.
Feeling is what the person with sensory interpretation does best. The sensory perceiver
not only will feel the wind on his or her face, but also often will sense how other
people or animals in the meditation are feeling emotionally about the wind. Sensory interpretation
is all about touching and connecting, physically and emotionally, with the
environment of the journey. When asking a question, the sensory perceiver will receive
an answer in terms of emotions or tactile contact.
Intuitive interpretation is the most difficult meditative perception to explain. You
do not see, hear, or feel the experiences in the meditation, but rather you simply know,
innately, from deep within yourself, what is happening within the meditation and along
your journey. Intuitive perceivers often will know the wind is blowing before the meditation
actually states that fact. They will know about the environment within the meditation
even though they cannot see, hear, or feel anything about it.3 The most difficult
aspect of having intuitive interpretation is trusting that the messages you receive are
from the Otherworld and not from your imagination. After some time, you will be able
to make the distinction. Until then, know that if you have grounded and centered correctly,
then you can trust that the messages are from the divine.
Most people incorporate multiple interpretive styles into their meditation experience,
although one of the four usually comes more easily than the others. When you
first begin to integrate guided meditation into your regular daily or weekly practice, notice
which interpretation is easiest for you. Once you feel comfortable with the messages
you receive on your pathworking experiences, you may find that a second interpretive
style materializes without conscious effort. Although this growth is exciting, don't limit
yourself to subconscious development. Taking classes or reading books will help you develop
your other interpretive styles as well. Don't be discouraged if your new techniques
don't work at first. Remember, you are exercising sections of your brain that have not
been used before. Be patient and know that any kind of development takes time.
Above all, have fun and stay open to the words, wisdom, and wit of the goddesses
you meet! Before long, they will feel like old friends. Each chapter in this book focuses
on one specific goddess. On your journey to get to know this goddess, you will read
3. This theory of fourfold interpretation was passed down to me by a talented Reiki healer and hypnotherapist,
Katie Malloy -Ramaci, when I attended her past -life regression class in 2003. Contact her at http://
about her mythological stories and learn how she relates to you and the world around
you. Each goddess will help you access knowledge about the earth and sky and about
yourself, as each is paired with a seasonal holiday (Sabbat) or a moon phase (Esbat).
A brief section on the Sabbat or Esbat will familiarize you with the natural setting of
the goddess, while the guided meditation will allow you in -depth exploration. In addition
to the meditation, you will have the opportunity to open fully to the knowledge of
each goddess through an invocation, a ritual, and an activity at the end of each chapter.
These will allow you to connect to the goddess through words and sound, as well as
through actions and deeds.
Enjoy your visit with each goddess, and be open to the lessons that she has for you!
These lessons will help you find your true calling, your true self, your true path in life.
Don't feel obliged to follow the chapters in order. There are no rules and regulations
here. Although each goddess is connected to a specific holiday or phase of the moon,
she may call to you at a different time, when the time is right for you. Go with your gut
instinct! Follow your own truth, and know that the Goddess loves each and every one
of her children. May the blessings of the Goddess shine brightly upon you as you open
your heart to her teachings.