Graveyard Adventures: The Importance of Chthonic Goddesses

Updated: May 31

As one of the head mistresses of the Macabre Academy, I do a lot of research for all the bizarre and sometimes gruesome subjects that we cover in our podcast. Currently, we are working on a series entitled, "The Death Goddesses." Dexter, Brandi and myself have broken up the list so we could cover more ground. I had been given Magwayen from the the Philippians, Ereshkigal from ancient Sumeria, the Morrigan from Ireland, and Hecate from Greece. I feel that it important that credible sources were used, so I scoured Amazon for a list of acceptable books for my studies.

I self identify as a Hecatean Kitchen witch, which means a lot of my spiritual practices center around the hearth, home, and well, food. I am a cake decorator after all. The Dark Mother, Hecate, came into my life just about over a year ago. I was helping my friend through an earth shattering loss, when I encountered her in a dream. Strange as that sounds, that is how she picks her devotees. She calls to YOU. That's the trouble with the primordial Goddesses of Death, you don't make demands of them. They must be invited into your life to make real and lasting change happen.

Why would someone CHOOSE to worship a deity that only deals in death, chaos, and the great beyond? I don't believe there is a simple answer, but the best I can do is that it's part of life. She understands loss, pain, abuse, and the hardships that come with day to day toil of living. As "Protectress" and "One that Transforms", she is guardian to wayward souls and misfits. Death goddess are often portrayed as a villain, but in reality they are the embodiment of Carl Young's shadow self (covered in Shadow People episode) in psycho-spiritual terms.

Hecate, and her many forms, personifies all that is marginalized, hidden, and devalued in us. In myths, She only acts when she is insulted or violated which teaches us to stand up for ourselves in our time of greatest need. She is a Goddess of Boundaries, Companion in Grief, Mistress of the Underworld, and Goddess of Dealing with Your SHIT. She guides us through bad things like loss, depression, and helplessness, when we need a change and cut away what no longer serves us. Those negative attributes are actually an asset. She is the BITCH goddess. She shows dignity and truth telling rather than the people pleasing, which is a valuable skill in the long run.

I found that it difficult to swallow that all the death goddesses ARE Hecate and Hecate IS all the death goddesses. It's the same idea of a divine feminine, but Her story and Her name is adapted as the tales have been told throughout time. This realization hit me like a ton of bricks when I came across the book "Queen of the Great Below: An Anthology in Honor of Ereshkigal" compiled by Janet Munin. Here Hecate was calling out me under the new name from 5,000 years ago, Ereshkigal.

In this Anthology I found a myriad of stories from Priestesses invoking the Goddess through her most famous myth, "The Decent of Inanna." While I won't get into the whole myth, it's significant to mention that it puts the Goddess of Life against her sister, the Goddess of Death. Inanna, must dress in all the regalia of her station, only to strip it away, piece by piece, at each of the 7 gates that stand between us and the underworld. Ultimately she sheds all of her ties to heaven and earth until she is naked and humbled before death. She is murdered, only to be born again at the hands of her sister, thus completing the cycles of birth, death, and rebirth that we all must face.

I can not tell you how many times I have attempted to invoke the Goddess myself and failed. It seems more you try, the more your ego gets in the way. Hecate will only give you what you need, not what you want. Jealousy crept in the more I read about these woman who successfully connected with the Mother of Witches and I, a mere kitchen witch, have only heard her twice. That was until 2 days ago. She called me to action a third time.

A dear friend of mine and author of "Strands of Sollus: Rewoven", Cheryl Suchacek, invited my over for lunch. I have been in bad shape for MONTHS trying to deal with the pandemic, my mother's Huntington's disease, loosing my oldest child to my abuser, and watching my beloved Betta fish Beatrix start to die. It took a lot of therapy (and a lot of prosaic) to finally start feeling social, and I finally accepted Cheryl's offer to enjoy a meal at her home. I had a few errands to run first: stop at the post office to mail a Patreon package and then go the pet store to see what medicine I could get for my Beatrix. I wasn't ready for her leave this world and begin her next life.

I have always been fond of keeping fish. While I was pregnant with my first child, my abuser's first born had won goldfish at the county fair. I remember he was so angry that I let the little boy bring home those damn fish. I promise you I paid dearly for it. I remember desperately trying to keep them alive. They died in the few days that followed and I wept uncontrollably. If I couldn't keep a fish alive how was I going to be a mother?! I drove to the pet store, acquired 2 new goldfish and learned everything I could about their care. I am happy to report they lived for 5 years and I have been keeping different varieties of fish since then. I love having Beatrix at my desk. She reminds of the sacred feminine, the freedom of swimming, the sacredness of life giving water, the power of my emotions, and the joys of motherhood.

Through the course of driving from place to place, I passed one cemetery after another. It was 6 total before I reached my destination. Every time, I approached the hallowed ground, I found myself holding up my dominate hand to honor the dead and acknowledge Hecate's domain. This is something I had never done before, so I found it strange. Even so, I couldn't seem to ignore the compulsion. By the third cemetery, I realized I was in a part of town I hadn't been in 10 years. I was dangerously close to the place I had chosen to commit suicide (obviously I failed) and the darkest days of my past.

Something in me said, "Today's the day. Today is the day you face your death. Gather the soil and offer it to Hecate." I had been too much of a pussy to ever go back to the cemetery where I almost died. It seemed a terrifying place in my mind and should be avoided at all costs if I ever wanted to just f*cking get over it.... but today something was different.

I had a wonderful picnic lunch with Cheryl and her husband Ed. We sat on the floor with our bowls of delicious home made Italian Soup (I need the recipe) and had a wonderful time exchanging stories. NORMALLY, I don't discuss my magical practice with other people. Other witches I have encountered in the past tend to be big for their britches and shit all over anything I have to say. One even told me that Hecate told them she didn't want me a follower and I should find a new goddess... which was beyond callus if you ask me. Needless to say I learn to keep my mouth shut. But here I was, among new friends and I figured what the hell.

"I have a weird favor to ask," I said. "I found myself not prepared for my journey today and I am in need a plastic baggie. May I please have one if you can part with it." I explained the need to gather graveyard dirt from where I tried to kill myself. Without any hesitation, Ed offered me a throwing knife so I had a digging implement and a glass jar that would be more fitting of my offering. I f*cking love witches, always prepared.

After giving them a HUGE hug and my gratitude, I set my GPS and drove. It was a b*tch to park. I had to drive around in 2 circles before I realized there was no way to get to the top of this ginormous hill with my car. I had to park at the bottom and begin my ascent. I found myself on threshold of no return and precipice of a spiritual awakening. The gate had been chained and locked, but this was nothing new. I simply had to slip through a gap between the fence to begin my journey. I tried to remember what I was thinking and I was feeling that night but the echoes seemed so distant. I realized I had to be out of my mind because this hill was f*cking steep. It took me 3 quick breaks to catch my breath (I am a dirty smoker) and I don't remember even pausing once when I went to die.

This was f*cking Mount Doom in Mordor as far I was concerned. It was a beautiful sunny day and the sunlight touched everything I could see, which was a far cry from what the cold night in April had been 10 years ago. It was hot and I could feel my skin beginning to burn from exposure. I was out of my comfort zone being the crazy witch lady in the cemetery, gathering an offering in broad daylight. I had only come out of the broom closet last year. Despite my mild discomfort, it was still an amazing view. The whole city was laid bare before me and I reveled in the beauty of this spot. I remember why I chose this view as the last thing I wanted to see when I left this world. Now I was to grateful to still be apart of it. Everything was different.

I sat down retrieved the throwing knife, which I now wielded as my athame. With the strength and kindness my new friends had given to me, I plunged that steel into the Earth. I lovingly and eagerly filled that jar with all my suffering and the abuse I had suffered over this past decade. I was cutting away all that no longer served me and I had my first real offering for Hecate Soteria. Ereshkigal had shown me the way. Even now, as I look at that jar sitting on my altar, I know I offered her my death and I was reborn. I'm finally free.

I want to thank you for being on this podcast journey with me. Without the Macabre Academy, I would have never found my way to the top of that graveyard in a meaningful way. In our show, we discuss things that hard to talk about: crime, murder, rape, abuse, human rights violations and so much more. That is why I feel like it is necessary to talk about my attempted suicide. No one is proud that they tried, but mental health is something that we need to feel safe talking about too. The world is full of so much uncertainty right now. Women are trapped indoors with their abusers, trying not to see the face of death that Covid 19 has to offer. The media peddled nothing but fear and anxiety. But through death, a symbolic death, there is way to live. The world is being resurrected right now. That is way of nature. The world as we knew it is no more, but it's a new beginning that is unfolding. When we work with the Goddess of death, not against her, and approach Her with humility and the need for change, freedom can be found. All we have to do is have the courage to open our hearts and ask for help.


Resources:

  1. "Queen of the Great Below: An Anthology in Honor of Ereshkigal" compiled by Janet Munin

  2. "Ishtar and Ereshkigal: Daughters of Sin" by Scott Irvine

  3. "Hekate: A Devotional" by Vivienne Moss

  4. 4. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1800-273-TALK (8255) https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

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