Encountering the Dark Goddess
Explore the realm of the Dark Goddess and transform your soul.
The Dark Goddess is often associated with the Underworld where she leads the uninitiated through a transformative journey of self-discovery, change and soul renewal. She is connected with the unwanted, the forgotten, the ignored or even ashamed parts of our psyche. However there is more to her than that.
Encountering the Dark Goddess: A Journey into the Shadow Realms guides you through what this challenging facet of the Divine Feminine, the Dark Goddess, is truly about, and encourages you to step through the veils into her hidden realm to explore 13 aspects of herself.
Whether you seek healing from past trauma, release from fears or acceptance of the “unacceptable” aspects of your self, Encountering the Dark Goddess: A Journey into the Shadow Realms offers ways for you to transform and heal your life through the power of meditation, ritual and inner journeying with the Dark Goddess into her shadowy realms. Use the 13 goddess myths as a guide to discover how to remove the stagnant and unwanted and embrace the ever changing aspects of life that can drag us into the pits of despair.
When we connect to the Dark Goddess, we are able to find the light within the darkness and our lives are enriched through the integration of all aspects of our soul as a perfect whole.
Click on the circles below to see more reviews
I whole-heartedly recommend this well-written and well-referenced book on dark goddesses. The author presents thirteen goddesses and a ‘tool kit’ for working with them. Artwork by Soror Basilisk adds another dimension to the study. It’s the best book I’ve found on the subject. ~ "Jen", Etsy https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/LunaNoireCreations#reviews
What I love most about this book is that it's an incredibly useable guide for anyone who encounters the Dark Goddess, whether that meeting is unsolicited or by design. I foresee it becoming a much-loved spiritual resource. Frances Billinghurst makes potentially foreboding subject matter approachable, which is valuable to solitary practitioners and facilitators of groups or circles alike. There’s an emphasis on venturing beyond the theoretical and ‘going live’ with the inclusions of a comprehensive range of invocations, meditations, and activities. The explorations of the 13 featured Dark Goddesses are well researched and culturally sensitive. The author’s personal experience and dedication to her path shine through without pretention or straying into academic analysis. If you want a practical guidebook for your journeys into the feminine underworld, Encountering the Dark Goddess certainly deserves a place on your bookshelf. (You can listen to my interview with the author, Frances Billinghurst, on the Witch: Radiant + Rooted podcast.) ~ Kim Fairminer, Good Reads
The Underworld: a place of fear, wisdom, and transformation, where powerful and terrifying Goddesses wait with a smile. "Encountering the Dark Goddess" is an intimate exploration of one woman’s descent into the underworld, and her encounters with the many different aspects of the Dark Goddess. Through personal anecdotes, mythological and psychological analysis, rituals and spellwork, and soul-deep devotion, Billinghurst invites the reader to join her on this journey through the shadows of the underworld, through a dark night of the soul, and into the transformative heart of the Goddess. ~ Rebecca Buchanan
The Dark Goddess is much maligned in patriarchal western thinking, which identifies her with all the aspects of the feminine that men fear - the female power of life and death, of wildness, chaos and unrestrained sexuality. The Dark Goddess is a shapeshifter - she is the creator, the destroyer, the death bringer, the storm bringer, the harlot, the chaos, the initiator, the womb and the tomb. At her heart, she is an agent of change, often violent and unwanted, but necessary change. She reminds us of what lies beneath the surface, and hers is a realm of shifting shadows, imagination, visions, nightmares, dreams, gods and monsters; the domain from which all myths, stories and great art arise, a realm that cannot be accessed by action or understood by logic, but only by surrender. Our culture teaches us to be afraid of the dark. The dark is where the monsters live, we talk about dark thoughts, dark impulses, dark acts: the dark is evil. The dark is the enemy of the light and the light embodies all that is good. However, for various Eastern cultures, the two aspects are needed in order to attain completeness, two sides to a perfect whole, the yin and the yang. This concept of polar opposites making a perfect whole is something we are familiar with in Pagan thought – Lord and Lady, summer and winter, day and night, life and death. It is a common Pagan maxim that we must explore and accept this duality, and yet, and yet…we are still afraid of truly exploring the dark. This is because exploring the dark means exploring the truth of ourselves, and this undoubtedly the most frightening thing of all. The ‘shadow self’ is a concept well known in Jungian psychology, the rejected aspects of our own personality or consciousness we hide even from ourselves, where the Dark Goddess can be likened to a gatekeeper or guardian of the inner ‘hell’ we must descend into in order to acknowledge and accept our own internal demons, an image which draws on the myth of the descent of the Goddess Inanna into the underworld realm of her sister, the dark goddess Ereshkigal. At each gate Inanna must surrender part of herself, as we must surrender those parts of herself that no longer serve us. The Dark Goddess usually appears at those critical moments when our beliefs and life choices are thrown into sharp relief. Frances describes her own encounters with the Goddess when she was diagnosed with cancer, as many stable markers in her life were being dissolved. In the same way as Inanna was forced to relinquish parts of her identify at each gate, she also found herself relinquishing aspects of herself that had built up over the previous twenty years as they were no longer relevant to what was to come - health, career, self-identity, long hair and various friendships. Life as she knew it was slipping way, and she had to learn to trust the “Descent, Death and the Dark Goddess process”. As she explains “It is she (the Dark Goddess) who initiates us into the next stage, our next role or level of soul evolution.” Change happens at a soul level, and the old self is gone forever - the initiate undergoes a death and rebirth, the shaman is dismembered and reassembled in a new way. We can’t go back to ‘normal’, to what we were before. We will all encounter the Dark Goddess, whether we want to or not. She will challenge us, butt us up against those aspects of ourselves we do not wish to see, maybe in the most painful way, but she will transform us. I found this book a moving and insightful guide to working with the Dark Goddess in her many aspects, with inspired rituals, meditations, invocations and other tools for the undertaking. Highly recommended. ~ Anna Franklin, author of Pagan Ways Tarot, The Hearth Witch’s Compendium
Join Frances Billinghurst as she takes you on a journey into the world of the Dark Goddess. With a quarter of a century of study, personal service & devotion. Including her own personal journey into the Underworld, you will find Encountering the Dark Goddess well researched. 13 stories of Dark Goddesses fill the pages along with Guided Meditations to journey with them into the recesses of our own psyche. There is a treasure trove of work included including Path Working & Spell Crafting. All of which you can employ on your journey. Encountering the Dark Goddess is a book worth adding to your collection. Soror Basilisk's interpretations of various Dark Goddess throughout this book are truly superb, adding a beautiful dimension to Frances work. I thoroughly recommend Encountering the Dark Goddess. ~ Paula Wedo, Author of Manbo Jumbo: Vodou Adventures in Haiti
From the infinite potential of the dark goddesses comes growth, life, transformation, trials, magic, wisdom, and much more besides. Frances Billinghurst offers here a golden web of myths, meditations and magics to guide through the mysteries of thirteen dark goddesses, challenging deities who shatter falsehoods to replace them with a void cocoon, encouraging the seeker to grow horns and wings and emerge free in their own power. ~ David Rankine, magician, author and esoteric researcher
This book is an insightful and well-researched work, encompassing a wide range of mythologies. It demonstrates a good psychological understanding of the stories and a clear rationale for working with these deities informed by personal and practical considerations. I am pleased that the author has distinguished clearly between differing Eastern and Western perceptions of ‘dark’ and has presented alternative viewpoints in embracing the shadow self. Sound practical advice and pathworkings are offered for encountering thirteen diverse Goddesses, and the whole work is appropriately end noted with sources of references without ending up looking like an academic dissertation. In fact, as a male Pagan, I found the book remarkably accessible despite its inevitable feminine bias. It is not a beginners book unless you are ready to have your world turned upside down and assumptions challenged, but mainly for that reason, I can thoroughly recommend it. ~ Pete Jennings, author of Pagan Paths
The author sensibly opens the text with demythologising the concept of ‘dark’ relative to this primal form. She then moves on to describe the various forms that peoples across the globe have prescribed for Her, including Kali, Nephthys, Lilith, Hekate and Baba Yoga. Her value is here acknowledged as the essential catalyst for sloughing off guilt and fear associated with ‘womanhood,’ breathing new light into Jungian concepts of the shadow; suggestions are given on how to reabsorb the shadow through recognising “little griefs” that cloud perspective. More importantly, she guides the reader away from floundering on the rocks clutching to the ‘victim’ mentality, a tragic state linked by the author to PTSD. Tackled through the Virtue of Medusa, the sufferer is coached towards release and revitalisation. This book provides cathartic measures as a self-help guide towards restoration of the psyche in a world that has largely overcomplicated the divine feminine, and to some extent, overplayed Her role as a ‘Dark’ entity. Described by the author as She who “shakes and destroys in order to transform and recreate, pushing us to our limits,” the Dark Goddess is related through 13 specific forms that “could be used to chart a year’s journey of deep discovery.” Concluding with her own ‘Personal Encounters with the Dark Goddess,’ the author uses those experiences to offer advice for others to work through trauma in constructive, positive ways. These are achieved by mindfully engaging this primal force through studying the foundational mythologies provided by the author relative to each of the 13 goddesses included in her book. Practical solutions supplement the more cerebral texts, mainly in the exploration of popular ways to work intuitively using masks, mirrors, poppets, candle-magic and binding spells in addition to path-workings and various other exercises. All in all, the author has approached her work from a personal perspective, writing informally and sensitively on matters that will resonate deeply with the reader. ~ Shani Oates, occultist,Traditional Craft Practitioner, researcher, lecturer, historian, author of Tubelo’s Green Fire, Emailed review received 11 May 2020
A deeply moving and profound work that, if read with an open mind and heart, will leave you speechless. The author, like the mythical Inanna, takes the reader on a no holds barred journey to hell and back. It is impossible to not be moved by this book. If you turn the last page and feel nothing, check your pulse. Literary works on the subject of Goddess, dark or otherwise, are so mainstream nowadays that one is tempted to buzz by them on the bookshelf. Who can blame the reader when such mysteries are often served up on a plate - carefully dissected into childlike portions - or presented in such a heavy handed academic manner that the work is rendered meaningless to any reader without a Phd. Ms. Billinghurst raises the bar on the subject to dizzying heights with her masterwork “Encountering the Dark Goddess.” The transformative nature of the book is because she writes from personal experience. One cannot ask for a better guide on a journey to the Underworld and back than one who has literally been and done. The author shares her personal experiences on the road to transformation in such an unflinchingly honest style that one expects to see blood on the pages. “Encountering the Dark Goddess” is recommended without reservation to anyone seeking a greater understanding of not only the concept of Deity, but more importantly, a sincere desire to see their own reflection in the divine mirror. But, be forewarned, the journey is not to be taken lightly. And what you will see in the mirror may be far removed from what you imagine. To turn one page of this incredible book is to arrive at the end - it’s impossible to put down. But reader beware - this book packs a punch. Reading it is like a roller coaster ride into the abyss and back. It will pick you up, turn you upside down, and give you a good shake. It will change not only your perception of the titular Dark Goddess, but also the way you see the darker shades of self. In the end, the author presents the reader with a dark gift - a treasure in a sense - but one not to be accepted lightly. My sense is that once opened, it will never go back into the box. ~ Jimahl diFiosa, author of A Voice in the Forest
Embracing the Dark Goddess requires commitment. The book shows us that spiritual growth, knowledge, gnosis, understanding, clear sight, truth and attainment of power can be uncomfortable, painful and challenging in real life terms, and can cause shedding, losses and deaths. "The Dark Goddess is about change", but don’t be afraid to work through this book if you feel called to because while change may seem disruptive, the one thing that we can be absolutely certain about in life is that everything changes. ~ Dr Caroline J Tully