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Connecting with the Goddess and our Cyclical Natures

Updated: Apr 27

"The goddess is strongest in the wildest of places" I thought to myself as I brushed my teeth and straightened my beanie. I had just posted a photo to my Instagram documenting how my winter was shifting from skiing to goddess study with a pile of relevant books stacked up:


A pile of books about the goddess

But, as I pulled together my pile of books, I couldn't help but think to myself how my winter already had been a study of the goddess. I spent almost every day deep in the mountains, frolicking in fresh snow surrounded by trees and rocks and creeks and creatures and beings of all kinds.


Isn't this where we find the goddess, then, in the most wild of places? In Spiral Dance, Starhawk describes the practice of witchcraft in this way: "In the Craft, we do not believe in the Goddess - we connect with Her; through the moon, the stars, the ocean, the earth, through trees, animals, through other human beings, through ourselves. She is here."


She is here. And when I live in a way that pulls me so acutely into presence, into flow, into being with all that is around me I become an apprentice to the goddess. That is how I spent my winter.


That is how I endeavor to live my life. In a flow with Goddess energy: "Work for yourself and you will see that Self is everywhere...when material needs are satisfied deeper needs and longings may remain. These can only be satisfied by connection with the nurturing, life-giving forces within, which we call Goddess...The law of the Goddess is love" - Starhawk, Spiral Dance pages 108-09.


Herbs help me align with my cyclical nature as well, and Vitex is one of my favorites. I've taken birth control for 13 years, and finally took the time to transition off of this medicine this past year.


In this process, I've been learning how to track my menstrual cycle and connect with the ebbs and flows that course through my body. Vitex has been an incredibly powerful ally for me to both physically and spiritually connect more deeply to my cyclical nature.


A picture of fresh snow and mountains

The Goddess and Eroticism

The understanding of the Goddess comes through strong in Audre Lorde's Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power. In this short, powerful and-life changing essay that I highly recommend you go read right now, Lorde describes the erotic like this:


"For the erotic is not a question only of what we do; it is a question of how acutely and fully we can feel in the doing...The aim of each thing we do is to make our lives and the lives of our children richer and more possible. Within the celebration of the erotic in all our endeavors, my work becomes a conscious decision - a longed-for bed which I enter gratefully and from which I rise up empowered" - Audre Lorde, Uses of the Erotic.


This, then is the erotic, this is the goddess. And as I transition from ski season to focusing more on work, as I watch the cyclical nature of my life unfold, I am struck by the way that Lorde describes work as a source of empowerment and pleasure.


How can I align myself with my purpose and my strengths in a way that is in service to the world? Of course, this is where I turn to astrology to better understand my own chart and the ebbs and flows of how my life could unfold.


A compass and map

Astrology as a Map

I think of the birth chart as a map of our lives. Seafarers have used the skies as a guide since time immemorial, so why wouldn't we use the map of the sky at the time we incarnated as a guide to the various ways our life could play out?


This brings up heady questions about fate and free will that warrant their own exploration at another time. But for now, I'll just say that I understand our birth charts to indicate a flow or direction in which we will be pulled. We can, of course, exercise our own free will to go in whichever direction we choose, but certain paths may receive more resistance or support and astrology can help us figure out where our greatest strengths and opportunities may lie.


If you were embarking on a hike, you'd want to know if a field of wildflowers was up ahead or whether you needed to ford a river. That way, you could be prepared to meet the conditions you would face. Our birth charts can provide similar illumination into our lives when we look at them through an astrological lens. And asteroids can be an incredible tool for better understanding the mythic stories we embody in our lifetimes.


What are the Asteroids?

There are over 27,000 named asteroids connecting to mythic beings, places, common names and so much more (there's even a "beer" asteroid). When asteroids are conjunct the points of life in the chart (ascendant, Sun, Moon or ascendant ruler) they become quite prominent, permeating multiple aspects of an individual's life.


When we are able to identify which asteroids are most significant in our birth chart, it can serve as a beacon to help us live more authentic and fulfilling lives connected to the natal promise through which we incarnated when we were born.


My close friend, Lori Kaufman, and I have recorded several Conversations with the Planets podcast episodes about working with asteroids astrologically. We have an Asteroids 101 episode, as well as several asteroid story episodes including one about underworld mythology where we discuss Adonis, Ceres and Persephone.


I also offer an Asteroid Astrology Reading where we dig into your birth chart to find which asteroids are most prominent for you to help you find more clarity and empowerment in your life. This is a really exciting opportunity to engage with the stories you live out to explore your meaning and purpose and to help you live in more alignment with your authentic self.


I do the work of sorting through these asteroids so you can spend more time digging into your life story without getting overwhelmed by the data. Knowing how to interpret which asteroids are the most important for you can help guide your focus to which mythic stories are most prominent in your life.


An astrological chart

Cyclicality and Underworld Journeying

In my birth chart, there are multiple factors that point towards underworld mythology being prominent for me. This is fitting because I have a very close relationship with my ancestors and my astrological practice has a major focus on helping folks navigate difficult and life-altering circumstances - much as as the Eleusinian Mysteries helped initiates understand the sacrifices necessary to live in this realm.


What astrological factors point to the underworld for me, might you ask? Well, my ascendant ruler is conjunct Pluto (in Scorpio no less), Mercury (the psychopomp) is conjunct my ascendant, and the asteroids Ceres and Adonis are also conjunct my ascendant. Here's some writing I've done about Ceres where I explore her mythology, her associations with the underworld and different ways to work with herbs to connect to our cyclical natures.


There are many ways to make sense of the underworld (as well as a multiplicity of ways that the underworld will always defy our conscious, sense-making abilities). One of the core teachings that I glean, though, from my meditations on death and rebirth is the ways in which we are cyclical beings in a constantly changing world.


When Persephone descends into the underworld, Demeter mourns her so deeply that no plants grow from the Earth and we experience winter. As Persephone returns, her mother rejoices and allows the Crocuses and other plants to bloom again, marking the joyful arrival of spring (maybe less joyful for those of us who are avid skiers and powder hounds...)


Octavia Butler teaches us that:


"All that you touch

You Change.


All that you Change

Changes you.


The only lasting truth

Is Change.


God

is Change."



A blooming bud

The Goddess as Change

So, then, one of our main tasks in this realm is to learn to be really, really good with change. To accept and embrace our cyclical natures and flow with the changing seasons that course through our lives. As someone who is called to engage with the underworld over and over again, I feel particularly pulled to bring a greater respect and reverence for cycles into this modern world.


Many of us have gotten so disconnected from our seasonal natures, following externally set schedules and expectations that wreak havoc to our circadian rhythms and pull us away from feeling connected to the living world around us.


Astrology can be an incredibly helpful tool to understand and flow with the cycles of our lives. It can point us towards when is a good time to grow and when we need more rest. Astrology can guide us to when we should be more external in the world and when it's ok to retreat and tune out. It can show us when we have more support for our careers, fertility, relationships, health, and so much more.


Knowing the energetic currents that pulse through and around us can bring more alignment, empowerment and ease into our lived experiences.


My life, as many lives are, has been full of a lot of grief, loss, abuse and trauma. The underworld can be a very scary, isolating and painful place to travel. As I have gone deeper in my astrological studies and gained more insight into the ways my birth chart calls me to engage with the underworld, it has allowed me to better accept and interact with the difficult experiences that have shaped who I am. Our birth charts can invite us to live more authentically into our personal stories and cycles which can be a profoundly soothing and healing experience.


About the Author

A headshot of the author, Alicia Cielle Heiser

Alicia Cielle Heiser is an Herbal Astrologer who helps folks navigate their lives with the wisdom of the stars and plants. She offers astrology readings, crafts personalized herbal tea blends and also has a podcast called Conversations with the Planets. Alicia's practice is focused on facilitating a greater understanding of life's cycles through encouraging empowerment, safety, and helping folks deepen their relationship with themselves and the more-than-human world.

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