For far too long, we have buried and hidden those things we desire. Whether we believe we are not worthy of our desires, unable to receive, or unable to conceive of that which we desire: we must dive deeper. We must be able to name those things we desire. With the Hesperides as our nymph guides and protectresses, we are safe to uncover from the heart-space, our true desires of creation within the waking world.
- Lineage: Atlas, Nyx, Zeus/Themis
- Plants/Herbs: Myrtle, Apple, Pomegranate,
- Season: Liminal Times, Spaces
- Astrological/Zodiacal: Draco Constellation (reference to Ladon/Drakon), Venus, Taurus
- Number: 3
- Stones: Green Aventurine, Peridot, Emerald, Larimar
- Element: Fire/Earth/Water
Initiating Into Desire
Within Dark Goddess Collective, we have been engaged in a practice of asking for what we need and allowing others to provide it. It comes in the form of The Give & Receive Circle in DGC, a very small group in a live setting twice a month (signups are first come, first serve here). I have found that it is difficult to name what we desire, and it is even more difficult to sit in the uncomfortable moments of being unsure if anyone is able to provide what we have asked for.
Regardless, even if a need is not met by anyone within that circle, there is an understanding of power that comes from speaking what we desire out loud. It allows the universe to open doors to allow us to retrieve it for ourselves if we pay attention. Diving into the Hesperides has allowed the space for us to recognize and understand more fully what it is we want, need, and desire. For those not within that sacred container that is DGC, you can start building this knowing by:
- Stating your desires out loud.
- Write it down.
- Make a wall of sticky notes.
- Create a vision board of physical manifestations of those desires.
Go deep and remove the word ‘should’. You want what you want. Own it.
The Elixir of Dreams, created with the Hesperides (and their energy) in mind, is a gateway to anchoring and aligning ourselves to be a conduit through which our energy and awareness grow. This can always be adjusted and taken to deeper levels. One way in which I found to take this deeper, especially regarding opening the energetic channels within my own body, is to add in music/sound to the experience. Whether it be drumming, binaural beats, or pure tone solfeggio frequencies. My dreams, through which awareness of desires became known, were vastly increased in number and meaningful remembering. It also increased my ability to recall dreams and utilize the space between sleeping to wakeful to continue to receive information. The connection to The Hesperides has allowed me the opportunity to build upon my use of the liminal space in which I can intentionally ask for what I desire and receive it fully.
Personal Experience – Rayne
When Kaycee released the new dark goddess of focus, I was so excited because I had never heard of these sisters, and I am just a straight up junkie for knowledge. Especially knowledge of the Dark Goddesses and their courts. I often wait to invite the new Goddess into my life for the next new moon, so I held on until about the 17th of April to start getting all my correspondences ready. I made the Black Sacred Candle and incense and started to do some research on the Hesperides.
I read about them and discovered there are a lot of different stories about these sisters and that depending on who is telling the stories the names change a bit and the number of them do as well. In each story, these sisters were the guardians of Hera’s Garden, in which one single apple tree grew that would birth golden apples. The tree was given to Hera and Zeus as a wedding gift from the Goddess Gaia. It was clear in each story that I read that they were the nymphs of the evening and the golden light of sunset.
A Beginning & An Ending
To me the energy of the sunset is an ending and a beginning. It is the point at which it is not night, and it is not day. It is in between, which can represent balance, pause and the moment before we let go. This theme is rich in my life right now. There is so much I am letting go of. I also resonated with the origin of the name Hesperus, meaning the evening star also known as the planet Venus. Venus is the Goddess of love and relationships and again, the love and relationships I am letting go of have seen their last sunset and I am in the between. They have come to me now in my time of need. I do need the support of a beautiful sunset to remind me that even good things come to an end sometimes, but there is another chance tomorrow to see another beautiful sunset.
The Trees & Cycles
The coolest story I read about them was that they were hamadryad, which means that they could change into tree beings. I have always had an affinity with dryads. I started painting them when I was young. They always symbolized such power and strength to me. I got my first tattoo years ago of my Dryad on my left calf. She travels everywhere with me now. They continually come up in my spiritual walk as a reminder that:
- I am of that blood line and am powerful and strong.
- That I can be rooted like the great tree and allow my leaves and branches to be flexible.
- I am a part of the great cycle of life and the seasons:
- I grow new leaves and bloom in the spring.
- I bathe in the sunlight in the summer soaking up awareness.
- I let go of that which no longer serves me in the Fall.
- In the winter I am dormant and conserving my energy for the new leaves to bloom again in the Spring.
Personal Gnosis, Synchronicities, & Messages
I ended up with an understanding that felt right to me that there were five sisters and one dragon who made up the guardians of the sacred golden apple garden. Their names were Aegle (Dazzling light), Erytheia (The red one), Hesperia (Sunset glow), Arethesia, Ascepius, and the dragon named Ladon.
Ladon was sent to the garden to provide more guard when Hera found out the nymphs were eating the apples themselves. Ladon never slept, was hundred headed and immortal. One of my greatest protectors in this life happens to be my son. Might seem strange because it is I who should protect him, which I do, but the way he protects me since the moment I found out he was growing inside of me, was to be that spark that I needed to heal and rise to be my best self, so that I didn’t pass on the karma of my unhealed being to him. My son was born the year of the Dragon and again I love my serpents! Especially the winged ones. There are so many resonating parts to their stories for me, I just couldn’t wait to see what they revealed.
On April 19th, 2023, the New Moon in Aries and the total solar eclipse collided during Aries season which for me means BIG CHANGE. Also, Chiron (The wounded Healer) has been in Aries since April of 2018, when my last big romantic relationship ended and the new one, I am letting go of now began. Jupiter (The God of EXPANSION) is also in Aries at the same time. The Aries energy was so EXTRA. That Aries fire and determination in me to embrace that change can sometimes take a minute to really spark, but when it does, it’s blaring.
In the last moon cycle, I had some repeat hard lessons to learn again. I had been broken up with my partner for a year when he resurfaced last February. I thought maybe enough time had passed and we could be friends. I was mistaken. I still had the desire and so did he, so like a good addict, I let him back into my life. I knew better, but my desire to be loved overpowered me. Like the Ram, sometimes I just need to bang my head against the wall a few times to learn. I am so stubborn! My Sun and Moon signs are in Aries, so this transit hit me extremely hard. The Goddess takes care of me though, she always sends assistance even if it’s just a kick in the ass! I mean eclipses, right!?! I am very hopeful that because of this eclipse and all the work I am doing around it, that I can fully let go of that repeated cycle of self-hatred and destruction that manifests in allowing countless abusive relationships in my life all in the name of being loved.
Like a very wise woman (Nini Bee Honeywolf) said once before, healing is like a spiral in that when it begins you are at the center of the spiral and in the healing process you circle back around to see the spot where you began. You may feel some of the same emotions or even have some of the same behaviors come back up, but you are not in the center any longer.
You are different.
You are further along in the healing and the more you circle back round the more healing has been done if you were able to have more awareness and even be able to change some behaviors. I try to tell myself that wisdom when I feel stupid for being in a place, I thought I never had to go again. I try to realize I’m different and pick out the spots that I can see the change.
A Beginning of Personal Gnosis
On the night of the New Moon, I lit my Black Sacred Candle and some sacred smoke as an offering while I called the names of the Hesperides. I welcomed my sisters into my life and asked them to teach me about how to nourish my garden of life without falling into the same patterns of self-hatred and self-destruction. I grounded myself to the Earth with my dryad roots and reached to the stars and cosmos asking to always remember I am made of stars and the universe. I then sat in meditation asking them to introduce themselves and speak with me or give me any messages they might have for me. I pulled one card and addressed the sisters, because that is how they had introduced themselves thus far.
It was today that was different. I lit my candle, burned the sacred smoke, used the storm waters to cleanse, grounded and reached out to the universe and Hesperides and sat in meditation. The meditation turned into a journey quickly. I closed my eyes, and I was in, deeply. Like the kind of stillness and depth that takes maybe 15 to 20 minutes for me to get to normally, but it happened in seconds. All I could see was that I was traveling on a worm tube railway and FAST! It felt as if I could almost not catch my breath for a moment. I was really caught off guard. Then I remembered where I was and that I was getting what I had asked for. I shifted my focus to enjoying the ride and trusting. As soon as I did the railway became a pathway of sand. I felt the crunch of the sand underneath my feet as I started walking.
I could feel the warm summer breeze.
I looked at the path ahead and saw groves of olive trees swaying in the wind. Up ahead I saw a great white gate and a temple.
I entered and was walking up to the temple within when I saw him. Well, I saw his tail, it was white and golden. It was Ladon, the great guardian dragon of the golden apple garden. He was so huge that I couldn’t see all of him. I acknowledged him as I walked by to enter the temple. We did not speak, but I feel like he knew I was there. Inside the temple, I saw three white stone chairs made of clay and sand. In one of the chairs was a beautiful woman. She had long golden hair and wore white and gold. I bowed down and gave her honor thinking she was one of my sisters. Then a group of women who looked very similar to her circled around me. They were pulling on my clothes and hair and touching me as if they had never seen another human before. I was not frightened because I could feel their spirits were like children would be.
I allowed this and smiled and felt welcomed.
They took me by the hand and led me further into the temple. Inside, I saw a great thrown with one seat and a woman sitting atop. She had black hair and darker features, and she wore red and green and purple and gold. Her face was thin and jagged as well as her arms that I could see. She wore a headdress of a crescent moon that was black. Her hair was mangled and knotted in areas and very unkept. She stared at me gruffly. She rose from her seat and pointed at me with a smirk on her face. Then her spirit softened and she giggled. She said, “You thought those nymphs were me and my sisters?”
She laughed loudly and held her tummy.
She then sat back down.
I then felt the courage to ask her who she was. I’m always hoping in the back of my mind that someday Hekate herself will greet me, but it has not happened yet (but she is always there somehow). I noticed then that the woman had a small ferret like marsupial wrapped around her neck, but it was alive and most definitely her pet. When she saw me noticing it, the creature moved off her and on to the floor smelling around as to check me out. I had no idea what it was then, but after doing some research I found that it was most likely something called a polecat (here is where Hekate is present in this journey, see more under resources). My last partner had the totem of a Badger. The significance was clear to me then, but I am sure more will be revealed as I journey with the Hesperides.
She responded, “I am Erytheia!” “You have come to my temple.” I bowed to her and gave her my gratitude for coming through to me and allowing me to be with her in her temple. I rose and stood before her and asked her to give me a teaching. She directed me to my “Wild Unknown Archetype Deck”, by Kim Krans. I thanked her for her message.
I pulled “The Sustainer”. This card is a DIRECT HIT! It talks about a part of me that I have worked on for years. It happens to be the repeat lesson I have had to learn repeatedly with many of the relationships I have been in. It is the hardest lesson I have ever had to learn about me. When I say learn, I mean still learning. I so highly identify with this card yet have little to no acceptance that it is a part of me and what needs to be done within to change the cycle of self-destruction. I have literally never pulled this card since I got this deck and I have had the deck for like 3 years now. There was one whole year that I used the deck daily.
Today was the day I guess my spirit was ready to hear it.
The Acceptance & Stepping Forward
I know now the Hesperides have come into my life at a time where I am so tired of banging my ram horns against the wall. I am done depleting myself or any of my precious energy for others to love me or see me. I do not need anyone’s approval or appreciation the way I used to. I am looking within to find those things for myself. I have standards that are required in a relationship and if someone cannot meet them, I am not making exceptions.
I see my beauty.
I see me.
I see my power.
I love me enough today.
I thank The Hesperides for bringing me around the spiral of healing this time and showing me what I needed to see. I thank the Divines for shining on me and allowing me to feel free. I planted seeds and have given them the nutrients of my blood, sweat and tears. Now it is time for me to enjoy the fruits, or golden apples, of my labors in healing myself. Thank you for being on this journey with me Witches. You are all shining stars in my universe.
~ Rayne Mcloughlin
Initiation of The Apple Journey is available for those who wish to go deeper!
A Candle & A Key,
Sources & Footnotes
Aelian. On Animals, Volume I: Books 1-5. Translated by A. F. Scholfield. Loeb Classical Library 446. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1958.
Rayne: In doing some research as to what the animal was draped around her neck, I found this mythology: “According to Aelian’s The Characteristics of Animals, Gale was a talented witch who dealt in herbs and potions. But she was extremely incontinent and had abnormal sexual desires. For this Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft, turned her into a small, ““evil” (in the words of Aelian) animal bearing her name, gale (a land-marten or polecat).” Thus, the animal became one of the most associated ones with Hecate. Martens/weasels were thought to have magical potency in ancient Greece, though not necessarily of the beneficial kind.” My last partner had the totem of a Badger. The significance was clear to me then, but I am sure more will be revealed as I journey with the Hesperides.
Feature Image Credit: Pixabay