Pagan Portals: Persephone
Practicing the Art of Personal Power by Robin Corak
…We live in a society where the basic rights of some sectors of the community are threatened… What better time to invoke the lessons and attributes of a goddess who not only fought successfully for control over her own fate but who – as Queen of both the Underworld and Spring – also has the ability to cut ties with that which no longer serves her and manifest that which does?…
I have reviewed several titles in the Pagan Portals series and am impressed at the quality of writings and the in depth approach taken by the authors to whatever the subject matter may be. Persephone: Practicing the Art of Personal Power by Robin Corak fulfills all of those statements with a bit more. As I write this the world is grasped in the fear and uncertainty of the COVID-19 virus. Many are feeling less than empowered and the transitions of dark and light creep in ever closer to a blending of cautious action and impatience that we have not progressed further.
With that being said, the timing of this book; one that takes the reader into the journey of claiming personal power couldn’t have been better played. We are treated to eight (8) chapters exploring the role of Persephone in many of her known guises as well as those less considered.
Robin Corak has crafted an exploration that includes myth, research and opportunity to employ techniques and ritual to foster within the reader a deeper understanding of this resilient and power goddess; and always keeping the goal as one of encouraging a similar path of Divine power for yourself. Additionally, journaling and the prompts that require a more reflective approach, tease out the bits of wisdom that already are seeding within as you find the points of resonance between Persephone and yourself.
Chapter 1: From Helpless Child to Powerful Woman sets the tone of what can be expected in this and future chapters. The title itself gives hope and the common space from which we all begin our “heroic” journey as the child who becomes the pawn in a much larger game play and what must be called into play to become the ultimate writer of how that story plays out. Robin takes us through the more traditional tales of Persephone and her abduction by Hades and the roles of the other gods/desses in what appears on first glance to be one of betrayal and submission. The thorough research and comparison of the many other versions of the myth, provide a basis for the reader to see perhaps another perspective of the tale; now Persephone being in charge of her destiny and not the victim. Much to think upon? A powerful conclusion to this chapter is offered in the form of a retelling of the myth- “Perspenone’s Story-Reclaimed”, noted as written from the perspective of the goddess and with a theme of empowerment.
The book continues with this beautifully interwoven underpinning of what we have heard as the myth and what we actually can learn when we are receptive to another intention. Chapter 2: The Eleusinian Mysteries provides insight into the background of this myth and as these are “mysteries” the hidden meanings and nuances. Chapter 3: Descent and Ascent gives the archetypal overlays of this and many of the myths. These considerations are brought forth in the citing of Joseph Campbell and in in so doing also bring the psycho-analytical nature of the work of empowerment into the forefront.
…By delving into (these) goddesses and their myths, we can begin to see patterns that may reflect our own lives and thus can help us predict future paths and pitfalls… This requires complete self-honesty and an in depth exploration of our own woundedness and the inner demons that haunt us…
Chapter 4: Persephone as Psychopomp and Chapter 5: Persephone and the Art of Discernment introduce us to Persephone as psychopomp and one of discernment in our own ascent from the underworld. Death and the crossing over into the realm of death require a masterful hand of calm, yet firm direction. Discernment requires the knowing of when and how to resurrect what has fallen to its death and how to bring that arising to a new space of power and transformation. These chapters weave the necessary mind set to embrace these tasks and undertake your own ushering through the shadow and rising into the light.
Chapter 6: Rituals for Persephone, Chapter 7: Forging the Path and Chapter 8: Persephone’s Feast fully engage the reader as having claimed the crown of personal power and provides all of the tools necessary to establish a regular and deep connection to Persephone and her power. A ritual for each half (dark and light) of the year and guided meditation of claiming the crown provide the ecstatic component. Epithets, correspondences and more provide pathways to access the archetypal energy of Persephone and recipes and food recommendations complete a full and informed journey mindful of the Greek pantheon and its specifics as well as those of this particular deity and her story.
Of note in the Conclusion is this statement, which sums up nicely the gifts to be gained by doing the work of self….
….If Persephone teaches us anything, it is that we must be willing to delve into our own inner Underworld in order to be liberated and find joy in the Spring of our rebirth. There is strength in vulnerability and there are vast treasures waiting to be found in the darkness…You too have the ability to let go of the fears that have held you back and sever ties with the things that no longer serve you….
Would I recommend?
I am always encouraging of any work that creates a template that is not simply transformative, but is actually rooted in work achieved and authenticity in its application. Persephone: Practicing the Art of Personal Power by Robin Corak stirs the desire to know more and in so doing provides the valuable lesson that all myths, gods/desses have so much more to offer in the telling of their stories if we are receptive and embrace all aspects of our being. The exercises, readings and citings are filled with seeds of Spring’s awakening and much like the Goddess herself, we are reminded that no journey is charmed; that hard work, tending and reaching into the underworld is necessary to allow for rebirth. If you are ready for that journey, than this is the book for you.
About Robin Corak
A practicing pagan for roughly 20 years, Robin Corak is a long-time member of the Sisterhood of Avalon where she currently serves as the Board Secretary. She has been published in a variety of anthologies and teaches locally and nationally at conferences including Paganicon, and Pantheacon. Robin is also the CEO of a large non-profit organization, a member of the Forbes Non-Profit Council, and a recipient of multiple leadership awards. She lives in Edgewood, WA, USA.
About the Author:
Robin Fennelly is a Third Degree Initiate within The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition and serves as High Priestess of Coven of the Mystic Path, the 12th Coven within the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition. She teaches and facilitates classes for the Pagan Experience Study Group that serves as foundation for membership within Coven of the Mystic Path.
Her spiritual journey is strongly rooted in both Eastern philosophy and the Western Magickal systems from which she has formed a core foundation that is diverse in knowledge and rich in spiritual practice. A life-long learner, her practice has evolved from the classical and philosophical teachings of books, practical experience and enrichment of this knowledge base by attending workshops of various spiritual traditions presented by master teachers.
Robin formally came to the Wiccan path in 1994. Following practice as a solitary for 2 years, she dedicated to Oak and Willow Coven of The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition in November of 1996. She received her 1st, 2nd and finally 3rd degrees within the Assembly Tradition and has served as High Priestess of Oak and Willow since Samhain of 2001.
As a teacher of esoteric and magickal studies she has used Energetic Anatomy, Tarot, Astrology, Hermetic Qabala, Eastern Philosophy, and Numerology as the foundations of her diverse selection of workshops and writings for more than 25 years. Exploration of varied energetic protocol has been the focus of her work for some time now and the information gained through direct experience informs all of her magickal and spiritual work.
Robin’s writings have been featured online, and in print Internationally. She has authored several books incorporating her unique style of writing making use of poetry, prose and pathworking to enhance the concepts presented. She has taught extensively throughout the Pagan community, including Sacred Space Conference, Spring Magick, Between the Worlds Interfaith Conference and Free Spirit Gathering Festival this Summer. Her most recent project is hosting an online blogging community entitled The Pagan Experience.
Robin is the owner of Holistic Embrace providing services for mind, body and spirit such as Tarot readings, Astrology reports, Spiritual Guidance and other related offerings. She lives in Eastern Pennsylvania and her life is blessed by a 40+- year marriage, five children and the opportunity to work in the field of public education.
The Inner Chamber, Vol. 1 It’s Written in the Stars-Astrology
The Inner Chamber, Vol. 2 Poetry of the Spheres-Qabalah
The Inner Chamber, Vol. 3 Awakening the Paths-Qabalah
The Light of SELF: Consciousness, Spiritual Practice and Learning to Breathe
Magickal Verse: A Collection of Poetry and Prose
A Year of Gaia: The Eternal Cord
The Elemental Year: Aligning the Elements of SELF
Temple of the Sun and Moon: Luminous Devotions
Sleeping with the Goddess: Nights of Devotion
A Weekly Reflection: Musings for the Year
The Magickal Pen: A Collection of Esoteric Writings
The Enchanted Gate: Musings on the Magick of the Natural World
For more info: http://www.robinfennelly.com/books.html
Robin’s Website: www.robinfennelly.com
Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW: www.covenofthemysticpath.org