Persephone and Pomegranates: Nuances of Letting Go.
I want to write about pomegranates and Persephone, and what it’s like to sit inside the nuances of letting go while being guided to offer a workshop about grief, because this is a time when many of us need benevolent guidance the most.
Today, after dropping off many things I don’t need (and never really did), I went to the redwood forest for a little ceremony.
As I sat there, I could remember the first time I entered the forest. The first time my body made a deep connection with a redwood tree. The first time they welcomed me home.
I could feel how different I was then, the weight of grief I was carrying not just energetically, but physically, in my body.
I’ve rested against so many redwoods, feeling their life force fill me up and pulling me into a deeper balance with mystery. They offered me respite and guided me in reconnection to what is benevolent and good, Eros… life force energy that IS nature, love and the actual mystery that is holding us all.
Every day, I walked in these woods while I was healing from addiction, guided and deeply held in so many ways.
Most of what I’ve written in those years came to me while sitting amongst the redwood trees.
I also haven’t been happy here, where I have been living, for many years. It’s been harder to avoid it, especially in this last year, and I’ve been in deep prayer for guidance around this.
Now, they tell me it’s time to go.
It’s time for new medicine.
Time to let go.
I don’t really want to let go, but I know that I must, and the deep truth of the love beneath it all softens my heart and guides me along the way. One step at a time.
This work I now offer is gifted to me to be a good steward of in the world. We, the redwoods and I, are rooted together here and now, and wherever I am.
The roots of trees are a benevolent network that is HOLDING all of us, connecting each of us, as they support the balance of so much more than we can ever know.
What does this have to do with pomegranates and Persephone?
In the season of winter, during this deep transition, I notice it’s when pomegranates are so abundant at the store. They always make me think of Persephone and what it might be like to consider her story from another point of view, one less patriarchal and her at the whim of all the gods and her mother.
She is the Queen of the Underworld.
The Goddess of Rebirth in the spring.
What if she truly fell in love with the King of the Underworld?
What if she knowingly ate the seeds of the pomegranate knowing they contain the seeds of truth that would be the bridge between all the things?
That this is the grief of letting go into the Underworld, to be nourished there with the kind of truth that can only be known in darkness? That this is the bridge between worlds?
That in fact the breaking open of the heart in loss, healing and transition, in the ephemeral nature of who and what we think we are, we marry the nobility of ourselves in the Underworld and become the Kings and Queens of our depths?
This feels so vibrant and true in my bones.
It carries a gentleness with it, a knowing that there is a nutritive holding and deeply feminine wisdom living underneath all the tales we tell of the Underworld, the place we really only ever visit after loss… because even the Hero’s journey is at first a call to adventure, but then, in that adventure, there is loss.
So, what happens exactly there?
We know it is a thing we all most go through, but it’s disorienting and painful, so many of us fear it or dig our heels in and don’t go until we absolutely have to.
It’s in these dark places that we find the nourishment we need for each next phase of life. And, if we are paying attention, this happens over and over and over again.
Many of the spiritual traditions, so deeply culturally appropriated in the West, incorporate acknowledging of impermanence, of death and letting go, not just of attachments, but of life. Some cultures have daily grief ceremonies at the end of the day to honor and let go.
We leave off this very important part in the West.
Grief is love. We don’t grieve what we don’t care about, what we haven’t been attached to.
There is deep truth held inside the release of our grief, because truth, like grief, is a language of love.
There is much grace to be found when we understand the map, the nuances, the layers and the signposts of what we might expect in a way that honors the totality of all that we are — physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and soulful creatures made of the earth.
Will we eat the seeds of truth when they are compassionately offered to us?
Dr. Nandi Hetenyi is a psychospiritual healer, soul mentor and writer. She has carved out her own path based on 20+ years of clinical experience and an equal amount of time studying and practicing Buddhism, yoga, meditation, shamanic healing, ritual and energy healing. After recovering herself from addiction and experiencing an awakening to her soul, she fused her knowledge of psychology and trauma with both her studied and lived experience of shamanic and Buddhist healing modalities, creating an innovative approach to healing the soul wound at the root of so much addiction, shame and ongoing trauma. You can follow Dr. Hetenyi on Instagram and find out more about her work on her website.