Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Sphinx: Challenge

The following is excerpted exactly from The Goddess Oracle by Amy Sophia Marashinsky and the illustrations are by Hrana Janto. For more information on their work, please visit the following websites:

Amy Sophia Marashinsky:
You can download the meditations included in the ritual suggestions at

Hrana Janto:


If I ask the question that provokes

will you stretch to find the answer

Will you take up the gauntlet flung boldly

and defiantly answer the call

Will you meet my challenge

with tingling in your blood

with your hair blowing electric in the wind

with all your being

knowing that every challenge

is an opportunity

every challenge

presents a gift

every challenge

is there to serve you

or not

It’s your choice.


The Sphinx appears in Greek mythology as the monster – a woman’s head and breasts, dog’s body, lion’s paws, wings of an eagle and the tail of a serpent – who questioned Oedipus. To the ancient Egyptians, she symbolically represented the Nile and its seasons. She was also a manifestation of Hathor, Goddess of birth and death. The Sphinx of Egypt was built as guardian of the horizons, the rising and setting sun. It held the keys to the wisdom gates. In the path to deep knowing, initiates had to confront the challenges that the Sphinx posed.

Meaning of the Card

The Sphinx will not let you pass until you respond to her challenge. She asks: “How can you meet a challenge and prosper in all the aspects of your being?” You can let yourself get torn down by challenge, or kicked or pounded or defeated, but how can you take the challenge and use its energy to nurture yourself? Have you been running from challenges all your life and now find you haven’t developed the energy or power to face them? Perhaps it’s easier to ignore challenge and go on with self-limiting behaviour. Or maybe you feel that life is all messed up. Whatever way you have been dancing with challenge in the past has to change. The greatest challenge in living is how you respond to challenges. The Sphinx says the only way to wholeness on your path is to meet your challenges face-to-face.

Ritual Suggestion: Meeting Challenge Face to Face
You can download this meditation at the following site for $2.00

Find a time and a place when and where you will not be disturbed. Sit or lie comfortably with your back straight and close your eyes. Take a deep breath and release it slowly. Take another deep breath and release it with a sigh. Take another deep breath and release it, putting all your stress and tension into a hum. Take a final deep breath and envision, sense or feel the steep incline of a hill before you. It could be one you have encountered before or one you imagine. There is a path on the incline and you begin walking up it. At first it rises gently, then gives way to flat land. Then it rises again, this time sharply, so you must climb, hand over hand and foo9t over foot till you reach a small cottage. You are out of breath and thirsty and decide to knock on the door of the cottage.

An old, very handsome Wise Woman opens the door. “I have been expecting you,” she tells you. You ask for a drink of water and the Wise Woman takes you to the back of the cottage, hands you a mug, points to a sacred spring, and tells you to refresh yourself with its water. You dip your mug in the sacred spring and drink. The water quen hes your thirst and leaves you feeling calm and refre3shed.

Now the Wise Woman takes you by the hand and leads you into her cottage. The cottage is filled with wondrous and magical things, beautiful and delightful things. “>I have something you need.” She explains as she puts a large package in your hands. It is heavy. “Open the package when you arrive on the Plain of Vision. Now it is time for you to go.” She escorts you to the door and hugs you. You thank her and leave.

The path takes you onto an enormous plateau. It is the Plain of Vision, where the winds blow cool, clean and clear. Where you can see al that you need to see. Take a deep breath and inhale the clarity of the Plain of Vision.

You put the package on the ground and squat down to open it. Inside is a suit of chain mail and a sword. You put on the suit of mail. It fits perfectly. You grasp the sword, slashing the air. It feels good in your hand, the right weight and balance.

Something lands at your feet. You bend down to pick it up. It is a glove of mail, a gauntlet. A voice says,” Are you prepared to meet me=” You pick up the gauntlet and stand to face your challenge, who is masked before you. You toss back the gauntlet which is then put on by your challenge. Your swords cross and you begin the fight. Your challenge tries to trip you up, but you manage to breathe deeply and stay on your feet. Your challenge tries to divert your attention, but you manage to breathe deeply and stay focused. Your challenge is strong and persistent and tries to wear you out, but you stay centered and strong by breathing deeply, drawing up limitless energy from the earth into your body.

Finally your challenge tells you it will stop this fight if you will embrace it. You sheathe your sword and hold out your arms, and your challenge moves into them. As you both embrace, your suits of mail dissolve and your swords vanish. You hold each other with love and acceptance. Your challenge is transformed into light which is then absorbed into your body and becomes a part of you. You feel strengthened and revitalized.

You leave the Plain of Vision, gong down the path. The cottage of the old Wise Woman is no longer there. You continue down the path feeling refreshed and whole, feeling energized and emancipated, feeling centered and steadied. When you reach the bottom of the incline, you take a deep breath and release it slowly, coming back fully into your body. Take another deep breath and release it slowly. When you feel ready, open your eyes. Welcome Back!

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