Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Embracing Challenge

Dearest Goddesses,

Wow. I must have been channeling something when I picked these cards months ago - every single one seems to speak to exactly where I am at the moment (or what I don't want to deal with!) This week is the Sphinx representing challenge and boy can I relate! First of all, I am dealing with the challenge of sharing a computer with John – who likes to be in command - as well as facing my procrastination - and so I’m sorry my emails have been a bit sporadic lately!

The first thing I thought of after reading this week’s goddess was a story I heard years ago about a man who found an emperor moth cocoon and brought it into his house to watch the moth emerge. The man watched as the moth began to inch out of it’s cocoon – it seemed to be struggling so much that the man decided to help it by cutting open the cocoon and allowing the moth to emerge easily. The moth did emerge easily, but it’s body was swollen and the wings were shriveled and after a few hours, the moth died. The man did not realize, that the struggle that the Emperor moth goes through to get out of it’s cocoon actually gives the moth the ability to fly – the struggle pushes the fluids out of its body and provides the necessary nutrients for the wings to become strong so that when it does emerge – it is ready to fly. By “helping” the moth in its struggle, the man actually took away the moth’s ability to fly.

I like to look at challenge this way. Of course, that is only after I’ve gained some perspective from going through it and facing the challenges head on. When I’m in the struggle – when I’m fighting the challenge – then I just want it to be over with and am usually dying for someone to come and cut my cocoon! The key to challenge is to keep in mind all of the other struggles that we have gone through in the past – and all we have learned from them. I think of times in my past when I remember things seemed completely insurmountable – and today they are barely a blip on my radar. Time always helps with that perspective – but it is important that we do not face challenge with blindfolds on – with our eyes shut tight just waiting until the storm passes. I came across a quote the other day that I know I’ve shared with you in the past – “Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace within it.”

The challenges will pass eventually – you have seen the ups and downs of life to know that – and there will be more challenges in your future. It’s up to you whether these challenges will beat you down – whether they will become evidence for how sucky your life is – or if they will simply be homework in the giant school called life. As the Sphinx says - "every challenge is there to serve you - or not. It's your choice."

Patty’s Challenge: A couple months ago, I started a list called “Benefits to the delays in our funding.” I was able to come up with about 20 or 30 items for that list which provided me with some perspective for the situation. It didn’t change the situation – the challenge is still one that we are in – but it helped me face it head on – it helped me come up with other business ideas – I began to think outside the box.

Start your list with a challenge that you are experiencing right now – Benefits to and fill in the blank. Keep the list with you – add to it without editing. See what you come up with.

Love to you,


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!