In the myth, the Greek goddess, Persephone, was abducted by Hades and taken to the Underworld. Her mother, Demeter, mourned until she managed to get Persephone back. But while she’d been in the Underworld, Persephone had eaten some pomegranate seeds which meant she had to return to the Underworld for part of every year. Persephone, having been a girl when initially kidnapped, grew into her role for part of every year as Queen of the Night. By living in the darkness and getting to know her shadow and depths as well as that of the world, she was able to be a guide for others.
Women and men who resonate with a strong Persephone archetype are able to turn that pain, rage, sorrow, suffering and trauma into light. Leading others out of their own darkness. This gift doesn’t come from repressing our pasts but by owning them. At the moment, we’re living in very interesting times. As well as personal triggers like bereavements, traumas, divorces, tragedy, abuse, debt, other losses, illness, chronic pain, addiction, identity and cultural issues and struggles for social justice, barely a day goes by without ‘underworld’ issues being brought to light.
As a result, it’s very much in the collective unconscious. While painful, it’s also simply an opportunity for deeper healing. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Even so, we, our clients, supervisees, students, employees, loved ones and others are dealing with a lot of unsettling issues which can then feel even more overwhelming against the backdrop of Brexit, the US President, #metoo, the Kavanaugh Hearings (READ MORE…), basic women’s rights being rolled back, babies being separated from parents and natural disasters increasingly common with climate change.
Rather than shame-spiralling for being human, we can make self-care and Self Care (READ MORE…) a bigger priority. Our experience of becoming stronger at the broken places and realising that we’re not broken beyond repair enables us to benefit from deeper healing. By embodying recovery and healing, we can be that guiding light for others, holding that sacred healing space more powerfully than we could have if we hadn’t explored our own depths. There’s an element of post traumatic growth (READ MORE…).
As counsellors and therapists, we have personal therapy during our training, in part, because it’s widely recognised that we cannot support others where we haven’t been ourselves (both in the practical experience of having therapy and also, by exploring our depths). The idea is that by the time we start working with clients, certainly by the time we qualify, we’re far less likely to be triggered by whatever our clients might bring, even when it touches our own wounding. We can use that wounding to support our clients. Our experience of having survived our own underworlds means we’re able to offer a deeper presence to support others’ healing and recovery.
When we notice it becoming being more of a struggle (maybe we’re triggered, maybe more tearful than usual, maybe irritated, angry – whatever your own stress signals are), we might take it to our usual supervision or engage in deeper personal therapy. Persephone Self Care Supervision might be ongoing or ad hoc, supporting you in resourcing yourself through this bump and helping you heal your mind, body, heart and soul at this deeper level. We can discuss what feels most appropriate when you get in touch for your free, no obligation telephone consultation.
Maybe you’re not a coach, counsellor or therapist – you might be a yoga teacher, hairdresser, massage therapist, teacher, social worker, manager or parent – anything that means you’re hearing stories from people you’re helping which make you sometimes forget how far you’ve already come and feel like you’re right back there. With Persephone Self Care Coaching, we can work together to help you connect with your resourcefulness. Your inner Queen (or King) of the Night. Using your experience of whatever you’ve survived to help you better support others without sacrificing your own hard-earned boundaries and wellbeing. We can discuss what feels most appropriate when you get in touch for your free, no obligation telephone consultation.
Whether you’re a therapist re-entering personal therapy or you’ve never had therapy or counselling before, with Persephone Self Care Therapy, we can work together to improve your self-care and Self Care to help you heal and recover more deeply (remember, Persephone couldn’t have stayed in the Underworld year round and still been that light for others). Even if you feel nowhere near ready to help others, you can start by connecting with that part of yourself that’s already whole and build from there. If the Persephone archetype resonates for you in any way, knowing that your own healing and recovery means you can become a shining light for others might help support your healing and recovery. We can discuss what feels most appropriate when you get in touch for your free, no obligation telephone consultation.
Self-care and Self Care are crucial or we risk burnout. We can’t guide anyone when our wounds are too open and raw ourselves. I love the Japanese tradition of Kintsugi where the breaks in ceramics are repaired with liquid gold honouring the trauma and, ultimately, enhancing its value.