Another repeat Goddess, this week's pick is Kirke, the Greek sorceress and Goddess of transformation; She came up back in early October. Her mother, in some accounts, is Hekate Herself, though generally Her mother is said to be the Okeanid Perseis, Whose name means "Destroyer." Kirke is called by the Greek word pharmakeia, translated as "sorceress" or "witch;" but on a more specific level it refers to the use of drugs or herbs, and, yes, as you have probably guessed, it is the root of the English word pharmacy.
Kirke's name is usually said to mean "hawk;" though the Theoi entry gives it as "derived from the Greek verb kirkoô meaning 'to secure with rings' or 'hoop around'--a reference to her magical powers." Interestingly enough, like the second definition, the first also includes the notion of a circle, the pattern a hawk traces in flight.
Kirke's powers of metamorphosis usually concern humans changed into animals. She transformed the nymph Skylla into a monster who was part human, dog(s), and fish; in the Odyssey She changed Odysseus's men into swine; and in a later Roman legend, She is said to have changed King Picus into a woodpecker. Her family tree is rife with sorceresses and stories of half-human beings: Her sister Pasiphaë was mother to the bull-headed Minotaur on Krete, and Kirke is the aunt of the one and only Medea.
She is also a necromancer, and She advised Odysseus on how best to consult the dead seer Tiresias.
So, let's see, what can I make of all that? Transformation, the boundary between what it is to be human and what it is to be animal (which are we? both); and a little bit of an Underworld journey, or at least a consultation with someone from that Land. Also, the idea of circles, cycles, and the perspective of a hawk, round and round above it all, watching and observing with great attention.
So I think that little journey in the dark I mentioned a couple weeks ago is still ongoing, not only because Kirke is a necromancer, but because She is related to Hekate; but I think the theme this week is the ability to put it into perspective, and to see the patterns and cycles at play. There is an in-between theme at work here, too, not only in the stories of transformation but in the mention of Tiresias, about whom a verse or two has been written:
Take a little trip back
with father Tiresias
Listen to the old one speak
Of all he has lived through
"I have crossed between the worlds
To me there's no mystery
Once a man like the sea I raged
Once a woman like the earth I gave
There is in fact more earth than sea"
My fandom for Peter Gabriel and (original formula, not diet caffeine-free) Genesis aside, it comes down to this:
Something has been brought back, out of the dark, as is proper to these journeys; and that thing, though it may seem but little, is part of the process, the cycle, of transformation. It is not one or the other, but both. This will make sense to you. I hope so. It is not making sense to me, I'm afraid. But both. That is the important part. I keep getting that.
Oh. It is not 'both' or 'in-between' as in being half one thing and half another, but as in being both things, each complete and whole, at the same time.
So, then, what does She say?
Both, yes, also herbs. I know, you just put in an herb garden, you and your witchy ways. Back to basics, to what makes a Witch a Witch; grind the herbs, make the charms, all the old and playful and numinous ways, those that connect you back and back to Me and to My motherline. Implicit in that definition of sorceress is healer, you know, at least from the top down; healing with herbs and drugs and medicines and with knowledge of how the body and mind work. It is a week of healing. But it will be found in the in-between, in the acknowledgment of our animal ways, our in-between ways; you can call it dark if you will but I make no judgement. Also I am daughter of the Sun, Helios; and wherever you are on this Earth there is now a solstice near. Your summer is their winter; your underworld journey is My noon. The sun shines in glory at midnight.
I think it will take me a while to unravel that. As always, I am curious as to what you my readers think?
And as a postscript, I am also quite strongly hearing the message to do some scrying. Like with the black bowl, or the bowl of water with the ink swirling in it kind of thing. Scrying, quite specifically, not Tarot reading or any other form of divination, either. Bowls, water, blackness, gazing into the Dark a little.
Oh, and as Gandalf would write, post post script: to read Kirke's tale, which still surprises me with its sweetness, go here.