the dark goddess santa muerte

How to Work with the Dark Goddess (with Tarot Spread)

the dark goddess santa muerte

The Dark Goddess plays a role that is as vital as it is misunderstood. Often depicted in myth and iconography with stern features or an association with death and the unknown, the Dark Goddess mirrors the dark moon phase — the period of the lunar cycle when the moon is not visible in the night sky. She is an aspect of the Divine Feminine, an innate quality that exists beyond the bounds of gender, present within all humans. Some also consider her as an individuated entity and interact with her that way as a devotee.

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The Dark Goddess and the Dark Moon Phase

The dark moon is a time of silent reflection and profound depth. Just as the moon retreats from the sky, it provides a moment for humans to look within and confront what may not be immediately visible — one’s shadows, fears, and untapped potential. The Dark Goddess as a representation of this phase signifies the transformative power of darkness. She teaches that, within the cloak of night and introspection, there is wisdom, regeneration, and the seeds of new beginnings.

Worshipped in various forms — as Kali in Hinduism, Hecate in ancient Greek mythology, or Lilith in Judaic traditions — the Dark Goddess is rarely associated with ease or comfort. Just as the dark moon phase can be a period of uncertainty, the path of the Dark Goddess demands an unfurling of the soul, a surrender to change and the unseen. Many have their first encounter with her during a ‘Dark Night of the Soul.’

The Dark Goddess as Divine Feminine

The Divine Feminine is often symbolised by qualities such as intuition, nurturing, and creation. The Dark Goddess captures the neglected side of these attributes — the fierce intuition that challenges, the nurturing that comes through tough love, and the creation birthed from destruction or chaos. She is a reminder of the power and necessity of balance, complementing the often-celebrated light, and joyful aspects of the Divine Feminine.

Her presence in spirituality is a bold declaration that every cycle, including those cloaked in darkness, bears purpose and sacredness. Through the Dark Goddess, the Divine Feminine invites us to delve into the mysteries and complexities of life.

The Universal Qualities of the Divine Feminine

The Divine Feminine transcends the gender binary. Within men, it’s the ability to embrace vulnerability, nurture, and engage with their inner emotional worlds. In women, it takes form in the capacity for leadership, assertion, and independence. The Dark Goddess’s traits are universal. Her qualities offer strength to women who seek autonomy and remind men that power can coexist with introspection and sensitivity.

The energy of the Dark Goddess within the human experience is a unifying call to face our inner darkness and emerge strengthened. She challenges anyone who dares to understand their wholeness to investigate the parts of themselves that society often deems unworthy or frightening.

Most of all, she represents unconditional love for all of life. She doesn’t just love that which most of us consider respectable, ‘nice’ or beautiful in life. She loves the mess we make as we learn to navigate through life. The reason she loves the mess just as much as the beautiful things we sometimes make is that she knows that the mess is the mulch from which those beautiful things eventually spring forth.

Why Work with the Dark Goddess

Working with the Dark Goddess invites a profound engagement with the inner self and offers a myriad of transformative benefits. She can act as a catalyst for deep personal growth, encouraging us to embrace our fears, delve into shadow work, and confront aspects of ourselves that are often ignored or hidden. Being at the receiving end of her wisdom illuminates our hidden strengths and promotes a holistic sense of self-awareness. By integrating Dark Goddess wisdom, we can experience authentic empowerment, engage in meaningful self-reflection, and realise a newfound equilibrium between the light and dark facets of our being.

Choosing a Dark Goddess to Work With

You’ve come this far in the article because you feel a strong pull in the direction of the Dark Goddess. But which one? Choosing a Dark Goddess to work with requires trust (in your gut instinct!), research, and a certain resonance with the mythological essence of the deity you are drawn to. Here is a guide to choosing a Dark Goddess to work with:

Contemplating Personal Challenges and Goals

Consider the aspects of your life that are most challenging or areas where you feel you are on the cusp of transformation. The Dark Goddess often embodies change, transition, and the confronting of uncomfortable truths. Reflect on what you are ready to face or what you are hoping to release from your life. This intention can be a compass directing you towards the deity that can best help you on your journey.

Researching Different Dark Goddess Archetypes

Familiarise yourself with the narratives, qualities, and historical worship of various Dark Goddess figures. Study myths from different cultures such as:

  • Kali, the Hindu goddess known for her power to slay demons and guide her devotees through life’s chaos.
  • Hecate, the Greek goddess of magic, crossroads, and ghosts, who offers deep wisdom and guidance through transitions.
  • Lilith, the first wife of Adam, who symbolises independence, sexual autonomy, and the refusal to submit to oppressive power.
  • Santa Muerte, revered in various folk religions of the Americas, associated with healing, protection, and safe passage to the afterlife.
  • The Morrigan, the Celtic goddess of fate and battle, often connected with sovereignty, prophecy, and the land’s guardian role.
  • Hel, the Norse goddess presiding over the underworld realm of the same name; guardian of the dead and a figure of contemplation between life and death’s balance.

The more you learn about these deities and their cultural contexts, the more you may find yourself leaning towards one whose energies align with your personal narrative and growth.

Meditation and Dreams

Take time to meditate on the energies of the Dark Goddesses you are drawn to. Create a quiet, contemplative space where you can ask for guidance or signs. You may also hold an intention before sleep to invite the Dark Goddess into your dreams. Pay attention to the symbols, feelings, and messages that come through these meditative and dream states.

Just be prepared that the Dark Goddess can come through very strongly with signs and if you are not used to this, it can be rather frightening. Ultimately, any fear that crops up as you get to know your Dark Goddess is fuel for the process of transformation as it forces you to face the shadows within. In my own case, I received a whole roebuck skull within an hour after asking for a bone sign from Santa Muerte. It’s taking me a hot minute to get over just how powerful she is.

Synchronicities and Signs

Be open to synchronicities — these could be books, conversations, or natural phenomena that repeatedly bring a certain goddess to your attention. Signs don’t need to be overly mystical but can be simple, yet deeply resonant, confirmations that guide your choice.

Trust Your Intuition

Trust your gut or the feeling you get when you focus on a particular goddess. Intuition is a powerful tool in spiritual practices, and it can be especially poignant when working with the Dark Goddess. She often works through our innate knowing and challenges us to trust our inner voice.

Learn Her Lore

Once your intuition has guided you to a Dark Goddess, it’s essential to immerse yourself in her lore and understand her symbolic significance deeply. Dive into myths, explore historical worship practices, and dissect the layers of her stories across cultures. Knowledge becomes a bridge between you and the Goddess, an act of reverence that prepares the ground for a more profound communion and understanding. Through research and study, you build an intellectual and emotional connection with her, strengthening your spiritual practice and allowing her wisdom to resonate more clearly within your soul.

Begin With Honouring Practices

Once you feel drawn to a particular Dark Goddess, start to honour her in small, meaningful ways. This could involve setting up an altar space, using colours, stones, or symbols associated with her, or perhaps beginning to include her in your daily meditations or prayers. It is important to approach her with respect and openness, inviting her to guide and support you in your personal evolution.

Remember, the process of connecting with a Dark Goddess is a deeply personal one that should not be rushed. Allow space for the relationship to develop organically and always approach your chosen deity with reverence and humility. The Dark Goddess you choose to work with may challenge you in unexpected ways, but she also holds the potential to lead you towards profound growth and self-discovery.

You can always terminate the process if you feel it is too much. However, be prepared that this works both ways. The Goddess has choice and agency too. Deities are not like the angels in that sense. Thus, if you for instance start making promises to the Goddess that you do not keep, they may remove their energy from the altar or sanctuary that you have prepared for them. The Goddess is not judging or shaming you, this is simply an acknowledgement that you are not ready for any kind of commitment.

Fear and the Dark Goddess

It is a common, and entirely normal, reaction to feel a sense of fear when initiating a relationship with the Dark Goddess. This powerful archetype embodies all that is hidden within the deep recesses of our psyche — the facets we often repress, not out of malice but out of guilt, shame, or denial.

Embracing Fear as a Natural Response

The stirring of fear signals that we are venturing into the uncharted territories of the soul. The Dark Goddess challenge us to acknowledge parts we’ve concealed. She does not prompt these introspections lightly; her energy is intense and her presence formidable. As stated above, she can bring tangible gifts and powerful shifts. She may also start appearing in your dreams. People who turn to her may experience objects moving in their home which is not for the faint of heart.

Fear as a Catalyst for Growth

The fear we experience isn’t a sign of impending doom or a reason to retreat. Instead, it is a reflection of our humanity facing the unknown within us. Feeling fear is a natural response to addressing what we’ve suppressed out of shame or guilt. Once acknowledged, these feelings can lose their grip on us, liberating and propelling us forward in our spiritual evolution.

The Undercurrent of Unconditional Love

Central to the practice of engaging with the Dark Goddess is the recognition of an underlying current of unconditional love. Her lessons are steeped in this powerful form of love, devoid of judgment, embracing every splinter and fragment of our being. Love is the compass that guides us through any fear we may experience, reminding us that we are not alone in our exploration of the self.

Discerning the Journey’s Pace

Respecting our boundaries is key to a healthy relationship with any deity, and the Dark Goddess is no exception. She does not demand an unwavering march into the abyss; she honours and accepts the pace at which we choose to walk beside her. When fear does arise, it is not a directive to withdraw, but rather an invitation to take inventory of our hearts and anchor back into the loving intention behind our spiritual quest.

When to Continue or Part Ways

Being in union with the Dark Goddess should enhance our development, not hinder it. Amidst fear and transformation, if we can still sense the Divine Feminine’s embrace, there is reason to persevere in her guidance. The decision to maintain or release the connection with the Dark Goddess is deeply personal, and there is dignity in whichever path we choose. If we decide to continue, we do so with courage and the trust that the transformative journey ahead is embraced with love. Conversely, should the process become too overwhelming, it is within our sovereign right to pause or end the engagement. It’s a testament to our authenticity, acknowledging that we might not be ready for such a commitment at this moment in time.

5 Ways to Work with the Dark Goddess

dark goddess persephone

1. Shadow Work

Engage in shadow work by journaling or meditating to uncover and embrace the parts of your psyche that you typically avoid or suppress. This can involve acknowledging fears, biases, and past hurts, allowing the Dark Goddess to guide you through the process of accepting and integrating these elements into your consciousness for a more whole self.

Check out the Unhealed Rage Tarot Spread to help you acknowledge and release trapped feelings of rage for deep emotional healing.

2. Rituals During the Dark Moon

Perform rituals during the dark moon phase that honour the energy of the Dark Goddess. These can include creating an altar with symbols associated with her, lighting black candles for reflection, or simply sitting in the darkness to meditate on what you want to release from your life and what wisdom can be gained from your current challenges.

My favourite Dark Moon ritual is simply to do a Tarot reading. One way to do this for shadow work and to honour the Dark Goddess during the Dark Moon is to use a deck that is set apart to use only for this purpose, such as, for instance, the Tarot de la Santa Muerte if you are working with Holy Death.

3. Devotional Practices

Establish a devotional practice which might include chanting mantras, offering prayers, or placing offerings that are meaningful to the Dark Goddess archetype you connect with, such as Kali, Hecate, or Lilith. Treat this time as sacred space to deepen your relationship with the Dark Feminine.

4. Facing Fears

Consciously choose to face your fears, whether they’re rooted in your personal life, your career, or your spiritual path. This can be done by stepping out of your comfort zone, confronting limiting beliefs, or taking action towards a goal that intimidates you, thereby embodying the strength and transformative power of the Dark Goddess.

5. Acts of Empowerment

Take acts of empowerment that resonate with the qualities of the Dark Goddess, such as asserting your independence, championing others’ autonomy, or engaging in activism for causes that dismantle oppressive structures. Through these actions, you honour her energy by bringing forth change and facilitating growth, both within yourself and in the world.

The Dark Goddess Tarot Spread for Personal Growth and Transformation

When you are ready to begin working with a Dark Goddess for personal growth and transformation, this 7-card tarot spread can serve as a powerful tool to guide your journey. Prepare your space with respect and openness, perhaps setting out an offering or lighting a candle to honour the Dark Goddess you wish to connect with.

Shuffle your deck, focusing on your intention to grow and transform under the guidance of the Dark Goddess. When you feel ready, draw seven cards and lay them out according to the graphic below.

how to work with the dark goddess tarot spread

Positional Meanings

  1. Your Current Self. This card represents where you are at this moment in your life and what you are bringing into this work with the Dark Goddess.
  2. Shadows to Explore. Reflect on the shadows and the subconscious aspects of yourself that you may need to confront with the help of the Dark Goddess.
  3. Challenges Ahead. This card signals the potential challenges you might face on this transformative journey.
  4. The Transformation Desired. Focus on the aspects of your personal growth where you seek evolution and change.
  5. The Dark Goddess’s Guidance. This represents the wisdom and guidance the Dark Goddess may offer you throughout your journey.
  6. Lessons to Learn. Pay attention to the lessons that may emerge as you grow and adapt during this process.
  7. Outcomes of Your Transformation. This final card points to the potential outcomes of your work with the Dark Goddess and the personal transformation that may ensue.

Take your time interpreting each card in the context of the spread and your intentions. Journal your thoughts and feelings. Remember, Tarot readings are not set in stone. They are a conversation with the Divine and with your inner wisdom. Adapt the interpretations to fit your unique path. Most importantly, remain open to the messages you receive from the Dark Goddess herself.

Sample Reading

Your Current Self – The Hanged Man

The appearance of The Hanged Man in the position of your current self suggests that you are in a state of suspension, possibly engaged in a period of self-sacrifice or waiting. You may be feeling that your life is on hold, but this period is crucial for gathering new perspectives. You are called to surrender old patterns or expectations and to see your situation from a new angle, which will be essential for your transformative journey with the Dark Goddess.

(Interestingly, this is my Tarot Year Card in 2024.)

Shadows to Explore – The World

The World card represents completion, wholeness, and success. In the context of shadows to explore, this card may symbolise an aspect of your life that you consider complete, but upon closer inspection, there could be loose threads or unresolved issues. It’s time to look deeply into what you think is “finished” and acknowledge the dark corners that have been left unlit, which might be holding lingering energies needing to be released.

Challenges Ahead – 8 of Cups

The 8 of Cups speaks to the challenge of leaving behind something emotionally meaningful. During your journey, you may find it difficult to walk away from situations, relationships, or emotional patterns that no longer serve your highest good. The Dark Goddess is inviting you to be brave and to move towards deeper fulfilment, even if it means stepping into the unknown.

The Transformation Desired – Ace of Cups

The Ace of Cups signifies a new beginning in the realm of emotions, relationships, or spiritual growth. Your transformation desired is a fresh emotional start, an opening of your heart to new experiences of love, deepened intuition, or creative inspiration. You seek to renew your emotional life, perhaps after a period of stagnation or heartache.

The Dark Goddess’s Guidance – King of Cups

The King of Cups as the Dark Goddess’s guidance symbolises emotional balance, compassion, and mastery over the depths of your feelings. The Goddess encourages you to maintain composure amid emotional flux. Harness your empathy and understanding in dealing with others and with your inner landscape. Equanimity and a mature approach to your emotions will guide your pathway forward.

Lessons to Learn – Queen of Cups

The Queen of Cups in the position of lessons to learn suggests that you need to cultivate an intuitive approach, trust in your inner feelings, and nurture your emotional intelligence. The Queen represents a nurturing and loving energy. She guides you to listen to your inner voice and care for yourself as you would others. Learn to be more receptive.

Outcomes of Your Transformation – 2 of Cups

As an outcome of your transformation, the 2 of Cups indicates reaching a deeper level of commitment in your relationships. This card represents harmony, mutual respect, and emotional connection. Through the guidance of the Dark Goddess, you may find a significant union with a reconciled aspect of yourself. This will bring balance and fulfilment into your emotional life.

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