A Handful of Seeds from the Underworld
Last weekend, Expanding Inward offered our eighth(!) weekend intensive at the beautiful Toddhall Retreat Center just outside of St. Louis, MO. We worked with The Five Truths of the Underworld, a piece of philosophy and story that came from our mentor, Cynthea Jones of Diana’s Grove. The Five Truths emerged from the story of Persephone, a narrative that is close to all of our hearts in one form or another.
An Underworld theme, during the Dark Moon, as we’re sinking into the dark half of the year — it was an opportunity to go deep, and we didn’t waste it. The group that gathered was so brave, so beautiful, and so willing to do some very vulnerable sharing. It was such an honor to both witness and participate in this work.
I had thought of doing a recap of the weekend, but I’ll be honest — I don’t quite know how to capture it as a whole. This was one of those events that had so many layers to it that it’s hard to know where to begin. So, I’ll offer a few snippets.
- The first moment we checked in – seeing the group as a whole, hearing their names, learning where everyone was from, and seeing the anticipation as we entered the weekend.
- Harmonies lifting on the air as we sang together, breathed together, and held sacred space together.
- The night that Persephone asked us to relinquish that which was standing in the way of our healing. We went to the Water to wash it away, the Earth to bury it, and finally the Fire to burn and transform it — and then the feeling of relief and unknowing that came when She finally accepted our offerings with love.
- The raw tenderness I felt as we moved into a night of silence that continued into the morning.
- Asking my body a question that my mind could not completely answer, and getting a powerful response.
- Being in the center of a room filled with ecstasy and lifeforce as a community of healers sang themselves into regeneration.
- Stepping across a threshold back to the World Above and having my peers witness me transform a prayer into a promise.
There were so many other moments I could name — laughing my head off during a post-ritual game night, thoughtful conversation over a meal, a contemplative walk in the labyrinth… If you were at the intensive, I would love it if you would also offer a moment or two in the comments. It would be so wonderful to build the weekend’s memory together.
I am often grateful for the work after an event, but this one seems to have moved something deeper in me than usual, and I am curious to see how the continuing work unfolds. But, for now, I have returned from the Underworld — and though our time there was brief, it really does feel like the journey to get there took a lifetime. I am curious to see what comes next.
This post was written by River Roberts