MatriFocus Home Page

My Turn -- Reader Contribution
by sisalfish

Free Subscription
Lammas 2004, Vol 3-4
MatriFocus, a Cross-Quarterly Web Magazine for Goddess Women Near & Far
Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses, c.1891, John Williams Waterhouse
courtesy of CGFA
click on image for larger view
Circe, the Transformer

I am drawn to work with Goddesses who are complex and difficult to pin down, embodying more than one, or all, the elements -- Hecate, Brid, Isis and Circe all fall into this category, for me. A lot of my work involves the Tarot, and each of these Goddesses, and the archetypes they embody, find expression in major arcana cards. Circe has many faces in the Tarot. In all Her aspects, She casts a circle -- hence Her name -- to close us round, or to circle us in the power of transformation.

She and the archetypes She represents are complex -- so, to give you a place to start in your work with Her, close your eyes and say Her name three times. Now answer quickly the first thing that comes to mind:

Do you see Circe as frightening, or do you see Her as powerful in a positive way that calls to you?
If frightening, do you perceive Her more as seducing you into the unknown, or as bringing unwanted change into your life?
And if powerful in a positive way, do you think of Her as a force outside yourself, or within yourself?

If you see Her as frightening, and seducing you into the unknown, you may be experiencing Her as the anima, the feminine figure that both threatens and transforms, in ways too mysterious to understand. Jean Houston says Circe is the "initiator as Temptress -- She who lures men to experience the mystique of regression in the service of transformation." In that aspect, She would be the Moon card -- the call of the ultimate feminine, as opposite. If you are perceiving Her this way, you may have lost touch with your own womanly roots (I think of my own sojourns, daily, into the land of corporate America). She may be a call to tell you that you've wandered too far, and that only by sinking into the unknowable subconscious of Moon power can you regain, or maintain, balance. There may also be energy here if you are drawn, sexually, to women -- the seductress, the opposite who represents the dangerous, dark unknown. Circe's connection to the moon is legendary -- She is daughter of Hecate and Helios, the Sun. As the Moon, Circe is the circle.

Or -- the circle of the round structure on the Tower card. If you see Circe as frightening in Her power to transform you, without your desire for transformation, She may be the circle of bricks you have used to build your Tower. In all Her aspects, Circe is of the dark subconscious -- whether we want to believe it or not, we chose the bricks that built our Tower. Our subconscious both builds it, and brings it down. If you see Circe as frightening in Her power to transform, you might look at things you'd like to rid yourself of -- anger, codependency, addictions -- things that your subconscious may see as a future source of unsettling change. Working with Circe now might be a chance to un-build your Tower before in comes crashing down around you.

Circe and her Lovers in a Landscape, 1514-16, Dosso Dossi
courtesy of CGFA
click on image for larger view

If you see Circe as a source of power outside yourself, you may be experiencing Her as the Strength card. In some decks She is shown subduing the beast -- or transforming men into beasts. Either way, She is connected to animal energy, and could work with you on finding your animal guides and spirits. She may also represent, for you, the Strength card as the Crowley deck depicts it -- one who works with higher, human energies, and one also comfortable, wise in the ways of animal energies -- lust and instinct. In this card, Circe's circle encompasses opposites -- human and beast, conscious and subconscious, Strength and surrender -- to find new sources of power and wisdom.

If you are tight with Circe, and hear Her call from within, you may be experiencing Her as the High Priestess within you -- finding your power, your inspiration, in the subconscious messages of the Moon, of your inner voice. In this archetype, Circe is circular in Her sinking into the round pool of the subconscious for wisdom and inspiration, and bringing that wisdom back to Her earthly circle -- Her clan, Her circle of sisters, Her circle of priestesses. For you, Circe holds the mysterious power to transform -- even if you aren't sure what that transformation might look like.

Some ways to play with Circe in the Tarot -- from your favorite deck, or more than one deck, pull the Moon, the Tower, Strength and the High Priestess. Do any of these cards have messages for you around temptation, transformation, animals? Shuffle your entire deck and turn the cards up one by one, thinking of Circe. When the first of these four cards appears, you can take it as a message to work with that card. Be open to other messages from Circe, through other cards -- Her faces are many, and She is not limited by the four cards I've chosen here. Turn your cards up, letting come to your mind whatever comes. When you hear Her voice, circle Her message, like an animal closing in on Her prey -- there is wisdom there.

With blessings to those with the courage to delve deeply....

Graphics Credits
+ Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses, c.1891, John Williams Waterhouse, courtesy of CGFA.
Circe and her Lovers in a Landscape, 1514-16, Dosso Dossi, courtesy of CGFA.

Contributors retain the copyright to their work; please do not take art or words without permission. All other graphics and reference materials are used and attributed as per the Fair Use Provision of The Copyright Act and individual terms of use.
Previous Issues
Submission Guidelines
Link Partners
Contact Us