Fire of the Goddess: Nine Paths to Ignite the Sacred Feminine

Fire of the Goddess: Nine Paths to Ignite the Sacred Feminine

by Katalin Koda

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You are a creator, lover, priestess, and healer—a multifaceted goddess with confidence, spiritual wisdom, and the power to reinvent yourself. Based on a lifetime of deep spiritual study and her firsthand experiences around the world, Katalin Koda offers an innovative way for you to bring the sacred feminine into your everyday life.

Fire of the Goddess


You are a creator, lover, priestess, and healer—a multifaceted goddess with confidence, spiritual wisdom, and the power to reinvent yourself. Based on a lifetime of deep spiritual study and her firsthand experiences around the world, Katalin Koda offers an innovative way for you to bring the sacred feminine into your everyday life.

Fire of the Goddess presents nine goddess archetypes that correspond with every woman's inherent gifts and the most important facets of her life: firebearer, initiate, warrioress, healer, consort, bodhisattva, priestess, weaver, and crone. For each archetype, you'll connect with its associated goddess—Pele, Artemis, Quan Yin, Isis, and others—through inspiring exercises, the power of myth, and a sacred ceremony.

—Form a women's circle
—Call on your ancestors
—Find your animal guide
—Celebrate your sensuality
—Open up to your inner masculine
—Practice deep listening

Through the exploration of each goddess aspect, you will begin to discover the strength, spirituality, beauty, and authenticity of your sacred and ever-evolving self.

"This is a truly wonderful literary experience that connects women to a profound aspect of themselves that is often overlooked by the modern world." -PREDICTION

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The creative force of the womb is within every ordinary woman and yet is often overlooked when developing a spiritual path. A seasoned practitioner of indigenous and healing traditions, Koda (Sacred Path of Reiki) teaches women to meet their sacredness, transform their fears, and reclaim the divine inner female who is imbued with power, love, and wisdom. The author presents a guided path with nine sacred feminine archetypes as gateways to the divinity that is expressed in female form. Each archetype is comprehensively presented by associating a goddess with that archetype and providing a myth about the goddess, exercises and tools to work with, and a ceremony to connect with that archetype. A rich resources section, including many books and articles, rounds out Koda's presentation of the sacred feminine as a vital key—one that goes hand in hand with the sacred masculine—for personal healing and collective evolution. (July)

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Nine Paths to Ignite the Sacred Feminine
By Katalin Koda

Llewellyn Publications

Copyright © 2011 Katalin Koda
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7387-2003-6

Chapter One

The Fire Bearer

Igniting the Inner Fire

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

–Anaïs Nin

Imagine you are standing on a cliff facing the ocean; the waves are crashing, and the air is sweet and salty. The sun is rising directly in front of you as the stars above slowly fade into the lightening sky. You turn and look behind you. There is a river of molten, fiery lava oozing down the mountainside making its way to the ocean. The lava drips into the sea, the primordial life energy meeting the turquoise waters. It is so hot that it continues to flame in the brilliant cooling water. When the two forces collide, huge clouds of vaporous steam rise out of the mixture, illuminated by the glowing light of the lava. You stand with a sense of awe watching the fire, water, and steam. This is a moment of utter paradox in which old land is destroyed and new land is created. You take a deep breath, open your hands and heart, and close your eyes. Suddenly there is a massive explosion and lava spews out in front of you, embers fall around you but do not harm you. One ember lands in your outstretched hand. This is a seed of light, a gift from the sacred earth in the form of the Fire Bearer. You take this seed of light in reverence and gratitude. You know, in that moment, you will plant the seed and cultivate your own sacred feminine just as the lava creates new earth.

The Fire Bearer is the first archetype we meet on the path of the sacred feminine. She is the gift that inspires us to give birth to a life imbued with power, love, and wisdom. The Fire Bearer symbolizes the seed of our inner light and holds the powerful potential to grow a sacred existence. The Fire Bearer comes to us as Pele, the fiery goddess who is believed to live in the Halema'uma'u crater of the volcano Kilauea on the Big Island of Hawai'i and who presides over the active lava flow.

The work of the Fire Bearer is both creative and destructive. When we begin the deep work of healing and transforming our pain, we recognize our inner creative power and destroy what no longer works for us. Creative passions come in the form of birthing children, making art, or creating a new way of living. Destroying the old may come in the form of leaving home, divorce, or simply letting go of old stuff. As molten lava creates new land on the island of Hawai'i, it also destroys whatever is in its path. This is one of the potent messages of the Fire Bearer: to step boldly, create new life, and remain fearless as we destroy what no longer works.

The Fire Bearer becomes apparent in our lives when we realize we are the keepers of a precious gift. This gift may be a talent or special skill such as healing, singing, or writing. This gift can also be our capacity to experience love, connectedness, beauty, truth, and joy. Coming to this realization is so simple, yet vital; it is akin to realizing the preciousness of our very own breath and body.

Recognizing the Sacred Land

When I arrived in Hawai'i, I felt a strong connection to the goddess Pele and her creative and destructive power. Because I live in a place that could be destroyed by lava at any moment, I am constantly reminded of the power of nature. Pele as Fire Bearer shows us that we must honor our surrounding environment. We cannot fully appreciate our own creative gifts until we deeply connect with the earth and know that our fiery spirit is manifest on this planet, right here and now. The Fire Bearer is presenting us the seed of this reality, to recognize our gifts within and without. It is up to us to cultivate that seed into a blaze of creative energy. No matter where we live, the nature around us is full of life and power and has the capacity to inspire our own fire. In the path of the sacred feminine, we can look more deeply at our own surroundings and find her presence, thus honoring our earth more deeply.

My own connections to the sacred feminine are inspired by living in India and Hawai'i, where goddesses are still worshipped and reverence for the sacred feminine is a living tradition. Much of the ancestral knowledge is still intact along with the stories that connect the people to the land. Everywhere I travel in both India and Hawai'i, ancient stories are told about the land: a giant stone perched on a desert mound is Krishna's cosmic butterball; glistening lakes in the desert are where Sita's tears fell when she was abducted by the demon king of Ceylon; on the island of Kaua'i of the Hawai'ian islands, Pele dug with her digging stick, leaving behind a lava hill called Pu'uopele (the hill of Pele); near my home on the Big Island of Hawai'i is the cave, referred to as the yoni cave today, and the flying vagina cave in ancient Hawai'ian story. Seeing the perfectly formed vulva of hardened lava in a cave was a wondrous experience that deeply nourished my feminine spirit.

I am continuously enchanted by these stories that have woven into the culture for thousands of years. When I arrived in Hawai'i, I felt compelled to give many offerings to Pele as well as other gods and goddesses, such as Kanaloa of the sea. Pele in turn showed me the gift of the Fire Bearer, which was the seed for this book. Finding out about your own land and its stories will help you connect to your inner Fire Bearer, thus opening the way to journey the sacred feminine.

Exercise I.I

Seeking Out a Local Goddess

Just as I connected with Pele upon my arrival in Hawai'i, I encourage you to connect with a goddess or heroine who existed in your neighborhood, state, or area of the country. The Fire Bearer archetype reminds us that seeking out stories that nourish us will activate our own inner creative fire. Go to the library and research which native peoples lived where you now live and who were the heroines, goddesses, or warrior women. If you cannot find a story from the distant past, then search for a story of a woman who lived in your area more recently, a story that compels you. Reclaim her stories and then connect her to the landscape around you.

Research the geography, the plants, the trees, and other natural aspects of the place where you live. See if you can find any folktales containing herbal remedies, older wisdom, and interesting stories that are still floating around the locale. Digging down into the ancestry of a place will naturally connect you more deeply with it. Similarly, learn the plants and trees of your neighborhood, find out which herbs and fruits grow locally. Identifying and eating local foods will help your body resonate more clearly with the elements and natural world that surrounds you.

This exercise also gives you an opportunity to create a link to the spirits of a place, the place you are choosing to reside. Perhaps you can think more carefully about this land you live on, not only the plants and trees surrounding you, but other natural formations as well. What are the water sources nearby? Are you close to the ocean, or to any rivers or streams? What kinds of forests are within walking or driving distance? What do these natural formations feel like? Even under slabs of cement, the living, breathing earth is there. You may feel drawn to act as a more conscious steward of your living earth home by cleaning up the river you meditate by; planting flowers and herbs in the patch of bare soil near your apartment building; sitting in the moonlight in the park with friends to make ceremony and help heal the crimes that may have been committed there.


Pele is the Fire Bearer who brought her magic fire-making stick and powers to the Big Island of Hawai'i many thousands of years ago. Looking at a satellite image, we can see the gorgeous green and yellow of the jungle surrounding what looks like a red, pulsing vagina, a massive opening in the earth that is continuously birthing molten lava, simultaneously destroying and creating new land. Pele's presence is powerful and her mythology survived both the Christianization of the Hawai'ian islands as well as its induction into statehood. Numerous stories and chants about Pele have been passed down for hundreds of years. Each year several hula halau, hula schools, perform at the active crater on Kilauea. Pele is respected, feared, and honored on the island.

During a journey meditation, I visited Pele and asked her for a vision for this book. She gave me a small, glowing ember, like a seed, which holds the potential to build a great fire; thus I recognized her as Fire Bearer. My role was to receive this fire and allow it to grow within me. Just as a seed has the potential to become a tree or flower and produce countless more seeds, an ember has the ability to produce countless fires. This mirrored the potential of the Fire Bearer, of the path of the sacred feminine: to recognize the seed of power which can spread outward to others. This ember glowed symbolically as both the beginning and ending of a cycle. Like the Crone, the Fire Bearer holds the power of destruction; yet from those ashes come the incredible seeds of creativity. This ember is like the seeds we plant at the new moon, seeds that grow plants or children or new projects.

How Pele Came to Live on Hawai'i

Pele was born with long flowing red hair, different from all the rest of her dark-haired brothers and sisters. Her temper was quite fierce, another trait that set her apart from her family. Pele's mother was the earth goddess Haumea and her father was Wákea, ruler of the sky. She had many brothers and sisters, all guardians of the elements of nature. Pele inspired love and devotion in all of her family except for one sister, Námakaokaha'i, or Námaka, the goddess of water, who was threatened by Pele's fiery nature.

As a child, Pele loved to lick the fire and dance with the flames. This sickened her sister Námaka, who would watch from the outskirts as Pele's scarlet hair caught fire and she inhaled cinders delightedly. Námaka knew Pele carried immense power, holding the potential to burn bigger and brighter than any fire. Once when Pele realized Námaka was watching her, Pele shrugged and said it was merely child's play, but Námaka knew better. The two sisters stared at each other with an intense dislike until the moment was broken by Hi'iaka, Pele's favorite sister.

Hi'iaka was the youngest and most loved of Pele's family and would soon join Pele on her journey. Hi'iaka was born in a special way, in the form of an egg, and was nurtured by Pele until she became a goddess. Together, the two formed a deep, loving friendship and sisterhood.

One day, Námaka returned from her travels through the waters of nearby islands. When she arrived home, she found much of the land burned and scalded by Pele's fiery work. Because of Pele's unquenchable desire and formidable power to change the land, Námaka convinced their mother, Haumea, that Pele should be banished. Haumea, earth mother and guardian of the sacred homeland, listened closely to Námaka. Finally, her heart heavy with sorrow, she decided that Námaka was right, that Pele must find a new place to work her powerful magic, one that would not destroy their home or ohana (family).

Pele did not fight against her dear mother's wishes. She took only two things with her: her magic firestick, which enabled her to connect with the inner fire of the land, and her beloved sister Hi'iaka. Other loyal attendants joined them, including several brothers and sisters who decided they wanted to live with Pele once she found a suitable place to reside. The group left their homeland in a sacred canoe and followed the stars across the Pacific.

Finally Pele reached the chain of Hawai'ian islands. But the first island in the chain was still too close to the water and Námaka's wrath. Similarly, her fire was too close to the water on the island of O'ahu. She moved on to Maui, leaving behind a trail of smoke and volcanic glow that rose up from the craters. This infuriated Námaka, who set out to destroy Pele once and for all. Before they fought, Pele made a deal with Námaka, that they would fight on their own terms, using their personal powers.

The destructive, wrathful fires of Pele rose up to meet the powerful waves of Námaka. They fought an entire day, masses of steam rising up between the wall of water and fountain of fire. Finally, Námaka, in her weariness, dishonored the fight and called Haui, the sea serpent, to her. Reinforced by his strength, Námaka and Haui defeated Pele and tore her body apart, scattering her bones on the island of Maui. Námaka gloated to the others of her victory for a short time, before one of the gods, Káne, pointed to the sky above Hawai'i. There, over Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, the mountains of Hawai'i, the heavens were ablaze as if they had been set on fire. The spirit of Pele glowed in the skies, reborn in the ethers.

Pele again assumed human form and reunited with her family. They sailed to Hawai'i, the last island on the chain. As she climbed upon the new land, she felt a shudder of beauty and feeling of home move through her. She climbed up Kilauea and struck the earth a final time with her firestick. At that moment, she heard the 'elepaio bird sing and felt it was a favorable omen. She laughed with delight as she realized the site was perfect, far enough away from the wrath of Námaka. Pele worked with her stick, forming the crater and filling it with the boiling, molten lava and joyfully sending it down the slope into the sea. The work of the Fire Bearer could finally flourish. There, at the pit of Halema'uma'u, Pele took up residence with her family. She can be seen there to this day, still happily sending fiery lava destroying and creating land as is her wondrous passion. Pele brought her power of fire to the islands, a gift that reminds of continuous creation and destruction and inspires us to seek our own Fire Bearer within.

Keys to the Tale

Pele is different from her family; she has flaming red hair and is constantly drawn to fire. She is given the power of the firestick and uses it to draw up the fire of the earth, the intense power that is simultaneously creative and destructive, thus the archetype of the Fire Bearer. The importance of destruction, the "land eater" as Pele is called, is a clear reminder of this power. This links the Fire Bearer to the Crone, illuminating the cycles of birth, life, and death. Everywhere one drives around the island of Hawai'i, massive lava flows cross the landscape. Some are only a few decades old, a severe and poignant sign that life is impermanent and fragile. Pele's work reminds us that sometimes we need to destroy our habits, our tendencies, or dreams that are no longer working for us. Pele as Fire Bearer teaches us to live fully, and consistently full of passion and clarity.

As the Fire Bearer, Pele symbolizes our inner, creative, wild fire. Many women feel a strong connection to her when they come to the island of Hawai'i. Her image of passionate beauty and fiery nature capture our hearts and we find ourselves dreaming of her, giving her offerings, and wanting to know her more intimately. She is the woman who would run with the wolves, so to speak, the wild woman as described by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, mythologist and researcher of the sacred feminine, the woman who is "... the Life/ Death/Life force, she is the incubator. She is intuition, she is far-seer, she is deep listener, she is loyal heart. She encourages humans to remain multilingual; fluent in languages of dreams, passion, and poetry. These fill women with longing to find her, free her, and love her." Pele cannot be contained or restrained, bearing her incredible power of the fire or digging stick and filled with unbridled passion. When we start the journey of the sacred feminine, we are inspired by Pele's gift of fire, using that to ignite our own spirit into creative action on the path.

Conversely, Námaka is the aspect of us that seeks to subdue our creativity, to limit our fearless and passionate self. She is the watery darkness or shadow side that threatens to put out our light, deny our magic, and cast us onto desolate shores. This aspect of our shadow wants to dampen our flame, just when it is beginning to glow, to take on fuel and expand. The shadow part that is not empowered seeks to destroy us before we can ever make progress. Our shadow aspect may be a result of trauma, programming from our family, religion, or society that tells us we cannot burn brightly, cannot access our authentic self; it is the small, persistent voice that says we are not worthy, we were born of sin, and there we will stay. We may feel the need to be validated by friends, boyfriends, or lovers to deem ourselves worthy. Our negative inner voice may play a kind of tape that says things like, "He never responded to your message and thus you are not attractive or worthy of love." Yet, we are love-we are the Fire Bearer in potential. The desire for external acceptance is our inner Fire Bearer calling out to us to cultivate a powerful self-love that no longer needs the validation from others.


Excerpted from FIRE OF THE GODDESS by Katalin Koda Copyright © 2011 by Katalin Koda. Excerpted by permission of Llewellyn Publications. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Katalin Koda is a passionate explorer of earth stories, women's mysteries and the mythic expression of our world. A practicing Vajrayana Buddhist, Koda also works with indigenous wisdom and shamanism in her healing practice. She is a visionary artist, poet and dreamer and has been teaching workshops on women's wisdom and spirituality, Reiki, shamanic journey and chakra healing for over fifteen years. The author resides in Hawaii. Visit her website for more information.

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