The Dark-Bright Art of Teaching

The Dark-Bright Art of Teaching

In this article, Bee Helygen, creatrix and course tutor for the Priestess of Cerridwen training, shares her insights about the need to face our shadow if we are to be effective priest-esses and how she handles this in the training.


Why explore the dark corners?

I worked as a teacher in schools and colleges for many years, and lately as a CPD trainer for teachers. I know about the pressure they are facing each day, teaching our young people. Some may think working now as a teacher for grown ups would be easier, but adults have grown up problems which come to the surface when we go into the self development work we do on the Priestess courses. You see, without diving deep into that cauldron, without facing that dark mirror, without knowing yourself completely, I feel it is near impossible to do the work we do as Priestesses. As it says above the Delphi temple: “Know Thyself”. 

Without learning about the conditioning we received from our parents, grandparents, schools and society at large, we can’t recognize some of the poor choices we have made in our life, which spring from the behaviour patterns we have learnt and which are perpetuated over and over. Knowing what makes us tick, why we react to specific things in a certain way, solving the puzzle of our likes and dislikes, being completely honest with ourselves about our failures and faults, exploring all the dark corners of our personality, that takes true courage. Look at it this way… we are the undiscovered land of secrets and mystery we yearn to explore.

We can run and try to hide, but our shadow side will always find us – or – we can turn around, face what is within us, make peace with it and embrace it as a wholly integral part of us. When we achieve that, not only do we release the energy we have used for so long to hide who we truly are from ourselves and others, but we also find what the Intuitive Healer Caroline Myss calls the Golden Shadow, the one that can give us strength and courage. It is an interesting dichotomy that Shadow saps our energy when it is denied but gifts us energy when recognized and acknowledged. Priestess Training allows you to discover all this in a safe container, held and protected.

Tuning in and helping students navigate their shadow and trauma

During my university training we were also prepared to be visible in the community in which we taught and how to safeguard our personal lives. One particular lecturer would talk about personal responsibility, inappropriate oversharing of personal issues, about the dangers of social media overexposure, about the emphasis on personal integrity, behaviour, even dress code. At the time, I considered it all a bit stuffy and tedious; today, I am grateful for the sage advice and guidance as I work here in the Glastonbury community as a Priestess, because those lessons have stood me in good stead. 

We often have to put aside personal heartbreak, illness, worries and fears to be fully present for our students. Whether we feel physically and emotionally fit or not, we are present – Saturday morning 10 am we are ready to serve those who have arrived to learn the Art of being a Priestess. We leave our ‘stuff’ behind because we need to be balanced and grounded for them. In time, the students will have to follow our example when they step into the role as Priest-ess.

Part of the art is to feel into every student, to gauge their responses to the information, materials and tasks presented, to make sure all are participating; that they all understand and retain the knowledge taught, keep focused; as do we when listening actively to their stories they share in group, sensing any dis-ease, dis-comfort that may distract them from the session. 

Sometimes they reveal hidden traumas, albeit unconsciously, something good teachers use to assess their ability to approach topics without causing adverse reactions in the student. Instead we help them to face their fears, doubts, feelings of unworthiness; the list of issues can potentially be endless in the damaged and damaging society we live in. Many, if not most sensitive people today suffer from clinical depression during some stages of their life, often without being aware of it. 

As a teacher, I need to know how and when issues present themselves. Do I then persist, provoke in order to affect catharsis and healing? Is it appropriate at this time? Is it safe for me to do so? I have the care of my students, and hence must be mindful that when Sunday evening comes, I don’t send them home in disarray and distress. Intuition and Insight are vitally important tools when these situations arise. In order to do this work I continuously add to my tool kit, learning new skills or updating existing ones.

Starting a course at Samhain, in the dark time of the year, is a particular challenge. Many people reflect on their life, bringing to the fore memories of the past. They remember loved and lost ones, relive the trauma of losing them, the grief and suffering. Or they may recall those who were not beloveds but who hurt and harmed, and they remember the trauma of that, feel it once again keenly. Stepping forward into a training with all that ballast can be difficult. This is why we enter the realm of the recent ancestors at this time and begin to heal the past.

Stepping Forward as Priest-esses

As a temple teacher I see myself first and foremost as a Priestess whose sacred duty lies in bringing forward new generations of Priestesses and Priests to serve Goddess and Her/their community. I hold space for my students to release all ‘that no longer serves’ them. Only then can they go onwards towards learning all the necessary skills to be an effective and efficient Priest-ess. Dedication and Initiation into a new stage of life necessitates absolute faith in oneself and in Goddess, surrender and allow yourself to be reborn into the form of a healthier, stronger and more resilient Priest-ess Self, which will be the vehicle that grows into a power for good in the world. We all have been tasked to bring Goddess back into the awareness of everyone we interact with and into the Collective Consciousness. It is a sacred and joyous work.

As the Circle of Cerridwen we step out into the world together, a pioneering priestessing constellation with strong bonds, emerging from the Goddess Temple family, ready to face what needs to be addressed within our sphere of influence, which is widening every day as more join us on this path. If you would like to know more about us and what we do, contact me on or visit our FaceBook page Awakening with the Goddess Cerridwen – Healing and Learning..


Bee Helygen

Adoratrix of Cerridwen

Priestess of the Llwyth

Samhain 2022


Bee Helygen - Priestess of Cerridwen


Bee is the creatrix and course tutor for the Priestess of Cerridwen training which has been running as part of the Glastonbury Goddess Temple since 2015. She also runs the Death Priestess training and is a celebrant and Avalon Soul Healer. Full bio

Image by Mary Bonas: Cerridwen Ceremony at the Glastonbury Goddess Temple dressed for Samhain

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