Lilith’s Dark Mirror

art-3084798_1920On the Eve of January’s Dark Moon, after many months of working at it, Lilith pressed through a thin spot in the scaly skin of my self-delusion. Until the middle of last month, I’d been able to keep her soul-shredding wisdom just outside of my awareness by drowning out her Call to Power with something that I pretended was feminism. Spoiler alert: I was unwittingly living a feminism that wasn’t really feminist, at least not all the way down to its bones.  If I wrapped myself in that thin feminism, then my consciousness never required me to accept her Call.
In thin land, Lilith was enshrined as the feminine power unleashed on crappy man and a champion of righteously angry woman. Huddled within my thin feminist shroud, she was dangerous for men and others who drank the patriarchy Kool-Aid, but safe for me. Lilith was the powerful divine first woman who dared stand against the patriarchy. Of course all of the above is a part of her, but I discovered the night before the Dark Moon in January that my understanding was shallow and woefully incomplete. She had more to show me.
Last month, Lilith pierced through the comfortable self-deception I’d been engaged in for years. I’d glimpsed the issue ages ago but decided that I didn’t like what I saw and so I chose to see something else. The night that Lilith cut her way through my complete bullshit, she did so because she’d decided I’d lingered in that shiny spirit trap of my own creation for far too long.
That night, Lilith broke through into my dim bedroom, just barely illuminated by the last precious sliver of moonlight bouncing off of a fresh layer of snow. Her breasts were unexpectedly covered (in red silk artfully tied). The material fell at her left side and did nothing at all to cover the rest of her. She was completely exposed from the waist down. Diabolical glee shined in her dark red eyes. Her black hair and paper white skin sparkled with the last traces of moonlight falling through my blinds as she began to laugh in my face. She laughed at me deep from her belly like I was the dumbest and smallest creature she’d ever deigned to step on. Vampiric-serpentine teeth glistened in her mouth as the grin accompanying her delight widened.
I was not prepared. Just after I took in her appearance, she rushed at me! This was not new behavior in our relationship. Still I wasn’t ready. All of this felt familiar but disturbingly new at the same time. As my senses filled with her, that was when I felt it – psychospiritual garbage that I’d been actively burying. It rushed to the surface of my awareness. Suddenly I could barely stand. I grabbed my chest and my knees buckled.
She only spoke a few sentences but she seemed to speak forever. She told the dark and damning truth as I struggled to breathe. I shot back a reply at one point but it simply wasn’t true, no matter how much I wished it was. All I could think in that moment was that Lilith had emerged from her cave in the desert to kill me, and laugh while doing it. But really, I wasn’t dead per se; I was just miserable on the other side of a painful truth about myself that I really fucking needed to confront. No games, no camouflage, no thin feminist smoke screen. 
Lilith’s shining features drowned in soon-to-be dark moon light were black glass, a shadow mirror. She told the whole truth and nothing but the truth because that’s how she rolls and I accepted it, crumpled on my bedroom floor. In that moment, her skin darkened, her eyes cooled and we were sisters. Her power as a patron of feminists (among so many other things) extends way beyond scolding, scorn, and vengeance. She can do more than that. She can peel away the lies, deception, and fluff to reveal our true power and give us a hand up as we take a high step into that power. Our power is not monolithic. It is as diverse, potent, and deep as we are.
After I leaned into this uncomfortable encounter and accepted the truth she wielded, she said in a clear voice: “That which you cannot face, you can’t overcome. Now that you’ve faced the truth, who will you become?”
Then she slipped back into the deepening night.

A Welcome Energy Shift

waters-3060979_1920Late December through the New Year, I’ve felt “plugged in”. A great deal of fresh energy is moving through my life, and it feels GREAT. Even when I’m a little down, I feel up. Leaving 2017 behind and ringing in the promise of new opportunities, new creative expressions, new devotions, and new joys that come with 2018 has been intoxicating. This lightness of being and the spark of energy to pursue it has manifested in a lot of cleaning, organizing, and preparing around my home and at my shrines.

I’m clearing away clutter that has been with me for at least half of a decade. Specifically, I’ve pulled everything out of my closets and tetrised (yes, I used Tetris as a verb) back in only those things that serve me. I’ve gathered four boxes of books to sell at the local used bookstore. I’ve re-established my altars and shrines after far too long. Shrines and altars are gateways and homes for the gods and spirits. A quarter of mine were still in boxes from when I last moved. Those altars and shrines remained in my heart, but having a physically place at which I can adore the gods and spirits who have blessed me and continue to walk with me is invigorating. Of course I don’t have enough physical room in my home for everyone because I have very limited real estate; however, I’ve managed provide modest space for nearly everyone and I’m still working to gain ground where I can!

This new year feels different than the five or six before it. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a nut. I don’t expect this year to be all rainbows and sunshine, I honor and work with/for too many titanic and chthonic Holy Powers to suffer that delusion. However, it does feel like the energy flow in my life has shifted. The rip current doesn’t seem to be dragging me as far and trying to drown me.

I can swim freely again and the waters are rising to meet me, not overtake me. This period in my life looks promising and I am hopeful. Long may it be so.

A Yuletide Encounter with Odin…at Target

On Friday night, the 22nd of December, moments after considering to whom I might dedicate a libation donation for the Strong Roots Wide Branches Temple for PantheaCon 2018, E a retired liberal Christian white woman, made eye contact with me in the produce section of a local Target store. My mom and I were shopping for sweet potatoes and a few other items.

solstice-1436685_1920E arrested my attention and then started a conversation with me and mom by sharing her rage and fury about the current state of the world. I listened, though initially I desperately wanted to continue shopping and to get home as soon as possible. I was tired from the day’s demands. As E shared her rage and her shock about some people’s ignorance and corruption, I commented that the ignorance and corruption we see now in the form of flagrant and rampant isms in high places have always been present and operating, only now it’s more visible to more people than before. Please who need to wake up are waking up, and its disorienting for them. E smiled and with warm eyes dubbed me wise.

E later asked about my work and my education. I spoke vaguely but still somehow revealed more than I intended to with a total stranger. E told me about her work too. She shared her personal details between grimaces and sharp stabs at corrupt politicians. She seemed to almost whisper as she noted feeling crazy living in the world the way it is. My mom and I shared words of love and wisdom to instill hope and courage for change. She shared her plans to seek inner peace and to meditate this holiday.

E held me and my mom in a triangle talking politics, religion, family, and social justice for at least 30 minutes. Throughout our time together, E made frequent mention of my smarts and wisdom. Her passion and fury for the state of the world caught my attention and held it too. Lodged in the narrow pass between frozen meats and fresh milk, I had time to think and to feel her energy. Eventually I noticed E’s gold and silver tree of life pendant, her six large eyes (shades and glasses included), her gold (ear)rings, her intricately woven sweater with images arrows and a horse. With each passing minute, E felt like herself and…More.

Odin,_Sleipnir,_Geri,_Freki,_Huginn_and_Muninn_by_FrølichE felt like more than a human being. She felt like an vessel for a shard of Odin’s power, taken for a time to deliver a Yuletide message to a weary devotee passing through a Midwestern Target. I often hear Christians croon that God works in mysterious ways. Well, so does mine apparently. I needed his presence this year. I struggle with crashes in my mood, like most folks, but especially during the holiday season because I see what people imagine the world to be – love, peace, joy, good cheer – and I see how so much of our reality flies in the face of that. 2017 has been one of the worst years in my lifetime. E felt it too. People of color and queer people have been aware of the pain and madness of the world for a long time and we need white woman and others with certain types of privilege in the world to see that pain and madness too – and to fight!

Through E, Odin called me to rally, to share knowledge, wisdom, and insight, to speak up, to harness the fury and the madness for change. And he reminded me to be there for people and the celebrate and honor those who are there for me. The world is full of love, peace, joy, and good cheer, but it is also filled with those who want to steal it away. After we process our feelings about that attempted theft, we have to ethically act against it. E, carrying Odin, reminded me that I have to feel the rage and choose courage. Choose to push through the low moods and fight for what I value. Odin reminded me that I have shell-shocked allies that I can rally to righteous action. He reminded me that I too need to soak up the energy of the strengthening sun and rise toward victory. We are all huddled in the dark together waiting for the same sun rise. It’s our intentional alliances, our relentless political action and our heartfelt prayers that will sing in victory.

I’m pretty damned sure that I conversed with Odin – Wanderer, Seeker, Healer – in the guise of a (righteously) salty retired woman in a Midwestern Target at the headwaters of the Yuletide. In that conversation, I saw how far we’ve come and how far we’ve to go. The fire and fury is at work in me. May it rise and strengthen as the sun rises and strengthens.

Good Yule to you and yours.