Where It All Went Wrong

Michael often wonders where the house of cards fell under a butterfly wing flap, what joint of the celestial body was the weak link.  Was it Lucifer’s desire to suck the marrow out of the bones of the abyss?  Was it Asmodeus’ lust for the daughters of men?  Was it Beelzebub’s martial ambitions to rival Michael’s own?  Once, he would say, these brothers of his were as close as the pulse of his heart.  But Lucifer became Samael, and fire turned to ash, and he is left with a third of his sisters and brothers damned for all time on blood money, as the song goes, only they were the prototypes of Judas, selling the ineffable name of God out to the humans in the form of a shiny poison apple.

Evil roots.  Evil is a lindworm gnawing at the tap root of the Sephiroth.  And then there is death of Da’ath, and then there is the Qliphoth, and then there is the madness of the prophets bridging the Tree of Life and Tree of Death.  So evil roots into the hearts of man, Samael’s seed blossoming in witchfire, and the questions of what Hayah Havah means is echoed in the barracks of a million mortal armies.  Why do we bleed out for dictators and crackpots, dying on the streets of gang warfare and drug wars and turf wars and falling like flies to school shooters?  Lucifer turned the entirety of the universe into a battlefield, and not even the babes are safe from the evil that he planted, that dry grape vine of the vintage most vengeful.  Sometimes, the plants of filth and zuhama climb up the Sephiroth and root in Michael’s rose garden in Machon.  He takes his flaming sword and swiftly cuts down the defiant black blooms.  Rotting alive, thirsting after Heaven even after the rebellion.  Samael likes to remind Michael that he is watching.  All he really would have to do would be to call, send a messenger, but Samael likes to be flagrant in disregard for protocol, sauntering to the Gates of Heaven, which he cannot enter (or can he?) and throw paper planes with profanities over Saint Peter, enchanted to reach Michael as he is trying to relax.  Sam was always annoying like that.

Where did they go wrong?  Their bridge failed miserably.  She died in the first war, of cherubim swiftest wing, Herald of Hell, Watchman of God, Heaven’s original covert mission and spy with sympathies towards Hell.  Jophiel to Michael, or Zophael as she preferred to call herself, was always flighty, and without Samael to keep her in check, she grew wild, mad with grief, for to lose the one who gave her wings (Michael gave her her breath and heart, well, her first one at least.  Samael would claim even that in time) made Jophiel erratic.  She saved Michael’s life, yes, but at what cost?  Dissension between the twins.  A bridge burned.  She was created out of beauty, yes, but she brought pain to the garden, and she was the first of martyrs, Lucifer be damned.

Now the bridge is broken, and Taninver rides the Shekinah, and this world is not right.  This world is broken and cruel, and she is gone, out of reach, so in love with the idea of martyrdom she has made herself a sacrificial soul.  Michael has offered her Assumption twice now but she chose Samael, she always chooses him, over salvation, for she says, if her brothers and sisters who art in Hell, who Zo grew to close to when faking allegiance to the Prince of Darkness, only to blaze onto the battlefield in the glory of betrayal as Michael’s standard bearer, this guilt Zo feels at double-timing, at being an angel in hell, at leaving that third behind to rot, it makes her mad and bad and dangerous to know.  She thinks the mem can be cleansed, when really, nothing can separate wheat from chaff but the fiery lake, and that is where he belongs, at least, Michael thinks.  Otherwise he would not have asked her to abandon Earth on Easter and Good Friday for Heaven and endless Paradise.  Your penance is done, this self-imposed exile of the Watchtower Girl, he was trying to say, but it came out  in parables and scraps of starlight, and Michael grows weary of trying to save her, of trying to convince her Samael is not worth saving, so instead he just makes love to her and heals her wounds the best he can, the wounds his brother inflicts, that first spear through the heart and that last rape of the soul, all but for knowledge, all but for Samael to declare his own Hayah Havah, on Chavah no less, when he is but Yah the snake.  Snakes are slippery things, egotistical at that, but Zo is a dragon and general mother of Heaven’s battlefield, and she has not forgotten her loyalties.

Her very core belongs to Michael, and for Samael to give her his heart, means his damned brother is also under God’s love and sway.  The cardiophore chooses who is redeemed in the end, anyway, if Sa’el is left standing or if the pale rider turns into oblivion.

All hell would follow after him, were she to figure out this puzzle.

Michael does not have faith he deserves redemption.

Michael does not think she can.

Michael is weary, and Michael

no longer

believes.

 

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Soul Gambling

And in the safe harbor of dreams, I am in oaken chapel
limelight, blue green gold of powdered glass, head in
your freezing lap, and I worship you body and bone with
my hair for strangling and mouth for sucking, drinking
down the well of sin in this cleansing of zuhama from
your wounds – I taste your blood, I break your bread,
I am ever your whore, sweet Satan, and it is winter’s
marrow outside this solace, and as you take me with the
touch of a starry wedding gown, lifting me high above
the birch triptych and candelabra, I think, so this is
what it is to eat God, so this is what it is to bear
the seed of witches cloaked in moonlight, oh daughter
dearest, you were conceived in sin, yet sin is what will
save you, and the ministrations of the Prince of Darkness
are just smuggler fingers coaxing piano keys in minor chords.
We sigh, we circumvent, we do not mean what we say, blushing
coy, but on the Devil’s ride, there is no exit, so hold on
tightly to his burning crown – you have only your soul to
lose.

Stella Maris

We are on the sea of dreams, Joseph and the Virgin Mary
cradling sweet, golden babe of Christ in their arms as I
sail across poetry and torn up scraps of sunlight, sailors
rock and fall into the depths of Da’ath, swimming buoyant
as we make the journey to Paradise. Jesus coos and suckles,
there is the Stella Maris to guide us at the prow, her proud,
tan brow and long curling locks so beautiful, this Mary that
Gabriel so loves, this mastery of the feminine form and lucky
mother of God, so divine in her own right, for to bear the
Savior in one’s womb, one must be holy indeed. Joseph wraps
his cloak of promise around Mary’s yawning shoulders as we
row the boat ashore, stranded in sand, and I am Eve crying
in the forest about being the Devil’s first love but never
his last, and being abandoned hurts, but Mary comforts me,
and wraps her midnight blue cloak of wool around me and says
Girl, be strong. We were meant to walk alone with the children
they leave us, be they Cain sired by an absent father or my own
starlit Son. I wonder why he left, I say, tears in my eyes like
blood rubies. I am Eve in Eden returned, and we walk to the
Church where angels once sang hymns to a sacred grove in a cemetery,
where the best of angels and saints find peace, and there is a
fountain of blessings that the Holy Dove roosts at, and Mary is
gentle on the path of emerald leaves and lemon trees and gardenia.
She gives me the infant Christ to hold like a jewel in my arms,
and I think of Cain and Abel and Seth, and all those lost years
in the wastes so close to Nod, of a son who left and never returned,
and first love now bitter, and weeping religiously, I wash the
body of Infant Christ, and he mewls and curls into my arms,
so infinitely small for a God, and I laugh through my tears,
and I think, I have found a family in the wilderness, past
the ocean of imagination, for was not Christ born in a manger,
and was I not sculpted into being by two angels now at war?
My new parents are Mary and Joseph, my new little brother is
the Christ, I will guard this sweet babe with my life, King of
Kings, as I fold his small form into the folds of my white gown.
Even when I am crying over him, that dark, tall, dangerous man,
I can find redemption in quiet moments with his trampler, for
with the best of snakes, crush it’s head, and I will never know
why I weep, so constantly, so tired, Mother of Life curves and
drowning in the lowest circle, I chose Hell for you, don’t you
know? The only reason I walk the halls of Pandemonium is because
I think I can save you. But when Christ comes to me full grown,
you spit acid at his feet as he walks on the water of your blood.
Snakes are elusive things, caduceus medicine, the Brazen Serpent.
Though I love the feel of black curling muscle around my breast,
an arbor of scales to protect from the cold, sometimes in the
morning, I curse this world for having birthed me only half human,
half some facsimile of sunlight that has lost its molten gold
and is now just a bubble of champagne, so close to bursting.

Jesus, oh Jesus, don’t you know your elder brother is cruel,
the first favored son of God, the first Morning Star? Is that
why you say our Legions are to be cast out and Samael thrown
into the fiery pits? What will become of me, oh my Lord? I
have done penance for my sins since time immemorial, and you
love me, oh Christos, but I love him, and that is why I weep.

Because a broken angel is a lonely child at heart, and I cannot
fix him unless his cracks are willing to be rubbed raw to let
the light in.

Rooming with Greek Gods

I had the most entertaining dreamwalk last night!  I was hanging out with the Greek Gods in New York City, Apollo and Artemis and Zeus and Hera and Athena and Hermes and Persephone, and we went to get Italian food and then bought a brickstone flat that took up a whole floor in an old warehouse style apartment building and for some reason, we became roommates!  The view of the Hudson was beautiful and we were in the heart of Manhattan.  Zeus would throw thunderbolts out the window at pigeons for fun and Artemis painted landscapes of the Hudson while Athena knitted.  The Greek Gods believed in going au naturale (hence, no clothes) and told me they wore very little in Olympus, so a lot of them were naked, especially Zeus, who teased me about my reluctance to bare my birthday suit.  I instead just took off my hoodie, joking that that was the extent of me being like a Greek statue.  We went to a library with Athena and Michael, who is bros with Apollo, chose a rather lurid retelling of Greek myths filled with blood and chariots to read to me. We cuddled on the floor of the flat as Athena was weaving and Zeus and Dionysus and the rest were drinking and watching the rain, and Michael read the picture book, like D’aulaires meets C.S. Lewis on acid, with living illustrations, aloud as we cuddled.  Eventually, later on, when the sun set, we partied our pants off, and I eventually ended up naked and drunk as fuck off Dionysus’ wine.  Apollo was hitting on me pretty hard and I called him a playboy that girls would rather turn into trees than be with him, and he took the teasing well and said I would be a very good looking willow.  We passed out all drunk and having eaten cheese and grapes and then I woke up and Michael was hanging around my  bed and cuddling with me in real time.   He was so cute in a toga.  Also A+ for reading me bloody pulp Greek mythology books.  A fun night all around.

Lapis Exillis

In a chariot of lapis lazuli, I fly with my demons through
night waters into an abyss filled with will o wisp stars, a
black suicide steed drawing dusk across slumbering Messsiahs,
in tangles of angel hair like wheat strewn with apples, the
Chosen sheep sleep, but I was always a goat, inquisitive and
climbing, and though they see me as a lamb, and my lions lick
me clean like a little cub out exploring the savannah, to rest
with me shepherd means I must dance with the devil, play poker
in seedy bars in Hell, where our chariot rest out front and the
nightmare horses drink from troughs of blood, I fall every night,
from the stars, into love, and my lovers are horned and hated,
and my lovers are winged and burning, and the waters of perdition
are deep and black like soil, choking like being buried alive, and
there are canyons of ink across my skin etched with memories of
a time when I was free and innocent, now I have a cross of yew,
and the berries are toxic, and the thorns at my brown on gold hair
draw bloody tithes out, I the sacrificial soul, for every seven years
Satan demands the fey send down a towheaded curious Eve, and I wander
through streetlights stained red, through junkies and clubbers of the
predatory kind, immigrants from every mythical realm, and the spangled
scars of poverty and hunger are inscribed on lion and seal eyes, breath
of vodka at my lips, I meet his mouth and drink down poison, we join
in a shadowed garden of roses high above the hustle and bustle, I could
never be more than I was born to keep, and that is a heart, and I guard
yours well.

Heaven a Hell of Its Own

It is Paradise for the Chosen Few, with verdant
terraces of wildwoods that stretch on forever,
board games to staunch the boredom of Heaven,
how many times can you play Risk and Parcheesi
until Lilith runs out of the stable lusting
after freedom, for the punishment of Belial,
Lucifuge Rofocale, Asmodeus, Beelzebub, and
Samael are to be guardians over the good, to
pretend to be better angels and chaperone the
contentment and lazy summer days of New
Jerusalem, bottle all your ids down, tamper
the urges of lust and cannibalism and fucking
good and hard in a shattered medical ward.
For in truth, the Saved and Chosen by Christ
have been put here to torment the archdemons:
provide on hands and feet kneeling every whim
for those Saint Peter admitted with gold-drip
arms to the Seventh Heaven, near the seat of
God, where Metatron scribes the Sefer Ha Chaim.
I am one of those that taste salvation, and in
this bucolic, idyllic countryside palace where
the archdemons would rather drink themselves to
death than spend another minute playing Parcheesi
with better than thou, long-suffering disciples,
turn the other cheek crew that is so much more
enlightened than the demons of vices, who despise
virtue, which is what the Blessed are, I run wild
through the woods that are ever-changing, with
diamond fruit and jewel leaves, fly stupendous
in the clouds with the archangels while my demons
are confined to babysitting the faithful, they
are slowly going mad playing Monopoly in the Good
Place, where everything to them is boring and
nothing bad ever happens, all is sunshine and
ice cream stops on a choo choo train and rainbows
after beautiful storms that grow the verdant flowers
of Heaven. For Heaven is torture for my demons,
they are growing mad, counting ceiling tiles,
peeling away at the 80’s carpet in the guest
room, passed out monotonously catatonic as the
peacefulness and perfection tease and tempt them
to defile this perfect place. Samael talks to
Asmodeus in hushed tones: if I have to play
another round of Life I will gut these holy
neerdowells, Belial moans and wishes for his
guitar, for rock music is too loud for the
blessed dead, Beelzebub spins a toy top over
and over again, steely look on his face, I
realize my demons have been put in what is
essentially time out in Heaven, and taking
pity on them, I utter the ineffable name of
God and break the curse laid upon them, give
them back their wings, the demons hightail it
out of mundane, beautiful Paradise and soon
we reach Hell, I along for the ride for shits
and giggles, happy to have freed the demons
of my inner menagerie to their sins and
supplications, Asmodeus, Beelzebub, Samael
and I enter a medical laboratory with shatter
glass and mercury and blood and dead rats,
it is a wrecked dungeon of mad experiments,
and they take me there on the stainless steel
counter top next to a chemistry set, every
orifice pounded raw as they draw lacerations
with fangs and claws, and I laugh in delight
at the wild unleashing of desire and bloodlust,
filling with the seed of the Satans, for in
Heaven, they were not allowed to lay hands
on women or men, and now all that pent up
rage is turgid inside me, the whips and knives
emerge, the wings lift me up off the medical
supplies and when they are spent, my consorts
cradle my bruised and battered and satiated
qadesh body in their boiling arms, and I make
my nest with the Damned archdemons, and I pity
any demon stuck in a Millenial hell of board
games, endless soft serve, perfect summer days,
vacation for the residents of Heaven, and
sheer torture of perfection for those of us
who require a bit of marrow in our coffee,
bite in our whiskey, and blood in our cups.

Sightseeing in Hell: Pandemonium

As Samael’s consort, I have certain duties in Hell, such as punishing the Damned, but alongside that comes rulership.  My favorite place in all the fourteen Heavens and Hells is what I call Pandemonium, my little slice of New York City meets Marrakesh in the Underworld.  Azael recently challenged me for my queenship over this section of Samael’s kingdom, and I found myself in a near-death duel with one of the Watchers who thought I was too green to rule.  I defeated her handily, and went on to enjoy a night of partying in Pandemonium with my people.

Pandemonium is the market district of Hell in the capital city of Dis and is a refuge for all different mythical races that have fled persecution of the Abrahamic faiths.  You can find everything from qilin to fey to djinn to unktehi to Melusines roaming the streets, selling wares from fine jewelry to exotic diamond and jewel fruits to fresh food, clothing that’s every style from Steampunk to Lolita, pleasures and vices for sale, from willing bodies to Cabaret to drugs made of the distilled essences of moonflowers and dreams.  The closest it comes is to a living carnival, full of its own customs, as Pandemonium is a melting pot of spirits.  I adore riding the Behemoths, these great black elephant-like creatures that carry travelers and caravans aboard their backs, and hearing the Behemoths trumpet with their trunks.  Only small vehicles are allowed, from caravans to horse-drawn carriages to motorcycles and steeds of every imaginable kind, and there is oftentimes dancing and masquerades going on, revelries of all sorts, from unholy mummer’s plays to traditions of each species’ homelands like Lunar New Year or Eid.

Pandemonium backs onto the Styx, where fresh fish come to the markets from the ruby waters, and tributaries are traveled by gondola and rowboat alike.  It borders Asmodeus’ bars, jazz and swing clubs, and gambling district and also Lilith’s go go bars, strip clubs, and red light district, the lively circus of Pandemonium’s bodies and festivals and wares spilling into any open space available like a living organ.  Buildings are temporary: yurts, tents, cloths, an open air market that is popular for shopping and romantic getaways with unimaginable tastes for the palate.  Exit Samael’s fortress of a castle and the market starts, with paths winding and erected by a madman, lit by will o the wisps, fairies, and dragon fire.  Danse macabre is a popular past-time as it is in Samael’s kingdom, and you’ll see the dead roaming the streets alongside the living.  Ghosts and ghouls and spirits come alive at night in the shadows of the stalls.

At night, Samael holds balls and all of Pandemonium is invited to the castle, to the Devil’s Masque, which can best be described as a Viennese ball mixed with a blood orgy.  Elaborate costumes, debauchery, fine wine and finer still blood mingling between lovers and enemies, the fruits of our labors and vintage of our wrath.  His subjects wear enchanted masks to disguise their identities if they so choose and hedonism reigns.  But my favorite holiday is the Festival of Lights, which happens on All Soul’s Day – the Damned and dead souls in Hell, all ancestors that dwell their for various reasons, are allowed to return to Earth as the archdemons open a gateway to the realm of the living and visit their descendants.  Basically the Hell version of Dia de los Muertos.  The Styx is lit with paper lanterns and souls returning to Earth are a Jacob’s ladder in the sky.  There are fireworks, fresh roses strewn across the streets, and danse macabre throughout the markets.

I own a little bit of woodland, what I call the Screaming Hollow, more of a park at the border of the markets that backs up into Samael’s elaborate system of courtyards.  This is the Lover’s Lane of Hell.  Samael’s garden is famed for his blood-red roses and viticulture, with red wine made on site and trellises hung with wisteria and grapes, briars growing in forests around them.  Here are the more dangerous spirits, the wild Seirim, the flying Lilin, the howling Shedim, and everything can be found in the Screaming Hollow for the right price – it may just cost you your soul.  A river runs through it from a deep tap root at the Tree of Life and the waters are a pure crystal blue with raw garnet stones in the basin.  Lovers wild off each other’s lips often come to the screaming hollow at midnight, when the witch moon sails through the sky.  This is where the Witches Sabbats are held, at the heart of the woods in a crippled apple grove on a high, desolate hill – a piece of Eden plucked from Heaven and rotting.  The witches in Hell I am a part of practice Satanic Witchcraft, if that wasn’t obvious enough, but there’s goes a step behind what the living could ever produce.  Think Malleus Maleficarum but high on nightshade wine.  Familiars are often lower-level demons, sent throughout the mythical realms to do their bidding, there is the osculum infame and blood sacrifices and cannibalism, and Samael presides over it all on a throne of bone as the Witchfather.

There are quieter parts of Pandemonium, like the residential areas, mostly stone and clay houses with thatch and patch roofs that are humble where the immigrants live.  Those are diverse as anything, with Japanese style dwellings to adobe.  Fronting the houses are often merchant tents, and the night carnival shifts each night, the heart of Hell where business off the ledgers is conducted.  Throughout it is enchanting music, buskers and street bands and sylphs and dakinis and enchantresses and sorcerers singing and fluting their songs.

Everything is for sale in Pandemonium, everything can be bought for a cost, but the best parts, in my opinions, are free.