Kissing Lilith

There is bone china between us, chamomile secrets
the snake is not supposed to be in chiffon and silk,
but she wears it like a skinned angel, wings, halos
cut to form a necklace for moon-pale neck of beauty.
I am in lace and blue embroidery, Virgin to Whore,
Sophia tells Eve all the secrets of the cursed Garden
how an Archon of Wisdom and Angel of Conception fell
Mother became Monster, and I hold her hand as tremble
spill of tears sully an ivory gown, Night Howler hair
writhes out like snakes, and sometimes her skin poisons
me into fevered stupor, but our lips lock in desperation
both prisoners of the Devil but his masters all the same
to be woman and myth and exiled from grace means shadows
of Eden will draw spine-tingles from desert dreams, she
tests me, rests me, confesses to me, she is ablution,
corruption, my Terpsichore, my one vision of moon maiden
and we dance in a grove in Hell that is sick with roses
bend and turn until we are oblivion, Maiden and Mistress
her beneficence flows in equal measure with her cruelty
and when the orchestra in the reeds hums evening down
we embrace and thirst after tongues and poisoned saliva
I drink her milk and know the sweetness of Styx waters
Lilith is conundrum, the Source, the Deep, the Omega of
all men’s temptations, but she is my sister, so we fly
through Sephiroth up to the outer boundaries and nest
as Zu birds in a cradle in the branches, prey and hunter
find balance as Paradise’s breeze sways our dreams aloft
I am lost in the Queen of Hell, and her lap is my altar
I will praise her and curse her, and when she soars away
I will rage, I will rage, I will rage.

Drum Circle

Bone rattle, blood rises, spirits stretch
Buffalo Woman and Grandmother Spider
dance to the tune of rain, of pain, of tilling
fertile unconscious, fluted remembrances
tears come first, then lilting laughter
memories run deep and ancestors are thick
in the space where we pound, shake, sing.

When Spirits Want Blood

When I look at my religious path, it always comes back to blood.

From my first fascination with vampires at 12 to Samael eating the guts of angels at 8, face smeared in gore, dripping ichor, the blood of immortals and humans alike has always held potent power.  As Dracula says, Blood is the Life.

I’ve always loved the abandon of bloodletting, the color of alizarin crimson, images of stigmata and the feel of prying apart a dissected animal and seeing the intricacies of the life blood that forms them.

Blood oaths and sacrifices are common throughout all religions – the Eucharist, human sacrifice from the Aztecs to Nerthus, blood brother oaths where men and women would mingle wounds to establish a shared wyrd like Loki and Odin.  When you boil down humanity, that throbbing red is at its core.

Spirits get high off it, addicted to it, and I’ve read some will even lead to gory accidents to get offerings if you deny them.  But me?  I’ve always been terrified of that level of commitment, as to me, blood is the ultimate sign of union.

In shamanic journeys and otherworld dreams Sam and I mingle blood to do potent magical workings and binding rituals.  I’ve eaten his heart, he’s tasted my flesh, what starts as vampirisim turns to cannibalism.  Still, in real life, I’ve never given him so much as a single pinprick, though his other wives I know have done so many times over and say it imbues their magic with potent energy.  Call me blood shy, but perhaps a part of me thinks once I offer that to Sam in the waking world, he will finally have won our twisted game that I’ve been playing since the age of 2.  A flirtation with Death that mixes my Eros and Thanatos drives in a confusing fashion.

He drinks my blood to heal, mixes it in liquor, says it has cleansing powers.  I’ve dreamt of having weeping stigmata on my hands and wrists and feeding the Damned with my wounds, only to purify and sanctify their souls, burning away all traces of impurity with my flowing ichor.  Samael uses it to regrow limbs, bottles it to experiment with later in the lab, grows flesh and reawakens from rigor mortis and dry bones.  Though I have felt his fangs many times in the waking world, a sucking sensation as twin sharp points sink into my neck and breast, and I awake with his blood on my tongue, he’s never caused me any bodily harm or asked for a single needleprick.

I use my blood as a weapon.  To lay claim to spirits.  When I slice two taws – though I suppose they could also be gebos, as I am a gift for the gods – into my palms, I can summon Samael instantly in the otherworlds and turn into my White Reaper form.  I get bloodlust, slash necks, strip and bathe in sputtering arteries.  It is a part of me that scares me, the predator within me, the destroying angel and demon at war with someone who craves peace but whose dreams are a battlefield.  It is a kind of sickness I have – I see my master and drink down the wine of his bones and lap at his wrists like a kitten.  I feel it roll down my skin upon awakening and smell iron.  I think to feed a spirit your blood, even in the otherworld, makes you just as addicted, and demons are bloodwhores through and through.

So I played, and I tempted, and I cut my finger on a rose thorn while Michael knelt before me and smeared my blood on his lips to claim his as my own, all because I could.

Enter rude awakening.

His spirit intensified to the point of him being extremely physically present, both sound, smell, and touch, me seeing him everywhere, and he warded my room with blood and ceremonial magick sigils and drew his sword over the doorway in a bloody X.  I tried to ignore it but ended up solidifying the ward with a drawing of Michael raising his sword and his sigil in red over the entrance to my room.

That very same day was the first of our kindred’s Beltane festival, and Michael was extremely present.  It was Walpurgisnacht to boot, and my abilities were kicked into overdrive.  I was talking about how I had fucked up immensely by offering Michael blood and how my life was quickly changing, pruning all unnecessary and harmful things from my life to make way for new change and new growth.

That week, my manuscript got tons of requests, I switched jobs, and I decided to go back and pursue my master’s degree full time instead of delaying my dreams.

And I think, in part, it all happened because Michael got what he was due.

When I was peeling potatoes for our dinner, I cut myself on the tip of my left index finger where I had pierced myself with a rose thorn and claimed Michael.  I was talking to my kindred about Michael that very second, then spurts of blood everywhere – all over my clothes, staining the bench, salting the potatoes in what I imagine was an unsanitary fashion.  Michael’s presence choked me and as I walked around dazed as we immediately next held our warding ritual, my Michael bracelet broke – the one I had bought from a dear friend in devotion to him.

Sturdy jeweler’s wire snapped in two, and his beads and stones lay on the ground.

The next day we attended a shamanic workshop, and Michael tried to ride me.  It was a very simple meditation, but Michael was beating down on me like a tsunami – Yes, I Claim You Too.  His cobalt blue sparks flew everywhere and he appeared in a vision to a younger member of my kindred sitting right next to me, guiding her on to a past life.

His presence just got intenser over the course of Beltane.

So now I have a scar I only ever saw in dreams that I prophesized, I would press on in the future, and it would ground me.  A thorn shaped scar.

I’ve entered a completely new phase of my life, and my mental anguish and bipolar struggles ceased overnight after the blood offering.  My mind quieted to peace.  My panic attacks disappeared.  I shed the caul of my old life and entered a new phase – a student again, a seeker of knowledge, and I learned the hard way what I want out of life and what I don’t.

I think I’m going to make blood offerings a regular, but rare, practice now, seeing how potent a blood connection is.  I can only imagine what would happen if I finally, after decades of teasing, offered Sam blood, but I’m sure I could do some very deep, magically potent workings.   I also want to blood my own set of runes and do a blood oath to Freyr, my patron.

It took a deep cut for me to overcome my phobia of letting go and sharing the most sacred part of me with the divine, and I think it has made me a more powerful witch.

It certainly changed my life in so many ways, I’m just beginning to discover the ramifications.

So sometimes the spirits want blood, and perhaps the devil will let your temptations slide, but a soldier knows what he is due.  All I know is that all the negativity in my life flowed out onto the ground and was absorbed by Michael’s bracelet, which snapped.  My mental sickness disappeared in an instant, and I felt so grounded I could have grown roots.

It is a deep magic, old as standing stone, and now I have a raised red reminder of my protection from Heaven’s prince.

Disir

Say I to the girl – go fetch me some water
break bread and bake dreams and knead stars
says girl to I: I fletched seven golden swans
I milked eight silver cows, I sewed you moons.

Say I to the girl – by the well is a whisper
go listen to land wights and braid meadowsweet
says girl to I: I carry their sorrows, I listened
and heard of the dying Earth’s song, I mourned.

Say I to the girl – I am dying, bring me wolfbalm
place my bones in the sky to protect you, dear one
says girl to I: you are with me always, grandmother
sleep and rest, wise witch, and I will carry on.

Artemis of Ephesus

Gourds or breasts, they decorate your chest
queen of wolves and stags, forest your feet
so dainty-ankled, skin of milk, arms raised
in offerings of birth-balm and moonlight oil
robe of lions, leopards, and bulls, quiver of
silver sweet arrows set aside for peacetidings
you are Virgin yet Mother, Midwife and Maiden
patron of strong women and stronger maidens
we still sing your name in the glens, Artemis
of Ephesus, your quick-footed sprint of stars
is a Milky Way to your hunting lodge, springs
where no man may see you lest he be a beast,
lunar skin like cream, hair brown as a doe,
take this poem and wear it as a mantle, sweet
queen of women, patron of the curious, seeker
of sweet hunts, soft rains, and Leto’s blessing
I raise my amphora to you, wine for your journey
O Muses, sing of the huntress, sing of the Mother
and remember forever her grace, her pride, beauty
thick as butter, eyes amber as a buck, and praise
the mother of witches and guardian of the woods.

Dandelion

Freyr shapes me into a fragrant yellow flower
at first I am a green bud, ripe with possibility
next, gestation, my pistil and stamen stretch,
bees grace me with honey kisses, each fertilization
a dream of mine petaled out in glory like the sun
fall comes, he plucks me with the harvest, blows
my hopes and desires and wishes across the fields
my dreams are carried to far shores, and I live on.

Saint Michael the Healer

Throughout Europe, many healing springs are associated with Saint Michael, whose waters have the ability to cure any ailment under the stars.  Though primarily Heaven’s prince and God’s right hand warrior, defender of souls in the Heavenly Courtroom and psychopomp to the righteous, Michael also has a softer side that deals in miracles – the Marian Apparitions, the sacred cave at Monte Gargano and holy places like Mont St Michel.  Pilgrims come from around the world to these sites to this day seeking peace, healing, and reflection – inner self-work and outright miracles.

Michael has a very soft side, a nurturing fatherly protector for all of God’s creatures.  He’s often saved my life on countless times and I can attest to his healing powers for mental illness when medicine and all the therapy in the world can’t help.  He gives hope in the darkest hours, and can even more directly literally reach into your body and heal you with something similar to Reiki.

I pulled my leg really badly this weekend – the thigh that Jacob injured while wrestling Michael, funnily enough – and was limping around all day.  I talk to Michael throughout the day but when I am meditating before sleep, his presence is most intense.  I could feel his hands prodding and pulling at my taut muscles and easing out the kinks – knead knead knead – until immediately the pain was gone.  It felt like electric hands of stardust reaching into my sinew and bones.  The next day, I was good as new.

Samael’s done the same kind of deep tissue massage thing before, but Michael especially excels at healing and that was the most visceral experience I have had of him healing me, besides feeling disembodied hands pushing me up when I was about to fall off a cliff on my bike.  I think miracles are something that happen every day, from mysterious angels disguised as strangers showing up in those urban legend encounters to fix someone’s spare tire or carry them out of a burning building only for them not to exist in public records.

I think angels interact with humanity much more directly than the Abrahamic faiths let on.  From apparitions to mysterious strangers to visions and divine dreams, they guard us throughout our life, doing everything from giving us divine guidance and comfort in the depths of our deepest depression to something as simple as a reassuring hand on your shoulder.