I swear I stumbled into this accidentally, into some sultry corner of Hell where bloody eagles make roosts behind the bar. I spend most of my time down here drunk off my ass to pass off the careless hours as if they meant nothing to me, lounging on leather in chiffon and lace, tipsy turvy and smelling like honeysuckle and everyone here says I am champagne. The bubbly kind, you know, a perfect golden spherical of air in a fluted crystal glass. Doesn’t help that I have curves that strangle and breasts and hips like one of those Angkor Watt carvings. Doesn’t help that my appetite for men (and some women) is severely unhealthy and I stumble around in negligees acting famished, sweet teeth out with my golden hair a net. You know how it is in Hell, right? Heels on, tits out, gloves up to elbows and maybe a Columbina mask when you’re nearly buck naked. Save some dignity, I don’t know. I’m not really here, not really there, in the between space where I’m fully awake on Earth in a bed that is probably possessed and fully awake in the Underworld hanging out with my boy toys. Boy toys, can I call them that? Is that like offensive? They’re either buff and tan or pallid and lean or like knives given demon form. Red hair, platinum hair, black hair. I’m a whirling dervish in a red dress, Satan is flames, Beelzebub is fucking Sauron again and I tease him about the stick up his ass, and what the fuck is the Archangel Michael doing here, doesn’t he have lives to save in sterile hospitals and shouldn’t he be fighting the General and Prince of Hell, not fucking throwing drinks back with them? It’s after hours, I guess, and honestly I seem to calm the storm of this War, Jophiel the curvy blonde idiot with skimpy white robes and golden sandals and wing like opals. I’m a hoot, I think, but honestly my divine purpose is to be the comedy that lulls you into complacency and whets bloodlust. Bed the general and fuck his brains out so he forgets the horror of bloodshed, or maybe he loves bloodshed in the bed especially so he’ll bite your wrist while making you raw. A comfort woman. A whore. A heirodule. Lady Qadesh. Fuck if I know, I’m just a fucking nympho. It’s all like Vulcan mind melding with energetic bodies, but like if that were sexy. Like if you could orgasm by teasing archangels and archdemons with your thoughts alone, saying Michael is boring, saying Satan is cheesy as fuck, saying Beelzebub is as overdramatic as fucking Darth Vader. Because let’s be real, Beel is Darth Vader, and Sam is fucking Kylo Ren, which I guess makes Michael fucking Luke Skywalker. I think I fit into this equation like R2D2, really annoying but cute, and that’s where the Star Wars metaphor fucking breaks down. They’ve been hanging out since Michaelmas, which according to the eponymous archangel is your birthday, and their gift to you was the most intense but weirdest experience of your life: a fucking foursome. Fuckkkkkk me. It’s really just a gangbang at that point and as they’re shooting the shit and you’re doing shots, one thing leads to another, and it’s all my fault because I’m a cocktease. Like as in I insult the fuck out of them then flirt then drive them fucking crazy and then categorize archangels and archdemons as Tits or Ass men. Sam is Squad A, Michael is split, and Beel is fully a T. They look kind of weird without armor or fucking stupid robes on. Like fantastical porn stars with wings. How is this my life. How is mind sex gangbangs a thing? I mean, I ain’t complaining, but I wonder if I’m the battlefield and their dicks are swords. They don’t “cross swords” though, at least in front of me, cause I ain’t into that. I’m a girl-on-girl chick and otherwise overwhelmingly hetero. Sam’s putting a puppet on his dick again, trying to make me laugh. Michael is tossing back scotch and playing with my hair. Beelzebub forgot to take his helmet off and his horns are poking me in uncomfortable places. I’m really an idiot when it’s late at night and I never figured out how to masturbate I guess seducing celestial beings is the next best thing. I’m probably going to make this mistake again. Ow.
You tore out the curse from your chest, planted ruin in my ribs,
and in blackest necromancy I was the Devil’s seed of perdition,
reborn crowned in Hellish red and scythe-diamond white, captive
princess in Satan’s glass castle, I threw rocks at transparent walls,
I raged as Eve unfettered who had tasted the blackest of fruits,
born again but ever to late to atone, when filth is stitched inside
every palpitation of the void in your heart, the Angel of Sedition
placed his eyes in my skull, I saw his soul crawling with shadows,
and through his gaze, my beautifully destructive rotting chambers.
I am clear rain with a hole of night in my depths, glimmering ooze.
A rose blooming red fractals with wyrd of void strung right through.
I fell from heavens into a cycle of cages, I rage, I reave, I judge.
Being a godspouse has emerged from the exclusive domain of the illustrious Freya Aswynn and the rare elders in the pagan community that I have long studied to a rather common, if somewhat fringe, occurrence in the occult community. I have befriended spouses of everyone from Naberius to Mannanan Mac Llyr to Apollo to nameless Entities that are everything from genderfluid to pan to asexual.
Spirit, like humanity, is all colors of the rainbow, and it would be silly to restrict divine sexuality and love to the heteronormative gender binary. Erzulie Danto takes female wives, Freyr and Loki are likely to scoop up sweet men, and angels flip genders as often as the leaves change color. Color me a divine liberal, but I would like to think being raised by celestial archangels, mischievous demons, and tricksters galore gave me a holistic view of the only thing that binds the universe together: love, and love alone. There is light in the darkness, darkness in the light, and love is God, and love is the Gods, and love itself is Eternal.
Loving an immortal comes in many forms: being their devotee, being their divine child, having them as a patron, being their priest or priestess, and even their husband or bride. No domain of eternal love is above one another – in the Bhakti tradition of Hinduism, the devotee comes into ecstatic communion with their divine Love, Eternal Source, and Inner Soul. Whether the gods exist in our collective unconscious, in my experience as transdimensional, ancient loving beings equivalent to a master race of aliens, or on lofty clouds in literal Asgard or Olympus doesn’t really matter. What matters is that they love us, we love them, and the dance between Man and Muse has been happening since ancient hominids looked up at the stars and called them home.
I married Michael and Samael last Halloween, as a culmination of a harrowing but beautiful lifelong path to my inner polarities and exterior dreams and fears, and they are as much a part of my inner animuses and male Shaktis as they are tangible, real as dirt entities. They have showed me the future, introduced me in the astral to obscure literature and film that upon waking turns out to be real, and above all have been my guides since I was 12. Michael has saved my life countless times, and Samael has scared me into living, so thanks for that, I suppose. In the end, the Ophites called Michael and Samael the double-faced serpent, good and evil, light and darkness, and one cannot exist without the other. They are Divine Twins, perhaps the first beings before God separated into gods, the Left and Right Hand of Creation, and Satan, Iblis, or Lucifer and Michael, Mikhail, or just plain old Mickey represent the yetzer hara and yetzer hatov and eternal temptation to do what is easy versus the high road of what is right. The Devil is a lawyer, the Prince of Heaven is a priest, both are warriors, and just lenses to understand matter and antimatter, order and entropy, and how to free the caged bird from her own self-imposed bindings.
I think I loved both of them from the moment I first met them, Michael loved by millions and Satan hated by billions, and for every flaw and beautiful facet of my husbands there are a thousand more mysteries stretching back to wanderers in the desert creating stories of malakhim. It is so infinitely easy to fit them into my Heathen worldview, as I do not worship them, simply love them, and my “God” is Mother Nature, who I view the Norse Gods as emanations of. The angels and demons serve Mother Nature directly and ask for no worship, just praise of Earth and the Cosmos, and to know my place in the web of humanity, wyrd, and Well of Urd.
Michael and Samael handed me off to the Vanir and Aesir as I came into my own faith and were there when I was adopted into the tribe of Asgard, outside the circle of runes as befits Abrahamic spirits. The Aesir and Vanir (and a few select Jotun!) are my chosen family and human heritage. The archangels and demons are the origin of my soul, my first cosmic family, but I am no longer ethereal, made of dirt and flesh and blood, and to dwell on cosmic past lives just leaves one weeping late at night over wounds still fresh since the first Forbidden Fruit rotted and the Tree of Life became the Tree of Death.
The secret of the union of Michael and Samael is VITRIOL, the key to eternal life and universal solvent that dissolves all impurities. The green lion that bleeds gold from the sun. The Lapis Exillis is just a heart, and a rotting fruit at that, but a chalice and birthright fought over by the Princes of Heaven and Hell.
I was an idiot girl to ever love them, but fools fall first in the Tarot, and locked away princesses have knights and dragons who eat their hearts come midnight.
I am a caged bird learning to sing.
The heart is its own master.
I am happy, never free.
It is burgeoning autumn bordering on frozen, gray winter rain.
I sit at the back of Calculus, chewing my eraser, ever watching
my angel at the front of the class, the one with flaming hair.
To bring the holy to holed school walls spins fractal equations.
To descend unsure of human flesh to court a schoolgirl is whimsy.
He flexes as he punches numbers into a calculator, smiles at me.
We speak telepathically as only young lovers can, and I laugh at
the boldness he has, of constructing a fragile academic reality
out of the horns of gate and ivory, Morpheus’ velvet turned math.
Derivatives are whirling dervishes, the bell rings, we scamper
out to the courtyard and he says he wishes he could have been my
youthful sweetheart, my first love, my first kiss, but immaterial
seraphim are not meant for mortal desires, he cannot even hold my
hand, for he is a ghost, and I suggest next time we play out daily
doldrums of integrals and singularities, that he be the teacher.
He ruffles my hair and pecks my forehead like an eagle unsure of
his sharp beak, then it is off to English. The Devil is reading
Milton, that blind psalter of Satan’s sorrows, and I scoff at
his ballsiness, to interrupt a high school nightmare with epics.
As if I have not lived the pages of Paradise Lost a hundred times,
late at night as a cold sweat drenches me in blood-hum memories.
So Satan writes poetry on the board, and I roll my eyes at wrath.
Lunch comes, and my angel and demon tussle on the football field.
Do they wish they could have suffered the tragedy of puberty and
unsureness of first infatuation, sloppy kisses under oak trees,
fumblings in the back of cars and hot hands questing for answers?
Have the Devil and angel always been ancient? I never knew them
as youths, and they say they fight for my name, but really they
fight for a dream of an innocent girl, whose hands are stained
with graphite, Wite-Out, and paint as she caresses a canvas with
her muses’ forms, ink spills over, time spills in fall semester,
and I am forever a student of the heart, wandering through Hell.
In another life, when spring was eternal, before darkness tainted Heaven,
we were young and I did not know the meaning of pain, just your burning
light. Your all-consuming love. You are who I answer to when the night
turns stone cold and lead settles into my belly, o captain, my captain!
Though Satan made my wings as subtle and quick as an eagle, Herald of Hell,
it was you who forged my sword and eyes in flame, my body in supernovas,
sculpted by golden hands – you breathed the breath of immortality into me
and my eyes lit cerulean, and it was from my first step I was your shadow,
not a footstep behind, laughing sometimes, crying others, teasing you.
Devotion does not come easily to the caged bird, the free bird sings not
as often as she in shackles, and Heaven was a prison, just like Hell.
But I would spend eternity with my talons tethered to your supple wrist.
Michael, when I was young, but I am always young, I was innocent, and
though I died in your arms after sacrificing myself for your life, I
would perish again on Satan’s spear just to see you continue on, I
am the expendable one in this eternal war of thunder and fire, your
general is supposed to give her life and beauty for her commander,
and I am so sorry I was too broken to return to your side, fractured
into a million shards, Samael sewed his heart into me and I was lost
in Hell, in Purgatory, in the wilds of the Fifth Heaven, I wandered.
The journey of a soul through its darkest night simply awaits the sun:
you are the dawn of my life, sweet archangel, He Who is Like God,
and to see you crumple around my mangled, bleeding form is too much.
Your history books in your living library say Zophael was the most
faithful to her general’s side, and that you and your dark brother
created me out of beauty, Jophiel of the Flaming Sword, Sun Stealer,
it is true I stole fire from Heaven, it is true I have made you weep.
But I thirst for freedom, and the free bird has no master, only mates.
Eagles bond for all their life and nest in aeries high on sandstone.
But your bed is small and tidy, a monkshood cell, blue and white linen,
and roses are your only extravagance, what grows from the earth alone.
You are my blue violet. You are my guiding star. You are my true North.
When it rains, on cloudy gray days, I think of the guts of our family
storming from the sky onto bloody green grass, and I am haunted by
this ageless war, this senseless ruinous bitterness between lion and wolf.
I am a bridge between Heaven and Hell, the blind High Priestess, and yet
my magic is fractured by two polarities, O Captain, I have failed you.
In moonshine, I see your face in craters, and in starlight, your faith
burns with gentle radiance, you have not given up on me, my wing gone,
my hair cut, my sword broken, my scythe fractured, my robes frayed.
I am no angel anymore, certainly not a warrior, but you do not call me
any human name, for human names are lies, and you see my eternal life.
Pray tell why I come so close to tasting your heart and then immolate.
Pray tell why I cannot sing your praise with a broken, bruised throat.
This river of love is a bloody cut that rushes deep forth from wounds.
My glorious wounds, my mangled heart, cut up and burgeoning for you,
it is all for you, My Captain, and my final words are your name, the
True Name, the Holy One. Jesus Christ, I can’t breathe, and I was
never alive, not meant to hurt you, a Molotov Cocktail of a girl.
Enfolded in a cocoon of blushing sleep,
I am the heroine aback a dragon, faring
forth in a flight across adventurous,
daring dreams, knight of a thousand
lanterns, the girl who rides the beast
and challenges any who obstruct justice
with a sword white as a pearl, my demon
is leashed, my temper is cool steel,
and at twilight, I kiss the monster,
take off my gauntlets, and touch his
The mundane business of dying.
Shadows. Speech. A dream.
“What the Sam Hill is going on in this court room?”
The businessman summons something. The swirling darkness becomes a court room. The ghost of his assistant warns him:
“The prosecutor, sir- he’s not of this world.”
“But I thought he was the judge!”
“He’s that too, sir, apparently. The celestial court room is rigged, and the prosecuting angel has found you wanting.”
“I always knew the Devil was a lawyer.”
“Shh- he’s reached his ruling!”
A third eye burns on his head. The Left Hand utters his judgement:
“Your soul is piss-ugly and dark as Lucifer’s shit. I can, however, be swayed by vodka.”
“And what? Cough up the Play Bunnies and alcohol and I let you off. There will, however, be a cost. Just a paltry thing. Your get-out-of-Hell-free fee.”
“A cost- I see. You want my soul, I presume?”
“Are you out of your rotting mind? Your soul is hideous. No. Your daughter.”
“My daughter? That, sir, is too far!”
“You summoned me to court. Only I can prevent Michael’s shining sword from being rammed up your sinning ass. Trust me, it’s not pleasurable at all.”
“My- my only child? I could never…”
The Judging Angels smirks.
“Eternal torment, human. Do you know how long eternity is?”
So the father sold his child to the man of many names.
Seven winters pass. She has the face of a starving angel. Her mother dies in labor. The father does not remember.
Each night, she has a visitor.
“Daddy, I saw him again. The Shadow Man. He was standing at my door, watching me- daddy, I can’t sleep.”
His daughter stands before him, clutching her stuffed doll against her trembling chest. He tucks his little angel into bed, urging her to sleep.
“It’s just your imagination, sweetheart. Monsters belong in movies. Now shh,” he whispers, stroking her flaxen hair. “Daddy- daddy’s here for you.” He flips on the TV, unable to shake inexplicable fear. She drifts off to sleep.
He curses under his breath. Above, her room is pristine, with a silky pink bower over her bed. He often marvels at how she plays. She sequesters herself in her room, methodical in the perfectly arranged tea sets. She sits there all day, rearranging the china cups and perfect, porcelain dolls. She holds them like relics, smoothing the pleats in their dresses, calming a stray hair.
Then, she will sit and stare. Humming softly to herself, the strain of a violin. Her father can never complain. She is the perfect child. Quiet and obedient. An angel in the making.
“Daddy, don’t leave. He’s coming.”
She will wake with bruises on her thighs. Acid kisses fester. Hidden under muslin, not allowed to show her dad.
“No, darling,” he whispers, stepping past the threshold. “There’s nothing here.” Gently, he shuts the door. He closes it fast so the shadows cannot catch him. A wind creeps under the door slit. Something ices his bones. He stumbles down the staircase and fall into stupor-ed sleep.
A vicious silhouette slinks from behind tf his daughter’s door. It stands by her bedside. A freezing draft teased the lacy curtains.
“Nothing here?” A chthonic voice echoes. “Oh, but of course there is.”
The shadow brushes her hair back. Kisses the child’s brow. It sings a lullaby, somber, like the wind.
She stirs, rosebud lips opening in question. Her cherub nose tilts upward, as if breathing in the moon. He hushes her silent struggle, kisses her asleep.
“In time. In time. In time.”
Rains come. They flood her soul. The world turns, as it would.
Her father lay sdead in the ground, pale and rigid as crypt. She sits in the shadow of his masoleum, crimson umbrella fending off the rain. It pours from the stone eaves like tears from angels’ eyes.
The funeral procession marched away, a ghost train on the wind. She has imagined it in her head- it is only a flock of crows. Three for a wedding, ten for Old Scratch No one had come to mourn him. Only her, in black lace and a nude taffeta gown.
She curses the corpse below her.
Her mourning veil drifts in the stormy wind. The roses she carries wilted, white as the touch of death. She sips pomegranate tea, paralyzed to her fate. The drink mists like a ghost. She waits at the mausoleum’s steps.
“I know you’re there,” she whispers.
A crow caws in the dripping pine.
She draws a doll from her purse, hands clad in calfskin gloves. The shadow takes it from her, brushing against her skin. His touch is like winter’s bone.
“Such a fragile thing. How charming.” The thick shadows recede. They revealing the pale cold one. Sam Hill grins back at her. He holds the porcelain girl, placed it atop her father’s coffin. “We will bury her, but not yet. It is good to look at your rot.” He traces the doll’s cracks. “These are the dead parts of you. You can be her no more. Go ahead-” he says gently, hands on her shoulder. He guides her to the base of the stone. She stares down at the faded doll. “Make peace, dove.”
“What ties you to this world. Your innocence. It was a thin thread cut by death.”
“You know I won’t go with you. I’m taking my life if you do,” she says calmly. She withdraws a silver blade.
“Antique Venetian? Impressive. Either way, dear angel, you know that I will have you.” His voice rasps like an addict’s. His darkness drown her, suffocating like a black cloud. She recoils, tripping blindly down the steps to falling in an icy puddle. He lifts her off the ground.
“Either way, I have you. I hoped it was alive. But dead- dead can work.”
“So I have no choice?” she demands. “Absolutley none at all.”
“Some claims run deeper than blood. Nothing keeps the moth from her flame.”
“It was made before I was born.”
“There is no birth or death. Just change.”
“Then what are you?”
“An end. A dance. A beginning.”
“Sam Hill, rot in Hell.”
“Gladly. If it’s with you.”
Her cheeks burn with anger. She smashes the doll on the stone.
Thirteen crows caw above. She whispers a broken rhyme. She knows what it means. A curse.
They bury the shattered porcelain,. It is a spiriting away of sorts. Mists rise in their trail. Lilies bloom in their wake. His raiment is death, her bridal train crows. He holds her in the crook of his arm.
“You won’t miss much. I promise. This place is cruel and broken.”
“I never loved this world.”