Blog

Black Moon Lilith

Final-wm

I walked barefoot on the earth
My feet touching the body of my mother
My body, her body.

I bathed under silvery moonlight
In waters glimmering from her shine
My body touching her body.

Once a month when the moon released
I too released
Giving my life blood back to the Mother
Nourishing her as she nourished me
Mother and daughter in synchronous alignment
My body, her body.

Then the sky god came
And his people told me I was evil
That my body was shameful and I should cover it
That to bathe naked under the moonlight was satan’s work
And I should cover my body.

That my lifeblood released with the dark moon
Was the most evil of all
And during this time I was unclean
And I should be hidden away
And my body covered.

No longer was I allowed to connect to my Mother
No longer was I allowed to stand in my nakedness
Or to revel in the shimmering moonlight
Or release my moon blood back upon the earth.

They told me I was evil.
They told me I was shameful.
They told me I was dirty.

Then they tossed me out of the garden
My body, her body.

Well no more!
The veil has fallen from my face
No longer will I cover my my hair, my body
I am ALL the things they told me NOT to be
ALL the things they told me I COULD not be.

I am Black Moon Lilith
And
I stand in MY Sovereignty.
Screaming forth…
I. Will. Not. Submit.

AND…

You will not get my anger
You will not label my juicy parts evil
Nor will you culturally codify them as shadow
Something to be feared
Something to be hidden.

I am ALL the things you told me NOT to be
All the things you told me I COULD not be
All the things that make me woman.

AND…

I will dance under the light of the full moon
Illuminating the ALL of woman
I will revel in my divinity, my dark, moist woman-ness
I will shine like the stars from whence I came
I will walk naked on the wet, moist earth
For my body is her body.

Standing in my sovereignty
I re-claim all.

My body.
Her body.

The Light
AND
The Dark.

No longer will I live in the Shadows
For now I dance in the Full Moon light.

I am Dark Moon Lilith.

Let the Revolution begin.

~Art and Words by Arlene Bailey, ©2018

The Gift Of A Year

There’s nothing so profound as having a concrete, this world, experience with one of culture’s axioms.  You know, those sayings that others offer in times of stress or difficult situations?  The ones we often label as unwelcome and trite?

This past year I’ve had an experience with these two…

~ Life is unpredictable and we truly have no idea how things will look in the future.

And

~ Every day is a gift.

One year ago today, I was sitting in the hospital with Larry as his heart continued to fail.  I honestly thought my husband was going to die.  One year later, though his heart will never again function at full capacity, Larry is doing great.  Over this past year I’ve seen remarkable strides in his activity and I’ve seen days of frightening weakness.  Still there have been those magical moments when he worked in the garden for brief periods and took short walks with me and the kitties in the woods.

Interesting how a few words look so different on the other side of an experience.  Life is indeed unpredictable and we truly have no idea how things will look in the future AND every day has become a beautiful gift.

To the two ideas above, I now add my own…

The Mystery shows up in our lives in the most unexpected and yet, magical ways, offering us portals of transformation that often come cloaked in darkness and uncertainty.  As with all things, we have the choice to step through this space or walk away.  If we dare to step through – looking beyond our fear and misgivings, our pain, our sorrow – we allow life to move in ways we never could have imagined.  Ways that cloak us in transcendent beauty, ultimately opening us to all possibilities.  If we let go of our resistance, these portals can allow us to fall into grace*.

Amazing how darkness and uncertainty can seed and even birth transcendence and beauty.  I am deeply comforted by the idea that within darkness lies the alchemy of all possibilities.

Today I celebrate this gift of a year with open eyes, leaning into the deep knowing that indeed every day is a container of magic and memory that will never come again.

Today I honor Larry… his journey… my journey… our journey.

Today I celebrate the gift of grace that is this day.

 

________________________________________
*Grace is defined as simple elegance or refinement of movement – a way of moving that is smooth and seemingly effortless, not stiff or awkward.

~Artist/Photographer Unknown

Lilith and She Who Paints

A few days ago I had an incredible need to release a lot of pent up energy.  Some of it was mine, some from others and the collective.  I have learned from experience – the hard way of course (is there any other way?!) – the energy is going to come out and it’s best if I find an appropriate vehicle for its release. Thankfully, as an artist becoming and growing, I am learning to turn to the canvas for release, finding this free-form movement of brush, hands, and paint an invaluable tool of transformation. So I went in with no intent other than clearing energy, simply surrendering to the Mystery – with no mind –  to allow the emergence of who or what needed to come through.

When I reached that place of completion, my only thought was ok, this is ugly.  Later when my husband asked if he could see it, my reply was yes, but it’s hideous and I’ll probably gesso over it.  Looking through eyes not attached to outcome, his reply was I like it.  It’s very expressive.

I sat with that thought for a long time and I realized my painting was not ugly, not hideous.  It was expressive, very expressive and a visual container for all the energies I’d been carrying for days.  I’d painted for 2-3 hours with no attention to form or detail – painting wet on wet without allowing previous layers to dry and adding features without attention to detail (very unlike me!) – letting whatever needed to happen, happen.  Of course, when I finally took a step back and began to assess all that had come – coming out of the zone of soul and into that of the ego – I began to see things I thought needed to be fixed… nose, mouth , eyes, more red here, more black or gold there.  But a voice said, NO! This was never about creating something beautiful or perfect.  It was about expressing your feelings… a vehicle for the self-expression of where you were in the moment and it is enough.

The next morning as I sat looking at her, I learned a very valuable lesson around simply allowing without judging or needing/wanting to fix.  I saw my raw vulnerability in its own kind of beauty and I realized it is enough.

Fast forward a few days, moving through hours of simply staring at her – leaning into how I felt – and allowing messages that wanted to come through this sacred container to flow into me.  In the end, I realize I LOVE her.  I still see my raw vulnerability, though that is now centered in the unabashed raw, vulnerable strength and power of release and transformation.

And…

She is a Dark Goddess who comes when we need to shed outworn habits and ideas… those ways of being and knowing, living and doing which no longer support us or move us forward on our Soul’s path.  As frightening and possibly uncomfortable as this may be, her presence means we are in a place of powerful alchemical potentiality.  We are the seed in the darkness being stretched and pulled as we gestate awaiting birth.  We are the dark matter in the forceps being held to the fire, hammered and forged until we are pure gold.  First, though, we must embrace the wisdom of the serpent who sheds what it no longer needs.  That too requires stretching, pulling, even possibly discomfort as what no longer fits is shed.  Only then can we move into our new form and allow our brilliance to light up the dark sky.

She is Lilith.  I chose this naming so that I am reminded that it is ok to be ALL they told me I could not be.  It is ok, NO!, it is imperative I embrace all my brilliance and wisdom standing strong and firm in pure unbridled authenticity and beauty.  It is imperative I reclaim all I have been told… all EVERY woman has been told… is wrong and evil.  It is imperative I allow my rawness to bleed through the veneer of patriarchal acceptability.

Lilith is here to remind me that in my darkness I find the most incredible gifts and beauty.  She is here to remind me that the serpent is not something to be feared, rather the representation of an ancient, primordial wisdom… a form of the Great Mother, the Great Goddess, herself.

Lilith is my guide to reclaiming our potent woman-ness which has for millennia been hidden in the shadows.  She is the ultimate guide to my Sacred Wild Woman.  She carries the key to my Soul and my path in this lifetime and is the Sacred Container that holds me as I grow and change and become.

I continue to be amazed with this thing called intuitive painting.  Amazed at how things come and what can emerge on the canvas.  I continue to grow and learn and shift by staying in the flow such that I allow both the dark and the light… by being willing to be pulled and stretched… by being willing to be uncomfortable as I feel the heat of the forge and the swirling darkness as I depth dive to those worlds that birth me anew, all the while Dancing with the Dark Goddess in the ever-turning primordial dance of creation and re-creation.

I am in love.  With Lilith… With Me… With my Light… With my Dark… With my Rawness and Wildness… With the quirky way I see things… but most of all, with my Soul’s walk in this lifetime as She Who Paints.

All because I needed to release some energy…. Welcome Lilith!  Her coming is auspicious indeed in this time when women are remembering and reclaiming the power of their innate wildness and authenticity and daring to say You no longer get to tell me the magic and mystery I carry as woman is wrong and evil.

A final gift from this experience…

~The Coming of Lilith~

When you least expect her
The Dark Goddess will appear
Beckoning you follow her
For there’s work to do.

Work that can only be done
When Gaia’s bare bones shine bright
To illuminate that which
Hides in the light.

That liminal time when the
Architecture of the trees shines through
Revealing their
Raw…
Naked…
Strength…
And
Beauty…
Too.

When you least expect her
The Dark Goddess will appear
Beckoning you follow her
For in the Darkness
Lies your Beauty too.

Through an ancient portal of
All they told you not to be
Listen as she whispers
The Darkness is She.

____________________________________________
Lilith and She Who Paints, by Arlene Bailey, ©2018

Art and Poem, The Coming of Lilith, by Arlene Bailey, ©2018

 

 

 

Altars and the Language of Ritual

On this very cold grey day, I sat watching 4 huge crows eating the bird food I’d thrown on the ground especially for the birds too large for our feeders.  These harbingers of  magic and mystery suddenly gave me the urge to build an altar to this deeper path of the inner time.  Of course the Old Antlered One and Elen of the Ways (as both shamanic dolls* and an antlered skull) had to be present along with my painting called Sovereignty**.  Joining the circle were the feathers gifted to me by two amazing birds, along with a few stones appropriate to this journey (including a piece of amber for the ancestors).  Completing the altar are my beloved Celtic Soul Craft Prayer Beads* with small antler and my Norse Priestess Talisman*** with the Hulinhjalmur (Helm of Disguise), an Icelandic magical sigil.  Finally, though there is no visible representation of her, I called in the Cailleach whose season it is and who is very present in our current weather.

I love building altars as they create such a shift in energy in both me and my environment.  The ritual of these creations allows me to speak in a way that words cannot.  The tools I choose giving reflection to my current journey.

May you find your own symbols of meaning which remind you of the deep cave time and inner journey of this season.  May you speak the language of ritual on this cold winter day.

Blessings of Deep Peace and Inner Journeys!

______________________________________

*Shamanic Dolls and Prayer Beads created by Jude Lally of Celtic Soul Crafthttps://www.facebook.com/Celtic-Soul-Craft-127237380645774/

**Sovereignty by Arlene Bailey, ©2017

***Norse Talisman created by Moons Craftshttps://www.facebook.com/moonscraft/

All animal parts found and/or ethically sourced.

Winter Solstice: Knowings of Light and Dark

Before going to bed last night, I blew out the candle on my Solstice Altar and let the darkness of the Winter Solstice Eve envelope my being.  I reflected on all the different things darkness means to us today and how our ancestors must have felt on this longest night of the year.  For our bone ancestors, there was no knowing that the light would always return.  For our more recent ancestors, there was the knowing the light would return, but also the knowledge that this time of the year was a very tenuous time.  Food stores were getting lower and there was still much winter to come.  Still, in darkness, they awaited the rising sun of the Winter Solstice morn knowing that once again the Great Wheel was turning and with it the return of the light.

I awoke in darkness this morning and made my way to the kitchen for coffee.  I then sat and waited for that first sliver of light before braving the cold of the deck.  I live deep in the forest so normally I don’t get to see the sun until it’s fairly high in the sky.  This time of year, however, as the trees stand in their naked beauty, my view of the actual sunrise is spectacular.  As the sky shifted into its gloaming and then into a spectacular display of reds and purples and gold, She began to rise.  Oh my, is there anything more beautiful than the rising sun after the longest night?!

For those of us who follow the Wheel of the Year, each turning brings its own symbolism, language and internal psychology.  There is a rhythm to this way of being and knowing that entrains our bodies to that of Gaia and the Cosmos.  A knowing deep in our Soul that says YES, THIS!

Many cultural traditions flood both our psyche and our rituals with one singular thread weaving its way through them all.  As nature moves deeper and deeper into her darkest hours right before the dawn, our ancestors desired reminders of the light and of life.  Standing strong amidst all the apparent death of nature were the evergreen trees, candles and community.  Both trees and branches were brought inside as reminders of life and the coming greening of nature.  Families and individuals shared with each other things that might be needed in the coming months and were reminders for each other of the strength in community.  Candles and celebrations brought the much needed light into homes and hearts.  To this day we desire those same symbols, our material culture and practices reflecting the very same need of the reminders of light and life.

I love the different ways that cultures celebrated and the myths and stories that developed around this time of year… Love that those stories were born from the ordinary rhythms of life and nature and the basic necessities required to maintain both individual and communal life.

Maybe it’s the time of year.  That time when we are literally in our darkest hours right before the dawn.  That time of year when there is more darkness than light.  That time of year when we reach deep within to find the comfort the ancients knew.  Darkness has its cycle and Light will always return.

That light will return, but for the next three days we are in Solstice and the time the Sun stands still.  After that She will start growing and strengthening and every day we will gain a bit more light and with that Nature will begin her journey of greening.  For now though I rest in the dark womb of the Mother, visioning and waiting for the light that will bring the potential that now gestates to its fullness and its birth.

Blessed Winter Solstice.

 

~Arlene Bailey, ©2017

Image – Sunrise at Newgrange, Photographer Tourism Ireland

For more information on Solstice at Newgrange visit the link below:

https://mythicalireland.com/MI/blog/videos-and-films/newgrange-winter-solstice-2017-live-broadcast/

 

I Am a Flame

Maybe it’s the time of year.  That time when we are literally in our darkest hours right before the dawn.  That time of year when there is more darkness than light.  That time of year when we reach deep within to find the comfort the ancients knew.  Darkness is only part of the cycle.  Light will always return.

Even now new potential gestates, awaiting the light that will bring it to fullness and birth.  That light is coming as we enter the final two weeks of the dark half of the year.  On December 21 the Sun enters the sign of Capricorn ushering in the Winter Solstice and the return of the light.

This morning as I wandered through my Facebook Feed, I was amazed at the number of posts whose themes are celebrating and honoring Women as flames of both social and cultural change, along with posts that also name the death of patriarchy.  I can’t help but relate the darkness we currently find ourselves in culturally and socially to the time of darkness we are currently in cosmically and, just as with the inevitable return of sun light, a new light is now beginning to usher in a new era of being and knowing, living and doing.

Like the light at Winter Solstice, this flame starts small – as a flicker of a candle in a very dark room – but with each day, each turning of the Cosmos, each action and act of paradigm shift, this flicker grows stronger and brighter giving life and light to new possibilities awaiting birth.

Here are just a few examples, from just one day.  Please feel free to add your own in the Comments section!

https://www.facebook.com/awakestorytelling/videos/718987841626746/?hc_ref=ARQ4chCN-G_ydrVv9gLNrfhl80K18srQJzbDNgVadQkZnLuGPObW_R9FngaFLN6URNM

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/the-choice/ar-BBGiwOy?li=AA4ZnC&ocid=spartandhp

http://time.com/time-person-of-the-year-2017-silence-breakers/

http://time.com/5051822/time-person-year-alyssa-milano-tarana-burke/

https://www.facebook.com/abcsoutheastnsw/videos/1697122016998925/?hc_ref=ARTAQphUsaTd-db_sIEBLO8zC4hCeixMXE0Ar2Av0QOYD6ZqYYg1B46gQqXq5vGjIgc&pnref=story

Paradigm Shift is never easy, but it is an inevitable part of evolution.  As Biology is the physical side of evolution, Paradigm Shift is the consciousness side*.  Throughout the timeline on this planet there is evidence of this happening over and over again and, those of us currently living on this planet, are experiencing a huge and profound shift.

Is it happening quickly enough?  I suppose that depends on perspective.  In some ways it seems not.  However, I love this quote by American feminist writer and Harvard Law Professor, Catharine MacKinnon…

People say change is slow, but that isn’t true. It’s resisted until something happens that breaks that. And then change happens extremely quickly. There have been a few times when real change has gone forward and right now is one of them in the US.”  **

On a quiet day you can hear Her coming… hear the chants and songs of her daughters remembering… hear them calling in the ancestral amazons whose voices join those of present women echoing in roaring screams enough is enough… me too… death to patriarchy… our time has come… again.

We are in the darkness, but it’s the final hours.  The light will return.

Until then, I am a flame.

~Arlene Bailey, ©2017

 

*Original quote by Arlene Bailey

** http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/books/playboy-made-sexual-abuse-ordinary

 

The Season of Remembering

Late yesterday afternoon, close to dusk, after a very busy day of pouring candles and making winter herbal remedies, I made a cup of tea and walked out to my swing to try and regain some sense of the sacred.  The minute I entered the Grove I knew something was different.  It was an overwhelming feeling of different, as though the woods had completely changed from earlier in the morning.  It felt SO otherworldly – so thin and light.  I remember turning around looking at everything, trying to figure it out and, for a minute or two, I felt completely disoriented, confused, as though I’d stepped into a different place, a different time.  Then I knew.  I remembered.

They were here.  It was Samhain Eve, the Veil had thinned, and the Ancestors had come.  I sat down on my swing – I was a bit light-headed by this point – closed my eyes and just sat with this energy.  Breathing in.  Breathing out.  Then tears came, but not tears of fear, tears of gratitude and understanding.  Tears of profound awe of the deep presence of the numinous.   I was completely overwhelmed at the vast implication of it all and even more humbled by my place in this dance.

Today is Samhain.  In a bit I will go out to the Grove and place a vase of red carnations and blooming rosemary on our Ancestor altar.  Then I will build a fire in my cauldron and create the larger sacred container that will hold us on this day.  As I prepare favorite foods of my ancestors and those of my partner’s ancestors, the Samhain fire will burn.  Then tonight, a few friends will join us for a ritual honoring and blessing this sacred portal.

At the liminal point of dusk, we will gather around the Cauldron, building up the fire, and invite all the ancestors in – both human and those from our respective animal tribes – and we will tell stories, say prayers, laugh, cry, and we will feed them and thank them.  We will also honor the Dark Goddess of this season – the Crone – and remember those who died during the times of the European and American inquisitions.  We will then divine and later dream, leaving offerings for the fairies, devas, elementals and all the others that will walk this night.

The veil has thinned.  The Wheel has turned.  This is such an incredibly magical time and I am deeply honored to know the language of ritual and the ways of conversing with Nature and the Ancestors.

I am so very fortunate to walk this path of the Mystery made manifest… a path that is a portal to ancient lineages and deepening into the inner time… a path that brings me cycles and empowers me with rich and raw magical authenticity… a path that teaches me both old ways and new ways of being and knowing, living and doing.

On this day, I honor and I remember.