During WW2 my Grandmother would hold a Madonna in the air raid shelters and rub her hand up and down the Madonna’s back as the bombs dropped and Grandmother counted how close to her the next one would fall. She was a British nurse and the Madonna had been found in the rubble of a bombed French church and was a gift from an American soldier who had healed in her care. The Madonna gave her comfort, protection, and even when her sister nurses were killed around her she somehow remained unscathed.
Our family is a family of women where the grandmothers raise the grand daughters and the Madonna watches over us, protecting us and loving us as we intern protect and love her. There has never been a time when we have lived without her. How could we? She is our Goddess and in a family of women raising woman she is the only one we turned to. I have prayed to her, called her mother, Mary, virgin, Saint, and Archangel. She is my rock as she was in my grandmother’s rock. She attends every birth, sick bed, and death. She is the mother and her love is absolute.
I pray to her, bring her fresh flowers and fruit, rub sandalwood oil onto her feet and hands. I am a devote of the divine feminine and always will be. But there is more to the mother than the shining Madonna we know so well. There is a Madonna who does not walk in the light, she may attend the births, the sick bed, and the deaths, but her aspect is shrouded literally by the vail that says, ‘I have seen the dark side of every experience.’ The shroud she wears is of gossamer threads spun of moon light and star light. She is the queen of heaven in her dark aspect. She is the Goddess of the night.
The first time I encountered her I was in meditation. She walked towards me bringing the night behind her. I knew her as the Madonna I loved but I was literally terrified. I could not stay in her presence. Her face, though veiled, was that of a beautiful woman and a skull in the same moment. I pulled out of meditation and had to sit with myself for a long time. My hart told me this is the queen of night. There are holy places dedicated to her around the world. You have seen the skull Madonna. Why are you afraid? Going back into meditation I sat with her, seeing her as she was without expectation. She did not speak. Instead, she showed me the void, a black chasm of glittering darkness where all things are created. She showed me life and death and helped me understand the darkness for what it is, the bittersweet of existence because not all births end in life, not all sick beds offer healing, and not all deaths are peaceful.
I am still at the beginning of my walk with the Dark Mother. Her gifts are righteous rage, the kind Jesus showed when he threw the money lenders out of the temple. Her gifts are the courage to live in power and grace and without fear. Her gifts are the ability to grieve and let go knowing that the suffering is part of the lesson just like the pain of childbirth is the precursor to the gift of motherhood.
She asks us to put away nice and to take up directness. To be brave even when it could cost us our body. To never sacrifice ourselves for society, politeness, or approval. She makes us tigers for our children and fighters for justice and equality. She asks us to protect your children from the unfathomable riggers of society that would cage their minds and box up their souls and teach them to be good workers when they are meant to be lights in the world. She is wrath and love wrapped in death and renewal and she would advise you to kill a man before he could rape you, subdue or enslave you. She would also say it is better to die on your feet then pinned on your back.
In India she is Kali, in Eastern Europe and parts of Asia she is Baba Yaga a goddess turned witch by the Christians. In Hebrew text she is Lilith, first wife of Adam who refused to submit to him or anyone. A woman who walks with the Dark Goddess belongs only to herself. She sacrifices to nothing and no one. She is power born of inner grace and her aspect changes from loving to fierce, depending on circumstance. She is kind but never nice and if she smiles it is either because you’ve just said something rally stupid or you’ve impressed her.
Last night we were talking and the Dark Goddess asked me,
“What do you want?” This is a question I have been repeatedly asked ever since she asked me the first question, “Do you remember.” I do remember, I remember me before I was rebranded by society and shuffled into my role as a domestic partner without a voice. When she asked me, “What do you want?” I repeated the list of things I want in this life. Then she changed places with me. I suddenly wore her shroud, my hands were bone, I watched myself from hollow shrunken eyes. “Ask the question.” I saw myself ask myself.
“What do you want?” I asked, hearing her strong commanding voice issue over fleshless teeth. I watched my self plead, and beg, my eyes cast down, my voice sugary sweet. I saw my toxic femininity beg the patriarchy in kind tones, to give me peace, a place to live, money enough to eat, a job that would not crush me, and safety for my son who is only just beginning his adulthood.
“What did you see?” I asked myself.
“I saw a broken woman without the power to know her worth beg to be allowed to live on a planet and in a society that she worked to populate and create.” With a though I was thrust back into my body, the Dark Goddess looking at me from where she sat.
“What do you want?” She asked again. I closed my eyes and felt for my inner goddess. I shook off the sugary sweetness of a life of being polite and passive and picked up my strength.
“I want peace for all beings who chose it, I want a home that welcomes me and shelters my people, I want justice for all beings who have been wronged, I want source abundance to fill the table of every person so that no one goes hungry ever again. I want care for the sick and the dying, I want beauty and love and truth to become the guiding principle of every human heart, I want to heal the earth from the madness of human destruction, and I want children to be raised to be themselves, not someone else’s version of who they think they should be. I want freedom for all beings and I want it now in the name of all that is Holy!”
“Then let it be done.” Then let it be done she said, and was silent.
This is just one lesson of the many I have learned and will learn from the Dark Goddess but it’s an important one. No one get’s anything by begging, or asking in a soft voice if they may have the right to exist in a patriarchy that has already deemed them as less then. Men and Women alike have been crushed by this patriarchy that teaches us again and again that we’re only as good as the house we live in, the car we drive, and the hours we put in at the office while our children raise themselves. We have set aside everything we are and put on the chains of a society that will feed us to its wars without thinking twice. Male or Female, the Dark Mother will sit with you. She will teach you how to find your authenticity, your purpose, and your power. If you wake in the night wondering who just asked you, “Do you remember?” Know that this is the first of many calls that will bring you back to your truth, your authenticity, and your sacred light.
– Let no one surrender to the violence that is pride or fear when in bravery they can rise above these aspects and join in the oneness that is Christ consciousness. No one is truly free until all are free – The Dark Goddess