Back from the ‘dark continent’: Musings on Notre Dame, Lilith and the winds of change.

Adam, the Serpent, and Eve, circa 12th-14th centuries C.E. Entrance to Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris 2

Main tympanum in Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris.

Beneath the main tympanum in Notre Dame Cathedral is a statue of Madonna and child standing on a carving of ‘The Fall of Adam and Eve’, both of whom are shown clasping their hands around ‘the tree of knowledge of good and evil’. Eve eats an apple, and rising-up the trunk of the tree is a serpent that becomes a woman- a serpent woman- Lilith. In the Sumerian myth of Inanna, Lilith lived in the temple precincts in the holy Huluppa tree where the kundalini serpent lay coiled at the base. Gilgamesh, the Babylonian solar hero intent on destroying the Goddess and her sacred sexual rites chopped down the Huluppa tree thus exiling Lilith into the wilderness.

In this myth, Lilith is handmaid to the Queen as an active agent in recruiting men to the inner sanctum of the temple to receive holy blessings and sacred sexual rites. When the solar gods began to usurp the goddesses, the sexual rites were rejected, punished and degraded.

Once exiled to the wilderness, according to the new patriarchal story, Lilith becomes a demoness and succubus who steals the vital energy of men through erotic temptation – a femme fatale intent on social destruction and upheaval. On a psychological level, Lilith represents aspects of the feminine that have been exiled and repressed into the unconscious, including and especially those aspects connected with sexuality, birthing, menstruation, bio-logical and bio-spiritual power.

Where previously Lilith was a sovereign woman, a virgin, whole unto herself serving in the temple of Inanna (precursor to Venus), she becomes a creature of terror and repulsion to be reviled and rejected.

Later in the Hebrew story, Lilith is presented as the first wife of Adam who refuses sexual subordination and chooses instead voluntary exile in the wilds, on the shores of the Red Sea. Here she is said to have produced thousands of off springs conceived from cavorting with wild beasts. She returns to the garden of Eden in the form of a serpent, tempting Eve to eat the apple- a sinful act of defiance that led to the expulsion of Adam and Eve.

Fear of the feminine, and more precisely fear of feminine sexuality, weaves a toxic thread through the Judeo-Christian tradition, creating at its zenith the hysteria that led to the witch trials. Carl Jung says, “What man has found to say about feminine eroticism, and especially the feeling life of women, is derived, for the most part, from his own anima and is accordingly distorted.” Demetra George talks of the feeling of impotence experienced by men in the presence of a sexually powerful, autonomous and passionate woman. In fear of losing himself and his sexual prowess, it may be easier to blame, judge and ultimately exile.

But the fear of the feminine runs much deeper than that. While some men may feel threatened by a sexually powerful woman, many women are also are challenged by feminine sexuality. The sexually free, alive, passionate woman can trigger people in all sorts of ways. But why? Why is female sexuality such a taboo and contentious subject? In ‘The Question of Lay Analysis’ (1926), Freud wrote “the sexual life of an adult woman is a dark continent”. For Lilith it is a wilderness beyond the bounds of civility and social acceptability. And for modern women we may recognize that we have become disconnected from our vital essence. Whatever way we say it, female sexuality does appear to be shrouded in mystery… and dare I say, darkness.

But before I get lost in this dark continent, I would like to share some musings about female sexuality and why it threatens structures of control. It’s not about sex. It is about power! When women connect with and own their energy-physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally, they access higher vibrational frequencies of divine light and creative intelligence. They become masters of their lives, manifesting and attracting what they need for themselves, families and communities. They are intuitive and have access to a wisdom much deeper than intellect. It is a body wisdom, an instinctual “knowing”. Their energy is no longer harvested by agendas that seek to control, exploit and manipulate the precious life-giving essence for negative, selfish, destructive or ego-driven ends. When women attune to the bio-spiritual power of their bodies and learn to be queen of their realm, they are at the very centre of creative life force and have little need- or tolerance- for anti-life systems that diminish, dominate, rape, and oppress.

There is a Chinese proverb that says, “when sleeping women awake, mountains move”. We might say that when women waken to the truth of who and what they are, the cultural paradigm will swivel on its axis, dissolving the illusions of a system that peddles, or sustains, lies of human powerlessness and dependency on toxic and life degrading cultures.

Nothing is birthed or comes into existence except through the matrix of the feminine- the mother- matter- mater. If this primordial channel of spirit and matter is disrupted and co-opted, the creative well-spring of life is thwarted and is vulnerable to control and manipulation. It is no coincidence that rape is a weapon of war that targets the heart, the core, the womb of a country or community- it literally dismantles a people.

In the chart of the Notre Dame fire, the Sun was at 25 degrees Aries, conjunct Black Moon Lilith (i) of France’s natal chart at 28 degrees Aries. The Spiritual Sun illuminating the Black Moon Lilith point which according to astrologers Demetra George and Kelley Hunter represents the possible redemption and healing of the exiled feminine. Uranus, the planet of revolution and electrifying change was at 2 degrees Taurus conjunct France’s Black Moon Lilith (o) at 6 degrees Taurus. Venus and Black Moon Lilith of the fire chart at 23 degrees in Pisces squared France’s natal Saturn at 20-degree Sagittarius in a confrontation between a double aspect of the feminine- the permissible and conscious goddess of love and relationship and the rejected feminine- challenging the old patriarchal established order symbolized by Saturn.

Echoing this strong feminine alliance was asteroid Magdalene exactly conjunct Dark Moon Lilith (different to Black Moon), which is said to represent the wounded feminine in the alienation and isolation of her exile. Only recently have we seen Magdalene herself shirk her reputation as sinner and elevated to a “true and authentic evangelizer” by Pope Francis. But things move fast once a certain momentum is initiated. And things come of their time.

I would like to finish by saying that when we evoke and connect with the primordial energies… the eternal unfolding of archetypes and living myths, we really are putting the wheels in motion. By bringing these energies into ourselves, into our bodies and awakening the cells that contain these essences, we awaken them in ourselves and in the world. The gods, or essences, may be aspects of ourselves that we have yet to integrate and realise, and by connecting with the image, idea or representation of specific powers, we are awakening the goddess/god in ourselves. Then things start to happen.

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