Lament of a Jezebel in June: Dark Night of the Painted Woman.
This, my love, is the Summer of the soul-inspired purge.
There will be nights of pure hedonism, when the wine stains your lips and you open your legs to the Full Moon. There will be nights when the electric pulse in your Witch’s heart could give pause to the Earth’s rotation.
Long days of revelry will be followed by evenings of sacred sexual union, and you will know your wild worth as a woman of this world. But then, my Sister, then there will be nights when there is no salve thick enough to stop the bleeding.
Your mascara will line your cheeks in thick, black rivulets, the war paint of the lonely Priestess. There will be nights when the Dark Goddess has carved out a gaping void in your ego that aches in rhythm with your throbbing heart-drum.
I know the bone-deep sting of Summer’s pain, so much greater than a Winter wound, for it boils and rots under the hot sun; it is lit so brightly by the white teeth of the undisturbed, and there is no shadow large enough to hide it from the all-seeing, golden orb.
On these nights, Woman, I know our language falls short in its healing power, but I will share with you the words of a denigrated queen condemned to die.
The echo of Her last night is fresh in my mind as her-story not history, and She has shown me how to survive the dark night of the Witch’s soul.
I ask you to forget what they told you about Her, this Jezebel, for there was no shame in Her wild woman spirituality.
You may have sat on the same cold chair I did as a girl, asked to give color to the scene of Her death like you would a lighthearted fantasy, the death of Jezebel just one of many in the twisted black-and-white lined pages of a Sunday school coloring book.
I scribbled Her dress red that day, and I filled in jewelry for which no lines were given. There is magick in this Woman, I thought, and She was hated for Her power.
Later in my life, when I needed Her most, I met Her in a dream, in a tent as red as the dress I had given Her, but She was dressed in blue on this Solstice night.
At first, I thought She was as painted as they say, cheeks ruddy and eyes caked with purple, but Her blush was blood and Her shadow a swollen bruise. She wore no crown, and Her hair was undone.
This Jezebel sat on no throne when I found Her, and there was no pride in the shape of Her shoulders.
Illuminating Her fallen face was a single candle on Her altar built for a God they did not understand, and the fire made Her still-wet tears sparkle brighter than the many-colored jewels around Her neck.
She lay on the floor, this defiled queen, curled into fetal position at the foot of a golden statue of Baal.
They are calling me a whore she spoke into the dirt. They will kill me in the morning for certain. She struggled to rise — I wanted to help Her — then sank back to the ground in a heap of sapphire silk.
She pulled a ring off Her finger and tossed it in my direction. I am wicked in their eyes because I have an opinion. I am unclean because I will not bow to the will of men, and I am a sinner because their god is not my god.
She pulled heavy beads from Her neck, and they got caught in Her hair; She hissed like a cat, tearing Her hair from its roots, and flung the necklace behind Her.
They know nothing of my God! Jezebel growled. Who are they to tell me of divinity when they treat a woman this way, locking her away like a shamed beast? Who are they to call themselves righteous?
She stood then, and I shrank back from the white-hot flames in Her eyes.
They raise their hands to me, expecting me to give up all that I know to be true, all that I am, because they will it to be so. They try to sway me with fear, with threats, with torture.
She slid Her hand down Her arm, letting all Her bracelets clang to the ground. They ask me to admit I am immoral and godless.
She began unwrapping Her body, letting the blue fabric fall ceremoniously into the dirt, a bare-breasted declaration of a wild woman’s worth. I will not admit to being anything less than a She-God in my own right.
I fell to my knees then, just as the guards came into the tent with their phallic blades. I wept at the beauty of a woman who would rather face Her own death than bow to a god who was not Her own, and I wept at my own knowledge of Her undignified demise.
She saw me at that moment, Her beaten face looking through my skin and deep into my own wounds. She saw me as no one else has seen me, and I saw a woman undeserving of the slut-shame with which Her memory would long be laden.
The guards bade Her to dress, though their faces did not match their words, and She spat on their feet. This Priestess was painted with the shades of violence, but the passion of sex and spirit remained unruined and alive in Her wild womb. She started cackling like a Witch gone mad then, and I worried for Her sanity until She spoke:
They call me a fallen woman she managed behind the laughter. And they plan to push me from a window! The guards exchanged glances then, and I remembered my little girl hands shading the stones on the floor that would give ground to the pending regicide. Am I not already fallen?
The men were silent. She snatched a blade from Her altar and held it to Her throat. And what if I will not give you the pleasure? What if you do not deserve the honor?
I swallowed, opening my mouth to stop Her, but it was too late.
There was no glory in it when Her naked body fell to the ground, and I moved to cradle Her head in my lap while She bled.
The last words of Jezebel were not ones of decadence or hedonism; they were words of a wise woman healer, and they are the words I cling to when all has been lost, when I no longer remember who I am, when the betrayal has been too great and hope too sparse.
Under coughed blood and among the chaos that followed Her suicide, the Queen said this:
You are Woman, and in their eyes your wildness is unholy. When they cannot control you, they will tell you of your weakness and worthlessness. To please them, you must reject the gifts you have been given, shun your sexuality, and scorn your own spiritual integrity.
Know they have an agenda, Woman, and you wield the weapon that will shake their power to its foundations. Do not be bothered when they call you a whore, as they have called me, for they have not been scorched as you have been scorched, by walking on the hot coals of your wounds in bare feet.
They do not know you as I know you, as Fire-Walker. They do not know you, and yet they will condemn your soul’s miraculous beauty. Woman, they do not know you, but let their words fuel your transformation. When you find yourself in heated, heavy darkness, know that the rebirth is coming.
Her eyes closed, and the Queen whispered this with finality: All is coming.
I woke up then, and I could still see Her in my bedroom. I woke up knowing that the dark night of your soul is like fertile womb-water, my love. I am Jezebel, and you are too. Her story is our story, and we have all been shamed for being who we are.
We have all been labeled in the name of patriarchy’s grip, and we have all been called to rock the system to the ground with our words and our wildness. I will not go quietly into the night, nor did She, nor will you.
Raise your voices to the wind now, Witch, for we stand on the precipice of a Divine Feminine awakening led by Jezebels and Magdalenes. Burn the coloring books that glorify the deaths of women who would not stand down, and let us color their lives with magenta vindication and cerulean honor.
Raise your red hood, Woman, and crawl out of your dark night’s cave with a reborn sense of self.
You are Maiden, Mother, and Crone, and you will birth a new world from your passion and your pain. Surrender to your part in the awakening, and do not let their words weaken you. This Summer of soul-inspired transformation, you will be reborn as the one who was feared.
Rise up and let them call you a troublemaker. Stir Cerridwyn’s cauldron of change and shake the system. Together we go to battle for those whose arms have been broken too many times to hold a sword.
“What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?” ~ 2 Kings 9:22 KJV
Danielle Dulsky is a longtime activist for wild woman spirituality and the divine feminine’s return. She is the author of the soon-to-be published Woman Most Wild: Liberating the Witch Within (coming May 2017, publisher New World Library) and is on a mission to inspire women to be fearless creators of their sacred work. She holds the highest designation from Yoga Alliance as an E-RYT 500, is the founder of the fully accredited Living Mandala Yoga teacher training programs, and believes in holistic healing for the sensual, creative, and spiritual self. Her work is grounded in holding space for women to harvest their inner Priestess through personally relevant movement alchemy, intuitive artistic practice, and divine feminine spirituality. Danielle leads women circles, Witchcraft workshops, energy healing trainings, and basic (200-hour) and advanced (300-hour) Yoga teacher trainings in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. She believes that all women alive today are meant to be instrumental in supporting positive social transformation through wild woman spirituality, reclamation of the name Witch, and the magick of sisterhood. You could contact her via email.