Spider Bellies and Black Hole Suns: Summer’s Shadow Lessons from the Wild Feminine Dark.



Pour yourself something stronger than that so-sweet, angel’s blood you usually drink.

You’ll need an infusion of crone-courage to hear what I’m about to tell you, my love, for these words are neither the nostalgic memories of a freckled-face Witchling, nor the fluff-filled dream-visions of a pure-hearted Priestess. Drink up and get out, or drink up and kiss your pink-glittery innocence goodbye.

I have the Superunknown album on over-scratched vinyl, and our deceased Lord of Song will honor us with a sultry soundtrack to my gruesome tale. He would have wanted it that way, I think, so settle in before the bitter lyrics to Let Me Drown make me rethink the compassion of our conversation.

I must begin by telling you I was wrong. I told you the wild-eyed Primal Feminine lies dormant during the Summer months and wakes as the veil thins in Autumn. I told you the strong Sun-Moon keeps us safe from our long-nailed, sharp-witted shadows, and I told you to spend these warmer days reveling in my open-legged garden of delights. Lover, I was mistaken!

Last night, just as the red sun sank below the blooming treetops, I ran into the woods to take communion with river-water and wild strawberries, to sing tortured songs in memoriam of the golden-voiced creator who has left us, when I saw the Summer’s Primal Feminine Dark embodied in the fur-coated, eight-armed skin of the Spider Woman.

She dripped venom from her crystalline fangs and bid me join Her in Her cosmic web. She showed me the fertile black of her womb-belly and whisper-hissed a command that made me shudder, made me repent of all my sins against my Creatrix in a single breath, and made me — nay, forced me with eight fearsome hands — to get on my knees and beg forgiveness from the bloody-tongued demoness of the Holy Wild.

Are you still with me, pure heart? Have another drink and lean in so close you can smell the unwashed stink of Her; it’s still on my neck where She licked away the thick paint that kept me palatable to the beige-wearing, straight-laced ones with perfect hair and judgmental brows.

Her earthen musk is still on my wrists and my ankles where She spat her sticky web in long lines and suspended me upside down between two trees like a willing, blood-filled sacrifice to the righteously raging Feminine in us all.

If I’m being honest, I was grateful for the stillness. The haunted forest appeared more beauteous with its top-side down, and truth be told, I remembered who I was then while I watched that stalwart creature spittle-spin majestic masterpieces out of nothing. I don’t know how long I hung there, drifting in and out of consciousness to my own pulse beating between my ears and pondering the muse.

I don’t know how long she took to decide my fate, for I was sure she meant to drink me dry and send my soul soaring into the blessed ether from whence it came.

Oh, my precious! You’re shaking! Alas, I fear I cannot stop telling you of this nightmare I lived last night lest you make the same mistake as me and forget that Her eight eyes are always on you, no matter how bright the sun or how sweet-smelling the air. Perk up your ears for, indeed, we have fallen on black days.

Don’t let the reactive, soft-bodied heathen in you obscure the bony wolf-woman for too long lest she demand to be seen at the most inopportune times and remind you the wheel is ever-turning.

My suspension was a liminal space between life and death, and I saw the great mysteries reveal themselves in the Spider Woman’s busy work. I saw reflections of babes born and rock stars die in the black mirror of Her belly, and I saw the wild magick behind this so-perfect, so-flawed web in which we all live.

She spun the matrix while I watched, my love, and, this may be hard to understand, but I must tell you there was such comfort in it. The late Spring wind rocked my web like a cradle, and it was as if I was watching my grandmother’s ghost bake cookies, not a monstrous dark Goddess weave worlds, bind souls, and reap death.

t was as if I could see myself perfectly strung in the balance of it all, crafting and channeling and creating in such a way that I am at once a heavy-handed, impactful something and a completely ineffectual nothing.

I saw you there too, innocent one. I saw you dancing about as the silk-robed, antler-crowned faery-beauty you are, and I saw your eyes wet with the immense tragedy of this wounded world.

I don’t mean to condescend when I tell you to keep your eyes open wide to the cyclical nature of it all, keep a room open in your heart for the darkness to sit from time to time lest it shock you into oblivion when it comes, and trust that the holy Creatrix may have a grander scheme in mind, a plan that extends eons beyond your impermanent anguish.

Who are you, Priestess? Who are you not to hold steadfast to that silken bit of web she built for you? Who are any of us if not light-and-shadow cells vibrating in the collective, cosmic heart?

While I stared into the Spider Woman’s many-eyes, I saw every life I’ve ever lived, every life I’m meant to live, and I saw the perfect balance of will and fate that keeps Her web-matrix alive and nourished equally by our joy and our tears.

I woke this grey morning safe in my bed with the memory of my nightmare’s final epiphany fresh in my mind, and I knew that if I did nothing else before dusk, I must tell you how much I love you. I must teach you Her lessons, and I must invite you, the light to my dark, over for a necessary visit and glass of cheap whiskey.

I see you’ve finished your drink, and Black Hole Sun is about to end with a mournful beckoning as always, so take both my hands in yours and listen close: These days we live now are the building blocks of a future so brightly lit by artistry and liberation, so intensely brilliant in its communal heart-born compassion, that we cannot give up.

Our bare feet fall now on the pivotal bridge-lines, the strongest silken pillar-threads in Her web, and I want to keep walking with you. I want to see where these small lives of ours are leading, and then I want, on my divinely mandated deathbed, to see Her intergalactic web extending throughout the cosmos, intersecting and affecting all with a many-squared grace impossible to see with human eyes.

Keep walking with me, my love. Keep feeling with your whole body. Keep casting spells with your words and your art. Keep trusting it will all be worth it, and keep an ear out for the chirp of the Crone Spider. We are headed straight into the thousand-sunned, homespun super-unknown, and it’s a short line we walk. My journey wouldn’t be the same without you, so won’t you come? My shadow is nothing without your light.

Won’t you come?

Won’t you come?


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Danielle Dulsky

Danielle Dulsky

Danielle Dulsky is a heathen visionary, Aquarian mischief-maker, and word-witch. Author of 'Seasons of Moon and Flame: The Wild Dreamer’s Epic Journey of Becoming', 'The Holy Wild: A Heathen Bible for the Untamed Woman' and 'Woman Most Wild' (New World Library 2020, 2018, 2017), Danielle teaches internationally and has facilitated embodiment trainings, wild circles, communal spell-work, and seasonal rituals since 2007. She is the founder of The Hag School and the lead teacher for the school’s Flame-Tender Facilitator Training and online coven, The Hag Ways Collective, an E-RYT 500 and YACEP, a Fire-Keeper for Ord Brighideach, and a dedicant to Irish-Celtic spirituality. She believes in the power of wild collectives and sudden circles of curious dreamers, cunning witches, and rebellious artists as well as the importance of ancestral healing, embodiment, and animism in fracturing the longstanding systems supporting environmental unconsciousness and social injustice. Parent to two beloved wildings and partner to a potter, Danielle fills her world with nature, family, art-making, poetry, and intentional awe.
Danielle Dulsky
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