Tevet 2018: Blame Everything On Patriarchy

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You’ve been a year 2017. I send you off on the wings of Shekinah (Jewish name for feminine aspect of god) via the wings of a tawny owl. Off you go, into the frost of winter. You aren’t my year (the Jewish year follows the moon and began in September) but you are a placement of time many of us have been forced to acknowledge.

In many ways 2017 was the archetype of patriarchy we all want to see go. Bye bye buddy.

In Celtic tradition (I’ve got that ancestry on my pop’s side) owl, calilleach-oidhche represents a wisdom that turns disadvantage into advantage. The owl uses night to her advantage, a time many have come to fear during patriarchies rise. We too are using what we have been told to fear, to our advantage.

We’ve been told to be quiet but we’re being loud, fierce in our love. More than anything I am inspired by the uproar and force of movements to transform racism and our relationship with earth, movements based on dreaming alive what’s born in our imaginations, that our ancestors and future generations are whispering to us. Movements based on truth telling of horrors to claim a stake on love, justice and healing. I have eternal gratitude to the black, femme, indigenous, trans, fat and disabled people who are the core of our movements. Thank you.

The snake teaches us that our soul dies and is reborn within our lifetimes. It is a sexual energy that literally brings us alive and this energy also goes with us to death. As awful as things have been this year, on Turtle Island (North America) many of our literal ancestors have survived and thrived through intense horror. Some of my literal ancestors have also been the agents of destruction. I feel my work in the world is to transmute the legacy of destruction and activate the legacy of resistance and resilience.

The snake is a symbol of sexual power and the beginning of life in many traditions. Like DNA, the snake is life. Snakes have gotten demonized because of patriarchy. Just think about the snake in the Garden of Eden. That was an attempt to bring down the snake goddess and matriarchal goddess worship. Welp, it worked for many years but now we are taking it all down now!!!

One interpretation from the end of the Sefer Yetzirah (the precursor to the kabbalah, a Jewish mystical text) is that planet earth hangs from a serpent. 4,500 years ago the pole star was in Draco’s tail. The Roman myth of this constellation is that Minerva, goddess of wisdom and strategic warfare battled this serpent and threw him into the sky. Draco is the constellation by the north pole, this is perhaps the constellation from which we hang. I love this mythology of the earth hanging from a serpent whose been thrown to the sky by a warrior goddess.

These are my thoughts behind the symbology of the Moons 2018 image:

The hands: The hands on the dagger are in positions some of us use during sex. When we receive sexual pleasure we have an opportunity to invoke the divine. Divinity meaning whatever is significant to you personally. What happens when we create space for the divine to be present during pleasures? We cross our fingers as an invocation for luck, good things. What we embody with our hands we symbolically and metaphorically make manifest in the world.

The moons: New moons and full moons, each in opposite bodies. Moon bodies in serpent bodies. Symbolizing the light in the dark and the dark in the light. Life and death in each other, cycling, wrapped up in each other. Following the cycle of the cold rock in the sky body to fully experience the rapture and pain of our own earth bodies.

Saturn: Manifesting with responsibility, honoring the integrity of our dreams and our destiny, our daily routines, the work of taking steps, being patience, and seeing the bigger picture over small indulgences, details.

The sword: Using our fire, our passion to draw boundaries. Creating boundaries by becoming more and more of ourselves, more embodied in our creative, sexual energy. Cutting through bullshit. The best boundaries come from being ourselves, unapologetically. If you give zero fucks, even if you get fucked with, you still have yourself, your sense of connection to who you are.

The tongues: Sensuality, pleasure, made in the shape of a vulva. Intention in how we come together, join with each other in our creative/sexual desires and dreams. Tasting all of what life has to offer.

The serpent/draco/snake creatures: wrapping themselves around the sword in a figure eight, the mark of eternity. We touch eternity when our boundaries are clear.

The whole shebang: The Caduceus-looking image of this whole piece is actually a reference to an ancient Sumerian goddess, Ningishzida (not everyone agrees she is a goddess, some think she was a god) a deity of plant life and the underworld. When beings (plants) die they go to Ningishzida’s underworld. As parts of us die, they go to a place protected by a goddess who transforms the dead into new life. Many Kabbalists (Jewish mystics) speak of the words of the torah (bible) being black fire and the space in between the letters as being white fire. This image is painted in black and white to represent the fire visible and the fire inside, that which is not visible.

 Taking in 2018 like a priestess. 

Taking in 2018 like a priestess. 

 

This has been an extremely difficult year for me personally as I know it has been for many. I’ve moved a handful of times, once cross country as a single person, once because of a fire in my home and once because of a terrible mold problem that was affecting me neurologically and physically. I’ve supported my chosen family and a child through an extremely scary abuse situation, been severely depressed, participated in and ended a dysfunctional relationship and struggled with chronic health issues.

I’ve also accomplished things that I never thought were possible. (I know this is true for many of you too. And honestly, going through the hard stuff is a huge accomplishment as well.) Things I never even dreamed about. I’m directing and producing a film about queers and the Jewish ritual of water immersion, Queer Mikveh Project. I went to Toronto this past month to shoot for it. I had a residency and show in Oakland at CTRL+SHFT before I left California. I have reconciled that not all my childhood dreams will come true but the dreams of my soul are unfolding in real time. I have embraced that at almost 40, I am single and am going to try and get pregnant this year. I have worked to support the acknowledgement of an ancient Ohlone (name given to indigenous people of the SF Bay Area by Europeans) and Lisjan site (and taught my “soulmate” kid friend who I homeschooled about it and she created the most awesome zine about it ever!). I’ve been rejected by grants and artist residencies that I put my heart into. I’ve felt a depth of gratitude for friends, family, my resilience, liberation movements and community. And, I am committed to loving myself as I am, with more dedication than ever before.

This year I commit to and continue to commit to:

Being authentic in all aspects of my life.

Being vocal about injustice and taking action in my community, nationally, and internationally.

Having more fun and letting my freak flag fly!

Standing beside Palestinians in their self-determination.

Uplifting, listening to and supporting Indigenous people of Turtle Island to receive reparations.

Loving my earth body and our Gaia body. Listening to our lullabies and tantrums.

Expressing my gifts and sharing them with the world.

Reading more books by black feminists and following their lead.

Supporting and aligning with those on the inside in the fight to abolish prisons.

Keeping a budget.

Writing more and making more art.

Learning more about Jewish rituals around death.

Teaching.

Finishing my second deck (which I have begun!)

Watching more T.V. and movies (I really need to do this!)

Spending time with people I love.

What do you commit to?

How can I support you in your commitments?

Anything you want to brag to me about?