My coven’s more or less unofficial motto (we never went through a formal process of adopting it, on the other hand nobody saw fit to argue with me about it) is Omnia vincit amor. I am a devotee of Ishtar, and its her kind of turn of phrase. Love…and battles.
My inner eleven-year-old recalls that the phrase “Love conquers all” is the parting syrupy chorus in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, a story that like so many things was much darker in the original version. According to Disney, it means that if your young romantic love for a handsome prince is deep and pure enough, and his for you, all obstacles to your imminent wedding and subsequent domestic bliss will be overcome, even if some wicked fairy has to turn into a dragon and die first. If that’s what the phrase brings to mind, I can’t blame you; Disney made its imprint on our collective psyche, and so we all think that Cinderella’s fairy godmother helped her out instead of the ghost of her dead mother.
However, that’s not what I mean by it at all.
There are two forces in the world that will break your life in two and turn it upside down, that will raze through your soul like a whirlwind, and which visit us all…male, female, young, old, rich, poor, lucky and misfortunate, no matter who we are, sooner or later, and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it. We cannot control them, no matter what illusions we may have about the matter, and to try is to invite madness. One we rightly fear, even though sometimes its ministrations bring peace and release from pain; the other we long for, though as many tears are shed in its wake as the other. Recognizing that, some try to turn that second one away…which inevitably only makes matters worse. They are both deeply necessary; together they are the engine which drives the whole of human existence, and perhaps life altogether.
One of them is Death, represented in Sumerian and Babylonian mythology as Ereshkigal, the Queen of the Underworld; the eldest of the two. The other is her smiling, charming but no less dangerous sister, Love.
Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all. Omnia vincit amor.