This is the next entry in my ongoing series highlighting my fellow women authors and artists who grace the pages of the recently released Women of Babalon- A Howling of Women’s Voices. This piece is by Lou Hotchkiss Knives who so graciously accepted my call to continue howling about love.
I remember my first Summer of Sorcery. It was back in the 1990s, and I was in my late teens; sixteen, maybe seventeen. I remember the long, quiet days of June, glorious and tranquil, pregnant with the promise of the coming Solstice. That Summer, I burned. I was consumed. I burned with Love, deliciously, anxiously, painfully. Feverish like a woman whose lover is late for a long-awaited rendezvous, languishing with unexpressed desire, restless yet fully receptive, I burned and waited. I cannot remember the exact moment it started. But something in the warm, still air was stirring at my soul, filling it with an intoxicating longing for something I could not name, nor picture, but which I knew lay close, in wait, like a Beast hiding in the long grass, watching my every move, playing with my heart and relishing my sweet torment. I was in Love, yet I knew not my Beloved.
For long afternoons I lay, waiting, sighing and dreaming the hours away under the big Catalpa tree, watching the sun beams as they fell through the leaves, gilding the moss and the grass, their light surreal, glorious and full of promises. My Beloved was calling to me in the peaceful cooing of the turtle doves, on mornings jeweled with sparkling dew, when the rapidly-rising heat was bathing the garden in a haze of breath-taking Beauty. It was the holidays, which in France stretch for eight long weeks, from the end of June to the last golden days of August. With plenty of time on my hands, and a love-sick soul awaiting deliverance, I waited. My Beloved, it seemed, was not from this World. Or was he ? No words or images could define my yearning or help me make sense of it. I understood, confusedly, that I had to let go of expectations and open my heart with the same abandonment some put in opening their legs. I was a betrothed, a Virgin, a Bride-to-be. But where was my bridegroom ?… THERE came a day at summer’s full Entirely for me I thought that such were for the saints, Where revelations be… (Emily Dickinson)
Finally, after days and nights of longing, the Day arrived. It was noon. Lying on the burning tiles of the patio, hands tucked behind my head, I was gazing at the perfect azure above, enjoying the heat of the sun on my skin and the play of the breeze in my clothes. Not a cloud, just infinite, flawless cerulean blue. Then it happened. Stretching from each corner of the vast heavens, a face appeared before my eyes. Genderless, almost featureless, gigantic like that of a Titan, it bent the whole sky tenderly towards me as if to take a better look. Our eyes met and locked.
What happened next I cannot describe nor recall in any consistent time order, but it felt like this… I became aware, acutely, both of the insignificance of my earthly life, and of its unique, transient yet somewhat eternal value. I understood that every Life that ever was and would ever be, no matter how big or small, could not claim superiority nor inferiority, for all mattered, yet nothing did matter. An extraordinary feeling of awe filled my whole being as I felt, beneath me, the living Planet rolling through the vast Universe, a Dancer whose enormous shoulders carried me in a round dance around the Sun, one movement amidst the eternal ballet of the stars and galaxies. And still the Face was looking at me with ineffable Love, and my soul responded by radiating affection with every particle of its being.
How long did I lay there, enthralled, annihilated with joy? Half an hour, an hour, more? When I finally got up, and the face softly dissolved back into the pure Summer sky, I knew my longing had not been in vain. I was changed, transformed. Nothing would ever be the same again. I had become a Witch, I had become a Bride. My eyes had opened to the enchantment of the World, and my heart had been deflowered by the ecstatic Revelation of Divine Love. For years I told no-one. I knew I would never forget that first Summer of Sorcery.
Lou Hotchkiss Knives : is a teacher and a translator by day, a punk singer by night and a Witch whatever the weather, she is a devotee of Babalon living in Devon, UK. She is one of the contributors to “Women of Babalon“, just released by BlackMoon Publishings and the squealer of witchy Riot Grrrl punk quatuor Husbands N Knives.