Purim, Dread and Desire: Honoring the Archetypal Dark Feminine
When we enter into Adar, we multiply joy!
Why is it then that as we approach Purim I feel filled with dread? Being in Jerusalem- and marking Shushan Purim, the day after other cities celebrate Purim — it’s already over for others (well over in Australia!) and it’s still lurking for me here. I am scared, even terrified. For several years, I have dreaded Purim. I haven’t been able to fully inhabit it’s deep gifts and I have been relieved when it’s over.
But now having named my dread and not denying or pushing it down, it’s already opening up to me. What I’ve learnt in recent experiences, is that sometimes underneath the things of which I am most terrified, is the things that I long for the most. When I resist it I feel pain, lethargy, deadness. When I let myself open up to it, sink into the darkness of the unknown then it opens up for me and I am nourished in ways and through channels I didn’t even know existed.
Purim is operating on many levels. Children dress up and music is played and there’s a sense of play and levity. The Scroll of Esther that we read from night and morning is full of irony. It’s proportions are massive- gold, feasts, hedonism, power displays- and hatred, plotting and the turning of tables where potential victims become oppressors.
As I write this now — I hear a din of buzzing — I literally look up and I am surrounded by swarming bees. Thousands of bees like I never see. Bees also that carry the mystery of creation- bees that carry the honey and the sting. As I am writing they move from swarming to rest all of them on the branch of a pomegranate tree. We are also bees. We carry the secret of the bee- the honey and the sting. The image of the bee searching for a flower- as I just witnessed- is used as a metaphor for seeking the divine. In addition, the bee’s sting, which the bee dies after giving, is sometimes seen as a gift where through a kind of death one has access to a greater sense of the divine.
The animals, the natural world speaks to us.
The Talmud instructs us to become intoxicated so we can’t tell the difference between Blessed is Mordechai and Cursed is Haman. I hear the rabbis inviting us to die a kind of death: to drop our security in any identity we may have. We are invited in to the void. And the void is the place that can evoke the greatest terror- the dark, unknown — but it is also the place of the greatest freedom and potential — the fertile dark, back to the cosmic womb, to the time before time, to the greatest nourishment.
This quality of transmutation that allows us the alchemy of entering the terror and revealing the ecstasy is a deep gift of the archetypal dark feminine. This is the quality of cosmic composter- the quality of the immense regenerational power of Earth — the quality that doesn’t need to defend or protect from the full force and power of life but rather can allow it all in and everything and everyone is transformed in the process.
We can all access this archetypal energy. And we can transmit it and learn it from each other.
What are we waiting for? We can have the satisfaction of letting all of life enter us. And the world needs us to show up in our fullest power.
It’s also my Hebrew birthday the day after Shushan Purim. And the dread and devastation also lurk around that somehow.
Both for Purim and for my birthday- and for all of us- the blessing is that we allow all of life to penetrate us and that in so doing we find the magical gift of the capacity to transmute and transform. This is embodying the divine and making blessings out of the messiness, sometimes devastation, and magnificence of this life.
With love and blessings ❤️