Thursday, 17 March 2011

Arbatel Experience - The Female Divine

Last week I performed the rite of Hagith; this week I continued with my personal therapy. I arrived at the session exhausted from a long day of work and had a few minutes to settle and calm down before my therapist arrived. As I was relaxing on the sofa, not doing anything but focussing on my body as it calmed down I thought back to my communion with Hagith. As I will explain in the full ritual account Hagith had shared a simple way of contacting her. And that's what I did sitting on the sofa... I opened the channel to her consciousness and allowed her force to flow freely into my sphere. Then my therapist arrived and we started the session... For a very long time I had pondered on a way to combine therapy and theurgy. Without being aware of it, suddenly I had discovered the beginning of a journey. Here is what happened.

Without a clear topic on my mind the session started to circle around my desire to form, mold and design the world around me. The pleasure I take from creating experiences for me and other people, to shape things and situations. This was starkly contrasted by my experiences when I wasn't able to follow this habit freely, e.g. meditating for several days and nights in the desert or being alone in a remote mountain forrest for a weekend. These situations presented some of my most fearful experiences in Magick - as there ceased to be a counterpart, a force or situation that presented itself as raw material as substance to be shaped. Sitting in the desert, silently, time passing by, covered in my own sweat, surrounded by sand and flies every form of resistance retreated and flinched. My hands were empty and neither echos nor images of my mind came back from the emptiness around me. I was losing myself, the boundaries that defined me, the skin of my body in the adamant silence and nothingness of time...

As I was sharing these experiences I something reminded me of the myth of Ishtar descending into the underworld to rescue her loved one: At the entrance of the underworld the gatekeeper refuses to let Ishtar in. Ishtar threatens him to break the gate and set the dead souls free to devour the living and thus unsettle the balance of the world of the living and the dead. The gatekeeper turns to Ereshkigal, the queen of the underworld, and she gives permission for Ishtar to enter, but "according to the ancient decree". This decree demands that Ishtar may pass through the seven gates of the underworld only if she sheds one element of her garment in front of each gate. And this is what Ishtar does... Once she passes through the final gate she has given up everything that defined her: 

  • Her crown - her spiritual connection
  • Her earrings - her intellectual mind
  • Her necklace - her power to speak
  • Her breastplate - her power to love
  • Her hip girdle - her power to desire
  • Her measuring rod - her power to act
  • Her breechcloth - her power to reproduce

Ishtar is naked as she the enters before the throne of the underworld. She has lost everything that represented her identity, that allowed her to shape and form and participate in the experiences of the living. She has lost all connection to live. Nothing is left but her pure Gestalt, the essence of her being, a spark represented by her naked body.

I wonder if when a larva climbs on a tree, solidifies on a branch and dies - does it know that it is giving birth to something new? Is it aware that something is waiting to be set free from underneath its skin? Is it aware that what it considers itself has done its service and has now become the prison of something even more beautiful to emerge from it?

When I was sitting in the desert I was as naked as Ishtar and as dead as a grub on a tree. I had given up all my powers to shape and connect with life.  I had  retreated into complete isolation. I was full of fear like the sky at night full of wind - no boundaries left, nothing to distinct, nothing to define what was left of me. The gates of all my body, the gates of all my mind were wide open and everything I had kept inside had disappeared. I was an empty shell, covered in sweat and by flies. I guess that's the way a larva feels when it dies?

Here is what Hagith told me in the ritual: "I am life, but love is my tool that opens everything." Loving in the sense of Hagith is the ability to radically accept things as they are. To let go of the desire to change what already is perfect in itself. This kind of divine love is the ability to not desire to manifest yourself in the realm of someone else, but to open a space for something new to emerge. 

Being able to connect with this type of "love that opens" requires me to let go of the eternal game of shaping the world in my own image. It is the Adam within me that has to die. And all the names of the plants and animals of the world need to be washed away and crumble to dust, for life to take its own shape. That is the female divine. The force that opens but doesn't confine. The force that sows the seeds of life - rather than trying to force a shape on what grows from it. 

I cannot tell you how far understanding this maybe simple truth is from who I used to be before the rite of Hagith... 

This is the female divine. The force that opens and doesn't confine. 


  1. This post was stunningly beautiful and amazingly written. I had a dream about Hagith and drew the image from my dream but had been puzzling over it ever since. (I'll post the picture on my blog sometime so you can see it) Your experience shattered all the illusions I had about the piece and opened up a level of understanding that was eluding me. Thank you so much for sharing such a meaningful experience.

  2. Thank you for your kind comment, Susanne - the female divine certainly only deserves the best... :-) Please do leave a post here once you published your picture of Hagith, would love to see it.