Honeyed cream, immortelle, orris root, French lavender, and amber incense.
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In some interpretations, her shield bears the eagle of dominion, in others, it is emblazoned with the symbol of the planet Venus. The sovereignty of love, the protection and succor of a benevolent mother-queen: white patchouli and helichrysum with blackcurrant, white sage, praline, vetiver, and orris root.
The ringing of a gong seizes your attention, and you follow the sound to the next stage. It is empty, devoid of any backdrop, and the platform is dark. A haze blankets your vision, like heat radiating off of the desert floor. You hear the sound of hands clapping a steady rhythm, and within moments, the haze begins to coalesce into the forms of a troupe of ghostly women, clad in linen shifts. Their wraithlike hands pluck at the strings of translucent zithers and harps, shake spectral sistrums, and their pallid lips blow upon ethereal flutes. The music that they play is discordant, otherworldly, and seems to be at once a funeral dirge and a paean to life: a triumphant lamentation. As the sound swells, you hear the beating of wings in the distance, and a keen, a siren’s ululation, joins the haunting melody. As the song reaches its eerie crescendo, a beautiful winged woman alights on the stage, summoned by the phantom song. Her skin is dusky brown, and the vigor of her youthful body seems in conflict with the depth of grief reflected in her eyes. Her wings spread out behind her in morbid majesty, and she takes flight. Her dance is, itself, a visible act of mourning, and is almost sensual in its sorrow.
Frankincense, hyssop, hibiscus, river reeds, orris root, palm frond, and olibanum.
The yellowed country records containing her testimony and that of her accusers were so damnably suggestive of things beyond human experience – and the descriptions of the darting little furry object which served as her familiar were so painfully realistic despite their incredible details.
That object – no larger than a good-sized rat and quaintly called by the townspeople “Brown Jenkin – seemed to have been the fruit of a remarkable case of sympathetic herd-delusion, for in 1692 no less than eleven persons had testified to glimpsing it. There were recent rumours, too, with a baffling and disconcerting amount of agreement. Witnesses said it had long hair and the shape of a rat, but that its sharp-toothed, bearded face was evilly human while its paws were like tiny human hands. It took messages betwixt old Keziah and the devil, and was nursed on the witch’s blood, which it sucked like a vampire. Its voice was a kind of loathsome titter, and it could speak all languages. Of all the bizarre monstrosities in Gilman’s dreams, nothing filled him with greater panic and nausea than this blasphemous and diminutive hybrid, whose image flitted across his vision in a form a thousandfold more hateful than anything his waking mind had deduced from the ancient records and the modern whispers.
A small, furry, sharp-toothed scent that will nuzzle you curiously in the black hours before dawn: dusty white sandalwood and orris root, dry coconut husk, creeping musk, and the residue of ceremonial incense.
I took this photo of Lilith a few days ago. I told her that it looks like her and Pickle are reenacting Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam, and I show her a pic. She asks what’s going on in it, so I explain the image, and she says… “Well, that’s friggin sexist. It’s stupid to say that boys were created first and to make a whole painting about it. Plus there’s no girls in the photo, and not everyone has boy or girl parts. It’s sexist, and I hate it.”
That was a much, much stronger reaction than I expected, but good on you, kid. Burn the patriarchy down.
And Elohim created Adam in His Image, in the Image of God He created him; male and female He created them. The first woman, created with Adam, in all her darkness and all her light: sweet black pomegranate, French lavender, oakmoss, ti leaf, bakhoor oudh incense, and black fig.