"Why are you afraid?" I asked him, the words sticking together strangely in my mouth, as if they weren't my own.
And they weren't. I'm not sure how it happened. Moments ago, I was clutching my chest in pain, my heart breaking from something my lover had said to me. I don't even remember what he'd said, only that we were lying next to eachother in bed, my spirit receding deep into my body, away from his hurtful words. I crumpled into a ball like a small child, sinking further and further away from my bedroom and from reality, until I found a dark little hole to hide in, in the echoing caves nestled in the back of my heart.
It was then I felt the presence of someone strong, someone much stronger than myself, stepping in. She pet my hair softly, gently whispering, "I'll take it from here if you'll let me." I whimpered my permission, eager to stay hidden in that little hole, eager to be the child protected in the dark a little longer.
There was an exchange as I felt her step in. My fearful child self was hidden away safely now. A strange tingle, a surge of electric fire, circulated throughout my body as I bid her farewell for the moment. I was no longer me; my mysterious protector took over, allowing me to feel what was happening as she observed my world through her eyes. I rose into an upright position on the bed, turning my head slowly to feel the movement. It felt heavy and delayed in this dense physical space. How delightful to be in this physical body! I smiled devilishly, feeling taller than a mountain and more dangerous than a hurricane.
Another feeling rose up in my throat: bloodlust.
For the first time in my life, I tasted blood in my mouth like it was wine. I craved violence, I craved destruction, I craved the fresh kill. And more specifically, I craved the fresh kill of my lover. My eyes were locked on his as I let this lust soak into every cell of my being. I rotated my head and neck, over and over, as if there were serpents inside of me. They were waking up, preparing to strike. I felt my eyes blacken and glisten in the night, a hint of that electric fire surely glowing behind them. My new eyes observed my lover, challenging and taunting him. I noticed the exact moment his expression shifted. He knew. He knew it was someone else. I saw fear reflecting back at me. He no longer recognized me.
And I savored it. The raw power, the indestructibility, the fear I inflicted by being in power. It was intoxicating. It was pleasurable. It was glorious. No one would ever hurt me. No one would dare take me on. Oh, but I would love it if they did...
He got out of the bed. He walked to the door, keeping his eyes on me, as if he was slowly backing away from a tiger who'd gotten out of her cage.
"Why are you afraid?" I asked him.
"I'm going downstairs..." he said in an odd tone. I tilted my head in response, like a predator curiously observing her prey.
When he left the room, I sat comfortably on the bed. I rocked and gyrated like the serpent inside of me. And as much as I wanted to describe the energy inside of me as “slightly demonic” at the time, I was not afraid. Never had I felt so safe, so protected. When the feeling subsided, I sank back into my bed. I was comfortable and warm in my blanket. The bloodlust was gone. The raw power and destruction was gone. I felt like a child, yawning and smiling, satisfied by the bedtime story my mother had read to me.
My lover told me later that he saw someone else in me in those moments. But it wasn’t until months after we broke up, after he’d cheated on me, after I watched him fall in love with someone else, that I understood what had happened.
Many months later, I dreamt of a gathering of people in my childhood home. A friend of mine from LA was there, someone dear to me who was spiritually tied to me in the Dreamtime. I was suddenly outside, looking towards the heavy gray sky. A single black wing fell from the clouds, dense and slow. It landed on the roof of my home. A filter of power and destruction instantly enveloped the earth, and yet I wasn't afraid. The entire world became heavy, deliberate and still, and I jerked awake.
I called my friend to tell him about my dream.
"We did an invocation of the goddess Kali here in LA last night," he told me. "She’s been called The Black One, which would explain the black wing. It sounds like you were tuned into it, too.”
I buried myself in research. I was terrified by what I found. Kali, the Dark Mother, The Black One. A sword in one hand, a severed head in another, a string of skulls for a necklace, and a skirt made of human hands. I recognized the energy from the strange night with my lover. The bloodlust, the violence, the horrifying protector. I got chills thinking of her, knowing our connection, feeling the truth of it. Had she chosen me? Why? Had I chosen her? Why?
I dreamt of her for many nights. In one such dream, she appeared as a giant, burning cities to the ground and destroying everything in sight. She wore a beautiful blood-red dress with edges in glittering gold. When she approached me, I cowered in fear. Seeing my fear, she crouched down to me.
“No, no,” she cooed softly. “You have nothing to fear. I am here to serve you.”
She appeared to me many times, building a relationship with me. Not based on hierarchies, not as a goddess to a mere human, but as a team. As mother and daughter. As sisters. As lovers. As reflections of one another. She taught me the power of the cycle of destruction and creation, of death and rebirth. She showed me what it looked like to fiercely protect myself, to fiercely love myself, and how to extend that protection and love to others. We've shared in that power together for years now.
Yes, she is dark, but so am I.
She accompanies me through the depths of my shadows.
She is the protector of women.
She is the fiercest mother of children.
She is the insatiable, uncontrollable lover.
She is the mistress of destructive fate.
She is karmic justice in its least subtle form.
She is the reason I thrive in chaos.
She is pure fire, sparking my rebirth and creativity in every moment.
She is the dancing serpent, rising towards heaven with her darkened eyes and lolling tongue.
She is why I revel in the moments my life crumbles into ash and dust.
She is burning cities and blooming gardens.
She is me.
And she is you, too, my beloved Wild One.