The following is a Jewish blog post, because religion is a big part of who I am. I may appear to be quite secular, if not entirely agnostic, and at times even Satanist on the outside. You may often hear me growling some random Deicide lyric on any given time of the day (“Satanized, crucified, feel the wrath of suicide!”). But the reality is that I feel very connected to my spiritual side, and can easily tap into the divine forces ever-present in the confines of the holy city of Jerusalem.
It is also worth mentioning that I don’t abide by any conventional label. So I am not religious. I am not secular. I am just Jewish, and we’ll leave it at that.
The story begins this past Friday morning. My mom, who is temporarily staying with me at the Chocolate Residence until my father returns from his trip to Canada, woke up early and started cooking for the Sabbath. I woke up at the blissful hour of 11:30 a.m. and joined her in the kitchen, making my famous Moroccan cooked tomato salad to the tunes of Arch Enemy blaring from my earphones. “City of the Dead” has been stuck in my head the entire week, and my roommate was blasting some sissy music that makes my ears bleed. Arch Enemy is the only band that can stop the bleeding… until another bleeding begins. More on that coming up.
After my mom and I made sure that my house smells salivation-worthy enough, we decided to march on up to the Western Wall. I slipped on my thin purple dress, accentuating my pointy hip bones and my nipple rings, powdered my nose, applied generous amounts of sunblock on my sleeve tattoo, and tossed a thin scarf around my shoulders because the Old City requires modest attire.
After a nice half-hour walk in the scorching sun and the mountain breeze, my mom and I made it to the Old City, which was swarming with tourists from all over the world, and some locals – Catholic priests, Arab merchants, Orthodox Jews, and me. We zig-zagged our way through the narrow maze of the Jewish quarter, surrounded by Jerusalemite stone, darkened by time and by pollution fumes. Little Jewish boys with tiny blond sidelocks watched us from between the rusty bars of their windows as we walked by. At the end of the maze, the central neighborhood square emerged, and with it, the renovated HaChurva Synagogue. We crossed the square, marvelling at the synagogue. A few minutes later, we were on top of the stairs leading to the Western Wall. As we walked down, the landscape of Jerusalem, the picturesque mountainous area of the West Bank with the security fence squiggling up and down the faraway hills, like heartbeat on a monitor, and then the golden dome of the Al-Aqsa mosque and the enormous Western Wall, unfolded before us like a something out of a postcard.
The spiritual elation is instantaneous, paralyzing, perfect. I find it hard to think that anybody with an ounce of a soul, standing before this breathtaking view, would experience anything less of an earth-shattering realization that this is where the Mother Goddess dwells.
My mom and I passed through security, and walked into the women’s section of the wall. Countless tiny notes with prayers to the Goddess were stuffed into the crevices of the wall. Higher up, pigeons and doves fought over spaces between the bricks with their wild wing-flapping. Other pigeons, puffed up their chest and danced around their female counterparts, attempting to impress them. The females responded by flying away.
As my mom sat down with King David’s Book of Psalms, I approached a small space between two women praying at the wall. I placed my right palm on the enormous bricks, held my face up close, and closed my eyes. The Presence made my head spin so violently, I had to place my other palm on the wall for support. I felt a rush through my system, and shivers up my spine. After five minutes of silent prayers (in my vernacular tongue, because those in the prayer books do not apply to me, and the language is too male-oriented), I swaggered my way back to my seat. My mom was still reading. I sat down beside her, and felt a sudden sharp pain in my lower abdomen and a weakness in my cervix.
You’re kidding me, I thought. I excused myself and went to the nearest bathroom, where I discovered that this was no kidding matter. I was expecting my period, but didn’t think in a million years that I would get it as I came into contact with the Wall.
I walked out of the bathroom, did a ritual washing of the hands, and made my way back to the women’s section.
The Mother Goddess has a great sense of humor, I thought. GOD! How I love Her!
Sense of humor, it may be. But now I think it couldn’t have been more appropriate. When I saw my mom was getting ready to leave just as I came back, I told her it’s a good thing we’re leaving because I just got my period. I meant that it’s a good thing because I don’t exactly carry around my cloth pads, and I had no other available menstrual products with me. But my mom thought I meant otherwise.
“That’s ok, it’s not forbidden,” she said.
“Forbidden?!” I asked, stupefied. “Of course it isn’t. That’s not what I meant at all. If anything, I think it’s holy.”
Holy blood. Sacred, pure blood. This is the renewal of the Mark of the Covenant on the walls of my uterus. The walls of my uterus within my body, my temple, within the confines of the Western Wall, in the center of the Old City of Jerusalem, where the Holy Temple once stood. How could I ever doubt that this is where I would resume my menstrual cycle? That this is where my femininity would be reborn in blood, as it does every month?
That night, after we welcomed the Sabbath with the lighting of the candles, I looked out my living room window at the rising crescent moonlight of the new month of Elul. Sharp as a dagger. As the mohel uses his knife to circumcise the Jewish male baby, and mark him with the eternal covenant of the Jewish people, the Mother Goddess uses Her moonlight dagger to mark Her Chosen Daughters upon conception.
I have never felt more blessed to be one among the Chosen Daughters.
Peace, love and Shabbat Shalom.