They called her a Dark Goddess, but we had heard that to look upon this Witch-Prophet was to be blinded by a many-sunned system of red planets and blazing comets born of rubies and rage.
Yes, we had heard of Her, my sisters and I, but we did not go looking for Her until we had no choice, until the powers-that-be were verging on a war that would carve out the best parts of humanity and replace them with greater greed and ego-mad dominance.
We waited to seek out our savior until we knew, with the whole of our unruined hearts we knew, She was the only one who could bring about the end of their days.
Our bare feet waded through lakes of fire, swamps so polluted with the waste of production they ignited on warmer days, and we collected others as we marched. We were a howling army of mothers holding babies and weeping wise men.
We were a tribe of warrior women whose lips dripped with a certain blood-lust so bitter it burned the ground, and we were a flock of wide-winged angels singing mournful, punk-rock anthems alongside holy, hopeful hymns.
She was not the whore they had warned us about in the churches of our childhoods.
The red-hooded Prophetess was blessing the infertile soil when we found Her, chanting primal feminine spells long forgotten, bleeding on the ground, and beckoning the darkest Goddesses to join Her in the awakening.
She carried a lantern she had kept burning for thousands of years, a soul-warming symbol of our radical hope for a healed world, and her animal familiar stood beside her.
Her beast did not have seven-heads as their revelations had foretold; it was a fearsome, long-fanged wolf with blue-black eyes and patchy grey fur.
The beast was marked, as they said, tattooed in its bare places with verses of women’s ire and tortured poets’ anguish.
Together, the Prophetess and Her beast were a symbol of the righteous rage in us all, and, when She stood before with us with Her majestic creature at Her side, we knew our journey had been worth every growl in the belly, nighttime shiver, and festering blister.
We knew the over-long pilgrimage had been necessary, for the Dark Goddess is never encountered without sacrifice.
We begged Her to gift us with certainty, to promise us all would be well, and to tell each of us our fortunes so we could return to the wounded world with direction.
Some of us fell to our knees in worship of nothing more than holy hope, and others wept with the knowing that our work was not finished.
The Witch made no sound until the red sun sank below the tree-line and Her patient congregation was softly crooning old ballads of protest and redemption.
Her wolf howled mournfully with us, sending our words moonward and so far into the past the ghosts of burned healers arose from the ground beneath our feet, so far into the future the crystal children born only because we took a stand descended from the ether.
The Prophetess spoke to Her immense, terrestrial and celestial hoard then, her words a rhythmic spoken word poem that will echo within the bounds of my soul until I reincarnate no longer.
She raised a scarred hand and bid us be quiet, and, aside from the intermittent whimpers at the bone-rattling truth of Her divination, we were stone-still and hushed to silence.
The resonance of Her voice made the trees bend back and the Earth quiver, and I saw visions of wildfire overtaking the land in the black mirror eyes of Her beast glow like punctuation during every potent, pregnant pause.
“I know why you’ve come to my desolate wild, you vagrant visionaries, you hot-heads, you freaks.
I know why you’re here, and I know what you seek in what little scatter-brained, rage-filled wisdom I still have to share.
I could tell you of the awakening, the after-battle calm that will follow a needless, surging war between the overlooked soul and misunderstood spirit.
I could tell you of the beauteous yet-to-come where children tend to the Earth like skillful stewards, gender means little, lands have been returned to the indigenous peoples, reparations have been paid, and compassionate equality is the rule of law.
I could tell you of a collective unity that will be birthed and parented from good intentions and steadfast morals alone, and I could weep with you while you recount my story as it was drafted in their unholiest books.
But I will not.
I will not grow tired of many-armed spell-casting and clenched-teeth growling.
I will not sit back and watch while mothers rock their bullet-riddled babes, and I will not quiver at the feet of the privileged and pout at their institutionalized racism and protected, gold-backed prejudice.
I will not shake my head when I read news of oil-choked creatures and skies streaked black with chemicals.
I will not click my tongue and move on with feigned grace when I can hear the Mother bellowing out war-cries from below, and I will not teach you, my wide-eyed innocent ones, to tread softly on the egg-shell fragility of these feckless, ill-fated crumbling foundations.
Go home, and walk hard, children, for this is the end of their days.
Go home singing with voices so deafening they have no choice but to listen.
Go home and out-vote them, out-protest them, and out-dance them.
Their money won’t stand against your art. You are wolf-mothers and wild men.
You are demons to their false, angelic pretenses of charity and protection. You are the far-seers and the rain-makers, and this world is yours.
Go and take it back with your bare hands and claw so deeply into corruption you can feel its black-tar heart’s feeble beat in your palm.
Take back the land and pray for preservation.
Take back abundance as you know it to be and feed the babes starving at their mother’s breasts.
Find your cause and rise against, my children, for the doomsday clock is ticking so loudly now that the golden doors of hidden banks are shaking open.
Get angry. Get moving. Waste no more time here with me wishing for a quick and flaming solution; that is their way, not ours.
Stop looking to the sky for a great fireball to smote the mad ones and leave you be. This is not in the cards, and I am no diamond-bright oracle or pink-glittery savior.
I am the crucible boiling down the steel out of which a million-bladed sword will be forged.
I am the raging prophet they tore apart to suit their needs, and you are my hands, my tongue, and my red-hot, still-pulsing guts.
You cannot birth anything new without making room, raucous ones, so do not mistake this prophecy for a gleaming grace that requires no work.
Clear the fields, do it loudly, and urge others to do the same.
My beast and I will be howling at your sides, for this is the Armageddon I foretold so long ago, this is the death rattle of sustained injustice, and this is the end of days ruled by the heavy-hands of individualistic and uninitiated masculine minds.
Do not spiral dance in joy just yet, my loves, lest your anger spoil and rot you from the inside out.
Light your lanterns, and walk with me.
We’ll go to the cities now to bleed on the steps of government buildings.
Walk with me. Let us vote with our voices and our rage. Walk with me now, for we are doing no good standing here in the forest depths and wishing for a better world.
Let’s spit on the ground, and tell them they can’t talk to us like that. My beast is snarling, and I am blood-thirsty.
And march we did, powered by her holy truth and a renewed faith in no one but ourselves.
We did not wander; we sped with a purposed direction, and our march was a many-bodied prayer to the primal feminine, to the darkest Goddess in us all.
We were mother-ire embodied, and we were rising.
~From “Fire Verses” in The Holy Wild: A Heathen Bible for the Untamed Woman, New World Library 2018