When a serpent dragon wakes, beware! In the early hours of August 24, I woke to the slam of an earthquake which rocked the house and then kept going, increasing in intensity, for a full 45 seconds. Outside the sky lit up, confusing my sleep-drugged mind. Was this a thunderstorm—or had a bomb just dropped? In the flashing blue light (a rare earthquake phenomenon) I could see our home’s masonry walls waving and shaking violently. It was as if we were on the tail end of a game of crack the whip! There was the sound of glass breaking as cabinets dumped their contents onto ceramic tile floors, chards skating until they hit pools of olive oil and wine. My husband Donald, reading in his chair, was flipped upside down while still in his chair, this turtle-like position protecting him from the books and other objects pelting him. Wood stoves, butcher block tables, the couch and overstuffed chairs, the grand piano—all moved two feet west.
And then, it stopped. My son and his wife had spent the night, and suddenly we were calling to each other in the dark, fearful that there would be no answers. But we were all alive, essentially unhurt, and now looking for shoes and flashlights. Then, gathering in the relative safety of the courtyard, we watched fires light up the Valley below. With this scale of destruction, it was clear we were going to be relying on our own resources.
Needless to say, we have been occupied with the concrete details, no pun intended! We have sweep up, mopped up, thrown away, helped friends, assessed damage. Our town of Napa is gravely impacted, many of the government buildings red tagged, including both post offices and at least 100 homes. Even without structural damage, many of the homes on the west side of town experienced the breakage of almost every glass and plate. We now know the ancient West Napa Fault has come alive. Roads buckled and cracked, tracing Her path, including the three inch wide, several hundred foot long crack in the ground just west of our house. Our feeling about the solidness of the earth has been shaken.
One evening this week we sat overlooking the meadow south of our home, golden in the late sunlight. The earthquake gash runs through the middle of the meadow. The meadow is a place that I have known to be sacred, a place I have written about. Its graceful stretches beaconed to us 20 years ago, and Donald and I decided to build our home here. When you walk into the cup of it, time becomes irrelevant. You may be there a minute or an hour, they are both the same. It is a site that has almost certainly been used ceremonially for centuries, if not for millennia.
Living on edge of the meadow has changed both Donald and me, preparing us for the Shift. Several have pointed out the synchronicity of my recent blogs on Lilith, the first wife of Adam, and now this Lilith like event! Lilith is often depicted as the serpent who tempts Eve with the apple, getting both Eve and Adam evicted from paradise. She is fiery and sexual, full of rage and feared, she-who-will-not-be-subordinated! People have worked throughout the ages to contain her energies so as not to be infected with such qualities. (She has gotten a bad rap!)
Yet she also knows the language of the animals and plants and is described as “the soul of all the beasts of the field and every living creature that creepth.” Perhaps this is why spirit of place, the genius loci, has been depicted as a serpent. Were my writings about her premonitions to her return? That evening as we were immersed in the kind of beauty that drops you to your knees, She was basking in the last rays of sunlight, a little pleased with herself, I might add! I felt like one of those dog people whose beloved companion has just trashed the house. It is clear we are having a maturing moment: we are living on tremendous energy! And as the aftershocks rumble and roll, it is clear that it is time to learn how to be related to Her!
This week in a podcast interview with Joanna Hartcourt-Smith, we discussed earth energy and Lilith, the Serpent Mind, and its relevance to the larger issue of climate change, the environment, and our relationships with each other, a conversation we will continue in the future. You can listen to this podcast at futureprimitive.org. And please offer your own thoughts.