|Lilith by John Collier|
In Hebrew and Arabic mysticism, the figure exhibited above, of Lilith, is the central character for mythic remembrance of the succubus folklore, where she is a source of domestic superstition and the root of cosmic evil. Read more from the Jewish Women's Archive.
Low-lying jungles emerge only steps from the sea wall. As I enter through the darkening canopy my footprints sink deeper into the unsure ground of dying vegetation. I see a man and woman walk assuredly in Muslim dress.
|Muslim shawl-makers, Kashmir 1867 by William Simpson|
This is Mother India, though I feel I am trespassing, at the dangerous edge, where two worlds have collapsed side by side. At seeing their weary countenances, their grimacing jaunts, I recoil nearer to the seaside, where the forest is less thick and try a new entry point. Again, wandering through the sweep of jungle, my mind presses onward with increasingly bleary sight as the landscape closes in and my sight nears my eyes, confronting the formidability of a climaxed rainforest.
|Lovers shoot at a tiger in the jungle.|
Illustration to the mystical Sufi text Madhumalati by Meister des Madhu-Malati-Manuskripts
As I enter through a clearing, I see a young woman, a Punjabi Sikh. She welcomes kindly, and warns me of the dangers ahead, though she reminds me that as long as I travel through the lands of her people, the Sikhs, I will be safe.
|Portrait of Rani Jind Kaur aka Jindan by George Richmond|
I wander on, enlightened by the meeting with such a kind and endearing sprite. Increasingly entangled in the impenetrable bush, I come to a massive tree. Immediately, I begin climbing to gain a vantage point. The limbs are smooth and strong, a true jungle arbor. As I feel for a lookout, the branches stretch me inwards, and I rest on a limb as thick as my body, crawling toward a knot of branches creating a homely stand, a shaded hollow within the body of the tree. As I press on amid the enwrapping arms of the humungous tree, a woody formation beckons with the same quality as my bedroom.
|Abu'l Hasan and Mansur Squirrels in a Plane Tree by Abu'l Hasan and Mansur|
Again, I wake, remembering the seaside cliffs beyond the jungle’s edge, the grandiose rocks, welcoming my step, as I notice two women of different religious custom playing, bounding from rock to rock with amiable laughter and sisterly freedom, I begin sketching in primary colors and rough lines, with an innocent beauty, and gravity enough to keep my word.
_________Where does the apple fall?
From a rootless tree?
A groundless source?
- excerpt from "My Name"