Moon & Star: Vashti & Esther
Vashti is beauty; lustrous, glowing, fluid beauty. Light of the Night Sky, light of the dark womb of the Mother, Vashti changes often, disappears for a few days, then re-appears to play with the naiads and nereides, moves where and when she likes, dancing with the dark, pulling waves into curl, crash and crescendo. Vashti fascinates, she entrances, she tickles them and drives them mad. Just when they think they know her, she winks and is gone round a corner and they can’t see where she went. But she knows almost everything and tells the best fortunes, so everyone tries to win her favor. Vashti keeps the 128 awe-struck powers in one of her many secret places. No one has ever seen them in the light of day, but it is known that they are kept in some magic stones.
Vashti calls her girls-of-all-genders, “Come make some dark moon magic”
The king is drunk in his mancave at the bottom of the mountain. Vashti rolls her eyes, stays up in her mountain palace, and calls her girls-of-all-genders, “Come make some dark moon magic,” and of course they all do. Esther the betulat, comes to join them for the first time. The women-of-all-genders coo over her, stroke her wild curls and smooth skin, “You are the Star of your mother’s womb,” they tell her, “as beautiful as your Moon-like Mama.” They do all their dark moon pleasures and prayers, eat their cakes, do each other’s hair and nails, massage, facials, and perfumes. They dance the snakes to collect their venoms, they milk the cows and bleed the bulls, they make rainbows jump from the deep clear pool under the cedar trees. Lastly, they create a plan to depose the king. “That manchild in his mancave is a menace,” they say, “to all of us.”
As if to corroborate their words at that exact moment, the king breaks the door and swaggers in, wearing no clothes, swinging his royal scepter and his royal sword. The women scatter, but Vashti refuses to run. Her eyes flash fire, and the mountain starts to shake, loosing boulders the size of a royal temple, rolling them down to block the entry to the mancave. The king twists to avoid a falling rock, trips, and his sword flies out of his hand and across the room, slicing Vashti into two beautiful parts. Upon rising, the king sees the two parts of Vashti with the container holding the awestruck powers between them. He scoops up the container and runs down the mountain.
Esther straightens her back and sets her mind. She gathers the women-of-all-genders and they prep her in secret ways for three years and three days. She approaches the king and challenges him to a drinking game. He agrees, thinking he can easily take her. Once he is passed out under the table, she quickly steals back the powers and runs away. When Esther opens the container she sees that there are only 64 awe-struck powers written on the magic stones. The others are still hidden, unwritten, and Esther knows we are ourselves halved, and will remain so until we find the rest. She misses her Mama. She sleeps by the light of the moon, not the sun, hoping to gather what is needed in her dreams. Her hair gets wilder and wilder, her skin more luminous. People say she has gone mad with grief, and warn each other to stay away from the moonlight, lest they all end up like Esther. They blame the wild storms on her crazy hair and the wild wars on her skin which they say lacks blood.
When whispers of Esther’s crazy reach the king, he goes after her and the powers she now holds. But she has learned a little of her mother’s disappearing magic, and where to hide. He chases her down the rivers and over the oceans, through the cedar forests and the sacred groves, past the deeply colored caves, over mountains and millennia, under blinking stars and burning suns.
She is still running to this day, but you may catch a glimpse of her wild luminous beauty when you gather with your girls-of-all-genders under the moonlight. You may be able to entice her to come play with you by offering the cakes they made for her mother, and she will ask you to remember what her Mama always told her...
"You are the Star of your mother's womb. You are stardust and starlight. You are a prayer. You are a prayer the Earth sings to itself."
You will speak this truth during the day and during the night, in your home and in the street. You will speak this truth if someone tries to tell you what to do with your body, attempts to exploit you as a part of an oppressive system, asks you to participate in the oppression or exploitation of other beings, seeks to steal your awe-struck powers. You will hold this truth as a sign upon your heart, and on your head and arms and feet, as you join with your girls-of-all-genders and Dismantle the Patriarchy!
Excerpted from Water, Wine, Tree & Vine ©D’vorah K’lilah
This is the start of a project to rewrite the mythic stories of Torah. There are several of these vignettes in my book Water, Wine, Tree & Vine. These pieces are meticulously researched and include Talmudic commentary, archaeological evidence, and cross-references to several Ancient Near East cultural stories.
D’vorah K’lilah is an ordained psychic healer and Kohenet, initiated Shakta Tantrika, writer, liturgist, and lover of the moon who was parented by redwoods and rivers.