Someone kept tapping urgently on my window this morning. It was our resident squirrel wanting to come in and talk to me!

Today is the Autumn Equinox of 2016 and I wanted to take a moment to feel into this and receive instructions for performing a small ceremony.

I consulted my spirit allies and they said that the “meeting of Light and Dark follows a serpentine path. There are points where Light and Dark are equally balanced but between them meanders the snake from the Garden of Eden, always encouraging us to gather more life experiences, more knowledge and wisdom…”

They went on to explain that this is the rip in the veil, the mandorla in the Vesica Pisces symbol, the creative space where things can happen, manifest, be born and die. Apparently it is also our DNA… as visually this resembles our DNA… and we are genetically wired to walk this path. We all have twin serpents in every cell of our body.

In truth I had hoped for wonderful guidance on achieving an exquisitely balanced life today – but I did not get it!! I was told that the very imbalance, the way that things tip into their opposities and call forth shadows, creates the “vast seashore of human experience” as well as art, poetry, music and heroic deeds. We gain an understanding of balance through living & dancing with imbalance (they said).


I then asked more specifically for a small ceremony I could perform by myself today.

I was told to have an apple as the center piece. To take one bite out of it and then leave it for the wild animals in our garden to nibble on.

I was told that the Autumn Equinox of 2016 heralds a new paradigm: the era where The Snake (as a divine being) reclaims her proper place. The snake has been demonized for too long, by the Church fathers, theologists and “other hysterical people”.

This in turn has made many a woman fearfu of the “Lilith Archetype” In Hebrew-language texts Lilith translates as “NIght Monster”, also screech owl. It has been claimed that she was Adam’s first wife (who was created at the same time as him!) and that she left Adam after refusing to become subservient to him. Only then was Eve created (from one of Adam’s ribs) and we all know what happened next. And yes, a snake was involved.

Today Lilth is regarded as a Dark Goddess, someone who embodies (what is seen as) shadow aspects of the feminine: the woman who runs from male dictators or abuse, who claims her freedom, who prioritizes sexual pleasure or her own agenda over the needs and wants of others.

The Old Woman And Her Snake (or The Snake Goddess) is perhaps one of the oldest cosmic blueprints in existence. When I teach sacred art courses she never fails to show in artwork. Think of the Pythia at the Oracle of Delphi and think of Eurynome dancing with Ophion…

Lilith is a sovereign being. She does not obey or submit to the will of others. When she left Adam she stood accused of copulating with other demons and giving birth to a race of demons.

Is this our own fear speaking? Is this the male fear of untrammeled sexuality in women being projected here? (This phenomenon is also known as scape goating!)

Our culture invites women to keep busy “on the bright side”: to be pretty slim, hairless, ideally blonde. And if women are going to have children, then the so called Yummy Mummy blueprint is something to aspire to. Western culture actively invites women to have careers and work by all means but to then take a big step back from all that to raise children. Our culture would love all women to behave like “everyone’ s mother”: ever compassionate and kind, (co-dependent), available and on call, willing to care for babies, the sick and the old.

These activities absolutely have their place and immense value. However, Lilith, our Inner Darkness, our own Dark Divine Self or Shadow Twin, is asking us to take a step back from all that and reclaim what is raw, brutally honest, emotionally risky.

Only through that work can we recall all of ourselves and bring that totality, that full potential, the full range of human experience, “to the table” at this time of great paradigm shift.

My spirit allies said: stop yearning for balance (enjoy it while you have it briefly before it slips through your fingers again like sand!) and learn to dance wildly on the dark seashore of creativity. Enjoy the feel of black volcanic sand between your toes, the briny smells and the thunderstorms overhead.

Balance is stasis. Balance is boring!


So… I found one apple and one toy snake (as I did not have access to a real one!) I spoke my prayers to Sun, Earth and all elements and asked for them to have fun being carried by the wind. I took one bite from the apple and called in All Of Myself – and by extension All Of Other Women too, All A Woman Can Be – if she gives herself space, permission, a blank canvas and art materials of choice (menstrual blood perhaps?!).

In Norse Shamanism Idunn is the guardian of the apples of immortality that preserved the youth of the gods. Today we use the expression “he/she is the apple of my eye”. For one brief moment I felt like the the Apple of the Divine Eye. I knew that one symbolic bite tilted something… from dysfunctional frozen stasis into juicy creative imbalance. Something was set in motion.

Our resident squirrel arrived soon after and took a few bites of the same apple. Next he played football with it for a while on the grass. That done he came knocking on my window, urgently. He knows that the ground is shifting under our feet…

In Norse Shamanism there is a squirrel that lives in Yggdrasil, the world tree. He is called Ratatoskr and he is the messenger of the gods. He constantly runs up and down the tree, passing through all nine worlds, between Nidhoggr (the dragon in service to the forces of chaos and destruction who chews on the roots of Yggdrasil) and the eagle at the top of the tree.

I did not hear what I had wanted to hear but I guess I heard what I most needed to hear today. That is the way of Spirit.

Imelda Almqvist

Imelda Almqvist teaches shamanism, sacred art and internationally.

Her book “Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life”, Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages was published by Moon Books in August 2016.