Blind Eyed Sphinx, a pastel by Stephanie Thomas Berry

Blind Eyed Sphinx

When I started this moth project, I made a list of all the peculiar moth names that intrigued me. The Blind-Eyed Sphinx was one of the first on the list, but I did not paint her first because―well, the Sphinx seemed like such an immense and mysterious mythological figure.

I was not sure how to approach her. 

Who is the Sphinx? Where does she come from? I did a fair amount of research and came to the conclusion that nobody really knows. 

The Sphinx is both a guardian of the mysteries and a mystery herself.

So I delved deep into archeological history, and deep into the cave of my bones, where I found the a Sphinx.

Look, she comes here now. Her lioness body ripples with strength and beauty. She is the lithe power of a great cat. Her wings ruffle like taffeta in the breeze―dark wings, barely folded. She is much, much larger than you expected, and her eyes burn with primordial fury. They are wet with fire and blind to your form.  Still you are certain she sees you, for she begins to speak…

Before Sophocles wrote Oedipus,
Before the Parthenon was constructed, or Athens yet a city,
Before even the Great Pyramids of Giza.
Far back into the fertile valleys of time,
In the Deep Time that only the Stones remember,

I was Beloved.

I was the Goddess, the Great Mother, Life-Giver.

And I was Animal–Lion, Snake, and Bird.

My body held their mysteries and their energies, a temple unto itself, and all who worshipped me could enter me and partake of the powers and pleasures of my body.

It is something perhaps impossible for you to fully understand now, so far removed are you from that liminal time. All that was awakened came from my very womb, and we participated fully in the Mystery of Life, and the Mystery of Death. The Holy Body.

And then there was a cosmic shift. The Earth crossed into a galactic shadow. In that shadow the people came to know themselves as separate from the Earth. In that shadow the pathways of consciousness, the networks of caves and temples were lost, obscured by fire and torment.

That was when the Thunder Gods descended in a great wave–Odin, Zeus, Yahweh. They came from the Sky and they wielded their power with violence.

I was there. It was a terrible plague. The Mother who cradled you to her breast, once revered as the Leader and Life-giver of her people, was subjugated. The Grandmother of your people was stripped of authority. By brute force they threw her into the farthest corners of their new society.

The people forgot the Great Mother. They forgot it was She who resided in the soil under their feet, the grain in their fields, the wild animals that fed their bodies and their spirit-bodies. They put on their shoes and walked into the great forgetting.

I am the Sphinx!

Though they made me into a monster,
Though they blinded me,
Though they struck me from their Canon,
I have slept in the dark realms of human imagination,
Waiting for the Time of my return.

I am the Guardian of Mysteries,
the fearsome Lioness
wreathed in snakes
winged with owls
I will rise from the womb of the Earth
as Beloved.

That day is coming.
Look where the Thunder Gods have taken us!
Without reverence for the Great Mother, all that you make is misaligned, against Life itselfyour cities, your governments, your technologies, your canons―they contain within their very structures the violence by which the Thunder Gods maintain their status.

Their powers are crumbling.
The shadow falls away.

The women are pregnant with a new world.
Their breasts are swollen with milk.
I am their midwife.
I am the Sphinx.

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