Shortly after Lilith: Queen of the Demons was published Jay and I became friends with a young woman named Lillian. She had straight black hair down to her waist, an hourglass figure, and a pretty smile. She used to visit weekly, always dressed impeccably from head to toe. She and Jay spent a lot of time together, cooking and baking all kinds of goodies. They were friends and sometimes they were lovers.
When Lillian was a baby in Vietnam, she suffered a fire injury that required her to undergo surgery. The operation left her without a belly button for the rest of her life. Just like Lilith, who was not born of a human mother, fashioned out of clay by God.
It was uncanny and I thought it auspicious to have her in our lives. There was a point when she began looking for a house to buy in which we could all live in, but it all changed when she met someone else. They got married in a whirl. We never saw her again.
I will always consider her arrival as an otherworldly presence. The divine moves in mysterious ways. I cannot begin to fathom it. I can only be thankful when it happens.
Another strange visitation occurred when I was recording the audiobook for Lilith: Generations of Cain. I didn’t notice it while I recorded, but during playback the angel and demon names were obscured by static.
The first time it happened I got a shiver down my spine. I took a pause, then went back in front of the microphone like a soldier. Every time it happened I got more stubborn and determined to get through the text. Lilith: Generations of Cain is all about the power of names. It seemed to me that a presence, divine or not, was making me work hard to pronounce these holy and unholy names.
This past summer as I worked on Lilith: Beyond the Deluge, I was on a business call with someone who went off tangent about strange situations he had found himself in, seeing supernatural creatures among people in New York City, hearing people’s thoughts from across the room. He said he felt like he could tell me these things he never told anyone. I listened to him for an hour before I wrapped up the conversation and brought it back to business. I asked for his name.
“You have an ‘el’ name,” I mused. Many of the angels (and some demons) have names that end with ‘el.’ Azazel, Samael, Rafael, Gabriel, Baraqiel, Daniel, Michael…
“Ah, so you know…” He sounded pleased. “It comes from God’s name ‘El Shaddai’ and ‘Elohim.'”
I thanked him again and said goodbye.
Before he hung up he said, “You will hear from me again.”
I thought nothing of it. Even when I pulled out of the garage and saw a crow sitting in a tree across from me I didn’t think to tie anything together.
I should mention that it was a special day, my Dad’s birthday and my (great grand aunt) Lola Ilyang’s death day. I facetimed with my Dad that evening, but the only way I connected with Lola Ilyang was from mysterious events that happened all day: a swarm of bees robbing my hive, the phone call from an angel, the crow in the tree. Everything brought me memories of her.
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These are two separate instances this past summer: 1) when my hive was being robbed by a neighbor bee colony. My worker bees defended their hive fiercely. I’m so proud of them! 2) when it came time to kick the drones out of the hive. My worker bees need to store as much honey as possible before winter and get rid of useless eaters. These noisy bachelor bees are bird food before sunset. 🐝🐝🐝 #honeybees #honeybee #bee #bees #hive #beehive
Laurelia (Lola Ilyang) was a spinster who lived with her little dachshund, Cupsi, in a hut in the middle of a tobacco field in Pangasinan. She was the first witchy woman in my life. She had long salt and pepper hair. She told stories of the kapre smoking her tobacco. She entertained our maids by reading common playing cards for divination.
Ten days after the odd phone call, my mother tagged me in a Facebook post. My college friend died. Deogracias Cruz. Is there a name more God-like than his? The Facebook post contained a video of Deo singing the Prayer to St. Michael.
“Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.”
The man on the phone said I would hear from him again. I did not know it would be this way.
That afternoon Jay invited me out to the temple he had built in our backyard, overgrown with yarrow and lupines in the spring; tansy, mint, and goldenrod in the late summer. Jay spent the summer clearing around an arrangement of rocks and made paths to it. He decorated the place with Hindu gods and goddesses, Balinese wooden animals, and a statue of Quan Yin. There is a bed of marbles of various sizes, a solar system at the foot of a wooden frog. A Nag Champa cone burned and dripped smoke down a path in the rocks. As soon as the incense burned out, it started to rain. Thunder. We went inside.
I made chicken soup from scratch. It’s a long process that begins with boiling a chicken carcass into broth. My daughter named it “Mama’s famous chicken soup” way back when a butcher in California used to gift me with chicken carcasses whenever I came around his shop. I set aside a wishbone for my collection. I keep several wishbones in a little teapot. I realize it’s kind of witchy but it makes me feel lucky.
Deogracias. Thank You, God.
Love, Lust, & Liberty,