The Ceremony of Opposites

Lilith: Myth to Flesh is an invocation to the ineffable spirit whose dominion is shadows. This spirit gives rise to the darkest of life’s moment. Its transformative powers are often overlooked due to our fear of the unknown, which lies in wait for us in that darkness. Our project is an exploration of that darkness. In order for us to do justice to that spirit, we needed to open ourselves to receive it without attempting to manipulate or subdue it.  We knew that our performance, our celebration of the completion of our project, must be true to this dark and untamable energy. By opening a space in honor of this free spirit, we invited it to reach its fullest expression.

As Gretchen and I took the stage and heard the first notes heralding the commencement of our ceremony, we understood that our carefully thought out choreography was not possible in the space we were inhabiting.  Adhering strictly to plan would be disingenuous, and even confining, to the energy of the moment. As we were confronted by what approached like a tidal wave, we looked at each other and smiled. It could only be this way. Lilith had something to say, and it was at this moment that we knew we were exposed and amenable to her purpose. She would take us back to the origins of the Moon and her opposing energies, after which she could bring us back to unity by way of blood.

Standing in the space we had sectioned off for our dance, we both wondered if we had asked too much of our collaborators. We had asked our crew to trust that the there was a purpose to our requests, a crew very aware of the possible risks when being exposed to sanguine fluid. We were also asking them to maneuver around both our inexperience and ambition for the sake of our vision. A vision of which we could only communicate the barest outline. We were asking Evoken, the band which would provide the music to our performance, to trust that this event was worth all the time and effort it takes a band to prepare an entire set. We asked our audience that they assume responsibility for their reactions to what they were about to experience, even though most had never witnessed trials of the flesh first-hand. We were asking each other to commit to the process of creation, honoring the work we had been faithful to for several seasons. We were asking ourselves to be open, to break through the boundary which seemingly separates us from the outside world–our flesh. 

When confronted with the enormity of what we were setting out to do, we found ourselves humbled at the precipice of an unknown brimming in chaotic convergence. All we could do was surrender to the chaos and dance into that space with purpose, trusting that our collaborators were authentic in their expressed support.

The following is a video documentation of our performance shortened from over 50 minutes. It cannot convey the entirety of the event, and it exists merely to document. Given the nature of performance, whatever happened in that space and time truly belongs to those who were present for the experience. However, upon looking at the footage from a now removed perspective, its personal significance has come into focus for us. 

The heart of the moment is revealed as life discovering its internal light.

Gretchen and I were committing to each other’s creative outpouring because at the heart of this union we recognized ourselves, there is no duality. That is the sacred union and divine marriage needlessly being imprisoned by ideations of gender, family, lineage, and other concepts inculcating a narrowing of something boundless, all the while demanding that these artificial boundaries not be questioned.

As the connection between Gretchen and I goes from being a tangible and literal entity to something subliminal, the magnitude of the energy was beyond control. 

The sharing of blood cannot be understated in this circumstance. In essence, this was the union at a heightened level; by virtue of blood, consecrated.  Blood a device into the other, in recognition of the self in the other which meets us with the “YES” of an enlightened path. 

Listen to where you are saying yes.

For the entire project, I had been performing as the dark, diminished New Moon, mythically represented by Lilith, so this was the extreme I was to embody. For the performance we would introduce the Full Moon, enacted by Gretchen. We exploited our differences and exaggerated them to fit the narrative, everything from our skin color to our size seemed to fit as some of the many devices we would use to develop our opposing roles. 


At the end of the performance, all opposition dissolved and we ascended in ecstasy, to then descend together for the moment of death where, in recognition of our union, what remains to be said is much better stated by the Moon: the end is only the beginning. There is no beginning and no end.


Special thanks to our crew White Flag Suspension for facilitating our ascension and for the piercing gathering in the green room; to@karlacanislupusGreg Kogut, and ANNIHILVS POWER ELECTRONIX for the video documentation of the night; to Evoken for providing the musical atmosphere for the evening which set the tone beautifully; and last but not least to Joseph (LunchBox) Rosetti for the photos contained in this post, as well others which we will always treasure. 

The video you will find below is NSFW and contains footage that some may find disturbing. To all those who don’t mind stepping out of your comfort, thank you for sharing in this space.

The path to the end is a new beginning. 
To the the aim of your reach we hold true. 
Our encasings now marked by your teachings. 
From this journey we’ve descended anew. 

You’ve given us a key to expansion as flight.
The key to the space we’ve held for internal light. 

To this light, to this space; 
to you we dedicate this ascension.
To you, Mother of All, we leave this body–
We leave this blood as an offering.

Lilith: Myth to Flesh is a collaborative project undertaken by performance artist Luna Duran and photographer Gretchen Heinel.  By undergoing ordeals of the flesh, we aim to understand and communicate the sacred and transformative pain which Lilith endured on her journey from human to goddess.