The Thief in the Night Steals the Holy of Holies
Reclaiming the sexuality of the Song of Songs

Chris King

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In 2006, I wrote and produced an unforgettable song you can download a full quality version mp3 of, called Black Rose, or the Rose of Sharon.

You can also watch this as a YouTube movie in the form of Black Rose Nuclear Apocalypse, which has used the words of the song in a counterpoint to an apocalyptic warning about the threat of nuclear weapons overkill.

The circumstances of this song and its words are highly provocative, troubling, blasphemous and an oracle that contains all the parables and paradoxes of parousia, from the thief in the night, through the goodman of the house, to the midnight oil of the bridegroom and the five wise and five foolish virgins, but to understand it, and what it represents, we need to see how the words arose, from a seemingly irresolvable conflict of values and ideals.

I had traveled to Jerusalem in the millennium with Jane King on a rite of passage to open the epoch of the Tree of Life and celebrate the sacred reunion of woman and man to end the apocalyptic era, closing the circle of division and blood letting that began with the extreme violence of Yeshua's crucifixion as a blasphemous Jewish messiah. It is clear that Jesus also had paradoxical leanings towards the fertility worship supported by the women out of their substance, anointed to his doom by a woman who may have been his lover, rather than a high priest, and in his miraculous Dionysian theatre of cathartic renewal reminiscent of of Dhushara of Edomite Nabatea and his tragic mask conferring immortality.

This desire to bridge all the traditions of Israel and Edom resulted in a schism, from which Christianity as the sacramental pole and Judaism as the covenental pole have never recovered. Although Christians like to think of Jesus as a Jewish messiah who was rejected by the Jews, the wildfire popularity of Christianity spread across the pagan world because Jesus had espoused the essential rites of passage of the sacrificed god-king in the fertility tradition, so the Christians eat his flesh and drink his blood to this day in the central rite of the Eucharist.

The natural complementation of this schism is a gentile messiah who heals this division, along with Fall and the earlier schism between woman and man, ending the apocalyptic messianic era of dominion over woman and nature, in the reflowering of the immortal paradigm of the Tree of Life, as both the Jewish apocalypses and Revelation declare. The key to this is love, not just sexual and selfless altruistic love, but a love of redeeming the diversity of life and the fragmented shards of cultural diaspora epitomized by the sparks of the Shekhinah, the indwelling feminine face of God, foretold in the Kabbalah to come together again in the end of days.

With Jane at Tsvat on the Millennial Sabbatical

Anyway, while pursuing our research into my partner Christine's and my social history work Sexual Paradox, I struck up a strange e-mail correspondence with a latently bisexual Zionist from Tsvat (Safed), the memorable and intriguing Holy town of the Kabbalah, whose mausoleums and mountain tops, bristling with security intelligence antennae, we had visited on the millennial sabbatical. In the song she is referred to as Devorah, as from the book of Judges, but this is a veil for one Doreen Bell-Zotan.

'Devorah's' and my diaspora dialogue focused immediately on the Song of Songs, שיר השירים, which I praised as the quintessence of fertility reunion between woman and man, and noted it may have older roots in Near Eastern cultures, from the Sumerian Song of Inana, through Syrian marriage rites, to the more recent Arab wasf love poetry paralleling the style of the Canticles, which one finds for example in Lebanon.

The opening verses of the song set out my verdant apology for the love allegory:

I am the rose of Sharon,
and the lily of the valleys.
As the lily among thorns,
so is my love among the daughters.

As the apple tree among the trees of the wood,
so is my beloved among the sons.
I sat down under his shadow with delight,
and his fruit was sweet to my taste.

He brought me to the banqueting house,
and his banner over me was love.
Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples:
for I am sick of love.

'Devorah' took extreme exception to this interpretation, declaring that the Song of Songs is the very Holy of Holies, a hidden secret codex, containing the most forbidden and deepest teachings of the Torah, and the very seal of the relationship of God with the bride Israel, surrounded by the briars of supernatural defenses to keep out all but the chosen ones.

This 'holy' view is of course the classic position, originating from Rabbi Akiva, who in addition to incorporating the Canticles into the Jewish cannon, anointed the Zealot warrior Bar Cochbah as messiah to the doom of all present, one of whom said "grass will grow out of your jaw Akiva!".

It is signed, sealed and delivered, despite, or precisely because of, its sticky myrrh dripping off the handles of the lock, the 'head' filled with dew, and locks with the drops of the night.

But let us never lose sight of the frankly sacrificial undertones of the lily among the thorns and the beloved who had withdrawn himself and was gone and could not be found by the lover smitten by the watch-keepers, just as the women wept for Tammuz and the lost Adonis among the blood roses of Lebanon and Galilee.

Just as we know that there are briars
surrounding the most magnificent gardens,
moats around castles, walls around mansions,
security systems and all

so the Torah has it defences
to keep unwanted trespassers out.
No Gentile has ever been admitted
and no one ever will.

But wait a minute! The royal tradition of the messiah, as Solomon himself espoused, is to love the Queen of the South and to give her all she desired, and to let all one's wives and concubines worship their strange deities on every high hill and under every green tree, even as the hyssop grows out of the wall, and their bed of green is arched over by the cedars of Lebanon.

I dearly love the intimate and perennial fertility of the Hebrew tradition, by contrast with the guilt-ridden sex-averse Hellenistic paganism of Christianity, and the very idea of the Song of Songs finding its way into the common bible, merely as an allegory of Christ's love for his church, is a frank insult to the root immortal fertility and unsurpassed altruism of sexual engagement, without which neither we nor religion could exist. It is this root fertility that is also the souce of the messiah's transformative potential.

The Song of Songs in the Jewish tradition is not just a naughty little book of love poetry that somehow squeaked in the back door of the Bible, when eyes of the the sex-fearing church fathers were averted, but it is the covenant, the oracle and the secret text, of the very fertility that is at the source of the Hebrew tradition, not an insidious intruder, but the altar piece, inner sanctum, and cosmic portal to the mysterium tremendum, even if it is deceptively portrayed in Judaism as the love of God for the Bride Israel, in a manner not entirely different from the Christian sexual perversion of Christ and 'his' Church.

Noli me Tangere “And they say unto her, ‘Woman, why weepest thou?’ She saith unto them, ‘Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.’ Jesus saith unto her, ‘Mary’. She turned herself, and saith unto him, ‘Rabboni’. Jesus saith unto her, ‘Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended’ ” , echoed in the Song of Songs: “I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer”

This itself is one of the most wonderful paradoxes of the whole Judeo-Christian tradition, that a frankly Tantric sexual fertility allegory is the holiest of holies right at the very centre of the cosmic mystery of the godhead. Given the pretensions of mankind and the all too patriarchal absolute Gods mankind has spawned, to find our entire apocalyptic destiny revolving around the aching throbbing of unrequited sexual anticipation is a treat too intoxicating to dispel.

In glaring contrast to her bisexual explorations, more reminiscent of the subterranean undergrowth of Lilith than the Kosher Torah of covenant and commandment, 'Devorah' then claimed I was profaning the Holy book to lay claim to an heroic espousal of its love allegory, mindless as a thief in the market place, completely unaware of the inestimable value of what I was making off with:

Imagine a 'theif' has broken into your house
and stolen your very most valuable jewel.
he has no idea how much it is worth,
or where to claim the best price.

If you have the least humility or decency
you will realize this gem can never be yours,
and you will not attempt to hock it off
from a street stall at a cut price.

You are doing untold damage to yourself and all creation
posing as a spiritual thief,
nothing but a shameless pillager
plundering a pearl beyond price.

So is it to be the ultimate poetic irony that the Gentile mashiach is branded by the daughter of Zion as the very thief in the night which the Christian tradition prophesies? Doesn't this become a catalyst for all the allegories to unfold?

So here I am the thief in the night
the lonely candle and the light
A bridegroom whose wedding is celebrated
when I have not taken a wife.

And know full well, if the goodman of the house
had known the hour that the thief would come,
he would have watched, and never suffered
his house to be broken through

So be ye therefore ready,
and trim your lamps and gather your oil
for the son of humanity cometh
at an hour when ye think not.

In response, 'Devorah' then enunciates a broad attack - in her own innocently racist words - on the 'white man' - in some sense a condemnation of the apocalyptic pretenses of the gentile, European culture, running back to the Roman invasions, and of the pagan distortions of the Christian tradition, beings who, by contrast with the elect of the covenant, are innately degenerate and wholly incapable of true spiritual understanding:

I do not know why the White man
has been created with a spiritual dearth.
Logical and intelligent, but of all human beings
most lacking in spiritual worth.

I have great compassion. It must be so terrible.
Living as a spiritual parasite,
stealing the sacred traditions of others,
the holies of the elect.

The abysmal emptiness in the White man
has driven him to conquer and to destroy
to engage in all sorts of perversions,
thinking they're a spiritual ploy.

In response to my claim that throwing the gates of compassion wide open could immortalize her in history, 'Devorah' then enunciates the ultimate defense of her higher status, among the chosen ones of God, claiming no matter to what degree she falls into error, unlike the pretensions of the delusional gentile to have a role in the redemption, she will always be brought back into the 'Elysian Fields' of the elect:

I don't need some delusional Gentile
to immortalize a daughter of Zion
my immortality is sealed and delivered
no matter if I sin or err ...

I will always be brought back into the fold.
This is the promise the ancient one made
to the children of Avraham and Sarah
a reward for them alone.

No wannabeing gentiles can ever change it.
I am closer to God even in my sin,
than you can be in your heights of purity.
so you can take it up with Him.

So what choice do I have here but to redeclare my love of the disdainful bride Israel, as the thief in the night I have become, harking back to Eve's alleged transgression?

Devorah, you are a living wonder,
but don't condemn yourself so effortlessly.
For unsought immortality can come to leave us
naked and ashamed.

Thief in the night Mount of Olives, Millennium Eve and the light of the Bride Israel below.

For here I stand a thief in the night
In my darkest hour you are my light
A bride whose wedding is unconsummated
who I have loved all of my life.

Thus fulfilling the ambiguous history Jesus left, of the Bridegroom whose relationship with all his unattached women - Magdalen, that 'good part' Mary of Bethany was to play anointing him, Martha whom he loved, and the Salome of the Gospel of Thomas, upon whose bed he came up - remains enigmatic and apparently unrequited, outside the long repressed gnostic traditions, where it is claimed he and Magdalen celebrated the hieros gamos together.

Jesus said, "Two will rest on a bed: the one will die, and the other will live."
Salome said, "Who are you, man, that you ... have come up on my couch and eaten from my table?" (Gospel of Thomas)

Surely the Savior knows her ' very well. That is why he loved her more " than us (Gospel of Mary)

The crucifixion procession. Magdalen has her face smitten with streaks of blood.
"The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me,
they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me" (5:7).

To heal this diaspora, the song then enters the inner sanctum of sexual reunion in the bedchamber, Christine entering the duet, to fulfill the marriage bond, complementing the cursed 'white man' with the occluded 'black woman':

Open unto me, my sister,
my love, my dove, my undefiled:
for my head is filled with dew,
and my locks with the drops of the night.

I rose up to open to my beloved;
And my spikenard flowed out to him,
and my fingers dropped with sweet smelling myrrh,
upon the handles of the lock.

Look not upon me, because I am black,
because the sun hath looked upon me
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth:
for thy love is better than wine.

'My sister, my spouse': Dark and light poles.
Chris and Christine on the shoreline of Aotearoa

The song then opens to the full panoply of sexual love, and the supreme irony of the wild-oats fertility of Solomon as fertility mashiach with 700 wives and 300 concubines, including the Pharaoh's daughter and women of Moab, Ammon, Sidon and of the Hittites,, not to mention the Queen of Saba, contrasted with the licentiousness of Matthew's parable of Jesus as fertility bridegroom, accepting the five astute virgins who oiled their lamps and went with in the bridegroom to the marriage at midnight, in turn rejecting the five foolish ones who didn't keep their lamps oiled.

The five foolish virgins (Jan Saenredam)

No Solomon would reject the five whose oil had run a little low. They are in fact the key to the spark of sexual resurgence, bringing the lost Adonai back from the dead, rather than the 'life for a life' which Jesus lost, to 'bring Lazarus back':

Can you imagine anything more disturbing
than 'opening' to five astute young witches
who enter the marital feast at midnight
to celebrate their sensual delight?

And when the cup runs to overflowing,
five more virgins also toil,
begging for one's loving touch,
to replenish their midnight oil?

Could anything be more inspiring
to make one feel the flame grow higher?
To rise again right from the dead?
No more to be lamented!

The anointing in the name of God and Gaia

Of course this sexual imagery is highly blasphemous to both the Jewish and Christian traditions, making the act of transgression in the now which Yeshua's mission did in the year zero, black verses, leaving an inforgettable imprint just by their very pronunciation, just as Jesus pronounced Isaiah 61's black verses and then claimed the Gentiles Naaman the Syrian and the Widow of Sidon were the only beneficiaries of the prophet's 'miracles', leading to him nearly being thrown off the cliffs of Nazareth, just as we pronounced an amended passage in the name of God and Gaia on Millennium Eve above the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem:

Some songs can never be unsung.
We just can't get them out of our head!
No matter how hard we try to be free,
there's no end to the blasphemy.

You can hear it echoing from the cliff tops,
whispering through the tumbling waters
in our tears of sorrow and joy,
that these things have come to pass.

Mount Precipice (Hebrew: הר הקפיצה Arabic: jebel al-qafzeh", "Mount of the Leap" جبل القفزة،‮
also known as Mount of Precipitation, Mount of the Leap of the Lord and Mount Kedumim
is located just outside the southern edge of Nazareth, 2.0 km SSW of the modern city center.