Birthing the Dark Feminine

Shireen Qudosi
7 min readFeb 13, 2022
Image: Fil De Vie

The Spotify playlist was called “Priestess” and the mood of it was if Persephone embraced Queen of the Underworld. Press play.

What about Persephone? Maybe that’s what she should’ve done. Instead of the damsel-in-distress story, what if the story is her just facing the dark and saying, “Fuck, bring it!”

What if no rescue efforts were needed from Demeter, Hecate, and Orpheus? What if she descended, taken into initiation so she could sit in the belly of the shadow, in the black rot of night, in its void, recessed in the dark side of the moon, so she could become this other thing, integrating the innocent bride with the dark mistress. Activating the sacred feminine. Bringing innocence into the dark, and the dark into rebirth.

What if she was meant to die, descend into the underworld so she could awaken the dark queen, fully embodying above and below — the crowning seal for activating the sacred feminine.

What if that is our hero’s journey and our initiation into womanhood?

The playlist switched to Bishopp Briggs “The Way I do.”

I started moving to it, stretching. The stretches moved into a new type of stretch, the deep movements looking like the poses of women in Mughal paintings, something always slightly alien in it, these intentional forms that twist the body into poised unnatural forms. Suddenly here was my body, holding the same form, and it felt so good, like a deep warm breaking in of bone to time. Arms and legs bent into a churning windmill of right angles. The stretch becomes a dance, and the dance becomes a ritual, moving in rhythmic circles patterning the flow of waxing and waning moon as it rises and descends across the sky. And we move, that girl in time from those Mughal paintings, and me — us. I wonder if she felt it too.

I get up and start slowly moving through the room in dance, feeling the reunion of all the selves and all our pasts to this one point in time where it all converges… and I become We.

And we dance, all our selves, all our histories, all our expressions. The dance moved between stretches that flowed into tribal, part yoga, part break, part Indian, part the dark wild’s expression of itself, its rich deep adoration for its own dark beauty. In the convergence, it became more…

Shireen Qudosi

I write on faith, identity, and belonging, focusing closely on the sacred feminine and cultivating intimacy with the profane.