Aleksandra Grigoryevna Samusenko (Russian: Александра Григорьевна Самусенко, Ukrainian:Олександра Григорівна Самусенко; 1922, Chita—March 3, 1945) was a Soviet Ukrainian commander of the T-34 tank and a liaison officer during World War II. She was the only female tankman in the 1st Guards Tank Army.
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The T-34 looked like this:
I’ve been inside submarines and gun turrets and tanks. They are terrible spaces, no shit: there’s no room to breathe and the fucking seats are made of metal that seem designed only to hurt the human frame. There’s nothing romantic about them. They are artificial war-horses made for only one thing: to kill other war-horses by way of screaming shells and fire.
Yet I’m still seduced. Especially by the idea of a young woman driving a metal machine into battle. Maybe I’m just an asshole. Maybe my idea of a WARRIOR TANK WOMAN still looks like this in my head:
Ridiculous, isn’t it? And even worse: I’m not “seduced” or turned on by a guy driving a tank. Brad Pitt behind the wheel of a killing machine doesn’t get me hot.
So I’m just an asshole, aren’t I. Note there’s no question mark at the end of the preceding sentence. I’m just a sexist asshole. The idea of a pretty, frail, cute, preferably barefoot girl wielding death still gets me stiff. I don’t want her to hurt me—sorry, not my scene—I’m very good at hurting myself, thank you very much. No, that’s not it.
The concept of a feminine creator/destroyer is really the only spiritual concept I truly believe with every cell of my body and blood. Yeah, I worship The Moon, The Rain, The Snow, The Trees, The Sun… but Woman? Whew. Baby. I want to both take her and worship her, bind her and elevate her. Jesus can go do his thing on the mount, and Buddha can dream for all eternity. But I will pursue and try to capture The Goddess until the end of my days.
I still believe.
Isis am I, and from my life are fed
All stars and suns, all moons that wax and wane,
Create and uncreate, living and the dead,
The Mystery of Pain.
I am the Mother, I the silent sea,
The Earth, its travail, its fertility.
Life, death, love, hatred, light, darkness, return to me—
Hathor am I, and to my beauty drawn
All glories of the Universe bow down
The blossom and the mountain and the dawn,
Fruit’s blush, and woman, our creation’s crown.
I am the priest, the sacrifice, the shrine,
I am the love and life of the divine!
Life, death, love, hatred, light, darkness, are surely mine—
Venus am I, the love and light of earth,
The wealth of kisses, the delight of tears.
The barren pleasure never comes to birth,
The endless, infinite desire of years.
I am the shrine at which thy long desire
Devoured thee with intolerable fire
I was song, music, passion, death, upon thy lyre—
I am the Grail and I the Glory now:
I am the flame and fuel of thy breast;
I am the star of God upon thy brow;
I am thy queen, enraptured and possessed.
Hide thee, sweet river; welcome to the sea,
Ocean of love that shall encompass thee!
Life, death, love, hatred, life, darkness, return to me—
—Aleister Crowley, from Tannhaüser
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Credits: Top panel Hollow by Zenibyfajnie. Bottom panel The Priestess by Lady Frieda Harris from Crowley’s Thoth Deck. Great thanks to Dress Rehearsal Rag for the Crowley quote and the reminder of her glory. Middle panel—it’s not as tall as the others! Well, that should not break the strength of the Holy Three. She/They will be fine. Show me a perfect, no-fuck up spell. You can not. Anyway. That is all.