Delivered to one of my more natural psychological states (buoyantly floating under the indigo expanse), I found myself again in the graces of the Goddesses. My vision of the world around me rolled with the gentle waves that cradled the nondescript vessel that held my body. Countless sparkling guides wove myths into my hair as I witnessed their life paths as stardust strewn across Nuit’s naked canvas. I was far from alone in my reflective solitude.
My diamond-rope hair jingled as I sat erect. Salty floral notes stuck to my face from Nuit’s warm sighs. The bubble in which I traveled was clear though still enchanted. The distant shore, on the other hand, was dressed in a tenacious haze. I heard the music faintly on the breeze, more of a distortion to my ears than pleasant vibes. Two circular objects overlapped in the Western sky: a ghostly Ferris Wheel and the “Nightly Sun.” Free-swinging carts moved mechanically, stopping and starting independently of the riders’ Wills. The bottom half of the Wheel seemed to disappear into the haze around it. In front of this apparition hung “the Sun” of the Night. Rarely seen, it is a circular image, an optical illusion, comprised of two disjointed, curved lines of precise, searing blue that cut through the sky like unapologetic lasers. There is no center or substance between these lines; it is an image created solely from the outline. These two images, of the Ferris Wheel spectre and the blue-beamed illusory Night Sun, co-localized within the haze of which I was no part, close to the shore to which I was not venturing. I watched the machine Wheel move slowly through the Sun’s absent core for several moments before turning back to my preferred view of the sky: a beautiful wash of indigo and violet dusted with shimmering Dakinis.
The line moved quickly as each individual raced down the chute without much regard for the previous rider. While I thought it was a foolhardy decision, I was pleased with each inch closer it delivered me to the open mouth of the slide and unknown route of the plastic tongue. My bare feet arched away from the dry and pointy floor boards. Under normal circumstances, I would have never surrendered my feet to such sharp and dubious unfinished wood. But I was drawn to this ride in ways that still eluded my logical mind. The support structure was old, rickety, unstable, with splinter teeth that pulled away from the beams. Separate pieces of the poorly molded, plastic chute was connected together shoddily; stinging ridges bit at the flesh that bulleted by. Brown water cradled the body on its journey, leaving a rank, organic film on the skin after emergence on …wherever the Other Side was.
Come to think of it, I could not recall if I ever saw the patrons that rode exit in the same place… if they exited at all. Thinking on the matter (though not much), my eyes barely recognized the fact that there was now only two people ahead of me. I had previously decided that I was going to wait a full thirty seconds, at least, after the person in front of me went in to dart down myself. I didn’t want my ride to be spoiled by rider collisions or an obstructed view. (Nothing is more dissatisfying than having another’s experience infringe upon one’s own when submitting to the Great Letting Go.)
The brunette (about my age) in the bright red bathing suit was having trouble committing to the action. She sat, then stood, then sat again. Looking back at us with an apologetic smile, she stood up again and began stepping forward and back in a ritualistic, indecisive dance. The boy with matted (blonde?) hair ahead of me (about a decade our junior) crossed his dirt-caked arms and began rolling his eyes in melodramatic exasperation. In an attempt to overcome her own apprehension and to break the rising impatience around her, the brunette laughed nervously and made a self-deprecating comment, mostly to herself though she was looking at me and the boy for reassurance. The boy tilted his head back and looked down his nose at her before muttering “I’m done waiting,” and popped into a streamline as he belly-flopped in the shallow water. Splashed with murky water, she frowned a little as she looked down at her suit. Her eyes then asked me to wait for her, and I obliged after feigning consideration by summoning words of encouragement. After a couple more minutes and some impatient groans from the others in line, she tentatively pushed herself down the shoot, her eyes looking for support from the sky, the random seagull, the hazy sun, or anything else that might be sympathetic to her confused desires.
Finally, my turn. My lips took their time rounding over silent numbers as I counted the seconds since her departure. Peering into the floating grime and muddled reflections, my mind glossed over the possibilities of where I was headed or why I wanted to do this at all. There was no sensible reason, just these etheric hands guiding me to the mouth and my insatiable curiosity. I stepped into the water; it was lukewarm and a little gritty. My feet wanted to recoil, and my nose crinkled. But I pushed the criticisms and warnings about sanitation down, and realigned my determination with my curiosity and necessity for novelty. Head-first or feet-first? Sitting upright or lying down? I don’t remember which position I chose before launching myself into the Unknown.
Brackish water, slung to the sides of the chute, flowed into my nostrils and partially open mouth. The light shifted from the yellow-white haze of polluted city daylight to sudden black as I passed between open and tunneled segments. Adrenaline began to surge with each new twist or sensation. I spilled down hills and whipped around turns, the underside of my thighs, against the plastic, hot from the speed. Passing swiftly through the air within the tunnels, smells of mold and organic decay were augmented. Was I now in the alimentary system, headed to the belly of the ride? I kept going down…
“Hello, and welcome.”
A lean, attractive man with dark, curly locks behaving erratically over his hazel eyes greeted me. I took his warm hand, extended from a flamboyant cuff of a blouse underneath a burgundy jacket sleeve. I held my hand in his, and let him initiate his measured shake. I didn’t want him to let go; he caught it and cleared his throat as he dropped my hand. “First time?” He asked me.
I raised a well-groomed eyebrow and gave a bit of a smirk as I headed off to the iridescent purple-blue-green wall to my left. Light (unknown, artificial-looking source) danced of the facets, enough to give those with a predisposition towards it seizures. The more I moved, the more light danced. At this point, I noticed I was holding something. A collection of prints, photos and papers in a somewhat ragged but thick gray folder. I repositioned it securely under my arm, freeing up both hands to explore the intricacies of the wall. As if my hands were trained, they found several nooks and niches quite easily. I sensed the organization within the wall and intuitively found its switches and safes. Pressing it just so, I managed to open a section up for me to step into. As I moved within and between the crystalline walls, I found artwork, lockers and old arcade games wither made of or embedded into the walls. High above me were small trails on shining crystal; higher still were ornate chandeliers and hanging lanterns made from the iridescent matter.I saw no particular structure I could call a ceiling though.
A pull on my shoulder to my right. My hand slid softly over the cool, smooth faces of the lockers until I felt the urge to stop. Tap, tap, tap in three specific locations on the face, and the locker clicked open. Nothing remarkable was inside, merely small trinkets that I didn’t recognize. I shut the locker quietly and continued to explore, walking down random hallways, following my whim.
Telegraphic snow sputtered high on the wall in one room to which I was delivered. No projection source could be identified. The crystalline hearth was a few hues lighter than the walls and stood out considerably. I doubted it housed any fire known to mortals. (I was unsure if there indeed was a fire burning inside that my human eyes mistook for confusing light play.) I walked passed the stools and benches. Didn’t indulge in the presented foodstuffs on the table (they all looked to shiny and waxy anyway). Images flickered (in front of me? behind me? within me?). Geometric shapes rotated in spaces that switched in and out again rapidly. Each rotating object looked like glass etchings, condensed fog or spiderwebs. My pointed finger crooked outward to the empty space around me in anticipation and hesitation. I simultaneously wanted to and didn’t want to touch. As I moved slowly to the other walls within the room, I found rotating objects seemingly embedded into or projected out of the walls. Some looked in/out only inches from the surface of the walls, while others looked in/out many feet or yards.
I stopped in front of a rotating cube that seemingly hovered about six inches into the wall. Its movements switched between fluid and jagged, spinning effortlessly for a few seconds before it began snapping through differing positions abruptly, like skipping music. The cube itself could fit within the palm of my hand. I decided that it pleased me and that I was going to take it. The task of pushing my hands into the wall was surprisingly easy. There was some tension and pressure around my skin and between my veins, but movement within the wall was much like shifting solid sheets or disks through molasses. Move slowly and with purpose, and flesh could adapt (or the wall could adapt to flesh) just fine. Move quickly and unpredictably, perhaps the sheets would feel like needles or knives. My hands closed in around a rectangular structure that seemed to be the ‘container’ for the cube. It felt a few inches thick, like a frame that I could clasp tightly between my thumb and the rest of my fingers. Extracting it took some time, pulling treasure through what felt like drying concrete now.
It came out dry and thin, no thicker than cardboard. On it was what looked to be a drawing of the cube (pencil), a composite of all the positions within one space. Lines pointed from areas on/within the cube, leading outward to the empty space, where math and unknown symbols were scribbled. I ran my fingers over the writing, detected no grooves or smudging; the markings were permanent. Picking at the edges of the ‘cardboard,’ I found that this, too, was seemingly indestructible, at least from superficial insult. I stowed the cubeboard in my gray folder and easily found my way back to the main room, where I had been greeted.
To my delight, the dark-haired man was still there, almost in the exact spot where I last saw him. His eyes caught me instantly, though he was in the process of greeting others; he shifted them quickly back to the other woman so to not appear rude. I felt his calls in the quick glances he stole and his shifted stance, pointing a foot my way. His hand unsuccessfully fought the urge to gesture to me ‘one moment;’ the microsecond message conveyed perhaps unconsciously with the hand that rested by his side while the other gesticulated a show for the woman. I hung back patiently and enjoyed watching him become slightly antsy. After some more words, the woman thanked him, took something from him (a flier? a pamphlet?) and walked away. He began to say something to another greeter, probably excusing himself for a bit, and then my view was obstructed by a cleanly shaven, bald, attractive man in thick, black framed glasses. My eyes attempted to dart pass him, but he moved with my intentions so that he was the focus. I’m sure my annoyance was written clearly on my face, but he just ignored it as he donned his charm-laden smile and continued his welcome spiel. Most of his words ran right past my brain without a hint of acknowledgment, except for “Labyrinth.”
“Blah blah The Labyrinth blah blah. Maps and guides, blah, blah, blah. The Labyrinth blah blah blah.”
I almost asked about this title when a hand, complete with the ivory and burgundy, patted the bald greeter’s shoulder. “I got this,” my hazel-eyed man said as he motioned to me. The greeters exchanged looks of contempt and irritation. No doubt this exchange aired the subdued competition. I wondered if all the greeters were in competition with one another. Looking around, I took note of a handful of other greeters, both men and women, that spotted the quiet tension. Most turned away quickly after a facial tick of commentary.
A shit-eating grin came across the bald man’s face. “Of course you do.”
My man came between me and the bald man and turned back to the other greeter, waiting for him to leave us. “Is she new here?” My man was not expecting the question and furrowed his brow. “Because you know, newcomers are not allowed to roam the halls without an escort. Surely you already asked her that before you allowed her to scout the area.” This was not a question; it was a threat.
“I am not new here, in fact.” I said, stepping up so I was just beside my man.
“Oh,” the bald man said rather loudly with much affectation, drawing the attention of other greeters and newcomers alike. “My mistake. Terribly sorry. You must already know Ted. I’ll just leave you two alone.” He proceeded to dig his heels in and put his index finger to his chin. “It’s just…” he shook his head a little. “Well, it’s just that… I’ve been here for a while and I can’t seem to place you.” He stared at me with a smirk he let leak out the sides of his mouth as he feigned bewilderment. The tenacious bastard was engaging in foreplay before the inevitable interrogation.
“My look changes quite frequently.”
He nodded. “Hm. Well…” he looked me over, making it obvious to both me and Ted that he was indeed checking me out. “I have a knack for remembering…” Pause and his eyes slid down my body. “…faces. And I’m sure I’d remember you.” He winked.
I shifted my stance, brushing up against Ted. I felt the heat licking off his body; his stony face did not betray the hot temper.
I was beginning a reaming about how none of this was any of his business when the bald guy’s aura changed. “What is that?” He motioned to the folder. Again, not a question, an accusation of some sort.
At this point, some of the other greeters gravitated over and were bending their ears (not so subtly either) to hear us. I looked down at it, now in my hand, and raised it in front of me to examine it. I didn’t really know what it was. I knew it was mine; I had the feeling it held important information. But the only piece of information I was sure about was the cubeboard. I hadn’t felt the urge to check to see what else it held. To him, I probably either looked like I was a moron or that I was taunting him, staring blankly at the folder that I flipped and turned in front of us. He clenched his jaw and took my uncertainty for provocation. Quickly, the folder was snatched up and pulled open by the shithead greeter.
Inside there were notebook pages full of diagrams and comments, the cubeboard, a moving snapshot of what looked to be static and snow, fluid apparitions contained in tablets and numerous photos and sketches. He leafed through some, moving away while trying to focus. Ted grabbed at the folder and many sheets fell to the ground. We regained possession of the folder and I crouched down to gather up the notes. Onlookers could not make sense of the contents of the folder nor our squabble. It seemed some eavesdropping greeters may have had an idea about what was going on, why the contents of the folder might be important, and who I could potentially be or represent. (I still had no idea though.) Ted kicked the bald man away as he was trying to shout something. Another greeter, a 30-some man with long brown hair and an easy-going vibe, pulled the bald man off in another direction, telling him to calm down. Female greeters started at the scattered materials without assisting.
After Ted and I reassembled the notebook, a small swarm of people closed in around us. Salespeople? They were definitely trying to solicit something to me, each one pushing a folder in my hand and attempting to talk louder than the other. Many of them were women in skirt suits and updos with bleached smiles and tired eyes that strained to twinkle brighter than her neighbor’s. Ted attempted to keep them within arm’s length, holding up his hand while trying to get their attention. “Ladies!” And then “Sir, please, don’t crowd us,” as a well-dressed man with a comb-over squeezed his way to the front. As Ted pushed back at the crowd, I looked down at all the folders being tossed my way. Many had names scrawled across the front in fancy fonts. Some had photos, phone numbers, emails, ID numbers or hologram images. Every folder was crisp, clean, eye-catching, pretense oozing from every square centimeter.
The squawking was silenced by Ted’s impressive bellow. “You all must leave now. You are intruding on our time.”
Catty remarks and sour looks were flung in Ted’s direction. A lot of “She would be better off with so-and-so,” and “How did he get so lucky?” “What does she think she is doing with him?” “He doesn’t know what he’s doing.” “She doesn’t know what she’s doing.” “Probably worthless anyway…” One young woman demanded that Ted give me his folder, waving her finger in the name of Protocol and Rules. She crossed her arms, intent on watching him complete the task.
With a sigh, he removed the light gray, ratty folder from his inside jacket pocket. Coffee and water stains rippled the fibers and curled the edges. Frayed edges of worn notebook and sketch paper stuck out the sides, no flaps holding them in place. Quotes and lyrics were written in black ink and marker across the back. Turning over, big bold letters declared “TED FUCKS.” My eyebrows went up. He pressed his lips together, glanced at the floor before shrugging with a smile.
The woman stepped up to me and whispered, loud enough for Ted to hear, “If you want any serious work done, call me.” She handed me her smooth, thick folder. Shooting Ted a contemptuous look, she headed off, heels clicking with purposeful rhythm. Ted began to lean in, and, as if she had Ted-deflating radar, she shouted without turning “In fact, call anyone else besides him.” Her clicking heels did not miss a beat.
I tapped my finger lightly over the declarative, revealing phrase on Ted’s folder. My inquisition was soften by playfulness. He exhaled, shrugged with open hands and said, “Everyone takes everything too seriously around here.”
I looked at the folder, “Ted fucks, huh?”
He proffered a sheepish smile, executed horribly; the obvious slight dilation of his pupils and mischievous glint in his eyes destroyed and feign of innocence. I had no line of questioning regarding his interest in me; I already fully knew it from his physical responses. His shiftiness indicated some uncertainty in his speculation of what I thought of him. So I smiled. “Good to know.” He let out a relieved laugh, and before he could get too distracted, I sat in a nearby chair and motioned for him to come sit next to me. “I have something to show you.” I opened my folder on my lap as he came and took his seat next to me.
Shuffling through the materials, I came to the cubeboard. “That.” I said as I pointed to it. I didn’t pick it up; instead, I let him lean across my chest so that his face would have to come near my breast, his breath hitting my bare neck and collarbone as he moved in close to see the writing. And if we didn’t have such things to talk about, I would have goaded him into taking me right there. After being momentarily distracted by my flesh, he focused on the cubeboard. “Huh,” and he laughed a little in delight.
“You know what it is?”
He nodded enthusiastically. “Yup, I know exactly what this is. And I feel fortunate to know the person that can Extract.” It was a compliment, the underlying implications I could not completely grasp. He was excited, and though I saw the intention on his face, the kiss still came as a bit of a surprise. He tasted sweet; we lingered. Then he stood up and took my hand. “Come on. I have a lot to show you, and we have a lot to talk about. Here is not the place.”
I gathered up the folders (mine and his), leaving the rest behind in a messy pile. Through the river of people, we made our way quietly and efficiently to the entrance of The Labyrinth. We disappeared like ghosts behind the glittering walls, and I felt cradled by warmth.
The night was a haze of visions.
A majority of my memories centers around a cabin in the woods. In one storyline, it was the setting of a romantic assignation. Up in the loft, I rolled between milk-white sheets in the sparkling rays of the morning sun. He had already left the bed. I inhaled his scent and savored the lingering sex in the air. My body was like a sponge for the delicious indulgence of pure sensation. Every touch was a secret luxury. When he returned upstairs, the light danced off of him like fire-water. Each ripple of his perfectly cut body was accentuated; the way his skin shone caused my eyes to retreat back beneath my eyelids every now and again. Sadly, I cannot remember his face, but every fiber of me knows him, my Lover, as The Morning Star.
At the next flicker, the cabin has changed, as the inhabitants have as well. I’m a little girl, no more than ten years old. I see a tall man lumbering through the cabin in a state of dismay. He is not my father. I hold my doll tightly to my chest as I watch him pace in front of the roaring fire. The walls reflect red flames woven between menacing shadows. I am silent.
The scene shifts yet again. Where my doll was a second ago there is now a suitcase of sorts. The pacing older man has become a sly devil of a charmer. His eyes undress me as he places my bag on the chair nearby. The wolf’s tail, poking out from underneath his unbuttoned, oversized, collared shirt, flicks with pleasure as he lunges in to taste my neck. My hand reaches up the back of his head, tugging at his hair and caressing his pointed ears. Between my fingers there’s fur or skin as one transitions into the other and back again.
The red walls seem to close in on me, and I can see the monsters that have emerged from the shadows. They stand beside me and behind me with their hands on my shoulders, acting as caretakers. The door slams behind the pacing man as he storms out into the night. I am left with the monsters… that dry my tears with their large, scaly fingers. Sharp nails run gently through my pigtails as I hear attempts at soothing tones through rough throats and guttural voices. I am offered a seat on the lap of a 15 ft tall, black and green, bipedal reptile with large brown scales running down his head and back of the neck like Mohawk dorsal fins. Once in his lap, he rocks me to sleep in front of the fire.
The same cabin is now a mess of clothes, empty boxes and overturned furniture. Investigating each room, a story assembles in my head. There are two children’s rooms, a master bedroom, a den and kitchen; this was a family’s house. A young girl left many stuffed animals behind in her hot pink room. A young boy didn’t manage to grab his action figures before the family hurried out. What happened to them all? I can only see speculations in my head. The only obvious details are a struggle, a hasty escape, and the unlikelihood of return. But then, I hear the door. There stands the disheveled mother with both her ragged children.
Our tryst is cut short by the sounds he hears in the distance. “Sorry, Love, I’ve got to go,” he says as he pulls his pants on while still eyeing me hungrily. “What is it?” I ask as I sit up. He nips at my lips, and I feel a cold nose on my cheek for a second. “Stolen car. They’re after me.” The Wolf peeks at me from behind the Thief’s skin. He throws on his green jacket and tosses me a key before he opens the front door. A paw sweeps me off the bed forcefully and pulls me into his body. Our faces collide in unchecked hunger; one more deep taste before he’s off. “Meet me again,” he growls as he motions to the key.
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If you have any affinity for supernatural entities, ghosts, faeries, thoughtforms or the like, I strongly suggest viewing (or reading) Mushi-shi. (Read the wiki for details I will not be describing.)
Though it is not explicitly stated in the series that Mushi are, in-deed, Fae, they are. Let me show you…
(Pieces taken from the wiki about the series are in italics. But I would suggest that if you want proof, go to the source and experience it… which is always preferable anyway, IMO.)
Mushi are described as beings in touch with the essence of life, far more basic and pure than normal living things. Due to their ethereal nature most humans are incapable of perceiving Mushi and are oblivious to their existence, but there are a few who possess the ability to see and interact with Mushi.
Residents of the Faery realm are also described as ethereal beings that are much more elemental than current physical lifeforms on earth. Most people are incapable of perceiving them, and many do not believe in their existence, whether physical, symbolic, literal, Mythical (Joseph Campbell’s definition of Myth) or figurative. There are a few out there that can and will perceive their presence and contributions.
Now, before moving on to the next points, I want to mention something about the only consistent character:
Ginko’s unusual white hair and green eye color is the result of an incident that occurred when he was a child. The explanation is because of a rare mushi that takes the shape of a white fish with one green eye. The person who is thrown into the darkness of where this mushi thrives must then sacrifice one of their eyes, usually the same one the fish mushi has missing, and become a mushi attractor for the rest of their lives till they either die or are eaten by the mushi.
The description of Ginko here can be seen as an emanation of Odin. One of the most popular stories of Odin is his sacrificing one of his eyes for wisdom. This loss is also connected with Water.
A note about Ginko’s role as a Mushi attractor for the duration of his life to eventually succumb to the Mushi: Fae rarely give up one of their favored. Their desire and attachment is fierce.
Not to add too many spoilers to the blog, but I would like to illustrate some more shared traits.
In the first episode, “The Green Seat,” many common Faery customs are illustrated. The Mushi have a favored mortal to which they are drawn. They seek to not only initiate her into their realm (via drink) but also to strike a deal with her (also via drink). The water they give her, termed “Water of Life” (Dune overlap!), is otherworldly in its properties and taste. Like a drug or Soma, this has specific effects on the Reality of the consumer. Time does not operate in the same fashion for them. Often, their youth is preserved in one way or another; they may now have even gained immortality. Their human/mortal interactions are forever changed, and they are gifted with new sight and insight. Of course, they must uphold their end of the deal, as one always must in a Fae bargain. The attraction to and choosing of favored mortal; the ingestion of foodstuffs acting as a tie and an acceptance of a promise or contract; the connection/blending of initiation rites and contracts; the proffered drugs and state of intoxication; the warping of space-time; the preservation of youth, beauty or vanity; the gifts of wisdom, knowledge, love, delight and/or your wish are all common themes and underpinnings of Fae culture.
The second episode displays a much darker picture of potential Faery interactions: the parasitism and descent into darkness that can occur when the mortal allows a destructive entity to take up residence. Without divulging much plot detail, the basic message regards the use (or misuse) of the third eye when peering into Faery realms. The Fae use glamor for many reasons, some of which include to entrap and ensnare. While glamor is not explicitly referenced as a Mushi characteristic, the mortals are often naturally enchanted and enticed by the Mushis and their realm. Certain aspects of their world can become addicting and debilitating. When one cannot see beyond the illusion, one becomes trapped within, much to the parasitic Mushi’s (or Fae’s) advantage. Even in the mortal world there are those that drain life. We have a name for them: Vampires. Vampires are yet another dark mirror with which we humans seem to have a fascination. I digress. Another detail of this particular episode, “The Light of the Eyelid,” includes the use of moonlight to draw a Mushi out. For those that know anything of the Fae, they know what celestial body Faeries favor.
I am sure that as I rip through the series I’ll see more reflections of note. Maybe I’ll share some more of interest as they reveal themselves.
Incarnations and reinventions of the Good People, the Fae/Fey, Faeries, the Little People, the Wee folk, etc can be found all over. We just need to train our eyes to spot them.
We had been traveling. Currently, we resided in a transitory nest within the city. The faces of my companions were fluid in space-time. They changed; I changed.
An average day it was certainly not. Something stirred in the skies. We all knew it intuitively and instinctively though we talked not about The Unseen.
The decision to go to the Ocean at The End of the World was unanimous. I do not remember how we traveled, but it had wheels. We arrived as the skies spun and changed colors.
A storm is brewing, someone seemed to say.
There were, at least, five of us, and, at most, ten of us. Either (/any) way, the numbers were split evenly so each person had a “counterpart” of the same gender. Mine was blonde and taller and less skilled than I was. She seemed to pop into existence as my feet hit the sand. Her hologram wavered with the clouds in the sky. Spirals formed on the horizon, indications of merging points and vertexes. The edges of The World became dark. All five (ten) of us panned outward to observe the land from a bird’s-eye (or space-eye) view. The Pattern: Shadows coming from all angles with a perfect circle of Light that was quickly diminishing. And who should happen to be in the center of that Circle of Light but the five (ten) of us.
We drew our Eyes back into ourselves and each assumed our stations. I sat, lotus-style, at the Water’s Edge. My counterpart was fastened onto me with a silver string around her waist. She sat in my lap, over my crossed legs, facing the watery horizon. It was my charge and my responsibility to keep her safe, to stabilize her form through the journey. I instructed her to close her eyes, to breathe as normally as possible. “You must stay with me; pull the c(h)ord tight. If you ever feel you are losing yourself, locate the c(h)ord and my body. Re-orient with me as quickly as possible.”
As the shadows closed-in, the others instructed their counterparts in the same manner. I felt the indigo rise to my eyes and brow as the skies darkened rapidly. I closed my physical eyes as my Third Eye burned bright violet in the Dark. The circle became a pinhole and then…
Nothing at all.
We were traveling (or not?), her/I and the Others. I felt her temptation to open her eyes, and I strongly transmitted “Don’t.” The blackness swarmed in and through what may have been our bodies. There were noises that may have been drums or shrieks, harps or hail, bells or singing, sonication or pressurization. There were sensations of gossamer webs, crackling embers, soft glow, a school of fish, amniotic fluid, riptides, needles, gravel, fine silk and wind tunnels. A kaleidoscope of taste-color crashed upon our faces and re-arranged our flesh. I kept the center, held it as a meditation of a grain of sand in a sandstorm. She remained still with me and followed where my mind willed her.
And with no warning whatsoever, the World returned. We were sitting on the Beach at The Edge. Ten dissolved to five, and the silver c(h)ords returned to our spinal columns as the violet gave way to indigo and, eventually, the flesh of our brows. The sky was bright blue with puffs of gleeful white clouds. Waves kissed our feet as we rose in synchrony. We returned to our vehicle and sped off.
We rented a house cast in perpetual twilight regardless of the position of the Sun relative to us. A salt-water pool extended from the side yard to the back yard. It was lined with quartz and igneous rocks. We bathed under moonlight that evening, keeping ourselves hidden from the others down the street. We could hear them pass by the house, buzzing and scurrying like insects. I distinctly remember my gaze remaining skyward most of the night. The leaves of the trees had turned and were beginning to fall.
Sleep was a dream within a dream; we were so gone, like corpses. I remember the haziness upon waking. Our bags were still packed and slumped by the wall, where we had thrown them the day before. Some festive attire, costume wear and strange jewelry spilled out onto the floor. My feet padded over cold floorboards to the bathroom. Looking in the mirror, I noticed that I had left my mascara on all night.
White-blue streaks of morning light filtered in through the blinds. I peered through the slits and saw twilight once more. My fellow traveler stirred in the bed.
It must have been mid-day when we came down to the field, jingling as we walked. We had expected it to be empty this time of year, but, alas, there was a crowd of people to greet us with confused stares and horrified expressions. They seemed not to understand our garments, which were some strange blend of lavish materials, disheveled arrangement and loud accessories. We were intruding on their celebration, apparently. Of course, they were intruders on our occasion as well.
An austere and cold hostess demanded we leave. We did not move for her, but we explained, calmly and politely, our purpose for desiring a bit of space on the field. She would have none of it. A boisterous and hefty gentleman in the crowd suggested the matter be settled by their traditional game of cards.
There were 4 suits with 13 cards a piece: Day, Night, Civilization, and Aztec Gold. The deck contained about 7-9 trump cards. The images on the trumps are too fuzzy to recount.
The game was played in this manner:
The cards were turned face-down on the ground and shuffled or “washed” to mix. When the ref said to start, players began to turn over cards as quickly as possible. A player could only “keep” cards if they managed to find at least 4 cards in sequence of the same suit. If so, they kept that pile of cards. Typically, at the end of the game, the player with the most sequenced suited cards wins. If a player dominates a suit, that person has a far greater chance of winning since it counts as both suited sequence and number of cards. If neither player has any complete suit, cards are counted and sequences are noted. The player with the most wins. EXCEPT… and this is a big one… If the player can acquire all the Aztec Gold cards AND all the trumps, that player wins. It is implied that the player is favored and never has to prove oneself again. No one in that community can challenge the player in the future if the player is able to secure this hand.
We positioned the cards face down. At the time of the preparation, neither me nor my companion was aware of the rules. The hefty gentleman explained the rules slowly to us, even after play time had begun. These were not the noblest of creatures. We had lost a good chunk of play time before we fully grasped the rules. Already, the man had almost a full suit in front of him; he was moving quickly. Once the game was understood, my partner turned cards much quicker. I sat beside and watched, silently rooting and willing our side to win. With every turn my partner made, a flash of gold greeted our eyes. All of the Aztec Gold was taken by our side in seemingly no time. It was like the suit was laid before us for the taking. The hefty gentleman had now secured two full suits and was working on the third. It was our esteemed Fortune that stepped in and practically handed over the trumps to us. One turn after another was a boon. The man on the other side saw what was happening; panic painted his face. He began to reach across the ground for the cards closer to us. Every time he caught something he needed, but he was not able to find the trumps. Before all the cards were laid face-up, we had all the Aztec Gold and trumps placed before us. Every card was caught in sequence; our twisted smiles were an ode to probability.
This post is inspired greatly by the movie, Ink, which I highly recommend (thank you, Kiowa and Jamin Winans). While this is not really a review, it is more of an expansion or exposition on the archetypes presented in the film. When I initially wrote the piece, I was unsure whether to use all the specific names of the archetypes that the film gave or to use my own. I decided for this post to keep the names of the archetypes, as presented in the film, intact. Some of the archetypes are more general and explicit, such as ‘Storytellers’ and ‘Pathfinders,’ though both are apt and portrayed in a different light than what I am accustomed to seeing. I find that there are some commonalities between Clive Barker’s cenobites and Ink‘s Incubi. Any of you familiar with the Hellraiser series will see why if you watch the film. There are no spoilers in the text below, just my observations and insights about the archetypes (plus one of my own to add to the mix that the film illustrates but does not name) in addition to the film’s explicitly stated characteristics. I rather enjoy Ink‘s revamping of some common archetypes and the interesting portrayal of others.
The Incubi exist to draw others into their nightmarish world. They care not for others. They destroy dreams, love, hope, inspiration and aspirations in favor of a bleak ‘reality’ of torment to which they desensitize themselves in order to exist. Storytellers regard them as black holes. Storytellers deliver tales of heroism, greatness, love, salvation and redemption. They put forth the concepts of manifested faith, accessible Archetypes, the power of Myth and the grace of Love.
The Storytellers are liars, planting seeds of idealism, love and a world with light. At least this is how the Incubi see it. The Storytellers replace pain and fear with false hope and childish aspirations. The Incubi would never do such a thing; they will present the Truth as it is: cold, slicing, agonizing, uncaring and barren. They, themselves, have become numb to such nightmares so they may carry the Truth of their nightmares to others. They seek to stamp out the encouragement and guidance of the Storytellers.
While some humans regard the Incubi as demons or similar ‘evil spirits,’ other humans regard them as necessary teachers and the keepers of ‘the brutal truth.’ While some humans regard the Storytellers as a kind of guardian angels or similar ‘benevolent spirits,’ other humans regard them as false messiahs and seeders of ‘tall tales.’
One cannot be both Storyteller and Inubi, but one can choose to be neither, either entering as a Pathfinder, a Drifter, or a Force of Nature. A Drifter is caught between the pull of Storyteller verses Incubi. They are able to see potential and possibility, but they are without sufficient belief in the visions, so they cannot pass on stories to others. They accept and wallow in their own failure and delusions but are unable to take the steps to become numb in order to deliver the nightmarish ‘Truth’ unto others. Pathfinders and Forces of Nature are neither Storyteller nor Incubi; they are outside this spectrum of distinction. The Pathfinder is akin to the Trickster spirit: a teacher that would never profess oneself as such. The Pathfinder can induce Change on various levels once s/he discovers the Pattern. Despite a Pathfinder’s personal sacrifices, handicaps, or wounds, s/he will always know how to access the Pattern(s). For if a Pathfinder cannot rise above one’s hardships, s/he will cease to be a Pathfinder.
Forces of Nature are often spoken of among humans with considerable reverence, misunderstanding, and possibly, preconceived notions. Forces of Nature interact with Pathfinders much more directly than interacting with either Storytellers or Incubi. While Pathfinders find, follow or ride the Pattern, Forces of Nature may be described moreso AS the Pattern. Forces of Nature are all the elements set in motion, moving along certain courses. Like a beaver that builds a dam, the Pathfinder goes in current to redirect. One cannot effectively redirect Forces of Nature without firstly, recognizing them; secondly, understanding them; and thirdly, entering into them. Entry points are outside of the Pattern itself, by definition. This is how we navigate different planes. Each has access to different doors, different layers within layers.
Does one really choose one’s role? [Yes.] Are only some allowed to choose, while others, once they have Chosen (as opposed to chosen) a role, have set their Fate thereafter (even if ‘thereafter’ is a kind of misnomer to describe the experience)? [Dunno.] Is it really all about the access points of re-entry that we can detect at any given moment so that we may Change once again? [Quite possibly.]
To live in perpetual morning-
with the changing sky: a palette of visible passage
with the quiet murmurs: dreams escaping lips, songs escaping beaks
with the subtle scents: hot water passing through ground, roasted beans
This morning, I did not shower. It is the first day in a long time that I did not feel the need. I decided to allow my own oils to coat my skin rather than rinsing them away in micelles formed after the common usage of bars derived from the fat of other animals. My hair is malleable, not dry and flat. My skin does not raise an inflammatory response to enhanced fragrances. It feels more natural this way.