Recent Encounters: Unidentified, Differentiated Duplicates, and Passer-Bystander

The descriptor that got through to me, that I could understand a labyrinth as sacred geometry after, was grace. The shape of a labyrinth can mean: In this place, there is nowhere else you must be; in this movement, there is nothing else you must do.

It’s like any other way to alter the mind enough to catch at some soul-high message, maybe, except this is what’s been working for me right now. It used to be a variety of breathing patterns into blankness, then entering a tarot card illustration, then guided audio meditations, and I keep hearing about binaural beats but that hasn’t worked all that much better to me. Considering how often I’ve had to change up my methods when the previous one stopped working, I might get into it in the future. So far, though, no.

I was aghast to read about a meditation class where the instructor insisted on the fourfold breath to a student for whom the instructor knew that breathing pattern did not good-feeling stuff to the student’s cardio. There are so. Many. Other. Ways. To. Breathe! Must I also add that someone else’s way to breathe comfortably is valid for meditative practice? Or even, like…life? (I am so harshly judging that instructor.)

Labyrinth travel is hardly as basic as breathing, though in that vein, I’ve been fortunate enough to try out a variety of designs.

Pictured above: a Gossembrot labyrinth. Described in writing compilation by Sigmund Gossembrot in 1480, interpreted by Alexander Frei in Caerdroia magazine and by Hermann Kern.

One day I’ll have the time, clarity, and stamina to write up the mystery of the Clarene in the white gown, and the Clarene who keeps showing up to warn me that that’s not the Clarene. By now, I should think, if the false Clarene did want to fool me then it would be as simple as wearing something else. These are all in quests, which I ought to write up some definition and general method about.

In any case, questing through the Gossembrot had a calming effect on me, not that I was terribly turmoiled upon entering, and right before entering the center, that possibly-usually false Clarene stopped me.

“You’ll want to kill yourself,” ey warned.

I may have made a face as I gestured to a depression-script recorder of an elf-shot I had sewn onto a glove that I never take off (if I don’t know where it is at all times, the script gets internalized; though some new depression-scripts come up internally anyway, with the glove at least I know, oh it’s just the imaginary inanimate object being vocally opinionated again. What is my life even.)

And I entered the center of the labyrinth. Someone stood about one o’clock (if my looking straight ahead marked twelve) in the empty circular room across from me, and faced a spot on the wall where a 3 or 4 of a clock would be. The entire figure appeared titanium white at every feature, so I thought the silky hair was part of a hooded robe at first.

I’ve read a couple of contradictory things when it comes to questing. The first is that the first thing that comes to the questant’s mind is intuitive and must be treasured and heeded. The second is that nothing is as it seems and a questant must somehow check these things or at least doubt them.

For this encounter, I tried not to jump to conclusions. Was this even from Western Faery? The shape of this figure reminded me of the Blue Diamond from Steven Universe. Did that suggest celestial? I sensed warmth and structure—like one associated with constellations? No, more like snowflake structures. A warm snowflake? Otherworlds generate a lot of associations that don’t make much sense, so I noted that sense that I was getting. Structured, but supple. The Winter Ophelia, maybe? I conceive of the Ophelia as a blurry presence between the River proper, the frosty Sky Ophelia (or Winter Ophelia, who I’d perceived sonetimes blurred into the Ophelene), and the oceanic Laethelia.

This presence was none of those, though I noticed more generally Ophelic vibes than I had vibes of a celestial—not the Dierne or Lilybell, then.

And then the thing I was riding reached my stop, and I shifted out of that surreal quest to corporeally get home.

So far I’m guessing Neve Winter from some polar tesseract spinoff of the Otherfaith mythology (or, depending on whose terms I agree to, Western Faery is the spinoff and the Temple of the Fathers in Polar Tesseract Faery is the main show.)

I could have started by asking, but what the fae appear as or say they are don’t necessarily match what I’ve picked up on by quietly “getting a read” the way I describe the process above.

Which is why I’m annoyed by the Clarene in the white gown. Ey’s come off as claeric enough. The Clarene who warns me away sometimes even looks the same, but just much bigger.

Pictured above: a traditionally assymetric Classical or Cretan labyrinth.
Pictured above: a traditionally assymetric classical or Cretan labyrinth.

As I traced the miniature, I also traveled the Cretan labyrinth in my mind. At the first bend, the paths branched.

It’s a labyrinth. The path isn’t supposed to branch.

The Clarene in the white gown approached from the new branch and told me, “We bend the rules for important matters. Come this way with me!”

A pair of anvils fell between us—or, something with the force of cartoon anvils that I didn’t recognize right away. They were hooves as thick as tree trunks, at the end of ungulate legs not at all mechanical as I’d drawn them. This Clarene wore furs—It came off to me less an elegant fashion statement and more like armor, like…these furs are how to recognize hundreds of pounds of pure power made flesh, how to differentiate a great grizzly bear from a lion—and this Clarene wears both and more because these furs would be filled with that sort of dangerous vitality. Eir ram horns were the biggest I’d ever beheld them, and they did feel dangerous.

It wasn’t usually like this. Before, they would appear alike, only the Clarene who warned me off from the other would be fifteen feet tall whereas the other would be maybe half that.

In any case, this wild Clarene snapped at me to “Stay on the path!”

So I turned away from them both and almost walked into Arabella.

That was also unusual; if the Laetha appears during these labyrinth quests at all, it’s at the center.

Still, Arabella let me take eir arm and lean on em a bit, as we moved through the first long arching path of the Cretan. Ey’s been very friendly and personable, and at this encounter the Laetha seemed hardly worried or fazed. I can’t claim to have been so composed.

“What was that about?!” I’d gasped, my fetch almost fainting. “What the everloving f—”

And I can’t remember what ey’d answered, if ey did, because I fell asleep.