When I started getting into finger-tracing miniature labyrinths as a prayer practice, I had this idea of a labyrinthine part of Western Faery built of red brick—which it looks like Aine’s portrait of the Clarene sits on! I didn’t catch that detail the first time, or I forgot and it stewed in my subconscious until it bubbled up as the Sierra Sienna (which I sometimes call the Sienna Sierra.)
This next picture below shows the Ophelia. Mine’s the very anthropic version on the left panel, Opalfish’s gives me the vibes of (to paraphrase Granny Aching from the Discworld series) “‘Taint what the River looks like, it’s what the River be.”
So I certainly make room, even in my little pocket altar, for both the relational experience of the fae presenting/performing and representing as anthropomorphic (and zoomorphic—aww, I wish I’d figured out how to work in some of that in my portrait, butterfly wings, or gills or blue peacock feathers or something, maybe another time,) and this more phenomenal, animistic, symbolic sort of representation…and whatever it means to an individual Other Person, in haphazard combination or in-between (as I expect to be the case, usually—these are liminal beings.)
Next pic below is Aine’s portrait of the Laetha Arabella, and mine of the Dierne before Pallis (the Princess Irene, with whom I generate an unexpected lot more headcanon.)
the Laetha portrait turned out the best on photo paper, I’d say—bold lines, the colors just pop, and I feel it’s a style that generally conveys well that the Otherfaith is a contemporary religion, especially the upstart regent that the Laetha is (along with the Dierne Pallis.)
Maybe I’ll get around to adding some written prayers to this. More likely, though, it’d be adding more images—of the Dierne Pallis, at least a few more of the Laethas, and the fusions. Maybe some non-royal fae. Images alone feel right enough for now.
“Find a place where love is above all things,” the princess Irene said to princess Claire Clarice Clarene, whose mother condemned their romance. When there appeared no such place in either Old World Faery or our human world, the Clarene created one.
The Clarene crowned emself King of the newly-founded Western Faery, and by eir side ruled the Ophelia—a river fae ey’d rescued while wandering the world as Clarice. When duties of ruling kept them apart, the Clarene sought out the Queen Ophelia and spelled out how life and love is more than duty.
Princess Irene, during that Season, has conspicuously little presence in the current mythfic. With the Clarene, we witness one side of what can happen once you decide to lose the life you knew for the sake of someone you’ve snogged once.
But was Princess Irene waiting for a sign that Claire had completed the quest ey’d given? Did ey have any explaining, arguing, fleeing, fighting, or searching to do over at eir side of the story? How did Irene come by the Clarene’s Faeryland, to warn of the Clarene’s mother on the way to scold a lot? Was this before the Sundering or after?
With not much currently developed of that time, I get the impression that…well, some people who change your life will drop out of it, and that’s okay.
My headcanon of a time before the Sundering is that they may have reigned together—the Clarene, l’Ophelia, and d’Irene (Dierne). There, I find the embarrassing result of holding to structures that don’t help. They were all young, this Triumvirate. They shared a new world to shape, but only knowledge from the Old World of Faery as to how to shape it.
I imagine King Clarene would have taken as a given that eir two great loves would reign alongside em. Princess Irene may have been told too often that ey would grow to be a Queen, to refuse such an obvious development. The Ophelia, a seemingly common river fairy and lowly with pollution, may never have conceived of it.
I like that idea, for the irony of how the Ophelia remains Queen whereas the first Dierne abdicated.
And I imagine the Clarene, with many names and many masks (or roles) to have been more than Irene wished to meet. King Clarene probably doesn’t dote. In a way, the one Irene loved may too rarely be found under a crown, at court.
In my headcanon, that Irene could embody levity without inspiring it could be another factor—that the defining Dierne, in circumspect, still did not accomplish the Work of the Dierne. So, painfully positioned and personally unfulfilled, Irene demoted eirself.
This forms, to me, a mythic origin for a number of remaining triads that may feature in present practice.
Devotional rituals as composed of language (spoken, written, or signed prayer), light (candles, or anything that does in a pinch—would do in a pinch), and libation (liquid offering, perhaps kept in a designated altar or shrine like location, or poured out; again, whatever does would do.) This structure may have done for a triumvirate, and just as well now and generally for Four+
The ethereal fetch of Otherfaith metaphysics has three main parts: the tail, the wings, and the crown (or what I call the crest).
I also associate hair braiding with the Ophelia*: three-part French braids to signify the hidden, three-part Dutch braids with the Ophelene for the revealed…and two part but also myriad part fishtail braids with the Laethalia, who’s just odd. I offer this more descriptively than prescriptively: the Ophelia*’s hair looks however else it looks when not braided (or not anthropomorphized), and non-ofelic people certainly wouldn’t be forbidden from hair-braiding. To me, though, braids have come to signify that the Ophelia remembers what even the first Dierne would rather leave forgotten.
Alternatively, these triads could have mythic origins with the Triad, or the Verszou Elves. As it is, of course, with corporeal human Other People perhaps for whom less than three components for a thing feels lacking, and more than three for that same thing feels excessive.
I can also glean something resonant in the idea that Princess Irene arrived at Western Faery long after the Sundering, and for my headcanon Triumvirate to not have been so at all. All the more the Clarene would have changed from Claire as a person, then. The less room in the Clarene’s work life for an old flame, neither would have any call to find that out the difficult way.
The Dierne has come to mean, to me, a reconciliation. To explore injuries in a dynamic that would be hard-pressed to consider tolerable in the Clarene’s created world, the first oathbinding I think of (albeit implicit) is shared history.
I couldn’t imagine a newcomer to the West not being unpersoned after invading the Laetha’s nest, as I’ve written Irene doing. The princess has leave to remain in the West primarily because ey was part of the story from the earliest Season. My headcanon of Princess Irene has been less stalwart in other ways. Ey may have known the Unpersoned Fallen Star’s nature, and the dynamic with those who would become the successor Dierne and the first Laetha—yet surrendered that knowledge to their privacy, or to some principle of personal autonomy. My headcanon Irene looks upon the Blazes and wonders how much was eir own fault. The Princess in eir principality among the stars is despotic: Never again the Sundering. This is not an improvement. Irene had learned the wrong lesson from the past. How much more can a person mistake until even the binding of history severs?
It may not be history alone that keeps em in the West, nor mistakes and malice alone that pose a challenge to keeping Irene around. Just by eir narrative position, ey could be perfect: a model ideal, who has done no wrong, the embodiment of a fairy princess’ Happily Ever After. Maybe it’s just me—who can’t imagine or believe in someone as perfect as that—whose musings couldn’t leave Princess Irene (who I identify as Princess Irene) well enough alone.
My previous blog would have a warning over each entry containing triggering material, because I could write about my middle school campus getting bomb threats as easily as I could post a photo of a fruit. The latter of which isn’t even necessarily easy, as I’ve been recovering from disordered eating. Sometimes I write upsetting things because I’m too tired to keep quiet about it, and that’s not likely to stop because being noisy is also tiring. Other times I even write upsetting things because I wasn’t clever or considerate enough, though I aim to do that less, I never know until after the harm is done, and then we’d probably both wish I’d warned you, though I couldn’t warn more specifically if I hadn’t known or considered. For here and for now, I’ll opt to post one warning—this one—and not to excuse.
The first of January marks the end of Reunion celebrations for the Other People. The evil Mircea has been defeated, the imprisoning flames of the Sundering now confined to ever-distant Blazes, and most denizens of Faery have (for the first time in too much time) room to live beyond the next painless moment. The mortal Arabella, now Faery Regent—ought be Regents, plural, trauma split em into a hive—meets the star fae Pallis, once Mircea’s enabler and victim, then redeemed by defeating the evil star, and now also a Faery monarch.
Arabella and Pallis loved each other once; I wonder what they recognize, that first Reunion after the Sundering.
Mostly, though, at this time I wonder what’s next. Our own remnant Blazes in human life—personal, local, national, global—may not be as distant as most myth or metaphor, and may even be growing.
On a slightly more secular intangent, I did read the Dance of Time by Michael Judge. It’s a poetically written history of the modern calendar, from the earliest archaeological evidence that suggested human societies ever cared for this sort of thing, to the controversy surrounding some Roman Caesar who wanted to do away with a holy lunar calendar irreconcilable with a solar harvest calendar, to the trouble this system caused later just for being 11 minutes off, to the Protestant Christian snubbing of a perfectly calculated calendar for modern use just because Pope Gregory XIII of Catholicism invited a gaggle of smart people over to make it. And name it after em.
Possibly interesting carry-over from my Abrahamic birth religion: the not-otherworld (the this-here-world) in some kinds of metaphysics is called the temporal. Even the word “ordinary” means, in the Catholic liturgical calendar, “time set in order by the big G”.
I feel that same sense of structure, among the fae, would be delegated more to the Father Goddess’s seneschal. For me, the first Sunday after Reunion displaces the Dierne’s designated day of the week to prepare for the first Monday (a Claeric day) of the rest of the year.
I didn’t have resolutions last year. I’d been usually unemployed, depressed, and lost in life. 2016 was the year I personally recovered, though, is how it feels: recovered from nail-splintering malnourishment (although I was still lucky to be under a roof, and clothed, and retained middle class privileges that lent me skills and acquaintances, so that I could afford to look forward to eating on occasion), and recovered from a lifetime of abuse from my birth family—that only became noticeably intolerable between 2005 and 2011, that made running away to join the poverty the better option. My first thought when I wake is not always ‘I can’t do this “life” thing,’ anymore, neither is the rest of my waking life haunted by some ethereal planet-sized void that radiates despair and wrath. Or a giant clockwork insect dragon of adolescent semi-sexual abuse. Or a smokey storm serpent of gaslit repression. (These aren’t premeditated metaphors. I experienced these things described because I actually went crazy, and then interpreted them psychologically. I am currently still crazy. Of course I am. I meet fairies and have conversations with fairies.)
I especially couldn’t have gotten to this point without (among precious few others) my corporeal friend Cecil, who has helped as much as ey could and more than I deserve. I don’t know what’s coming that I’m not prepared for, or what’s not coming that I need, but at least I can literally stand now without depression or starvation literally weighing me down. I hope that means 2017’s the year I start to act like the able-bodied, grown-up adult that I’ve looked like for more time than I’ve felt.
I couldn’t say the Western fae necessarily intervened for the better. As I keep reading, liminal beings aren’t vending machines. Besides, I ought to be warier of religiosity, or the spiritual addictions by which terms my birth family justified their alternating neglect and abuse.
When I started more regular practice with the Otherfaith, life got better in other ways, though I’m open to the idea that when I have the energy and clarity to do at least some of what I’m supposed to mundanely, then the same behavioral patterns that make a categorically secular routine would carry over to a categorically religious ritual. What I watch for is whether there’s a seesaw dynamic between the spiritual/religious and mundane wherein one’s advanced to the detriment of the other, as opposed to, I don’t know, a swing set or possibly a trampoline.
I appreciate the presence of these Faery Kings and Queens in my life. It’s been small steps, during a quake, to no specific destination.
For this blog in the next year:
1. I’d put forth the suggestion before to phase out references to fairies and monarchy in the Otherfaith, as it came off to me as redundant alongside the classification of spirits, and our definition of gods.
But that didn’t catch on, and I didn’t personally want that anyway, so, on this blog at least, I’ll do the opposite and find out how well that works: these are fae, apparently not the sort that would shoot me for using that f-word, and some are monarchs and regents. Considering the etymology of god and the way I use the word fae, they’re the same referent with different spelling.
I wrote the sidebar months before writing this entry, and don’t feel like rewriting it all now—and the more I read or read other Other People using the g-word, the more likely I am to start doing it too.
But the conscious decision that I’m making and voicing here is to hold this faith in its faelatrist influence.
2. Spivak pronouns for everyone I write about here. Because I tried to get the English language to borrow Tagalog or Bahasa pronouns, because there are loanwords from nearly every other language, but even the English-language processing part of my mind went nope it won’t fit with the syntax or whatever—it’s just awkward. So this blog is a Spivak sandbox and I’ll find out what that does to the meta for genderfluid fairy nobs’ mythfic.
3. I want to take up this free course in American Sign Language basics. If I make it to elderly, I’ll probably become hard of hearing, and it would be helpful to have achieved fluency by then…if the sign language most used where I actually live isn’t that far off from ASL. It might not be—Cecil’s first language is Hiligaynon and mine should have been Tagalog if I hadn’t gone abroad, but if I’d stayed we’d probably still converse in American English. On the other hand: Esperanto. I have given up on Esperanto. Designed to be one globally unifying spoken language, and what does it do? It splinters into dialects, dialects incomprehensible to other dialects of common origin. Go away, Esperanto, you’ve disappointed me, I can’t be around you right now.
My headcanon is that most Ofelic spirits communicate in sign languages. Sign language is also a significant part of Princess Irene’s mythfic: whenever someone calls somebody else or something dumb to mean worthless, my first thought now is ey’re disparaging the cosmic Cinnabon soul pictured below.
4. I haven’t written as much in 2016 as I would have liked. At the very year’s end, though, I’ve found myself drawing a lot. Here’s to more of both in the coming year.
5. Reading list:
Exploring the Labyrinth by Melissa Gayle West, a guide for healing and spiritual growth. My therapist lent me this book. I’d explored an edge between a labyrinthine fairyland I’d gotten lost in, and the Sienna Sierra in a laethic part of Western Faery.
Grimm’s Fairy Tales, a Collin’s Classics edition. I read somewhere that Jack Zipes translated the original version into English for the first time. The Grimm compilations are associated with the Clarene, especially eir pre-monarch form of Claire Clarice Clarene.
Much Ado About Nothing, Bantam Classics edition, because I can’t access Joss Whedon’s version to watch, although I did catch the version with Billie Piper playing Hero as a weather reporter.
I got that at the same secondhand bookstore where I sat down to read Hamlet all the way through, which did give me a lot of thoughts about the Ophelia.
(Seriously though—I only put up with William Shakespeare because Emilie Autumn likes em.)
Blog posts from my very newbie days as an Other Person can be found at my Codex of Poesy blog, along with a mess of metaphysical theory that I made this blog partly to keep the ‘faith distinct from…but stuff from there might get on in here anyway, such as mystic quests in the cosmology I’d figured (Corporeal, Sidereal, Ethereal, Surreal), the use of the word fetch to refer to the spirit body, that this being my main religious tradition makes it the basis by which I investigate Haven’s Way, that Craven’s Way incorporates the Mirror Work practice of the Otherfaith as well as Shadow Work of Jungian psychotherapy, and me being an amateur layperson Jungian patient…it’s probably going to show.
Also keeping in mind Continuous Revelation as a keystone concept of the Otherfaith: I’ll always be a newbie in this.