Tag: praxis

Bibliomancy with Grimm’s Fairy Tales

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the Clarene’s laid claim to fairy tale compilations and I heartily agree to adopt this headcanon. However, I haven’t felt like doing a cover-to-cover read of my copy of the Grimm fairy tales, to gather familiar symbolism and maybe spark some insight.

So, I’ve started doing bibliomancy instead, that is, taking the book, letting how I randomly feel like turning to some random page, and paying attention to whatever random line on that page that I randomly feel like reading.

Figuring this out has been an adventure in thinking about how I think about it.

“What a beautiful bird I am!”

For example, that line from “the Juniper Tree”. Is it the Laetha catching me away from a communion I’d set out with the Clarene again, or the bluebird Sky Ophelia, or the first Dierne because of the singing? Or is it a fairy tale of solace because of the simply-told yet unfathomably complicated position of the enabler/victim, the favored younger daughter of an abusive stepmother, who in some versions is named Marleen and in others Anne-Marie (like one of the ghosts who haunt the Laetha’s mansion)? The Moth Diaries film has the vampire-ghost Ernessa sing a version of this fairy tale’s song to the tune of Roud Folk Song Index #13190 (wouldn’t give up a millstone for that, personally,) where I first heard it, though I didn’t know that it was from this tale, or what it meant. Do I incorporate that association in my intuitive process?

My intuitions settled on the story itself being a message that, in a post-truth world, it’ll still all work out.

She had a fairy looking-glass, to which she used to go, and then she would gaze upon herself in it, and say:

Sometimes I read ahead or behind, enough that it makes more sense simply as text.

“Tell me, glass, tell me true!
Of all the ladies in the land,
Who is the fairest, tell me, who?”

There we go.

My version’s big on stepfamily conflicts, I know the original Snowdrop or Snow White had some very flabbergasting animosity between the biological mother who wished for a beautiful daughter and the beautiful daughter that the now murderously envious mother wished for in the first place. As this is the first instance of that rhyme, is the mirror’s answer an affirmation of self-love, just taken in isolation from the rest of the story? Or is it a calling to Mirror Work, taken in isolation from the rest of the story and associated to Otherfaith? Or ought I take this passage as an omen against self-absorbed obsession that gets taken out on innocent wee princesses, and is this my own self-absorbed obsession to be wary of or is it somebody else’s?

The moon shone brightly, and the white pebbles which lay in front of the house glittered like real silver pennies.

Hansel collecting markers for a trail back home before (as ey well knows) eir parents abandon em and eir sibling Gretel. It reads like an encouraging thing, out of context. I also parallel this with “the Juniper Tree” in the positive brother-sister bonds. Hansel and Gretel work as a team: though Hansel’s the planner and implementer of the operation the first couple of times, it’s Gretel who defeats the ‘final boss’ when Hansel’s locked up. With Anne-Marie and the unnammed brother, they’re more a team in terms of deciding when compassion or retribution are appropriate.

Bibliomancy interpretations haven’t gotten so very methodical to me, yet, right now I’m just flipping the pages around, and dipping back into the classic tales that way.

Starting My Pocket Altar

I have this card holder with a compass embossed on the cover, and found a photo-printing place that could print them in wallet-size from digital files.

In the hipster-est filter that my phone's image editor could manage.
In the hipster-est filter that my phone’s image editor could manage.

Pictured below are portrayals of the Clarene, by Opalfish and Aine.

Opalfish’s is a detail I cropped from a more elaborate watercolor of the Ophelia’s and Claire Clarice Clarene’s first meeting. I love this visual allegory style for the feeling it gives off, unfamiliar, unexpected, yet at the same time so very intuitive.

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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.)

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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.)

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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.