I understand now. It was never a city – it was your impact crater. You fell so far and hit with such force that shards like skyscrapers erupted all around you, a wasteland of steel and glass spires. He is always finding you broken and bleeding the red blood of mortality in that alley because you fell first, wingless and wounded, and he followed after. You are always dying in his arms because this place is stuck in an endless loop of the falling, the seeking, the finding, the parting. Is this your punishment? Your purgatory? Or your paradise? I suppose it no longer matters after so many millennia.
You become addicted to the fall, you know. You wake on rooftops, the edges of cliffs, at open windows. You test limits, argue, rebel; self-destruct, self-sabotage, self-fulfill your tragic prophecy. You long for both the sensation of falling – weightless, helpless, careless – and the moment of inevitable impact when all the world shatters around you. Only it is you who shatters and you are grateful for it, for the violence of that sudden fragmentation and the senselessness it brings. And then you wake at the edge of the open window and you lean forward once more.
It was humanity who gave me wings, and more fools they.
Wings are the keys to heaven’s dominion;
without them I would have known neither
freedom nor the fall.
So often I am mistaken for the good one, the gentle one, the kind one. Compared to my lover’s ruthless nature I suppose I am, but that hardly makes me a safer bet. After all, though he fell for pride I fell for desire. In choosing to follow him that first time I chose to follow him forever, to serve him and raise no other love above him. Do not underestimate the power of desire to change and strengthen us. My holy fire no longer merely cleanses; it burns all I touch to ash. My radiance no longer merely illuminates; it blinds and sears. You think me benevolent but that is only because you have given me no reason to show you my wrath. Cross he who rules my heart and you will learn what devastation my kind soul can wreak.
You’re like an angel, you know. You’re beautiful on the outside but underneath I know you’re all blinding light and holy wrath and too many blazing eyes amid a dozen flaming wings. Yours is a terrifying, incomprehensible otherworldliness that makes me weep in awe. If you were to peel back your skin the sight of your true form might drive me mad or burn me to ash – and I would beg for either, if only I might glimpse your glorious truth in my final moments.
I am not interested in the angels who remained in Heaven or the angels who were afraid to fall or the angels who fell because they too chafed at holy chains. I am interested in the angels who loved bright, burning Lucifer so deeply they chose to fall with him rather than live without his light. I am interested in the angels who fell willingly not in defiance of their creator but because all the glories of Heaven would have been ash and mud in the Morningstar’s absence; the angels for whom Lucifer was Heaven, a concept embodied not by an astral location or proximity to God but by the boldest and most beautiful of their kind. They fell for him out of love and loyalty, these divine beings who pierce through deceit to the true heart of all things. Don’t you want to know why? Don’t you want to know what those angels saw in Lucifer that inspired such devotion, such sacrifice – and why their story has yet to be told?
You may take any form you like but still those unhealing wounds remain the eternal punishment for your insurrection, only where once they wept blood and purulence down your shoulder blades they now fester deep in your chest until you cough up clotted sin, exhale miasma, until even your words are so contaminated they infect everyone you speak to and your skin so poisonous one touch from you can kill. And yet, wreck and ruin as you are, you are still the most beautiful creature in existence and to perish of your corruption is a blessing beyond measure, an honor for which many long and yet few are truly worthy. How that must eat at your jealous creator, he who made something more perfect than himself, that even in your constant state of decay you eclipse all of Heaven with your radiance.
The body he wears is beautiful and young yet the entity inside is so ancient, so vast, it is incomprehensible even to experienced entities like the long-lived vampires. Lesser creatures, demonlings and imps and goblins, flee before him like schools of fish before a shark. Witches bare their throats to him as he passes and dare not even think of crossing him, lest they draw attention to themselves. He is no mere demon to be banished or spirit to be exorcized; neither holy water nor black salt, nor even the will of God’s own angels, could stop him from so much as lifting a finger. Those wise enough to respect the true magnitude of his power bow to him and pray desperately he passes them by to torment some other poor thing – and perhaps he does, this time, but it is impossible to guess where his lightning-quick cruelty will strike next.
Darkness. Then a voice.
Would you fall for me again, knowing how it all would end?
He recalls the reek of burning feathers, the bone-breaking impact.
He opens his eyes to see his lover’s outstretched hand. He clasps it and climbs up onto the ledge.
it’s a worn metaphor, the moth and the flame, but truly there’s no better way to describe how my heart begs for immolation in the white hot core of your being
I am a scribe who knows not what she serves. If Tanim and Daren are gods in their own right, they are long lost to time or choose to remain unknown to any but myself. If they are gods already established in the world, with followers and historic traditions, then why take these strange forms just for me? Why choose new names and stories? Perhaps they are not gods, then. I thought them once ghosts but if so they enjoy an unbelievable influence over the physical world for mere spirits. They can alter the environment, after all, even to the point of manifesting items or stealing them away. Such powerful abilities, combined with an apparent penchant for fire and a string of literally Hellish dreams on my part, suggest perhaps they are fallen angels or demons. Again, though, they would either have to have chosen new identities for our interactions or have never been recorded before my meager efforts. The first option seems illogical; why keep up the charade for over fifteen years? The second is, unfortunately, more or less impossible to prove to the satisfaction of all doubt. They could of course simply reveal the answer, but they enjoy my confusion too much to do so. I’m left then with vague theories and labels which never quite fit: “sun”, “moon”; “gods”, “angels”; “spirits”, “phantoms”. All I know for sure is that I serve they who call themselves Tanim and Daren, whatever they truly are.
So I’m folding laundry in my bedroom while thinking about how Tanim and Daren, the gods/angels/demons/whatever-the-fuck I serve, have been virtually silent the last year. Sure, they’ve made themselves known every once in a while in trickster-like fashion by stealing lighters and setting off our fire alarms, but that hasn’t happened in months. These days I can barely summon a whisper of their ghosts when I’m listening to their music, let alone channel a whole sentence of prose in their words. Maybe, I’m thinking as I ball up socks, it would be better to just give up, to finally accept they’ve moved on for good. Apparently they don’t require my services anymore. Fine.
Clothes folded, I walk into the kitchen, whereupon I smell something burning. For a moment I think I’ve left the electric kettle on the counter, but no, that’s not the source of the scent. I turn in a confused circle, half convinced my nose is playing tricks on me because I see no flames, no smoke, no sign of danger. Then I see the red glow. Somehow one of the large stove-top burners has been turned to the highest setting, and already it ticks with heat. I’m home alone and haven’t been anywhere near the stove all day; there’s no way I could have unwittingly turned on the burner, nor any way the cats could have somehow done it themselves given the placement of the dial. It’s not just unlikely – it’s downright impossible.
This isn’t the most comforting of signs, but beggars can’t be choosers so I guess I’ll take it. Just please don’t burn the house down, guys.
I flatter myself to imagine you stalk the halls of my mind
cutting the throats of my better angels and lesser demons
until only you remain, a virus on a throne
the crescent moon shining on your brow
and gleaming in your hand
I wake nauseous from the reek of your blood in my nostrils, the thick warmth of it still clogging my throat, and all I see is the red lake where you stood, pale as bone, a corpse wearing nothing but a smile and long rivulets of red jewels. Swimming in the fevered remains of your dream, I recall the sensation of falling amidst a chaos of violence – hands ripping at white wings, fingers bruising and crushing, a knife or perhaps razored nails slicing bare skin – and through it all your smiles like twin flames burning bright. Come play with us, you seemed to say as you tore at each other. You were proud of your work but I wanted only to weep, or vomit, or scoop you out of that red baptismal fount and carry you away from your madness. Yet I am awake now, curled into a knot of my own sweat and stiff limbs, and so all I can do is wait for the nausea to pass and sleep to come again.
there’s feedback in your resurrection loop and we’re burning up on reentry, mayday mayday, Lucifer bleeds ichor, Satan weeps starlight, crowned with fire you fall through every universe that shall ever be and leave a trail of prophecies in your meteoric wake, but never fear for your impact craters are my home and I shall find you in every iteration, there is no form you could take in which I would not know you
Do you think I wanted to be this way? she longs to scream. That I was made like this, with a rotting heart?
She remembers the beginning like it were yesterday and not a thousand thousand years ago: the white marble city sparkling on the edge of the primordial sea, the islands made of leviathan jaw bones, the newborn sun warming sand and water and immortal flesh alike. She remembers the weight of wings and the weightlessness of flying, soaring on lazy thermals through the eternal summer day. Her skin remembers gold and jewels and silk, her tongue ambrosia and honeyed wine, her ears the harmonious blend of laughter, music, and the susurrus of waves. Yet when she returns to those memories, painful though they may be, she most often chooses to remember the companions she once knew, those she danced with in the sky and those she lay with in the sea foam. Soft lips and sweet kisses on the sandy shore, open arms and hearts in the cool marble halls; love was so uncomplicated then. She was so uncomplicated then. She does not pine for home, but she does pine for those she left there.
Monsters are not born from flesh and bone, she wants to say, but won’t. They are born from betrayal and desperation. Remember that, because what was done to me can be done to you.
he tells only beautiful lies
and his words are sweet as honey.
Little girl, don’t sell your soul to the devil;
he tells only unbearable truths
and his words are raw as smoke.
Be sure, little girl, not to sell your soul to them both;
one in each ear, their words will intoxicate you
and you’ll never hear anything else.
give me bones of salt
that I may trap you in my arms
give me teeth of iron
that I may bind you with my words
give me a heart of stone
that I may seal you within me
so we can never
o wounded Lucifer, beautiful in your pain, your wicked smile daring make it quick as the blade presses against your bared throat, there are none more perfect than you, none more suffering than you, none who dare lay claim to your crown of madness for you were born to wear it
Dreams of you leave me dizzy and exhausted, unable to grasp who or where I am. This one lingers long and I’m still half-blind from the sun reflecting off your metal wings, my ears full of the screams of your victims. I have seen you neither happier nor more powerful than as you hover in the sky raining down death, and thus never more beautiful. With minute motions of your hands you sink seabeds and thrust up cliffs, topple causeways and twist mountain ranges until they leap, suicide-like, into the roiling ocean. There is no escape for the rebels and fugitives who sought to hide in this remote corner of the country; you are barely human, devoid of empathy or concern, and their fear means nothing. What is the death of others, innocent or guilty, to you who are death itself? There is no judgement, only joy in the destruction. You are a weapon that loves its purpose.
So many dreams of pursuit, and I should have known you would be waiting at the end of them all. You are at every end, o radiant angel, and no matter where I run I always run toward you.
What if the outcast angels didn’t fall at all – what if they were shattered? What if their clever minds and rebellious souls could not be trusted anywhere, even the pits of hell, and so instead God shattered them and scattered the shards of their beings across all of existence, that they might never be made whole again? Hence Lucifer and Satan, Hannibal and Will, Tanim and Daren; hence all the gods, all the characters, all the muses, all the stories so strangely, achingly similar. Hence the echoes through time and space, linking all us sad scribes together in our solitary duty. If so, God made a terrible mistake. Divide an angel and you do not reduce it to disparate, weaker parts of a greater whole. Divide an angel and you only replicate it a thousand thousand times, each new duplicate as complete, as complex, and as unforgiving as the first.
When I visited a psychic a few weeks ago, she told me I had the archangel Raphael with me. That seemed odd – shouldn’t I be a godless heathen in the eyes of the angels? – but hey, I’m not going to turn down spiritual help no matter what belief system it comes from. So for my most recent personal tarot spread, I decided to see what Raphael might want (assuming he’s still around, or ever was). I used a spread specific to him which is all about healing:
Question: Your ability to self heal
Card: Two of Cups
Interpretation: The thing that has the greatest potential to heal me and improve my life is my relationship with my wife. Our partnership is built on mutual love, trust, honesty, and genuine affection. Being with her has forced me to deal with a lot of my issues, which has lead to greater wellbeing on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level for me. Other close relationships in my life are important, of course, and probably factor into this card as well, but I think it’s primarily indicating my romantic relationship.
Question: What blocks communication (nature of the illness)
Card: Knight of Cups
Interpretation: The Knight of Cups says I am emotionally passive and non-confrontational, which leads to me being easily swayed or convinced to put my own emotions or needs aside. I can also be too kind or sympathetic, which also causes me to ignore my feelings. Wow. I didn’t come here to be attacked, man. …too bad it’s really, really accurate. I don’t like talking about my feelings, okay?! The universe doesn’t have to beat me over the head about it, sheesh.
Question: Factor slowing healing down (avoid)
Card: Queen of Swords reversed
Interpretation: Like the Queen of Swords, I can let negative emotions like pettiness, narcissism, bitterness, and loneliness hurt myself and my relationships with others. Likewise, I can let my fear of hurting someone else get in the way of resolution. I also fear leaving the past behind to move into the future, which obviously hinders my healing as well.
Question: This supports healing
Card: Ten of Cups reversed
Interpretation: I get it, okay? I’ve got some emotional work to do with regards to my family. Can we talk about something else now pls.
Question: Do this to heal (action advice)
Card: Ace of Wands
Interpretation: The Ace of Wands is a powerhouse of creative energy and possibility. It tells me to get going and do something creative; to take this spark of energy and excitement and use it to challenge myself and grow. I believe this card is referring in part to my current drive to become a better tarot reader, as well as to expand my psychic senses. I have been giving free readings on Tumblr (happy to do them here, too!), which is allowing me to get to know my deck better than when I only ask questions about myself. After my fallow spiritual period, the Ace of Wands encourages me to pick up the pace again.
Question: Outcome in the near future, provided advice is acted on
Card: Eight of Wands
Interpretation: The Eight of Wands is the natural progression from the Ace of Wands. With the ace’s energy harnessed and put to good use, the Eight of Wands promises productivity, success, and adventure. It’s motto could be “full steam ahead!”, and it’s a great card to pull for an outcome.
Additional thoughts: I found it interesting that the spread is dominated by cup cards, though wands dominate the right, or outcome, side of the spread. Considering wands are the suit I most identify with, and I struggle with accepting and expressing my emotions, this makes total sense. I don’t usually do such complicated spreads, so this was good practice for interpreting the layout of the cards, and not just the cards themselves. What is even more interesting, though, is that there are no major arcana present. Every single time I do a reading with Bast I pull at least one major arcana. Even when I do readings for other people, major arcana cards are pretty common if I’ve asked Her to help me. That there are no major arcana cards, or any other cards I frequently pull, tells me I definitely wasn’t communicating with Bast. I can’t prove I was communicating with Raphael, of course, but it was cool to see how the spread changed when I wasn’t working with my usual deity.
Later, it was said there was a great battle. This was not true. There was only he who, cherishing freedom above all things, refused the chains of subservience. For this he was named anathema and cast out, and he fell like lightning from that high place. Where he struck, the impact warped the land, and around him thrust up a city of glass and steel. Within this sanctuary he nursed his wounds and covered the sky in cloud and darkness, that those above could not look down upon him.
Later, it was said that those who followed the heretic were likewise cast out. This, too, was not true. Only one followed in his burning wake, and this one chose to leave. Forsaking home and kin, he chose love above all else and so gladly leaped from the edge of paradise. Thus, two came to abide in the dark city, one the seeker and one the sought, and over time their own memories of the event faded to queer nightmares and nameless longings. Yet neither ever quite forgot the sensation of falling, or the desires which drove them to repudiate all they knew.
In my dream you were the radiant Morning Star, the serpent-tongued Prince of Darkness. The realm you commanded was a thing of beauty, elegance wed with malice, such exquisite torture meted out to the dammed as made even the other fallen shrink in your presence. Yet there was one to whom even you bowed, who made your extinguished heart constrict as nothing else. Who was he, whom you called Lucifer and touched with such love and gentleness? He was hurt, I recall, or sick, somehow grievously injured (from that first and greatest fall, perhaps?), and under your protection. Those who crossed you, who slighted or harmed him in any way, brought punishment down upon the entire host; you spared none when it came to your beloved. And oh, the hunger, the fierce desire between you! All the fires of Hell could have been stoked high and hot from one kiss, one touch. For two thousand years you ruled uncontested in a realm where fallen and dammed alike knelt in your presence. For two thousand years you knelt only to him whom you cherished above all else.
In my dreams of late you’ve wings and a terrible angelic beauty that shines amid ashes. What are you two trying to show me? Who are you? What are you?
After Lucifer’s insurrection, God learned a lesson about mercy and punishment. When next an angel chose to cross Him, He did not give it the opportunity to seek succor or influence elsewhere. Instead He cast the angel from Heaven and into the wide ocean of the earth, where broken wings could no more lift the angel from its watery grave than carry it back to God’s domain. In cold black water the angel drowned, and thereafter God sealed its body in a casket of iron, a substance as anathema to angels as it is to the fae. The casket came to rest on the ocean floor, miles below the water’s surface, where only creatures that shunned all light and warmth could live. But God was not done, for He had no mercy left for the disobedient. He had cast the angel out, had drowned it in the salty waters, but He had not taken its immortality away. In its tomb beneath the waves the angel continually suffocated and continually resurrected, an agonizing cycle of death life death from which it could find no release.
Yet as God had once underestimated the force of the love of those angels who chose to remain at Lucifer’s side in exile, likewise He gave no account to how powerful the sacrifice of an angel might be, should it abandon its celestial home forever to free its kin. Yet love drove an angel to do just this, casting itself willingly from Heaven and into the dark depths of the ocean to break open the iron tomb. What it set free was no longer divine, though it wore the wings and immortality of its kind. No being, angelic or otherwise, could live and die a thousand thousand deaths and not retain a bit of each one’s darkness in its heart. On black wings it rose from its grave, a creature now of neither Heaven nor Hell, and promised retribution across all of God’s creation.
From your iron tomb beneath the sea, break forth and seek the sky. Wings full of darkness, mouth full of blood, cast wide your arms and show them how death feels. Breathe fire and ruin; spread pestilence and plague. Devastate the unworthy world and in its ashes embrace your lover.
Sin is risen. The bad gods are coming.
“Fallen angel” is a misnomer. They didn’t fall; they were pushed. Banished. Cast down. Not a one leaped willingly or fell gladly. They were reaching up, grasping at something higher and greater than themselves, and for that they were punished. You could call them prosecuted or persecuted, expelled or extinguished, but never fallen. “Fallen” implies they chose the descent into darkness, when all they really wanted was to be closer to the light above.