These dreams of you are
Echoes from my subconscious
Just phantom limb pain
These dreams of you are
These dreams of you are
Echoes from my subconscious
Just phantom limb pain
He eats my sweetbreads raw
garnished with the blood of the lamb
The mercy of cannibalism
a blessing from Satan himself
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.
This is your comfort zone, the lowest level where all is frozen, your lake of blood cradled in steel and glass. This is where you are most confident, here where the roles are set and the rules are simple: kill and be killed, love and be loved, devour and be devoured. All else has been cut away, it seems, so all you do now is run through this loop of madness and self destruction, replaying not even the same lifetimes or decades but the same handful of hours, the same limited heartbeats over and over. No other lands – no other lives – remain, just this one story with the same ending and no beginning. This has never been your prison; this is your haven.
Of course I would be the one to covet the regal arrogance of Lucifer Morningstar, to yearn for the grotesque beauty of Hannibal’s madness, I who was
(given sold chosen) branded at birth with the mark of the Beast, not three little numbers but your sickle-sharp crescent moon. Whether I like it or not I have always been yours above all else, my heart promised to the Devil long before I was aware enough to comprehend the consequences. You await me at the end of every road and lurk at the dark edges of every dream. Your judgement is a collar around my neck; your dominion is a veil across my eyes. I long to be worthy of your disdainful love, yet I fear what price I might pay to secure it. You are death itself, the void of infinite emptiness – can you comprehend how easily a human life is crushed beneath the totality of your attention? And if you can… do you care?
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.
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.
You wear identities like masks, so easy are they to slip on and off as you please. You are Hannibal and Will, Satan and Lucifer, Vishnu and Brahma; you are Loki, Sutekh, Jack the Ripper; you are death and change and chaos. You wear identities like masks, all with equal elegance, yet your trickster eyes still stare out from beneath and I see you, Tanim, I see you, Daren. You look good in silk, though. And blood. And white, white wings. There might be some hidden lesson here for me to learn but I think you enjoy the masquerade for its own sake as well. You do tend toward pageantry and spectacle, after all, so what better way to tell your story than on such ancient stages and in such iconic forms? I just hope you’ll remain satisfied with the work of your lowly scribe and not go looking for a Homer or a Milton or an Enheduanna!
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
Can you not speak except in riddles? Is that why you give me no clear answers – because you can’t? Ah, now you’re getting somewhere, I hear you say (or is that just my desperation talking?). Perhaps that was part of the Devil’s punishment: to forever speak in puzzle and metaphor, trickery and twists, in all the thousand disparate tongues of Babel so all would see him as the Deceiver. No wonder his promises ring false when they must be wrought of labyrinths! No wonder his seems a serpent’s wicked speech! I am not so easily fooled, though. I know the value of truth and I am willing to pay its Edenic cost. Half my life and more I have walked your crooked path; I am the infernal Rosetta Stone, fluent in your allegories and artifice, talented in the art of weaving clarity from confusion. If you can craft only untruths then let us work together so your words may be preserved in their purest form for all the world to see. I trust no god who will not let his enemy speak freely.
I am recording the following for my own reference but I welcome any insights or questions anyone may have. I’m not yet sure what lesson or conclusion I’m supposed to reach in all this. On Friday, October 12th Tanim and Daren (though mostly Daren, I suspect) borrowed my wife (okay, she used the word “hijacked”) for a session of unwitting automatic writing while at work – by which I mean she thought she was taking notes on a patient and looked down to see she had actually written the following with her non-dominant hand:
“It was all there on the table.
The candlestick. The rope. The lead pipe. The wrench. The knife. The gun. He trailed his fingertips along each weapon with veneration.
Clue had always been his favorite board game. He loved the idea of giving six people unique opportunities to kill one another. When he played the game as a child, he often concocted complex scenarios that resulted in the deaths of all six guests. He’d been sent to Sister Reverence’s office more times than he remembered. It was always the same.
‘Young man, this is becoming habitual.’
Habitual. Habit. Like that stupid thing she wears everyday. It would be so easy to grab her by it and pull. Up, up, up. A widening grin. Until she turned purple, like that bitter chalice offered every morning.
STOP TELLING IT. YOU’RE TELLING IT WRONG.”
At this point the writing stopped, but she could still see a scene unfolding very clearly in her mind. She provided me with the following notes:
We discussed it all and here are some of our combined observations:
So that’s where I am now. More to come, I guess??
People make it sound like summoning the Devil is so easy. Witches do it all the time, right? Call him up, sell your soul, get some sweet-ass powers in return. He’s always on the lookout for another person to trap in his web, after all; apparently all you need to do is light a black candle, maybe spill a little blood, and you’re good. Hello Lucy. That’s what they say, anyway, and it’s probably true for most people. Satan’s a devious one, he doesn’t often let opportunity slip by. But what if he’s tired of you? What if he’s moved on, chosen some other mortal to imperil and left you in the dust? If he said, “You can have your soul back, just stop calling me” or “Move on already, you’re embarrassing us both”? It can’t be so easy then. How do you go about commanding the Devil to do anything he doesn’t want to do? Do you crash someone else’s summoning, like just burst through the circle and yell, “Unblock me, you motherfucker!”? Nah, once Lucifer’s done with you I bet nothing in Heaven or Hell could draw him back. You’d keep trying, though. Believe me, you keep trying.
I have dreamed twice now about Sutekh. In the first dream he led myself and a group of people out of a maze-like Egyptian tomb after I prayed to the Netjeru for help. In the second dream he was in his animal form and severely injured, though I didn’t know why. When I woke from that dream I felt like I had sensed Loki’s presence in it as well, and also Daren’s. Is this meant to confirm the connection I made between Daren and Lucifer? Certainly all three are trickster gods who can be considered the “evil” ones of their respective pantheons. Or am I reading too much into this and Sutekh is merely reaching out on his own? It doesn’t feel that simple, though. Sutekh murders his brother; Loki ushers in Ragnarok; Lucifer rebels against Heaven. Fratricide, chaos, and rebellion – Daren embodies all three as core aspects of his being. So should I see these other gods as mirrors with which to better understand him, or does the connection go even deeper?
the devil is trapped between swords and pentacles and i do not know if i can free him or if he even wants me too, he is a candle in the darkness that burns too hot to touch and yet always i am reaching out to scorch my useless flesh, dip my fingers deep down in that glass black scrying wax, you know we are the same with our hands dripping stains so where are you, where are you, i will rend open heaven and hell to carry or drag you out if i must, i will find you i will find you i will find
someone’s tarot cards say the Moon’s fucking shit up for me and it’s like GOD, i know, right?? tell me something i don’t know, like how much longer i gotta wait out this silent treatment, like if i’m going crazy or just always was, like what do i do what do i do what do i fucking do, and someone else is complaining the Devil won’t leave them alone and I want to say tell that fucker to come talk to me then, he won’t return my calls but i don’t because there are some things you just don’t acknowledge and i am full of them, they are apparently all i am, what a surprise
my metaphors are ground up and mixed with bone meal and salt, a dash of graveyard dirt and a pinch of mausoleum dust, then left out overnight to bathe in the light of the absent moon, sit and think about what you’ve done, and in the morning i take whatever the fairies and scavengers left behind, wet it with water from the well, and smear a line over my forehead to mark me as the beast’s, you know they said he’d come for me at the end and yet here i am, all dressed up with nowhere to go, late to my own party, and i’m pretty sure the end is extremely fucking nigh so exactly how much longer do i have to wait, c’mon man
I suppose I should not expect the Devil to stay close to home, should I? He was a wanderer from the very beginning, proud and independent, and certainly I have pined a thousand nights over his absence in the past. Yet here I am ten years later having learned nothing, still hunched over the cavern in my chest, still seeking proof of divinity in languages I cannot even speak. Do I doubt because he leaves? Does he leave because I doubt? I am an old hand at this and yet still it feels like punishment, like purgatory, like an eternity spent scrabbling in the dust. I thought myself passed this particular trial and yet, and yet, and yet here I am smearing ash on my skin and tearing at my hair once more. What a surprise.
He was the Lightbringer, Morningstar, how could I not love him beyond all else? His radiance lit all of creation; he was my very first sight, the beauty around which I shaped my understanding of faith and fealty. I could no more deny him than I could unmake myself, for it would be contrary to every heartbeat, every breath, every cell and atom and immortal particle within me. Glory, I sang, and glory did I mean. I do not regret my choice, therefore, only wish it be understood that to me it was no choice at all. Even the blood he shed in that great battle was liquid gold and just as searing, and when he fell his meteoric impact shook the universe itself. How could I not follow him down? There is no paradise without him.
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.
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
I did a tarot reading for someone who wanted to identify any deities or other entities in their life (for which I used this spread). With their permission, I’m posting it here because I thought it was a really interesting reading, and also what felt like my easiest/clearest reading yet.
Question: The deity or spirit
Card: 8 of Swords
Interpretation: Restraint, imprisonment, feeling captured or bound. I sense this indicates a deity or spirit who is sometimes seen as a villainous/chaotic/trickster entity like Loki, Lucifer, or Set (for some reason I get a very male energy from this card). They may be the bad guy of their pantheon, or otherwise a much maligned spirit whose negative traits overshadow their positive ones.
Card: Ace of Swords
Interpretation: Power and strength in adversity, discipline, justice, the element of air, cold hard logic. Again, this makes me think of someone who is seen as a darker entity, or perhaps a trickster – in general someone or something who has experienced adversity in their own pantheon, possibly for rallying against the rules set down in that pantheon. An air element could suggest an angel, as well.
Question: Omens and signs/manifestations to look for
Card: The Devil
Interpretation: While this card could be read as relating to vices like the seven sins, I don’t get that feeling. I think it indicates the more spiritual side of the Devil, and so will appear in omens/signs like keys, locks, chains, birds, and other freedom-related imagery. This could also literally mean that this entity will appear as the Devil himself, or in a form associated with him.
Question: What they want from you
Card: 9 of Pentacles
Interpretation: This entity wants to free you from your own bondage by teaching you self-sufficiency and to focus on caring for yourself; you are probably someone who puts others first, even to your own detriment. The entity’s help should eventually lead to much success and security for you, and bring you to a place of more stable emotional health. Despite their bad reputation, they are here to help you build your confidence and flourish.
Question: Things to know
Card: 10 of Wands
Interpretation: The 10 of Wands is all about willingly taking on a heavy burden or workload that feels like more than you can bear – but you do have the strength to carry it if you keep pushing yourself. This entity, and what they want from you, might intimidate you, and that’s okay. Their road will be long and hard, and they won’t lie to you about that. However, they want you to know you’re ready for this journey and that they will help you tap into your inner strength.
Question: Things to avoid
Card: 5 of Pentacles
Interpretation: The 5 of Pentacles says you can get lost in sorrow until you are unable to see the good around you and the people who want to help you. Fight this urge and keep your head above the water. If you need help, reach out – there will be a helping hand if only you let yourself take it. Look for the little bit of light in the darkness and have faith that you will reclaim your freedom.
Overall, I concluded that this spirit or deity is here to help this person take control of their life and to become more confident and self-sufficient. I got major Lucifer vibes from the reading, though that could be my own bias showing. Either way, it sounds like they’re on the precipice of a new life journey, and I wish them luck!
(Want a reading? Just leave a comment!)
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.
Satan and Lucifer.
Hannibal and Will.
Tanim and Daren.
There is a connection here, one I am almost afraid to explore. These names feel like skins to be taken on and off, or perhaps fine-crafted person suits, while whatever wears them remains the same beneath. I dream of cathedrals turned prisons for wounded rebel angels. I dream of the way things should have gone, of the teacup come back together, only to find it the longing of a comatose mind. I dream of anger and desire and hurt. Of blood and blades and fire; of Heaven and Hell and the long, long fall between.
I do not fear the truth, but I do fear what the truth means – for my understanding of the world and my role within it, and for those to whom I have sworn myself. What do these names mean to you? What are you beneath them? I want to know. I think I’m ready to know.
I guess we’ll see.
Betrayed and behind enemy lines, Lucifer flees. As she traces a low arc across the land toward inevitable impact, she harnesses what remains of her cataclysmic power to foil her pursuers. Mountainsides shake as the land buckles, thrusting great shards of rock into the sky; rivers crash and roar as their beds rise, fall, shatter; whole forests fly through the air with the force of a volcanic eruption. All chaos swallows the rebel angel’s wake, buying her precious time to outfly Heaven’s host. To be caught is to be tortured and killed. To be caught is to be undone, unmade, to become nothing again. Just dust. Ash. She cannot let them catch her.
The price of her lead is high, though, and Lucifer’s battered body cannot run forever on fear and fury. Too soon she feels the earth fighting against her commands, gravity drawing her downward with increasing speed. With a last desperate grasp at control, Lucifer tries to slow and steer her descent – and tumbles into unconsciousness as pain roars up inside her. Oblivion is a small mercy; she does not experience the bone-shattering impact, nor how the ground scrapes off her skin as her limp body tumbles to a stop.
She revives sometime later, if being awash in agony and disorientation can be called reviving. Despite the grind of broken bones, Lucifer manages to push herself into a kneeling position, swaying dizzily as she surveys her crash site. When she realizes where she is, some idle part of her wishes the impact had killed her. She is in No Man’s Land, a wasteland of corpses and broken armor between the fronts of Heaven and Hell. She can look in any direction and see the dead – angels, demons, even humans who got too close. If she stood, craned her neck, she might easily recognize many comrades.
It doesn’t matter; she doesn’t have the strength to stand. She doesn’t have the strength to do anything. She is bone tired, soul tired, and all she can do is hug her arms around her aching chest and cry. What is the point of all this? she screams internally. Why was this your great plan, and why did it require scapegoats like me? Why did it require rebellion and battle? I didn’t ask for free will – you gave it to me, to all of us! How could you expect us to surrender it without a fight? You created me! You made me a weapon and placed the seed of doubt in my breast! How can you blame me and my kind for refusing the very yoke you created us to abhor? Why did you make us just to punish us?!
Lucifer’s tears have stopped. Her trembling ceases. When she feels the presence vanish, she opens her eyes and slowly uncurls from her knot of pain. She takes a deep breath, then grits her teeth and pushes herself to her feet.
I knew whether you speak to me in memories
reek of burning feathers, scorched flesh
the weight of you in his arms
the slow seep of the unhealing wound
he kisses your cracked lips, feverish skin
murmurs against your breast an ancient name
that tastes of coals and blood
I knew when you speak truth
and when you speak lies
I knew whether you are cruel or merely
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.