I have been called many things: a mother, a maiden, a crone; a Fate, a Season, a Grace; a fairy, a goddess, a witch. I have gone by many names, too many to list, but it is likely that you’ll have heard of me in one of my aspects.
I’ve had good days and bad centuries. I’m mercurial, whimsical, and dangerous. Do me a favour, help me, worship me and I’ll bring you what you desire most: wealth, fame, love. Cross me, insult me, ignore me and I will curse you, wither you, send you to hell.
There are as many hells as there are minds. Each hell a subjective reality that mirrors the dark richness of each individual. I learn what yours might be by inhabiting the hinterland between your waking and sleep. This is where my power, my magic, and my wisdom lies, in the wasteland between dreams and reality. An outland of transitions, transformations and borders.
Every being’s hypnagogic landscape is unique but there are similarities, archetypes, and patterns that repeat. I like to think that I bring a form of consistency to a population, a culture, a people. It is, I believe, why I’ve endured for eons when many others have vanished from the collective unconscious. I spread my bets so that aspects of me appear in the history of every culture between their waking and dreams.
Most of the work I do for my believers and victims (the divine spark, the inspirational muse, the hateful retribution) is to provide the necessary visions, prophecies, premonitions and apparitions, to move that individual in the direction required. It matters not whether I’m helping or hindering at that particular moment. The receiver will hear my ministration and change their behaviour to fulfill their goal. This is more powerful than any instantiation from their dreams, this is reality being (trans)formed by ideas. It is irrelevant where the idea originates. Ideas, well implemented, will move mountains, change civilisations, bring peace and prosperity or bring conquest and war, famine and death.
Although, having said all that, sometimes I have to manifest the visions and half-dream states into the real world. Don’t misunderstand, this is not transubstantiation, merely a transfer of energy. However, energy is life and such transfers are wasteful.
A wish has been made, a prayer uttered, a desire voiced. I rush forward. This time would I become godmother/hag, fairy/witch, goddess/crone? Belief and Faith are not required for me to heed her call. Ignorance is no defence.
The girl, she wished upon a star, got down on her knees and prayed, threw salt over her left shoulder, danced naked widdershins around a fairy mound, clicked her heels three times, closed her eyes and desired with all her heart for something more. The energetic flames of her inner need burned white hot.
How could I resist?
I come to her as she is falling into sleep. The hypnagogic state is where I hunt.
“What do you desire of me?” I say. In the borderland we speak mind-to-mind. All the better to know your deepest secrets, my dear.
Perhaps her forehead in the waking world formed a crinkled frown, perhaps the eyeballs beneath her lids formed intricate curlicues as they moved.
I pull an image of the mother/maiden/crone from the store of the girl’s archetypes: a kind and caring woman, full of empathy and love; a beauty, not too young, not too royal; an ancient, warty, green-skinned horror.
I project the image into her hinterland.
“I am a friend/an answer/your doom,” I say.
Her face becomes infused with shocked hope/disbelief/horror. Her eyes show recognition. Of course, did I not just pull the image from what she already knew?
“Fairy godmother?/Baba Yaga?/Diana?”
“The same,” I say. “What do you desire/crave/pray?”
She looks embarrassed, stricken: she did not think that anyone had been listening when she had wished/prayed/danced. The embarrassment turns to shame/anger/relief.
“You cannot lie to me. I know all, I see everything,” I say. This is only a small lie. I know everything she knows, I can see everything she sees.
Although the sword cuts both ways.
I have appeared to her as her desire wished and so I must inhabit that role. I am guided to act and feel as I appear. This includes the ‘mothering’, the ‘vengeful’, and the ‘divine’ parts of my aspect. I love to care and nurture the good people, just as I love to despise and ruin the bad.
I grant her wish/prayer/desire. Sometimes the granting involves instantiation and proof. Most times, the ideas bestowed are sufficient. Now she would act, and change her life and circumstance accordingly.
These are old stories, repeated in any number of ways and combinations over the centuries.
Will it be happily ever after? I care not. I take the light and heat from her hypnagogic flames and leave her with nothing more than a glowing ember. Sometimes not even that.
I feel the call of others. There are more hinterlands to experience, to steal into, to consume. I cannot resist or deny them.
Sleep well, my cinders.