Angel Weather

Here is a way to present high-level spirits like angels, demons, and gods, in an impersonal or at least incorporeal way that's not ghostly. It's based on the following:

The general idea is that some higher beings are so vast and powerful that they have to make an effort to interact with us and NOT bowl us over. Furthermore, there is a rough natural sequence of rising manifestation as such creatures "approach" or raise the level of interaction, unless they do take the trouble to approach carefully or covertly. This natural sequence of rising manifestation is:

  1. Inspiration
  2. Motifs
  3. Entourage
  4. Realm
  5. Epiphany

Let's make up an example. Suppose Jareth, the Goblin King from the movie "Labyrinth," played by David Bowie, is even more powerful and less human than he appeared in the movie and made a careless or open approach to a human being. Jareth is, of course, a creature of mara and maya, desire and delusion, including especially self-delusion. At least, that is his business and modus operandi with humans. A perhaps deeper motive of his is to enlarge his kingdom by acquiring goblins, one way being to recruit them from human babies. He could have still deeper motives we do not know.

As you first become in danger of meeting Jareth, you become prey to feelings of paranoia, confusion, and self-doubt. You begin to dwell on how complicated even ordinary actions are, how grotesque even ordinary people can seem, how vulnerable children are.
While the ideas of the inspiration phase remain and intensify, you begin to think about and then, if at all possible, to notice crystal balls, owls, and mazes. Then you begin to encounter these thing, first as odd but possibly natural happenstance, then getting very odd (What's a crystal ball doing on your desk? Who put owl pictures up on all the cubicle walls?), then downright freaky (Owls in the office? Live owls?), then openly miraculous (Crystal balls dropping out of mirrors or monitors, sprouting out of cell phones as you watch. The cubicles rearrange into a maze, sliding and scraping as you watch, but also sneaking into new paths behind you.)
During the motif phase, you may have heard voices, including babies gurgling and crying. Now, actual goblins start showing up. At first, they will just enter normally or be there when you turn a corner or go through a door. Then they start to show up in showy ways, coming out of drawers or mirrors or from under carpets. They are working on Jareth's agenda; they talk to you or among one another about him, probably in terms he wants you to hear, e.g. how powerful and capricious he is, about turning your baby brother over to him, or about the inadvisability of trying to get your baby brother back from him. This won't prevent them from having their own agendas, whatever those are; they may take kindly to you (or not), or make a mess for fun, or steal small objects—whatever these particular goblins, do.
So far, you've had Jareth's stuff introduced into the ordinary world. Now, the process is reversed and you are introduced into Jareth's realm. In his case, this is clearly the fay-haunted Labyrinth, with the goblin town in the center of it and Jareth's castle in the center of that. In light of the Sundering, we assume that, after you enter Jareth's realm, you may leave a certain amount of untidyness behind in the ordinary world, but nothing else, nothing weirder: no owls or crystal balls, no stray goblins.
This whole process could have stopped at any point, if Jareth could get what he wanted without getting any "closer," any more manifest. If not, you meet Jareth (played by David Bowie in his late thirties, with cute little fangs, makeup and costuming inspired by the works of Brian Froud). This is the peak of the experience, of course, and whatever happens, happens.

We can go through That Hideous Strength for more examples:

In Jane's encounters in Ransom's room, first we have inspiration and motif from Venus (the idea of obedience as erotic and the perfume), but that gets chased off. Then we have inspiration and either motif or very strong inspiration from an incoming Oyarsa, and Jane exits. (Perhaps it is Perelandra, come to see what her Wraith is fussing about.)

A more complete, but still compressed, example is Jane's experience with Venus in the lodge:

I am not proposing this as a law of manifestation, only as a common and natural sequence for it. We see closer approximations to it at St. Anne's because it is a "safehouse," defended territory. Out in the battle zone, we generally see nothing. Lewis was unfortunate enough to meet Oyarsa Malacandra in straight epiphany, without preliminaries (or at least without preliminaries from Oyarsa).

Return to Inkliverse
Return to Wind Off the Hilltop

Copyright © Earl Wajenberg, 2010