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:
"They would say," he answered, "that you do not fail in obedience through lack of love, but have lost love because you never attempted obedience."
Something in Jane that would normally have reacted to such a remark with anger or laughter was banished to a remote distance (where she could still, but only just, hear its voice) by the fact that the word Obedience—but certainly not obedience to Mark—came over her, in that room and in that presence, like a strange oriental perfume, perilous, seductive, and ambiguous ...
"Stop it!" said the Director, sharply.
Jane stared at him, open mouthed. There were a few moments of silence during which the exotic fragrance faded away.
"You were saying, my dear?" resumed the Director.
(I think, by the way, that here Ransom is barking orders at the Wraith of Perelandra, who, wraith though she may be, is also in some sense the goddess Aphrodite!)
And later in the same conversation:
"There," he said, "a very simple adjustment. Humans want crumbs removed; mice are anxious to remove them. It ought never to have been a cause of war. But you see that obedience and rule are more like a dance than a drill—specially between man and woman where the roles are always changing."
"How huge we must seem to them," said Jane.
This inconsequent remark had a very curious cause. Hugeness was what she was thinking of and for one moment it had seemed she was thinking of her own hugeness in comparison with the mice. But almost at once this identification collapsed. She was really thinking simply of hugeness. Or rather, she was not thinking of it. She was, in some strange fashion, experiencing it. Something intolerably big, something from Brobdingnag was pressing on her, was approaching, was almost in the room. She felt herself shrinking, suffocated, emptied of all power and virtue. She darted a glance at the Director which was really a cry for help, and that glance, in some inexplicable way, revealed him as being, like herself, a very small object. The whole room was a tiny place, a mouse's hole, and it seemed to her to be tilted aslant—as though the insupportable mass and splendour of this formless hugeness, in approaching, had knocked it askew. She heard the Director's voice.
"Quick," he said gently, "you must leave me now. This is no place for us small ones, but I am inured. Go!"
(I presume this to be a real Oyarsa, though I don't know which. No shooing them away.)
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:
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.
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