“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist; a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain.”
–Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”
Ursula K Le Guin is one of my favorite science fiction authors, to the extent that some of the poetry and stories of hers have taken on a lot of significance within my spiritual life. That quote from “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” really resonated with me when I first red the story, to the point that I had to put the book down and sit with it for a bit. In a way, that quote sums up a lot about Darkness, both my path and with Darkness as a culture. I’ve talked before, about how pain-as-devotion is heavily rejected, and many religious paths Over There, like the one Jake follows, are based on joy.
I’m currently reading Rejoice, A Knife to the Heart by Steven Erickson, and it’s reminding me of Darkness a lot. It’s not just because I’m reading it with one of my Beloveds, Trev, but also because it’s a very hopeful book. Lately it’s been science fiction that’s been inspiring me, and reminding me of Darkness. It’s not cyberpunk or dystopian settings that give me Darkness feels, but stories about the best of humanity, which is what Rejoice is about.
Sitting in this temple
all the Past weighing down
books like tombstones holding
what had once been life.
Here, my rejected past is chained
my old family of gods forever cycling
through their Past, through their Eternal War
a fight going on and on into Eternity.
With no end to the War in sight, I gaze at the stars,
and wonder what caused all this to happen. Why can’t
the chains of the Past be released, what’s stopping them
from putting down their swords, and living in a way
that welcomes the future? This is only a dream, yet
I can feel the Far Ones eyes on me, the Nine whispering
through the stars, that it is time to let the ancient Past go,
time to step out of the grave of stars, and embrace life again.
You fled the Desert with me,
my friend, so long ago, and now
we have met again, and are getting closer.
At times I think “what is my life,”
but Jake adores you, and we bond
over silly science fiction stories.
You built your own wings
shimmering green on sunlight
to reach heights none of us could go.
This was going to be a poem *for* the Queen, then it turned into a poem where I rambled to her about upcoming evens in my Otherworld life. I guess this poem also doubles as the official announcement that my deity Beloveds and I are planning on having children (which I vague blogged about (link) earlier this year.) I don’t know how much I’ll write about that going forward, but this poem makes it pretty obvious, and they’re okay with me mentioning it in public.
Darkness is changing, Mother, I feel it
even a world away. The vision of my children,
and the recent crowning of the Future King, what is
this all leading to? I pray that these new lives do not
have Fate weighing them down from birth, that they
may be children, that they are simply innocent lives
over the years in my arms. Darkness is not demanding
these children, they are born of Love, yet I feel the Land almost
holding Its breath, as though waiting to see how we Three Kings are
equipped to handle being fathers. I will not have so-called “destiny”
resting on our children’s shoulders, for in that is nothing but burdens
ones who are so young must never carry. I find that I am longing to be a
father, I’ve had many dreams and visions giving confirmation, yet I am
anxious about their arrival into the world of Darkness. I pray that their
lives are filled with nothing but Love, Mother. I pray that I am able to
love them as they need to be loved, even Here, a universe away.
Tonight is Winter’s Night, and though it’s one of the bigger holidays in Darkness, this year is an even bigger celebration than usual.
Winter’s Sovereign was Officially crowned the Prince (and Heir) of All Darkness, as well as taking the role of the Distant Prince that his Father once held.
The Distant Prince was once Draped in Gold, now he wears a Cloak of the Stars.
Hail, the Future King of Darkness!
Hail, Winter’s Sovereign!
Author’s Note: I spoil the plot of Hollow Knight.
“Show me this game you’ve been writing to me about.” The Dreamer sat down next to me on the couch, glancing at the screen of my laptop.
“Sure.” I pulled it up on my laptop. “Welcome to buzz saw and spike trap hell that is the White Palace.”
[after playing with my Spouse watching over my shoulder for a bit]
“Yeah?” I could sense him side-eyeing all the buzz saws in the Palace.
“How,” my Spouse asked me, “does this King ever get anything done…?”
I already knew that the Dreamer has Opinions about fictional Kings (he loves Aragorn from Lord of the Rings, to the point he’s used Aragon as a faceclaim) but when I played the game Hollow Knight, my Spouse had Angry Feelings about the Pale King, and that “no cost too great” was his [the Pale King’s] main line. It was heavily implied that the Pale King sacrificed his children for the “greater good” of finding the perfect vessel to hold the infection, and the Radiance. The game (to me) had a very sad ending, since it ends with the main character took their sibling’s place in containing the infection.
My Spouse has talked before about how he despises meaningless sacrifice–or sacrifice of any kind, really, and Hollow Knight helped emphasize that theme. One thought that occurred to me as I was playing the game–I modded it so my character was immortal–was that “gamers who want games to be Hardcore Difficult, are like polytheists who want devotion to be All Pain All The Time.”
One thing that Darkness rejects is the idea of Devotion As Pain. Darkness–my gods, mortal Beloveds, spirits, and the Land itself–would rather I learned to love myself. Choose a path covered in flowers, rather than a path covered in thorns.