The Book of Onei is an antinomian dream grimoire, providing deceptive yet true information about the art of Oneiromancy or dream magic in the form of poetry, fantasy, and intentionally ambiguous instructions.
Crossing over into the borders of Onei, I saw a thick and shadowy forest. It’s always like that, by which I mean there is always a barrier – not that there is always a forest. And this forest was deep, as deep as the waters of a still, black lake without a wind to ruffle its surface. I heard no birds, felt nothing but a malevolent watchfulness. At the edge of the trees there stood a pair of pillars, guarded by two grinning and silent skulls. The dead stared back at me in blind resentment. I was alive and they were not, and that’s more than enough.
The guardian sat there dressed in red, its face obscured behind a cloud of smoke. It nodded solemnly as I approached, waiting to see if I knew the invocation. The heads in the pillars had failed to give it, which is ironic of course. You compose it yourself.
I opened my copy of the Book of Onei, turned to a blank page, and began to speak. The words of my invocation appeared on the page in red and black. I know I said that I could hear no birds, but as soon as I had finished speaking a great flock arose, flying in rapid and violent circles about the nimbus of the sun.
The guardian stood, its robes the color of a thick red wine. It made a gesture with its hands, an ancient symbol I had never seen before but which I recognized immediately. What it meant was “proceed,” and it obliged the heads to stop their silent laughter.
It had no such power over the forest, which continued to brood in malicious silence. I knew my own tendency toward a violent melancholy and didn’t take it personally.
In a clearing between the trees that night I dug a pit with my hands, a place for offerings to the underworld powers. The pit was like a gaping mouth, a waiting throat, opening wide in eager wetness to devour the world. I lit a fire in front of it, honoring the powers of the empty heavens. The celestial deities, the stars and planets, the vast, blue void with its howling winds – I made my offerings to all that beauty, all that horror and all that wonder.
And then I crouched in silence, waiting for the spirits to render their judgement. I remembered a dream. The night when the Host came was a terrible night, perhaps the night that had driven me here. There is no horror like that horror, unthinking and childlike, the knowledge that there is something beyond death – and that it knows who you are. They almost had me that time, but I turned out to not be as powerless as the Host believed me.
I had my knowledge, the lore my father had stolen from Onei. He gave that power to me, though he had never dared to use it himself. I made a sign with my fingers, I broke the glamour of the wrathful dead…
And that was my answer from the forest spirits:
“The darkseer needs no permission to journey on into Onei.”
– notes found in the handwritten original of the Book of Onei
Image by Sidney Sime