The Powers of the First Darkness

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.

Nightmare image Valere Bernard {1680}

Alone at night, I hear the doorknob turn,

The hinges creak- and standing in the light

Are cold and silent men. I stand in fright,


And one by one they float in through the door.

Their suits are charcoal gray, their ties are thin.

On every mouth, a Mona Lisa grin.


Their eyes could just as well be balls of glass,

Their faces stuffed and mounted. Waves of dread

Pass over me and through me. Like the dead


There’s nothing there at all- an absent space

Just papered over by a face as clean

And free of comment as a pure machine.


“We’ve found him,” says the first one

And I turn, to try to get away. The power comes

And lifts me off my feet, completely numb


From crown to sole. Cold, drunken currents flow

And hold me in a field of fearful awe.

They know the truth. I disobeyed the Law


And now the consequence has found me out.

“You should have kept your mouth shut,” says a voice,

“Or joined the Legion while you had the choice,


“But chronicling our secrets…” As I scream,

Their faces start to glow. They circle in

Like feeding sharks. But, though I may have sinned


I still remain defiant. Down below,

In Death’s primeval waters, there is lore

Of hidden things that none have known before,


And I can steal it if I slip the trap.

The horror closes in. My fingers make

A sign of power, and I bolt awake.


My wife’s asleep beside me in our bed.

The kitchen light is flickering. Outside,

The city sleeps. And I am still alive.


– from The Book of Onei, Part 1: The Art of Night Wandering

Image by Valere Bernard


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