The Wonder, the Horror, and the Art

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.

A trio of goddesses named the Playful One, the Flowing One and Bloody-Face. The Playful One plays a bone harp. The Flowing One sings. Bloody-Face moans eerily in the form of a gray standing stone. The Flowing One once slew a dragon by diving into its mouth and cutting her way back out through its belly with her sword. Bloody-Face sometimes takes the form of a giantess dancing wildly, holding a severed head. The Playful One sometimes manifests as a little girl with curly hair, wearing a red dress. She can destroy worlds with the smallest gesture.

 

The three goddesses, when they were girls,

Were always quarreling. Bloody-Face

Would make a mess when the Flowing One

Sought to impress her friends. She would turn

Into a giantess and dance like

A madwoman with a severed head.

Meanwhile the Playful One, who was dressed

In red, didn’t think it was funny

At all. And with a shake of her curls

She would destroy whole worlds. Now, these girls

Are all grown. Bloody-Face, made of stone,

Moans crazily in the winter wind.

The Playful One plays along on a

White harp made of bone. The Flowing One

Sings a song. They never got along.

And now, by the will of the great gods,

These three goddesses can never part.

The wonder, the horror and the art.

 

– from the Book of Onei, Part III: The Powers of Onei

 

Image by John Bauer

 

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The Secret of Solomon

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.

A mighty and terrifying dragon or traveler between worlds who can change shape and appear as male or female, dragon or human, or even as a pile of books. A powerful teacher of dream alchemy.

 

She looked at me- I call it she, although

No hint of human life was in its eyes-

And said, “I know you’re scared, but do not rise.

 

“You’ve used the secret fire, but there is more.

We wish you to evolve.” Her watchful face

Was wax-like, alien. I saw the place

 

She’d traveled from, and it was far- so far.

My chest was aching with a fear so cold

My blood felt sluggish. I had walked the old

 

And near-forgotten pathways. I had seen

My glimpse of burning wheels and turning gears,

And yet this creature woke my deepest fears

 

As easily as if she’d read the book

I keep sequestered in my hidden heart.

And yet, if she could teach the ancient art

 

Of changing roses into flying birds

And dreams to facts, and facts to other dreams-

I nodded slowly, and her cold eyes gleamed.

 

– from the Book of Onei, Part III: The Powers of Onei

 

Image by Valere Bernard

The Red Queen

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.

 

A pale, dark-haired fairy queen dressed in red, presiding over the wild celebrations of the Kind.

 

The elven queen’s in red tonight,

The night is hard and wild.

Her eyes reflect a distant light,

It makes him glad to see the sight.

He giggles like a child.

 

“I warned you once, each seven years…”

She says. Her face is grim.

The kiss she gave him long ago

Means little now, but even so,

It matters most to him.

 

“I kissed you once. It seemed that we…

But then, you had such words.”

She cannot shake his foolish grin

Despite her people, closing in,

As close as hungry birds.

 

“I’m sorry that we ever met.”

She says it soft and low.

They say the Lady has no heart.

That’s true enough, but it was art

That snared her, even so.

 

“I always try to stop myself.

It always ends the same.

And you, so fair and full of flesh-

But it was I who wove the mesh.”

She looks away in shame.

 

“Enough of this. The land of dreams

Demands your mortal life.”

She lifts her hand and lets it fall-

And with a sudden, hungry call

She turns and draws the knife.

 

– from the Book of Onei, Part III: The Powers of Onei

 

Image by Giovanni Segantini

The Blood Wisdom

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.

 

A queen hanging from an apple tree on a plain of ice.

 

An apple tree upon a plain of ice,

Stands out against the sky. There hangs a queen,

Unclothed, but armed, among the leaves. Unseen,

 

The wheels of heaven turn. I feel their weight,

And in the cold I cannot catch my breath.

She grins at me. “It smells of sweat and death.

 

Blood wisdom’s always like that. If you took

A cup of it you’d see it’s dark as wine

And never sweet, but oh so strong. You’d find

 

Yourself upon an apple tree…” She laughs

And thunder rolls as if a mighty door

Had turned upon its hinge. “We’ve met before,”

 

That’s all that I can say. She starts to keen,

A supersonic whine, as sharp and clear

As broken church bells. “Come and find me here.”

 

This is the blood wisdom, and it smells of sweat and death.

 

– from the Book of Onei, Part III: The Powers of Onei

 

Image by Giovanni Segantini

The Host

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.

 

The dreadful, eerie dead. Those who would not or could not walk down into the Valley of Shadow.

 

Dead children gather at the quarters

And just stare at my house in silence,

As if the violence of their passing

Had wiped out all speech. Each of them has

Already attained the alien

Soulless quality of the angry dead.

I jump out of my bed and drive them

Off of my lawn. But there is no peace.

I didn’t release them from what they

Suffered, and so they cannot move on.

In the quiet hours before dawn

The dead gather again with mindless

Grins. Vampire spirits, sharply-dressed,

Their eyes express a strange weightlessness.

But the pearl of alchemy is in

My hands. And though they perceive my plans,

They don’t attempt to run. I transform

The dead dreams, and all the dead are gone.

 

– from the Book of Onei, Part III: The Powers of Onei

 

Image by Franz Stuck

The Death Barker

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.

A faceless guide who leads the dead into the Valley of Shadow. He doesn’t speak, but only gestures grandly like a carnival barker for you to step down into the darkness. Nothing about him suggests that you should trust him.

 

No fear-

the slopes of death lead down

to utter darkness, and the clown

is faceless like the grave.

No fear-

the fear is everywhere

it’s in the rocks, it’s in the air.

He only grins and waves.

No fear-

the dead all weep and moan.

All love is lost, all life, all home.

The valley is so grim.

No fear-

and yet they’re all afraid.

They cannot die, and so, dismayed

they wander on the rim.

 

– from the Book of Onei, Part III: The Powers of Onei

 

Image by Henry Fuseli

Boneyard Goddess

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.

Burn a black candle and visualize the long-haired goddess of the graveyard, she who crouches on a tomb with her face in shadow. Recite this charm to dream of the dead.

 

Goddess of the boneyard, hear me

Through these ghosts that hover near me.

Clear the way through clay and water,

Death’s companion, wisdom’s daughter,

Clear the way that I may travel

Through this sand and rock and gravel,

Through this soil as black as midnight

To the place that knows no sunlight,

Only starshine always gleaming,

To the dead where they lie dreaming,

Bound by death’s white silken tether.

They and I have work together.

 

Thou and I have work together!

 

– from the Book of Onei, Part III: The Powers of Onei

 

Image by Carlos Schwabe