Darkness and Silence

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.

John Bauer (1882–1918)2

If you want knowledge, seek out darkness and silence.

 

I glance behind me, but there’s no way home.

The waves are foaming like a rabid dog,

Like monsters, always watching. On my bones,

On every branch and rock and fallen log,

The ice lies thick. The silent heavens sleep-

Unreadable, malicious. Earth is still.

She won’t disclose the secrets that she keeps.

Night creeps a little closer. From the hill

I hear the howl of wolves. I feel the eyes

Of basilisks upon me. Lions roar.

Don’t question heaven. Do not leave your door.

 

Dream necromancy is dangerous, especially if the spirit discovers your secret name.

 

Animal masking allows you to contact the cthonic powers.

 

To honor the gods, fumigate small images of them by hand in a cloud of incense.

 

The gods crave meat; the meat craves fire.

 

There are two types of death in dream. The dead force is like a black hole – without consciousness, dead and soulless although capable of movement. The live force is the exact opposite.

 

The universe is like the desert: a vast empty space made up of tiny particles lit by a blazing light.

 

There is no final invitation to Onei. You must find your way each time.

 

The pattern will always assert its essential points. Only a certain level of play exists in reality, and that which is destined cannot be prevented.

 

Some genii loci will abandon their home if it is clear-cut or otherwise abused. It becomes a soulless place.

 

There are time travelers who visit different eras by possessing dreamers as they sleep. If they come upon you in a night wandering dream they will try to stop your throat so you cannot get the words out, but if you force the words out you should be able to say your protective charm.

 

The whole world is filled up with gnosis. It is people who must become free in order to fill up gnosis.

 

– from the Book of Onei, Part II: The Lore of Onei

 

Image by John Bauer

The Book

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.

Sidney Sime ~ It (1911)

When the sun and the moon still gave no warmth, and maneating giants still roamed the earth.

 

There is a book in Onei that contains all knowledge, including the knowledge of first things. If you are given access to the Book it can be a blessing or a curse.

 

I opened up the Book to find the place

That spoke of ancient things. My hands were cold,

My lips were purple. And the lamp was old –

 

It guttered angrily and cast off smoke

That stained my fingers black. I found the page

And what it said was this – “There was an age

 

In which the sun and moon, though dimly white,

Gave off no heat. Like lifeless rocks they hung

Above a world where primal darkness clung

 

And in that darkness, there were moving things

Like giant, hungry shadows. In the deep

That ancient chaos still remains asleep.”

 

– from the Book of Onei, Part II: The Lore of Onei

 

Image by Sidney Sime

 

Sorrow of the Gorge

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.

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A shock of light above the gorge,

One moment of the sun.

The cliffs are like a closing mouth

Of frozen rock, and north and south

The frigid waters run.

 

I pause and glance ahead. The path

Is vertical and thin.

An ancient, rusted chain is here,

I wrap it round my hand in fear.

It bites into my skin.

 

The roots and boulders, tangled thick

As fingers intertwined,

Jut out as sharp as broken bones.

I cross a heap of ancient stones

And pour out half my wine.

 

“Come out and taste the wine,” I call,

“Come out and drink your fill.”

The wind comes roaring through the trees

And something in me dimly sees

The spirits of the hill.

 

I light an incense-stick and bow.

“I know it’s cold up here.

The world has changed, and we have come

To hate the things we started from,

The magic and the fear.

 

“The face of death is hid behind

This horror we have made.

But fools prefer what’s clear and bright.

They turn their backs on every sight

Of mingled light and shade.

 

“Still, there are things we owe the ghosts.

And some do not forget.”

A mournful bird came floating by.

The mountain ghosts did not reply.

They haven’t answered yet.

 

– from the Book of Onei, Part II: The Lore of Onei

 

Image by Eugen Bracht

A Journey to Onei (3)

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.

Andreas Achenbach, Norwegian Coast by Moonlight, 1848

“The Book of Onei is not The Book,” my father once said. I remember him still, walking beside me on that sunless beach – but was it before he had died, or after? “The Book of Onei is only a guide, a book of riddles that don’t always lead to any answers, a book of truths within lies. I have been to Onei many times, but I have never been to any of the cities or nations mentioned in the Book of Onei, nor have I seen their ruins, nor met their citizens. As far as I can tell they do not exist, and most likely they never existed – not even in Onei.”

 

“Then what is the Book of Onei?” I asked him. “Is it just a fraud?”
“The Book of Onei is both a key and a lock,” he said. His face was haunted, as if he always listened and always waited – perhaps for a footfall. “Those stories mean something, but I do not know what. The Book of Onei hints at something, but I am afraid to ask.”

 

“Perhaps all this darkness is just a means,” I said, and yet he would not hear me and would not answer.

 

“So what is The Book, then?” I asked him.

 

“It contains all knowledge, all knowledge on any topic. It contains the secrets of the Primal Darkness! It is the gift of the Veiled One, the most ancient of all the Powers in Onei.”

 

“Did she give it to you?”

 

“And why would she have done that? I snuck in to the library, the Great Library of Onei, and I stole what I wanted. I walked out with the Book of Onei in my coat pocket! What power would give me any aid or comfort?”

 

“Maybe that isn’t something she would even care about. We know nothing about her. Perhaps the Book of Onei means nothing to her. Perhaps she wanted you to have it. Perhaps if you had ever made use of it, she would have shown you The Book.”

 

Still he did not answer, would never answer. He only looked at the ocean, at the light that flickered across the dark waters, and recited a poem:

 

“I’m Prometheus,” he told me,

“I’m the traitor and the thief.

But his eyes were still defiant

Through his horror and his grief.

 

Then the eagle stuck its beak in

For the hundred millionth time,

And I watched in guilty wonder.

Was I worthy of his crime?

 

Have I used the gift he gave me?

Have I kept the embers warm?

Have I fed the god inside me

Striving daily to be born?”

 

And now here I stood, deep beyond the Borders of Onei, among the gorges and mountains. How far would I travel, how many mountains would I have to cross, until I discovered the secret? Was there even a secret to be uncovered, or only lies within lies?

 

I dug into my bag and found the Book of Onei, opened it up to a random page and read a poem about these mountains.

– notes found in the handwritten original of the Book of Onei

 

Image by Andreas Achenbach

When the Sons of the Crow Came Down on Onei

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.

Dark star a postcard by Vasily Alexandrovich Kotarbinski {c.1900}

When the Sons of the Crow came down on Onei, the terror of their first appearance was like the rising of a blood-red star. Their eyes were feral and vengeful and they were clothed in rags, black tatters like the wings of crows. Their fury lit first upon the City of Wisdom, which they destroyed completely in seven days. Men said that the Sons of the Crow were the fools of the wasteland, driven out from the City of Wisdom and returned now to take their vengeance, but none could say for certain. The Sons were like howling furies when they went into battle, and the wise could do nothing but die before them.

 

The Sons of the Crow were led by a prophet, a man who wore a long black crow’s mask to hide his face. The name of the prophet was Eyes Like Flowers, and the heads of huge sunflowers spilled out from the eye-holes in his black mask, so that none could tell how he could see.

 

There was a story about Eyes Like Flowers, but none could say if it was true or not. According to the story, the prophet was originally a common criminal, arrested for inciting a riot in the streets of the city. When the wise men of the city declared his death sentence, he only laughed strangely at them but would say nothing. They tied him to a stake and prepared the bonfire, and the man who would soon lead the Sons of the Crow began to sing. His voice was like the harsh screech of a cawing crow.

 

When my eyeballs bloom like flowers

And my hands go forth to war,

When the bell that tolls the hours

Cracks and falls and rings no more…

 

According to the legend, Eyes like Flowers became a prophet as he sang the song. Gigantic sunflower heads burst out through his eye sockets, and his eyeballs fell out just like little glass marbles. His hands burst into flame even though the city Headsman had not yet lit the match, and the bonds with which they had tied his wrists burned black and snapped off.

 

The clock on the great brass tower in the center of the city, a beautifully complicated mechanism of gears and dials, had just been ringing the hour of noon. As Eyes Like Flowers sang the words of his song, the bell in the clock-tower suddenly cracked, falling to the ground in an explosion of bricks and splintered wood.

 

Across the length of Onei, on the Blue-Green Ocean, a hot wind began to blow. The sun blazed like a malignant eye, and the drought began that destroyed the Pearl States. By the end of that decade, large sections of the Blue Green Ocean had been boiled away to desert, gleaming whitely like a plain of salt.

 

As Eyes Like Flowers sang his song, the Wise – who had been watching his intended execution from a nearby balcony – had their crimes laid bare before the people of Sophia, appearing as flickering images on the passing clouds. Qaran the Luminous, the great philosopher, was exposed as an embezzler of the city funds. Tendress the High Priestess was shown taking bribes from the wealthy to preach whatever they wanted her to preach. Setnel the Astronomer had stolen another man’s greatest discovery, then had his rival denounced as a fool and driven out into the wasteland.

 

It went on and on, and the people of the city were enraged by what they saw. The rioting that followed lasted for three days and four nights. Eyes Like Flowers disappeared, only to return at the head of his black-clad horde some ten years later. But all of this was only a legend, because no one outside the Sons of the Crow could say for certain, and the Sons of the Crow did not answer questions.

 

What is known is this. The prophet who was known as Eyes Like Flowers wore a crow mask with a long black beak, and long tattered robes that looked like crow’s wings. In the eye-openings of his mask, there were giant sunflowers. When the Sons of the Crow came out from the wasteland, he got up in front of them and sang this song:

 

And are we not of the sons of the crow,

Who worship a hidden creed?

Or those who seek but do not know,

And hear, but do not heed?

 

When they heard these words, his followers howled, and the frenzy of their bloodlust blotted out all other sounds. Man and woman, young and old, the Sons of the Crow held their spears on high, while their commanding officers held curved white scimitars. The Wise of Sophia sent out their army, but the army was massacred before the gates of the city. Those gates were barred, but the Sons of the Crow laid siege to the walls. The people of the back streets rose in rebellion, slaughtered the guards that held the gates, and threw them open to the Sons. They say the light from the flames could be seen in Qotar, but Qotar is more than two hundred miles away from what are now the ruins of the City of Wisdom.

 

That too is mere legend, but this is not: when the Sons of the Crow came down on Onei, the terror of their first appearance was like the rising of a blood-red star. From city to city and from land to land, the Sons of the Crow brought blood and fire. No one knew what they wanted and none could say what they believed, for their Prophet spoke only in riddles and poetry. To the High Priest of the Adoration in the Plain of Day, Eyes Like Flowers sang these words:

 

I climbed a staircase to the land of birds

And told them what I’d learned.

They didn’t care.

To birds, the world is made of clouds and air.

 

And then he inexplicably spared the Temple of Adoration from destruction by his horde, though the Temple of Wisdom was torn brick from brick and its priests impaled before the ruined walls.

 

Believing that the worship of Adoration must be favored somehow by the Sons of the Crow, thousands and thousands of people converted to that creed, and the whole land between what was once Sophia and what would someday be the Qalina became a stronghold of that faith. The Sons of the Crow did not always march, but disappeared into the deserts and the mountains for years at a time, reappearing to burn and kill. Yet when they did so, they showed no favor to any, burning the cities of the Adoring just as readily and as ruthlessly as any other.

 

When the fear of the Sons of the Crow had become too great to endure, and the fact that they favored no faith had become too obvious to ignore, a prophet arose from among the ranks of the Adoring. He was known as the Flagbearer, and he carried a flag before him into battle instead of any kind of weapon. All his followers did the same. The followers of the Flagbearer refused to fight, but only carried their flags ahead of them and stood before the Sons of the Crow. They died in their thousands, surrendering their own lives willingly as a shame and a rebuke. When the Flagbearer stood before Eyes Like Flowers, the mad prophet broke down and wept, singing these words as he fell to his knees:

 

We come to you with broken beaks

And wings like crippled birds.

It’s better not to even speak

Than lose the weight of words.

 

Then all of the Sons of the Crow dropped down to their knees, and their spears and their scimitars fell out of their hands. Their eyes were wet with sorrow and remorse, and the terror of their own damnation. But the Flagbearer replied with kindness:

 

On bended knee I sought the source

Of all that moves above,

And only when I knew remorse

Decided it was love.

 

The awful kindness of the Flagbearer shamed the Sons of the Crow so that they took their own lives, unable to live with the horror that they had made. And so the Flagbearer saved the lands that would become the Qalina, the Empire of the Adoration. Yet he was not to be honored, for the priests of the Adoration could never trust him. He had no blood on his hands, but the shame he inspired, the example of a thrilling and terrible love, had destroyed an entire army. And so they had him burned alive, and his followers scattered to the corners of the earth.

 

There were those who disapproved, but one old man who witnessed the execution nodded solemnly as the flames rose high. As he turned away from the pile of ashes, he was heard to say this:

 

He told me he could teach the art

The world was built upon.

And yet, within my secret heart,

I smiled when he was gone.

 

Image by Vasily Alexandrovich Kotarbinski

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

The Three Types of Dreamer

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.

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Lightseers- night wanderers who most easily or frequently contact celestial and benevolent entities.

 

Earthseers- dreamers who dream true things, but of Earth and not of Onei.

 

Darkseers- night wanderers who most easily or frequently contact cthonic and horrifying entities.

 

It’s not that the blue-green mountains don’t appeal.

I can feel their majesty,

Their sense of distance.

It’s just that there’s also something else-

For instance,

The something wicked that this way comes

In the witching hour,

The drunken trembling of branch and stem

And the formless Power.

And if I should sometimes prefer

To attach myself

To some beautiful chaos-

I can pay what it costs.

 

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

Image by Albert Pinkham Ryder