The greens, the greys, the ocean waves—together cross.
Enveloped within infrastructure, like an orb with swirling insides: the waters settle in the center as trees surround them. Three oceans connect through a narrow river; these oceans huddle close. The architecture: high-rise. Sky-high, arching over the oceans, shielding them. The buildings reach out to one another through pathways (connected, like the oceans)—and these know no time. Similar to skip travel, almost. Each piece in this machine of a home fits and functions as planned, always.
The fresh breeze, the silvers, the tides—these are what make up home, and yet, home would be incomplete without its inhabitants. This Realm has always been known for its residents’ hyperosmia: heightened olfactory senses. Other neighboring Realms are known for other things. Hyperosmia plays a vital role in the circulation of energy.
All this Realm’s energy is generated from its very own oceans. There are the tides: natural, relatively predictable, but insufficient and intermittent (the oceans cherish their quiet time, too). There is the concentration of salt: with hyperosmia, energy management poses no challenge. In other words, apart from the tides, the oceans must have an exact percentage of salt for the energy to be distributed evenly in the Realm. An exact percentage, a very specific scent. Each piece in this machine of a home fits and functions as planned, always.
Amidst distinct realms, here lies Elesphal.
The Oliques and Their Ancestral History (Log A.0028)
Elesphal was once led by the Scentress for ages and ages as tales go. Essentially, she was the founder; the scholars of the Realms speak of her oneness with nature and how she foresaw the need for Elesphal to live upon such providence.
The Scentress began, along with a few others of her time, to construct the Elesphal of now, from its architecture to its energies. She is the sole reason for the inhabitants’ hyperosmia; from her the idea of mastering the sense came about and hence, her name.
However, since her passing, the Olique family—the Scentress’ descendants—had taken over. The Oliques maintain order in and ensure the needs of Elesphal. All have equal roles: mother Morea takes the general governance over the Realm, father Lesthe takes interactions with the other Realms, older brother Iressen takes infrastructure management, sister Midence takes energy monitoring, and younger brother Alsgne takes nature development.
Even in the seamless machine of Elesphal there exists widespread rumors of the Scentress. As indicated in the records, she has transformed into an ancestral ghost, roaming around Elesphal, soul stuck for reasons unknown. As much as all inhabitants sand the Olique family would like to further study this and assist in sending the Scentress to fulfill herself into a higher, more peaceful being, everyone fears what she might do to them or their Realm. She later on became detached from the residents after achieving hyperosmia herself, tales tell.
The Scentress Herself (Log C.0147)
The oceans are off, Midence mutters.
All seems well to me, sister, Iressen assures her.
I agree with brother. It might just be your nose, sister, Alsgne has a light laugh.
Midence ignores her little brother, looks away. Had all really meant well, her nose should not be twitching as it is now, should it? Midence tries asking around, but to no avail; the rest of the inhabitants seem fine. Not even her mother and father side with her.
Midence sets her eyes on the oceans once more; she tears away from the waters almost immediately, the scent too powerful for her to even look.
If the oceans are unwell, might this lead to overconsumption, and possibly ruin Elesphal? The worry rings in Midence’s heart. She leaves her brothers and rushes to the records hall, in hopes that the scholars might shed light onto this disruption. As quick as she can, she goes through any and every log in her immediate sight—she fears no time can be wasted.
Midence, nearly drowned in all the books, discovers an eccentric dent in the brick walls. When she touches the dent, a slip of paper falls into her hands and it reads:
If someone were to call for me aloud, or if these very lines were to be found out,
I assure you—have no doubt:
Visiting one, you have my blessings. And now, to you, I shall call out.
Midence resumes her research to look for more answers. She finds that those lines are a message from the Scentress herself. Further research tells Midence that the Scentress, at certain circumstances, chooses to appear to whoever calls for her or discovers that particular message. The scholars inferred that the Scentress appears to the chosen in either episodes of erratic voices and visions or through her unique aura projected onto ordinary objects in the Realm.
Never had Midence feared knowledge until this moment. The Scentress might—oh, the thought alone is awful, Midence winces—play around with her, haunt her, torment her. There is no way to rewind, and Midence is well-aware of that fact. She continues on, averting the ocean crisis while convincing her kindred of the Scentress’ words.
I’ve never heard of this before, Iressen says.
The scholars might have made mistakes, too, sister, Alsgne taps his finger on his chin.
And in those moments of skepticism, obscurities arise: glitches, bright sparks appear before Midence’s eyes. At first only she was directed by the Scentress, then the latter began making contact with Iressen and Alsgne as well. Obscurities—yet clearly of the Scentress’ mark—and other times the most ordinary objects in the oddest of ways: tree branches intertwining, reaching out to them, intertwining, and repeat, and more. The three siblings share the same fright in the beginning. Her motives incomprehensible beyond compare, they believe the Scentress made her presence a curse for having found her message, a supposed secret.
Midence continues with the oceans. Moment after moment of the Scentress’ calls upon the three, at long last, she appears fully to the siblings.
“Visiting one—and her company—you have my blessings.”
She is…at best would be to say: light, albeit a dim one.
A silent nod, a greeting from her to the three. The Scentress proceeds to explain the behavior of their oceans:
“Our marine energy has been fluctuating—too strong or too weak for the established scent—due to the lack of light. Have you ever considered the light?”
The three shake their heads in sync.
“Elesphal, truly, and I discovered this only upon my passing, is a world of light. Elesphal…comes from light sphere, you see? For our Realm to continue with its marine energy at normal levels, we must intersect it with our innatelight capacity. Both energies must work alongside each other, yet this light energy has been neglected for so, so long. And that is one of my deepest regrets as the Scentress—not having utilized our truth.”
The three siblings look at the Scentress in awe, still trying to process her words.
“This architecture is my fault. Too completely enveloped, trapped, shunning ourselves of our open sphere and the oceans that yearn to sparkle.” The Scentress looks upward, then down in dismay. “Midence, and Iressen, Alsgne: you have always been doing well—the Oliques truly never fail. And so I must ask of your assistance to set this all anew.”
“Elesphal has,” she tries to disguise her brokenness with soft sobs, “it has become a machine, all too rigid. We directed our focus to the oceans…if we do not solve this, I foresee the oceans may lose their power and Elesphal will, in turn, fall.”
“Here, visiting ones,” the Scentress says and this time, faint and friendly glitches surround them. “What we must do is make use of both light and waters. With the warmth of direct sunlight, we will utilize the temperature of the surface of the waters. In other words, visiting ones—”
“Now, not only the scent matters, but the heat from the light as well,” Midence interrupts.
“Indeed, indeed,” the Scentress smiles.
Elesphal, with the guidance of the Oliques, turns anew: the architecture opens up, allowing light to spread onto the oceans. The energies return to the usual, but with a faint—warm—change.
Elesphal lives with the ocean and the light, now a true home to its inhabitants, to the Scentress, to itself.
The Scentress to the Olique Children (Hidden Log)
Every exhale is an act of devouring space and time.
Now, it is one hundred percent clear. Absolutely.
Visiting ones, here I must send my deepest thanks, and bid my farewell. I shall rise.
The ancestral spirit of the Scentress disperses and brightens, light above Elesphal. She is finally fulfilled into a higher being.
The Scentress is dearly missed by the inhabitants of Elesphal. Scholars say she makes appearances from time to time, to those who call out to her, or to those whom she wishes to call out to.
⑆ka⑉t⑇ is a BFA Creative Writing student very much into unreality. She tries to channel unreality through her works and her fashion. She can be found as typeflux on Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram.
After Morticia Addams describing Wednesday’s role model (“Wednesday’s great-aunt Calpurnia. She was burned as a witch in 1706. They said she danced naked in the town square and enslaved a minster .. but don’t worry. We’ve told Wednesday: college first.”)
Young girls require a patron saint — aunt’s
abysmal ashes antiquate entwined,
Massachusetts grave, with God’s servant
whom she enslaved. Impious mind
in clerical cravat a town square dance
(performed in only raven plaits) bewitched Continue reading “Womannotated – Calpurnia”→
. . . at seven o’clock in the evening, the light begins to fade and anguish begins. The light marks the frontier of something new, a border more dangerous than that of noon. This is the time of day when it becomes clear who is happy with life, and who can’t settle into it. At hotels and restaurants the waiters’ shift changes. For photographers it’s the magic hour when one can capture the most beautiful glow. Rohmer watched the green ray appear. Tanizaki set about penning his treatise in praise of shadow. This is the time it Continue reading “at seven o’clock in the evening by Jessica Sequeira”→
Καρδιά. Kardiá. The heart. We think of it ruling emotion, when it was the ancient physician Galen who thought the liver was where passions lay. Maybe this is truer than we think—I go back again and again to the idea of drinking to countermand heartbreak, drowning one’s sorrows. Diana Vreeland telling the story of how Clark Gable locked himself in a room with a case of whisky after the death of Carole Lombard, Jean Rhys’ protagonists—the grimy, hard-learned wisdom of the café and those endless fines, pretending to be light-hearted when all the while you feel it throbbing, on fire in your throat; the Sisyphean act of swallowing beats as you drink your memories…
Appreciate your marks of age Light a candle for every new blemish mark or scar Like a ring on a tree trunk it is a sign of defiance shown on your glorious trunk
Celebrate each mistake you make by wearing your favourite colour head to toe for the entire day Know that you won’t do it again, or if you do you will be reassured that you won’t shatter next time you will still be you
It is never really about thinness. It is certainly not about fashion, or fitting in, or models. It is facile to call it perfectionism, because it is not striving for a perfect body. It is an act of erasure, but also of tactility and isolation. That is what I miss.
Vomiting in a cubicle space was definitely unpalatable and embarrassing. It was a repeated incident, despite the last projection occurring eight months ago. My boss remembered, so when I waddled up to her in my pencil skirt and tights, unaware that I would be moaning, convulsing, and caught under covers a week earlier than expected (and not on a fortunate weekend, mind you), she nodded for me to go, reminding me, “You’ve got sick leave.” Continue reading “Forever, The Little Girl – Kristine Brown”→
This is not a violin, it is a doorway. I know this, because I read a lot. My notes and references are usually very detailed breadcrumb paths. But, as Brion Gysin said, the mice can get into the larder of language (and I add to his point, memory). And, well… I have no control over legions of mice.
Ash and Stardust was a monthly column by energy worker and artist/writer DHIYANAH HASSAN exploring the intersections of tarot with healing and creativity. You can read the full series here.
When I started this column in January 2018, I was still calling myself a tarot noob. I confess I didn’t thoroughly believed it but lacked the confidence to openly claim myself as a card reader without having gone through some kind of an initiation period.
Who I am now is so far traveled from the person I was at the beginning of 2018. This was my Saturn Return year and it was so full of magic – this was my first happy year, ever! Connecting to the healing tools that I accepted as available to me really went a long way in teaching me what my happiness could look like. And I took it, ran with it, and trusted in everything I am that is strong and soft and beautiful.
During the span of this year, I received confirmation after confirmation at each level of release and growth I experienced once I committed – not just mentally but also physically, emotionally, and spiritually – to my chosen intentions to heal, to love, to have fun. I know now that writing Ash and Stardust as a monthly column was a sort of initiation I designed for myself to activate within me what I thought I was running low on – the ability to trust myself.
I’m writing this now, already at home in my new wilderness, on the eve of the new year cycle. I’m writing this as the last post of Ash and Stardust on Burning House Press.