For the next few weeks, we’ll be delving into the 30 Days of Devotion, a devotional writing project that helps us explore the gods we worship. We will do each of these for each of the Four Gods. If you are an Other Person or exploring the Four Gods, feel free to add your own comments – or join in!
If you have another topic you would like to see written on, you can email me (email@example.com) or message me on Facebook – but my writing will likely go to one of my other blogs, as we’re focusing on the Otherfaith at this blog for the time being.
the Clarene is our god of stories and books, and whether directly stated or not, she is present in all the stories of the West. Her stories are inevitably some of my favorite to write. She is passionate, fiery, sexy, powerful, and fun. She is in love with love and in love with life. Even in stories of sadness, I find great strength.
One of the recent myths I’ve posted is also one of my favorite ones. ‘Ava at the Gate‘, while intended to focus more on the Laetha, ends up featuring the Clarene heavily as she creates two young girls who both go on to help revolutionize the West. Not only did the story allow me to explore the Laetha in a way I hadn’t quite yet been able to, it allowed me to explore the relationship the Clarene has to the Laetha and to her home. As someone mentioned in our monthly discussion group, it showed that the gods are fallible just as mortals are.
Her heart, when it beat once again, was like fire. She blamed the girls – Ava for picking a heart from the pepper fields, really now, child? and Alma, for sewing her together with spit like lava – but this fire was a gift. All her calm rebellion, all her slow plots, tended like her orchards, cultivated like her fields –
They would not do.
the Clarene’s love of women also captures my heart. She loves her ladies, and her stories are full of them. From the neutral-to-feminine Ophelia to the simmering sexuality of Desiree to all her lady-loves, she brings passion and longing. She brings a bit of traditional courtship as well, something that we rarely see with the Dierne. We see one Romance between the Clarene and an unnamed spirit here:
There was no one, though, in her world or beyond, that seemed as enamored with books as herself. Every lover she took frowned at her collection and left, complaining of the smell of ink and paper. A few took the books threw them out, into the dirt, into the river, into fire, but she always found a way to save her collection or find more. And she resigned herself to collecting the stories but having none who would read them with her.
Until the day came that a girl with gold hair and black wings walked to the house and asked, quiet and sharp-voiced, “May I read one of your books?”
She was so shocked she could not move or say anything for many moments, but eventually she waved the girl in and let her stay. At first for only a day. And then a week. And then longer and longer, watching as the girl read and read and did not cease to read. The house smelled of ink and paper and tea. She began to think of the house not as her own but as theirs; the books not as her own but theirs. And the day came that the girl had read so much that the words bled from her fingers and fell from her tongue, and the girl approached her and asked her with all the words she had learned if she could stay in the house and find more books and make more tea and be there, for as long as the books and the one who had collected them remained there.
And she said yes.
She is not all love and light, of course. She is often the facilitator of relationships (of all kinds) and confers blessings of marriages in the Otherfaith. We see this, coupled with her violent tendencies, in ‘The Marriage of Othani‘:
“You have fallen in love with a fire, and that fire has filled you with the only thing it knows,” she said. “No matter how the fire is – tree, stone, man – he will burn you.”
“I know,” Othani said. “But I will not let the fire go unchanged.”
“A boy made of leaves can do no harm to a tree made of ember,” the Clarene said.
“I am not hurting him,” Othani said. “I’m making him bloom.”
And with that, the Clarene knew entirely his purpose. She lifted him from the ground and thrust him into the tree, and with a great hand snapped a white branch free, and she thrust it through Othani’s chest.
In another of my favorite myths, we see her violence stripped from its connections to love and growth but instead displayed as revenge. In ‘The Bone Box‘, the Clarene takes hold of a girl attempting to steal the secrets of the Other People and strips her bones away, locking them in a box. The entire story is about danger and the violent undercurrent of the Western world of Faeryland.
But my favorite myth of all, more than any other with the Clarene, is the Romance of the Ophelia and Clarene. We see a variation of this in ‘the Ophelia & the Clarene‘, but this is not the variation that I prefer. As tends to be the case, my favorite is an unpublished myth, which we see it mentioned briefly in the snippet ‘Asier & the Ophelia‘.
The reason it is unpublished is because it is more visual than verbal, and it was only recently I became aware of the location where it took place. (Many events in the People’s mythos are tied to various locations in the United States, because the Otherfaith is a religion that grew out of our culture and landscape.) The story is of the meeting, in a hazy almost-human almost-faery world, of the Clarene and Ophelia, both as young women. The two reel from the pain of the world – the Clarene, hiding her faery nature, and the Ophelia, who is then a dumping ground for the pain of those around her – until they find each other, both on the brink of utter collapse, and save each other.
We are holding an Otherfaith discussion group every first Sunday of the month. Click here for more details, and send me a message or leave a comment if you would like to join!
New visitor and a little confused where to start? Head over to our About and Otherfaith pages, and then meander over to the beginning of our ‘basics‘ series. Any questions can be directed to my email firstname.lastname@example.org.