For the past month or so I have been working with one of the spirits in the Otherfaith. This process involved journeying (or, as some call it, pathworking), journaling, contemplating his associations and symbols, and prayers and offerings. How I go about encountering and interacting with new/non-historical spirits is complex and beyond the scope of this article, though I hope to explain it someday.
Aster is one of the spirits I’ve worked with longest. Which would give the impression that I understand him thoroughly, but I’ve often found that the longer and more intimately one works with a spirit the less is known (or, at least, easily shared). Just getting to know a spirit eventually allows me to coalesce that knowledge into a usable, functional orb of information – but if I keep working with them, knowing them, that orb bursts into a thousand shards of nuance and nonsense.
Hopefully this post will convey more useful info than nonsense.
Name: Aster Aira
Animal Associations: Maned wolf, coyote
Preferred Offerings: Crocus, coffee, cigarettes, old computer parts
Altar Placement: Near electronics of some sort, such as computers or TVs
Holy Day: Winter Solstice (his ‘birth day’)
Aster Aira is one of the children of the Firebird (Laetha). He was ‘spat forth’ from the Firebird fully-formed. As such, he carries similarly fire and flame associations. He has a younger sister, Neve Winter, who was born from the Ophelia. Though the two do not share parentage they and the other Gods and spirits consider them siblings. His sister is associated primarily with ice and cold. They share a lover, Casimir Casimir, who is associated with earth and mountains.
I first encountered Aster when I was very young. Though he and the other spirits making up his triad (Neve and Casimir) can be considered heralds of spiritual awakening other spirits in the Otherfaith make better initiators and teachers.
Presence and Appearance
His energetic presence is warm and burning, as expected from a ‘fire spirit’. He can also cause a thick, soupy feeling to fill an area where he is present. (In one journal entry I described it as ‘like fog’.) His energy is felt strongest around the shoulders and back of those working with him. He feels similarly to the unpleasant feeling of eating something too hot for your palate; the taste may be appealing to someone, but your tongue can’t handle it.
He may be seen as a humanoid form made of fire, usually lacking legs, or as a man with long red hair and blue eyes. He may also appear with a rapier or red mace. In all forms he will wrap his limbs around a practitioner (or another spirit, even) and entangle himself with them. He is one of the few Otherfaith spirits that lacks either tail or wings. He may also be perceived as a red flame or as lips on fire.
Aster has a wide host of associations and symbols that can be drawn upon to call him. One of the strongest is that of the sun, with stylized sun symbols (rather than an orb or the astrological sun symbol) being best. (Neve, his sister, is tied to the moon. They are the closest I have found among the Otherfaith Gods and spirits that work well with those celestial objects.) Pairing the sun with one of his animal associations, either the maned wolf or coyote, will have the best results for stirring up his energy. He is the heat and harsh light of the sun, beloved by some and spurned by others.
Aster is the spark of connection and refers to himself (as best I can interpret) as the ‘mycelium of social interaction’. He can also be associated with a sort of non-alcoholic social lubricant, with the little lies we tell and masks we wear to make society easier to navigate.
He is also strongly associated with electronics, computers, and coding. Insomuch as a spirit can have one, his ‘job’ is concerned with coding and computers. He can represent the fiery aspect of electronics, the actual electricity that powers them, as well as the inspiration required when coding or creating programs. The altars I have set up to him naturally end up near any electronics in the room, whether they are computers or televisions. Aster is, ultimately, the ‘spark of connection’. People with a background in those fields may turn up different experiences with him than I have, with my ignorance on the subjects.
As noted above, he is associated with the maned wolf. He can be associated with any wolf, but maned wolves are certainly preferred for this spirit. Domesticated dogs cannot be associated with him; even in his tamest forms Aster is not ‘domesticated’.
Like his divine father, he is tied to fire. The Laetha is a destructive, cleansing flame. Aster, instead, feels more like a burn. He does not cleanse. He sparks and injures; he inspires and teaches.
Aster is difficult to work with, even at the best of times.
He is charismatic. This ties into his association to ‘social connection’; he is that person who we cannot help but like even as their unpleasant self is revealed to you. And in my work with him he could be incredibly unpleasant. His energy was like a mist that bore down upon my body. This isn’t to say it was bad, but it was certainly powerful.
He will never say directly what he desires or needs. Nor does he lead one directly to revelation or comprehension. Instead, he circles around his needs or his goal and leads one on an elaborate, uncomfortable journey.
In my experience of him, Aster is a master of finding the soft spots within you that will hurt when he presses on them – and then he will press and press on them until you cry out. Anything that comes in between yourself and the reason you summoned him will be interrogated. He’s a wonderful spirit for such harsh work! But that work is also not for everyone, nor is it easy to engage with.
He truly exemplifies his association with the sun: a harsh, unrelenting light.
I worked with Aster for over a month without much interference from other spirits. That’s not what I would encourage anyone else to do. He’s a wonderful spirit, and I learned a lot from him! But without a cooling energy to balance him, he is a lot of fire to handle.
He can be called upon to work through issues relating to social connection/disconnection or when we desire a spark of inspiration related to those problems. Calming his energy by calling upon another spirit with an association opposing his fiery one is recommended. Neve is excellent for this, being his sibling and being associated with ice. Casimir can be called upon to ground Aster’s inspiration in more practical ‘earthy’ concerns.
If one desires to work with Aster, I recommend placing golden bangles, bracelets, or chokers on the altar. These objects will symbolize ‘restrictions’ upon his otherwise overwhelming energy. They will allow one to experience his more positive aspects while dampening the negative.
Ultimately, though, he is not a malevolent spirit. He is, simply, very good at seeing the parts of ourselves we do not want to see and dragging them into the light. He is, after all, associated with the sun.