Hymning Fiction

A few years ago, I posted a short story on my writing blog called “Longing for Water” — a slice-of-life study related to some of my polytheistic speculative worldbuilding. One of the things that does interest me is how to mythologize unions between Goddesses in a way that is tasteful and reverential. You see this in Acts of Speech, for example, in the piece called “Mirror” about Mnemosyne and Nyx.

Recently, I revisited that story because I was considering yet again how to write a hymn of union, and the Goddesses in the worldbuilding — Karyika, who rules the sea (a very important Goddess for a binary planet system given how massive the tides are) and Lasåka, who is associated with uplift and continents and who is also called Karus. Lasåka is a name that is highly associated with the planet Laseå, emphasizing partiality; Karus is the Goddess in a general sense. The big difference is that the specific symbolic registers for the Goddess on Laseå would be hard to replicate elsewhere because other planets are not Laseå. I did some brainstorming about what this might look like and ended up here:

I sing of Great Karyika, wave-crowned,
Queen of the Oceans with seaweed-curling hair,
her eyes like the tide, shifting their color
as the sister-world stretches and relaxes her waters,

and of Karus Lasåka, Keeper of the Lands,
Lady of Uplift, the Goddess who stands high,
her body hard as granite, eyes flashing like mica,
commanding the rocks with mindful slowness,

Daughters of Earth, Daughters of the Sun,
Daughters of solar system afterbirth,
of cataclysm and calm, wife and wife kissing
opening each other’s mouths like temple-images
quickening fresh with mystic power, delighting
in the taste of salt and wave and sandstone,

who come together in embrace to form worlds,
cradling all life within depths, upon heights,
their blessed embrace marked by steam and rift,
earthquake and tsunami, the way the land spreads.

They unite in bliss, weathering and wearing,
forging the landscape with divine care,
nursing the children of the world who have come
down from their kindred stars to bloom forth.

Ordinarily, I don’t share that much fiction on KALLISTI, but given how infrequently I update Pangrammatike, it’s probably best to keep that as a spot to park sporadic posts about conlangs and to instead mention fiction projects here, especially since my speculative poetry and fiction are all either explicitly or implicitly religious in nature — so it’s all still mostly on-topic. The novella I’m planning to put out in a few months, for example, is about ghosts, estranged sisters, and the Mountain Goddess who is also actually Kybele.

Some of you may also really enjoy the worldbuilding writing I’m planning for Saämatsra (sa-ha-mat-SRA), especially since le is based on my UPG about Apollon. I think the identification is fairly explicit based on my iconography choices even if the myths and fictional cultus are very different. The Gods will infuse what agalmata are made for them as long as the likeness and vibe are present, and fiction is no exception.

Part of why I write far-future speculative fiction instead of contemporary stuff is to avoid the baggage of now. I have room to breathe in 50,000 years, and nobody is going to come at me about what I do in a mythic landscape that I control because it’s from a fictional setting. Of course, some Gods (like the two in the praise-hymn posted above) are ones that I’ve thought up in the process of story-writing because they make sense in the context. I’m thinking through how to be explicit when I am doing identification because I don’t want to contribute to the pop culture character paganism problem, which is definitely the biggest ethical issue with engaging in compositional escapism out of piety. I can get anxious about almost anything, but that anxiety actually seems sensible.

All of that said, it results in some fun worldbuilding material.

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