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The Crystal Cracked :: Age of Resistance

I’m a massive Dark Crystal fan, always have been and always will be. I first saw it when I was three and remember running away from the TV because I was terrified of the opening sequence and the decaying, raptor-like SkekSis. My Dad came after me, sat me on his knee and told me that if I didn’t watch the film all the way through to the end then I’d always be frightened of the SkekSis. So I did, and I wasn’t, which was quite the profound and lasting revelation.

In my twenties, after long nights of clubbing, The Dark Crystal was the film to soothe my head when sleep was an elusive improbability. I still watch it every blue moon and then and it makes me cry even now with its conceptual elegance, the sheer love that went into its hand-crafted, cinematic wizardry and the deeply relevant yet achingly ancient poetry that radiates from its heart.

It’s also no secret that the ‘Great Conjunction’ – as depicted by the UrRu in their sand drawings on the floor of the Mystics Valley – is tattooed on my back. To me it’s a symbol of unification; a cyclical model of time where past and present have always and will always merge in some pre-destined, long ago moment where all events, personal and transpersonal, end and simultaneously begin. The design itself was in fact the very talisman that led me to a certain esoterically minded tattooist in 2012, who would eventually become my husband. A cycle of my own, ended and began that very day.

Tattoo

 

Back in 1982 when The Dark Crystal first came out it was the darker, weirder older sibling of everyone’s favourite fantasy romp Labyrinth, whose popularity was in no small way boosted by a chameleonic, cod-piece wearing Goblin King played by David Bowie. Unlike Labyrinth, which is more playfully eccentric and acts as a mirror-world to our known reality, The Dark Crystal is unapologetically unsettling and at times violent and, most importantly, is purposefully out-of-time. The world of Thra as we now know it, exists in a proto-mythological landscape where humans are not even considered.

At the crescendo of the original film you discover that the two opposing forces; the gentle UrRu (representing ritual magic, ancestral gnosis, a connection to Nature, creativity and tradition) and the greedy, materialistic SkekSis (representing Ego, the harnessing of natural forces for secular purposes, consumerism and the domination / destruction of the environment) originate from the UrSkeks, beings of truth and balance who arrived during an earlier conjunction through a star portal and later, during another conjunction, cracked the crystal of truth in a moment of ignorance – unwittingly catalysing their fall into duality.

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You can see the Dark Crystal’s original mythology here as outlined by J.J.Llewellyn who wrote The World of the Dark Crystal book (released in tandem with the film). Incidentally, the website referenced pre-dates the Netflix’s series by a couple of decades and has been running competitions for writers to come up with a worthy prequel for as long as I can remember. I’m naturally kicking myself that I didn’t have the self-belief to submit my own prequel in my early twenties, but there’s always time.

To me, the ultimate message of the 1982 film / book combo was simple: Shadow needs light, and light needs shadow – they are part of the same creature and create a self-replenishing circuit or, as the UrSkeks so succinctly explain whilst resurrecting the dying heroine Kira; “Hold her to you Jen, for she is part of you, as we are all part of each other”. When we are ‘whole’, i.e. conscious and self-aware, we may know eternal life: if we are like the SkekSis, trying to cheat death or manipulate our way into a false immortality we sap the essence of everything around us and destroy the delicate harmony of Life itself.

To open this up even further, The Great Conjunction is a clear metaphor for spiritual alignment and enlightenment: it is when all knowing and every aspect of ourselves come together, transcending duality and embracing our demons and our highest selves in an impermanent yet everlasting moment in time. The whole wonder of The Dark Crystal is its metaphorical symmetry, the enacting of a quest to Know Oneself, truly, or allow our very essence be drained away and weaponised by a maleficent force.

But about The Age of Resistance

All year friends of mine have been excitedly posting trailers from Netflix’s new Dark Crystal : Age of Resistance series on my Facebook page, and I’ve been staying (as much as I can) purposefully neutral. There’s not been a good run of reboots of my childhood favourites, Conan the Barbarian being the deepest and most painful wound (I tried to watch it, twice, but couldn’t get past Ron Pearlman’s death scene….it was almost as painful as when they made Anne Rice’s Queen of the Damned…and don’t get me started on my fears for The Crow or Big Trouble in Little China…). I did notice quite early on a glaring plot hole in what the trailer’s seemed to be setting up; that the Crystal of Truth (or Heart of Thra as it’s now known) is whole and intact in this prequel and yet the SkekSis exist, independently, from the UrRu.

How have the script writers muddled past this massive incongruity, when it was such an integral part of the film? I wondered, deciding to wait and see if they’d figured something cool out.

Last night it became clear that they have not. In fact they’ve conjured up a story blaming Aughra (originally a bad-ass, cosmically neutral astronomer and the only one willing to openly insult and stand up to the SkekSis) for giving the crystal away in exchange for an giant orrery that allows her to commune with the stars. They even used the phrase “The SkekSis bewitched Aughra” which, if you’ve seen the original film, seems pretty ridiculous because Aughra is the very definition of She-Who-Sees-All. Her name itself comes from the word “augury”, which is defined as “an omen, a sign of what will happen in the future” and so whilst it firstly makes no sense that the SkekSis even existed as an independent entity before the Heart of Thra was cracked / given over to Dark Forces, I find it highly unlikely that Aughra, the Witch, the renegade, the cosmic Witness and Seer, could not foretell the consequences of her actions (or even intuit the toxicity of the SkekSis).

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Intuition also seems to be completely lacking in the Gelfling in the Age of Resistance, as they have been demoted from a culturally rich and self-sufficient civilisation to defenders and supporters of the SkekSis. The Gelfling are obedient castle guards, clapping crowds of mindless sheep or book keepers and even get in an excitable flutter when SkekSis carriages ride past or they are invited to a ball (??). I get that the creators are parodying our relationship to our world leaders / celebrity culture, but anchoring it so firmly in our world-order really spoils things for me and stops the series from moving into a complete and alternative fantasy of its own.

In the original, Jen and Kira always seemed rooted by their intuition and their connectedness to the flora and fauna around them and that made their quest even more magically meaningful to me. Where has that gone? How can they have blinded themselves so enthusiastically against the corruption in front of them? I’m willing to admit that I’m being overly harsh, but my sneaky suspicion is that all this will not play out well, or get anywhere near the cosmic crescendo of the first film. My fears are only amplified by a really clumsy script that turn Rian and Deet’s romance into a stumbling, smaltzy cliché and the SkekSis’s vileness into triteness. “You want to be careful, because big things often run over little things” said a SkekSis to the Gelfing Princess last night.  No shit, really? I think I shouted at the TV, frustrated with having everything spoon fed to me. These kind of points were made much more skilfully and effectively in the film with barely little dialogue, and the cruelness of the SkekSis made plain as we watched them gorge on the creatures previously seen flourishing in the swamplands of Kira’s home. Most of the dialogue felt clunky and repetitive throughout, which was such a shame when the artists, set-designers and puppet makers have clearly gone above and beyond to stay true to the integrity of the original.

None of this even touches upon the complete omission of the UrRu in the first episode, whose lives / journey paralleled every action and movement of the SkekSis in the film (remember when the Emperor and the UrRu Elder both die at exactly the same time right at the very beginning of the story – that was a major clue!) Whilst I’m sure there’ll be some hero’s journey that take the new Gelfing protagonists to meet the UrRu and gain insight or some magical tools, completely omitting them from the offset loses some of the wonderful symmetry that underpins everything in the original narrative.

Everything in The Dark Crystal was designed according to a very specific and complimentary set of mathematical designs (triangles inside circles) and if you read The World of the Dark Crystal conceptual art book you’ll see everything; the sets, the creatures, the artwork, the back drops, the props, everything you can see fits within these geometric principles. That’s why the whole world looks and feels so conceptually whole and to their credit, the Henson / Froud led designers of the Age of Resistance have held true to.

But to leave out the UrRu and this sense of narrative symmetry as it unfolds really loses some of the potency as far as I’m concerned. I can’t help but think that the original Dark Crystal crew, writers and concept designers spear-headed by the amazing (and clearly magically minded) Brian and Wendy Froud were themselves a bunch of eccentric, creative witches and wizards who understood that the most complex and revelatory wisdom is best expressed through subtle and innocuous mediums: children’s fantasy. They certainly instilled a collective masterpiece with a sublimated magical current that elevated The Dark Crystal into something so much more than fairy tale yarn.

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This to me was the whole wonder and beauty of The Dark Crystal, the metaphorical symmetry of darkness and the light, the ultimate quest for each and every one of us to Know Ourselves truthfully, on a deep and fundamental level, guided by our intuition and played out through the SkekSis and UrRu.

I really, really want to like The Age of Resistance (especially now when what we need most is the impetus to rise up against our own very real essence draining overlords!!) but I’m not even sure if the beautiful effects and incredible puppetry will stop me from wincing (or shouting) every time the Gelfling’s say something dumb or the story moves further and further away from its original heart and soul. The film wasn’t faultless, I’m not totally blinded by nostalgia; Jen sounded like Michael Jackson and constantly whinged aaaall the way through, but it felt like a cosmic myth, instead of badly written allegory, and I’m really not sure if The Age of Resistance has skipped over the most essential and relevant point.

 

I guess there’s nothing to do but sit tight until the end and hope all my fears are unfounded.

Fire & Water

This poem was read by Afrodite Zachopolous at Stefanie and Loren’s Equinox Wedding in the Welsh Woodland’s at Cae Mabon. Stefanie wrote it for Loren not long after they met. 

 

Fire & Water 

Stefanie Elrick

 

Fire and Water, they met on the sand

A terrain where the rain and the flame can join hands;

An arena where elements cast off their shape

And dance in the dust whilst the earth’s crust breaks.

 

Fire whispered to Water,

“Will you come watch me blaze?

Warm yourself in these embers to the end of your Days?”

Water gushed,

“Let me quench you, you’ll never run dry;

We will seed this love’s tree with the tears of the sky.

You can cool in my shallows, and bathe in my sea,

Do you think that you’d like to sink into me?”

 

Fire flickered, then crackled, then glowing replied;

“I’ve been seeking a harbor to cling to in tides,

It’s time to retire from the ashes and dust

That crumble beneath in the shifting sands of lust.”

 

“So shall it be,” Said the Rush to the Roar

And they fused in that moment between sky and the shore:

Surrendering in trust, two opposites became one,

Evaporating faster as they rose to meet the sun.

Glass Hearts

Glass Hearts

Stefanie Elrick

 

The woman at the counter cups a tiny heart of glass,

You swap it for the shards you found behind the underpass.

At last, what you’ve been searching for! Caress it with a gaze:

Admire its weight upon your fate as surroundings start to haze.

 

Phasing out of old perception, the ceiling drips down past the walls:

The windows start to peel away and thaw into the doors.

You’re shuddering now, in a brightening place: there’s a light to bleach your Soul.

You put your hand upon your chest; no brooding beat at all.

 

The floor begins to fracture and you struggle to stand still,

Just keep this little glass heart safe despite the overspill.

A heat begins to sear your skin: your eyes no longer see.

You’re just a little speck of might in a white hot fantasy.

 

Cling tight to this little hope, it’s all there’s left to feel;

A centre to the frenzy in a world of unending unreal.

Now hurtling faster all around are heavy chunks of brick,

They’ll crush your little glass heart if you flinch or don’t act quick.

 

Admit, the only way to keep it safe so nothing will collide:

Open wide your meagre, eager throat and let it slip inside.

Breeze

Breeze 

Stefanie Elrick

 

A wind

Blows you in

On the breath of a breeze,

It slips past my hips

Grips the back of my knees.

Each gust

Airy clutched

Wraps my hair in its grasp,

I could swear, you were here

But that thought never lasts).

So….

…….try clasp to these fragments,

These splinters of skin;

Slightly dulled by their substance

Merely memory and whim.

Night fell

Pulled me with it,

We scabbed our knees

And split our chins.

We should have watched where we were going

But our instincts pulled us in.

Whirlpool

Whirlpool

Stefanie Elrick

The world is a whirlpool and it’s tugging at our limbs.

It’s there;

A subtle snare,

Awaiting waifs too tired to swim.

 

All that churning, all the chaos, all the yearning curled within,

It’s the product of our makeup:

It’s the gravity of skin.

The human condition

Is not an unfamiliar disease,

It’s a sound that shudders softly through the ground

And strips the trees.

It’s a greedy, needy appetite,

A garish gorging of the eyes:

For we’ve little use for all this crap,  progression’s just a guise.

 

Surely steady shifting seasons shouldn’t shattered joy or reason,

But as sunlight slides beyond our sights shade hides what we believed in.

 

Try stop you’re grieving, this fear should be fleeting

Paint a daybreak bright on your ceiling.

Then when drizzle has sodden your socks and your soul,

We can huddle like penguins to keep out the cold;

Seasonally affected but sadness deflected,

A shield built to stun away chill and reject it:

Project it to new forms, ingest it in hollowed bones,

It’s our mission in dark days to keep our friends toes warmed.

Sophia :: The Beginning and The End

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From as early as she could remember, Sophia knew the universe was inside her.

Unlike most, she never forgot.

As a girl, she discovered that if she pressed her eyes into the crook of her arm, exerting a controlled but constant pressure, that an optical explosion, or nebulous burst of rainbow sparks, would fill the space behind her eyes. This only lasted a few seconds, and couldn’t be repeated straight away afterwards, because eventually her head began to throb and her eyeballs ached from overstraining. When the pain came, the prickles of light would take on a hammer-dull pulse, then she’d blink or shift her focus, making the whole hypnotic whorl shrink back into black. But the headaches were nothing compared to the wonders she beheld, so the game became to see how long she could bear it, whilst observing the dance of the pin-prick prisms. Like any good scientist, or enthusiastic child, she repeated her experiments diligently, and from here she witnessed the deaths and births of galaxies: a thousand mini-big-bangs inside the deep space of her mind.

As she grew it seemed impossible to fathom a separation between herself and the cosmos.

When womanhood came, Sophia discovered new ways to summon these temporary phenomena by exploring the soft inner sanctums of her body. Alone in the dark, she learnt the language of friction and folds; of heat and sweat and ecstatic breath. Sophia became an expert conjurer of these sensual stellar currents as electricity leapt from her crotch and into her heart, firing lightening around her veins and her entire nervous system. She reasoned this must be the language of the universe, all pressure and motion expressed in synesthetic light. Without a teacher she found herself fluent, and was delighted that these marvels could be willingly and precisely enticed. So she rubbed, and she tugged, and she roughly invoked, until the energy ricocheted up and down her spine, forcing a pillar of brilliance out of the top of her head and from the tip of every pointed toe. The harder she worked, the brighter the colours and more complex their configurations and, once married with sensation, they detonated shockwaves; rippling light-tremors that blew her wide open to the void.

From this vista, she witnessed Eternity, no longer a girl-child but a thrust of purest energy: a bright sphere of matter, self-replenishing, and infused with the splendour of new-born stars.

Now, she didn’t just observe the rainbow clusters, she was their celestial rebirth.

Sophia discovered that with the right kind of friction and flexibility, the right physical gravity and compatibility, that the explosions might be amplified with, or even gifted to her, by others. This was a revelation, and with the zeal of an ardent pioneer she found new physical landscapes to conquer and explore. These, she’d meet in secret, and they’d rub their bodies vigorously together: all ravenous innocence and volatile lust. Afterwards, they’d bask in a glaze of giddy wonderment, amazed and in awe of fusion’s afterglow.

It wasn’t difficult to find others to experiment with, and Sophia was eager to test every variable at her disposal. New subjects flocked to her, all equally inquisitive, and drawn by her innate magnetic pull. These bodies, she bashed and crashed against, and her lovers were many, and frequent, and increasingly insignificant. The more she discovered, the more she craved, and after a time their cumulative gravity took its toll.

Now a woman, Sophia indulged her lust-frenzy freely, demanding ever more intense chemical stimuli as the subjects blurred into one. Now, Sophia was pure hungry body – no longer a careful scientist – addicted entirely to an all-consuming pursuit. The visions weren’t a gift she gave herself anymore, they were her access to oblivion and an itch to be scratched, an impulse she no longer controlled.

The balance shifted. Something was forgotten. Sophia’s core cooled into a tight, hard knot. Inside, a stiff kind of indifference was formed, like a lump of heavy iron. It happened so gradually that Sophia barely even noticed the weight, until a crack, a sudden rupture, caused unprecedented implosions.

Without warning her world turned colourless, all vitality bled dry through some unseen  black hole. Now, her couplings were exhausting, no longer quests for any inner holy light. No matter how hard she pushed, or pulled, or how ardently she worked, the visions wouldn’t be bidden. In desperation she sought more extreme and unfamiliar subjects and found only similar, sprawling voids. Sophia was lost, distraught and directionless – for surely her life’s work had been to exalt the mysteries of her own skin? There were no answers, no formulas for this hollowness. Try as she might she could not reason herself whole.

Time slowed, though all around her, seemed to pick up speed. She was alone. She floundered. Disconnected.

What could she do but let herself drift?

Sophia grieved for this terrible wounding, this gross injustice that had stolen her gift.

And in her compulsive, empty rituals, she moved ever closer to some inevitable yet unknown horizon.

Confusion chewed her,

consumed her and

broke her down,

until all she was, was

aching truth.

The body was no tool,

no vehicle to be thus abused;

it was a

temple;

the universe incarnate,

experiencing itself in

one

swift

blink

of

life.

                                                And if this shrine was a house of visceral divinity,

why seek the Light outside of herself?

Sophia surrendered. She let the abyss swallow her. It sucked her back into its cyclical womb. Here, it digested, re-energised and un-birthed her, until she was nothing but hydrogen and dust.

And in these final shudderings of sentience, as an indiscriminate stellar matter, Sophia beheld the reversed wonder of her body with an awe and a love like never before. The void embraced her, soothed her and dissolved all woes. She was swaddled in an aeon of black. The profusion of this chaos was unending. Her Universe inverted, then began its journey back.

 

ReInState : A Mirror Ritual

I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to get decent footage of live performances and not ended up with a single usable second. So many one-off pieces have been lost in the sands of time and to say it’s been frustrating is an understatement.

Luckily, that wasn’t the case with ReInState : A Mirror Ritual, conceptualised for Trans-States: The Art of Crossing Over. Cavan McLaughlin, the conference’s organiser, had a brilliant team of student videographers all over the event and the quality of their footage was faultless. Another stroke of luck on my part was that Cavan, a gifted video editor with tastes similar to my own, agreed to edit the footage into this little visual taster, making this our debut collaboration and hopefully the first of many.

For any of you who’ve read my short story Prism – it won’t be difficult to see the themes I was working with personally and magically at the time, the excerpt at the beginning of the film is taken directly from Prism. This performance and the short story were developed in tandem as two complimentary, but fractured, parts of a riddle I was trying to solve.

It begins with the birth / resurrection of a cocooned, almost mummified figure, laid at the base of the mirror inside a magic circle. The ‘new born’ awakes, faceless, androgynous and unsteady on its feet and slowly learns to crawl, stand, walk and then dance, feeling its way into its body through instinct, memory and rhythm.

 

Photo Credit :: Marco Visconti

As the being develops it becomes aware of its own reflection in an inversion of Lacan’s Mirror Stage in the psychological development of children. The being never identifies with the Other and begins to crave its attention and love, becoming increasingly frustrated when it finds no human warmth. Soon, the dancer seeks to seduce the Other, beautifying and ‘humanising’ itself and gender to win the reflection’s affection.

It draws on exaggerated facial features, cuts off the gauze fabric that has been a veil between it and manifest reality, and eventually reveals a human face underneath. When the being realises it will never receive the love it craves it becomes frenzied, desperate and manic, and destroys the object of it’s attention by smashing the mirror with a hammer.

The threshold is obliterated.

From the carnage of the broken shards, with a new calmness and sense of self-control, the being creates a third face; a divine visitor or angelic messenger, then steps out of the magic circle and moves into the world. The whole piece lasted just over an hr and had a killer soundtrack featuring bands and musicians that have formed the soundtrack to my life for many years (see below).

I was also invited to perform this again at Instigate Art’s evening of live performance art at Manchester Art Gallery in March the following year, in front of William Etty’s imposing and recently restored masterpiece The Sirens and Ulysses.

Etty, William, The Sirens and Ulysses 1837

I hope you enjoy the video.

Camera: Ceri Greenwell
Postproduction: Cavan McLaughlin
Additional sound design by Thom Powell
Music: Victim To The Charms Of Radio by Pentaphobe

 

 

SOUNDTRACK::

As the Sea Melts the Sun – Tribes of Medusa

Victim to the Charms of Radio – Pentaphobe

Feral Love – Chelsea Wolfe

Death Disco (Remastered) – PiL

Beauty Beats – Beats Antique

Crush No.1 – Garbage

Fodderstompf – PiL

Hell Broke Loose – Tom Waits

Are the Songs My Disease? – Queen Adreena

Counting Bodies Like Sheep – A Perfect Circle

Yesterday’s Hymn – Queen Adreena

Ancestors, The Ancients – Chelsea Wolfe

For Everything a Reason – Carina Round

Book of Angels – Jim White

 

 

‘Onwards’ Poem from Hawkwind’s Warriors of the Edge of Time Tour

Many moons ago, I toured with the legendary space-rock band Hawkwind, it was the best (and weirdest) of times. For just under a decade Laura McGee and I partnered up to create stage shows that brought their gigs to life and gave an extra visual dimension to the music. We worked alongside the lovely John Moules who designed the mind-blogging projections and light show and, of course, a group of visionary musicians who’d been honing their craft for over forty years. We met many amazing people and made lifelong friends across the world, die-hard fans who showed up enthusiastically (and relentlessly) to any and everything Hawk related.

 

In 2009 we toured the ‘Warriors on the Edge of Time’ show and this was the tour we were most proud of. As always, Laura created a set of incredible costumes, masks and headpieces, and we berthed nine new characters who appeared at various points throughout set-list, telling a story loosely based on Michael Moorcock’s Elric sagas (with of course our own little twist.)

The fact that my surname is Elrick, certainly added some momentum to the mystic.

 

In this incarnation The Eternal Champion was, of course, a woman and you can imagine how much fun it was being her wielding the black sword on stages across the world. We played the Enchanter, the Universal Child, the Eternal Champion, the Dark Mother, a Fire Elemental, an evil Wizard, two dancing stars and two tribal space-punks and least of all forgetting, The Golden Void itself. Every performance Laura and I switched characters and the drama evolved, so that we both had equal chances to play the protagonists and the villains and tweaked the story every night we went on. Laura and I had the time of our lives and the love we got back from the Hawkfans was truly mind-blowing.

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So here’s poem I wrote, almost a decade ago, that preceded the stage show and was inspired by mine and McGee’s first conceptual brainstorm. I thought it would be nice to match the words to the final images and celebrate the epic fantasy world we got to live each night onstage.

Special thanks go to Brian Tawn (the Keeper of All Things) and long time Hawkwind chronicler for digging out an old copy of Hawkzine and allowing me to revive this poem.

 

Onwards

 

 

It all started in the Dawning, just a yawning crack of light;

A loosening of the gossamer weaved in fabrics of the night.

A moment hung in timelessness, a child berthed to the void,

Awoken to the Universe by a passing asteroid.

 

Reborn amidst a tethered realm in an act of Cosmic Will,

She tried with all her might to fly, but threads, they held her still.

Until, a weary wanderer (who’d traversed all stars and planes),

Took pity on this speak of might and released her from her chains.

 

The Enchanter saw within this child a spark of something pure;

A flicker of an infinite love he’d cherished once before.

Bewitched and rapt by such a sight, he devised to spy on further,

And watched her dance whilst cloaked in shadow, curious to what she’d discover.

 

Unbeknownst, she spun in space, a whorl of careless energy,

And the laws of attraction soon enticed a second elemental frenzy.

All aflame a creature came and blazed around the girl,

Revealing scenes of scorching scenes and heat engulfing worlds.

 

Now versed in tongue of glowing fire she began to radiate,

She learnt the ways of heat and lust and what could senses sate.

The Enchanter watched in rapt delight and felt her essence quicken,

He vowed to make her a precious prize before her skin could thicken.

 

But such a feat could not be reached without the proper force,

A balance of opposites was surely required for his hunt to stay on course.

So summoning his antithesis, he called a being of equal strength and power,

To assist in a plan that would draw her in, he invoked the ancient Dark Mother.

 

As old twin flames, this woman came, now twisted, harsh and bitter,

Although it split her heart in two she’d do what the Enchanter bid her.

They conjured up a potent spell that could bind the wildest heart,

Yet Dark Mother cursed the carefree child that cracked the past apart.

 

Beyond all choice and need and drive, the stars watched ever on;

Celestial lights in eternal lights they viewed, judged not – just shone.

Infinity was ever theirs to expand and illuminate,

For their cold to our conceptions of want, to our fear, our greed, our hate.

 

 

And now, inside the Mother’s heart, had grown a gaping hole,

Bereft of love this demon stood, not feeling sane or whole.

The Enchanter had drained every waning wisp of hope she still had left,

She cursed his name and vowed to steal some warmth back for herself.

 

With fading strength, Dark Mother shifted, shucking off the skin she’d worn,

And soon appeared rejuvenated, her body and face transformed.

But try as she might she could not distract the Enchanter from his task:

No eyes for her, not fooled by disguise, he was untouched by her transient mask.

 

Absorbed in tomes that twisted minds and immersed in spells of power,

He only dreamed of the One he’d released and desire flared-up every hour.

Now taken all he needed from her, to Dark Mother, he would not gaze,

With this rebuff, she knew the folly of her love, and scattered back into space.

 

The Universal Child had grown strong and wild, a woman herself now no less;

Not to be captured, confined or contained with a freedom most truly blessed.

And the more that the Enchanter watched, the more he couldn’t justify her possession.

For none should be bent by another’s hand or be swallowed inside their obsession.

 

He swelled with pride as he watched her glide through vistas gleaming and shimmering,

For a captured bird is no real prize and there is no losing or winning.

So he let her free to feel and to be, to tend that pure light he’d first seen,

Because selfish love can’t rise above, it is just an illusionary dream.

 

Now with truth exposed, the Enchanter choose to loosen the grip of his charm,

And without that fetter she soared even better, now expanded and fully disarmed.

Ascending much faster beyond heavenly matter the Deities of Destiny smiled,

Pleased with the speed of this creature of their seed: the evolution of the Universal Child.

 

The Enchanter returned to his listless roam, relinquishing all control,

No more attempts to avert his fate, he resigned to align with the whole.

At one with the rhythms that bind all forms, he found a humble and unified perspective.

A change took place, he slackened his pace, and upon Nature’s complexity reflected.

 

With steps now slowed, new wisdom bestowed, he passed through the chamber of fire,

Shedding all skin and planted within him, a new kind of dream to aspire.

Each now in all and every in one, comes a contented disbanding of will:

This story is ancient and always beginning, a tale drifting Onwards still….

 

 

Words by Stefanie Elrick  // Costumes by Laura McGee // Stage Show by Laura McGee & Stefanie Elrick**

 

**There is no official footage of the tour unfortunately but literally hundreds of fan videos on youtube. Dive in!

Seven Sister’s :: Siren Song collaboration with Jodie Cartman of FloorShow

SEVEN SISTERS :: SIREN SONG 
A Collaboration with FloorShow Photography

Languid, laid along the bay
Seven Sisters, made of clay.
Their natural jewels upon on display
Beneath a blazing sun.

Out at sea, there bobbed some ships,
So from the rock they shook their hips
And quickly shifting into shape,
Settled on the sand.

 

 

The sailors spied these milky maids,
Who did care to hide in shade
And brazenly would bare to all,
Beneath that blazing sun.

The mariners could not ignore,
The sights they saw upon the shore,
And quickly pulling out their oars
They rowed toward the sand.

The Sisters smiled in pure delight,
(Their bellies would be full tonight!)
So on they sang, a lusty ditty
Beneath that blazing sun.

 

The men could not believe their luck,
These sweet young fruits, so ripe to pluck,
The honeyed lips of virgins fair,
Waiting on the sand.

But once their feet had tread the shore,
The sisters, milk-white maids no more,
Were tough as stone and rough as rock,
Beneath that blazing sun.

 

They crushed the men in their embraces,
No grief upon their hardened faces,
‘Til each bold man became a grain,
A speck upon the sand.

Those siren-cliffs, they have a hunger,
To shipwreck fools who’d try to plunder,
To squeeze them ‘til they’re nought but dust,
Beneath our blazing sun.

Processed with VSCO with dog2 preset

 

WORDS / MODEL :: Stefanie Elrick

STYLING / PHOTOGRAPHY :: Jodie Cartman​

Prism Published in Apex Magazine’s Zodiac Issued Guest Edited by Sheree Renée Thomas

I’m pretty proud and excited that a piece of short fiction I’ve been working on for quite some time has been published in Apex Magazine‘s Zodiac issue guest edited by Sheree Renée Thomas.

Sheree is the author of Sleeping Under the Tree of Life and her work is spun through with silver threads of magic, transformation and a kind of ‘lost knowing’, memories, dreams and instincts simmering just behind our eyes.

I genuinely couldn’t be happier that she chose to include Prism in the edition as the Gemini entry, and it can’t be denied that greater forces than mere luck were at work to make this happen. Not only was Apex the very first publication I submitted Prism to, but when Sheree got back in touch to ask for some structural tweaking before deciding whether or not it would get published, I discovered one of my favourite authors Cody Goodfellow had just announced his proof-reading services via Fiverr.

I literally had a window of a week to swallow my pride, submit the story for some “ruthless proof-reading” then delve back in and make the necessary changes. Having someone who knows the weird fiction industry inside out like Cody was an invaluable help. His feedback was indeed thorough, insightful and spot on. I think I actually squeaked in delight when he sent me some feedback and said there was “a bright pulsing vein” in my work.

PRISM is essentially a story about finding yourself (aren’t they all though?) and without wanting to give too much away I began writing it on the Hawkwind tour bus one twilight hour many moons ago. I wanted to translate some of the experiences I had whilst performing onstage and push it a step beyond. I feel like the gig scene in Prism is one of the most powerful I written and I’m really really proud of it. The story also started as a kind of homage to Caitlin R. Kiernan, one of my other all-time favourite authors as I wanted to work with an unreliable narrator in an abstract fantasy dreamscape.

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Onstage with Hawkwind during the “Warriors on the Edge of Time” tour

 

Read PRISM for yourself, let me know what you think or listen the audio version which the Apex team have done an amazing job of producing.

And here’s a piece of artwork by the incredible Marta Nael that I obsessed over for a while whilst writing it, I’m sure you can see  why.

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