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t h o u g h t s o n t h e A l f a r
post to my LiveJournal, February 2007
This post was in reference to The Alfar: Dancing Light and Singing Dark by Raven Kaldera. Yes, I'm now aware he's, uh, problematic.
"The commoners are the ones that carry out the "jobs" of things. There are winged fey folk (they are quick to tell you they are not pixies) that paint the leaves the autumn colours. In the Duchy of Spring there are industrious creatures that do everything they can to help the flowers grow, and then coax the petals to open."
I couldn't say I was/am in any "Duchy" (er...that word is not "right", although the seasonal association among faery and sidhe has merit), but the overall phrasing of these sentences rings major bells. I don't want to say "I was a nature spirit who made the changes of the seasons" because that isn't really it, but I have in my head some feeling of making certain things happen and caretaking certain changes in some realms of the otherworld.. or something. This may be akin to the "faery" bits that are not the same as the "sidhe" bits. Specifically, I think I recall a couple of "raiments" of faery being that do not really seem to be different people, and so I've wondered if they were just "seasonal plumages" like some birds and animals have.
"The Ljossalfar are extremely touchy about protecting and preserving not only the sanctity of their realm, but their own bloodlines. [...] having fae blood will not necessarily guarantee you a warm welcome into Ljossalfheim unless you know your lineage and can prove you're related to some noble House. [...] Whereas their response may be friendly to lukewarm if you're fae-blooded, you should expect contempt and even hostility if you are a mortal who has Jotun blood, or possibly if you carry any other nonhuman blood than Alfish ..." (-Elizabeth Vongvisith, spirit-worker)
Some time ago, I seem to remember that Raven Kaldera was going to do some special embassy into Alfheim and was requesting letters to take along, if anyone wished to send any. I carefully drafted something requesting knowledge of whether I was one of the "teind-lost", or what, and in general what was the deal with me. All I ever got in response was a kind of "um, what? You're not totally and utterly some other thing, but we have nothing on you in our files, sorry." I wouldn't characterise it as "contempt" but it was certainly cool. I was never thinking of the various breeds of Alfar as being exactly the same as Sidhe, Tuatha, Faery, etc., but I was trying to explore this branch as something that maybe I jusut hadn't thought of. I suppose the response I got at the time plus this reinforcement = um, actually, no, like you didn't know that? thanks for playing. Then again, later description in the article would seem to say that this is the expected reaction to a soul put to such purpose, so who knows.
OTOH: "There is some evidence that Alfar souls incarnate more comfortably in bodies with some Alfar bloodline, which means that the two conditions may be co-morbid, as it were, but that doesn't always happen. Sometimes they have to deal with living in a perfectly ordinary and not very magic-sensitive body, because Hela feels that it would be good for them in some way. This can be excruciatingly painful to an Alfar soul, who perceives this as a kind of blindness or deafness or other permanent disability, and treats it accordingly."
The term I have most often wanted to use to describe my various inabilities has been "disability" - and specifically, in the sense of feeling to be missing a limb or organ that "normal" people have. However, it is not blindness or deafness that I would liken it to (not that I know!), but being paraplegic or quadraplegic. People say "come on, run with us!" and I say um, I can't. Have you noticed I have no legs? "Oh, sure you do! You just haven't tried to use them. Run!" Um... no, really, I CAN'T BECAUSE I AM MISSING THAT LIMB. LOOK. PLEASE, JUST FUCKING REALLY LOOK. I don't know what people with physical ailments that are not yet really recognized by science must feel like, but I think this is probably an approximation: people expect you to do things, or to be able to learn to do things, while assuming you have all the necessary parts (because they do) when you, personally, do not, and they are not aware of and sensitive to that fact. IOW it sucks. Yanno?
"If you are fae-souled, an Alf who's been reincarnated as a human, then your treatment by the Alfar will depend on who you used to be rather than who you are now."
This goes along in general with my idea that I am "small-sidhe" - that is, of the "race", but nobody of any import. Thus it makes sense that I get a bored welcome, at best, if I go there. (assuming I actually am. I don't want to claim that I do.)
"As we will discuss in the Ljossalfheim chapter, one of the most difficult things to remember is that the Alfar live and breathe glamour. To them, it is as important as clothing (or at least recreational clothing) would be to us; walking about with no glamour would be like wearing nothing more than an old T-shirt and a pair of grubby jeans all the time. [...] The Alfar can see through each other's glamour, but they can tell when another Alfar is trying to peek beneath their "face", and it is considered extremely impolite to do so - rather like trying to look under a woman's skirt."
Although, as should be apparent, I don't feel "Alfar", I would say this is just as true of Sidhe, IME. We don't use glamour to be "more beautiful" because we are already perfect and beautiful as we are, but it is often used to be a "costume" of sorts, somewhat similar to how elaborate costumes are admired at a con or costume ball of whatever variety. I've often wondered how this could reconcile with what seemed to me to be the logical assumption, that we could easily see past the glamour of others, but here it's made clear: we just didn't, same as we don't look beneath others' costumes (not without their permission, anyway).
anyway, before I went off on all that (and there is still more, which I am sparing you the agony of reading "oh wow! that's what I think too!"), my point was --
my experience is limited but it seems to mostly jive with what is expressed in the article, much to my relief.