the day you first set eyes on the sea was the day you were born,
walking out from that space where River met Ocean,
and you knew, always, that the sea would be a love like you would never knew again.
Even before her, it was the sea that were always chasing.
Over at Between Ocean and Hills, Jenn wrote a poem about Dahlia and Corliss. You can read it here, and please do! It is a beautiful poem that captures Dahlia’s spirit very well. I could picture her perfectly as I read it.
Dahlia is a spirit born of the Ophelia and the ocean. the Ophelia, wandering as she sometimes does, drips her river behind her, and when her waters brush sea foam, Dahlia bursts forth. She is mentored by the Ophelene and Laethelia, both sea gods in their own fashion. She is made of foam and sand and salt.
I see her most as a dark-skinned woman in practical sea-faring clothes, always ready with an easy smile. She is, even with her lovers and family, a solitary spirit in my eyes. She has not shown revelries. She appears alone on the waves. She is windblown; she is joyful.
Dahlia, through the sea, is tied to the worlds beyond the West. The Island of Women and the Far Harbor, worlds unexplored by the Clarene, lands that are unnamed in the Otherfaith – Dahlia knows them. She travels on sea and sun. She is never trapped down.
But Jenn’s poem captures some of the stillness in Dahlia, stillness from the death of Corliss.
Dahlia and Corliss are both spirits the Other People can worship and reach out to, even with Corliss’ death. Her death is metaphoric, killing the previous relationship between the two women. Their Romance (a term the Other People use for intense mythic love between women*) isn’t erased but changed. Corliss, as the poem illustrates, becomes the sea. The love is transformed.
Where Dahlia is a joyful spirit, seen as leading the People to adventure, Corliss is a challenger spirit. Her Romance with Dahlia places her as a Younger Spirit, whom in the Otherfaith are often those spirits who confront the biases and assumptions of humans (and the other spirits around them). My own interactions with her, outside of writing her story, were incredibly unpleasant. This isn’t to say that she isn’t deserving of reverence. She is simply a deep-sea spirit, one excellent at stirring up what is in our own depths.
I invite people to share their own impressions and ideas about these (and other!) spirits. One does not have to have ‘direct interaction’ with spirits to form ideas about them, I should note. Learning more of how other people feel about the spirits will help us understand them better and help us build a better base of knowledge from other people (and the Other People) to draw on. So, I want to say thank you to Jenn for sharing her poetry.
*Women means any spirit that identifies as a woman or did so at the time of the Romance, or really any spirit that declares themselves such regardless of how they are in other parts of the myths or with other spirits.
Thank you for reading. ‘of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist religion. You can find more about us here and here. You can contact us here if you have any questions or would like to get involved.