This is part of the Pagan Experience prompts. If you are interested in a blogging project, I recommend it!
Every third week the prompt for the Pagan Experience will focus on gods, spirits, and other entities that influence us. I’ve decided to take this time to focus on the many spirits in the Otherfaith. This week will focus on Adilene.
Adilene is the lover of the Clarene, and one of the most well known among them. She is classified as a Greater Spirit (Greater Spirits are semi-divine entities, often the lovers or direct children of the gods). She’s essentially considered the Clarene’s right hand. She’s an incredibly powerful spirit in her own right, possessing almost divine powers, imagery, and status. Her wheelchair is a beautiful rosy white, the wheels intricately carved and decorated, her lap often covered with one of her hundreds of quilts. More than the Laetha or the Dierne, she basks in and emits heavenly light – to the point that the color is leeched out of her surroundings.
She becomes even more powerful through her interactions with the Clarene and Laetha. the Laetha attempts to incorporate Adilene into itself, likely because of the similarities in appearance between Adilene and the original Laetha Arabella. the Clarene steps in and rescues Adilene from being burned completely, and when she awakes from being buried and healed she is crowned as a Greater Spirit.
House: House Hale
Court: Red, previously
Order: None. Was once likely going to be Nix (the Laetha’s), but the Laetha’s actions against her led Adilene to leave the god’s Court and never be initiated.
I did not write down when I first felt or knew of Adilene. She has become such a normal, constant spirit in my practice that it seems she was always there. In a way, I suspect she was – she’s one of the Clarene’s most talked about lovers from how I understand things.
Adilene began as a spirit in the Laetha’s Court. She has the coloring to prove it – pale, almost translucent milk skin, flaming red hair, piercing green eyes. She lived a solitary life, extending her generosity to spirits that visited her home, and eventually drew the eye of the Clarene who tested her by visiting in a disguise. It is during this time that the two fall in love and conceived what will eventually be the spirit Althea Altair. Adilene grows powerful and known enough to catch the eye of the Laetha Firebird, who demands that she join him. the Clarene helps her escape the Firebird’s fires, but not before the spirit within Adilene is pulled away and birthed as an adult.
Current myths surrounding her do not show human origins, but those are always a possibility.
Adilene is known for her gentle, protective aura. She is supremely protective of humans; her main function in the Otherfaith is to protect humans from divine harassment. She is benevolent and kind, but she is not soft in her personality. For all the strength and power she brings, the Four/Four Gods may as well go through her to begin with before courting devotees.
Her generosity is notable even before she becomes powerful, and that persists. She is tied to good hosting and especially tea making. Her home is meant to be a restful place, full of flowers and pleasant scents and comfortable seating. She has a comforting presence.
Any violent side to her is rarely seen. Her confrontations with the gods and spirits usually involve her mere presence canceling bloodshed and violence, her raised hand signaling the end of conflict.
She is sweet-voiced and compassionate, willing to lend a listening ear. Her calm extends to others. She enjoys riddles, however, and challenges of the mind. Interacting with her beyond her usual actions of protection and benevolence can give interesting, but difficult, results.
The main themes of Adilene are that of consent and power. She shows us the intersection and imbalance of those two forces. Power imbalances create lack of true consent to happen – it’s why we have rules against employers and employees entering into relationship, why we have sexual harassment laws, etc. We know, culturally, that power makes our ability to consent negligible or nonexistent.
Adilene didn’t have much of a choice when it came to the Firebird’s decision to eat her. He was going to devour her, and she could have said no until the end but he still would have eaten her. She is rescued by another god (I should note that in our stories, spirits are not always rescued – sometimes they are the ones doing their own rescuing, in their myriad ways). But she is changed by what has happened. This is the catalyst to her protective nature. The Firebird’s flames, rather than eating her up, ignite her soul so she can confront the god. With the help of the Clarene, she takes what he would have done and turns it on his head. She becomes the ‘bane of the Laetha’.
Unlike her granddaughter, however, she doesn’t punish the Laetha. Her hostility is directed at the Firebird, but she maintains generous relationship with the majority of the Laethas and their children. She doesn’t enjoy bloodsport when it comes to the god. She wants to protect and shield and show mercy, another of her themes. Like the Laethelia, she shows kindness and compassion. She doesn’t want justice or revenge.
She wants peace. She is burned during the time when the West is in great turmoil and trauma. She has seen the West at war and she has seen it at peace, and she knows which she prefers. She is the one who rescues refugees – she is refuge. She is sanctuary. This extends beyond her associations as a protector of humans from divinities. She is a force that works for peace and safety. She may know it is a futile task, but she will not stop nor become downtrodden.
That isn’t to say that Adilene is against fighting oppression. But she is the healing space from the rebellion. Her role is not to wage the war but to still the hand of the oppressor, to wound the oppressed, and build the better, more equal world we dream of.
What does having a spirit such as this in our religion mean? What does she teach us, and how do we live in right relationship with her outside devotional activities?
The ethical teachings we are offered are, simply:
But we have to beware approaching these on just their face.
We haven’t had many discussions of benevolence in the context of the faith. Frankly, most of our spirits don’t deal with this. We are far more likely to see utilitarian or situationally-based spirits. But Adilene is benevolent. Not omnibenevolent, and certainly no omnipotent. She makes a choice to act benevolently. At times she does fail – with some of the Laethas, her claws come out. But she always attempts to return to that space. Benevolence, goodness, kindness, compassion. All of these are what Adilene encourages us to embody.
We must be strong while being kind. This is where her ethics of hospitality come in.
When the Clarene enters her home, cloaked as the god is, she rejects the offers of food Adilene makes. And Adilene does not continue to offer her better and better but shows her the door. In the Otherfaith hospitality has limits, most of which only an individual can decide. I cannot tell you where your boundaries are. I can only tell you where mine are. Adilene’s story is less illuminating that we give people a certain number of chances but that we must uphold our boundaries. Adilene didn’t want to deal with a guest that rejected her generosity. We, likewise, should be able to keep our own boundaries. Establishing and maintaining boundaries can be a hard, painful process. It is one full of pitfalls. But in the faith, we must do this. Our integrity and selfhood rely on it.
- Flower arranging
- The Pleiades
- Cherry blossoms
- Cherry trees
- Fresh soil
- Lotus flowers (pink)
- White bark trees
- White trees on fire
- Bane of the Laetha
- Burned One
- Lover of Clarene
- Peaceful One
- White Lotus
- Abel Blake
- Aeron Blake
- Althea Altair
- Alynah Blake
- White Mare
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.