Friday posts are written by Sage of the blog Sage and Starshine. Every week or so they explore a different aspect of the Otherfaith through the letters of the alphabet.
I am ridiculously excited about today’s blog post because basically I get to explain why Epiphany is, hands down, my favorite spirit. I also get to present a lot of my own ideas and headcanon about Epiphany and hopefully inspire my fellow conspirators in mythpoetic reality to appreciate her place in the Otherfaith.
Epiphany was the first spirit to catch my attention in the Otherfaith at some point early in Fall 2014. I’d read about the gods at the time and was interested but not interested and was only vaguely aware of the Otherfaith as something my friend Aine sometimes wrote about. I started reading through this very site again and began reading the mythology, which is alphabetized, which meant one of the very first myths I read was 5169814 to Epiphany. (It’s very short, so go read it!) Already I was predisposed to like Epiphany because she’s a book person, I’m a book person, she was ostracized by her peer group growing up, I was ostracized by my peer group growing up… I found that I could relate to her character and her mythic arc. Furthermore, I found that I wanted to get to know her and this world she belonged to.
Epiphany has presented only as femme in my imagination, though there might be some degree of agender, neutrois, or demigirl aspect to her gender. Part of this may be her previous identity as a Book Keeper. Though Book Keepers are themselves as varied as any other spirits in the West, I suspect that for many of them, things like gender occur as an afterthought to the care and keeping of the Library. I’m unsure of what powers Epiphany kept after her immolation, but as a Book Keeper she would have been able to shapeshift to a degree and play around with her humanoid body. She would also have had an alternate energetic form – think of will-o-wisps, but in stacks of books rather than out on the moors – to traverse the Library more quickly.
Epiphany is very, very much asexual and very, very much femmeromantic. She is a person who isn’t always able to understand and connect with others, and yet when she falls for another spirit she falls very hard. Underneath the confusion and withdrawn, self-defensive attitude she sometimes possesses are very clear notions of who she cares for and what she will do to tend to her chosen family.
I associate Epiphany with the following symbols:
- books (in all forms)
- notebooks and sketchpads
- writing utensils and drawing tablets
- fire, both bonfires and small candles
- dragons and salamanders
- black, red, and gold
- copper, both the color and metal
- charcoal, fossils, and petrified wood
- March 21 (her birthday)
- the equinox, and by extension spring and autumm
I’ve been curating a Pinterest board for Epiphany that may help explain better how I see her.
Relationships with Other Spirits
Epiphany is one of the Clarene’s many lovers, as I believe the myth The Book Hoarder shows. The spirit I identify as Epiphany as “a girl with gold hair and black wings” and an insatiable love for reading. My personal image of her is nebulous at best, but the feeling of this myth – of longing and isolation finally healed through companionship – is at the core of how I understand both Epiphany and the Clarene. Epiphany and the Clarene are nonsexual partners who have a very loving, affection relationship with each other. However, Epiphany’s extreme love and devotion for the Clarene at first blinds her to the Clarene’s bloodier aspects. These aspects are best exemplified in the myth The Bone Box; like the wayward human visitors, Epiphany too is at times blinded by the beauties and wonders of the West and its King and doesn’t think to look down at the visceral horror sometimes required to keep the West functioning and safe.
With the Clarene, Epiphany has a daughter Epiphia. The birth of Epiphia is the subject of an unfinished and unpublished myth I’ve been working on. So far it seems that Epiphia is Epiphany’s only child, and the two have a very strained relationship. Epiphia takes after the Clarene far more than she does Epiphany, especially the aspects of the Clarene that Epiphany finds most frightening and repugnant. Despite this – or perhaps because of it? – Epiphia is one of Epiphany’s retinue.
The group of spirits who collect around Epiphany and help her with her work are her handmaidens (used for all genders) or members of her retinue. She tends to collect spirits who may otherwise not have a home and are also interested – perhaps obsessed to a fault – in understanding how the West works. Possibly included in Epiphany’s retinue are:
- #0751084 – a Book Keeper still in the process of finding her purview
- #0004821 – the Book Keeper of electricity
- Sabia – a human who made their way accidentally into the West, lover of the Laetha, holder of the Ophelia’s lamp of fairy fire (suggested by Aine)
Finally, Epiphany has an antagonistic relationship with the Library as a whole and the leaders of the Book Keepers in particular. She often feels panicked at the idea of being trapped within its walls again and for a long while refused to speak with her former literary brothers and sisters. She was approached several times with to serve on the Decimal Council, the governing body of Book Keepers, and has refuted each request so far. Epiphany’s immolation causes great upset in the order of the Library, with many in the Decimal Council fearing that other Book Keepers in search of their purview will “pull an Epiphany” and leave. However, for a variety of reasons some Book Keepers do reach out to Epiphany and become part of her retinue while still serving their roles in the Library.
Relationship with Humanity
I’ve come to believe that Epiphany can serve as a good tutelary spirit for those new to the Otherfaith. This is because Epiphany, like us, is still learning and exploring the West and trying to reconcile it with her life within the confines of the Library. Like us, she isn’t always sure what to make of this brave new world beyond those heavy oak doors of her old home. She is also curious and desperately kind. The last thing she wants is for anyone to feel isolated, unwanted, or rejected because of who they are. While she may not be the most powerful or knowledgeable spirit in the West, she does seem willing to take new folks under her wing and help them best direct their passions and interests.
The best way to start a relationship with Epiphany to do so through stories and knowledge, and not just the written word. Though she is no longer a Book Keeper, she still adores books in whatever form they might take – physical ink and paper, ereaders, audiobooks, graphic novels, textbooks, unpublished dissertations, half-finished novel outlines on Scrivener… Whatever way you create or consume stories, do that with all your heart. She thrives on information and knowledge and delights in the act of creation. Participating in something like NaNoWriMo seems particularly appropriate. Anything that can add to her own stores of knowledge will be accepted gladly. This also goes for volunteering at your local library, becoming a tutor, or teaching children to read.
Epiphany is also very strongly an advocate for anti-bullying campaigns, having experienced the pain of peer rejection herself. There are many ways you can align yourself to her ideals here. You can learn about the harmfulness of certain words and refrain from using them, such as with the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign against the slur r*tard. You can also support groups like the Trevor Project, which offer crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for LGBTQ+ youth. Learning about social justice issues and applying those principles in your own life is also a good offering for Epiphany’s favor, as it is for most of the gods and spirits in the Otherfaith.
Because of her stance against bullying, Epiphany is also a guardian spirit and takes it upon herself to intervene where necessary. She is a good person to call upon if you feel overwhelmed by the West in general or if another god or spirit is coming on too strong, or even being antagonizing toward you. Her own corner of the West is a haven for all who enter (so long as they don’t disrupt that haven for others) and she does not tolerate abuse, ridicule, or unkindness in her space.