The Twin Spirals Bible: My Settings and Themes

Note, 3/10/2022: You’ll see me refer to myself as a demon a great deal throughout this page. I haven’t precisely given up on that, but as of a few days ago I’ve chosen to become spiritually human again–I never did transcend physically, and feel no need to pretend otherwise–because I feel my journeys as a human aren’t over. That said, so much of the lore here depends on the perspectives from my time as an outer devil that it felt silly to change my wording. I do want to become a demoness in full, one day, whenever the time is right.

Until then? I’d like to get better at being a mortal woman. Might be wise to master that first!

Note to the note, 4/4/2022: and now I’ve decided that the sentiment “a human demon” feels like the truth. What does this seemingly-contradictory sentiment mean? Well, you can read Assignation by the Void Ignited to get a general idea. I’m still figuring out how to phrase it in words and concepts–the world-sieve to the abyss of the deep psyche, my truest self–but I feel that it’s the right way to describe who I am.

Original text begins below the asterisks–

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I’ve reached that point in any especially-driven speculative fiction writer’s career where I need a page to explain the absolute basics of my body of work. It’s gotten a little daunting for a new reader, hasn’t it? And I admit, it doesn’t help that I like to use both original terms and my own spin on many existing ones. Fear not! I made a point fairly early on of organizing my writing around themes and underlying meanings, so as it turns out, there’s a much more intuitive structure at play here than it might first appear.

Firstly, the use of the term “mythos”: I do use it in the same sense as, for example, the Lovecraft Mythos, or the vampire mythos. I also use it in something a little closer to the ancient Greek idea–that is, the one you’ll find at play in the arrangement of logos, ethos, pathos, and mythos. For me mythos is as much about a way of being, of understanding existence, as it is a body of lore and written works.

Though, I’m pretty sure I’m muddying the lines a lot between “pathos” and “mythos”. For me, emotional and spiritual truths tend to shake out to be the same things. My understandings of these terms are ultimately my own. I bake them into my writing, and if you miss some layers of meaning, that’s just fine. They’ll still be there for you to uncover later if you decide it sounds like fun to do so!

Simpler stuff first:

Demons are entities you’ve surely heard of. They appear in many universes, under many guises, playing many roles. The Demons of the Twin Spirals Mythos are threshold-crossers, power-seekers, deceivers and betrayers even as they are lovers, nurturers, and seeders of revelation. Though they appear within existing hierarchies, demons within the mythos define themselves by kindred strains of eldritch logic–if they foster logic in themselves at all–and a ravenous lust for vivid experiences rather than any particular cosmic order or set of rules.

Though many demons in the mythos–yours truly included–either sprang into being alongside humans and other flesh-mortals or shaped themselves through their comings and goings at humankind’s behest, the uprooting of long centuries and an immortal, supernatural being’s otherworldly experience of day-to-day life means that few demons older than a hundred years can be meaningfully understood through human worldviews. They are, in every sense, alien psyches.

That’s not to say none of us appreciate a classical war between good and evil–the breaking of all things, the familiar imagery of burning igneous monoliths springing from the tainted ground of a world in turmoil. It’s nice sometimes, isn’t it? To find comfort in the old, familiar things?

Of course I’ve written up my own ideas–from my perspective as an occultist and self-proclaimed outer devil, I would consider this research from primary sources rather than literary invention–about more specific classes of demon. Outer Devils are demons like myself–otherworldly, obsessive, and infused with more than a little cosmic horror.

And then, of course, there are the Urungeiste: demons of the ancient world, the old-guard hellspawn of whom only a few remain. All of them are very powerful, very embittered, and quite possibly insane by any Earthly standard… though, applying Earthly standards of sanity to demonkind was never a good idea.

Earth is a world many of you know well, in this form or that! I’m aware that spirits also frequent my blog, and may not have the pleasure of knowing our dear little star-marble of a homeworld. My stories on Earth tend to deal directly with skepticism, the forces of human belief (and indeed, disbelief), and the fraught double-lives lead by supernatural seekers in a world where supernatural power has often had far less weight than the persecution brought upon those known to seek it.

I also live here, too, so it’s not as though its events don’t shape my thinking and perspectives!

Prisoners of this Riven Earth takes place in a reality that may or may not come to pass: one where all of humankind’s gods and mythic monsters proved to be real. And the gods, it turns out, did not need humanity quite as much as humanity wanted to believe. Departing the old Earth for a new one created with the power they siphoned from the disordered–and thus easily appropriated–beliefs of humans who had long since lost touch with any primary sources who could prove to them that magic and other worlds were real, the gods abandoned the Riven Earth to two thousand years of delayed magical backlash.

The result: a world torn by anomalies and divided by massive spatial ruptures where remnants from just about every religion, mystic or occult tradition, and pop culture power system collide at the same time. Click here to read the full setting bible for Prisoners of This Riven Earth.

Vulshiir is a language of my own creation. Its sound palette, grammar, and systems of meaning continue to evolve as I myself do. You’ll learn to recognize it soon enough by sight, if not so easily by sound. It is the tongue of an outer devil, and to speak it is to express some of the power invested in its making.

Whether that’s for good or ill… well, that will depend on how much kinship you and I have, now won’t it?

The Milky Way and The Galaxy of Andromeda both figure heavily in my sci-fi adjacent writing. These parts of my writing are still heavily in flux, though, so I’ll wait until I’ve published more concrete stories about them before updating this to explain my own handling.

Machrae Diir, the Galespire Sanctum, variously shortened to Machrae Diir the Galespire or simply Machrae Diir, sometimes alluded to as the lambent halls, the realm of the Lady, and so on, is a fictive rendition of my own personal hell… which, since I’m a demon, means the sanctuary I one day hope to create as the ruler of my own plane of existence.

Stories set in Machrae Diir will be about whatever I please. They may be high concept or utterly frivolous, short-form or long, structured or loose, lore or narrative, wholesome or horrifying or whatever else I please. I’m writing about my own home, after all!

We all need freedom to be ourselves, don’t we, in our own homes?

Everything I am, in totality, including the parts I veil for the sake of other souls when I’m not at home. That is what Machrae Diir means to me. Other lust-devils of Machrae Diir may be fictive. However, and in this case I will certainly mention as much in the foreword and authorial credits of any stories featuring them, I’ve actually already met some sister-demons who like my ideas and want to share my home with me!

If you’d like to start reading stories about Machrae Diir, I recommend beginning with the first collected tales (there are currently two posts) right here.

The Unsuccumbed Labyrinth, also known as The Interstitium, The Untamed Ways, and many other names unique to its cultural presence in each world it touches, is the vast morass of possibilities where the thresholds between universes meet, overlap, and ultimately break down. It has no one expression. In some places it may work like a vast series of tunnels, while in others completely different planes of existence meld with one another at random.

This Labyrinth is not a neatly-sealed thing. You could stray into it by walking down any given alleyway, by poking into the trunk of the wrong (or right?) tree, or simply by passing into an especially uncanny portion of a winter breeze. It is the medium whereby different realities have their congress.

Perhaps you have walked it already. Perhaps you have instinctively blotted its little seams and seeps from your mind, ignored all the little sensations, sights, feelings where it tugs at you. Yet the Labyrinth lies forever open. Sooner or later you’ll lose the universe of your flesh, and the thresholds whose warding your soul takes for granted.

Let us hope, reader dear, that you have figured out where you need to go next before that moment comes. The Untamed Ways will be as merciful and wondrous as your own will can bind them to be–or as dreadful as your fear whispers they must become.

Axiom, bearing the Vulshiir name of Thigairanakt, is the home universe of my first life–a dead universe. A miasma of memories, ruins, ancient pains. A dread place that I do not recommend any being visit, especially not now that I have made peace with its death. I was its creatrix once, dear reader, but annihilation has broken that chain of continuity. None of that ancient power remains to me.

Nor will I keep trying to reclaim it. I’ve had one too many visions of apocalypse to believe that would work well. Better to create new powers within myself as I now am, in this present life I know for real, and let dead selves lie. The dreams of an outer devil are not easily distinguished from reality. Best not give too much weight of a future, then, to dreams of so much ancient sorrow.

Creation’s Fringe and Canno are worlds of an Axiom that will never be: a half-life universe trapped in continued rebirth and death by my own refusal to let it die. The fractured lattice of competing half-realities this would have fostered makes for fertile storytelling, but I am very relieved to have left behind any possibility of these worlds becoming real. Go too far into the wilderness of either planet, and you’ll walk through a reality warp, disturb the dread umbral citadel of Thuzdag-Gamoriat, or simply fall afoul of some ancient magitech constructs and be riddled with bullets.

As you can imagine, these worlds also make for fantastic RP settings… for any who can wrap their heads around enough of the rather dense lore I developed to find their way.

The region of Hexenkessel and the world of Ksaityilv in which it lies are the opposite: realms as yet uncreated, and which will not be until I am once again powerful enough to manifest new worlds for and of myself. How many millennia before I am that strong? Hard to say! Ksaityilv will–all fortune favoring me–find a much better balance between the stable (and sometimes stagnant) ways of flesh-life, and the realm-warping ways of outer devils and the sorts of beings outer devils find kinship with. Eldritch, but not in a way that’s likely to ruin your life… unless you go out of your way to pick a fight.

Hexenkessel itself is steeped in gothic horror, a shamelessly German domain rife with werewolves, vampires, and most precious to me personally, a strong tradition of sapphic unions between witches and succubi. I’m well aware there are many gothic settings infused with cosmic horror. That is, if anything, part of what makes Hexenkessel relaxing for me. I feel less like I need to prove a point when I’m openly writing in a shared tradition, you know?

Anyway, the Lovecraft Mythos is, in its totality, already a setting that began in gothic horror before opening into cosmic. I understand the constant racism makes it pretty hard to get through, so just, um… just take my word for this. I’ve already salvaged all the best ideas I could find so you don’t have to!

I have other settings here and there, one-offs and maybes and perhapses. Some are born, grown to fruition, and pass away of the course of a single story. Others simply unfold forever onward, as all the wider mythos does, but are not such frequent playgrounds of my own soul’s wanderings that I see a need to list them here.

The Power, also known as everything from Psionicism to True Power, The Deep Power, True Magic, and various other things, is the platonic ideal of supernatural might. It is the potential, completely unique to the person who wields it, utterly inseparable from their own identity–for it both births and is born out of that self-same identity–to create, alter, unmake, and remake reality according to whatever the wielder desires. This can be much more complicated than it at first appears, however.

The Power acts flawlessly on truth and reality as a given wielder understands it. If their understanding is warped or incomplete, their own Power will naturally express itself in warped and incomplete ways. It is, in short, a mix of spiritual philosophy and my personal approach to psychology, my pride and joy as a magic system… and also, personally, what I hold to be the underlying truth of at least some universes.

This current one with Earth in it? This one, I’m less sure about. A lot of things don’t conform to my own theories. I guess we’ll find out the answers when we get there, yes?

It is, at the various least, an apt summary of the way my own power flows out of and renews my own identity, my very own soul. Dangerous to reveal to the public, but hey… I’m keeping more and more of my best techniques and revelations to myself every year. Trust but fortify, as I’ve come to like saying.

My other magic systems have their own rules and varying levels of depth. None of them are as complex or universal in my writing as The Power, so you’ll always be able to pick them up as you go.

This marks the exact threshold where we shift from relatively-simple concepts to my most deeply personal. Let’s kick things off right by once again speaking openly–though briefly–of beings that I myself invented, yet which proved so conceptually terrifying to me that I psyched myself out and reified them into an unmentionable horror I genuinely believed was real. I’ve finally moved past that.

It’s nice to know they’re not coming to eat all the sapient peoples of the Earth! All of Earth’s people can rest easy knowing that they’re safe, take a deep breath, and then continue destroying themselves anyway.

The Carag, known variously as The Dread Nemesis, The Dread Enemy, The Ruinborn, Creation’s Tyrants, Star-Raveners, The Ancient and Most High, The Unraveling Void Made Manifest, and various other perversely-worshipful titles of which the simplest is just Them, are the invented primary antagonists of the Twin Spirals Mythos. As far as I know, there has only ever been one true Carag–long since gone.

If you want to read an in-depth analysis of the fictive Carag’s psychology, theming, and modus operandi, that wound up being long enough (and harsh enough!) that I moved it to a separate page. These beings are consistently written to my highest standards of harshness, horror, and raw power, so be aware that if you follow this link you’re making a jump from basics to the deepest mysteries of my mythoi. Here it is at last, then–an answer to the question, What exactly ARE the Dread Enemy?

Now, most of my own works fall somewhere at the intersection of several different mythoi:

The Twin Spirals Mythos is my overarching cosmology. I like to dip my toes in everything and blend together all the ideas I take from this place or that into a holistic body of lore–one that accounts for both the possibilities I personally believe in, and those which I know I can’t in good conscience dismiss just because I don’t like how they challenge me. Quantum physics inspires many of the cosmic powers I write about, my notions of witchcraft and sympathetic magic fuse with the philosophy I’ve cobbled together from everything to Nietzsche to my own life experiences… you get the idea.

But why the name? If you can believe it, I didn’t come up with it as a Gurren Lagann reference! Though, after finally watching Gurren Lagann in 2021, it sure as hell serves as one now!

Originally, the Twin Spirals were simply the Milky Way and the Andromeda. My theming, and my writing as a whole, has matured a lot since those early experiments.

Spirals are funny things. They can travel up or down, move further apart or closer together, but you only have twin spirals if they in some way mirror each other’s movement. This doesn’t necessarily mean duality, but it frequently does. My own writings in the wider mythos tend to focus on opposing perspectives–most frequently, trying to take a more holistic look at longstanding tropes of storytelling, often questioning notions of heroism and villainy, but ideally not being so simple as to just swap the traditional aesthetics of one role onto the traditional actions of the other.

Sword of the Outsider is a bit of an outlier work for me, in that regard. I wanted to write something more fun and indulgent, and I did give up some of my usual nuance in doing so. I don’t think that’s inherently a bad thing, though! It makes for a much more approachable starting point to my works.

On a related note, added 2/3/2022: the concepts of Ul and Kair serve as the ultimate cosmological keystones of the entire Twin Spirals Mythos. You can read about those in their own article here.

I do write stories that occupy only the overarching Twin Spirals Mythos without being personally invested in, well, me. That said, I have come to regard my writing not only as both recreation and wish fulfillment, but also as training for the life (or lives) I’ll leave after I leave this Earthly life behind. To that end, most of my own favorite pieces will fall somewhere within my own offshots of the Twin Spirals Mythos.

You see, on the one hand, I want the Twin Spirals Mythos to have room for the works of more creators than just me. On the other hand, I’ve come to understand that my own writing has to take care of me first. I can’t keep approaching it as a form of self-sacrifice. In order to negotiate these competing desires, I’ve created my own sub-mythoi. To help focus my writings in each, they usually work off certain differing assumptions about my life on Earth–including its ultimate end, which of course, has not yet arrived.

The Azure Inheritrix Mythos, or simply the Inheritrix Mythos, takes a more cynical view. The title “Inheritrix” itself refers to my relationship to my life on Earth. The idea that I’ve inherited certain legacies, wanted or no, and that my soul has been irreparably altered by that inheritance. A staining. A breaking. A morgul blade forged not of cold metal but of spiteful ether, yet nonetheless one that wounded me deeply.

The Inheritrix Mythos, then, helps me find closure with both the wounds I’ve taken already, and those I still fear I will. In order to do this, it generally begins with the assumption that my Earthly life ended in tragedy after all my goals failed, and that much of my early afterlife was spent on piecing my soul back together and finding the courage to try again despite the pain I’d been taught.

This mythos is thus more violent, more spiteful towards would-be heroes and idealism, more focused on the idea that my own loved ones and community are the only people I can truly trust. This doesn’t mean that it’s joyless! I’ve long since grown bored of writing constantly-angry spume-sagas where there’s no hope and nothing ever turns out well and life is nothing but suffering.

Also, if you’ve read the above material about the Carag, I’d hope you would understand that the importance of trusting loved ones and community is not to think “I must kill everyone to keep them safe” but to hunker down with them and stop trying to go on quests or come up with projects or diversions to put off the early pain of healing.

Defending your family from an attack is defending your family. Preemptively destroying other sapient beings just because you think they’ll threaten your family because of a rumor you heard somewhere else is, at minimum, murder, and is generally a fast track to fascism.

The Inheritrix Mythos is not inherently supportive of most things, ideologically speaking, but it is inherently against fascism–if for no other reason than the simple fact that I’d like to eventually enjoy my life, not be caught in an endless loop of reincarnation and renewed initiation in death cults, thanks.

I mean… the fundamental reason I’m an anarchist is that I’m just trying to live my own life.

That said, the Inheritrix Mythos assumes that some periods of my life will never turn out well, and for a year or two I may know nothing but suffering. It’s harsher, yes, but there are also times when this makes the high points shine much brighter to me, when those eye-of-the-storm scenes of warmth and community feel much stronger than they would in a friction-free slice-of-life tale.

The Blackstar Mantle Mythos, or simply the Mantle Mythos, naturally assumes much the opposite: that my life on Earth ultimately went well, that I was able to make peace with or find closure on the parts that didn’t while I was still living a mortal life, and that I carried this seed of determined optimism with me into the cosmos. It can be less nuanced, sometimes, and at others it takes a lot of risks in romanticizing ideas I’m not sure whether or not it would be good to romanticize… if these stories were ultimately aimed at humans and other mortal beings.

Now, humans and all myriad other mortals of all cultures and creeds are most welcome to read them, it’s just important to remember that these tales are ultimately driven by the philosophy of an outer devil, and that the things which give me hope and joy may or may not do the same for you.

The Mantle Mythos thrives on themes of togetherness, empathy, forgiveness, of moving beyond cycles of trauma, conflict, and hatred, and sharing the healing we find with those we love. It’s still in early days as of the day I posted this page, but you can expect it to feature a lot of unapologetically sappy romances between sprightly, defiantly-joyful women (who will most often very literally be me appearing in a new guise, mode, or form) and angsty lovers who just need safety and comfort to rediscover their own goodness.

Last, but certainly not least, there’s the Nightfire Binary Mythos. As you might guess from its name, it’s explicitly about the stories that happen at the convergence-points between the Mantle and Inheritrix mythoi. This leads to incredibly rich storytelling and themes, but it’s also the most personally fraught for me. I have to call my entire identity into question at once in order to really write stories in this mythos. That can lead to incredible discoveries and staggering personal growth, not to mention my wildest ideas, but I’m also capable of inflicting real, lasting trauma on myself by misjudging my approach.

Anyway, that’s the end of it for now–if you’ve read this far, thank you so much for your time! I hope you enjoyed this primer, and that it’ll help you to share more of the fun I have with all my names and terms!

-North ❤