BONE DEATH 1
Sea-Witch is one of a series. People speak of other Sea-Witches & there are ways in which different parts of Sea-Witch are their own separate beings & are referred to as such, but apart from this there is some knowledge of her companions in series, which is held in the Book of Meteor. The Book of Meteor tells us before Sea-Witch was formed there existed Dog-Witch & hir sisters. At this point there was no land & so no word for “sea”, which only exists in contrast with land. “Water” existed & meant “everything-except-air”. Things under the water were referred to as “airless faces”. Dog-Witch & hir sisters are named variously throughout The Book of Meteor as Air-Witch, Water-Witch, Dirt-Witch, & Milk-Witch, Deeps-Witch, Old Seagull-Witch, Strawberry-Witch, Leg-Witch, Candle-Witch, Less-Held-Witch, Moss-Witch, Dead-Jellyfish-Witch, Stone-Witch, Wood-Witch, Glass-Witch, Airless-Face-Witch & her twin God-Witch, Death-Witch & some texts speak of a nineteenth sister whose name is written “ha-ha-ha” or “ah-ah-ah”, pronounced as three brief puffs of air, with or without accompanying glottal stops.
Dog-Witch, of course, initiated the formation of hir sisters & their deaths. Ze gave us meteor (may she lay us waste) & her book. What Sea-Witcheans have learned about Dog-Witch is that ze caused the formation of the nineteen after ze stole lava from an airless face that most Sea-Witcheans refer to as a bear. A thing I have discovered while reading the Book of Meteor & other Sea-Witchean lore is that there have always been bears. Even before land there were bears in the water, though they had longer faces & thick, flat hands & feet like beaver tails. Lava, before it was taken by Dog-Witch, was a piece of ancient bear technology that the bears used to control other airless faces & the water around them. The bears have mourned its loss ever since the theft. Sea-Witcheans who study this history do so to try to find a time before this sort of controlling of other beings existed, so that we might know its source & overthrow the seventy-eight men. It has not yet been discovered, though we have determined this source is deeper than lava.
Dog-Witch has always seemed untouchable in my mind. On one of the long nights in the hardest months, Sea-Witch & I were up late sharing a cigarette & she told me how much she misses hir. I asked what Dog-Witch looked like & she smiled sadly & described to me a sensation I would later come to call bone death. She told me about Dog-Witch’s long, furry ears & hir face like a dry, cavernous world of old stone & gas. She made a series of gestures in the air & drew in the sand. After this she took my head in her lap & stroked my hair & said to me “No one must be alone.”
BONE DEATH 2-4
Like everything, all of Sea-Witch contains her history. Every part of her has bits of what has come before. For example, Sea-Witch’s left leg is the same as that of Dog-Witch. That leg was out of reach to Sea-Witcheans for a great number of years. Sea-Witch has allowed us her body for living in, but there was a time in which she wasn’t sure about the her-ness of that leg, & for that reason alone kept it free of residents. Not for reasons of property, which is a concept that, like many other concepts, can’t hold together within Sea-Witch, but for reasons of body & consent. Dog-Witch, being maybe-dead after the fall of the nineteen, could not consent to her leg being occupied, even while it was a part of Sea-Witch’s person. On the day that Sea-Witch finally set fire to a dead fir tree as a ritual of mourning, she accepted that leg as her own & Sea-Witcheans came to the leg & created in it there as a sanctuary for the oldest & most desperate among us to live & rest on the beaches that could be found there. The skies there are full of stars that are visible at all hours & form constellations of welcome & refuge.
The Book of Meteor tells us Dog-Witch is a sense of purpose. It tells us of how ze came from the sky as fire & evaporated a great deal of water, creating land. It tells us of hir cooling & descent again into the water to struggle against the violent reign of the lava-wielding bears in the world of airless faces. It tells us how ze brought lava to new uses, the foremost of which is formation, including the formation of hir nineteen sisters, who were the first to be formed in lava, as I would later be. The first of hir sisters to be formed was called Deeps-Witch & shortly after came Dirt-Witch & Bread-Witch. Less-Held-Witch stood from the sand next, & pulled with her the twins God-Witch & Airless-Face-Witch. A passage missing from some later translations of the Book tells us Dog-Witch came to these sisters then on the land, hir tail & ears raised, excited to no longer be alone. Ze lay hir chin on them one by one, naming each as hir love, hir sibling, hir comrade & hir companion. The other sisters formed soon after, the order is not fully documented. It is written that angry bears soon came & lined the coast, watching Dog-Witch & hir glorious creation take shape from the ruins of their fallen empire. Bear-parents stroked the shoulders & heads of their furry children saying to them, The time will come when we can build ourselves up again.
BONE DEATH 5
A beautiful space opened up in the earth in which many events took place. A necessary part of formation, besides lava, is noticing. Less-Held-Witch began her noticing here in this space, where she was attending a class on the ghosts who animate fire. It was in this beautiful space where she first noticed the curve of Glass-Witch’s neck as she sat against the wall, ignoring the lecture to draw round sigils on the white spaces of her purple tennis shoes. It was in this space that the Book of Meteor tells us Less-Held-Witch hid herself in the hood of her sweatshirt, looking down at her own shoes (brown, soft) to avoid Glass-Witch’s gaze.
I know from my own formation that noticing has a heaviness to it that follows you. It sits in your chest & shoulders. The object of your noticing becomes transformed entirely in your mind, becomes a thing to worship. You become transformed as well. The wholeness of who you were forms into a halfness of what you could become.
BONE DEATH 6-9
Sometime after her first noticing, the book of Meteor tells us, Glass-Witch & Less-Held-Witch began to spend lunches together, eating. They spoke quietly, of the others in their class. Less-Held-Witch did most of the listening, wholly absorbed in her own noticing. Glass-Witch said to her once, in the context of a conversation, You are the kind of girl who most don’t think to fall for. But those who do, fall deeply.
Long after Less-Held-Witch finished that class she wore purple shoes upon which she drew round sigils in ballpoint pen. She wrote songs to sing to other living creatures. Some of these songs spoke of histories that had never been written down. Others were written to sing to a nameless thing she felt always growing in the dirt that she never found, despite her great noticing.
From what is known of the history, most Sea-Witcheans believe that the nineteen sisters spread from the coast where their forming was initiated, across all land & water. They lived full lives as whole individuals. There was once a television show about these stories, but it has been lost to time. What has been written of this show tells us that this was no great loss.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Never Angeline Nørth is a multi-media artist / designer / writer / scorpio / musician / tattooist / witch living in the pacific northwest. They are the author of the books Careful Mountain (CCM 2016) and Sara or the Existence of Fire (Horse Less Press 2014) and are co-founder of the print-on-demand fashion label Undying Apparel. They create compulsively because you have to have something, right? Their work deals with dogs, the way things break when you bend them, magic, the aesthetics of mess, “””gender”””, the boundaries we erect for ourselves & others, the boundaries others erect for us, erections in general, reality & perception, rats, time as a construct, systems of power & control, our hearts, communication, “””nature”””, anal, & death. They have a BA in English from Indiana University and an MLS in Library & Information Science, also from Indiana University. They have been published widely, in magazines such as Puerto del Sol, Guernica, Denver Quarterly, Gulf Coast, DIAGRAM, and Black Warror Review. They write a regular horoscope column for The Fanzine called “Rats Nest Astrology.” They were a scholarship recipient for Bindercon 2015 and, in late 2013, were the resident poet at The Parlor, an experimental theater space in Chicago, IL, where they curated a series of multimedia performances by local writers titled Someone Has Put Cries of Birds on the Air Like Jewels. They were the co-founder and editor of Love Symbol Press, as well as the literary magazines Skydeer Helpking and Red Lightbulbs. They were the curator of POETRY MADE OF DIAMONDS, a reading series based at Uncharted Books in Chicago. Besides creative work, they currently support themself doing sex work and computer repair. They were born in Evansville, Indiana in 1984 & now live with their wife, their girlfriend & their cat-daughter in an apartment next to a forest in Olympia, Washington.
ABOUT THE MANUSCRIPT
Sea-Witch is a hybrid-genre text that is part transgender memoir, part anticapitalist manifesto, part occult religious text, part fantasy novel, and part contemporary queer mythology. It is the story of a monster named Sara who has taken refuge alongside other monsters living inside the body of a witch-god called Sea-Witch. The monsters who live in Sea-Witch are all part of a cult that prays to a meteor to come destroy everything, thus ending the terrible reign of The 78 Men Who Cause Pain.
The book explores the world of Sea-Witch in fragments that take the shape of poems, prose, short plays and comics, which are accompanied by photos, drawings, nudes and scribbles. Narratives come from many perspectives and jump backward and forward in time. In Sea-Witch there is little steady.