Jenn Manley Lee

Blog

Wheels within wheels

Here I illustrate the main organizing principals of Dicebox with charts.

These charts sum up the result of my initial work when I returned to working on Dicebox ten years ago this summer. I actually came up with the name Dicebox the day Ella Fitzgerald died on June 15th 1996. Before that, the story of Griffen and Molly existed under a slew of half-hearted names.

The new name spurred me on and I proceeded to begin filling my first source book on what the heck I wanted to do with this story. I began by organizing it around certain events I knew were going to take place and then very quickly came to the idea of four books, already entangled with the four elements, compass points and seasons, though all was very much in flux as to what went where.

That I'd settle on an organizing principal of 4 isn't too surprising as it has the most significant reoccurrence in my life and so is the most compelling to me. Of course one can make just about any number the most significant; one of my favorite parts of Foucault's Pendulum is when Lia calmly explains this to Casaubon.

And though I did a lot of research in finding out the associations of various cultures and belief systems, I was and am most interested in how I, personally, combined these various aspects and why. I even gave in to my lifelong "erroneous" alignment of the tarot suites: aligning wands with air and swords with fire, instead of the vice-versa or "correct" way which just feels wrong to me. I'm okay with this; Rider and Waite are hardly have the first or last word on the tarot and I've seen earlier examples that "support" my way of thinking.*

I'm always pleased when any of my alignments coincide with an existing systems, like the Mayans pairing East with Spring, South with Summer, West with Autumn and North with Winter. Not that any of their other associations sync up with mine.

And what's all this for? Mostly just mental touchstones, something to chew on and launch off of when I need to. I'm not interested in saying "and this is what winter is all about" but seeing what aspects of winter reinforce the mood and flavor of the story of Book 2 (pretty damn well I must say).

The first wheel diagram are the main principals that interest me; I have further associations not listed here: Chlidhood/Adolescence/Adulthood/Maturity, Beggars(Thieves)/Hunters/Soldiers/Pilgrims, Fae/Furies/Gods(Angels)/Ghosts, Dawn/Midday/Twilight/Night and so on. The second is simply the humors, because it amused me, I guess.**

One of the reasons of my earlier post was to find out why I organized the humors around the compass the way I did. Clearly I latched onto the element associations and let all else follow. Which is true for my main wheel as well; I organized the four basic points of sex along with which element I felt it worked best with, not paying attention to wether any particular aspect would be directly aligned with its opposite. But then, I don't really believe in the "opposite sex" so there you go. (And clearly I never bought into the idea on Mother Earth.)

Though I'm mostly interested in the organizing principal of 4, though I always have in mind 5 and 3 as well.

It's easy to get to 5 when one includes self, the center or the inner as well as the four cardinal directions north/south/east/west or front/back/right/left

The 3 planes of existence, hell/earth/heaven, birth/life/death or down/level/up.

This should all explain why the opium poppy is my axis mundi. Or not.

*I'm absolutely not saying that I'm right, they're wrong. Just saying that it doesn't work for me, even after having plenty people explaining to me why it works for them.

**Many posts here will be, "now what the hell did I mean by that?"