The Angels Diagram attempts to get at the central gesture of the material universe – specifically, falling apart.
We begin with a whole entity. This entity is then destroyed, leaving both a remainder and a new product (or two new products, or two remainders; all this is a matter of perspective). This happens to more or less everything that can be fairly described as ‘material’, including us. It’s a cycle that we can reliably view as Real – and it’s a mortal enemy of Insideism, which means it’s our friend.
This process is more commonly thought of as just “change”, but for our purposes it’s more specifically helpful to view it as breakdown – or at least break-apart – because that better characterises what’s going to happen to both our world and our universe, given enough time. It’s the central gesture of the material universe because it’s the one rule that is absolutely insisted upon by the very state of being to begin with. So why not place it at the centre of a myth system? Why not make it an object of worship?
The difficulty, of course, is the perspective issue. Destruction is also creation. And when you break something into different smaller parts, you also increase the uniformity between those parts – more and more, until you are left with barely distinguishable crumbs, and then atoms. What I’m saying is, a one-dimensional deity simply isn’t going to cut it here. This is where The Four come in.
We speak of the Four as separate entities, but they are in fact all bound together in the one lattice; different faces of the one being, contingent on your viewing angle. A quick primer on who and what they are, before we get to the prayers:
- Umylxlymu – the angel of destruction, represented in the Angels Diagram using the earthbound halves (the remainders) of the broken squares. This is not simply an angel of wanting to smash things. This is an angel of insisting that all things will be smashed. Perhaps not even that – perhaps merely the smug, unspoken knowledge of that fact, and indeed the relief of knowing that nothing is permanent. Umylxlymu revels in endings and wreckages; the fire and debris, the violent shattering of illusion. Umylxlymu holds the hand of the dying and counts the seconds until the fall of the regime. The closest equivalent in the Fourfold System to a god of death, and the simplest of the Four.
- Fl’Nurgath – the angel of creation, represented in the Angels Diagram using the floating halves (the new products) of the broken squares. Naturally shares geometry with Umylxlymu, but is more interested in the uses and value of what’s left over after the city has been razed to the ground – or at least the aesthetic thrill of the corpse – and indeed what might be born in its place. This gives Fl’Nurgath a rare touch of the immaterial, because the phenomenon of the New always brings with it imaginative possibilities and hypothetical potential. Among other things, Fl’Nurgath gives their blessing to art, storytelling, and transitions.
- Glrreag’gh – the angel of entropy, represented in the Angels Diagram by the double diagonal lines that slice through the squares. A bit like Umylxlymu’s more Marxist cousin, Glrreag’gh prefers to be interpreted as a force of liberation from chains, even if what’s being liberated is molecules from their ordered host structure. Where Fl’Nurgath and Umylxlymu represent outcomes, Glrreag’gh and Ashkzt represent movements, hence occupying a different area of the diagram. Orders, arrangements, hierarchies, mechanisms; all are snubbed by Glrreag’gh, whose touch can reduce them to the arbitrary scribbles and ravings we secretly know them to be. Glrreag’gh rescues us from runaway systems, including our own beliefs.
- Ashkzt – Perhaps the least effable of the Four, Ashkzt might be best described as the angel of convergence or unification. A partner to Glrreag’gh in the same way Fl’Nurgath is to Umylxlymu – where Glrreag’gh represents the motion of all things towards a state of disorder, Askhzt represents the view from which this motion in fact brings all things closer to equality; the aligning of remainder and product. This is represented in the Angels Diagram by a diagonal line linking the earthbound half of the square to the floating half, and then shorter parallel lines at either end (important, so as not to suggest a direct connection but a similarity). In the same manner as all matter in the universe breaking down into nameless chaos, all power structures, wealth, races and classes will ultimately erode, crumbling down to our own level – small, equal individuals – whether that be in our graves, or in a workers’ council. Ashkzt is perhaps the most invested of the Four in the idea of justice, both interpersonal and existential.
Prayers, Oaths, Blessings and Curses
(Alter pronouns as appropriate. The names of The Four are pronounced however you want.)
Good luck prayer: Wide-winged Glrreag’gh – scatter the structures that bind my life. Let the causes and effects fall without care. Bountiful Fl’Nurgath – lend me the inspiration to read good fortune in their pattern, and find luck even in failure.
New child blessing: For you who are created. For that which you create. Fl’Nurgath bless your dreaming. May all you build be great.
Healing prayer: In Glrreag’gh’s name, may we be liberated from all malignant structures. In Ashkzt’s name, may imbalances be smoothed and the body re-unified.
Blessing a relationship: Ashkzt unite us, un-atomise us, let us converge into one form. In convergence, hidden Fl’Nurgath, reveal to us the new harmonies and dissonances of oneness.
For the destruction of one’s enemies: With my faith I summon Umylxlymu and Glrreag’gh in all their incandescent fury; I watch them carve their predetermined design on the timelines of those who have wronged me; may a phantom of myself in this moment spectate their undoing and send to me all of its mirth.
For artistic inspiration: Cunning Fl’Nurgath! Find that within me which I must give form. Precise Umylxlymu! Identify that part of me which must first be torn down.
For the cessation of injustice: Ashkzt the Just, Ashkzt the Flattener. Balance the cosmic scales, and flatten the power differential.
For the undoing of an establishment: Dance of the Four! The truth that’s fourfold. Assert yourselves as one. Unwind this diseased time – break, build, broaden, balance – ’til your dance be done!
For protection from harm: All of my being to you, Umylxlymu – that today, you might only destroy me in the painless ways.
For a new chapter or great change in one’s life: Fl’Nurgath, with my thanks for creating me anew, guide me softly so I might keep creating the me I am meant to become.
Oath to Umylxlymu: I renounce my permanence. I go with Umylxlymu.
Oath to Fl’Nurgath: All creation, all imagination, all is right under Fl’Nurgath.
Oath to Glrreag’gh: I give my meaning to the dust, and all my principles to Glrreag’gh.
Oath to Ashkzt: By the grace of Ashkzt, my atoms are free, and each one is as me.
Create your own!
The values espoused by the Four are crucial to all Outsideism, though the specific manifestations of them worshipped may differ from one practitioner to another. They have grim consequences for Insideists, foretelling the disintegration of all they hold dear both within and beyond their own minds. Respecting and coming to terms with the multi-facetedness of change – its pain, its joy, even its ambivalence – is a step on the way to being at peace with this morbid existence, and confronting inconvenient realities head-on.
Be sure to maintain a productive relationship with your personal cosmology.