Emily Fisher has had a long day. She’s had to confront Sonia, walk into town during a rain storm, get shot at, and meet yet another half-sister. What Emily needs is down time, a chance to recuperate. She’s not going to get it. For earlier events, whether from hours ago or years ago, have consequences that come raining down on her head in “Alex Bancroft’s women,” chapter 16 of Prophecies and Penalties. It’s a long chapter, folks, so be prepared to spend some time reading it.
After so many weeks on this story, it seemed time to redesign the banner. I’d been holding off for so long because no compelling image seemed to be emerging out of the story. Well, you might remember that Emily put pentagrams on things as a teenager as part of her pretense of being evil. Turns out there’s more to the pentagrams than that, as this chapter demonstrates. So I’ve borrowed a pentagram design from the noted occultist Eliphas Levi (real name Alphonse Louis Constant, 1810 – 1875). Despite being long-winded and not as brilliant as he thought he was, Levi’s synthesis of magic has been very influential in the history of the occult. You probably recognize the picture on the right, another one of Levi’s creations. His pentagram design is by no means so sinister. In Transcendental Magic: Its Doctrine and Rituals (1854-56, translated by A. E. Waite in 1896), Levi explains it thus:
The Pentagram signifies the domination of the mind over the elements, and by this sign are enchained the demons of the air, the spirits of fire, the phantoms of the water, and ghosts of earth. Equipped with this sign, and suitably disposed, you may behold the infinite through the medium of that faculty which is like the soul’s eye, and you will be ministered unto by legions of angels and hosts of fiends.
In other words, whether you use this sign for good or evil depends on you. That’s the way magic ought to work, if you ask me.