Tenuma Ami

"What are you on about, 'we are born before we are born'?" I protested with a rising tone and a grouchy face. "When all this starts then?" I demanded, flailing my hand between the both of us.
  "Well," she caught my hand in a gentle way and placed it on her swollen tummy, "we begin our lives dreaming." she said, gave a sly smile, and disappeared in a blink.
Lyxia the Grin Witch
  Tenuma Ami (Xivi for 'one dream'), also known as Lamia Birth, is an event that marks the beginning of a lamia's life. It is the first of several Tenuma trances a lamia experiences in the course of its lifespan, and a crucial stage for a lamia to attain Tenuma Amon.
Species
Lamia
Primary Related Location

Conception, Inception & Birth

I looked around, but she completely vanished from sight. For all the strange phenomena I was witness to in Gallana Amon, Lamia Birth had me utterly confounded.
— Lyxia the Grin Witch
  Since each adult lamia shares both male and female characteristics, the conception of a lamian baby could occur through more than just the exclusive hetero union present in humans. There have been cases of hetero, homo, or even auto reproduction shown with the species. It is only through labor that the mother lamia loses all male attributes and becomes a Xivishi.   Though physical birth is commonly marked and celebrated by humans as their birthday, lamias identify the 'beginning of life' much earlier. When the baby is first conceived, it is little more than a probability for the lamias, perhaps because most of their early pregnancies end in miscarriage. Only during the last period of pregnancy, when the fetus developed enough to dream, is when it enters Tenuma Ami.

Lamia Birth could roughly be described as a transcendence of material boundaries into the metaphysical plain of Lomot. The exact starting point of Tenuma Ami varies between mothers but is always preceded by a premonition of the lamia in question. They receive a telepathic signal from the womb, and the birth itself happens a few days later.   During this time, the baby would phase in and out of physical existence, taking the mother with it to Lomot's plain. It typically lasts around six months, but the passage of time in the dream realm is much less accurate and quite difficult to measure. It is the pivotal window for the mother to get to know her child. After she would teach speech, they would converse between themselves. The mother is expected to do her best to prepare her newborn for the outside world, all the while instructing it on how to maneuver the Tenuma better.  
"So your babies are born twice, is that it?" I questioned the space she resided in a moment ago.   "We are born as many times as we require." her voice stated, echoing throughout the woods. "We do, however, dream only once."
— Lyxia the Grin Witch
  Physical birth doesn't hold nearly as much meaning for the lamias. In their culture, it merely indicates the end of the Tenuma Ami. Nonetheless, they consider it a joyful occasion for the tribe, as they can then see the child outside of the dream realm.   Since the Great Exile of the Witches, some have begun regularly noting them after integrating with human society, living in places where the passage of time has relevance.      

Celebrations

"Yes, but everyone?!"   "Everyone."
— Lyxia the Grin Witch
  Lamias are essentially immortal beings living in a boundless forest with little to no sunlight, depending on the region. For these reasons and more, they don't tend to follow any structured calendar or mark any annual occasions. They find themselves content with the initial celebration of one's Tenuma Ami.   For how rare birth in their culture is, it is celebrated by all members of the tribe for the entire length of the child's dream. Although they don't share the same enthusiasm as humans do for decorations, music, or intoxication, they do claim to have "mad fun in the dream world".   Throughout the ethereal festivities, each adult lamia would greet the child in turn and bestow upon it one piece of wisdom they deem appropriate. Following them, the young ones would also see the child and share a moment of their choosing.      

Tenuma Amon

"For the first six months of our lives, we have to learn how to dream, and what to dream of. Once this ends and we are thrown out into the world, we must strive for the day that we reach the eternal waking dream."
— Lyxia the Grin Witch
  Tenuma Amon refers to the final stage of life for a lamia - a permanent departure from the physical world. It is the ultimate state, in which one reaches the pinnacle of Tenuma and opens the path to the eternal realm of Lomot. There, they would join their friends, the Amonim, and rest in the infinite grace of the goddess.   Their physical body would gradually crystalize until all motor functions shut down and it is completely encased in a luminous substance and abandoned. It is custom for a Tenuma Ami child to have a member of the tribe in this process guide them, in hopes that they elevate the little one further than any other can.  

Naming

"Ami, Amon, Amonim," she chimed, amused, "names that humans have futilely stuck to perfection."   "Everything needs a name." I replied, by now certain she enjoyed contradicting my every assumption.   "Perfection doesn't, for it is a name that reveals the flaws."
— Lyxia the Grin Witch
  For the lamias, names signify their separation from the Tenuma Amon, and so they are - in most cases - unwanted and distanced from. They are given their first name by their mothers when their Tenuma Ami ends and keep them for as long as they are out of Tenuma. Their names are discarded with every recurring Tenuma, and they choose new ones as they exit the dream plain. Their disdain for monikers can be seen by the non-phonetic and often tricky spelling of the ones they give to their children and themselves.   If one achieves Tenuma Amon, they would finally be free from it as they join the Amonim.    

Aberrations

"You make it sound so magnificent." I mused, finally taking in the beauty of it all.   "It can be. It should be. Oh, how I wish it always were."
— Lyxia the Grin Witch
  Lamia Birth is a mighty, supernatural thing, but it is just as fragile and malleable, given the circumstances. It is very much affected by the mother's mental state and could potentially result in horrific incidents. The body of the lamias works to protect and avoid these cases early on, which is why most pregnancies don't carry all the way to the dream stage. The matter is handled with much care by the whole tribe. Still, anomalies do occur - much more frequently since the lamias were introduced to the human race.
Causes of aberrations, to name a few:  
  • unexpected/unwanted pregnancy
  • unstable mental state of the mother
  • impregnation due to sexual assault
  • trauma during pregnancy
  • corruption of the child's Tenuma
  • The effects could be devastating to the mother and the child if the baby fails its Tenuma Ami. When the dream state is affected, all who share the plain with the two might be touched by it. Though, it is the child that is most sensitive to the consequences. In the case of a full-on corruption, it could range from the newborn experiencing 'dream-death' and coming out of the mother in a vegetative state, to the worst-case scenario of killing the mother and becoming a zolbi.      
    I wept, as I never have before. How much pain has been brought upon these magical people by us, how much suffering? All atrocities that we committed against the lamias and my responsibility as a member of my race. I nearly dropped to the floor if it wasn't for her appearing again before me and embracing me with her warmth.   "It's okay to cry, my love," she caressed my hair with a mercy only she could muster. "but don't dwell on it. It will not serve you."   "I will make sure you and your child are safe from the evil hands of humans!" I proclaimed with conviction.   "Don't be so hard on them," she asked kindly, laying a tender kiss on my lips. "There is also infinite kindness to be found with them." she lowered her gaze to her belly. "She is after all, only part lamia."
    — Lyxia the Grin Witch


    Cover image: Pregnant Lamia by PxHere

    Comments

    Author's Notes

    ~ Dedicated to my brother's birthday on the 15th of February ~


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    15 Feb, 2021 18:30

    This is a really interesting concept and article.

    17 Feb, 2021 05:10

    Thank you for reading!


    Let us unite against the enemies of Album!
    15 Mar, 2021 16:34

    Verrryyy detailed article, that's impressive! I do get a general sense of etherium/spirituality from your world by design which I hope fits the meta because it's quite refreshing. The page could do with some cleanup though in terms of design as it's a little confusing as to why some sections are highlighted, others aren't etc. I also really like your names and words for things so great job on that too!

    I'd truly appreciate your constructive criticism on any pages of VISCERIUM. A dark, mixed genre world of infernal incursions across multiple eras.
    15 Mar, 2021 17:47

    Thank you for your insight! There is indeed a meta-theme of spirituality vs. harsh reality prevalent in my world's setting. I believe you will see it with most of the articles in one form or another.   Not entirely sure what you mean by some parts being highlighted (if it's Tenuma Amon, that's cuz it's a link to a section inside the article itself). But yeah, this isn't the 'final form' of this article. Links to future articles will be added, along with some nice imagery to fill the sidebar.   I put time and thought into naming, so I appreciate your feedback! Cheers!


    Let us unite against the enemies of Album!
    15 Mar, 2021 17:58

    Sorry, I should have clarified, I meant that you have quotes, plain text and then text within red borders? I just wasn't sure what was supposed to be the main focus. "If everythings highlighted, nothing is" or however the saying goes haha.   You can clearly see the time and effort you've put in!

    I'd truly appreciate your constructive criticism on any pages of VISCERIUM. A dark, mixed genre world of infernal incursions across multiple eras.