Mind-Shadowed Lotus

The world is a beautiful place and I am no longer afraid to die.
  First plucked from the dreaming fields in the Beyond, the Mind-Shadowed Lotus is a flower that offers a gateway into the human mind. No mere illusion, those who walk the path of the Lotus are transported, flesh and blood, into a world of thoughts and memories. There, mortals journey through corridors of their own pain and emerge healed - or not at all.  

Description

Every time the wheel turns round, it's bound to cover just a little more ground.
  A Lotus in bloom is a large, short flower with long tapered petals - black as the night sky and glittering with stars, centered around the swirling vortex at the heart of the flower. Those who gaze into the galaxy within are struck with a sense of peace and nostalgia, and its scent brings out buried memories. Many report the smell of their mother's perfume, a childhood toy, or other relics of their past. Even when in the same room, no two people will know the same scent.   When burned, the petals shine within the flames, and the smoke is a sweet-smelling shimmering haze.  

Path of the Lotus

The road will be mastered by those who walk it.
  Using the Mind-Shadowed Lotus is known as walking the Path of the Lotus, an intimate journey of healing and danger. No two paths trace the same steps,  

The First Step

She who marches out of line hears another drum.
  Using the Mind-Shadowed Lotus requires only a quiet, dark room and fire. The user sets the Lotus on fire and watches as it burns. When the last embers fade and darkness descends, the world turns inside out and is remade by the user's mind. They disappear from the world, beyond any efforts of scrying or tracking. For all intents and purposes, they vanish from the face of the earth. To the user, it happens in the span of a heartbeat.  
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by Rock Cafe.info
  The world they find themselves in is both familiar and unknown, forged from thoughts and memories of not only the user but the collective consciousness of mankind. Almost everyone find themselves at the foot of some place familiar before the terrain twists towards more distant recollections - the path hiked as child ending at the empty university campus. Further than that, these echoes fade and the world becomes a puzzle of places from across the span of time.  
Glimpsed between the familiar are structures... Alien. Neither living being nor inert material, these structures resemble nothing found on earth.
  This new reality is as firm as the one they left behind, with all the dangers of mortality still present. Here, they meet the god of the Mind.    

The Second Step

The God of the Mind is a faceless, multi-armed entity who appears to rule the world within the mind. Those who have met it can only guess the extent of its power - the godling has never raised a hand in anger or displayed its might. Instead, the god is a guide through the Path of the Lotus, leading the wanderer through their own memories and pain with every step through the world within. Glimpses of familiar faces flash across the godlings blank mask, and it is armed with a formidable way of working through old trauma or fresh scars alike.  
But not everyone emerge again. Some are never heard from again - with the Inward Path claiming they've found the way forward, while others fearing less sanguine fates.
  The godling is even reported to be able to heal injuries of the mind inflicted by magic, possession, or other, less mundane maladies. One walker claims to have had demons cast out of their mind with a gesture, before "the real work can begin". Whatever it was they first came to the Lotus for, it is rarely the only thing they find.  

The Third Step

It is only when the Godling decides that the user will leave the world created within their mind. When their journey is at an end, the god of the Mind sends them back to reality - the end of the path. Where they end up appears to be entirely at the whim of the Godling, who claims to send them to 'where they need to be'; usually places of great significance, catharsis, or danger. It is the final step for the walker to take along, with some finding themselves facing demons of their past with new tools, to at least one witch who was deposited directly into an active gunfight.   Few are thankful of the way their journey ends, but it is rare to find a Walker who has not emerged better than when they went in.  
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by Dive Store Exile
 

Cultivation

Every idea is a seed, waiting to sprout.
  Though it was once only gathered through a perilous journey into the Beyond, the art of cultivating the Mind-Shadowed Lotus has been mastered by a rare few. First pioneered by Tsu the Tea-Witch and perfected within her perfumed parlour, Mind-Shadowed Lotus are now grown in select locales around the world and sold for exorbitant prices - usually favors or magic equally rare.  
There are no more than perhaps a dozen known magi around the world who maintain Lotus gardens, and a handful more kept in secret. New seeds are found only in the ashes of a burnt Lotus, meaning supply is relatively fixed without braving the Beyond for new flowers.   The most extensive operation is maintained by acolytes of the Inward Path, whose sprawling Garden of Dreams combine aspects of temple, greenhouse, and opium drug den.
  The Lotus requires neither soil or water, but feeds of the dreams of mortals under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs. Gardens become hazy, dreamlike dens where supplicants lounge in a narcotic slumber to empower the flower. Within The Shadow, such places must be tended carefully, least the dreamers die or their wandering minds attract predators from the Beyond. For this reason, most gardens are usually kept within the Prime, despite the added time and difficulty of cultivating it.   Even within the Shadow, it can take years for a Lotus to bloom. In the Prime, it can take a decade.  

In the Shadows

Healing is never easy. If it was, we'd all be whole by now.  
— Tsu the Tea-Witch
  Opinions differ greatly in the Shadow on the truth behind the Lotus. Magi can't reach consensus at the best of times, and with more mysteries than answers, everyone has their own theory about the Lotus or its resident godling. Many of the same vagueries that play out in the mortal world regarding mental health do so again within the magical community, but with stakes where people fling fireballs at each other.  
More practical Magi see the Lotus as a tool like any other. Mortal acolytes who show promise can have awareness thrust on them with a journey through their own mind guided by a devil - creating another pawn for an inhuman puppet-master, according to others still.   Most leave it well alone; the rarity and price of the Lotus do more to keep them in the shadows than anything.
  Factions like the Inward Path view the Lotus almost as sacrament, as a divine experience that brings them closer to unlocking the truth to reality. Many groups have no stated opinion, but allow it fall on individuals, as it so often does. Walkers are the most likely to come into contact with the Lotus and the most likely to need them - journeys into the Beyond are rarely without price.  

History

The problem is not to find the answer, but to face the answer.
  Use of the Lotus stretch back as far as there has been magic. Before the secrets of its cultivations were unlocked, witches and warlocks had to brave the Beyond to find them, often within the courts of fae or the garden of demons. Such dangers made the flower associated with mortal peril and dark pacts, something shunned by righteous folk for the price of acquiring them. Even so, its promise of healing or transcendence always lured some to brave whatever path required to find one.  
Only a century ago, Tsu the Tea-Witch emerged from deep within the Beyond to create the first Lotus garden. Though she has never shared how she came across such knowledge, theories are abound, with some whispering that it was hers at the end of her own path of the Lotus.   Whatever the truth, Tsu has since shared it with a few trusted associates, and from there it slowly spread among denizens of the Shadow.
  Not all are pleased with the recent developments, with arguments that range from purity of wild or the journey to find one being integral to experience. Those who cultivate the Lotus see such arguments as coming from a position of the privileged, or don't care so long as the profit remains. Others hope the flower might hold the key to enlightening the masses of mankind to the greater truth... Something that makes both them and the flower a danger to any Spook who hears of it.
 

Keys to the Mind

Some believe that the Lotus are nothing more than very specialized Keys, opening a Gate to some obscure and shifting part of the Beyond. Certainly, the Beyond is infinite enough to contain everything man could ever dream of. Though Keys are usually much more narrow in their use, proponents of this theory think it more likely than an entirely new plane of existence.  
Keys
Item | Apr 10, 2021

Every Gate has a Key - the two parts of travel between worlds.

 
Even more radical theories state that this link between the mind and the Beyond allows magic to flourish within the human soul... But that's just speculation.
 
Gates
Building / Landmark | Dec 6, 2020

Gates are pathways between worlds, hidden in plain sight.

 
138fe3d77445b1fe107897bfba297795.jpg
by Jorge Lopez
 

God Or Devil

To those who have walked the Path of the Lotus, there is no greater mystery than the identity of its ruler. The God of the Mind is powerful and ancient, that much is certain, but who - or even what - it is has eluded warlocks. Though it appears benign, some believe the creature to be a Demon, though no attempt to summon or bind the godling is known to have succeeded.  
Lotus seeds resemble small crystals that blow and fracture as the flower grows. The remnants of the crystal anchor the flower in place, replacing the need for roots.
 

Group Trip

It is possible to visit the same world made by the Lotus through powerful magic. The God of the Mind accepts groups as readily as it does individuals, though the dynamics change. In such cases, one person acts as the primary mind, the anchor for the others to cling to. A single Lotus is enough to transport a small group.  
Not recommended for marriage counseling.
— Tsu the Tea-Witch
   

The Inward Path

The Inward Path is a collection of mystics and magicians who believe that to find answers, real answers, humanity should not look to the stars but into the depths of their own minds. They claim another dimension exists within the power of human imagination and thought, created by the vast psychic potential of humanity's collective consciousness. To them, the Lotus isn't just a tool of therapy or enlightenment, but proof.   To others, well, you see what you want to see.  
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by Dive Store Exile
 

The Armor of Disassociation

Some relics react to the magic of the Lotus, but none as strongly as the Armor of Disassociation. No one really knows, but it's believed that the stress triggered by the Lotus's journey causes the Armor to react, spawning a whole other mind that spawns another world in turn. It becomes a fractal circle of creation and destruction, to ever more narrow strands of consciousness.   But with so many things regarding the Lotus, no one is really sure. No one who has walked the Path with the Armor on has ever emerged to confirm it.  
Armor of Disassociation
Item | Mar 10, 2021

A suit of armor that changes its host to face anything.

 

Lessons Learned

Accelerated experiential dynamic psychotherapy, or AEDP, is a relatively new form of therapy that is believed to have emerged from use of the Lotus.   An unknown Walker went into the world of their mind twice - first time to heal, the second time to take notes. These were disseminated out to the Mundane world after fact, and began to take root as a new form of therapy. It might not be a magic cure, but it is a hell of a lot more common than the Lotus.  
138fe3d77445b1fe107897bfba297795.jpg
by Jorge Lopez
Are you dreaming?


Cover image: by Nicolas Fernando Mendoza

Comments

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10 Apr, 2021 21:43

'Tsu the Tea-Witch' - okay, I need an article on the Tea-Witch! :D   This is such a cool concept for a plant. I love the idea of the Path of the Lotus, and people ending up 'where they need to be.' The description of the flower is absolutely beautiful too. :)

14 Apr, 2021 10:21

It will happen! She sounds fun :D   Thank you <3

10 Apr, 2021 21:45

This is every bit as amazing as I assumed it'd be, and I am soooo so happy to see you write this full article on such a wonderful idea, Q <3   I love the depth you go into on the journey into the mind, and am FASCINATED with who the God of the Mind is! I think my favourite part, other than the really cool tough-love healing aspect of the journey into the mind, is the way the plants are cultivated. Growing them in hazy drug-dens where they feed off of hallucinogenic dreams is a top tier idea.   Happy to see this, and great stuff Q <3 :)


Cathedris, the world of God-husks and New Magic, welcomes you.
14 Apr, 2021 10:32

Aw, you are too kind <3 :D   Soil and fertilizer is so 2020, in 2021 we need something new and weird! :D   The godling was a fun thing to kinda thing about - 'why is there a god inside my mind?' sort of thing :D

10 Apr, 2021 21:52

Man that Tea-Witch is cool!!! I absolutely love this plant, the prose is lovely and you wrap it up in such a lovely aura of mystery.

Author of Interarcanum.
14 Apr, 2021 10:34

Awh, thanks :D   The tea-witch is definitely getting her own article now! :D

10 Apr, 2021 21:52

I love the styling of the article, the images, and the way everything is built up and flows. And so many creepy details as well...

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
10 Apr, 2021 22:07

This article is just really something else, well done! It was so easy to read with the layout and all of the new information matching perfectly with the background information in the sidebar. Those quotes added througout were really nice!   The mystery regarding this plant is very cool especially how it needs to be cultivated with dreams. The god of mind was such a nice addition as well, seems very creepy though :p With the ending I am now questioning if I am in a dreamworld, nice xp   'Not recommended for marriage counseling. — Tsu the Tea-Witch' Allright you win the quote game thus far I think xp   Very small remark for this sentence 'It is only when the Godling decides that the user will leave the world created within their mind.' It seems a bit weird I would rather say 'Only the Godling decides when' . But that is perhaps just personal opinion :)   In all very nice article! Love it!

Feel free to check out My Ship entry if you want to see what I am up to!
16 Apr, 2021 13:10

Aw, thank you so much <3   Oh, the godling is definitely creepy, but at least they are also helpful! Hurray? :D   Thank you again, I will debate what to do with that sentence :D

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
10 Apr, 2021 22:22

Very nice header picture!   This is a very fascinating article :D I love the mind magic and philosophy discussion!   " Though it appears benign, some believe the creature to be a Demon, though no attempt to summon or bind the godling is known to have succeeded." That's very intriguing XD   "Not recommended for marriage counselling" lol XD I love that mundane bit about therapy.   " Many of the same vagueries that play out in the mortal world regarding mental do so again within the magical community" do you mean to say "the mental" here?   " but with stakes where people fling fireballs at each other." XD   " - creating another pawn for an inhuman puppet-master, according to others still." I'm not really sure about your meaning here. – oh wait! You mean that another theory is that the people who come back after walking the Lotus path are now puppet for the god they met there?   " No one who has walked the Path with the Armor on has ever emerged to confirm it." So how do they know how it reacts? Or does it just react to the smoke from the lotus?   Really an amazing article. I'm most intrigued by that god and what is real intentions are, why he is being all helpful with people…   When they go through the Lotus path, do people physically leave their world to go there or do they stay where they are and only their mind travel? How long does it take for the whole journey on average? Is the time spend there and the time in the real world even the same? I imagine they have to find something to eat and drink while they walk that path… Though apparently there are whole worlds and people living other there so that must not be too difficult…

16 Apr, 2021 13:07

Thank you very much, I'm glad you like it :D   Whoops, I meant to say 'mental health' there. I have updated it.   "oh wait! You mean that another theory is that the people who come back after walking the Lotus path are now puppet for the god they met there?"   Exactly so - some people are sure there has to be a catch somewhere!   Yes, they do physically disappear from the world - poof, gone. They are teleported/transported away from our reality to the world inside their mind.   After the challenge, I'll expand the article a bit to answer the other questions. But in general, everything is about the same - time flows the same, hunger and thirst haunts you, and so on. But don't worry, the godling will send you home before you starve :D   Thank you for your thoughtful comment :D

10 Apr, 2021 23:08

This was a wonderful read! I cant decide if I like the lotus or the Tea Witch better so ... I will say I like the placeholder pics best ! bugs and bunnies(?) ... lmao.

Come vist my world of writing Pangorio or my world of RPG Adventures All-In !
14 Apr, 2021 10:35

LOL, I guess I don't need to replace them anytime soon then :D

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
10 Apr, 2021 23:33

Ooooo this is awesome, Q! Well done. I love the journey through the unconcious and the fact that a flower serves as the entrance to this world is even better. My favorite bit though, is the god of the mind. Its facinating. Just amazing work. Good luck my friend.

11 Apr, 2021 04:36

Small typo under the third step: "usually places of create significance" - should be great.   "Not recommended for marriage counseling" - oh my gosh I am cracking up.   Q, this is beautiful. I love this article. I am at a loss for words. Just... Beautiful. I have a new favorite.

Author of Fillimet, bright fantasy land of possibilities, and Vazdimet, its darker spacefaring future.
14 Apr, 2021 10:35

Whoops - thank you, fixing :)   And thank you <3 I'm glad you liked it!

11 Apr, 2021 22:04

Great article! My fave parts were when you explained what happens in the journey the user goes through. Another thing that I liked was how you used the feature to read other articles and explain some words without leaving this article. I read them all, and now I want to read more about your world.   PS: My last minute article for this challenge is not as a pretty as yours, but mine is about a plant affecting the mind of the user and their memories too! No magic involved tho.

Am I writing or procrastinating? Take a guess and visit my galaxy
14 Apr, 2021 10:36

I'm glad to hear that and I hope you enjoy your journey through Shedim :D There's not a lot of articles here yet, but at least some.   Haha, great minds think alike. Mind-plants!

16 Apr, 2021 23:08

Hey Qurilion!   I saw your comment on my roll-up article as I was going to sign off for a break so I apologize for the presumably low quality of my comment. First, aesthetically, your article is fantastic. I really like the opening cover image and the skull (I thought it was Stormbril's header skull at first glance), the red moon (which you used twice, not sure if that was intentional), and the matrix-hieroglyphs in the background. Your colour palette is readable and dark to fit the mood of your article/world, your content is in easily digestible chunks, and the layout has variety. Content wise you hit on a lot of topics while detail an experience / story. Obviously the placeholder images should be replaced at some point but at least it's part fuzz-bunny. The "not recommended for marriage counselling" quote caught me completely off guard but I like that type of humor. I have a few suggestions regarding orphans (other in the in the shadows section), multi line headers (Armour of Disassociation), the frequency of repeat purple quotes at the beginning of the article, and I think AEDP would benefit from a tooltip but these are incredibly minor or stylistic. You know what you're doing, I don't need to tell you, and I'm just a guy with an opinion and those are as common as ... well hopefully you know the saying lol. Great work!

xtremepsy | Ölütanrı
Checkout my other favourite entries to the 2021 Peculiar Plant HERE!
Feel free to read, favourite, and comment on my entry, Digivine.
16 Apr, 2021 23:15

I forgot to mention that I get Matrix vibes from your background, Halo vibes from your skull, and Black Company / Wheel of Time vibes from your worldbuilding. All good things lol

xtremepsy | Ölütanrı
Checkout my other favourite entries to the 2021 Peculiar Plant HERE!
Feel free to read, favourite, and comment on my entry, Digivine.
18 Apr, 2021 08:28

Hmm, yeah, I think removing or moving one of the early quote boxes would be a good idea. When the contest ends, I'll return to this and see what I can do to fix those issues. :D   Yes, the red moon thing is repeated on purpose - it's essentially just a fancier placeholder.   Thank you for reading and giving me your feedback! I will see what I can do!

2 Aug, 2021 06:06

Fascinating. I love all the quotes in this; the first one {The world is...) is one I come back to over and over again (and is also the name of a pretty good band, haha). I'm so curious about the god of the mind-- what is it, and what does it get out of guiding people through the Path?

Aotra awaits.
2 Aug, 2021 11:50

This is extremely cool, and reminds me of my own ideas. I'm a bit afraid right now that I might have been outdone by this.

3 Aug, 2021 08:44

Thank you very much! :D   Don't be afraid, though - you're bound to have your own spin on things that will be uniquely yours. Go forth and write :D

6 Aug, 2021 11:51

thank you! I wish you luck with your writing. who knows, we might meet again.

Thicc Shrek
Thicc Shrek
3 Aug, 2021 03:09

I am hungry. I am going to eat it.

3 Aug, 2021 21:33

Watch out, biting into one sometimes causes mind-skinning spiders to emerge inside your teeth.

Thicc Shrek
Thicc Shrek
4 Aug, 2021 03:40

I'll eat those too.

Master Kato the unknown
Kato the Unknown
4 Aug, 2021 18:43

Your writing is beautiful. Your world wows me. I can't wait to read more. I look forward to a day when I first, have a grip on how to use the technical mechanics as beautifully as you do, and second, when I have the ability to write half as well as you do.

Autauga is My World
5 Aug, 2021 13:34

Oh wow, thank you. I don't know what to say, other than - I'm sure you'll get there no problem at all :)