The Janyati and the Elements

elementsThe seven great Janyati, or angels, preside over all aspects of the universe.

One of the arithmetical symbolisms concerning the number seven is its representing the union of the spiritual number 3 and the material number 4.

According to this symbolism, the seven Janyatic Principles govern the elements as follows:

Sai Sushuri: Water
Sai Vikhe: Fire
Sai Thame: Earth
Sai Mati: Air

Aethyr, being the principle from which all four material elements derive, is governed by the three Janyatic Principle which, in this symbolism, represent the Spirit. The two Luminaries, the Sun and Moon, as we have often noted, are types of the Mother and Daughter, while Sai Rhave, the Dark Planet, represents, according to this scheme, the Dark Mother who is unknowable to us and into whom the manifest cosmos will return at the end of time. Thus, from the point of view of material manifestation, She may be associated, like Sai Rhave, in a certain sense with old age and death, while from the spiritual perspective, She represents enlightenment and liberation from the Wheel of Werde.
triquetra-circle-interlaced
So, we may continue our schematization with:

Sai Raya }
Sai Candre }  Aethyr
Sai Rhave }

It is important to remember that both aspects of this schema do represent only a particular schematization. It has value for some purposes but it should not be taken to over-literal extremes. It is an error to say that “Sai Vikhë is the Janya of fire” for example (the Janya of fire is actually Sai Annya). To say that water belongs in some senses to Sai Sushuri is correct, but in the Eastern schema, Sai Sushuri’s element is gold, while water belongs to Sai Mati.

It would be even more wrong to say Sai Rhavë is the Dark Mother or Sai Candrë is the Daughter. The Daughter does, from one perspective, represent the Lunar aspect of Dea, but one should beware of an over-formulaic interpretation.

None of this is to dilute the value of what has already been said, but it is important to warn against heavy-handed and over-literalistic and over-systematizing interpretations into which West Tellurians can be prone to fall.

With that proviso, the three/four division of the Janyati is of immense value, especially from the Filianic perspective.

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For more about the Janyati, see The Seven Great Angels

 

 

Beauty and Civilization

beauty-and-civilizationModern scholarship, often to its own surprise and consternation, finds itself continually making discoveries that undermine the evolutionist prejudices with which it approaches its task, and confirm again and again the wisdom handed down from the earliest times: that Primordial Maid represented not a lower, but an immeasurably higher state of humanity, and that her increasing involvement with the world of matter, the progressive “consolidation” of herself and her environment, while leading to ever greater developments on the horizontal plane — from language to art, from art to cities — was bought at the cost of a steady decline on the highest plane of all: that of pure Intellect and spiritual vision.

But let us recall that in these relatively early times — let us say, the period of maid fully acclimatized on earth in the first Silver Age cities — we are still speaking of a state of spiritual refinement, of subtlety and beauty almost inconceivable from our position toward the dark end of the historical cycle. The life of maid, as all traditions agree, was much longer than the hundred years or less enjoyed by the people of the Iron Age, and her wisdom, though descended from its primordial pinnacle was yet majestic. Her vision, while now fixed upon “things” rather than the Principle, was far subtler than ours, seeing always, though at an ever lower level, the immaterial essences behind material manifestation. Much of what later ages achieved by material force, she accomplished by subtle means that a later age might call “magic”; and the essential harmony of her being with nature as a whole (being at one with the essence behind it) allowed her to live with but minimal “struggle for existence” and great concentration upon the higher things.

What might strike a modern visitor most about life in these early times would be its beauty — especially if she were enabled, as the people of those times were, to see the subtle forms as well as the outward physical shell of such a civilization. Beauty has always been considered primarily a feminine quality, and as the patriarchal age progressed has been more and more relegated to the position of an inessential and trivial part of life: increasingly the first thing to be sacrificed when “serious” practical or economic considerations conflicted with it, yet, until very recently, preserved carefully and at times fiercely by the female sex, in her surroundings, her home and her personal appearance.

Plato, so often the spokesman for the traditional consciousness to the early patriarchal West, by no means thought beauty trivial or unimportant. He used to kalon — the Beautiful — as a term for the Absolute, expounding the primordial knowledge that all earthly beauty is such only because it participates in the absolute Beauty of the Divine. Beauty is not, as the modern dogma would have it, a mere subjective product of the human brain, but a universal quality that predates the very existence of earthly humanity.

Beauty is the mark of Essence or Form. Only insofar as the Essences or Archetypes are imperfectly reflected in matter can there ever be ugliness in this world, and above this material world, ugliness cannot exist. To make life beautiful is to bring it into conformity with its spiritual Source.

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For the full article see: Satya Yuga to Kali Yuga: Gold to Iron — the True Pattern of History

The Tongue of Angels

Clemence IsaureIthelya was a very famous Queen of Caere and the subject of a long and famous poem in the high rhetorical style that is typical of much older Herthelan poetry. We are fortunate enough to have a snippet from the poem (frustratingly out of context) in the English-language style that has been taken to represent Ithelic meter (the meter of the Ithelya and many other works). We believe that this is not just an attempted reproduction but is a kind of direct equivalent, so it is an important treasure for us.

To clarify the use of “rhetorical” in this context, we need to explain a concept that is unfamiliar in modern west Telluria, and to do that I think the simplest way is to call in a Tellurian traditionalist on the subject:

“Rhetoric,” of which the Greek original means skill in public speaking, implies, on the other hand, a theory of art as the effective expression of theses. There is a very wide difference between what is said for effect, and what is said or made to be effective, and must work, or would not have been worth saying or making. It is true that there is a so-called rhetoric of the production of “effects,” just as there is a so-called poetry that consists only of emotive words, and a sort of painting that is merely spectacular; but this kind of eloquence that makes use of figures for their own sake, or merely to display the artist, or to betray the truth in courts of law, is not properly a rhetoric, but a sophistic, or art of flattery. By “rhetoric” we mean, with Plato and Aristotle, “the art of giving effectiveness to truth.” My thesis will be, then, that if we propose to use or understand any works of art (with the possible exception of contemporary works, which may be “unintelligible”), we ought to abandon the term “aesthetic” in its present application and return to “rhetoric,” Quintilian’s “bene dicendi scientia” [“art of speaking well” – Ed. trans.]

Ananda Coomaraswamy, “A Figure of Speech or a Figure of Thought”

This is precisely what we mean when we speak of the “high rhetorical” style. Rhetoric is “the art of giving effectiveness to truth”. It is the means of engaging, at a deep level, the heart and mind of maid in the reception of truth.

The verse-form most associated with high rhetoric in Sai Herthe is called Ithelic verse from the Ithelia or Ithelya (pronounced ee-thell-ya). Ithelic meter is very important because it derives from Scripture and is the basis of a lot of Herthelan literature.

The meter itself is a five-beat structure, and in the most usual Herthelan style, alternates chelanic with melinic line-endings. A melinic ending is on a stressed syllable, while a chelanic ending has one unstressed syllable after the last stressed one.

While the meter has five beats, like Iambic Pentameter (the meter Shakespeare uses for the blank verse in the plays), it is unlike Iambic Pentameter in that there are two unstressed syllables between each stress rather than one, making the lines quite a bit longer.

In some kinds of verse, extra weak syllables between beats can give the lines a light and “skipping” quality, but in Ithelic meter, when well written, they do something rather special, giving the lines a “lucid complexity”, a style that can only be translated into English as “rhetorical” (in the true meaning of the term explained above). In the Motherland it is called (hyperbolically, of course) “the tongue of angels”, because it is seen as expressing truth in the most beautiful and elegant way possible — and therefore in the most effective way possible.

It is said that in the Golden Age all maids spoke in verse or in song. Their language was closer to the angelic language. The Primordial Word (from which all language derives) and the Primordial Note (from which all music derives) are ultimately one and the same, and it is from them that all manifestation derives — for the True Names of things are not other than the things themselves, and the relations between things are not other than the Celestial Music. So certainly the Herthelan original of Ithelic verse is considered not just beautiful and truthful, but sacred in itself. We find it (and certain other meters) in Scripture, as is discussed here.

For now, let us look at the meter itself.

The first two lines of our fragment (spoken by Ithelya’s mother, Queen Ehrejene) are as follows (I am showing the beat pattern below them):

Welcome thee Daughter, and enter thee close to our presence,

/../../../../.

Speak freely the words that thy heart has engaged thee to say.

./../../../../

Note that the first line has a chelanic ending and the second a melinic ending (it is traditionally that way around).

Note also that while each line has five beats with two unstressed syllables between each, the first line begins on the first beat, while the second has one unstressed syllable before the first beat. This is something that can confuse those unfamiliar with the meter. The first beat can be preceded by one, or two unstressed syllables, or by none. This does not affect the structure of the meter, though it can mean one has to work out how a particular line should be read (I find this may happen once every 20 or 30 lines — a more experienced reader would rarely or never have this problem and a less experienced one might have more difficulty at first).

Let us take another two lines:

What is there more to be said, O most wise among childer?

/../../../../.


All I should teach thee is by thee already beknown.

/../../../../

Alternate chelanic and melinic again (of course). Both lines begin on the stress, but note that — from the standpoint of the meter — the second line could have been:

All the things I should teach thee are by thee already beknown.

../../../../../

The line here is two syllables longer, but the two unstressed syllables before the first beat do not affect the meter. Now in fact there are reasons why the original is a better line. The stress is thrown on “all” rather than “things”, which is better rhetorically, and the two initial stresses give force to these lines, which are characterized by a strong and simple question. Also we will find that the pattern of strong and weaker beginnings are part of the music or rhetorical pattern of the poem — but this is a subtle matter.

What is important now is to understand that metrically the two versions of the line are equivalent, and either form (as well as the one between them with only one unstressed syllable preceding the first beat) can and will be used in Ithelic verse.

And now, since you have sat so patiently through my ungainly explanations, you shall have a reward. Here is the fragment of the Ithelya. See if you can read it aloud with the proper rhythm:

Ehrejene: Welcome thee, Daughter, and enter thee close to our presence,
Speak freely the words that thy heart has engaged thee to say.

Ithelya: What is to say, shining Sun, that is not said already?
Or what words of mine can recolor the hue of thy heart?

Ehrejene: Speak you again, good my child, of these wearisome matters?
Wherefore come you nigh the great throne but to trouble me thus?
Are they not settled and done, O most radiant Daughter?
And wherefore should the Child seek to color the heart of the Rayin?
Should not the heart of the Rayin be steadfast and unchanging?
Should it not weather the storm-winds, withstand the high flood?
Alter not in its bearing by even the breadth of a finger?
Alter not though a Child may weep tears that shall call forth her own?

Ithelya: All you say is most true, O most royal and radiant Mother.
For the words of the Rayin are like Scripture writ down in a book,
And whoso shall alter the book hath forsaken the pathway,
The pathway that leadeth the soul into radiant light.

Ehrejene: What is there more to be said, O most wise among childer?
All I should teach thee is by thee already beknown.
Go then thy ways and let peace ever cradle thy spirit,
Thy turbulent spirit that troubles herself without cause.
Go then thy ways, or yet better, remain with thy mother,
With thy Mother that loveth thee near; and disturb not the Rayin.

Ithelya: To my Mother most lief will I fly, like a bird at the even;
Like a bird that is young and whose small wings do tire from long flight;
Like a bird that hath held herself up on the wind’s mighty stairway,
Hath held herself up by a strength she doth scarcely possess.
To my Mother most lief will I come when my long flight is ended,
And that it were ended betimes doth my heart most desire,
Yet desireth in vain, for still must I bear myself upward,
Ever up must I climb to the radiant feet of the Rayin.

Ehrejene: O, Ithelie, my Child—

Ithelya:                          no, I pray thee, break not my flight’s rhythm,
For it cometh not easy, this scaling the wind’s subtle thread;
Neither call me thy Child, for I speak to thee not as a Daughter:
I speak to thee now as a Princess may speak to the Rayin.
O, most far-raying Sun, ’tis the Moon that has enter’d thy presence,
Who would tell thee of what she hath seen by her own lesser light.
For the words of the Rayin are like Scripture inscrib’d on a tablet,
And whoso shall change the least jot of them, surely she sins,
All these things know I well, and it needeth no Rani to teach me
For the Scripture is sure and eternal — but not so the Scribe.
The Scribe is a right goodly maid that is true to her calling,
Yet her finger may slip: and the light, may it not fail her eye?
And the Rayin, at the last, is a Scribe; and the words she declaimeth,
Are they not copied from those that are written on high?

Ehrejene: Say on then, Princess, and tell us what means this oration,
What is this light from the Moon that may darken the Sun?

Ithelya: Darken the Sun? O, my Lady, thy jesting words chill me,
For they may hold a truth far more dreadful and dark than you deem.

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For a description and analysis of the use of Ithelic meter in Scripture see:

Filianic Scriptures: A Look at Their Music

The Meaning of Gesture

In Sai Herthe, as in all traditional cultures, the body is seen as microcosmos — the cosmos in miniature — with the interconnexions between the Great Body of the world, the small body of an individual maid and the body as a general, as opposed to an individual, phenomenon being a fundamental element in our understanding of each.

The heart is the Solar center in maid, as the Sun is in the cosmos. The chest, by extension, refers to the heart, and also to the lungs, which are the source of breath — another aspect of the spirit (re-spir-ation is from the same word as spiritus).

The head is the lunar center — so the light of reason is the reflected light of the solar Intellect, whose home in maid is the heart.

To touch first the forehead and then the chest is an in-gathering gesture, bringing exterior things (represented by the head) back to their true center in the heart. It can be made in significance of receiving a teaching or a reprimand, thus it can also be a sign of humility. It can be made to acknowledge and center ourselves in the Higher reality, or to show respect — gathering oneself in from the fragmented and peripheral world of the head to the still and Essential world of the heart.

Although in late western Telluria the heart has been taken as a (very loose) symbol for the emotions (so “heart vs head” means “reason vs emotion”), in Sai Herthe this is not the case. The heart is the center of the Spirit, and thus of Pure Intellect. It is also the center of Pure Love — first Divine Love and then its true reflection in human love. But it is not the center of emotional impulses and passions. That is the stomach.

There is also an inverse form of this gesture, touching first the chest and then the forehead, and then opening the hand in a “giving” or “indicating” gesture. This is the “outward” gesture and is one of generosity. It might, for example, be used when inviting someone into one’s house. Its implication is “from my innermost being, through my exterior faculties, to you”.

The Herthelan salute touches either the left shoulder or the left side of the chest (there are many variants on the salute — not random — each military or other group using it will have its own strictly-observed form). Nonetheless, the reference is to the heart (which is on the left side) and to the shoulder or arm (which is the instrument of action).

jaunty-saluteIt does not seem insignificant that the (relatively late) Tellurian salute should touch the head, which is the center of lunar reason, which in turn is the focus of the rationalist revolution which ushered in the rajasic age in West Telluria. The salute to the head is known in Sai Herthe, as are some other salutes used in different places and circumstances. The salute to the head generally has the effect of being jauntier and less formal than the standard salute, though there are a few contexts in which it is officially used.

Animal Aspects of the Janyati

FoxesIn “The Adventure of the Crystal Staff”, a story set in the Motherland, mention is made of Shearwind, fox aspect of Nimwë the Enchantress, who in turn is an aspect of Sai Mati.  This raises the question of what other animal archetypes belong to the Janyati. In fact, there are many such associations, though they can be variable according to circumstances. Here are some of the better known correspondences:

The lion and eagle are especially associated with Sai Raya
Deer, hares and cats with Sai Candre, as well as many water birds
Elephants, horses, swans, pavanelles (peafowl) with Sai Thame
Wolves, tigers and hawks with Sai Vikhe
Doves, geese, sometimes hares and rabbits, shellfish and sometimes fish in general with Sai Sushuri
Goats and horned animals, ravens, crows, burrowing animals like moles with Sai Rhave

Animals are not actually avatars of the Janyati, but they do manifest aspects of the Janyati, and once we mention an aspect of a pure thing, we are often speaking of some admixture. Roses, to take a very commonly used example, are the quintessential Sushuric flower, but they have Vikhelic thorns. Correspondences are thus by no means exclusive. “In mold is no thyng unmelded” — in the sublunary realm, nothing is “pure”. Even physical fire is not pure elemental fire, but contains the other elements also.

In traditional Tellurian astrology the same complexity is found. Eagles, for example, are attributed by William Lilly [see the note below] to Sai Raya, Sai Vikhë, Sai Thamë, and Sai Sushuri. For a Herthelan the primary association of the eagle is with Sai Raya. For some traditional Western Telluri, it is with Sai Thamë, and most probably the reason for this is that the eagle is always acknowledged as Queen of Birds, and for the Classical West in patriarchal times, the Thamic “Jupiter” or “Zeus” was the “king” of the “gods” (unlike the related Teutonic “polytheism” where that position was held by the Matic “Odin” or “Woden”). Herthelan angelology, though, has always maintained (as earlier West Telluri angelologies did) the primacy of Sai Raya.

Horses belong to Sai Thamë, partly because of the “music” of their rhythmic gait, and their association with the sky in Herthelan tradition. Lilly attributes them to Sai Raya, and this association is also part of the Herthelan tradition. In fact, it is alluded to in the Imperial Anthem where the lines:

O Rayan’, thy rule doth run
As coursers of the sun

refer to the traditional analogy of the sun’s rays as horses galloping out from the Center.

Another approach to animal symbolism, which could tentatively be called the “Totemic” approach, is a shade different from that of the Western “Doctrine of Correspondences”. By “Totemic” is meant a whole range of animal symbolisms in which maids participate very closely and ritually. The “Totemic” approach will actualize in depth a particular aspect, rather than standing back and saying, “Well, in this aspect it is this and in that aspect it is that”. It is less to do with “using” correspondences and more to do with ritually “realizing” or even “becoming” them.

Just as with the physical world, the Archetypal realm operates according to fixed and technically predictable laws, but also, just as in the physical domain, those laws can create an almost inexhaustible wealth of different “landscapes” and possibilities. The Doctrine of Correspondences is necessarily schematic (like physical science itself) and would not be very useful if it were not, while the “Totemic” form of traditional activity is more experiential. In some ways it could be likened to reading a map on the one hand and visiting the territory on the other.

The map actually has some advantages over the visit — one can see the whole area and how it fits together, while the visit is likely to show us particular aspects. Also the visitor (if she is part of a tradition) will not be without maps of her own — but they are likely to be larger scale maps of the particular area she is visiting, showing individual features much more distinctly and being less “general” and in some cases less widely applicable. But what the visit lacks in breadth as compared to the map it makes up for in depth.

The two are not in any way opposed but they do constitute two distinct perspectives that may, at least superficially, look as if the thing seen (the Archetype) is quite different according to the two approaches, when in fact it is simply the same thing seen from different angles and experienced in very different ways.

To return to “The Adventure of the Crystal Staff”, we see how the two approaches were not really separate, certainly earlier in the Motherland’s history, and not entirely today. Queen Mayanna house, the College in the story, was originally a temple to Sai Mati/Nimwë, and the Maybridges, the Countesses and hereditary heads of the College were originally the High Vixens of the Order: a “Totemic”  function. Matic correspondences as well as participation (not at this stage direct and “Totemic” but still vestigially so) still permeate the hereditary culture of the College among those who actually belong to the old families. Both the Queen who founded the House (Mayanna) and the location and its leading family (Maybridge) are named for Sai Maia/Maya — the great Enchantress who creates the illusion of this world and the mother of Sai Mati — just as Maia is the mother of Greek Hermes and Maya the mother of the Buddha.

Perhaps because in the Tellurian West the “planets” were no longer part of the “religion”, this natural marriage between Correspondences and “Totemism” was somewhat lost, but it continued alive in the Motherland much later and is still there in some aspects.

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Note

Traditional Tellurian astrology, which incorporates much ancient wisdom, recognizes animal correspondences to the planetary powers. As planetary associations are practical and earthly, and Janyati associations are spiritual, it may at first seem to mean that they are different things. However, the entire premise of traditional astrology is that the spiritual informs the material, “as above, so below.”  What is happening on the spiritual level is shown in the movements of the planetary bodies, which becomes manifest in the material world.  So, the archetypal Janyati rulers and the planetary associations should align, and when they do not, it is a matter of reconciliation, not discarding one or the other.

The seventeenth-century astrologer William Lilly compiled an account of such correspondences from older sources . This modified list may be instructive from a Herthelan point of view. Such traditional sources should be treated with respect. They can add to our knowledge, because after all, we only have a limited amount from the Motherland.

Sai Rhavë
Beasts:  Donkeys, cats, hares, mice, moles, elephants, bears, dogs, wolves, basilisks, crocodiles, scorpions, toads, serpents, adders, hogs, all manner of creeping creatures breeding of putrefaction, either in the earth, water, or ruins of houses.
Fish:  Eels, tortoises, shellfish.
Birds etc:  Bats, crows, lapwings, owls, gnats, cranes, peacocks, grasshoppers, thrushes, blackbirds, ostriches, cuckoos.

Sai Thamë
Beasts:  Sheep, harts or stags, does, oxen, elephants, dragons, tigers, unicorns, those beasts which are mild and gentle, and yet of great benefit to Maidkind, are appropriate to Her.
Fish:  Dolphins, whales, serpents, sheath-fish or river whales.
Birds:  Storks, snipes, larks, eagles, stockdove, partridges, bees, pheasants, peacocks, hens.

Sai Vikhë
Beasts and Animals:  Panthers, tigers, mastiffs, vultures, foxes, of living creatures, those that are warlike, ravenous and bold, beavers, horses, mules, ostriches, goats, wolves, leopards, wild donkeys, gnats, flies, lapwings, cockatrices, griffins, bears.
Fish: Pikes, sharks, barbels, fork-fish, all stinging worms, scorpions.
Birds:  Hawks, vultures, kites, all ravenous fowl, raven, cormorants, owls, (some say eagles), crows, the magpie.

Sai Raya
Beasts:  Lions, horses, rams, crocodiles, bulls, goats, nightworms or glowworms.
Fish:  Sea calves or sea foxes, crabfish, starfish.
Birds:  Eagles, cocks, the phoenix, nightingales, peacocks, swans, buzzards, the fly cantharis [a beetle], goshawks.

Sai Sushuri
Beasts: Harts, panthers, small cattle, coneys, calves, goats.
Fish:  Dolphins
Birds:  Stockdove, wagtails, sparrows, hen, nightingales, thrushes, pelicans, partridges, little birds feeding on grapes or figs, wrens, eagles, swan, swallows, ousels or blackbirds, the magpie.

Sai Mati
Beasts:  Hyenas, apes, foxes, squirrels, weasels, spiders, greyhounds, all cunning creatures.
Fish:  Fork-fish, mullets
Birds etc:  Linnets, parrots, swallows, the magpie, beetles, ants, locusts, bees, serpents, cranes.

Sai Candre
Beasts or birds:  All such beasts, or the like, as live in the water, frogs, otters, snails, weasels, rabbits, all sea fowl, cuckoos, geese, ducks, night owls.
Fish:  Oyster, cockles, all shellfish, crab, lobster, tortoise, eels.

The metaphysical explanations for these Tellurian correspondences are not available. Some are evidently different from Herthelan correspondences, the correspondences given for Sai Rhavë  being particularly obscure. However, as a student of traditional astrology says:

In studying these matters, a maid is studying Dea, in all of Her Wonder and Glory.  It is important to never forget that a Maid is always a student with respect to the Divine. William Lilly called himself a “Student of Astrology,” and there are some who consider him among the greatest astrologers in Tellurian history. That is why I avoid speculation as much as possible in these matters, and why I am hesitant to substitute my judgment for that of the tradition, even when I do not understand it.  Of course, there are matters in which the tradition contradicts itself, and because of the unbalanced Vikhelic principle in Telluria, there is tradition that goes against the Universal Law of Love, which must be discarded.  As a general rule, however, when I do not understand a part of the tradition, I will assume that there is something that I just do not understand, rather than assuming the tradition is wrong, as many modern thinkers do.

Simple Devotions

One way to Dea is the Path of Love or Devotion, in contrast to the Path of Light, that is, of knowledge or intellectual contemplation.

Starting on the Path of Devotion could not be easier. Our Celestial Mother, like every mother, is always ready to accept the love of Her children.

It is good if you have a picture or a statue of Her. It should be one that you find attractive. One that speaks to you of Her love and beauty. It might be a picture of Mahalakshmi, or a statue of Mother Mary. It might be a picture of Kwan Yin. You might wish to feel the protection of Dea in her mighty form as Sri Durga. Whatever form you love, choose that. Then you can look upon Her form when you talk to Her.

It is traditional also to bring Her gifts. Light candles before Her; burn a little incense. Once you have your picture or statue of Her and have placed some candles and perhaps an incense burner before it, you already have your first Shrine. If you can, it is nice to bring fresh flowers to the shrine and offer them to Dea.

These are very simple things, but simple love always pleases our Mother. Say good morning to Her when you arise and bid Her goodnight when you go to bed. These are the elementary courtesies that a child pays to her mother. It is also considered proper in many circles to bow when you approach Her image or when you pass it.

Another common practice is to offer food to Her before eating it. This is something like saying a simple grace, but the difference is that instead of merely thanking Her for Her bounty, we are giving the food to Her. It is said that she consumes the true essence of the food and that we eat Her leavings, which is the material part of the food. But by Her eating it, the food is blessed and we ourselves taste something of its true essence, which our worldly tongues are unable to do.

These are some simple practices that will start you on the Path of Devotion. If they become part of your life, you will be a devotee of Dea.

The Stowaways

An old, unfinished story rescued from the archives and presented for your reading pleasure. Perhaps a forerunner to The Flight of the Silver Vixen.

the-stowawaysThe warm air was filled with a sound like that of a thousand crystal wind-chimes in the light breeze. It was in fact caused by the crystalline husks of the chentil-nuts that hung in clusters on the tall trees. The sunlight shimmered among them, and the faceted shells refracted the light, while the chrome-like silver leaves reflected them, so that the trees seemed clothed in robes of iridescent rainbow.

“The air seems rather delightful,” said Lieutenant Sindra, stepping out of the wasp.

“Almost the same as Sai Herthe,” said Dr. Carice: “a touch more oxygen and a little phentrastomine, which some people find invigorating.”

“Oh, of course. I trust your analysis or I should never have left the wasp and stepped onto an unknown planet without breathing apparatus. I was referring to the gentle warmth and the delicate scent of the chentils – that sort of thing.”

“Most idyllic, I am sure. But is this the sort of place where we are likely to find a low-latency V27 fuel-crystal?”

“One can’t be thinking about business all the time, Carre-chara. One must take the adventure of life as it comes; enjoy the beauty of each fleeting moment.”

“‘Business’ is not precisely the term I should employ for the question of survival, and of whether we shall ever return home.”

“Grim business, eh? Sorry. Mustn’t call it business. What about wirelessing the Imperial Princess and asking them to send another wasp after us?”

“I think we may have warped.”

“Really? That was careless of us.”

“If we hit an aethyr-crease we may be light years from the Princess. Wireless waves wouldn’t reach her certainly not in our lifetime.”

“Well, why don’t you give it a whirl. Perhaps we didn’t warp.”

“All right, I’ll try it. It seems like the first thing to do.”

Dr. Carice returned to the wasp while Lieutenant Sindra strolled over to the small lake and admired her reflection in its still blue water. She cut a rather dashing figure in her double-breasted red tunic with two rows of dark buttons, her high military collar and gold-braided undress epaulettes. Her blue flared above-the-knee skirt was perfectly pressed as always, and her high, slender military boots polished to a pleasing gleam. Being marooned on a deserted planet did not strike panic into her as it did into Dr. Carice, but she did worry slightly about the practicalities of keeping her uniform immaculate if they were to be here for any length of time. She recalled her blonde mother saying “Military brunettes are as vain as blondes half the time”. Perhaps it was true; but after all, it was important to keep up appearances.

Dr. Carice came rushing out of the wasp in a flap. Technical brunettes are as fussy as blondes half the time, thought Sindra.

“There’s someone in there!” said Dr. Carice.

“In where?”

“In the hold of the wasp.”

“How remarkable. Have you seen her?”

“No, but there is banging and yelling coming from in there.”

“Why didn’t you open the portal?”

“Who knows what is in there? It could be aliens.”

“Aliens in our hold? Hardly likely.”

“They might have teleported in. Who knows what aliens can do.”

“In that case, why wouldn’t they teleport out instead of banging and yelling? Are you sure the hold was empty when we left the Princess?”

“Of course I’m sure.”

“Did you actually check?”

“Not just before we left,” admitted Dr. Carice; “but why would anyone be in our hold?”

“Without opening the portal we are unlikely to find out. Now do go and open it like a good girl.”

Dr. Carice hesitated.

“Don’t worry,” said Sindra soothingly, “I’ll come and protect you from any aliens.”

Gingerly, Dr. Carice turned the lock-wheel. She stood back as the portal swung open. Sindra stepped slightly forward, at the ready.

“Sindy-chei!” shouted a high, blonde voice. “Don’t be cross, Sindy-chei. Promise you won’t be cross. I really couldn’t bear it if you were cross.”

“Lady Prudence Mereton-Vasilhe, may I introduce Civilian Technical Officer Susanna Carice.”

“How do you do, Miss Carice. Is it Miss Carice?”

“How do you do, Lady Prudence. Doctor Carice actually.”

“Well, you can just call me Poppy. But not Prudence. It makes me feel as if I’m at school.”

“Call her Prunes,” said Sindra. “Everyone does.”

“Oh, not Prunes. I hate Prunes. I’ve just about stopped everyone using it, except my beastly little sister. Poppy for preffers. Prudence if you really must.”

“Prunes,” insisted Sindra. “It shall be your punishment. You are a bad girl. What on earth were you doing in the hold?”

“Well, you’ve promised me for ages you would take me out in a wasp, and you never do. So I thought I might bag my own ride.”

“It is an offense to take unauthorized personnel in the wasps,” said Dr. Carice gravely.

“How did you know we should be taking the wasp out?” asked Sindra.

“Ah, well. I was meaning to tell you about that bit. You see, I knew you were on duty…”

“Yes?”

“Well, that alert that was put out about an unidentified craft – it was a bit of a frog. I got one of the girls to broadcast it over the announcement-thingy after I was snugly in the hold. I was going to get you to let me out as soon as we were off the Princess, but then I heard all that shouting, and it all sounded so serious. I thought you might be cross. And then there was that big bump.”

“I suppose you realize it is a serious offense to simulate an alert,” said Dr. Carice.

“Do you?” asked Lady Prudence.

“Do I what?”

“Suppose I realize it is a serious offense to simulate an alert, of course. Does she always lose track of the conversation like this, Sindy-chei?”

“I don’t think she is used to the blonde style of talking.”

“Poor thing.”

“Possibly. The alert may have been fake,” said Sindra, “but there was definitely something out there. We got on its tail and then something hit us. I thought it was a concussion-beam, but Dr. Carice thinks we warped.”

“We what?”

“Hit an aethyr-crease. Just as a two-dimensional surface, like that of a piece of paper, might be folded in the third dimension, so three-dimensional space might be folded in a fourth dimension. That is the theory, anyway. We can’t perceive these folds because we only see in three dimensions; but if one hits one, one could end up light years away from where one started.”

“How exciting.”

“It is rather, but it could also be a bother.”

“Can someone please tell me what is going on?” called a rather faint voice from the hold.

“Who is that?” asked Dr. Carice.

“Miss Varndean,” said Lady Prudence. “My governess.”

“Where are we?” asked Miss Varndean severely, emerging from the hold.

“On an unknown planet, madam,” replied Dr. Carice, “possibly light-years from Sai Herthe and the Imperial Princess and with no means of even getting the wasp back into aethyr.”

“But this is terrible!”

“Indeed it is, madam; as is the fact that you and your charge have stowed away on a Royal Defense Craft.”

“I did no such thing! I entered the craft in order to bring my young lady out of it.”

“So why did you not do so?”

Miss Varndean looked uncharacteristically vague as she tried to retrace the steps that had led her here. “I followed my young lady down the launching channel into the wasp. She was already in the hold, but had not shut the door. She tried to hide from me, but I followed her inside. I said ‘Come along, dear, the game is over’, or something of that sort, and she took a scent-spray from her purse and sprayed me with it. That is all I remember until a few minutes ago…”

“Oh Prunes,” said Sindra. “You snuffed your governess.”

“I don’t deny it, but…”

“Well, you can’t deny it, can you? You snuffed the lady who is teaching you the Fourteen Accomplishments of a high-born blonde, to whom all reverence is due, to whom…”

“Oh, stop talking like an Arkadyan priestess.”

“I can stop talking if you want,” said Sindra genially, “but you are in a quite ridiculous amount of trouble.”

“We are all in much more trouble than you seem to care to admit,” cut in Dr. Carice. “Do you mind if I use some of our remaining myriapulses sending out a scout?”

“Not at all. Very sensible idea,” said Sindra.

Dr. Carice disappeared into the wasp, and a few moments later the scout, or ‘floating eye’, glided slowly over the lake and away out of sight.

“So what do we do for food if we are stranded here?” asked Lady Prudence.

“There are lots of chentil-nuts,” said Sindra. She cast her eye over the ground, which, under the trees was covered in fallen chentil-leaves in various stages of turning from sheening silver to dead, crinkly white. Within a few minutes she had gathered a number of crystalline chentil-nuts.

“What does one do with them?” asked Lady Prudence, “Break them open?”

“No, they shatter into very sharp pieces. Watch.” Sindra knelt by the lake’s edge and placed a crystalline nut in the shallow water. It made a splintering sound, like very cold ice placed in warm water, only more musical, and the shell opened gently into three shining segments. In the centre was the plump, white kernel which Sindra handed to Lady Prudence.

“Try it,” she said.

“No!” said Miss Varndean “Don’t you know it is dangerous to eat the fruits of an unknown planet.”

“Of course, madam,” said Sindra, “but these are chentil-nuts. They grew all over Chandraya where I was born. I have eaten more chentil-nuts than Prunes has had ice-cream.”

“But, my dear captain” began Miss Varndean.

“Lieutenant, I fear,” corrected Sindra.

“My dear lieutenant; one scarcely finds the same fauna on different continents of the same planet. How can the same species of tree grow on two planets possibly light-years apart?”

“I am not sure madam. There are, in fact, more cases of morphological co-incidence than you may be aware of; after all, things are not what they are by accident.”

“You mean, the same Archetypes may come to manifestation on different planets?”

“You are wiser than I, madam, but that may be the case. Alternatively, someone, at some time, may have brought chentil-nuts here from Chandraya and they grew into these great chentil-forests. What I am sure of is that these are chentil-nuts and perfectly edible. Let me show you. Prunes-chal, pass that nut, will you.”

“Was she addressing somebody called ‘Prunes’?” Lady Prudence asked the world in general. Sindra, to Miss Varndean’s horror, took the nut from her ladyship’s hand. She broke off a piece (it was segmented into three) and ate it.

“Perfectly delicious,” she said. “Brings back the old childhood like the Imperial Courier Service.”

“There are animals!” cried Dr. Carice, leaning out of the wasp. “There are definitely animals on the planet!”

“Of course there are, you g’doinker haven’t you been hearing the birds in the trees. The question is, are there people?”

“There must be,” said Dr. Carice.

“Why?”

“What do they teach you in these military schools?” asked Dr. Carice vengefully. “Maid is the axial being; the one with the power of choice; all other animals are peripheral. You can’t have a planet with peripheral beings and no axial being. That’s basic metaphysics.”

“Does that mean there are maids here somewhere?” asked Miss Varndean.

“Not maids necessarily. On some planets the axial beings are saurians, for example, lizard people – but there will be an intelligent being with the power of choice and volition, equivalent to maid.”

“Well it makes a bit of a difference, doesn’t it?” said Sindra. “Some of those saurians are miserable types; and who knows what else the old cosmos may have in store for us? Why don’t you go back to your scout-screen and find out what type of axials we are dealing with?”

Dr. Carice disappeared back into the wasp.

“So there may be people here?” asked Miss Varndean with the first hint of a smile she had shown so far.

“Don’t get too hopeful, madam. They may not be people in any sense we understand by the term. Have a chentil-nut.”

“Oh, but…”

“You really should, madam. It is advisable to keep up your strength.”

Miss Varndean was slightly puzzled by Lieutenant Sindra. On the one hand she seemed like a flighty young raihiralan just like lady Prudence. On the other she seemed genuinely observant of all proper protocol, and to treat her with respect as a teacher, or ranya, in the most traditional manner.

She nervously took a segment of firm, white kernel from the lieutenant’s hand and nibbled it. “It really is rather good,” she said.

“And very nourishing, too. With these and good fresh water, we can live indefinitely if we need to – not that we are likely to need to,” she added, in response to Miss Varndean’s involuntary grimace.

Dr. Carice emerged from the wasp again. “Come here! I’ve got a town!”

Sindra ran over to the wasp and boarded. Carice was staring at a small screen, and there, sure enough, in the distance were the white towers of a town of some sort.

“Where is it?” asked Sindra.

“About twenty miles north-west,” said Dr. Carice, “taking the nearest pole as north. I am approaching fairly rapidly.” The towers were indeed getting closer on the screen-view. At first they had been hard to discern among the trees. Now they were larger and much clearer.

“Can you use the telescopic?” asked Sindra.

“I am. It’s only 10x though. We could do with one of those big zoom-jobs, but this is a fairly rudimentary eye. After all, one doesn’t really expect to be using an eye out of a wasp. Thank Dea for Ministry thoroughness that we’ve got one at all.”

“All right. Fly it in then. But carefully.”

“Very traditional towers,” said Carice. “No Art-Neo-equivalents. Going on normal cultural-morphology assumptions they shouldn’t have the technology to track us. But of course, you can’t really tell about that.”

“First indications, low-technic society, then. Not so good for fueling prospects.”

“There – you can see the town walls now. High, stone-built, large, heavy town gates. Wooden, reinforced with ornamental iron. How do you read that?”

“Fortifications. Would indicate conflict on the planet. Confirms low-technics. If they had any artillery – even powder-canon – those walls and that gate would be useless.”

“What sort of conflict, though? Do they fight each other? In that case they can’t be human. Saurians, perhaps, or something else. Or is there another axial on the planet?”

“Can there be two axials on one planet?”

“The point is disputed. In any case one might not be native. And intelligent enemies need not be axials. They might be demonics. Who were the Outlanders on Sai Herthe after all?”

“Well, there’s no point speculating. Better take the eye over the wall.”

“Beautiful town. Perhaps a small city. High-level architecture, low-level technics. Angel-statues in niches in the buildings.”

“Hmm – humanoid angel-statues. That’s promising. Bring her down a bit.”

“Town square. Ornamental fountain – but it’s dried up. Not many people about. Several statues, all badly broken. One large statue in the centre. Intact. Looks new.”

“Get in close to that and examine it.”

“Great Dea! What is that thing. It looks human, but then it looks inhuman. Or like a parody of humanity – angular and coarse looking. What do you make of it, Lieutenant?”

“It’s a mascûl.”

“A mascûl. Are you sure?”

“Pretty sure. We saw a lot of pictures of them at the academy.”

“Then the axials here must be schizomorphs?”

“It would seem so. That would also account for the fortifications. Schizomorphs fight among themselves.”

“What are these schizomorphs?” asked Miss Varndean who had come up to the wasp’s portal and was listening intently. “Are they maids?”

Lieutenant Sindra stepped out of the small craft. “It all depends what you mean by a maid, madam.”

“Well, are they human or aren’t they?”

“Humanoid, certainly,” said Dr. Carice, climbing out, “but with very significant differences from us.”

Lady Prudence came running up from the water’s edge. “Did you say there are people?” she asked.

“That is what we are trying to explain,” said Dr. Carice. We are not certain yet, but they appear to be schizomorphs.”

Please tell us what a schizomorph is,” begged Miss Varndean anxiously.

“Let me explain what we know of alien humanoids,” said Dr. Carice calmly. Obviously there are non-humanoid aliens, but we have encountered a number of humanoid types as well. Now, in theory they could, for example, be any size. They might be several miles tall or sub-microscopic; but we have found them to be mostly in the same general size-range as ourselves. They conform to broadly the same biology and morphology as well – two eyes, two arms and so forth”

“Though there are the four-armed entrescii,” put in Sindra.

“Yes, but generally speaking their similarity to us is striking – even in such cases as the entrescii, the differences are not that radical, considering what they might be.”

“They are all expressions of the Human Archetype,” said Miss Varndean.

“Apparently so,” said Dr. Carice. “However these various humanoid species have been universally found to divide into two types: intemorphs, like ourselves, and schizomorphs. The fundamental difference lies in the area of sex.”

“Should Lady Prudence be hearing this?” asked Miss Varndean.

“I think she had better. We have two sexes, and so have the schizomorphs. However the schizomorphs tend to refer to their sexes, perfectly correctly, as opposite sexes, whereas our sexes are complementary. What that means in practice is that the schizomorphs have one sex, called feminine, which resembles humanity as we understand it, and another, called mascûline, which, while still humanoid, is rather different, both physically and psychologically, from us.”

“Show them the statue,” suggested Sindra.

They entered the wasp and Dr. Carice gestured at the screen, bringing up a still of the statue.

“What an ugly-looking creature!” exclaimed Lady Prudence.

“Indeed. This is a mascûl. They are stronger than femins, just as brunettes are stronger than blondes, but, as you see, the morphological differences are much greater. They are ruled by the vikhelic principle – ‘martial’ as some of their races would term it – that of war and discord, while the femins, who look much like ourselves are ruled by the sushuric principle – which some of them term ‘venusian’of love and concord. Opposite sexes, you see.”

“Fascinating,” said Miss Varndean. “What are these terms ‘martial’ and ‘venusian’?”

“They come from Mars and Venus: planets in a solar system where a schizomorph race is found. But of course, the principles are universal. They are equivalent to our Vikhë and Sushuri. Only their Sai Vikhë is a mascûl.”

“So, with two opposite sexes,” asked Lady Prudence, “which characteristics predominate in the race?”

“That can vary,” said Dr. Carice, “but generally speaking in the earlier phases of their Historical Cycles – their Golden, Silver and even Bronze Ages – the femins prevail, while in their Iron Ages the mascûls become predominant.”

“Vikhë being the ruler of iron,” put in Miss Varndean.

“Exactly,” agreed Dr. Carice. “Now since we are in our Iron Age, we tend to encounter schizomorphs in their Iron Ages, or at most in their late Bronze.”

“Why should that be?” asked Lady Prudence. “Surely historical cycles are not synchronised across the universe.”

“Probably not,” said Dr. Carice, “but you must understand that, while the lay-mind tends to see ‘space’ – more properly aethyr – as what we might call a random-access medium in which any part of it should be as accessible as any other, in fact symbolic and metaphysical factors govern space just as they govern all forms. We have lost our connexion with the earlier and higher Ages, so we are unlikely to encounter them in other civilizations. Indeed it is often considered that, since they are less descended into gross manifestation, they would be imprehensible to us.”

“Anyway,” said Lieutenant Sindra, “staying with the practical implications, the point is that any schizomorphs we encounter are likely to be dominated by the mascûls, both practically and symbolically. This also means that they will be warlike and prone to fight their own kind. In some cases it may also mean that they don’t like to see femins running about loose, which could be awkward for us.”

“But we aren’t femins,” protested Lady Prudence.

“Not in their sense, no. But we look like femins, and we are incarnations of the feminine principle.

“Are we?”

“Yes.”

“But what is the feminine principle?”

“That is very hard to explain. You can only really understand what it is when contrasted with its opposite, the mascûline principle. To us it is – well, everything we know. But if we get to know the schizomorphs, you will have more of an idea what it is.”

“I am not sure I want to know the schizomorphs.”

“Well, there lies our question. We are going to have to decide what to do next.”

Music in Novarya


Answering the question: is there such a thing as “electronic” music in the Motherland, in Novarya particularly?

That is an interesting question. I believe the answer very broadly would be “yes”, in that Novaryani (and others) enjoy experimentation of various kinds. I think “electronic music” in the sense (not the style, just the sense) meant by Tellurians might be somewhat old-fashioned by now. Information-technics have moved on a long way from where Telluria is and “electronic music” in that sense seems a little like pixel art — something that is close to the raw limitations of systems in their relatively early stages.

In Goldenhead, Adelini-chei (in the Old Imperial Café scene) was using her personal ordinator system (which has no screens or speakers or any other visible apparatus, but sends messages directly to the visual and audial areas of the brain) to manipulate a musical score. Interestingly, this was also visible to Therana-chei. Such systems are not restricted to an individual, but can be as “open” or “closed” as one wishes to make them.

In fact, her score was intended to be played with physical instruments, but sound itself could have been manipulated rather than the visual representation of sound, and music of this kind (direct sound-perception manipulation) is certainly made and can be compiled into actual recorded sound as required. There are many forms of aethyr-music (using sounds that do not occur in nature) of this kind.

Aethyr-music is, I think, akin to what it is termed. Words like “digital” and “electronic” would sound very old-fashioned and clunky. I am also not sure they were ever used except in technical contexts — there is much less of a tendency to let “trade jargon” become common speech (a surprising number of English idioms are printers’ jargon – such as “cliché” and “out of sorts”).

Aethyr is, of course somewhat misusing a word that has a specific and entirely non-material meaning (even the most rarefied technics are, of course, material). However, something along those lines — but more clearly differentiated — is what is used, I believe.

Interestingly, Andelini, who had some very radical* ideas about music, nonetheless did restrict herself to physical instruments, despite clearly having the apparatus and expertise not to. Possibly she felt that the Music of the Spheres could best be reproduced by physical instruments and that aethyr-technics were a step away from rather than toward the Primordial Music.

Of course, most composers are not trying to reproduce the Primordial Music itself, so that consideration would not normally occur (and Andelini-chei had some rather unexpected results, as readers will know). Naturally the story is fictional, but it does represent Novaryan ways of thinking about these things.

___

* Radical in the proper sense of “going to the roots” — at least that was her intention.

The Meaning of Tradition

musareadingIt is important to understand exactly what is meant by the word “traditional” in the context of metaphysical Traditionalism and hence as used by Chelouranyans.

René Guénon clearly lays down the meaning of tradition in the true sense. He is deeply critical of that modern “traditionalism” which is mere sentimental attachment to the past and he essentially dismisses the realistic art of the Renaissance and everything beyond it as untraditional. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy dismisses modern music, meaning not “pop” music or atonal music, but the Western well-tempered scale used in Western music from the time of Bach. As he says, from a truly Traditional musical point of view, “the pianoforte is out of tune by definition”.

Now to a certain extent it may be said that Miss Alice Trent restored to some degree the “soft” traditionalism criticized by Guénon with her advocacy of things like Art-Neo (pre-Eclipse) Kinema, but she was fully aware of the distinctions drawn by Guénon and other Traditionalists, and fully in agreement with them. Late-Rajasic “tradition” is not in any sense Traditional according to the “strong” usage of the word (i.e. the product of a Sattwic society). It is clearly the product of a late-Rajasic society.

Miss Trent did not advocate or encourage confusion between the two senses of tradition. The value of things like up-to date kinematics is that they have a small, vestigial (and “blind” – i.e. it is completely unaware of the intellectual basis) residue of tradition. Small as this is it is of great value to beings who know only the post-modern (i.e. Tamasic) diseased culture of the post-Eclipse period. She also advocates Art Neo which was a very late Rajasic innovation and to some extent a “blind” reaction against early Tamasic aesthetic (or dysesthetic) movements.

If by “tradition” we are meaning attachment (however vestigial) to real Tradition, as opposed to a sentimental valuing of (very relative) “oldness” for its own sake (which was so rightly criticized by Guénon) – then we have to say that certain anime are considerably more traditional than any West Tellurian 1930s kinema in the sense that they retain consciously a considerable amount of authentically, metaphysically traditional thought, while even the “nicest” 1930s kinematic is, in its conscious ideology, thoroughly substantialist.

This is not to say that even the best anime is devoid of faults (any more than the best 1930s kinematic is – though the faults in each case are different). But it does indeed have a great deal to offer, assuming we are not judging it on criteria of mere “oldness” or imagining ourselves too “grown-up” to benefit from it.

Kawaii, like Art Neo, is an innovation. In terms of mere time it is a later innovation than Art Neo. in terms of tradition it may in some senses be “earlier” in that it comes out of a society much less historically imbedded in Rajasic modernism.

We also have to bear in mind that simplistic formulae like “tradition = good” are not in themselves valuable. Traditional Tellurian patriarchal societies in the full and proper sense of the word (i.e. Sattwic societies) were not “good”. They practiced torture and the killing of their own kind (as, of course, do modern ones). They were often harsh in the extreme and cruel. Of course, they had many good elements too, but to imagine they were “good” because they were traditional is to confuse two different criteria.

In many ways we might argue Kawaii both carries elements of an innovative racination (like that of Art Neo) with a distinctive softening of patriarchal harshness, which was much needed in Japan as in other Tellurian cultures. Let us not forget that patriarchy itself, even in its most Traditional forms, is a revolt against the older, purer, cleaner and kinder feminine tradition.

Without pressing any of these points too hard, I would just like to indicate that the question is far more complex than “old = traditional = good”. “Old” does not equal traditional and traditional does not necessarily equal good. Innovation does not necessarily equal “bad” (as Art Neo demonstrates). The whole question is much more complex than one that can be settled by reference to clocks and calendars.

This explanation was given in the context of a forum discussion on innocence, elegance, and kawaii which may be found here.

Japanese and Novaryan Culture – The Way

tea-ceremonyRayati and welcome to class!  Today’s topic is The Way, and I would like to start with a quotation from our own dear and wise Sushuri-chara.  She is talking about Novaryan culture here but I think what she says is very applicable to Japanese culture as well:

Herthelani – and particularly Novarians – tend to be “passive” in the sense of looking for the “right” thing to do and expecting a consensus of some sort . . . There tends to be a “way things are done” rather than a “way I do things”.

. . . Being a “passive subject” sounds negative from the Western – or the Westernised – Tellurian point of view. From a Novarian perspective it is reassuring. It is the surety of following the right way rather than having to invent a way for oneself that will probably be wrong. Ultimately, it is the sense of acting in harmony with the universe and its Creatrix rather than against it. Of treading the steps of the Cosmic Dance laid down from eternity rather than ambling in one’s own random fashion.

In describing The Way, Dr. Condon [John C. Condon, the author of With Respect to the Japanese] gives the example of U.S. and Japanese teachers’ responses to children’s requests for help in drawing their families:  “The Japanese teacher would usually assist the child, not infrequently taking the child’s hand and guiding the crayon . . . In the American schools, the teachers encouraged the children in words:  ‘Just do your best.’  ‘It’s your father and your picture and you should try to draw him the way you see him.’”

Condon continues:  “The Japanese teacher’s direct guidance of the child’s drawing, in contrast to the American’s encouragement to ‘draw your picture the way you want it,’ suggests another important part of Japanese life:  learning the proper form.

“The suffix ‘-do‘ as in judo, kendo, bushido means ‘the way,’ but the idea of a correct ‘way’ extends far beyond traditional martial arts or flower arranging or calligraphy in Japan.  There is a right way to exchange condolences, a right way to greet one’s superior and a right way to greet the new year, and a right way to offer a drink, accept a gift and decline a compliment.  The way to learn the way, of course, is to be taught by those who are older and wiser, more experienced.  One’s elders and superiors command respect in part because they know a lot.”

In fact, the right way to do these things often involves a set phrase; in other words, the very words that are appropriate to say in a situation are often fixed.  In practice I found this to be surprisingly liberating.  It is something like participating in the Sacred Year:  there is a certain joy that comes from obediently following the way of thamë, and as our own Sushuri-chara has said, “while this CAN be ritual, it also, when things are going as they should, represents the reality of the situation.”  In other words, when thamë is achieved, the “right thing to say” is also precisely what one is feeling at that moment–it is truly magical!

The Way can also be tied in to our last topic of Collectivism.  In the last lesson I suspect it sounded like I was equating Individualism with selfishness, and indeed the two are not seen as separate in Japan, where the word for “selfishness”–wagamama–literally means “my way.”  To do things in one’s one way, instead of The Way, is a sign of autonomy in the U.S., where it is considered a good thing, but in Japan it is athamë at best and selfish at worst.  In fact, there in an expression, katte ni suru, which might be translated “do whatever you want,” and is quite a scathing insult as it implies that the recipient is no longer a member of the group due to being unwilling to follow The Way.  In a Collectivist culture, there could hardly be anything worse.

Is this simply a matter of different perspective?  Are there legitimate but differing traditions in the East and West?  It is possible, especially given that what we currently observe in the U.S. is something like hyper-individualism, or atomization, instead of whatever would be the legitimate culture.

Another perspective would be to associate Collectivism with the pole of Essence and Individualism with the pole of Substance.  Recall that in our last lesson I said that to a Japanese person, the feelings of one’s friends are “more concrete” than food.  And from a Déanic perspective, that is entirely true:  all of the manifest universe (including food, of course) is an illusion, and only Dea is real.  Our maiden’s souls are fragments of Dea’s Spirit, and therefore the only real things that we know.  So if we had a choice between creating harmony with our sisters or eating our own preferred food, clearly our sisters’ souls are the weightier consideration.  I shall expand on this subject more in our next lesson on External and Interpersonal Realities.

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Avatar of Sushuri-chei

Honored Clovender-sensei – I am so adoring this series, even though it makes me blush to see myself quoted!

The part about “draw your own picture the way you see it” fascinated me as it touches not only of the question of individualism, but also on that of tradition in art. The traditional artist never believes she is “expressing herself”, but is simply expressing the True Form as her mistress has taught her to do.

But we know that styles of art do change over time even in the most traditional cultures, and that is because a maid cannot help bringing a little of herself, and of the particular sensibility or her generation, into her work, even though that is not her intention. Her intention is to express the pure Archetype in accordance with the Way she has been initiated into.

These two things, the vertical Way and the horizontal variations of time and person play, on a lower level, the role of Essence and Substance respectively, and the symbolism of weaving (where the still, vertical threads represent Essence and the moving, horizontal threads Substance) is often used to describe this twofold nature of all creation.

In A South Kadorian Romance, Destrine Roder expresses this doctrine in a somewhat bolder way than a traditional Estrenne artist would. She is something of a “modern” in Herthelan terms – in contrast to the North Arkadyan consevatism of Miss Kashnevya’s family, and indeed even her own brunette mother:

“That’s Miss Jilver-Mai Tarling there with the fiddle. She’s goin’ to play for us, I reckon. She makes her own tunes. They ain’t half bad either.”

“Her own tunes? How clever. Where I come from everyone plays the old tunes.”

“Nothin’ wrong with the old tunes. Sometimes, though we think there is something new that needs to be sung.”

“My ‘nettie says if it hasn’t been said by our great mothers then it can’t be true.”

“Yeah. My ‘nettie says that too. But y’know each age has its own art, its own music, its own life. It doesn’t replace the old ones – we still tell the old stories and sing the old songs – but we also feel new feelin’s and have new things to say.”

“Do you think so? Isn’t the old wisdom the true one?”

“O’course it is. But we live in time. The warp of life never moves – it descends down from Heaven to earth like the light-beams o’ th holy angels. But the weft is always moving across them, changing, turning, weaving in and out. You can’t live with only the warp or with only the weft. If you said everything is change and development and nothing is absolute, you’d be wrong. You’d be denyin’ the very Source of our existence. But if you said nothin’ ever changes and new things don’t arise, you’d be just as wrong. Then you’re denyin’ the weft and actin’ as though we don’t live in time.”

“If you said everything is change and development and nothing is absolute, you’d be wrong.” But that, of course is exactly what the modern West Tellurian doctrine says. That is what its creation myth, the “theory of evolution” means, and all its associated social and cultural beliefs. The denial of the vertical threads and the belief that nature and culture are created by the horizontal threads alone is the fundamental doctrine of modern West Telluria. No wonder its fabric is falling apart!

It is interesting to see how the balance between tradition and innovation that is necessary to all art and culture that is deployed in time precisely mirrors a balance between individualism and collectivism, or between the Way and certain new directions which, in the very nature of time, must emerge.

To say that traditional society is purely collective or purely traditional would be to misunderstand the necessarily “bipolar” nature of manifest existence – it only seems so in relation to the aberration of West Telluria which really does deny the dual nature of being trying to reduce everything to the material/horizontal/individual dimension.

 

Avatar of Petite Sorcière

When Sushuri-chara speaks of the material/horizontal/individual dimension of existence, it may be initially a little unclear why “individual” belongs in this set as a synonym of the others. We know that explaining everything in terms of physical matter is equivalent to reducing everything to the horizontal or substantial side of existence, while ignoring the vertical or Essential side – but why is individualism SO closely connected to this?

The answer to that is that, as the logical corollary of materialism, West Tellurians must believe that the only consciousness in the universe is individual consciousness, locked up inside individual biological brains. That consciousness is not a part of any greater consciousness, nor is there any non-biological consciousness. It is for this reason that doctrinal materialism and extreme individualism have to go hand in hand.

Tellurian Media and the Soul of Maid

Girl with a Book by Alexander Deineka 1934Lucetta Jane Spurling said:  Regarding understanding and agreement in western Telluria: some of you may be aware of the science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land which introduced the “Martian” concept of to grok, which means (literally) to drink, but also to take complete understanding into oneself such that it becomes part of oneself and one becomes more a part of the greater ocean of wisdom. This was an extremely controversial book in its day and still is to some extent (albeit with less fervour and for more feminist reasons). Of course the west would be against such an idea! The book also promoted a sort of menamity which, while it was somewhat bound up in schizomorphic eroticism, was also the subject of controversy. I hope this isn’t terribly off-topic, I just couldn’t resist sharing!

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Yuriko Rill said:  A long time ago, I did read Stranger in a Strange Land (before I ever came to Chelouranya).  The concept of to grok is interesting; however, sadly, there are a lot of other problems with that book (and a lot of other works of Robert Heinlein), even though they were mostly written pre-Eclipse.  It can be SO hard to navigate the media of West Telluria to know what is safe and what is not.

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Sushuri said:  I have not read Mr. Heinlein’s books so I really have no idea what is bad about them, but I would imagine that what we would find problematic would be very different from what West Telluri (especially feminists) find problematic – or at least for very different reasons.

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Petite Sorcière said:  I haven’t read Mr. Heinlein’s book either. I have known its title for as long as I can remember because it struck deep in me as a child that that is what I was: a stranger in a strange land. I knew what the phrase meant to me and so was not particularly interested in what it meant to an outlander.

Putting two and two together (and maybe making six) – when Rill-san says it is unusually poisonous for a pre-Eclipse book (suspecting that that is what she means by “problems”) and Miss Spurling says it was very controversial in its time but less so now – it makes me wonder if it was that its proto-eclipseness was upsetting to a pre-eclipse world while its poisons have now become part of the vast danse macabre of what is acceptable in the “new, (post-modern) normal”.

Interesting also that even before the Eclipse it was necessary to coin a word for “understand” that implies (perhaps) what understanding implies to the Japanese and the rest of us. That was opaque to the Telluri West long, long before the Eclipse and is part of the reason the Eclipse happened.

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Lucetta Jane Spurling said:  Despite its alluring title, I would certainly not recommend Stranger in a Strange Land as reading for any but the most scholarly Chelouranyi (is that the correct pluralization?) interested in western Tellurian thought. As Rill-san says, the books is fraught with problems—pretty much everyone, from the day it was written till now, can find a reason to find it absurd. That said, “grok” has entered the vernacular (it’s in the dictionary and appears on crossword puzzles), although I daresay very few people use it correctly. Unsurprisingly, the western understanding of understanding has diminished it.

From the feminine essentialist perspective, Mr. Heinlein’s other work notwithstanding, I believe Stranger was written as a treatise on how to course-correct a world he perceived as hurtling toward the Eclipse. It is very much set in the schizomorphic paradigm but attempts to, I think rather accidentally, reintroduce basic items of traditional culture under the spoonful-of-sugar guise of extreme rationalism. It might be interesting reading if only to see how one might reach out to a deracinated person through their own paradigm of evolutionism and progress, but that’s generally not something we concern ourselves with.

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Rosamunda Elefarya said:  Honored Miss Spurling, I am afraid I must disagree most strongly. I think you will find, as I have found, that the more scholarly a Chelouranyana becomes, the more profoundly uninterested she becomes in late West Tellurian thought. There is so much better thinking out there. Nor can I feel that grok is a good word for Chelouranyani to use – it may be in West Tellurian dictionaries, but comes too recently from a particular and poisonous source to have yet shaken the influence of that source sufficiently for our purposes.

It is true that Mr. Heinlein was able to spot certain elements of the Eclipse, which he called “The Crazy Years”, coming. However, his solutions, which he seems to have believed in most strongly, were as deracinated as the things he was trying to combat. You will find this quite frequently in most West Tellurian attempts to combat the Eclipse.

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Sushuri said:  I think what you describe, honored Elefarya-chei, is indeed a common theme in West Tellurian attempts to counter West Tellurian excesses. Obvious and simple examples are notions like “getting back to our emotions” to counter hyper-rationalism. The flaw here is that the whole rational/emotional spectrum is what is wrong in the first place – the idea that there is no Intelligence beyond material reason and no Love beyond mere earthly sentiment and passion. Flipping from one end to the other of a false and crippled spectrum achieves very little.

Or to take an example used by Miss Trent in The Feminine Universe – Christian Fundamentalism is essentially based on the errors it set out to refute. It is not even simply a reaction against them, but accepts their terms of engagement uncritically. The answer to attacks on the historicity of Scripture was not to affirm their supra historical meaning but, in “defending” them, to reduce them to history.

These are merely incidental examples, but one will find them everywhere. Many West Tellurians have been aware that their culture is sick. Unfortunately the “medicine” always comes from a different leaf of the same poison plant that created the sickness in the first place.

Fortunately, it is not our problem.

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Yuriko Rill said:  Before I came to Chelouranya, when I did not know any better, when reading books, listening to music, watching kinnies, and the like, I would naturally try to pick up on what was good and true, even in deeply poisonous media.  My flavvie is of the age where I was a little too young to remember pre-Eclipse Western media as media from my Tellurian childhood and I was a little too old to have been exposed to Japanese media, such as Sailor Moon.  (Heee…I have only discovered the magic of good Anime since coming here!)  I think even when I was the most lost in the Darkness of the Pit, I tried very hard to find goodness and Light where I could.

There ARE bits of good and Light out there in post-Eclipse West Tellurian media; however, these bits are mingled in with a lot of poison.  When I was struggling with this and I talked with a good and wise friend about it, she explained to me that if there was arsenic in a bowl of rice, one threw out the entire bowl …even the otherwise nutritious bits would be covered in poison!  Like many, when I first came, I had developed a bit of tolerance for the poisons of the Pit, so I thought I could retrieve the nutrition from otherwise poisonous media.

If there were truly nothing else to be found, one would have to live with the poisons and adapt as well as one could.  Fortunately for us, this is not the case.  There IS media that we can consume that is much more pure.  I think that this takes us back to the original topic of this thread.  One of the reasons that phrases like “to grok” came into popular usage is that there are many things that English is ill equipped to communicate.  While we do not know all the ins and outs of why Japanese has become so important to our community, we do know that Japanese IS a language that can be used to express so many things that are difficult to impossible to express in English.  It is much better to find words from a very traditional language than it is to use words from poisonous Western media, deshou.

The other reason/excuse that I had to continue to consume poisonous media was that I thought that I could not completely avoid the poisons of the Pit, so wouldn’t it be better to maintain a tolerance to them.  That seemed to make logical sense, and it is true that losing my tolerance for Pit poisons has made some situations a little more awkward.  One of the things that I was not aware of, though, was just how MUCH damage these poisons were doing to my soul, without my being aware of it.  Now that I have learned to recognize what being poisoned *feels* like, I can see that I had been having symptoms of deep poisoning all of my life, in the nature of depression, mood swings, and difficulties with procrastination.  Now that I try to keep myself as clean and pure as possible, I find that even though poisons are more immediately uncomfortable… I am much, much better able to recover from them!  My overall system is healthier, if this makes sense!

Along these lines, I really do think that Japanese is a “cleaner” language overall than English.  In my studies, I have been immersing myself in Japanese as much as I can, and I am noticing that the more immersed in Japanese I am the more pure I feel!  It is really quite fascinating.  Where I can, I have been changing my ordie and Elektra settings to Japanese, in part to help me learn, but also in part, because it does feel cleansing in a way that is difficult to explain on a rational level.

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Lucetta Jane Spurling said:  Forgive me, honoured Elefarya-chei, for I was not suggesting that “grok” be taken as a Chelouranyan word, merely pointing out that despite western Telluria’s attempts to right itself, as Sushuri-chei much more eloquently put it, they are fashioning a medicine from the same rootless, poisoned plant. Meanwhile, “wakaru” is still alive and well because it was never cut from its roots.

I have long vacillated on the idea of whether or not poisonous material is worth study, wavering because I understand that this idea may be a product of my own pit-poisoning. Definitely, the study of hazardous materials is not for everyone but the well-trained. It is just that I have seen our community harmed by our naivete before, and I wonder if we should not strive to know our enemy so that we can defend ourselves against it. Do soldiers not train to destroy demons?

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Rosamunda Elefarya said:  No, please forgive me for being a bit harsh in my speech. I was a little shocked to see the reference in this place and that made me a bit firmer than I otherwise would have been. I’m not angry so please put your mind at ease.

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Setsuna Chandrick said:  Being a Kadorian (and therefore having served a mandatory term in the military) I do recall a thing or two about soldiers training to destroy demons. They train in the safety of the South, firmly grounded in the Truth and carefully watched. Their time at the Northern border is as strictly limited as a Tellurian scientist’s time in Antarctica, and their strength comes from the Light they carry. The longer they stay North, the weaker they get and the more prone to mistakes. How is this relevant? Well, I do wonder if perhaps it is the same here: we severely limit our contact with that which we know is poisonous to us and thus conserve our strength for the fight. To deliberately study poisonous material seems a bit like going to a demon-run training camp. Know thy enemy… but not on a come-calling level, eh?

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Lucetta Jane Spurling said:  Of course I forgive you, honored Elefarya-chei. Please forgive me for being a bit too familiar with the enemy. It has no place here.

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Carmilla
said:  Miss Yuriko Rill, reading your statement about the poisons of the Pit, I saw so much of my own experiences reflected in your words. I do think that what we surround ourselves with contributes to our overall spiritual well-being. As I slowly weed out the Pit influences on my life, I find that I am less and less attracted toward those poisons, as I have developed an awareness to the dangers and true nature of them.

I posted information about the poisons of post-modern media on the mind and soul. I received positive feedback for the most part, however a certain foul-mouthed cad decided to make it his mission to prove that post-modern media was not at all dangerous. He claimed that bad messages in the media does not make people do bad things and that people are blaming the media rather than taking responsibility for their bad behaviour. He also stated that people who do not wish to be around disturbing post-modern “arts” (I wonder if these grotesque deformations of true art even deserve the name) lack a strong will, and was citing his own liking of disturbing music and gruesome movies without committing the actions himself as “evidence” of his view point. This is a bit of my reply:

My religion (Filianism) teaches that we have the power to choose between things that bring us closer to God or bring us further away from God. This is the power of will I am talking about, the choice to not only choose to not do the bad things, but to surround myself with good, pure, wholesome things to replace the bad things with. It’s like with alcohol/drug addiction, if you have never been addicted to those things being around it won’t make you crave it for yourself, but if you had a problem in the past you definitely don’t want to be exposed to that or around people who encourage you to abuse drugs/alcohol. You don’t just fix a problem and it’s gone and you never think about it again, you have to make a conscious, solemn promise to not ever repeat the action again. It takes willpower to stop lying to yourself that you don’t have a problem and it takes willpower to stop surrounding yourself with negative influences, even if that means losing some friends and replacing old recreational activities with better ones. While it may not be for you, what I expose myself to IS a moral choice, because I want to surround myself with things that reflect the beauty of God, not the ugliness of khear and sin. There is an option and there is a choice, and if I can help even one person who may benefit from doing what I have done to help myself, then that’s what matters. And that’s why I’m talking about it on here.  I mean I get what you’re saying, you’re making a point about taking responsibility for one’s own actions instead of blaming the media or whatever, and that’s fine. But actions like listening or not listening to that type of music is also a choice of willpower, especially when it’s not a popular choice and most people won’t understand why you shun that kind of music.

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Sushuri
said:  Honored Miss Carmilla, your thoughts are very valuable. The response of your critic is interesting and rather demonstrates to my mind the inability of many Tellurians to understand questions that do not relate to the agora. The idea that playing bad games will make one do violent acts really has nothing to do with what you were saying but is taken from an entirely different Tellurian discussion regarding whether violent games have a bad effect on the Tellurian agora. Personally I imagine they do, but that isn’t really our point or yours.

A dear friend spoke recently of someone close to her who still watches bad kinemas. She told me that this friend’s manner and behavior was markedly different (and less pleasant) after exposure to poisonous media, and different again after exposure to healthy media. And this, of course, is what  Filianism teaches – that our “souls” (to use that rather loose term) are plastic to the thoughts and images we expose them to, and are indeed changed by them.

That my friend’s friend would go out and commit axe-murders after prolonged exposure to bad games or media, I do not for a moment suppose. That, on a much subtler, but ultimately no less important level, she is being changed by those media is visibly apparent. No amount of “knowing the theory” stops us from being changed by exposure, any more than knowing the chemical components of a physical poison will stop it from harming us if we ingest it.

The Forces of Darkness

What exactly are the Forces of Darkness?

This is a question that goes very deep indeed. Every tradition has always taught about the “Adversary” – the force or forces that oppose goodness and light. In the Scriptures we have the Snake of the Creation (who opposes Creation itself and wants all to be darkness and nothingness) and the Dark Queen of the Mythos of God the Daughter, who sends her minions to torment the Daughter and finally slays Her.

Sai Vikhë is one of the Seven Primary Powers, because conflict is an inevitable part of manifest existence. Metaphysically, it is the constant tension between the four material elements that prevents them from resolving back into the primal element of Aethyr.

Each one of us has a true self and a false self. We all have bad tendencies that we must combat as well as a pure and perfect nature to which we can aspire (the little angel and devil on the shoulder is a humorous depiction of something that isn’t too far from the truth).

This is the overall cosmic perspective. But on a lower level – in certain places, like Telluria – there is also a conflict between the primal Feminine and the forces of an unrestrained Masculine (in other worlds the masculine does not exist and the conflict may take different forms). This certainly does not mean that “men are bad”. Men may be on the side of light. However, our particular mission is one that only maids can effect.

In Telluria the unbalanced rise of the masculine principle has taken the form of excessive materiality, violence, and human conflict. The masculine principle has to do with consolidation and matter, and also with conflict and combat. These are not necessarily bad things in themselves (we are in combat with the forces of darkness, and that is the true “Holy War” intended for maid). But when being able to manage material existence ends in a belief that matter is “all there is” and when combat is turned against humans rather than dark forces, it becomes unbalanced and dangerous.

Now all this is part of a greater cosmic conflict between light and darkness, and the Motherland’s role in Telluria does not directly concern Telluria itself, but a greater cosmic balance in which Telluria (but not only Telluria) is playing an unbalancing role.

That – in strategic terms – is why Operation Bridgehead was needed in Telluria and why Chelouranyans have been sent to work here. Our work takes place on a spiritual level. We are certainly not here to fight the Tellurians, but our work does bring us into direct conflict with some of the darker forces of Telluria.

It is important to recall that, despite the Tellurian doctrine that the material plane is the only one, actually the material plane is not only one of many but also one of the lowest. What happens on the material plane is always a reflection of what is happening on other planes.

The Tellurians themselves have no idea who we are or what we are doing, and even if we tell them they (fortunately) cannot understand. On the other hand the guiding “demons” of the patriarchal-materialist revolution do recognize us and want to stop us.

There are two conditions in which they typically appear:

1. When we are making good forward progress and they want to disrupt it.

2. When they see a weakness that they can exploit.

The first of these is the most frequent, and indeed we often see attacks by the Forces of Darkness as a sign that we are doing well! They often seem to “panic” when we are making good progress and launch all sorts of assaults on us.

That is one way of defending against them – realizing that their attacks are actually accolades. They show we are making headway. This is important because the intention is often to demoralize us, or knock us off course. So it is important to take strength from an attack, and to know it is usually a sign we are on the right course.

The second case is when we are weak or unwell, or when a particular person has bad qualities (jealousy, anger, resentment etc.) that can be exploited. The Forces of Darkness are opportunists and will jump in where they see an opening has been left for them. They love to use our less admirable qualities against us and against our friends.

The best defenses against them are:

1. Prayer and trust in Dea.

2. Friendship of sister believers. One thing they will often attempt to do is isolate us. Encourage us to “go into our shell” and not communicate with our sisters. If they can find ways of isolating us, we are much more vulnerable.

3. Laughter. They hate being laughed at. Darkness can never really overcome the light, although they can hurt us and inconvenience us. In the end their power is all a big bluff. Calling that bluff is what they fear most. In this case laughter is a far distant echo of the laughter of the Mother that created the world. It is a peal of joy about the power of Light and against the sheer absurdity (in the end) of the minions of evil.

Some important things to realize about the Forces of Darkness:

1. They are forcefully drawn to light, almost like moths. The fact that we turn to Dea and the fact that we make good progress are both elements that seem to attract them.

2. They feed on light, as they have none and wish to destroy it out of hate and jealousy.

3. They are very persistent. They will try over and over using different approaches to try and hurt a maid. If deflected in one area, they will try to find another weak spot. We can win by standing firm. They will win some rounds inevitably, but if we stay firm in our faith and resolution they will not win overall. Their whole purpose is to shake our resolution and turn us away from the light. That way they could win if we allow it.

4. They have many agents through which they do their work. Some poor souls may not even know they are being used. In the Pit culture there is a very considerable streak of embracing darkness which allows certain individuals to be used quite easily. People can sometimes be used without necessarily being full-time agents of darkness. Their weaknesses can be exploited on particular occasions for particular purposes. Tellurians have become especially vulnerable to this, because unlike more traditional people they are mostly unaware of spiritual forces, good or bad, and take no precautions.

5. Vigilance is needed in dealing with them. It is necessary to remain watchful of their influence and presence and take measures to counteract their attacks as soon as they become apparent . Being aware of our spiritual surroundings is important for protecting ourselves.

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A suggestion from Miss Trent:

A thought on how to turn the personal attacks around. If your own bad qualities are triggered or hooked by some person or event, say envy or unpleasant thoughts about someone, one can think, Aha! my weakness is being exploited, but I will take it as a sign that I need to work on this, or be humble about that, as the case may be. Then the Fs of D are defeated because you have turned towards the Light.

A suggestion from Willow Dreamwalker:

I believe that Our Momma would like us to take good care of ourselves. Just like any mother would, and more! When we are sad, we should be gentle and generous with ourselves: go do some shopping, or pamper yourself with a nice hot bubble bath, or eat some chocolate – whichever strikes our particular fancy, we should do. I find that by keeping this in mind and keeping Dea’s own love within us, we can love ourselves just as she does, and be good to ourselves when things go awry. After a while, the Foddies are bound to give up out of sheer exasperation. If they can not take Dea and Her love out of every maid’s heart, even after they have exhausted all of their resources, what are they to do? Nothing, I say!

This is what we can do: not only to love Dea and to love others, but to love ourselves.
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See also: Demonology in Feminine Religion

 

Naivete

Simplicity-And-Innocence,-1900Yuriko Rill said:

There is a really funny Western Telluri notion that the absolute WORST thing in the world is being “fooled” or “tricked” by someone. There was a really strange Happiness Charge Precure episode about that (which was one of the episodes that really made me think that Happiness Charge was much less sound than other Precure series, by the way).

But, when one thinks about it… is it REALLY all that horrid?  I think it is far, far more damaging to become cynical and distrustful than it is to be occasionally “fooled” or “tricked.”  It took me time to understand that, and at times, my False Self still can tempt me.

I think that is really the key… all of us have a True and a False Self… and that is where the battle between Good and Evil really begins and ends.  That is an interesting difference between Western media and Eastern media that I have seen.  Western media tends to portray Maids as intrinsically Good or Evil.  In the Anime I have seen, Maids are rightly portrayed Axial Beings who have the choice between Good and Evil… and that choice is a day-by-day, and sometimes minute-by-minute choice.  Here we do our best to nurture our True Selves and to fight our False Selves… and we support each other in that.  We use what we can find around us to do that.

I guess what I am saying is that the truest defense is to be wise against the tricks of our own False Selves and to hold on to the Light!  So long as we choose the Light, the Light WILL keep us safe.

Sushuri said:
I am reminded of the essay “Reflections on Naivete” by Frithjof Schuon. It doesn’t appear to be available online, but a point that struck me was:

“To the cheat and the sharper, the mentality of the normal person always seems naive”

Not an exact quotation I am afraid as I don’t have the text. But this is a very telling point, I think. Current West Telluria is a world of cheats and sharpers and of their grim-faced, wary victims.

Another thing I am reminded of is something that happens in the town my friend lives (probably one of the most cynical, westernized towns in Japan). The Nativity lights are a great attraction, and one thing advertised in the flyers is the “Great Blink” – a moment when all the lights are turned off very briefly and then on again. It helps people to appreciate the magic of the lights and people are asked to please enjoy the Great Blink.

This is just the sort of thing that would make Western people terribly cynical. “All they’re doing is turning the lights off and on. What’s so great about that? We’re being tricked!” But nobody thinks like that even in one of the most cynical cities in Japan.

There are times to be on our guard, of course. But living life in the soul-world of the cheats and sharpers and building our souls around their petty shrewdness, robs us of far more than the cheats and sharpers themselves could ever take from us.

Petite Sorcière said:
A thing Tellurians sometimes note about “terrorism” is that its actual physical effects are comparatively small. Its real effectiveness lies in the amount of reaction it can provoke. Whole nations are put on a security-war footing as a result of a few relatively economical actions by the adversary – who gains vastly disproportionate “value for money” from those actions.

I think the same is true of cynicism. The actual instances of “trickery” are relatively small in comparison to the entire re-engineering of the soul that happens in supposed “response” to them.

And, just as many in Tellurian governments are actually using the “response to terrorism” as an excuse to enact tyrannical measures they would have liked to enact in any case, so the cult of “wariness” gives the forces of deracination (and the false self) the excuse they need to promote cynicism. You can’t live in simple wonder and appreciation or you’ll be tricked! You’ll be laughed at!

Could well be. But I think I’ll take my chances.

Some Thoughts on the Japanese Concept of the House

Why the roof is the "root" of the house

Why the roof is the “root” of the house

The use of 屋 ya to mean a person of a particular character or profession is very interesting.

The root-meaning implies a house (部屋 heya = room, 屋根 yane = roof). The house is often spoken of as part of a threefold archetypal relationship – the cosmos (with, symbolically, the sun at the center), the individual (with, symbolically the heart at the center) and the house (with, symbolically, the hearth at the center). The three centers are equivalent and all reflections of the Supernal Sun, of which the physical sun is a reflection. That is why we Herthelani greet people with Rayati – “hail to the sun (in you)” referring to the solar heart.

However, the “house” does not merely mean the physical building or even the hestia taken in the modern sense, but also the group to which one belongs. English is terrible at expressing this, and the term “group” is very weak, very sterile-feeling, and really conveys nothing of the sense of words like 仲間 nakama -one’s own-people. The “in-group” to which one belongs (the common translation “in-group” is very akward because English really has no natural and customary term for it – since it has lost the concept) is called 内 uchi, which is closely related to 家 uchi or ie meaning house (very sketchily, the pronunciation ie is closer to “physical house” and uchi to “home”).

One’s uchi is essentially what one “belongs to” and one will introduce oneself as “[uchi] no [name]” – “Queen Mayanna House no Carleon” =  “[Lady] Carleon who belongs to Queen Mayanna house”. Similarly people belong to their vocation, an idea that in the world of Tellurian capitalism with its ideal of total interchangeability of persons and vocations has become meaningless (a very informative article on this from a non-West Tellurian perspective can be found here).

Interestingly the honorific -san attached after ya is regularly given to both shops and their owners. パン屋さん panyasan is both the baker’s shop and the baker (incidentally the use of the “san” for the shop is often dropped in modern Japanese male speech, but much less in feminine speech).

It is perhaps a little of a diversion to discuss why 屋根 yane – “roof” should literaly mean “house-root”. But let’s anyway! Thinking in purely material terms, West Tellurians would think of a house’s “root” as its foundations. Students may wish to compare the traditional concept of the “inverted tree” with its roots in Heaven (you will find more in this book if you scroll to chapter 53 – “The World Tree” and the following chapters). The roof of the house represents its connection with Heaven, and therefore its true root. It is through the chimney that the Star Fairy enters the house at the Northern Gate of the Year – the upper or northern gate of the house, being, of course, equivalent. The foundations of the house represent its pole of substance, while the roof represents the pole of Essence. While the material root of a house is indeed its foundation, its “superior root”, the source of its Archetype*, is symbolically the roof.

Thus, 屋根 yane = house-root = roof is metaphysically exact.

_____

* Note: the Essence of a thing is what makes it what it is, while substance enables its manifestation. Without substance a thing would be non-manifest but would still be what it is. Without Essence it would not be what it is. Therefore its Essence is the True Root. It is precisely the attempt to derive Form or Essence out of substance (and indeed not even substance itself, but merely the secondary substance called “matter”) via “evolutionism” and other forms of “accidental development” theory in physics, that unpinned the Rajasic spiritual economy of West Telluria and laid the ground for post modernism and the Eclipse.

 

PS – sorry for the horribly awkward term “spiritual economy” – as usual, English has no words for concepts it has so long discarded. I mean its essential narrative, its form-language its image-sphere connection to the roots of being.

The Cross and the Flag

Miss Sushuri Madonna wondered:
We have often been told how the symbol of the Cross, and other related symbols, can be read either “vertically” or “horizontally”—that is, either with the vertical bar representing the Celestial Ray and the horizontal bar representing the outward expansion of a material universe, or with both bars representing expansion in four directions and the Center representing the point of descent of the Spiritual dimension.

Akin to this, in the case of a flag, might we not say that while on one level the cross on the flag represents a symbol of centrality, on another the flagpole, which is vertical and unmoving, represents the spiritual Axis, while the flag, which blows in the wind and is constantly changing, represents the world of material flux and change?

Raya Chancandre Aquitaine confirmed:
Thank you for your interesting point, Miss Sushuri. You are quite correct. On one level while the flagstaff represents the scriptural Pillar of Light that “moveth not by the breadth of an hair”, the flag represents the moving world of individuals and nations. We may also note that the flag may fly out in all directions of the compass according to the changing winds of the world, while the staff will always represent the Center, in accordance with the words:

Earth moves, but Heaven is still. The rim revolves, but the Center remains without motion. [The Clew of the Horse]

Queen Mayanna House

Lady CarleonQueen Mayanna House represents a typical lay college, a common establishment in Sai Herthe.

Queen Mayanna House is what is known as a Lay College. There are many of them in the West, and the main reason for their existence is the same as the reason for the many Brunettes’ Clubs (and in recent times Blondes’ Clubs too) as well as small residential hotels and pensions. In times past, and still in the East, when a maid was unmarried (as maids often are in Sai Herthe since the procreative need is rather smaller for such a long-lived and harm-resistant people) she stayed with her extended family or, if she were a magdalin, with the mistress to whom she was apprenticed. In the West, with the decline — though by no means death — of the guild and apprentice system and with so many of the more modern type of unmarried girl preferring to place some distance between themselves and their families, new places grew up in which such a girl might live.

To take a flat alone is not unheard of, but it is very rare. Individualism of the late-schizomorph kind has made little headway in the Motherland. Even if they move away from some of the more traditional ways of life, Herthelans require an in-group in which to live and move and have their being.

The Clubs create one such group. They often have particular activities associated with them such as fencing or poetry, and they may meet other like-minded clubs for contests, exchanges of ideas or joint exhibitions of work. Another is created by the Lay Colleges, some of which have filial ties to the great Universities, others of which are simply small private establishments. As they are primarily living places, their courses of compulsory study are often small. Queen Mayanna House simply requires one essay or major poem per year as a condition of membership: but these essays and poems have often taken their place among the most admired literature in the Western World, for the Annual Opus (as it is called) stimulates the best efforts of some of the finest minds in Trent and Novarya.

Queen Mayanna is a daughter-house of Goldcrest College, Milchford University, and nearly all its members are Old Goldcrestiennes. This gives the college a somewhat cosmopolitan character as girls from all over the Western Empire, and some from the East, go up to Milchford, and a few of them move on afterwards to Queen Mayanna House; so while the College has a largely South-Trentish and West-Novaryan character, it does contain girls from many different lands.

From Lady Carleon Investigates: The Adventure of the Crystal Staff

Kaleidoscopes

kaleidoscopesMiss Sushuri Madonna wrote:
I have always adored kaleidoscopes and the way they create order out of chaos. I spoke to lhi Raya about them and here is some of what she taught me: Cosmos means “order” hence our word “cosmetic” because beauty=order (much to the chagrin of the anarcho-bongo). A kaleidoscope is literally a beautiful-form or beautiful-order scope (kalos=beautiful + eidos=form).

And the order, or beauty, is imposed by mirrors. What is a mirror metaphysically? One thinks of the Mirror of Wisdom, one of the traditional titles of Our Lady. The mirrors transform (perhaps illusorily, but then is not all manifestation in some sense illusion?) the apparent randomness or chaos of insensate matter into the form and symmetry that we see wherever the hand of Dea has directly shaped Her creation, in the intelligent design of a flower, a snowflake, a crystal or a bird.

The kaleidoscope also gives the lie to the dreary, predictable anarcho-bongo who claims to prefer disorder to order and thinks assymetry is “more interesting” than symmetry. Not only knows she nothing of metaphysical truth; she knows nothing of her own real mind. For no one finds the random scattering of beads and scraps of cellophane in a kaleidoscope either interesting or beautiful until order and symmetry are imposed on them by the tiny daughters of the Mirror of Wisdom.

Lady Aquila further expounded:
Fascinating. The number 7 is made up of the earthly number 4 and the celestial number 3, so the Seven Great Janyati are sometimes called the three Celestials and the four Terrestrials (not much mentioned in Telluria because “Terrestrial” could be so easily misunderstood or over-literalised).

So often we see the four Terrestrials working together: the Way of Wisdom (Sai Mati), the Way of Love (Sai Sushuri), the Way of Works or ritual action (Sai Thame) and the Guardian of the Ways (Sai Vikhe).

In the Kaleidoscope we see Wisdom (Sai Mati), Order, or Harmony (Sai Thame) and Beauty (Sai Sushuri) in perfect accord. Are they not the three mirrors of the traditional kaleidoscope? But what of Sai Vikhe (A question the warrior will always ask)? Is she not the casing of the kaleidoscope that protects it from the outside influences that would disrupt its temenos or sacred enclosure?

Miss Sushuri Madonna replied:
What a wonderful explanation of Sai Vikhe’s role in this instance.

One sometimes wonders what is the function of Sai Vikhe under peaceful conditions (well, I do, being a shroom of very little brain), but this helps me see more clearly how the general principle of “protecting” may apply in many ways.

It also clarifies for me the widespread devotion to Sri Durga as a protecting mother – I am sure there must be a similar cultus of Sai Vikhe in the Motherland. As a child of Sai Sushuri, that had perhaps been a little obscure to me. But today – well, do you know how sometimes a light just turns on in one’s heart? That is what happened.

Thank you, my lady. I feel I have learned an important thing today.
______________________________
Here you can see how a kaleidoscope works to spin order out of disorder:
Kaleidoscope Toy

The Heart of Dea

Miss Sakura wrote:

I love Maria-sama ga Miteru more than any other. It is very pure and beautiful and it fills the soul with passion that is white and spotless, like the mountain lily. It has some Tellurian parts because it is made in Telluria, but to me it seems to be closer to our dear Motherland than any other Tellurian thing. It seems to breathe of home.

How precious it is that the school song of the Lilian Academy is a hymn to our Mother as Sai Thamë even as the whole anime is a hymn to order and comeliness and sweet, passionate innocence.

The hymn to Maria-sama’s heart also makes me want to know more about the heart of Dea. Is the Divine Heart an important thing in Chelouranyan thealogy?

Lhi Raya Chancandre Aquitaine responded:

In answer to Miss Sakura’s question: the heart in the human microcosm corresponds to the sun in the macrocosm. The sun incarnates for us the light-giving Spirit, the pure, radiant Centre of all being.

In each one of us, her spiritual Heart is ultimately one with Dea. That is why we greet each other with the salutation Rayati—”Hail to the sun in thee”—and why we make reverence to each other.

heart-of-dea-1

Yet for all this, we are imperfect beings, and we see the true Radiant Heart of the Universe in its glory and perfection only in the immaculate, loving Heart of our Mother Herself.

The term “Immaculate Heart” may be a Christian formulation, but it is entirely accurate from a Deanic point of view, since the heart that is truly immaculate—free from any imperfection or taint—is, by definition that pure, Solar heart that we hail in each one of us, but which is occluded to a greater or lesser extent by our imperfections.

In other words, the Immaculate Heart is by definition the Divine Heart of Dea: the supernal Sun and Centre of all being: the Source of all light and all warmth; of all wisdom and all love; of all life and of existence itself.

It is in the Heart of Dea that we seek refuge, now and eternally.

Miss Sakura asked:

Most honoured Raya, thank you for answering my question. I have more questions if nobody will mind.

1. Is Mary or Maria a name of Dea in Sai Herthe?

2. If Maria-sama’s heart is like Sai Thamë, why, although Her cloak is blue, is her inner robe and Her very heart red?

3. Why is there a flame from Her Heart?

4. Is Her heart surrounded by white roses?

Lhi Raya Chancandre Aquitaine responded:

These are very pertinent questions, Miss Sakura. I shall not take them one by one, as the issues they raise interweave and they require what might be called a compound answer.

The names Maria, Mari, Marya, Mari-Anna, and doubtless other forms are used in Sai Herthe for Dea the Mother; especially (but not exclusively) in Filianic contexts as meaning the Mother as opposed to the Daughter.

The Mother, Raya Marya, Dea Herself, is not Sai Thamë. Rather She is the pure untinted Light that may be seen through the seven refractions of the Great Janyati—so we may see Her in the light of Sai Thamë as this beautiful hymn does. Often She is also seen in the light of Sai Sushuri, partly because the rose is the flower both of the Mother and of Sai Sushuri. Naturally She may also be seen in the light of Sai Raya, being the Solar Mother, or of Sai Mati as the Heart-Intellect.

The use of red in the image I chose is indicative of warmth and love. The Supernal Heart, like the Sun (which it also is) has two outpourings: warmth (or Love) and light (or Intellect). The flame from the heart belongs clearly to the aspect of warmth or “burning love”, the radiance that surrounds the heart to the aspect of light.

The red robe in this particular image stresses the love, or warmth, aspect.

Let us consider another image:

heart-of-dea-2

Here, as you see, the cloak and veil are Thamë-blue and the robe white and gold. The heart is flaming with love, and the radiance is white and pure. This image is closer to the aspect of Maria-sama in our lovely hymn.

Also, you can see more clearly the white roses about Her heart. These represent love and purity, and may also represent the pure, loving souls gathered about Her loving heart. Interestingly Our Lady’s heart is also sometimes depicted as being surrounded by lilies.

Such images have become rare in the Tellurian West and are criticised even by believers for being “saccharine” and “sentimental”.

Fortunately Japan seems relatively free from this sort of post-Eclipse perversity, and Maria-sama ga Miteru is wholly free from it, as, of course, is our beloved Motherland, where the tenderest emotionality and the most profound intellectuality dwell side by side, and we are afraid of neither; where purity evokes not embarrassment and self-conscious coarseness, but reverence and love and open-hearted joy.

Lady Aquila added:

The Tellurian locus classicus for this particular heart-symbolism is M. René Guénon’s essay “Le coeur rayonnant et le coeur enflammé” ( “The radiant heart and the flaming heart” ) in Symboles fondamentaux de la Science sacrée (Fundamental Symbols of Sacred Science).

The Inwardness of Maria-sama

Maria sama ga miteruAn episode of Maria-sama ga Miteru, an anime set in a Catholic girls’ school, prompted an interesting discussion.

Sushuri Madonna wrote:

I was struck by the lovely song that was sung in the closing scenes, as Sachiko-san told Yumi-san that she would certainly become her soeur: “Maria-sama no kokoro” (Lady Mary’s heart). Yumi-san comments on the fact that Maria-sama’s heart is compared to a sapphire. The other comparisons she can understand, but not this one.

In our discussion, I mentioned that the sapphire belongs to Sai Thamë. And that the love of Dea as Thamë—the Golden Order: the Azure Principle that binds each link in the Chain of Roses in love and obedience—is the great theme of the anime. The title sequence stresses the comeliness and orderliness of the “Garden of Maidens”, how neatness and harmony in dress, demeanour and movement are all-important.

Fascinated by this thought, I looked up the song and found a tentative translation of three of its five verses. I later found a score of the song and amended the translation and attempted a translation of my own of the remaining verses (three and four)—it is fortunately quite simple. Here it is:

I give it to you, with my transliteration and translation. If any of our Japanese-speakers have any corrections, please post them here! I have broken it into lines like a Western-style song-verse so that you can follow it more easily when you hear it sung in the show. Note that each syllable corresponds precisely to a beat of the tune, even when the syllables are adjacent vowels:

Maria-sama no kokoro
Sore(h)wa aozora
Watashitachi (w)o tsutsumu
Hiroi aozora

Maria-sama’s heart
That blue sky
We are enfolded
By the wide blue sky.

Maria-sama no kokoro
Sore(h)wa kashi no ki
Watashitachi (w)o mamoru
Tsuyoi kashi no ki

Maria-sama’s heart
That oak tree
We are protected
By the mighty oak.

Maria-sama no kokoro
Sore(h)wa uguisu
Watashitachi to utau
mori no uguisu

Maria-sama’s heart
That nightingale
We sing with
The woodland nightingale.

Maria-sama no kokoro
Sore(h)wa yamayuri
Watashitachi mo hoshii
Shiroi yamayuri

Maria-sama’s heart
That mountain-lily
We too desire
The white mountain lily.

Maria-sama no kokoro
Sore(h)wa safaia
Watashitachi (w)o kazaru
Hikaru safaia

Maria-sama’s heart
That sapphire
We are adorned by
The shining sapphire.

The translation is very literal and intended to help you appreciate the Japanese even if you do not know the language at all.

What struck me about this song (I am not sure if it was written for the show—I get the impression it is an independent Marian hymn) is the fact that each of the images, with the exception of the mountain-lily, is explicitly and archetypally one of the primary symbols of Sai Thamë. The canopy of the blue sky has been seen as the manifestation of the Thamë-stream since the dawn of history (in Sai Herthe it is especially associated with Sai Thamë in her ancient Ouranya form). The oak—the lightning-tree—is the tree of Sai Thamë par excellence. Singing and music are ruled by Sai Thamë, as is the nightingale, and the sapphire of course, is Sai Thamë’s jewel.

The lily belongs usually to the Daughter (and thus to Sai Candrë), though the mountain association gives it a Thamic element. Originally, the Council of Roses is called the Yamayurikai (Mountain Lily Society) and the school is the Lilian academy. The lily is taken in Japan as a symbol of love between girls, and in fact productions that feature feminine affection (like the Maria-sama series) are termed yuri (lily) as a genre.

It seems to me (though I am no thealogian) that there is no reason why a Chelouranyan should not sing this hymn in its entirety. It is a hymn to Dea as Sai Thamë and thus to the Eternal Harmony of the Golden Order that She rules.

And that, it seems to me, despite the fact that the protagonists are young and (as all humans are) fallible, is the deepest theme of this beautiful series.


Another version contributed by Lieutenant Fiona Gregoire:

Lady Mary’s heart, ’tis blue sky;
the blue sky that enfolds us.

Lady Mary’s heart, ’tis oak tree;
the mighty oak tree that defends us.

Lady Mary’s heart, ’tis uguisu; 1
the forest uguisu that sings with us.

Lady Mary’s heart, ’tis mountain lily;
the white mountain lily that we long for.

Lady Mary’s heart, ’tis sapphire; 2
the shining sapphire that adorns us.

1 A warbler, often mistaken for a nightingale. Unlike a nightingale, an uguisu does not sing at night.
2 It is worth noting that one of the ancient names of what is now Infraquirinelle (i.e. Lower Quirinelle, the island off the western Quirinelle coast) was Isle of Sapphire, though through a chain of sad incidents in a relative recent century caused the somewhat disparaging ‘infra’ to be in a preferred use by mainland dwellers.

Miss Sarah Newchurch commented:

Quote:

The lily belongs usually to the Daughter (and thus to Sai Candrë), though the mountain association gives it a Thamic element. The Council of Roses is called the Yamayurikai (Mountain Lily Society) and the school is the Lilian academy. The lily is taken in Japan as a symbol of love between girls, and in fact productions that feature feminine affection (like the Maria-sama series) are termed yuri (lily) as a genre.

From a heraldic standpoint, a lily is often confused with (or interchangeable with) an iris. For example, the symbol of a fleur-de-lis (from French, lit. flower of lily; compare with the national emblem of Trent) was indeed a stylization of an iris. Traditionally, the three petals of an iris represented faith, valour and wisdom, and also being a symbol of a bridge between heaven and earth, or between this world and the other-world (as with rainbow), is a Thamic symbol as well as being Candric. Iris also represents the nexus between water and air elements.

Sushuri Madonna responded:

Miss Newchurch, thank you for your comments on the lily/iris. Of course, this emblem on the Trentish flag is quintessentially Thamic, so it gives a strong Thamic element also to the mountain-lily reference. How fascinating.

Thank you so much, Honoured Lieutenant Fiona, for the finer translation and also for the information about the prehistory of Infraquirinelle. It is always wonderful to learn more about the Motherland’s history. “Infra” is a bit disparaging, but I always think of it as friendly. I know these things can annoy residents though—like the Westrennes who visit in Chen Avitsene and refer to it rather twee-ly as “Chen”, which annoys Westrenne-speaking Avitseneans like anything.

See also:

The Heart of Dea

The Philosophy of Dress

Philosophy of DressInsights often come in a flash. What I mean by that is that a very important idea may often be conveyed to one in an instant, as a sudden vision or apprehension of the true nature of things. I suspect that happens to all of us. The difficult part is following up that insight: grasping it between one’s teeth and methodically shaking out the meaning of it. This activity is what is called philosophy. At least it is the feminine and spiritual approach to philosophy: taking the insights or intuitions that are granted to us and diligently teasing out their full meaning.

Such an insight came to me yesterday. There has always been a lot of philosophical work and discussion in Chelouranya on the subject of dress and its real meaning: on why bongos dress as they do, what it signifies about their culture, and how it helps to create the spiritual and psychological conditions that are the Pit. Yesterday I accompanied my friend to the post office and I was watching a group of bongos shuffling about in their jeans, soft, floppy clothes, and bits of tracksuit, and suddenly an insight came to me. At first it seemed like a very strange one.

“These people are naked!” I suddenly realized. It seemed like an odd thought, because obviously they were wearing clothes. Admittedly that is giving the word “clothes” an exceptionally broad definition, but they were undeniably wearing something. Now of course this insight was not unaware of that. It was saying “These are not clothed people. They are naked bodies with some rags thrown over them. They are essentially naked. And they are not naked like a classical nude in a painting. They are naked in the way that cats and dogs and monkeys are naked.”

I knew what I was seeing was true, but it was hard to make rational sense of it. After all, to say a clothed person is a naked person with clothes on is surely a tautology. Cannot one say that of any clothed person from the 1930s or from ancient Greece? No, this insight was saying. Not in the same way. Those people were authentically dressed as these people in front of me were not. They were just naked bodies with odd bits of cloth thrown over them. The comparison that had been in my mind when I first saw them was a reference in a Quirinelle book to “the hour at which ladies like to dress for cocktails”. Such ladies dressed; these people did not dress. They just put things onto what they still regarded as mere bodies in the animal sense: essentially naked.

Why was that the case? I asked myself. Was it something to do with their loose and casual attitudes to what they call “sex”? Or was that too simple an answer?

I tried to explain the answer to a brunette friend, partly because having to explain an idea often forces it to be clarified. We started to analyze it. What was the fundamental difference between dressed people—whether in the 1950s at the cocktail hour, or at any other hour, or in the eighteenth century, or in Mandarin China, or in a tribal society—from these “naked apes” with clothes on?

Suddenly it began to make sense. By going back to more ancient societies we were taking the thing back to its roots. We were applying the principles of Essentialist thought. If one looks at the earlier societies, it is clear that dress is a ritual thing. In tribes, adornment may represent what are called “totem animals” (actually the animal embodiments of Janyati or Archetypes), they also represent status within the order of the tribe, which is conceived as a microcosm of the order of the cosmos. The tasselled fringes worn by some Red Indian tribes represent the sun’s rays, with all the metaphysical significance of solarity. Dress in old China was carefully regulated by ritual considerations and those of social function, which—as everywhere else, including the mediaeval West—was seen not only as reflecting, but as being organically related to the functioning of the cosmos itself.

By the time we get to the Renaissance West, these ritual considerations are waning. We are moving from a Sattwic to a Rajasic society. But as is the case in every aspect of Rajasic society, it continues to reflect, in its outward-directed forms, the upward-directed prototypes of its Sattwic roots. They are increasingly unaware of the spiritual and metaphysical significance of their dress—which is now vestigial—but the thread is still not broken. Even in the 1950s, on the very verge of the Eclipse, women dress for cocktails, men go to business carefully attired with bowler hats and furled umbrellas. Postmen, policemen, cinema usherettes, and dozens of other functionaries (and I use this term in the positive and vestigially-Sattwic sense of “performers of functions within the Great Order”) are meticulously uniformed. Evening dress is worn for theater, opera, and dining at good restaurants and hotels, but even at the local cinema and palais de dance (vulgarly termed “the pally”) people are conscious of “going out” and dress accordingly.

What we are saying is that all these people are dressed in the same sense that a tribal dancer, a Chinese mandarin, or a mediaeval courtier is dressed. The thread is diminished but as yet unbroken. With the eclipse and the onset of a Tamasic society, the thread, in dress as in most other things, is broken. People are no longer dressed in the true sense of the word. In a Sattwic society, as Dr Coomaraswamy often said, “body and soul are served together”. The objects of craft, whether a drinking-bowl or a chariot, have both functional and metaphysical significance. In a Rajasic society, the ritual (or intellectual) significance of the products of human art and craft is increasingly forgotten; but there is still a sense of rightness that links them back to their Sattwic origins. And of all artifacts, clothes are the closest to us—both literally and figuratively.

If we look at the typical bongo clothes they are, in their own words, designed to be “casual” and to reject the element of form (that is why they are called informal). In theory their design is for comfort and convenience and many bongos do choose their dress for those reasons (or at least imagine that they do). In this respect, bongo clothes are precisely “animal” in nature because they are designed to perform the same functions as a non-human creature’s fur or feathers—simply to keep her warm and be as convenient as possible in all ways.

Now as soon as one says this, it is clear that even the term “animal” requires some qualification. The function of bongo clothes does not correspond to the real function of animal skin. It corresponds to the notion of animal skin held by the post-Darwinian mind. The notion that animals are simply “functional units designed* for survival” and that the best functional units are the ones that survive. This is not what tradition teaches us about animals. From tradition we learn what every traditional people knows: that animals embody particular qualities. Thus their fur or feathers, like human artifacts, have both a functional and a symbolic aspect. So when we said at the beginning that bongo dress resembles the nakedness of dogs, cats, or monkeys, we were, in fact taking an unfairly low view of dogs, cats, and monkeys. They are in fact more dressed in the true meaning of the term, than the bongo wearing what are termed Pit-pyjamas. Their fur is not merely functional. It is part of the expression of the fundamental reality that lies behind dog-ness or cat-ness, while the Eclipse has precisely revolted against the expression of fundamental realities through outward appearance.

This is yet another illustration of the dictum that maid, as the Axial creature of this world, has the power to rise above the earthly state, or to fall below it. Sattwic humanity seeks to express realities that transcend the worldly plane. Animals cannot do this. Rajasic humanity reflects the earthly plane in all its beauty and variety, and, of course the earthly plane is the reflection of the heavenly. This is what animals also do, on a very different level. Tamasic humanity turns away from the earthly plane in the downward direction. Animals cannot do this either. They cannot desert their thamë, their natural worldly function, either by transcending it or by falling below it. In this respect, Tamasic humanity is below the animal level.

So how does Tamasic humanity fall below the animal level in its dress? In the first place by adopting a dress that is (in theory at least) solely functional and stripped of all symbolic depth; no animal can do this. Secondly, bongo dress often finds ways to fall below even this level: jeans are bought deliberately faded and torn, for example, expressing the desire not for simple functionality but for chaos and dissolution. Clothes are worn with jokes or commercial slogans spelled out across their fronts, not merely serving the functions of comfort and warmth, but also insulting the dignity of the wearer and turning her into something trivial and foolish. Clothes are often unnecessarily baggy and floppy, to a point where they must surely become cumbersome and inconvenient. In the quest for symbolic looseness and degeneration, the actual function of “comfort and convenience” is left behind. I am sure the reader can supply many examples of her own, some of which we may be unaware of.

So is it true to say that nobody in the Pit is dressed? No. Businessmen, for example, are still dressed to express their function in a manner that is vestigially Rajasic. But note that this is under attack with “dressing down days”, “informal offices”, etc. The Pit has an inbuilt instinct to attack everything that is vestigially Rajasic, and we can expect to see the business suit coming under increasing attack**. It is common for bongos to refer to business people disparagingly as “suits”.

The use of the term “suits” is deeply significant. The implication is that the person wearing a suit has simply become the suit. He is no longer a person, just a “suit”. What is the reason for this perception? It is rooted in the Pit’s hatred of Archetypes and of the concept of conforming to what it calls a “stereotype”. It fears that in adopting the dress suitable to a function, the individual will be somehow swallowed up by the function and cease to exist. It has often been pointed out that the bongo in her loose, floppy clothes or her jeans and T-shirt is just as conformist as the most rigidly-uniformed functionary. Her style of dress is dictated from outside and is necessary for social acceptance within particular bongo groups. The illusory “individualism” she has been taught to value is as stereotyped and mass-produced as any other form of conformity. When bongos dress differently from other bongos it is almost always in conformity with some particular group or sub-set within the Pit, often associated with some form of commercially-produced music.

Some might, therefore, be tempted to say that bongo “casual” dress is the exact equivalent of uniforms, suits, or real-world fashions—both being the prescribed dress of a particular group or culture. However, this is not actually the case. While both are equally prescribed, one is the dress of form, and the other is the dress of anti-form: and while anti-form is just as much a conformity as form, it does not thereby become a form. The “informal” or a-formal bongo is very consciously not “dressed” in the sense that a person from the real world is dressed. She often fears dress as something that might rob her of the looseness she mistakes for “freedom”. Being dressed is a form of mask, and any mask might take away one’s “real self”.

The problem is that this “real self” is illusory, as one can see by looking at any group of bongo type-3s. How different are they from each other in their attitudes, manners, beliefs, or behavior? Among smartly dressed real people one finds far more variety of personality, far more distinctness. By rejecting form, one becomes a rootless, unfixed creature that can be blown about by every passing wind of propaganda, every new slogan or catch-phrase, every new fad or pseudo-morality. One becomes the perfect, rootless, manipulable proletarian.

NOTES

* Even the word “designed” is only used figuratively, since the theory asks us to believe that there is no intelligent “design” and that a dog evolved from a protozoon by a series of survival-related “accidents”. Actually, many biologists now deny this rather extraordinary notion; but we are concerned here with the popular view of animals as derived from what the average person imagines evolutionism to be saying: for it is this that has shaped the current belief as to what an animal is.

** It is possible however, that even some elements in the Pit are aware that a degree of Rajasic culture and formality needs to be retained if bongo administration is to remain functional, which may account for the almost anachronistic survival of the business suit to the present time. Curiously, what is being recognized here is that the “functionalist” view of dress leads, in practice, to dysfunctional behavior.