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.



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.