Category Archives: Philosophy

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.

__________________

For more about the Janyati, see The Seven Great Angels

 

 

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.

____________________________

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

Filianic Scriptures: A Look at Their Music

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.

*****************

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.

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.

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.

___________________________

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.
_____

See also: Demonology in Feminine Religion

 

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]

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.

Tea and Universal Sympathy

tea-ceremonyIt has been suggested that there is a particular similarity between Herthelan culture in general (and Novaryan culture in particular) and the traditional culture of Japan. This piece offers some thoughts on this connexion based on the “structural assumptions” of the Japanese language.

Let us take a very simple example, and you will see that the same principle applies to a lot of Japanese constructions.

I like tea = Watashi wa ocha ga suki desu

The two sentences are equivalent, but the Japanese, if I understand correctly, actually means “In relation to me, tea takes the action of being liked”.

Now this is a very important difference. The Western form places the emphasis on the personal human ego as the active entity.

According to West-Telluri philosophy, this is simply correct. To like something is an “action” taken by the liker, not by the thing liked.

Most Modern Japanese would presumably, if asked, take this view too, being steeped in the modern Western rationalist perspective. But their language says something else, and I suspect their real thinking contains elements of both perspectives.

So what are the perspectives, and how far are they “Eastern” or “Western” in an absolute sense?

Without getting too deeply into the “background theory”, let me explain briefly that modern West-Telluria’s rationalist perspective is not “the Western outlook” but a “heresy” base on the legitimate Western outlook.

So in many respects traditional West-Telluria, even as late as the Middle Ages, thinks more like the Tellurian East than does modern Western Telluria.

In Sai Herthe there was no Rationalist Heresy, but the legitimate characteristics of the West, were still, in subtler ways, “carried too far” in the modern era: which is why Westrenne Herthelans tend to regard Estrennes as their spiritual superiors.

(This is almost the exact opposite of the “inferiority complex” that the Tellurian East feels in relation to the Tellurian West and the corresponding “superiority complex” of the Tellurian West).

Getting back to our tea:

The Western formulation puts maid at the centre. Maid is the “subject”, tea is the “object”. It is egoic. In terms of religion, it develops into the will-centred faith of Christianity, with an emphasis on sin (that is, faults of the individual and collective will). This perspective also exists in Sai Herthe, particularly in the West.

See this page on the Filianic understanding of “original sin” and its differences and similarities with the Christian concept.

When it is taken to excess this outlook leads to the cultural “malpractice” of individualism (which, in the late Iron Age has happened in both Westrenne Sai Herthe and Telluria) and when taken even further leads to the outright heresies of rationalism and humanism (as has happened in West Telluria, but not Westrenne Sai Herthe)

The Japanese formulation – that tea does the action of being liked in relation to a particular person – expresses a quite different perspective, and one that is much closer to the Novaryan (and generally Estrenne) outlook. It is a view that modern West Tellurians would be likely to categorize – rather misleadingly – as “animist”.

According to this view maid is not the sole experiencing center. The quality of amity exists not only in maid but in the tea itself – indeed more importantly in the tea.

Tea is one of the ten thousand things of cosmic manifestation that each express (insofar as they approach perfection) small aspects of the Divine Totality.

Between those aspects of the Divine Whole, and the individual being that constitutes “oneself” (which is really another aspect of the Divine Whole, but in some senses more separated from Her – by her sin or her ignorance, depending on perspective – and in other senses closer to Her, being made in Her image) – between those two aspects of the Divine whole exists an Affinity.

That Affinity is seen in the West from the egoic perspective and in the East from the perspective of the Totality of which an external object may act as the representative.

That is the fundamental reason for the two ways of expressing the liking of tea. And of course similar considerations will apply with many other linguistic formulae.

I have expressed all this in very Deanic terms, of course, because I am a Deanist. But the second of these two outlooks is exactly that of much of the Herthelan East – and in Novarya tends to be that tempered with a certain amount of the Westrenne outlook.

Thus it is very close – in broadly analogous terms, not in cultural specifics, and of course excluding the various errors induced by the adoption of West-Tellurian rationalism – to the position of modern Japan.
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Note

I was talking to Minami-chei about this rather old discussion and oddly enough I found an interesting sidelight on it the next day. Minami-chei said that the Korean expression for liking tea (or anything else) was exactly equivalent to the japanese, but that she (as a mother-tongue Korean speaker) had never thought of its literal meaning as I have portrayed it (although she agreed that this is the literal meaning).

Now I would not expect the literal meaning to be consciously uppermost in the mind of a modern-educated person from Japan or Korea, but I do suggest that it is in the deep structures of the traditional thought of Japanese and Koreans. I was interested, therefore, to read this in The Japanese Today by Professor Edwin Reischauer:

The word “individualism” (kojin shuji) itself has always been of ill repute in Japan. It suggests to the Japanese selfishness rather than personal responsibility… For a while students used the term “subjectivity” (shutaisei) in the sense of one’s being the active subject rather than the passive object of one’s life.

Now this is surely very interesting. The very grammatical term is used. The whole point of our tea sentence is that the tea is the active subject, taking the action of being-liked. And it is from this precise structure of life that the Westernising student wishes to escape. Japanese tends to relieve the individual of the burden of subjectivity, while Western languages – like the cultures – stress it as a positive value.

As a Novaryan I am often told that I am, by West Tellurian standards “unnaturally passive”. I tend to wait to be led, although when I am sure of a principle I can be forceful and even unbending.

Some of this may be my age and my own nature, but I would say that Herthelans – and particularly Novaryans – tend to be “passive” in the sense of looking for the “right” thing to do and expecting a consensus of some sort. It doesn’t mean we are followers rather than leaders (we couldn’t all be could we?) but rather that in our natural habitat we live by a Norm, or thamë both in society as a whole and then reflectively in any group within it. There tends to be a “way things are done” rather than a “way I do things”.

One is either following that way or administering it – and if one is administering it one is still following it. Being a “passive subject” sounds negative from the Western – or the Westernised – Tellurian point of view. From a Novaryan 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.