A Legend of Ithelia (fragment) Monday, Mar 31 2008 

Readers may be interested in a fragment of Old Aristasian literature that has recently come to light. It appears to be from a blank-verse drama concerning the Novacairen Princess Ithelia. Whether it is a translation of an older text or was originally written in Westrenne is not known, and, frustratingly, the subject of the conversation does not come to light.

Ithelia was a famous queen of Novacaire. This story is clearly set in her youth, when her mother, Ehrejene was still on the throne. While the story remains unclear, the piece provides us with a pleasing example of this style of rhetorical verse and gives a strong flavour of the ancient Aristasian East particularly in its powerful assimilation of the royal maidens to the sun and moon, which, we must understand, would have been for the writer far more than a mere literary simile.

The only points of elucidation that are really necessary is that “Rayin” (pronounced as one syllable) is the old term for “Queen”, and a Rani is a schoolmistress.

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

Itheleia: What is to say, shining Sun, that is not said already?
Or what words of mine can recolour 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 colour 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?

Itheleia: 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.

Itheleia: 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-

Itheleia: 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?

The Year, the Month and the Day Sunday, Mar 30 2008 

Miss Alice Trent wrote:
The 28-day lunar month is a solar-year-in-miniature with four weeks (a week being one cycle of the seven Great Janyati) each representing a season – the Full- and Dark-moon weeks representing Summer and Winter respectively and the Crescent and Decrescent half-moon weeks representing Spring and Autumn respectively.

Miss Gillian asked:
Since the month is like a little year, would I be right in guessing that the day is also, with the morning as spring, afternoon as summer, evening as autumn and night as winter?

And am I also right in guessing that Easter and the direction East are related words?

Miss Alice Trent answered:
You are absolutely right, Miss Gillian. The day does correspond to the year in just the way you suggest, which is why Eostre was the goddess of Spring and dawn. As one would expect, midnight is the Winter solstice and noon the Summer solstice, while sunrise is the Spring equinox and sunset the Autumn equinox. Interestingly the “equinoxes” of the day only fall precisely into the cross-formation of the year (i.e. equidistant between the “solstices”) on the year’s own equinoxes.

“East” and “Easter” are related words as well as related concepts, as also are “Vesper” (evening) and “West”.

Miranda’s Mommies Thursday, Mar 27 2008 

Miranda, chatting at the Cocktail Bar:
I introduced Rosie and Trudy to my Mommies, and of course they loved them both, R. and T. loved Blonde and Brunette Mommy, that is, because, well, who wouldn’t? My Mommies are just swell, the keenest any girl ever had. Everybody thinks so, even those rough brunettes down at school. Put big, ol’, “thinks she so impressive” Rhonda around my Brunette Mommy and Rhonda almost turns practically blonde. Because, you see, my Brunette Mommy is quite stern and strict. She always says Dea made her that way to prepare her for a “Life with Blondes,” like it’s one of the musical shows we all put on each fall at school. She says her life could be a musical show, what with a blonde wife (of course!), three blonde daughters (me and my two little sisters), an office filled with blonde employees, and the any number of blonde friends I bring home with me each day. But Brunette Mommy knows how to handle a blonde, and she is so stern that she rarely ever has to get very, um, determined to keep her blondes all soft, yielding, and sweetly blonde (for nothing is more unbecoming than a blonde who is trying to act like a brunette!).

And Blonde Mommy, well everyone adores her. She is the sweetest, most lovely, kindest, and softest mommy a girl could have. She always has time to play with her girls, to run around with us in the garden or play badminton in the back yard. She is so intelligent too, knows more than I ever will. You can always ask Blonde Mommy a question, and she’ll know the answer! She actually prepared at the university to be a professor, but even with all of her intelligence, she knew that the home life was more suited to her temperament than the academic life, so she is here with us. She is just so peachy. Do you know that she thinks only one birthday a year is not nearly enough for her little girls, so she throws each of us a half birthday party six months after our real birthday. She gets the half birthday girl half of a card, half of a cake and little silly gifts, all cut in half! Well, that’s the kind of mommies I have, so you can see why Trudy and Rosie were thrilled to meet them.

More from the Cocktail Bar

The Sucrishi Way Wednesday, Mar 26 2008 


One way to Dea is the path of love, in contrast to the path of light (of knowledge or intellectual contemplation). There are certain groups in the motherland called the Sucrishi who lay much emphasis on chanting and a child-like simplicity in devotion.

Cuivahya wrote:
Do you know the word Sucrishi? It is an Aristasian word. It means “following the path of love”. It is like the Hindu bhakti. In the Motherland there are many approaches to Dea. There are great and complicated rituals. There are  studies and meditations and austerities. But the simplest way of all is the Sucrishi way, the Way of Love. And that way is open to everyone, no matter how far she may be from the Golden Temple of Rayapurh.

The Mother cannot resist your love, because no mother can resist the love of her child. Love is the straight way, the direct way, the perfect way to Dea.

So, perhaps you will say: “I do not know if I love Dea. I do not even know Her.”

Oh, yes, you know Her. She is your Mother. She made you. She is the deepest thing that you know. When all else is blown aside by the winds of time and impermanence, She is the thing that remains.

Ask the Mother to come to you as a perfect love for Her. For it is by Her Power that you will love Her. It is Her Love with which you will love Her, for She is the source of all love. Just ask Her, and She will come, for a mother never refuses her child’s cry. You may feel Her or you may not. Something very instant and obvious may happen, or it may take a long time – even years. But if you have asked Her, She has come. She has come now. How She comes, She will decide, and Her decision will be right.

The Year of Sai Sushuri Saturday, Mar 22 2008 

As this year started on a Friday, it is ruled by Sai Sushuri. This is an edited version of the article on the janya from The Seven Great Janyati.

Sai Sushuri rules every kind of love, as well as beauty. At its root, all love is Divine Love, just as all beauty is Divine Beauty. It is the love of Dea for Her creation, the love of the soul for Dea and of Her creatures for one another. Just as beauty is the beauty of Dea, so love is the love of Dea. When we love Her, we do so with Her own love; hence the prayer to Dea to “Come into us as a perfect love for Thee”.

The Sushuric principle is often taken as the opposite of the Vikhelic. From another perspective, however, the true opposite of the Vikhelic principle is the Sushuri-Thamic. Love, beauty, order and harmony are closely woven together. Under normal circumstances, vikhë too is part of this harmony. Only in the Age of Iron, when the Vikhelic influence becomes disproportionate, is opposition between the principles noticeable (this is natural, since opposition itself is Vikhelic).

In Telluria, the polarity of femininity and masculinity is a polarity between the Sushuric and Vikhelic principles. In Aristasia the polarity between blonde and brunette is between the Sushuric and Thamic principles, which may be seen as a polarity between love and duty or between mercy and severity. However, the true principle of severity is that of Sai Rhavë, and we may see (to borrow a Quabbalistic expression) Sai Sushuri as the Pillar of Mercy and Sai Rhavë as the Pillar of Severity, with Sai Thamë as the central pillar, holding the two in balance.

In terms of spiritual paths, Sai Sushuri rules the Path of Love (or bhakti marga), and thus has a special significance for the Age of Iron. It is not a coincidence that bhakti is recommended as the most natural path for the Age of Iron and that the Sushuric principle is the opposite of the Vikhelic.

Sai Sushuri governs love at every level, from individual love and the love of family to a society bound together by concord and goodwill rather than by competition and the clash of parties and interests. Ultimately all these loves flow from and depend upon the love of the Mother. That love is the spiritual foundation of Aristasia.

The First Day Friday, Mar 21 2008 

Culverine the first (March 21st) is the first day of the New Year. Whether you call it New Year or Easter depends on how Filianic you are. It is, of course both.

Easter is one of the most fundamental names of Dea as bringer of Spring and Dawn. In Telluria the name derives directly from Teutonic Eostre (goddess of spring and dawn) who is the same as Greek Eos, Sanskrit Ushas, Semitic Ishtar/Esther. In the Hellenic and Indian traditions, Eos/Ushas was among the most important aspects of Dea worshipped before the masculinised pantheons came into being.

For Filianists Easter is the Resurrection of the Daughter. For Deanists the emphasis falls more on the creation of the world – the New Year being a microcosm of the Historical Cycle, and the Historical Cycle itself being a microcosm of the Day of Time – that is, the entire course of Cosmic Manifestation.

In either perspective Easter/New Year is a time of rebirth and revitalisation. As the resurrected Daughter walks over the barren earth, flowers grow at Her every step and the world becomes fruitful again.

The Last Day Tuesday, Mar 18 2008 

The last day of the year is the 28th of Moura (18th March). For Filianists this is the day of the Daughter’s death. Non-Filianic Deanists usually regard it as the day of the “Inbreathing of Time” when the universe comes to an end and is breathed back into the Dark (i.e. unseen) Mother. As always this is primarily a matter of perspective rather than a “disagreement”. Non-Filianic Deanists are normally happy to attend Filianic Services and vice versa.

After the last day comes the Hiatus. In the Tellurian Calendar this leap year it is March the 19th and 20th but in the Aristasian calendar it has no date, for the Hiatus is outside the year. It represents the Night of Time. During it Filianists veil all statues and pictures of Dea. Very traditional Aristasians reduce all activity to a minimum on Hiatus, and it is generally considered ill advised for anyone to begin any important project or activity at this time.

Also see:
The Last Day of the Year

The Problem with Aristasia Monday, Mar 17 2008 

Dessie Octavia Vargas wrote:
The problem with Aristasia is that we have to leave it! Those of us who are not fortunate enough to have seceded and live in Aristasia full-time, that is.

I have been a “part-time Aristasian” for nine years now, and it’s becoming quite maddening. I always preferred up-to-date movies and clothes and other things, but it was merely a preference until I discovered Aristasia. Aristasia influenced me to actively seek out up-to-date things instead of merely enjoy them when I happened upon them. I bought up-to-date magazines, acquired a lot of the Kadorian and Quirrie ads Coca-Cola has reproduced on refrigerator magnets and coffee mugs and postcards, and while I did not give up post-Eclipse movies and books entirely, an increasingly large proportion of my viewing and reading have become up-to-date. (I didn’t watch television in the first place, so that wasn’t a factor.)

The result of these years of cultivating my taste for Real things is that now I have become almost unbearably sensitized to the Pit. Movies and statements and things that wouldn’t have bothered me before are now like Chinese water torture. I’m especially conscious of this right now because I just visited some relatives and of course they had newspapers around and the television on, two abominations which have long since been banished from my own hestia. Before my personal racination began these things would have been merely dreary or dull, but now accidentally reading one line in a newspaper while I am passing the scrambled eggs can make me depressed for an entire day, and did.

And it isn’t merely that bongo things are ugly, though most of them are. (Not quite all; bongos are still human beings, hard as they try to forget it, and they can’t help occasionally doing something right.) It isn’t merely the immorality, because they’re not always being immoral; a bongo commercial I saw this week exhorting youngsters not to use dangerous substances struck me as being every bit as dangerous to those youngsters as the substances themselves. It’s the fundamental wrong-headedness that underlies all of it. It seems that everything in the Pit, even things that have a degree of soundness in them, is covered in a layer of slime. Sometimes it is only a thin layer, but it is always there. Miss Ayn Rand, a sagette I disagree with on many things but must nonetheless admire for her genius, once described the evil she saw as “not Satan with a sword, but a corner lout sipping a Coca-Cola”, and another time she said, “Not fire and brimstone, but goo.” I couldn’t have put it better myself, so I won’t try.

I just ordered a kinnie-shiny of up-to-date television commercials and one of up-to-date newsreels. I already have some of Real cartoons, and I’ve long thought it would be lovely to have a cartoon and a newsreel before the movie when I go to the Magic Cinema. I can imagine the expression on the faces of my unseceded friends who know my tastes when they learn that I intend to interrupt my viewing to watch up-to-date commercials! But I know that it is only going to make me even more frustrated with the so-called world that I have to live in.

How Do You Like My New Mindset? Sunday, Mar 16 2008 

Lady Aquila wrote:
I was thinking about the fact that we need a new Decanter. There are so many dreadful words not included in the old one. “Recycling” isn’t there. Ridiculous word. It sounds like coming back from somewhere on a bicycle. What is wrong with good old Kadorian “salvage”? And all those words used as the wrong part of speech: “party”, “critique” and “access” as verbs, for example, or “savvy” as an adjective.

And what about “mindset”? What on earth is a “mindset”? It sounds like something bongos might call their television sets. You know the thing that sets their minds. “Do not adjust your set – it will adjust you”.

Or is it the result of the mind-setting?

“How do you like my new mindset, darling?”

“It’s just the same as everyone else’s.”

“Don’t say that! Don’t ever say that! It is completely different. I am a rebel. I am an individualist.”

Well, of course she is. They all are. She probably has a “warped sense of humour” too. Not nasty messy warping like that caused by over-exposure to the sun or water on the brain, but nice neat warping, moulded to the correct curvature (politically and otherwise) and each with the same little dreadfully-clever swear word neatly turned up at the end. Rather like factory-torn jeans.

Of course she is a rebel, an individualist and a non-conformist. She ought to be. Milliards of taxpayers’ pounds and quintillions of corporate dollars have gone into making her one. She is a piece of precision engineering wrought upon the most delicate and difficult raw material available – the human mind. She has been successfully detached from the traditional ground from which she sprung, like ore extracted from a mine, and turned into something new.

She is the most expensive and the most successful mass-product on earth.

==========================

The Decanter is a guide to words and expressions only used in the Pit.

Aesthetics of Pettes in Space Saturday, Mar 15 2008 

Miss Amalya Corinthian asked:
Having just finished reading the latest installment of The Princess and the Captain, I would like very much to reproduce the elegant curlicues with which the blondes and brunettes on the unfamiliar planet adorned their eyes. The problem is, I don’t want it to look terribly unnatural. I’ve tried a bit with eyeliner, but that seems to clump together too much. Any ideas? I want it to be really subtle, but elegant and feminine.

Princess Mushroom replied:
What sort of eyeliner do you use? In my view the best eyeliner for all purposes, but certainly the only type for “temple-style” eyes as described in The Princess and the Captain is liquid eyeliner.

I wear liquid eyeliner almost every day of my life. Girls sometimes ask how I manage to get it on so neatly. Actually it is not very hard. Anyone who knows me will confirm that I am an absolute g’doinker in the handicraft department. If I can do it, you can – believe me. Just set aside a little time – and some cleansing pads – for practice and you will soon be doing it beautifully.

I have never gone in for curlicues, but I do use a long extended stroke beyond the lower-lid lining which might be called “modified temple-style”.

People may differ on this but my personal experience leads me to say make sure you get liquid eyeliner with a brush. I have tried various brands (including some very expensive ones) that use pointy felt-tip-type applicators and I simply cannot manage them. A brush puts on the liner neatly without disturbing the skin (which causes smudges).

It does not need to be an expensive brand. The one I use most of the time comes at two shillings from a local street market. It is cheap, strikingly black, easy to apply and I love it to pieces.

Good luck!

Here is the passage which inspired Miss Corinthian:
Almost instinctively, raiAntala fell into step with the three youngsters as they marched to the café. It was down a cobbled side-street — a curious place with tinted windows and a pink-and-pale-blue neon sign. The design of everything was strange, and yet it reminded raiAntala of a dozen coffee bars she had haunted in Quirinelle. The strong rhythmic beat of the music that could be heard several doors away was very unlike Quirrie rock and roll, and yet had a certain decided kinship to it.

They entered a darkish room filled with a curious scented smoke. Tables and chairs in gleaming chrome were occupied by groups of brunettes, often dressed in black and with hair swept off their faces and rolled up into a coif with a spray of hair stiffened to stand up like a plume. Among blondes the fashion seemed to be for various shades of a pink lip-enamel lined with red. Among both sexes, heavy “temple-style” eyeliner seemed to be in fashion, often with cute curlicues emerging from the corners. Several customers were in school uniforms and were more conservatively coiffed and painted.

You can start reading The Princess and the Captain here.

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