Devil’s Advocate – Hindus, Christians, Mormons and Aristasians Saturday, Aug 15 2009 

Miss Sakura begins by quoting a lengthy exchange:

I should like to set the scene by quoting a recent correspondence called “The Aristasian-Hindu Connection” on the “ask Miss Iris” pages:


Dear readers: Related to the previously published question (“AMI: Why stay in church?”) I am also bringing up yet another of the most commonly heard questions.

Dear Miss Iris: Often you mention or reference materials written by the so-called “Aristasian” sect when you discuss certain spiritual or theological matters. I am at loss of words for this. When I visited one of the “Aristasian” websites I saw many pictures of Hindu goddesses and uses of Hindu or Sanskrit words everywhere. Are you attempting to introduce Hindu polytheist/pantheist beliefs into Christianity? What you are doing is abhorrent, and borders on cultic. — Rachel, Washougal, Washington.

Dear Miss Rachel: I do not think the Aristasians are pleased by your characterization of them as a Hindu “cult.” Neither is your understanding of Hinduism as a polytheism correct. I would like to refer to an Aristasian religion FAQ page, which states as thus:
Q: Aristasians in Telluria use images of Dea from Tellurian sources, such as Hindu Devis or even the Virgin Mary. Why is this?

Most simply, because we cannot import images from Aristasia Pura! But actually there is more to it than that. Such images — particularly the Hindu ones — go back in an unbroken line to the original worship of the Mother as Absolute Deity. In Christianity, only the image remains (but the image is still very faithful) while the worship of Dea has been “theologised” out of existence. In Hinduism, while patriarchal myths have been woven about, say Sri Lakshmi, there are many within the tradition who still worship Her as Supreme Deity. Thus these are images in which the direct spiritual influence is still living (the same might be said about Kwan Yin bodhisattva, or the Tibetan Tara). We could use reproductions of more ancient images from prehistoric matriarchal times, and while this is not forbidden, it is generally considered that it is better to use images that are still connected by a living thread to the earliest tradition.

This having said, would I recommend the use of Hindu religious imagery or language in support of a feminine traditionalist religion? Not within the context of the contemporary North America. It is important to note that what you call the “Aristasian sect” is largely a British phenomenon, and unlike Americans, there is a healthy respect for Indian culture there thanks to Britain’s colonial past in India and also because of the large immigrant population there from India. This contrasts with our situation here in North America, in which anything that looks, sounds or smells Hindu are products of fringe cults or Westernized “new age” movements. Fortunately, America still remains to be the most religious nation on earth outside the Islamic theocracies, and religion plays an important role in our culture and social values. My opinion, therefore, is instead of looking elsewhere for a foreign religious tradition why not make the best of the heritage we already have in America, specifically Christianity (and to much extent, Judaism). This is why, unlike Aristasians, I refrain from borrowing much from Hinduism (I have no entitlement to exploit a religious tradition I know little about); instead you see me discussing in terms of Christian theology and hagiography.

This is another topic that may be of interest to those who are interested in Aristasian path (without any attempt at dissuading or discouraging anyone from so doing). In her comment to “Why stay in church,” Miss Sushuri stated:

“[I] have absolutely no sympathy or kindred-feeling with patriarchal traditions whatever. I can accept that they are right within their own “economy”. I can accept that you are more fortunate and perhaps more “valid” than I in being able to come to terms with them… I have not an atom of warmth toward patriarchal tradition in general and have least warmth of all toward the Abrahamic traditions. While I fully accept the quotation from Guénon about the necessity of Christianity for Western Telluria, I have no interest in, or love for, Western Telluria, and on a purely personal level, do not care whether it stands or falls. I certainly do not feel myself to be a part of it or of any patriarchal tradition… Equally I feel no attraction whatever to any form of “feminist” pseudo-cultus, all of which are not only part of the Western patriarchal culture but represent it in its final degeneracy. They have all the faults of West-Tellurian patriarchy with none of its virtues.”

Yet, it is impossible to fully liberate oneself from the “Tellurian traditions,” patriarchal or otherwise. Unfortunately even Hindu in present form is a highly patriarchal faith (think of blatant misogyny in India, in which women are treated as mere chattels), and there really is no existent “living tradition” that is entirely free of patriarchy. Much of Aristasian spirituality and practices today are indeed product of many streams of Tellurian traditions and traditionalists, and as much as one may hope that it is “straight from Aristasia Pura” as though they were brought to them by an extraterrestrial on a space ship, the reality is that there are heavy borrowing from Hinduism, Buddhism, and so on. This, of course, is not “wrong” — I believe that all traditions ultimately trace back to one single source, one single root, Tellurian or otherwise. But it would be dishonest to disclaim one’s connection to the Tellurian traditions.

In this spirit, I am not going to throw out the entire crate of apples just because a few — even the super-majority of it — apples are rotten and infested with patriarchal bugs. I would at least like to make my best effort at salvaging what is left of the Christian heritage, and (being an optimist) reform what is in my hands. I am in no way a radical reformer of Anabaptist or Puritan kind; I am more of a reformer along the line of John+ Wesley and ++Thomas Cranmer. To me, any meaningful reformation requires a preservation of continuity and precedence, or I would be inventing a new religion out of thin air and that would be meaningless.

– Miss Iris

Miss Sushuri said…

Rayati.

I think few comments need to be made here. As Miss Iris has said, Aristasia is not in any sense Hindu, neither is Aristasia (or Hinduism) polytheist or pantheist according to the Western understanding of those terms. It would be much truer to say that we are monotheists with a strong angelology. No orthodox tradition is polytheist in the sense of believing that there can be more than one Absolute, since this is a metaphysical and thealogical absurdity.

Miss Iris writes:

Yet, it is impossible to fully liberate oneself from the “Tellurian traditions,” patriarchal or otherwise. Unfortunately even Hindu in present form is a highly patriarchal faith (think of blatant misogyny in India, in which women are treated as mere chattels), and there really is no existent “living tradition” that is entirely free of patriarchy.

So many points are raised here! In the first place Aristasians have been the first to point out the patriarchal nature of the modern Hindu tradition. We see Hindu images of Dea as being images of the Universal, Primordial Mother God. We see (iconographically correct) Christian images of Our Lady Mary in the same way. The difference is that the Hindu images can come with a correct thealogical interpretation – that these are images of the One God. They can be doctrinally as well as iconographically sound, whereas (at least by the more usual understanding) Christian images cannot.

Christianity, while granting hyperdoulia to Our Lady Mary, denies Her latria because it denies that She is God. In this sense, Hinduism is capable of adopting a thealogically sound position (in Aristasian terms) whereas Christianity is not. This is to say nothing of the patriarchal nature of Hindu society. That is their affair. We are not Hindus.

Now Miss Iris says some rather strong words:

Much of Aristasian spirituality and practices today are indeed product of many streams of Tellurian traditions and traditionalists, and as much as one may hope that it is “straight from Aristasia Pura” as though they were brought to them by an extraterrestrial on a space ship, the reality is that there are heavy borrowing from Hinduism, Buddhism, and so on. This, of course, is not “wrong” — I believe that all traditions ultimately trace back to one single source, one single root, Tellurian or otherwise. But it would be dishonest to disclaim one’s connection to the Tellurian traditions.

Now a lot here depends upon what is meant by the term “connection”. Clearly Aristasian writers have used Hindu (and sometimes Christian and far-Eastern Tellurian) terms quite freely, and have used images from those traditions. We are not making any secret of that.

But what, exactly, is our “connection” supposed to be? In truth, there have been some efforts to forge a certain degree of spiritual “linking” between Tellurian images and “streams” and our faith. This was in pursuit of the practice of “pontification” – building bridges between our faith in Dea and its practice in Telluria, precisely so that we might have some spiritual “grounding” in Telluria.

In this sense, and in this sense only, it might be correct to speak of some form of “connection”, and we have certainly not tried to disclaim it. However we see “living tradition” solely as a conduit leading back to Our Mother God – we have no interest in the various patriarchal accretions which can only be obstacles between ourselves and Her.

Now if one wishes to see Aristasians purely as “Tellurian dissidents” that cannot be helped. It is a natural enough Outland view. But that is not how we see ourselves and it will give no clue as to why we are what we are and think as we do.

Our perspective is very much Aristasian. We are not interested in “reforming” Telluria as a whole or any Tellurian tradition. Our sole allegiance is to our Motherland and to Dea.

Any credence we give to patriarchal traditions is because they are remnants of Universal Truth, not because they are patriarchal. Their patriarchal nature is only an obstacle placed before their Truth. It is only because of their Universality that they can have any value as pontifications.

We are the first to admit that our approach is completely useless for anyone looking for Tellurian “reform”. We are not concerned with it and have no interest in it. Our aim is to love and serve Our Mother God within a feminine nation.

Miss Sakura then comments:

Well I don’t think my position is much of a secret. I am a Filyana and will die a Filyana.

But let’s play Devil’s Advocate for a minute. Princess Mushroom said it is good to play Devil’s Advocate because we can test our position against the hardest arguments.

So, you know, I think a lot about my religion and I understand about the Filianist Controversy and how it came about because of a desire not to be “inventing a religion out of thin air”, as Miss Iris puts it.

I believe that discussion is well resolved. There is very much Tellurian precedent and continuing practice of the worship of Dea as Supreme, Absolute, Sole and Almighty God.

If people want to see the Daughter Mythos as “poems” that enhance that traditional devotion, no Filyana has a problem with that.

It is true that we are not in an established religious tradition. But we need to ask what is meant by a continuous tradition? The Tellurian West currently has a conception of the world so utterly different from any traditional view that we may wonder if their understanding of Christianity bears much relation to that of traditional Christians.

Miss Iris as a priest and sometime Bishop of a rather wayward-seeming branch of the Catholic and Apostolic Church might well see the continuity lying in the validity of the Sacraments. Now various questions might be raised by other Christians about the validity of an Apostolic Succession so far from “Established” norms, and others may wish to question the validity of those “norms” themselves – having strayed so far from Tradition. By no means all would accept the validity of a female priesthood.

So already we are in a quandary about who is “making up their religion”.

But even if we ignore all this and place our faith in the Sacraments, where does that leave all our non-Sacramental Protestants? Are they making up their religion? Or are they guaranteed by the Bible – despite an interpretation of it that mediaeval Christians might scarcely recognize.

And our Mormon friends? Are they meaningless?

In their case I would be hard pressed not to say that much of their religion is not “made up”, but I certainly cannot discount their faith because of that, or believe that their God is no God (despite the fact that they do not see Her quite as I believe they should).

So do we have to accept any and everything that calls itself “religion”? I for one do not accept most “New Age” and “Pagan” constructions. But even there I cannot say that they are not approaching God somehow – however misguidedly. That is for Her to judge, not I.

Tests I would tend to apply are those of devotion, humility and purity (which much New Agism does not pass) and of authentic traditional understanding (which much modern Christianity – both “mainstream” [i.e. liberal] and fundamentalist – does not pass). Our Filyani faith does pass these tests. I am not saying others are “meaningless” if they don’t, but they seem like very important tests.

To take another approach – I saw a book by Marina Warner, called Alone of all Her Sex. This book is about Our Lady Mary as the Christians see Her. Honoured Miss Warner argues that the “deification” of Our Lady Mary only made things worse for women, because they were considered fallen and degraded and Mary was the only pure “woman”.

I don’t want to get into arguments about whether she is right or wrong. And that is the point. I don’t have to. It is not my concern as an Aristasian to get embroiled in all the pushing and pulling over faith and its effect on femini and the patriarchal nature of cultures that worship Dea and whether the half-worship of Dea in the West is even more patriarchal than man-god worship.

Am I being told that for the sake of the highly uncertain advantages conferred by a claimed continuity of patriarchal religion with its fundamental bases (bases, I might say, that if they are valid at all, are valid because they go back to our religion) – I am compelled to plunge back into the ugliness chaos of late Telluria?

Am I really being asked to allow myself to be dragged into the mess and cruelty of the patriarchal world – which I have otherwise rejected – for the sake of religion?

There are many people that want to drag me back to their grubby “reality” on a thousand different pretexts.

But to tell me that is what my Dea wants of me?

Never.

Sushuri Madonna wrote

Oh well said Sakura-chei!

I so appreciated this post and your last one about language and purity. You are so forthright and strong about our Faith, and I remember when you were a teensy new girl that used to ask me questions (pride).

I just wanted to explain that thing I said about not feeling warm toward Abrahamic religions, because I feel it might be misunderstood. It is true that I have no personal warmth and could not imagine following one. They seem very alien and somehow heavy with masculinity and materiality. I recently spent time in an art gallery showing pictures from several centuries of Christian history and I came away feeling almost weighted down by the huge accretion of beards, crucifixions and general heaviness. It felt like a black hole of super-gravity. It seemed to me like a (literal) carnival of masculinity and gross materiality.

But having said that I must state that I feel no hostility whatever toward the religion. I feel much more comfortable in the Southern States of America where there is a general atmosphere of faith than I ever did in the gray, brainless, irreligious emptiness of Western Europe.

It is not my faith, and I think even trying to make it mine would give me the bends. But I respect it in a way that I cannot ever respect the smirking stupidity of irreligion or the callow glibness of New Agery.

However high the fences that separate faiths, they are nothing compared to the oceans that separate us from the faithless.

To which Lady Aquila responds

Honoured Miss Sakura. Your reference to Mormons raises a perfectly fascinating point with regard to the question of “fantasy” in religion.

Mormonism contains, in my view, considerable elements of fantasy – not in the sense that vulgar atheists attribute the term to anything supernatural, but in the sense of wild imaginings of a purely human nature. Good old-fashioned balderdash. Taradiddles.

I have met Christians who see no distinction between this and Islam (which they see as being equally fabricated by the Prophet) and atheists who see no distinction between this and Christianity.

But I think most of us can see that there is a distinction between revelations of the Christian and Islamic order and the mid-romantic fancies of Mr. Smith Jr.

The question is, how far, if at all, does the fantastical nature of the origins of this teaching invalidate the devout faith of millions?

The question has become clouded to some extent by the emergence of a profoundly anti-traditional “New Age” movement which has led sensible people to even greater caution in these matters.

But I feel – and I believe many others will feel with me – that the oddities of the LDS Church, great as they may be, do not invalidate the path to God trodden by its sincere members. I am no expert on the Church, but I do not believe it incorporates fundamental spiritual flaws, such as the egoism, humanism, and snippets of half-digested and misplaced “scientism” inherent in New Agery.

I certainly do not place Filianism on a level with Mormonism. It does certainly not incorporate flights of pure fantasy. Some people see it as a sort of “feminised Christianity”, but that is mostly because they are unfamiliar with the tradition of the Sacrificial Saviour in its pre-Christian and feminine forms.

A direct Tellurian line of heritage does not exist for Filianism, and its modern doctrinal formulation is quite recent (about thirty years old, as far as we can tell).

As Miss Sakura says, no one is obliged to accept Filianism as Revealed Truth: at its “weakest” we may take it as a “poetic support” to Déanism – the simple worship of Our Mother God.

Filianism is by no means universal in the Motherland, and we do not know how things will fall out in Aristasia-in-Telluria. What we have found is that Filianism seems to work in Telluria. It provides a firm, yet flexible, thealogical structure; an emotionally satisfying and doctrinally lucid approach to Our Mother God.

As non-literalists, unaffected by the rationalist revolution (which profoundly influences almost all West Tellurian thinking and controversy about religion), we are less concerned with whether Filianism is the Sole Truth than with whether it is an adequate and proper way of seeing that Truth which can never be exhausted by any mythos or formulation.

And if to some people that reduces to “oh, it is just a pretty story then” – well, provided they truly believe in Dea, we don’t mind. The One Thing Needful is the belief and worship of Our Mother God, the Sole Absolute and Creatrix of earth and Heaven.

I believe in the Daughter as my Saviour. I do not think She is a “pretty story”, though I accept that there are other ways of seeing the same Truth, both Déanist and patriarchal, many of which do not specifically incorporate a Saviour (which is only to say that they formulate Her differently).

But taking the worst-case, devil’s-advocate scenario – that Filianism is pure fantasy – it is certainly no more fantasy than Mormonism and no less capable of being a haven and refuge for genuinely devout souls on their way home to Dea.

I don’t take that devil’s-advocate view at all. I think the love of the Saviour is Universal and despite our lack of continuous tradition, we are of Her congregation.

But it is worthwhile to consider that even if we are wrong, we are still calling upon the One Mother who has said:

“None shall call upon Me and be lost”.


Irrational Rationalism Wednesday, Jul 9 2008 

It is important to understand that rationalism is not itself rational. Rationalism cannot be derived from the reason. It is an arbitrary dogma. And yet it is upon this dogma that the outlook of the post 17th-century Western world has based itself.

There is an old story told by Sai Platina in Aristasia and also by the great Tellurian teacher Plato. It tells of people who lie chained in a cave so that they are always looking at the wall of the cave. On that wall they see shadows and they spend their lives watching those shadows. One day a maid breaks free from the cave and goes outside to see the real things that are casting shadows on the wall.

Now that cave is the material world, and the shadows are the material things we see about us. Every tradition teaches that the material things we see are the shadows or reflections of higher things. Everything on earth has an Archetype, which is its true and perfect Form, of which the material entity is only an imperfect shadow.

The world of shadows is also called the sensible world because the shadows are the material things that we perceive with our physical senses – we see and hear and touch them.

The real things seen by the maid who left the cave is called the intelligible world, because the Pure Forms, or Archetypes, are not seen with the physical eyes, but with the Single Eye of the Intellect. They are seen by great contemplatives and saints, and they are also told about in myths and sacred books.

Now suppose one of the people still chained in the cave said to the maid who had left the cave:

“You are lying, there is nothing outside this cave.”

“Why do you say that?” asks the maid who has left the cave.

“Because I have not seen it.” replies the rationalist.

That is precisely what the doctrine of rationalism consists of: the illogical and arrogant denial that anything exists outside the material world of the five senses. Has she any rational reason for denying what all tradition tells her to be true? She has not. She merely repeats: “I have not seen it, so it does not exist.”

That is why rationalism is inherently irrational: and, frankly, naughty. A world based on the rationalist denial of higher Reality is like a group of naughty children who have got together to deny what all the grown ups tell them because they have not seen it for themselves and cannot bear that anyone should know better than them.

Redheads Saturday, Jun 28 2008 

Miss Yuffie posted some pictures and asked some questions, particularly about this charming picture.

A topic of interest has been brewing inside myself, and I’m sure, many other of the younger Aristasians. Could there possibly be a red headed point of mind? One that escapes being either Blonde or Brunette? Am I the only one who has been inquiring this? Surely not, I’ve seen an article on this, correct?

Then, what is the general Aristasian opinion? Blonde and Brunette?

Princess Mushroom answered:

Quelles dessins adorables!

The “redhead question” has often been discussed. As is often the case with things Aristasian, one needs to consider the question under two aspects: Aristasia in Telluria and Aristasia Pura.

1: Aristasia Pura: There are two biological sexes, chelana and melini , commonly termed “blonde” and “brunette” because hair-colour is a secondary sexual characteristic, and chelani, even from darker-skinned Estrenne races, are always fair-haired, while melini are always dark haired.

There is no third sex. Girls with dark fox-red hair are melin, girls with pale coppery hair are chelan. Red hair is occasionally associated with hormonal imbalance that can make for traces of opposite-sex characteristics, but there is still no question that a girl is one sex or the other.

2 : Aristasia-in-Telluria: hair colour has absolutely no bearing on whether one is blonde or brunette. Most Aristasian blondes I know in physical life are actually raven-blondes.

Girls are still either blonde or brunette. Where a girl has characteristics in both sexes, she may, and often does, have a persona (or more than one) in each sex. Personae are regarded as separate individuals, and to a surprising extent often are.

Most girls are purely one sex and have all personae (if more than one) in that sex. They are called “plenary blondes” or “plenary brunettes”.

Girls who have personae in both sexes are called “ambis”. Most ambis actually turn out over time to be predominantly one sex or the other. There are a few truly ambiguous ambis, but they are in actuality very few.

Other considerations we may mention here:

3 : Aristasia-in-Virtualia : Avatars, whether full 3D moving ones as in Second Life grid or little pictures as here, should have hair-colour consonant with sex, as in Aristasia-in-Virtualia, our characters are true intemporphs. Ambis can of course have an extra avvie in the other sex with a different name and persona.

4: Pictures like the charming ones here are not usually drawn by Aristasians, and so hair-colour may not match sex. The picture above [which Miss Yuffie described as depicting “a blonde dressed as a brunette”] does look like a blonde to me, but hair-colour is not decisive.

When we use such pictures on our sites and such, we do try to keep the blondes fair and the brunettes dark, as we are trying to build an Intemorphic Virtuality. Quite correctly, faced with a picture like the one above, one would use a “cover story” like “this is a blonde dressed as a brunette” – which in this case does look very likely!

Also see: Signs of the Angels: The Intemorphic Sexes

Uniforms Saturday, Jun 7 2008 

Miss Barbara admits:
I’m writing to prattle on about how utterly wonderful uniforms are. We all love a nurse in a crisp white uniform, and what blonde’s knees don’t tremble at the sight of an aviatrix in dress uniform or a sailor pette all decked out in her lovely white and blue? We know the joys of seeing pettes in uniforms, but have we ever stopped to think about why uniforms are so thrilling? I think it might be because when we see a girl in a uniform, we see first her archetype and her function, and then we notice the girl underneath, all the more attractive for being a bit hidden by these greater and grander things. We love those girls who give themselves over to their functions because we know that by doing so, they are helping build the civilization to which we belong. Though I personally don’t wear a nurse’s or sailor’s uniform, I do often think of my hat, gloves, makeup, and up-to-date clothes as my Aristasian uniform, which I wear very proudly, of course!

Deanists and Filianists Wednesday, Jun 4 2008 

Caridwen asked:
I read: “The commonest “religious position” in Aristasia is that of Deanism – a broad worship of the mother. The Daughter-Mythos is debated. It is widely loved, but in most cases, the simple worship of the Mother is considered “safer” in the sense of being quite clearly founded [in Tellurian terms] and not an innovation that could be of human origin.”

Why is the Daughter-Mythos debated and considered to be possibly of human origin? I had thought, from reading the scriptures, that it was divinely given – is that not so?

Princess Mushroom answered:

As I understand it that is the core of the debate. The current text of the Daughter-Mythos is clearly [in Tellurian terms] of recent origin. It is about thirty years old.

Some people regard it as Divinely-inspired and as a revelation of the fullness of Deanic faith in a form suited to the current world-era. These are the people we call Filianists.

Others – a greater number – regard these stories as beautiful and valuable and as revealing the Mother in Her aspect of transmitting light to the world.

Others again would accept the Daughter-aspect of Dea in such figures as Kuan-Yin, the Regarder of the Cries of the World, but would not see the Daughter-Mythos as having the same authority as a clearly Divinely-established tradition such as that of Kuan-Yin.

The story of the Daughter’s death and Her rescue from the Nether Regions by Her Mother has been regarded by some people as the most powerful and moving Resurrection story available in this world-era, and would take the view that whether or not it is Divinely inspired, it gives us a powerful experience of the true pre-patriarchal death-and-resurrection.

The differences between the various approaches are relatively subtle, since all of us love the same Mother.

Lady Aquila continued:
Her highness puts the matter very clearly. If we wish to speak of “Theological positions” I would identify broadly two:

1: The pure Filianist who takes the Daughter-mythos to be divinely inspired and a sort of revelation for our times.

2: The pure Deanist who rejects the sacrificial element and sees the Mother as pure joy, or else finds the Daughter-mythos too uncertain to place faith in.

However, most Aristasians, in my experience, do not feel the need for such strong “positions”. We place our certainty and trust in our Mother; we feel, both from tradition and in our hearts the validity of the Daughter Principle, and we feel that the Daughter Mythos expresses this very beautifully.

Like most traditional people who accept the Golden Legends of the saints or the “myths” associated with the Buddha (so much derided by the suburban rationalism of the modernist scholar), our primary reactions are loving and devotional rather than “critical” in the modern Western sense.

For we who call ourselves Deanists, the Mother will always be the centre of our faith and our hearts, but the drawing of doctrinal Lines of Exclusion is of no importance to us.

Let us leave that to the sectarianising and combative spirit of late Patriarchy (whether manifested in conflicting sects or scholarly scepticism). Surely it is all part of the unbalanced Vikhelic tendency with its continual urge to discord and separation.

Let us be united as sisters in the love of the Mother who created us all.

See also:
Deanism

Flowers and Fleems Sunday, Jun 1 2008 

Miss Elizabeth O. reported:
My house is positively swimming in flowers, for one of my daughters decided to get a job at a flower stand over the holidays, and all the leftover flowers from Valentines day, she brought home. I didn’t realize how many flowers were sold for this special day, but it must be an awful awful lot based on how many were left over, for the lady who owns the flower cart told my daughter that she had sold over 200 times the amount that was left behind, and what was left was enormous. She let my daughter have them, as my daughter told her that her mother just adored flowers, and made her own bath oils and sachets out of the petals. This lady was so sweet, for she sent the whole lot over.

It was quite funny, for we ran out of vases to put the flowers in, so we started placing them in pitchers. We ran out of these also, and now most of our iced tea glasses are serving as make do flower vases. This works out just fine, unless someone comes to visit and happens to be thirsty, for we have no choice but to serve them iced tea out of either cocktail, orange juice or wine glasses. I of course preferred serving it from wine glasses, because I’m always looking for an excuse to use them!

The fairies seem to be smiling on my family as of late, for we have found some remarkable real items of clothing at fleems. Our greatest find was a poodle skirt in almost new condition. My oldest daughter adores poodle skirts, and she of course was almost doing flips in the yard at her find. This amused the lady holding the sale so much, that she decided to raid her attic, and lo and behold she turned up two other skirts! And she insisted on giving these to my daughter as a gift, free of charge. My daughter couldn’t just take these without doing something for this lovely lady, so she came home and baked her some cookies and made her a lovely wreath for her front door. When she took these to the lady, the lady decided to raid her attic some more, and turned up with some real blouses and a plaid skirt with the price tag still attached!!! Because of these happenings, my daughter has positively become a fleem fanatic. I bet she dreams of fleems in her sleep even!

Which brings me to this little tale. Last Saturday, a huge fleem was advertised, with many new and classic items. My daughter of course was awake and ready to go at 6:30 that morning, so we could get there before all the real things were taken. The sale was a bit of a disappointment, for most of the wares were just bongo junk but we did get a little laugh out of one thing. The proprietors of this sale had these poles with many lines running on it, in a somewhat squarish/circular fashion. I can’t describe very well what it looked like, other than a tv antennae with string everywhere. As my daughter and I were rummaging about trying to find something of interest, we overheard them trying to sell this item to another person. I heard the lady remark that it was called a solar clothes dryer, that it used no energy other than the rays of the sun. To which the customer replied, “Wow I didn’t realize that you could get solar dryers also”. Tee hee. My daughter and I just looked at one another and kind of half smiled, both suppressing giggles at this person. This person ended up buying this “new fangled” solar clothes dryer, probably at an inflated cost also.

But, the solar clothes dryer joke aside, I wanted to say that for those who have never used a clothesline, please do try it, especially for your bed sheets and tableclothes. You literally do trap the fresh air and sunshine into the fibres, and of course your house smells so nice when you change the linens. My family can tell that the sheets have been changed on the beds when they walk in the front door, long before they enter the bedchambers just by the smell in the house. Laundry detergents and fabric softeners don’t even come close to this lovely smell of freshness and cleanliness.

Jenilow, the Castle and the Hover-Train Wednesday, May 28 2008 

Jenilow is the major Arcadian city in the southern “panhandle” of that country. The city proper has a population of 821,350 (3326 est.) and boasts the historic Abileschen castle downtown. The city is laid out as though its streets form a giant wheel, with the castle at its centre. Jenilow is known for its festive procession in Maia, as well as for its textile and ceramic industries.

Jenilovian culture is distinct both from that of Upper Arcadia and from that of the surrounding nations. It has a curious technics – advanced almost to Novarian standards and yet highly Arcadian in style. It is also more Estrenne in feeling than most of Novaria (which is itself quite “Estrenne”, especially in the East of the country).

Those familiar with Jenilow say that certain pictures of Meiji era Japan are the closest Tellurian images to convey the cultural atmosphere of Jenilow. Obviously the comparison is only indicative and does not go beyond the visual impression, but it is still useful.

The current Mayor of Jenilow is Lady Maylana Rosemont. The Mayor, of course, administers the City of Jenilow and the Countess the County of Jenilow, of which the City is the County Town. Jenilow City is also the capital of the Archduchy of Jenilow, a huge “nation within a nation” that occupies most of the so-called “Jenilow peninsula” (it is not a true peninsula, of course, because it is surrounded not by water but by two non-Arcadian nations).

Jenilow Castle was originally the primary seat of the Archduchess of Jenilow – which it still is: it has long also been a triple seat of government, for it houses the council-chamber of the Countess of Jenilow and the chambers of the Mayor of Jenilow. All three dignitaries have extensive living quarters in the great building.

Castles were first built in early Imperial times. They were essentially fortified palaces, usually surrounded by large fortified enclosures. In those days the Outlander hordes still occasionally made incursions into the Eastern and Northern lands. One must also remember that certain classes of demon took on a far more physical form than has usually been the case in Telluria (the Great Demon in the Paper Peonies story is typical of this – and there were also demon armies).

The castle and its walled enclosure was a place where the puhrani (citizens) could retreat and be safe when danger threatened. Some cities were also walled for the same reason.

In later times and further west, the castle style of architecture, with turrets and other fortification-style features (in a more western style) was often adopted, for it had become a symbol of the Great Central Enclosure. On certain occasions the fortification could still provide a refuge against dark incursions, though its function was now largely symbolic.

Jenilow is 42 minutes by rail from Ladyton. The direct land-journey from Jenilow to Ladyton takes place almost entirely on Novarian soil and is not far short of a thousand miles (some suggest it may be more like 500 miles – distances are notoriously difficult to calculate between worlds). Clearly such a distance by train in such a time would be impossible anywhere in Arcadia (even including the Jenilow “peninsula” which is more technically advanced than the rest of that realm). However, the journey connects with the Royal Novarian Golden Arrow Line “super-bullet-express” which connects Southern Novaria with Ladyton and Novarayapurh.

These “super-bullet trains” are the only supersonic land-craft currently used in the Empire. Such speeds are considered unsafe for other land vehicles. The super-bullets are regarded as land-craft, although they are actually hover-trains and do not touch the ground while in operation. The “rails” are in fact force-guides rather than physical rails. At the speed they travel, the friction involved in wheeled locomotion would be unmanageable.

Cradle of Tellurian Civilization? Friday, May 23 2008 

Artistic representation of Catal HoyukSome people say Asia Minor, where the West is closest to the East, is the true cradle of civilization. The remains of the earliest pre-patriarchal cities were discovered in Asia Minor. Çatal Höyük (pictured left) is the most famous. Troy, which was thoroughly patriarchal, had the support of the Amazoni – the last gasp of Tellurian feminine civilization – against the super-patriarchal Greeks. Penthesilea, the Amazon Queen, was slain at Troy by Achilles at a time when the era of patriarchy was becoming firmly established. It had not always been so. In earlier and more glorious centuries the Amazoni had stormed and taken Athens itself.

Raya Chancandre Aquitaine comments:
The Near East is sometimes called the Cradle of Civilization, referring once to the early patriarchal Empires, and now that archaeologists know a little more, and rather grudgingly, to the feminine-centred city-states that are known to predate them in the same area.

However, traditional science tells us that:

a) Humanity is far older than the ten or so millennia involved in all this

b) Humanity has been in a state of decline since the beginning.

So even the earlier feminine-centred city states uncovered in Asia Minor go back no further than the late Age of Bronze, and still belong to the final fifth of the current World-Cycle. The Ages of Gold and Silver still lie far in the past and occupy a time far longer than the ages of Bronze and Iron (the current Age) put together.

How then can we accept these earliest known – but still relatively recent in terms of the entire Cycle – cities as the Cradle of Civilization?

In terms of materialistic science, we know very little of humanity before the Age of Bronze. We have enough evidence to make clear that these societies were feminine-centred and Deanic. They have left little other evidence of their culture, which allows the “evolutionist” school (which is really a “progressist” school, since serious Darwinism cannot allow of biological evolution over these comparatively short time-periods) to declare that these peoples were “primitive” and to compare them to modern tribal societies – which are, in fact, not “primitive” but decadent.

What we know from Traditional science is firstly that our ancestresses were our superiors and secondly that they were less “consolidated” – less material. They saw things and beings we do not see (as the old tales make clear) and it is very likely that their main constructions were not on the material plane.

We know that there have been prohibitions, at various stages of Tellurian history, on developments that ritually enacted the descent into matter. Later, each of these prohibitions were lifted as the descent became inevitable and the arts in question were “released” to progressively consolidated ages as part of the necessary process of adaptation to the consolidating tendency of the Cycle.

Some of these prohibitions were:

Upon building in stone

Then upon building in hewn stone (even after this was lifted, some sacred edifices must still be of unhewn stone).

Upon the use of metals

Then upon the use of iron, the most consolidated of the metals, and the one belonging to Sai Vikhe, and being, in Telluria, ritually associated with the patriarchal order.

The word civilization, from civitas: city, means specifically city-culture. In late-Telluria it tends to be used as a term for culture in the absolute since non-city cultures are derogated.

The Sacred City is an important Bronze- and Iron-Age concept and it may well go back further. However, not all cultures are city-based. My personal belief is that there have always been city-based cultures (or something equivalent to them), but that their material element has become progressively greater (or, going backwards, progressively less).

Before building in stone became permissible, cities would have been of wood, and will have left no traces for the archaeologist – though statues of stone were made at that time and do remain. In the earliest times – in the Golden Age – they may well have had no physical support at all; maid’s contact with the material realm being peripheral at most and her real life taking place in realms to which modern humanity has all but lost access.

The feminine-centred cities known to archaeology are called “neolithic” or “new stone age” which conjures in the lay mind pictures of primitive brutality. In actuality, cities such as Hacilar in Asia Minor some eight millennia ago, where the statue of Dea is seen everywhere, had two-story buildings constructed around a central courtyard with balconies overlooking the courtyards and hearths upstairs and down.

Nonetheless, the term “new stone age” does have a meaning, since this was the age when building in hewn stone was permitted but the use of metals was still restricted.

So the term “cradle of civilization”, if taken in the very limited sense “cradle of lithoidal civilization”, could perhaps be accurate.

If it is intended to mean that earlier cultures were not civilizations in the strictest sense, it is almost undoubtedly wrong. If it is intended to imply that those earlier cultures were “uncivilized” in the modern understanding of the term, or even “less civilized”, or even “not more civilized”, then it is completely erroneous.

“The cradle of the lesser civilization of the current world-era” is something of a mouthful. But it is much nearer to the truth.

Undines in South Novarya Wednesday, May 21 2008 

On a bright and sultry moonlit even, somewhere in the old Southlands of Novarya, two creatures (were they blondes or were they little mushroom-creatures?) walked far later than they really should have done. They came to a running stream beside a rocky cliff, and from somewhere, perhaps from a cave in the cliff, echoed haunting voices singing wordlessly the tune of the old Novaryani lullaby known as “Khindri”. We are privileged to have a brief record in sound of that memorable evening (since attached to a kinnie scene):

Undines in South Novarya

Were they the undines – the water-elementals – told of from of old, singing to sleep, perhaps, some human blonde-child or brunette-child stolen from her mothers on such a night as this?

We shall never know, for the listeners, shivering unaccountably despite the humid heat of that southern night, stole swiftly and silently back to their home.

Perhaps you will listen and decide for yourself.

Quoting Nietzsche Monday, May 19 2008 

Miss B* raised a fascinating question:
In Alice Lucy Trent’s The Feminine Universe, a key Aristasian study text, the first chapter, entitled “The Image of the Cosmos”, begins with a quotation from Friedrich Nietzsche: “The total nature of the world is…..to all eternity chaos, not in the sense that necessity is lacking, but in that order, structure, form, beauty, wisdom and whatever other human aesthetic notions we may have are lacking…..Let us beware of attributing to it heartlessness and unreason or their opposites: it is neither perfect nor beautiful nor noble, and has no desire to become any of these…..neither does it know any laws. Let us beware of saying there are laws in nature. There are only necessities. There is no one to command, no one to obey, no one to transgress….. Let us beware of saying that death is the opposite of life. The living being is only a species of the dead, and a very rare species.”

A “species of the dead”, eh? I know I am not very good in the mornings, but I object to being called a “species of the dead”! What the blazes is old Fred driving at with that particular line of thought? (Oh dear, I fear that I am sounding rather like my sister, Eve! She came home for a weekend visit, and perhaps some of her “banter” has been left lurking) What I mean to say is, how can it be that “the living being is a species of the dead”? and why “a very rare species”? Also, what does Miss Trent intend in opening her book with such a quotation? The subtitle to The Feminine Universe is “An Exposition of the Ancient Wisdom from the Primordial Feminine Perspective”. So how does Herr Nietzsche lead in to such themes? I suppose one clear answer is to get through the entire chapter and see the full picture.

Miss Serendra Serelique replied:
To begin with, those unfamiliar with the chapter being discussed may find it here. As you will see, the quotation with which it opens is put forward not as an example of the Aristasian philosophy, but of its opposite. The point being made is that while this outlook may seem stark and brutal, it is logically the same as the popular “scientistic” (as opposed to scientific) view of the universe that is inculcated by the schools and mass-media of Telluria and believed by most people.

What we have to consider here is the particular expression used by Nietzsche: “Let us beware of saying that death is the opposite of life. The living being is only a species of the dead, and a very rare species.”

This is the culmination of a series of statements denying that the universe possesses order, harmony or intelligence — a denial that is perfectly logical, and indeed necessary, if one adheres to the view that the universe is simply an accidental phenomenon — a chance falling-together of atoms and molecules — rather than a manifestation of a higher or spiritual principle. And let us note that these two views are the only two possible. There is no middle ground between them. Nietzsche’s view may sound extreme, but it is not extreme. It is only a statement in very plain and frank language of what the materialist or accidentalist view of the universe really involves.

And let us further note that this materialist or accidentalist view, while it is utterly predominant in the thought-world of modern Telluria, is a very isolated and strange one. It has never been conceived of in any continent but Europe, and not in Europe before the seventeenth century. Every other people, every other civilisation, has adhered to some form of Essentialism. That is, to the belief that the manifest universe is the creation or reflection or emanation of a spiritual Principle, whether that Principle be called God or the Tao, Brahman or Atman.

And even though such a view has its roots in the seventeenth-century “enlightenment” (a curious name if ever there was one!) it did not become fully formed or even fully possible until Nietzsche’s time — that is, the later nineteenth century. So Nietzsche is considering a new phenomenon; a new view of the world: a view so appalling that Nietzsche expresses his reaction to it thus:

Who gave us a sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What did we do when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving now? Away from all suns… Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is more and more night not coming on all the time?

He is not opposed to this view. He is promoting it. But he is expressing it in all the starkness of its real implications. Miss Trent notes later in the book that while Nietzsche is expounding a radically anti-traditional view he is doing so in terms of traditional symbolism. Everywhere the Sun symbolises the Spirit or the Divine. Again and again in tradition we find the Great Chain which connects all beings and runs from Heaven (the Sun, the Spirit) to earth. Nietzsche talks of the modern accidentalist philosophy in terms of breaking the Chain and losing the light and warmth of the Sun.

So on to this enigmatic statement: The living being is only a species of the dead, and a very rare species. On the face of it, that is not so terribly mysterious. If life itself (according to a certain rather tendentious extension of Darwinian theory, which made total accidentalism theoretically possible for the first time) is the mere falling-together of carbon and hydrogen molecules under certain freak circumstances — if life, in other words, derives purely and solely from dead matter, then we may say that the living being is a species of the dead. A very rare one because only by the most extraordinary set of coinciding chances can this “life” be produced at all.

This, clearly enough, is what Nietzsche means; but what a peculiar and very telling way of expressing it. As in the Sun and Chain passage above, the entire background to this anti-traditional exposition is Tradition itself. The living being is a species of the dead: why? Because Life in the sense that Tradition has always understood it — the Divine Spark, the Breath of Spirit — is absent.

By a curious and very profound use of Language, Nietzsche reveals that in his heart he knows that the accidentalist view of life, the falling-together of bits and pieces of dead matter, is not actually life at all. Such a life, if it were (as he believes is to be) the nature of living beings, would not really be life at all, but only a species of the dead.

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