Tosi proverbs + religion

Translation of a Tosi religious proverb, from the texts of Lamat.

Sa tapi gō fū sanā jela ji chi lōlchu i
neg imp be content without kneel.before 2sg.m gen goddess obj

“Content thee with naught without first kneeling before thy goddess”

I am working on writing the tenets of Tosi belief systems, which primarily focuses on one deity, Lamat, war goddess, but also on Kalu, god of silence and peace. The current matriarchal expansionist empire of the Tosi obviously draws most political attention to the cult of Lamat, but the priesthood of Kalu endures and cannot be denied its importance to the history of the Tosi people.

The highly stratified culture of the Tosi traditionally feeds/gears different sections of the texts toward either men or women, to further enforce gender roles. The modern translation (into Tosi from Old Tosi) shows this with the use of the masculine 2nd p sg pronoun: ji, rather than da (feminine).

~

In creating these deities, I originally wanted Lamat to be the only main goddess, to show the Tosi reverence for power and might through warfare, but I then decided that they should have more nuance in their spiritual and religious beliefs. Before Tos was an Empire, it was simply a small nation, with no massive army and military force to show the world. People would have worshiped a multitude of gods and demi-gods, as well as other divine spirits. I think, as Tosi culture changed over time with the changing political structure and the ever-expanding Empire, the religious institutions would have changed too, to emphasize those things that were politically beneficial for the expansion of the state and the Empire. The primary means of this expansion was via the military, so Lamat, as the goddess of war, would have expanded as well, from a goddess to whom soldiers would offer supplications for protection before going into battle, to a central deity whose texts would come to have a greater influence over many areas of life.

The masculine deity Kalu, who represents many of the opposing forces of Lamat (silence, peace, introspection, asceticism, purity, etc) is fundamentally seen as an extension of what the Tosi view as the perfect man: one is is serene and peaceful, not governed by passion. Women are seen as intrinsically superior in this matriarchal society, but they are also seen as imperfect in that they supposedly naturally of a stormier and more tempestuous nature. Men are supposedly a tempering force of quiet, darkness, passivity, rationality, as well as “softer” emotions, such as compassion and mercy. I don’t want to remove this opposing force in Tosi society, because I think without it, the religion becomes more one-dimensional.

Previously, I had only addressed the adherents of Kalu in terms of the priesthood–men who would cloister themselves from the rest of the world (including the world of war, which is seen as primarily the purview of women) and devote their energy to preserving some special force of calm in a culture that is known for its systematic violence and occasional chaos. I want to build up this side of the religion more, and include it in more fiction that I write for the Tosi.

Greetings after a while!

It’s once again been a while. I’ve been busy with a lot of things–mostly my research and lots of international travel! I’ve been in six countries since May!

One of the things I was doing while traveling this summer was attending the Language Creation Conference (the 8th biannual) in Cambidge, UK. My husband Eric and I started off the conference with some musical performances of songs in several conlangs (Gotevian, Tosi, and Rílin). We’d written some Aeniithian music before but wrote several of the pieces for the conference specifically. Eric is a composer and musician, as well as a 3D graphics designer and synth expert, so we jointly designed musical instruments unique to Aeniith cultures. We also designed musical notation systems for each culture and the musical scales that they represent. We performed four songs, two of which can be heard/seen: , and Ŵatakap Bí Xabhét (Rílin), which has a video that can be seen here.

We also presented a poster that explains a bit about the unique instrument designs (and includes 3D models of them by Eric), musical notations, etc.

Conference-Poster

I am starting a mailing list since a lot of people wanted updates for lyrics, new songs, etc. So if that’s you too, email me at ransdell AT hawaii DOT edu, and I will add you!

 

Margaret

Rílin language: expression of sorrow and sympathy

Well, it’s been a while! I do want to get back in to posting things here, despite my busy workload. Maybe it’s even better for me to do so because of that workload.

Anyway.

In light the recent catastrophe in Paris, I have been thinking about how the Ríli form expressions of sorrow, sympathy, condolences, etc. Languages often have formalized/idiomized or set phrases for these kinds of expressions, so I thought it was important that Rílin did as well. Rílin culture emphasizes harmony, support, respect, and sensitivity to others’ emotions, so I wanted to make their phrases of sorrow and sympathy reflect some of those values too. All of the words and grammar used herein are extant parts of the Rílin language–I am configuring them in ways that seem appropriate.

Note: the variations on the way of saying ‘you’/’your’ are due to traditional Rílin’s (and Lunauli Rílin) way of distinguishing three levels of formality/familiarity for pronouns and persons (lí at the most familiar and zana at the most formal for ‘you sg.’).

Lilaíkim – ‘I am grieving/mourning/crying’ (this word lilaí also means to weep copiously)
lilaí-k-im
/lɪˈlaikɪm/
grieve-pres.prog-1sg

Lilaíkim líu/xyu/zanau – ‘I grieve with thee’
lilaí-k-im lí-u/xy-u/zana-u
/lɪˈlaikɪm ˈliu (ˈxyu) (ˈzanau)/
grieve-pres.prog 2sg-instr

R̂yla límu/xymu/zanamu imi – Lit., ‘I am in/with thy sorrow’
r̂y-la lí-mu/xy-mu zana-mu imi
/ˈʂyla limu (ˈxymu) (ˈzanamu)/
sorrow-instr 2sg-poss

Hestia(tíí)/(tyy)/(taa)ky – Lit. ‘may you recuperate/rest’
hestia-t-íí/t-yy/t-aa-ky
/hɛstɪaˈtiiky (hɛstɪatyyky)(hɛstɪataaky)/
rest-npst-2sg.fut-irr

Bítapky Démas/Ifinŝas líet/xyet/zanat – ‘May Déma/Ifinŝe embrace/aid thee’ (depending on which goddess you would like to reference)
bí-t-ap-ky Déma-s/Ifinŝe-as lí-et/xy-et/zana-et
/biˈtapky ˈdemas(ɪfɪnʃas) ˈliɛt (ˈxyɛt)(ˈzanat)/
embrace/aid-npst-3sg-irr Déma-erg/Ifinŝe-erg 2sg-abs

New maps

I’ve been updating my maps and geography of Aeniith and decided to try new styles. These are made with Inkarnate.

 

Regional Map of Izoi: See Full Version here: here 

izoimap_new.png

I added rivers, a few lakes, and more features. The fortress of Ad Simel Tī is where Dark Designs takes place. Zūr Chi Lār Na means Tower of Death in Tosi and basically is the watch tower for the western seas, in case any force tried to invade from Keta (which no wants to, but the Tosi are nothing if not paranoid). You can see the eastern island that is shared by the Selupa and the Karkin. The Karkin just get the shit end of the island that are plagued by sandstorms and have fewer resources. 😛

Then, in the Rílin forest, you can see the respective regions where the Ríli went after the Flight (post Tosi invasion), with some fleeing north and building underground cities (the Lunauli) and living in the cold mountainous area, and some (the Sunuli) choosing to stay south and fight the Tosi. There is a steppe between the forest and the desert that is a kind of no man’s land but of course the Tosi claim it.

That chasm south of the mountains is filled with a poisonous gas and the Tosi send their really hated enemies there. It also might be kind of sort of haunted.

 

Unfinished full map 

Still needs fresh water bodies, more placenames, etc. And there’s too much ocean at the bottom of the map, hehe. But, it’s a start. Full view here.

 

Map-8.jpg

Mintaka

Gotevian wedding customs

I’ve been filling out cultural or customs “gaps” for Gotêvi, trying to balance it out and make it a little more “complete”. Here’s a blurb on traditional wedding customs:

Gotevian Marriage Customs

Marriage in Gotevi is a legal practice rather than a religious one, though religious marriage ceremonies can be held nonetheless. Weddings must be over seen by a magistrate (irftennir) in order to be considered legal. Usually they are held in a public building—some buildings exist constructed specifically for matrimonial purposes. Both parties usually invite their friends to the ceremony, sometimes even the entire neighborhood wherein they live will come, if only to eat and drink for free.

Traditionally, wedding clothing is bright yellow, for both bride and groom. Their clothes are similar in cut and style as well—usually shin-length tunics with long sleeves. The similarity of clothing symbolizes the binding and thus likeness of two people.

First, there is a party with food and drinks and often some type of music. Fervent dancing is traditional; this is perhaps the only case in which tradition suggests unruliness in Gotevian culture. It is considered appropriate that the woman and the man both socialize with their friends of the opposite gender to emphasize the trust of their partner. There are many traditional games played during wedding parties, including lots of gambling, though these are recent developments and are often scorned by the older generations.

After the festivities, the magistrate arrives and the people to be married sign a contract to each other. Everyone attending is technically a witness, but the magistrate’s presence is still required. After this, the couple is tied together facing each other with ribbons by their friends, and they must untangle themselves without any other help. This supposedly symbolizes the fact that now they must rely on each other to get out of trouble and have the ultimate trust in each other.

 

 

Poem for a narēd

In Tosi legend, narēdi (singular narēd /’nare:d/) are fire spirits that seduce zuna (the species that Tosi are) into throwing themselves into lava flows and burning. This is a poem about a narēd. Her name is Sapof (which comes from the Tosi words for “never extinguished”).

~

the narēd

her bleeding eyes alight

with fires from ancient earth

weaving around the stones

from within a blistering cavern

hotter than the blinded stretches of the deserts

she claims those who gaze on her fiery glory

a death worthy of a queen

how sublime

to burn away

in the eyes of the narēd.

~

Mintaka

WIP: Crypt of the Mind

This is a short story about a Tosi guy named Kel whose older sister Koma decides to leave and join the war with the Ríli. Because Tosi society is a matriarchy, it’s not common for young men to be living on their own (especially in middle class homes like this one), and he feels abandoned by his sister and worried for her safety. Soon, he finds that the strain of being left alone is aggravating some mental problems he’d had in the past. Problems increase for Kel when he starts to discover some unsettling facts about his family’s past, and discovers that his ancestral home may be haunted by secrets unknown, both figuratively, and maybe literally.

Genre will be fantasy/scifi/paranormal with tinges of romance and adventure. Rating is at M for now just to be safe. Nothing to warrant the rating so far though. CWs for mental illness, mild violence, mentions of death, mild sexual themes, and paranormal scariness.

Feedback is welcome if you feel like reading!

~~~~~~~~~~

Continue reading “WIP: Crypt of the Mind”

Yet more places moodboards

This time for the Karkin (on Karkin Island, which they partially share with the Selupa), and Selupava, the land of the aforementioned Selupa. They are both of the zuna race but they are very different. The Selupa are probably the most technologically advanced group in Aeniith, having invented the steam engine and an early version of muskets, as well as currently toying with designs for simple underwater suits/masks (gasp). Their government is very secretive however, and all of their tech is a tightly guarded secret as well.

The Karkin have seven city-states ruled by different clans that are usually at war with each other. Beyond the cities, the land is rather lawless. Anarchy reigns in many places, and life is very tough. The central part of Karkin Island is also less resource-rich than the Selupa-owned regions, and most people struggle to survive. It is a harsh life amongst the Karkin.

Screen Shot 2018-08-25 at 12.01.02 AMScreen Shot 2018-08-25 at 12.00.49 AM

More places moodboards…

More moodboards for places in Aeniith. The Tosi Empire (mostly warm and arid, large, lots of military forts and castles and such, female-ruled society, imperialistic, etc), and the Rílin forests of northern Izoi (same continent mostly): cool, green, good for hiding, and actually toxic to most non-Ríli. The Tosi invaded them anyway for resources but the Ríli will eventually win this long war for their homeland, though not without great cost.

 

tosimoodboardrilinmoodboard

Orikrindian pantheon (pt 3)

Next installment of the Orikrindian pantheon. This one focuses on the sea goddess and her half-mortal son.

One thing I want to note is the pervasiveness of the pantheon. These gods are recognized not only in Orikrindia itself, but also across eastern Ei. Some in Quarios also worship these gods, especially Orikrindian immigrants (such as Elucuna, of course). They did, however, originate with the native inhabits of Orikrindia (the island, rather before the “nation” itself was a thing), so they are referred to as gods of Orikrindia in Aeniith itself (as I will continue to call them in meta-documentation too). Worship practices do vary per region. My descriptions here apply to traditional methods in Orikrindia.

~

Lumaya

Lumaya is a goddess who has domain over water. Primarily, she is associated with the sea, although her influence extends over all bodies of water. She is said to be the younger sister of Hestaya and Moltirin.

In Orikrindian depictions, she has pale blue skin and hair of seagrass. Sometimes she takes the form of a seal, and it is for this reason that Orikrindians, unlike some neighbors, do not eat the flesh of certain species of seals.

One of the powers of Lumaya are her eyes, which appear like swirls of abalone and are thought to be able to enchant those who stare into them. This is the origin of Orikrindian belief that gazing into the sea for too long can be dangerous to mental health.

Lumaya has temples by the edges of the sea. They are usually decorated with items that reflect the local maritime life and culture: carved driftwood, sea glass, shells, pearls, and other findings from nearby the temple. The priestesses of Lumaya are known to be “sponsored” by the national navy of Orikrindia.

Prayers to Lumaya are offered especially during certain very strong tides. She is revered by all mariners, who usually have an altar to her in their homes. Since most mariners in Orikrindia are men, this is probably the one female goddess that is worshipped mostly by men in Orikrindia. The devotees of Lumaya are some of the most vocal and open, possibly due to the island nature of Orikrindia as a country. Naval military successes are frequently credited to Lumaya’s blessing.

Epithets: Halumaya (Lumaya the Great, lit. ‘Great Water’), Ti-Hendessaya Cacalsaya (’The Infinite Sea’), Tu-Hemas Heltasye Plesstolsye (’the Lady of the Cerulean Voice’), Co-Lyosyal Tun-Golinorisi ‘The Grief of the Weak’), Syalanyas Culimyenya (’Queen of Journeys’), Tu-Syalanyas Yalunt Tellened (’The Queen of Star-eyes’), Tu-Hemas Estolis (’The Blue Lady’).

Giessembe (demi-god)

This is the child of Lumaya, Giessembe, who has control over bodies of fresh water. He is often depicted as a small child, a demi-god, who was conceived by Lumaya with a mortal man. The story of their meeting and relationship is told in the Ori epic poem Ti-Clespes Endessonisye na Bestini (’The Jewel of the Great Sea and the Earth’).

Giessembe’s name means ‘calm fresh water’, with embe being the word for any general body of fresh water.

In Orikrindian legend, Giessembe was sent to prove himself as an adult divine being, since he was weak as a baby, despite being a half-god. He was challenged by Apyolus, god of fire, to quell the fires of the mighty Cetispeltaya, a volcano whose summit cut through the fabric of the heavens. To accomplish this, he asked his mother to cause the sea to evaporate into clouds above the world, and a great rain fell for ten days without cease, and filled the fresh water streams and rivers. He then called on Moltirin to cause the trees of the forests to lie on their bellies so that his waters could flow freely around the world. Peltas (of the Twin Gods) was asked to make time flow quickly along the rivers so all the waters would surge across the land. Thus was Giessembe able to seep his waters down inside the earth (with the help of Hestaya) and extinguish the mighty volcano from the inside out.

Giessembe used his method of extinguishing the fires as a living hymn and tribute to the gods who had helped him, impressing Apyolus so much that he granted Giessembe the greater powers that were due him as a fully grown demi-god.

Epithets: Tu-Plenis (’The Half’), Tu-Prastanes (’The Clever’)

~

Mintaka