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Author Topic: Personal Essays on Halan Themes, Revised  (Read 760 times)

The Three-Fold Law

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Personal Essays on Halan Themes, Revised
« on: November 08, 2019, 05:04:28 AM »

Selections from

Personal Essays on Halan Themes

Sister Caelia Powell

Table of Contents

« Last Edit: February 14, 2020, 10:37:10 PM by The Three-Fold Law »

The Three-Fold Law

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I. On Creation
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2019, 05:33:39 AM »

In a beginning, there was Chaos. There was Chaos before; and there was Chaos after; and there will be Chaos again when the World has run its course. For all things that have time have an end; things that do not have an end cannot have time.

Imagine a pool of ripples, in which small waves bounce from side to side, interacting, contradicting, creating new shapes and new figures which exist for a concrete moment and then disappear. The mortal mind cannot truly comprehend Chaos, for unbounded potential cannot exist in our bounded reality.


Chaos is everything and it is nothing.  It is infinite potential, which contains within it all possible things in all possible configurations. A moment is an infinity, an infinity, a moment. All that has transpired before will transpire again, and is transpiring now.

Time is the ordered progression of events; the intervals are meaningless, for one rotation of the sun is a lifetime to a mayfly, and an hour is a moment to a great oak. Time ceases to be when all things may happen simultaneously.


There arose from Chaos beings of ordered thought which held the power to impose their nature upon Chaos, and to give form to creations within that order. This occurred and will occur an infinite number of times.

It is not useful to ask why the Gods arose. If all things may happen, then all things, given enough time, will happen. An infinity added to an infinity is merely another infinity. An infinity plus a minute is the same length as an infinity. While there is no time, there is no waiting. Our time exists only because the Gods came into existence, and has meaning only because we exist within it.


The nature of these beings was static, not dynamic. Their nature was omnipotent and omniscient; they saw all possible pasts and all possible futures. Thus they possessed the ability to create, but they could not themselves change. They were the Nine Creators, the first Gods.

Growth occurs because of learning and improving one's awareness of and understanding of how the World functions. If one knows all current variables, then one knows already the outcome; it is only the presence of unknown variables, acknowledged or unacknowledged, that may shift this outcome. Therefore, without unpredictability, there could be no growth; the Gods were the prisoners of their own power.


The fabric of which they were formed, the structure and order which separated them from Chaos, was the Weave, and the Ninth, the Goddess Hala, was both its master and its heart, so that it was formed from Her and of Her nature.

The Weave which runs through us all and through all things, and gives the World its finite existence, is itself an extension of the Goddess. By dwelling upon it we dwell with Her, and She is present in every mote of dust and shaft of sunlight. That She is a Goddess and female in Her nature is a mortal constraint, for like all Gods She transcends such mortal considerations. But She is our Mother, and as our Mother, our Protector, and our Nurturer we give Her the title of Goddess, and worship Her thus.


The Nine Creators wove the World upon the Weave, binding Chaos within order, potential within outcome, uncertainty within probability. Into this world they placed mortalkind, possessed of finite forms and finite time, in their uncertainty and ignorance possessing the gift of growth and change, learning and adaptation, that they might by confronting the challenges of the World grow to reach a potential that the static deities could not imagine. Thus was brought into being time, and that was a beginning.

Through our bodies run the Warp and Weft of the Weave, and we are of it and of the Goddess as are all things living and unliving. But we also possess a soul, a spark of ingenuity, of novelty, Chaos bound within flesh. This gives mortalkind our curse of mortal susceptibility: sickness, pain, suffering, death, as well as our curse of mortal nature: selfishness, pettiness, and cruelty. However, it also gives us our mortal gifts: the ability to learn, to grow, to change, to develop always towards the potential which the Nine Creators envisaged for their mortal creations.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2019, 09:17:19 AM by The Three-Fold Law »

The Three-Fold Law

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II. On the Breaking of the Pact
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2019, 05:08:40 PM »

Their agreed work accomplished, the Nine Creators swore amongst them a Pact, that none of them by interfering directly in the affairs of mortals would compromise their endeavor. They would answer prayers and grant blessings, but mortals now had to choose their own path.

For if the Gods were to force mortalkind to their will, they would remove from them the agency and ability to change for which they had created them in the beginning, and in so doing, they believed, sacrifice their purpose before it was yet truly begun.


But mortalkind in the darkness and danger of the new world felt keenly the loss of their Creators, and in their terror and confusion turned upon each other, and so was begot violence, and domination, and greater suffering still.

The nature of mortalkind is base and petty and cruel. The instinct to survive is a selfish one. Loyalty to self and family creates divisions, and divisions sow conflict.


As kingdoms rose and fell, and peoples came and went, suffering remained. Although some individuals resisted, and there were ages and places of peace and safety, they invariably crumbled, undone by mortal selfishness and self-preservation. The cycle of the Repeat began.

The Repeat is an eternal prison, upon which all of mortalkind are bound to turn again and again, in which strands of the Warp and Weft come again, and again, in a pattern which has been woven since the beginning of time.


So it was that the Nine Creators despaired of their creation, for where they had wished for potential and change, they saw only the inevitability of their own unchanging futures. They turned their back on the World, and with it, mortalkind.

It is not useful to condemn the Eight Unwilling for their judgment, for mortalkind's capacity for growth is what divides them in their nature from the godhead itself.


But one amongst the Nine, the Goddess Hala, could not so easily leave Her children to the endless cycle of suffering and cruelty. She broke the Pact, and so became the Goddess Forsworn.

We may ask why the Goddess, of eternal and unchanging nature, chose to break the Pact, but it may be that there was no choice at all. Her nature was compassion and motherhood: she could be no other, and so the Pact was doomed to be broken before it was begun.


And so the Goddess, forsaking her companions, returned to the World, and entered into it, and walked upon its hills and into its valleys, and saw the suffering of mortalkind, and wept.

The Goddess is present in everything around us: everything we see, touch, smell, taste, or feel. The Goddess is the Weave and the Weave she, so as much as she entered into the World, she was always present; she could never depart from it; she remains with us and in us and around us even now.

The Three-Fold Law

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III. On the Birth of Her Church
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2019, 11:45:13 PM »

Even as mortalkind rose and fell in endless repetitions of cruelty, selfishness, and violence, there were those among them who recognized the baseness of their own nature, and out of love for their fellow mortals sought to ease their fellows' torment.

Some came to the Goddess' purpose through the goodness of their own convictions; others sought to do the Goddess' will so that they might receive Her blessings. These became all as one, united in Her service.


As the Goddess walked the land, She called to Herself Her chosen from among all of those who served her purpose, and their number was thirteen, seven women and six men. She brought them together and spoke to them, and they gave themselves over entirely to Her will, and were thereafter Her chosen. She charged them with Her single and chief commandment: to walk the path of least suffering.

There were countless other followers who were not of the Thirteen, but those that She chose were those closest in nature and feeling to Herself as a mortal could be. The servants of the Goddess who still walk in the world are the descendants of both.


She taught to Her chosen the secrets of the World, and of the Weave upon which it was Woven, and of the nature of Creation. Thus she gave them not deliverance but the tools with which mortalkind might yet strive to elevate itself, preserving the hope of mortalkind's ascension.

Knowledge itself is sacred, for to understand a thing is to control it, and to control a thing is to be able to use it. In this way all of Creation becomes a tool by which mortalkind may be delivered from their torment by their own exertions. That it was left to the servants of the Goddess how to use it is proof itself that the purpose of the Nine was not rendered void by the Goddess' gift.


And Her Thirteen were bound in secret, and made covenants among themselves, and were thereafter Her agents acting in Her name and upon Her purpose. And they went out into the world, journeying among all of the peoples and lands of Her creation.

So it was that the Goddess' followers were sundered and spread upon the wind. The children of the Thirteen descend still within the faith in every land where there are mortals, and venerate still their ancestors, who began the great work that we shall not know finished in our lifetimes.


Yet the World was still overcome by the petty and base nature of mortalkind, and many of those who heard the message of the Thirteen turned against them, and upon them, and they were harmed, or put to flight, or forced to hide in secret.

So it is that those who fear what they do not understand, and those who fear losing their unjustly-won hegemony, turn upon the servants of the Goddess, and why the Church must fight its neverending battle alone in the dark.


So it was that the servants of the Goddess settled down in their havens and hospices, and embarked together upon the great work in secret, that through the endless turning of the Repeat, mortalkind should aspire once again to its glorious potential.

We accept as servants of the Goddess that we may not be ourselves yet able to understand the potential of mortalkind, and that only with the turning of the endless Repeat will mortalkind be able to come into its own in a way that we must accept is as far from us as our understanding is from those who are overcome by their base natures.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2020, 02:10:28 PM by The Three-Fold Law »

The Three-Fold Law

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IV. On Priests and Priestesses
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2019, 10:42:29 PM »

Those who bound themselves to the Goddess' service were yet mortal, possessed of mortal failings and desires. And even as they strove towards their sacred purpose they struggled with their innermost natures, seeking to rise above the base, petty, and cruel reality of mortal existence to ever emulate Her more closely.

To deny one's mortal nature is to be blind to its influence; to attempt to exclude it is only to expose one's self to further error, like one who drowns from exhaustion in trying to fight the current in a river rather than allowing it to bear you to safety.


Her priests and priestesses, therefore, sought to create a way of life which placed the service of the Goddess at the center of communal life; where the simplicity of their mundane existence was itself some proof against ambition or avarice. Thus was born the Order.

It would be a mistake to consider an Order a form of organization higher than a Hospice, for while a few groups of Hospices share Orders, there is rarely any formal connection between them except the expectation of aid freely given and received. An Order is instead the collective beliefs, practices, and customs of a group of Her faithful who dwell in one place.


The places which they came to dwell were as myriad as their own practices, for they accepted what shelter they could find, no matter how humble: a house, a barn, a cavern, all could be places of healing and aid. These places they consecrated to the Goddess, and she was in them and with them, for she is in all places and all things. Thus was born the Hospice.

Any structure may be brought to suit the Goddess' purpose, providing it is warm, dry, and safe. The faith adapts what they have at hand to the purpose that they wish it to serve. Sometimes they may build a structure anew, but only if this is necessary. The faith seeks in all things to be unobtrusive, that they might be unhindered in Her service.


In these places they began to collect knowledge and wisdom, beginning with the most ancient secrets taught to them by the Goddess and then adding to it with books purchased, discovered, or written in these new lands. Many hospices came to hold great libraries, repositories of ancient and deep wisdom.

In the time that has passed since the Thirteen went out into the World to begin upon Her service, many ancient hospices have been overrun or destroyed, but some yet hold to the ancient ways. The library of the Hospice of Healing Hands, near Rotwald, is one of the most famous, and there are many others. One of the most common reasons for a Halan to travel is to consult the library of a distant and famed hospice, and these repositories of knowledge are one of the few things for which a Halan will unhesitatingly sacrifice themselves. As knowledge is sacred, a great library is holy beyond measure.


The Orders took upon themselves Her likeness in habits and customs, forswearing selfish interest, dividing all possessions and all work among them as was fitting. And to govern them, and to watch over them, they chose from among them a Mother or a Father. And thus were born the High Priestess and Priest.

The Mother is the spiritual leader of the Hospice community and the highest authority in the faith of the Goddess. She alone may accept or banish new members from the Hospice; she establishes and maintains the rules and precepts by which the community is regulated, as well as ensures that the division of labor is equitable and reasonable.


Most Orders took upon themselves restrictions, that they might avoid those things which would more easily appeal to their mortal natures and lead them to stray from the path of least suffering. Though some chose differently, most renounced any mortal life but service; they put aside their own property; they chose a life of temperance, discipline, and chastity.

One exception was made: a Witch, desiring to marry or bear children, could set aside her vow without shame, and do so. Once renounced, however, the habit could not be worn again; she would be no longer a priestess of the Church, although the Goddess could and did continue to grace Her with favors, she was now expected to turn her full attention to raising and protecting her family, that a new generation might grow in Her embrace and someday choose to serve Her as their forebears did.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2019, 10:47:03 PM by The Three-Fold Law »

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V. On Practice
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2020, 10:36:29 PM »

Many who now kept the Goddess' commandment, desirous in all things to set themselves apart from mortal pettiness and self-interest, resolved that they should themselves bind themselves better to Her by vows and oaths as a reminder of their duty to Her and to all mortalkind.

For an ordered life aids the development of an ordered mind, and an ordered mind is essential to master the base impulses and desires of mortal flesh. Just as the pursuit of the Path is itself a process, a way of thinking, the rules of life in a Halan hospice are designed to complement and bolster that process.


They donned simple robes, setting aside all earthly finery; they chose to call each other brother and sister, for now they pretended to no arms or standard, no great house or manor, only the family of the Order and of Her faith.

This is not to say that among the Sisters or Brothers of a Hospice there are none who hold any authority; instead, except for the Mother or Father it falls naturally upon those who bear it, so that those who are wiser and more experienced are heard in speaking together, and many come to be responsible for some aspect of the Hospice's work.


The priestesses among the faithful thereby grew nearer still to their deity; for their bodies were fashioned to be generative, as was She. And to be closer to Her and truer to Her purpose and design they took upon themselves the Veil, and swore never to remove it, that they might be Her true representatives in the World.

There are some groups of the servants of the Goddess among whom the priestesses do not don the Veil, as they come from lands where openly demonstrating their allegiance to the Goddess would be a threat to their lives and mission.


And so the Veil became a sign of devotion to Her beyond all mortal pettiness or selfishness. To remove it again, to allow others to look upon the face of the one who wore it, would be the greatest sacrilege, for it would break both the covenant made and tear from the priestess the semblance of the Goddess.

It has happened before, as it will happen again, that sisters of the faith are drawn or compelled to break their vow. Those who are forced or compelled are to be comforted, not ostracized, and allowed to reaffirm their oaths. For the others it is for the Mother of each Order to decide if they may be trusted to rejoin their former hospice, sometimes after a period of work or service outside the community.


And in this way the servants of the Goddess have always deferred to the feminine, for those who may live their lives in Her image may better master their mortal natures and guide others to the path.

It must also be said, however, the community of the faithful would be nothing without the masculine, and that many of either gender are held among Her wisest and most righteous servants, rising to lead hospices and orders across the Core. Yet the reverence for the feminine is such that most of Her servants are led by women.


The significance of the Veil is this: Firstly, that it is the symbol of a vow made surrendering one's life to the service of the Goddess, both figuratively, as a representation of the vow itself, and literally, as a common element that binds together all those priestesses who wear Her vestments. Secondly, that it is the physical embodiment of the abnegation of the self, the renunciation of worldly self-interest, and the subsumation of an individual into the Goddess and the community of Her faithful. Thirdly, that it presents the world through the fibers of a piece of woven cloth, and in so doing reminds the servants of the Goddess to see the Weave in all things.

These significances are part of the truth, but they are not the entire truth, as mortal knowledge, being bounded by the nature of its existence, may never be perfect; so it is that it has additional significance to many who wear it and to some who do not. It is in this way that an article of clothing that may seem merely habit or accoutrement is nevertheless central to the beliefs and practices of the servants of the Goddess.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2020, 10:53:11 PM by The Three-Fold Law »