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College Insignia

 
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Sushuri Madonna
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Joined: 07 Feb 2008
Posts: 335
Location: In a strange and scary place on a long journey homeward.

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 2:21 pm    Post subject: College Insignia Reply with quote



I made this image for the College. I am not sure where we might use it. t would be rather good for any College "stationery" - application forms etc - I thought and to head on-line College information pages.

I thought the figure of Sai Thamė together with the Flame of Learning was an excellent combination for the College.

There has been some speculation on what she is suporting with her non-scales hand, but if you examine it closely, there is little doubt that it is in fact a fasces - a bundle of birch-rods with an axe. The axe-head protrudes to the right. (see image of a traditional fasces).

The fasces symbolizes the power of Justice to chastise or execute. Since in Aristasia Pura executions do not take place, this might be inappropriate. It would be easy to touch out the axe-head if this seems better.

On the other hand, executions do (very rarely) take place in Aristasia-in-Telluria. The Law on this is set out clearly in Children of the Void: If a maid transgresses, she is disciplined. If she refuses discipline she may be disciplined more severely and/or sent to a higher authority. If she persistently refuses correction or is in contumacious disobedience, she will ultimately be executed.

That is, her Aristasian persona will be declared dead and she will no longer be recognised in Aristasia.

I have been present at only one execution. It was a brief ritual carried out in absentia for a highly contumacious individual who was wholly out of thamė and was causing much distress to other pettes.

At the main point of the ceremony there was a thunderclap that shook the house out of a clear sky. Really one of the most remarkable experiences I have had!

So perhaps we should retain the axe for Telluria. What do pettes think?

I have also made a bas-relief version that might be used on a wall:

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Clarissa Del Giglio



Joined: 15 Feb 2008
Posts: 12
Location: Trent

PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My humble opinion after reading your story, honoured Miss Sushuri, is that we should not take it off.
Probably, in Telluria, a form of defense is needed, even if executions are not to be intended in a physical sense (which is THE important and maybe sole sense for Tellurians).
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Violet Viola
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Joined: 10 Feb 2008
Posts: 153
Location: PurpleCastle, Arcadia

PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Miss Madonna, I have some doubts about the use of fasces. You may remember, there was the fora as "double image" on Aristasia.co.uk homepage. Surely it's the fora for us, but for the Tellurian elektra-traveller it has another signifiance. The fasces in Telluria may give the elektra-traveller the same idea...
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Violet Viola

Roses are red,
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Sarah Lia Iridia



Joined: 11 Feb 2008
Posts: 46
Location: Newcastle

PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Until the early 20th century, the fasces in heraldry and insignia symbolised the magisterial authority. The bundled sticks signify strength through unity. The fasces appears prominently in the insignia of the French Republic, as well as in the seal of the United States Senate.

An alternative to the fasces with a similar idea is a bundle of arrows in lieu of the Roman rods and axe.

Quote:
Mouri Motonari was known even in his day as a master of wiles and trickery, a warlord whose schemes won as many battles as his soldiers. Interestingly, he is best remembered for an event that probably never took place-the 'lesson of the three arrows'. In this parable, Motonari gives each of his sons an arrow to break. He then gives them three arrows bundled, and points out that while one may be broken easily, not so three united as one. The three sons were of course Takamoto, Motoharu, and Takakage, and the lesson is one that Japanese children still learn in school today.
-- http://www.samurai-archives.com/motonari.html
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Tamsin Kessel
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually while the axehead did symbolize the power of the state to require the life of the condemned, the honorable Miss is quite correct, the fasces is a symbol of strength through unity. I think the fasces would work better than say the bundle of arrows, which implies a certain martial stance.

While I'm not in any way implying that Aristasia is unable or unwilling to fight when the necessity arises, why embrace a symbol that may imply more aggression than is intended to the casual viewer? If necessary, you could remove the axe-head on the fasces.

The seal is beautiful. I like the classical imagery, it accords well with the drapery on the Lady's beautiful form.
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Mengxia Yu
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Joined: 07 Feb 2008
Posts: 435
Location: Arkadya

PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been thinking about the symbolism of an axe. I recall reading a fiction book in which a character spoke about the usefulness of different weapons. (I believe this entire idea came from the same series of books.)

Her people refused to use swords, because they could only be used to kill other people. Her people preferred spears, because they had more than one purpose--they could be used to do mortal harm to other people, but more importantly, they could be used for the very important task of hunting, providing food for one's family.

I believe she viewed axes in the same light. An axe can be used as a weapon, or for execution, but it is also a useful tool. A maid armed with an axe can chop down trees for firewood, to keep her family warm. She could use the axe to remove bark, or carve notches, and build a house.

Arrows do have that dual purpose as well--they could be used to do harm to other people, but they were once an extremely important tool for huntresses. However, I see the axe as more meaningful.

I know that the symbolism of the fasces is the power of Justice to chastise or execute, but when I look at the axe (as opposed to other symbols of justice--who besides a chef would use a set of scales every day?) I remember this book, and I think of this: that justice is "practical"; that justice is not something we think about only during ceremonies or disciplines, but that it is present in our everyday lives--that we should remember to act fairly and justly at all times.

In this light, I think the axe-head is appropriate for a symbol of our College.
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Tamsin Kessel
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow. Well said, Miss Yu.
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Quixotica Moxie



Joined: 14 Apr 2008
Posts: 73
Location: Somewhere Towards the Rightish Side of Culveria

PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Honored Misses, if I may add my humble thoughts on the subject, I believe the ax, as a symbol that extends back to the Golden Age, symbolizes more than just a practical instrument -- that it is, in fact, dissolve et coagula, the power of a proper authority to create or strengthen the bonds of unity, or, when need be, to cut them away.

It seems to me, and please do correct me if I am wrong, that the entire symbol invokes Sai Rhave, in different aspects; that the bonds imply the power of restraint to create harmony, the birch rods (which themselves imply corporal punishment) imply the power of discipline to create unity and the ax implies the gravest power of Sai Rhave, the power of discernment (through culling or cutting away) to create the healthiest flowering or the most harmonious aspects of unity (note how the birch rods are all one length, and that, unlike birch branches au naturale, there are no superficial twigs or leaves, etc, about them).

However, in reflecting upon the symbols older, traditional usage, it seems significant to note that the ax on the fasces was not used at all times in all places, that only certain appointed individuals carried it, and that the ax on the fasces seemed to connotate a heightened awareness of the power of the proper authority to execute it's judgement, ie, in the event of dire conditions, when that authority may not be distinctly remembered or may have been called into question. Refraining from overt display of the ax within the civil city was an act of consideration, perhaps not unlike refraining from waiving a firearm about, indoors?

In which case, I am inclined to feel that it might be appropriate for there to be two versions of the insignia: perhaps an exterior and an interior display, the insignia with ax for places and correspondence in which newer, more naive individuals might congregate or in which graver aspects of justice might need to be considered, and the insignia without ax as appropros for places and correspondence in which all individuals involved may safely be presumed to understand and desire the conditions of thame as a matter of course.
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Sushuri Madonna
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Joined: 07 Feb 2008
Posts: 335
Location: In a strange and scary place on a long journey homeward.

PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am just back and reeling from the most wonderful time in Paris and the physical meeting and unification of our dear, dear family. So forgive me if I am sketchy and inarticulate.

I had the good fortune to discuss these matters at the White Rose Room yesterday with Yu-chei, Miss Moxie and a whole delightful party of pettes. I also had a chance to consult with honoured Raya who made a few small remarks which for me helped it all to fall into place.

Thank you, all of you, for these wonderful thoughts. How much you have clarified and widened our contemplation of these matters. My own comments were quite superficial compared to yours. Naturally the surface level of a symbolism such as this is very important: but of course, like all true symbolism, it does go much deeper. And the different levels of interpretation are not separate, but linked together in a Golden Chain.

For the definitive statement of axe-symbolism see this page.

However, in the light of this, we need to note some differences. Most obviously, the axe in our fasces is single-headed, and also the haft (which should represent the World-Axis) is not in evidence. Furthermore the haft is not clearly central to the rods (which would seem to be symbolically right if the fasces stood alone).

All these "problems" are clarified when one realises that the fasces is not, in this case, to be taken alone. The true centre of the College Insignia is, of course, the figure of Sai Thamė herself. She, in this symbolism, represents the World-Axis (just as Sri Mahalakshmi standing on the lotus is the Single Ray of all-creation).

She holds all other elements in balance - as is made eminently clear by the scales themselves.

In this case we have on one side the flame and on the other the fasces.

From a scholarly perspective, the flame (which is Sai Raya in manifestation, for all fire is of the Sun) represents the Light of Knowledge, or Intelligence as Sai Mati, the "little-Sun"; while the fasces represents Intelligence as Sai Rhavė. The "cutting", or "destructive", aspect of knowledge is fundamentally important (why else do we speak of intelligence as "incisive"?) for "all learning is remembering". Truth is in us from the beginning and our task is to cut through the ignorance that keeps us from it. Thus Truth in Greek is alethea, unforgetting - lethe being forgetfulness.

The fasces is Intelligence along the Path of Rigor. Most outwardly it represents simple discipline, but at a deeper level, while the axe is the incisive element of Intelligence, the bundled rods are uniformity and unity (qualities both sushuric and thamelic, but also a disciplining of wayward individuality and so rhavic too). That is why our College, unlike most Tellurian colleges, has a uniform.

Let us not forget that discipline is fundamentally discipleship - obedience to Dea through our honoured mistresses and the setting aside of our excessive individuality in a unity that is at once obedient and amative.

The flame is also dual, for fire, like the sun, has always two qualities: light (or Intelligence) and warmth (or love) - Sai Mati and Sai Sushuri.

From a slightly different angle again, the flame is the bright or positive aspect - the Pillar of Mercy; and the fasces the dark or negative aspect - the Pillar of Severity, with Sai Thamė, as always, holding the perfect balance between the two.

We have not touched on the vikhelic aspects, particularly of the axe, but I think it is already clear that, fully analysed (and this analysis is nowhere near complete - nor, I think, would any single analysis be complete), the Insignia of Sai Thamė College depicts a rich and subtle interplay of all the Janyatic elements, centred - as is to be expected - upon Sai Thamė herself and upon the scholastic and amative emphases of the College.
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