The Aspects of Ma
Author: Aeston StromgateA Contemplative of the Nature of the Aspects of Ma
A dissertation by Aeston Stromgate
When one speaks of things in terms of aspects, it is appropriate to do so with the use of metaphors. The aspect of Ka, for example, symbolizes the rage of fire, consuming what is in its path. What is interesting about water, and therefore about the aspect of Ma, however, is that water can be used as an analogy to describe every emotion and mindset. Imagine for a moment the boundless power of a mighty waterfall, its roar echoing above the trees. Now imagine the melancholy stillness of a lonely brook. Then there is the rage of swirling rapids, the silent peacefulness of the ocean, and even the limitless perseverance of the single drop of water, overcoming every obstacle until it reaches the ground.
And there do we find the true strength of Ma. Water is a mighty element not because one of these things is true, but because they can all be true at once. Furthermore, a peaceful ocean can turn into a fury of chaos if a storm is about, and even the flowing river can turn stalwart and immobile when it becomes ice. In this dissertation, it is my purpose to explore the different aspects of Ma in great detail, and in doing so, ream a greater wisdom from the understanding of them. So let us begin right there, with wisdom.
Gaining information and learning from others are indeed a part of wisdom, but those activities are more attributed to To than Ma, and rightly so. To the uneducated, therefore, it would seem that Ma's aspect of wisdom greatly overlaps To's aspect of knowledge. The truth of the matter, however, is that knowledge and wisdom are only tangentially related at best. To return to metaphor for a moment, my people believe that the Sea is the source of all wisdom... not because it grows in size or because the rains fill it anew each day, but because its waves are constantly in motion, churning over the knowledge it already understands, always trying to discover a greater truth. Wisdom, therefore, applied to us and our purpose, must be understanding the knowledge we have, using it to make the correct decisions, and discovering the greater truths that lie beneath everything we do. This is indeed no small task.
So how does one gain wisdom? Well I have been in pursuit of it my entire life, and I can no more explain its acquisition than I can impart to you all of it that I have gained in my twenty-two years. But there are some basic truths that I know to that end. The most important component of Wisdom is understanding that there is a deeper element to everything that happens. It as if we see and experience life by looking at the surface of the river, but wisdom is in understanding that there is ebb and flow beneath the water. Furthermore, these forces may seem chaotic and unpredictable, but the greater one understands them, the more once can see the great and elegant pattern they make. The truly wise can use this understanding to make decisions about what paths to take, and can tell true from false at a glance. As our wisdom grows, and in no small part due to our age and experiences, we become greater in those abilities, and the link between us and Ma grows deeper.
The next aspects of Ma I would like to explore are life and death. Now one could write volumes on the nature of life and death, and come no more than a hair breath's closer to truly understanding them. It is of great importance that life and death are part of a cycle, which in actuality is much more profound than we can comprehend. But it is also important to note that Ma's interests lie not in "life and death" but in "life" and "death", suggesting that the synergy between the two is not as important to us than the value of each one. So let us deal with them in turn.
Life is, of course, a great gift. The origin of this gift is largely a matter of theological belief, and I will not be so presumptuous as to suggest any perception is more true than any other. What is important for us to realize is that life is much more than the simple state of being alive. A person's life is composed of countless thousands of different things... hopes, dreams, fears... relationships, material wealth, spiritual understanding. If one takes a moment to simply reflect on the great energy that exists in each life on this earth, it is simply overwhelming. So how does this relate to our duty?
As we protect against the Kal kre Bain and likewise any force that would harm these realms, we must always be sure to safeguard the lives of others. In doing so, however, me must not simply protect them from death. We must always do our best to protect every asset of a person's life. Our greatest victories against the dark must be those where our enemies are unable to take any toll on us at all. Not one person's blood spilled, but more so, no livestock lost, no homes destroyed, no dreams torn asunder. This is a great and difficult task, and if we can achieve it but a few times in our long lives then it will be a blessing, but we must always set out with that goal in mind. No quarter can be asked of our foes, and we must give none.
Now onto death. I have much less to say about death than about life. This is possibly because, never having experienced true death as I have life, I have a much poorer understanding of it. To each of us, death has many levels of complexity, from the mundane and most mechanical concept, to infinite levels of mysticism and mystery. As to our relationship with death and Ma, I can only say that we should treat death with the same reverence that I have noted that we must treat life. As to the method in which we do so, I have little to say that will not touch on my own theological beliefs, and therefore I suggest that we each, as individuals, decide how to best do this ourselves.
The next aspect I will approach is that of spirit/soul/will. It is interesting to note that there is no one accurate word to describe what this discipline of Ma really embodies. It is something that is represented by any one of those words, but only represented well by the use of all three. This mysterious part of a person is definitely the most intangible, and likewise the least fragile. While the body can be destroyed far too easily, it is widely held that there is a further destiny for the spirit after death. But what is about the spirit/soul/will interests us in our service to Ma?
As I mentioned, the body can be destroyed. This is also unfortunately true of the soul, as I have been luckless enough to witness in my time. Yet destruction of the soul, or will, is far from the worst fate that can befall it. Far too often have we witnessed the corruption of the spirit. This transgression can be as commonplace as the simple necromancy that is usual in these realms, or it can be more grievous than I even care to script here. In either case, this corruption of the spirit/soul/will cannot be tolerated. We must deal harshly with those who would take this approach to their magicks or attacks, but that much is obvious. Beyond this, we must go to whatever lengths are necessary to protect others from this corruption, as much for our sake, as for theirs.
As we have all-to-recently seen in Eagles Rook, even the simple man can be vary dangerous to himself and his way of life if his will is corrupted. People's minds and bodies are capable of awesome things. We can imagine anything from beautiful love poetry to armored calvery divisions, and make them real. There is nothing beyond the scope of our abilities and our creativity. The important thing to remember is that the responsibility to use these properly is an integral part of each of us, and a very large part of our spirit/soul/will. To take that dominion away from a person is to make him dangerous, and overall rob him of his humanity. As we have each seen with our own eyes, it is to create a monster from an innocent life. This must be prevented at all costs.
The final aspects of Ma I would like to address is that of flexibility and adaptability. I have left these until last largely because I started with them, and also because they deserve the most attention, as they are the principle strengths of Ma. Going back to analogy to make my point, imagine a stream of water flowing down a hill for the first time. One would say that the destination of the water was the bottom of the hill. To reach this destination, the water would flow quickly downhill. Upon reaching an obstacle, the water would gather up and flow over it, or simply find another course around it, or both. In short, there is very little that can be done to stop that water from getting to its destination. It is too flexible to be able to halt.
The meaning behind that analogy is obvious, as is the one I made in the beginning of this paper. The question therefore, is how we can obtain these levels of flexibility, and how we can use them to do the work of the Kal en Dral. The truth of the matter is that we have to adopt a mindset that will allow us to solve our problems using this very asset. We must never close our minds to suggestions or ideas, even distasteful ones, and we must be able to choose the best way forward from many options. We should go into every situation assuming that it will be different from what we expect, or change into something different while we are in the midst of it, and we should be willing and able to change ourselves and our strategy to meet the new challenge.
Greater even than that flexibility, however, is the ability to become whatever the situation requires of us. Often times we are asked to fight on the battlefield, bringing our weapons or magicks to bear. But sometimes we will need to be leaders, sometimes we will need to be scholars, and sometimes we will simply need to be men and woman. We must have the strength and confidence to take on whatever role is needed. When the battle is joined, there are countless roles we can play, and I would go so far to say that the spell caster is in a better position to be flexible than one who simply fights. However, off the battlefield, our cause will require us to be teachers, poets, hunters, builders... more things than we can even now imagine. In filling each of these roles to further our goal, we will have embraced this aspect of Ma.
My father once said to me... "Achieving a goal is simple. Decide what the goal is, figure out what has to be done, and then get started". In the passages above, I have attempted to outline some important goals for becoming a Kathrani of the aspect of Ma, and I have given a brief description of the manner in which we may achieve them. I have been aligned with water since long before I have heard of the Kal en Dral. Even before I decided that I wanted to undertake the trials of four, I always thought that my own interests and abilities matched very well with the aspects of Ma. Even so, I have found achieving the goals I have set above to be a great challenge. Each of us have and will undergo many personal obstacles besides those of our trials as we strive to become Kathrani, and in doing so, we will become greater warriors for the cause we have sworn to. I wish you luck and success in these.
Created by Aeston Stromgate (Jason Rosa) at 12-18-06 11:10 PM
Last Modified by Faelinn Shadowmoon (Leanne Micciche) at 04-05-08 09:54 AM
Last Modified by Faelinn Shadowmoon (Leanne Micciche) at 04-05-08 09:54 AM