The Path of the Aisling

In my long travels and explorations of the world of Temuair, I've had ample opportunity to examine the interactions between Aislings, and how they interact with the physical world around them. This is my attempt to flesh out a path of Aisling progress, the path we all begin to walk as a confused Initiate and later stride down with the wise eyes of a Master.

The path, as you can see, traces the eight-fold journey of the Aisling, as described in the Octave. The progression is at each individual's pace, and is related to a wide variety of factors (the age of the Aisling, their desires, their individual dreams and goals). Some Aislings are natural Actors; others are ever Wandering; even more still are Conquerors until their spark burns out. The individual Aisling is responsible for determining where they are, and, more importantly, where they want to go.

Let us now examine each step of the path in turn:

I - The Peasant

Color: White
Patron: Deoch

The new Aisling, eyes filled with wonder and the spark of Deoch. The Peasant eagerly seeks new experiences and yearns for adventure and pleasure. They often walk alone, grasping for knowledge and wisdom. It is by far the loneliest path, for the Peasant is often looked down upon and hated as a reminder of what we all once were. The wise will help the Peasant along the path; the foolish will force the Peasant to remain where they are forever.

The Peasant's color is white, representing a clean slate, a beginning, a mind unhindered by prejudice and experience. Their patron deity is Deoch, the bestower of the spark - Deoch is their loving creator, bringing forth a new Aisling into the world, another traveller on the path.

II - The Initiate

Color: Violet
Patron: Glioca

The Peasant (hopefully) meets someone to help them, and they choose a path; they commit to a specific study. They become the Initiate, the beginner. They seek experience and power, and are wise to do so in groups. The Initiate is generally welcomed as a fellow member of the craft, whether it be a priest or a rogue. Mileth is their city; they do not stray too far from it at first, fearing the unknown.

The Initiate's color is violet, the color of compassion and protection, representing their struggle (the Initiate is always closest to the grip of Sgrios). Their patron is Glioca, who would do anything to ease their pain, and will gladly care for them when the Initiate has reached too far and fallen into the clutches of Sgrios.

III - The Wanderer

Color: Green
Patron: Cail

The Initiate gains strength and experience, and can stand alone. They become the Wanderer, the explorer, roaming Temuair. They seek to know the lands, and to know the nature of the places they travel. The Wanderer finds comfort in the travel, either alone or with a group of trusted companions. They regard no city as a true home, but merely a place to rest one's head. They lust for the unknown, the outdoors, the serenity the Wanderer finds only when they are exploring Cail's domain.

The Wanderer's color is green, the color of nature and the wide outdoors that they explore, representing their journey. Their patron is Cail, who shows them how to coexist with the lands they travel through, and guides them to a path of balance and equality.

IV - The Aisling

Color: Blue
Patron: Luathas

The Wanderer's lust for travel eventually cools to a gentle ardor; their travels have resulted in a worldly sense of self. They become the Aisling, the integrated being, the cultured member of "normal" society. They seek partnerships, friends, enemies: in the general sense, interaction with others. They find an identity, perhaps as a important member of a religion, a guild founder, an artist, a writer, etc. The Aisling needs something to focus their attention on; this also determines the fork in the road they will eventually follow.

The Aisling's color is blue, the color of knowledge, representing their search for identity. Their patron is Luathas, who guides them when they are lost, and fills them with the knowledge they need to make their next step. Luathas may bestow a gnostic sense of "the path" to the Aisling, committing them to a specific project or important work.

The Fork in the Road

The Aisling, having integrated themselves into the wider culture of Temuair, learns of the grossly simplified mundane / Aisling dichotomy. Most believe this to be a chasm separating all of Temuair; a division which can never be rectified, and can never be crossed. The Aisling finds themselves in a quandary, and they must choose a path, for they seek a further integration into modern society, and the groups and social orders they discover all around them.

Some, summoned by the thrill of combat, the rote execution of repetitive action, or the safety of non-expression, choose The Path of the Mundane. This is a tiresome path, full of hardships and difficulty; it is the path of the recalcitrant, the inflexible. Those who fall on this path and are in need of assistance may find no one to help them, as most following this path are inherently self-serving. It is the denying of the spark, an attempt to return to the safety of the Mundane eyes which flee from the shadow. It has dire results, as no Aisling may deny their spark without enduring hardship.

Others, seeing Temuair in a different light, summoned by the need to express themselves, the pleasure of creative action, the joy of sharing stories, choose The Path of the Dreamer. This is a far more difficult path, dynamic and ever-changing, but it is balanced by the support of others; the path of the dreamer is not a lonely one - they find solace and companionship in the presence of other dreamers. There are always new companions, new stories, new loves - balanced by new sorrows and pain. The path of the Dreamer is one of multifarious experience: a true perception of the diverse nature of life itself, and all that it implies.

Regardless of the fork the Aisling chooses to take, it is a step towards evolution. Only by progression can one learn of the nature of the dichotomy, and the answers to questions such as "What is mundane?" and "What does it mean to be a dreamer?" Each of the paths leads to the same place, but with a different philosophy of life and different lessons imparted.

The Path of the Mundane

VIm - The Conqueror

Color: Yellow
Patron: Gramail

The Conqueror is the first step in the path of the Mundane; it is the path of brute force, of endless conquest and battling, both against Aislings and the exterior world itself. It is warfare in the guise of order, for the Conqueror investigates and learns of the order of the world around him (if only to beat it into submission). The Conqueror knows how people will react to their presence; they know when and where the toughest foes lurk and how to best exploit the world around them to their advantage.

The Conqueror's color is yellow, the color of law and order, representing their primacy. Non-intuitively, their patron is Gramail. The Conqueror, through befriending Gramail and understanding the order and natural laws of the world around them, may gain domination over it, and flourish. Ceannlaidir does not teach strategy - it is the natural provenance of Gramail's wisdom.

VIIm - The Heretic

Color: Orange
Patron: Fiosachd

Eventually, even the most powerful Conquerors may tire of the endless toil of combat. They become bitter, either over the lack of recorded culture and friendships amongst their kind, or by anyone they perceive to be happier than themselves. Slowly, they come to resent much of Temuair and its inhabitants; the dark cloak of the Heretic descends upon them. The Heretic lives to annoy, craves attention, and strives to disrupt the lawful processes of society. They are only happy when they are actively working to destroy or disrupt a social process or institution, or bringing grief to someone else.

The Heretic's color is orange, the color of chance and probability. Interestingly, their patron is Fiosachd; the Heretic constantly dances between offensive and illegal - after all, you cannot continue your work from a jail cell, or from exile. When Fiosachd smiles on the Heretic, they escape into shadow, vanish into a crowd, and elude capture one more time.

The Path of the Dreamer

VIa - The Listener

Color: Yellow
Patron: Gramail

The Listener is the first step in the path of the Dreamer. This state represents humility, a desire for acceptance; it is a passive state, the path of increased understanding and integration. The Listener yearns to play an adequate role in the community, and understands the societal rule that equates a listening, receptive ear with a show of respect. The Listener slowly learns the rules, social mores and customs of the group around him, slowly beginning to become an integral part of it.

The Listener's color is the same as the Conqueror's, but Gramail is their patron for very different reasons: The Listener seeks to define the rules of the game: Gramail's order can be found in the laws, customs, and methods of a culture. The Listener, with their seemingly humble silence, represent a marked opposite to the brash and overpowering Conqueror. They wish to ingratiate themselves to the order of a society, not exploit it.

VIIa - The Actor

Color: Orange
Patron: Fiosachd

With time, the Listener is integrated fully into the community of fellow dreamers. They gain experience and knowledge through listening, and in time, they begin to speak: they tell stories, write poetry, argue over philosophical questions. The Actor is the Aisling with a purpose, a desire, a passion. They speak with authority, assert themselves gracefully, and weave their own webs within the community. This is not to say that the Actor is always a good influence; many of them fall victim to the jaws of manipulation, spending their time plotting endless conspiracies and intrigues. If this force is destructive enough, an Actor may come to be on the Mundane path to the Destroyer. Regardless, the Actor generally has a purpose, and a strong one at that.

The Actor's color is the same, again, as the mirror on the other path; Fiosachd favors the Actor because fortune, uncertainty, chance, affect every element of the Actor's game and the perception of their actions. Does an impassioned plea strike a collective note, or fail miserably to even move a single member of the crowd? Fiosachd plays prominently in how a potential event can unfold - a stunning success, or a dismal failure.

The Beginning of Unity

By the time an Aisling has come to the seventh state of existence, they have spent a great deal of time as an Aisling. To ascend to the seventh path, they now commit all of their energy to yet another dichotomy: sparkling creativity or terrible destruction. Yet, it is the ascension to the seventh state that begins the transition to the illuminated state of the Master, and the secret it entails.

VII - The Destroyer / The Storyteller

Color: Red
Patron: Ceannlaidir

After commiting themselves fiercely to one of the paths, the Heretic and the Actor come to realize true power; either the power of creativity, leading them to spin stories and legends with ease (The Storyteller), or the power to completely manipulate others, leading them to destroy lives and institutions with ease (The Destroyer). The power is the same: a manifestation of the penultimate ability of the Dreamer, the ability to weave complex illusions, stories and tales. Both possess the capacity to bring forth new realities. However, for the Destroyer, there is one goal: the total destruction, from within, of the most sacred and revered parts of a society. The Destroyer is a sickness eating away at the interior of the society; manipulating others, skilled at illusion and deception, they excel at creating strife and desperation. The Storyteller is the dualistic opposite - weaving the tales to enchant, enrapture and entertain. However, even the purest Storyteller still feels the pull, the raw potential of the Destroyer, and vice versa. Each of the sides of the seventh state yearn for their opposites: the destructive side secretly wishes to create for the pleasure of invocation, and the creative side still grasps for the ability to destroy and tear apart those who would threaten the story, rather than attempt to "civilize" them. Storytellers can easily fall into the trap of wishing to use power against those who would threaten the fabric of the society they weave for.

The color of the Destroyer and the Storyteller is red, the color of raw power and potential, representing their pure ability. Their patron is Ceannlaidir, but the reason why is very different: for the Storyteller, Ceannlaidir represents courage in the face of adversity, the ability to stay a path through whatever difficulties and obstacles may arise: perseverance, strength, honor. For the Destroyer, Ceannlaidir is the representation of total warfare and the endless, unceasing conflict they wage against social institutions.

VIII - The Master

Color: Black
Patron: Sgrios

The two-sided power of the seventh state eventually leads most Destroyers or Storytellers to seek more from their existence. With a slow realization, most Destroyers tire of endless strife and destruction, and Storytellers who try to use their power to destroy those who follow the Mundane path burn out just as quickly. The eighth note of the Octave is the note of release: "All things, let go." The secret of the Master is that the dichotomy of Mundane / Aisling is an illusion, like all dichotomies: inside every Aisling is a Conqueror, a Destroyer, an Actor; indeed, the Master is at one with all paths and no paths, and perceives the mutable nature of Aisling reality. The Master is at ease in any situation, humble, and gracious.

The color of the Master is black, the color of totality, of infinity. Unlike the clean-slate Initiate, the Master has come home at last, "knowing the place for the first time". Their patron is Sgrios, a seemingly unusual pairing at first: but the Master realizes that life and death are merely another dichotomy, and that death is just another part of the journey. The octave continues, and life progresses ever onward. For the Master, the pleasure is to be found in the journey itself, and the present moments shared with friends and loved ones. "Live for now, and live well."


In this treatise, I have attempted to flesh out the Path of the Aisling, the path I feel we all follow. I hope you found it enriching, or at least interesting. Please remember, this is based on my observations, combined with my interpretations of Temuairan theology and philosophy. I welcome comments and insights on this subject, and encourage the reader to form their own opinions (and share them).

I would like to thank Cliona, Rowena and Valvalis for their time and patience; their comments were very helpful and enlightening.

Kedian Ta'Null
Deoch 37