As well as Seemings, Shantis, shillees, Som, and Several other things…

Seeming: illusion called into being by a Grafter which acquires reality if many people believe strongly enough in it. This is really a case of mass hypnosis, but can have physical effects.

Seven Hypocrites of Mung: Mung was a city in the Eastern Canopy. The Hyprocrites were followers of Saint Loa, who after swearing fealty to him in Argos rescinded their decision and wished to return home.

Shanti: person calling the faithful to prayer at a Nurian temple. The shanti also leads some rituals. Practitioners of the Eastern Doctrine have no formal priesthood and look to the Focals for spiritual guidance. However some of the shanti (literally ‘temple singer’) have been known to give sermons and exhort their fellow citizens like Argosian priests.

Shillee: herd-dwelling mammal with small cloven feet that allow it to climb steep areas of the Tree with relative ease. Shillees eat moss and other plants and are kept by herders for their meat, milk and pelts.

Shortwheat: a type of barley-vine grown in the Eastern Canopy, drought resistant.

Sight [the]: the raw capacity or talent to be a Grafter. Someone with the Sight may experience premonitory dreams or visions.

Silesian bellweed: a hallucinogenic plant found in the North Fringes, toxic in high doses.

Som: a sedative made from purified Treespice, smoked to produce a lethargic state and vivid dreams. Highly addictive.

Sorceress of Nur: a Grafter who opposed Saint Loa in the Eastern Canopy. Her name has not been preserved but her machinations are legendary. She appears in so many different stories and over such an extended period that some scholars maintain the character is a composite.


Under the hood… About Seemings:

One of the themes I’ve touched on in passing in these stories is the ‘maya’ concept prevalent in Buddhism and in other religious philosophies. According to this theory the world is a collective illusion without actual permanence or reality. Without going so far as to ‘control the Matrix’, as it were, Grafters and sorcerers may influence the world-illusion to a degree, most particularly if they have the help of a great many other people. In other words, the more people believe in your personal illusion, the more it has a chance of crossing over into the larger ‘reality’ illusion shared by all. This shared creation may not last for long, but while enough spectators are held in its grip it acquires physical ramifications (enough people believing in Grafter fire may find for a brief moment that it burns.)

Though it’s certainly fun to play with such concepts in the physical world – Grafter fire, distracting Grafter ‘webs’, illusions and so on – the real danger associated with this power is its psychological, societal application. A clever tyrant adept in such sorcery might manipulate his people into believing in his version of what the world should be – and they, duped by his subtle Seeming, would help make it real. So dreams of empire, religious purity, racial superiority and other illusions are born… and stay with us, at least for a while.

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2 Responses to As well as Seemings, Shantis, shillees, Som, and Several other things…

  1. Kim Falconer says:

    Mary, I’ve been loving these posts and just had to jump in on the notion of ‘seemings’. At first it ‘seems’ like a mystical ‘woo woo’ concept but as we study more deeply the philosophies of the mystics AND present day quantum physics theory, we are learning that the idea of a ‘seeming; or ‘glamour; as I tend to call them, are not really so much beliefs but real experiences. It can be called ‘creating a consensus reality’ – the reality or paradigm that a collective agrees to ‘see’.

    We have examples of how this consensus reality can be quite destructively influnced. I think William Golding demonstrated this brilliantly in Lord of the Flys, though history offers us large and small documentations from Hitler to Jim Jones. I think any collective fervor of any kind stems from a ‘seeming’, the ability of one or more people to create a ‘reality’ for a collective to believe in.

    Can this ever be a ‘good’ things? I think collective groups like Planet Green and the IS Foundation or doing a damn fine job. And what about when 4000 TM mediators descended on NY City for an experimenter in crime reduction? At the end of the several week trial, crime in NY had dropped by 23%. Police and government officials were gobsmacked!

    A mediator spokesman said, “What we do as a group together is we create a very powerful influence on the larger level of consciousness . . . Without going into your house personally, we can affect what goes on in your house.”

    They say if 1% of the world population meditates it will lift the consciousness of the entire planet 🙂 A seeming? A glamour? What do you think? For better or worse it ‘seems’ like the collective consciousness is driven by the powerful intentions of the few.

    Great topic, Mary and I can’t wait to read my copy of Oracle’s Fire!


    • MaryV says:

      I’m so glad you decided to drop by and weigh in, Kim! 😀

      It’s all endlessly fascinating – how much we are able, particularly when working together, to influence our environment in surprising ways, simply by focusing on a collective goal and attempting to reach it.

      Even without taking unwilling folks down the ‘woo woo’ route, I see what you call consensus reality hard at work in the world today – in politics, in religion, in our ideas of culture and identity. Alas, when we choose to ‘stand on our own’ and ‘reject the herd’ we’re still buying into a brand, unfortunately. We’ll always be part of some shared concept of reality. The point is, will it be a reality worthy of us? Do we really want our world run along sectarian or ethnocentric lines, or perhaps worse still entirely dictated by market forces (and the desires of a rich and powerful few?)

      Encouragingly, I see indications of people searching for something more. In periods of political unrest, in ‘Occupy’ rallies, in various experiments such as the ones you mention, people are searching. We may not be exactly sure of what else we want, but we’re possibly beginning to see through the old, tattered illusions that have held us for so long. Maybe. Just a little.

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