Seven Aji of Progress
Ontolosnan myth and history revolves around the Aji
The Aji (plural) are revolutionary teachers and leaders who implement great religious and social change. An Aja (singular) transcends individual Traditions, often combining aspects of them in new and surprising ways. Aji are associated with technological progress, religious innovation, social upheaval, and spiritual, emotional and sexual liberation. They are believed to have Awakened into Tay’kan (Liberation). Aja are forces of change, but often leave great destruction in their wake. The Aji are opposed by Shali or Heroes.
In Tlöna tradition, seven Animal Aji mark the evolution and progress of nature, while seven semi-legendary Aji of the Sky chart the beginnings of human endeavour. History proper—The Seventh Reality—revolves around six Aji of Progress, and begins with the first Theagyn ritual. As the world darkens, It is hoped that the seventh and final Aja will awaken to lead soon.
1. Seven Animal Aji
First was Ant, who killed the Wild Fury and became the first gatherer.
Then came Sandpiper, the first who imagined, the first who told stories.
Third was Vulture, who saw the flow of the real, and made the first ritual.
Then came Fox, first of shamans, who stole the rattle and drum from the Twenty One Descendants.
Next was Pika, the first who traded.
Sixth came Horse, who is called Sacrifice, the first who questioned; the first to understand death. She gave herself in return for wisdom.
Last came Snow Leopard, she of the Holy Vows, the first who sought release, the first to glimpse liberation.
Then came Woman.
The First Aja of the Sky: a wandering shamanka, no one knows her name or where she came from. She taught the arts of meditation and contraception and healing, cooking and queening and weaving and the use of plough and fishing net. We honour her with the title of Gaeutarr, ‘The Awakened One’.
The Second Aja of the Cloudy Deep: a queen of her people. She cultivated the Five Grains, she laid out the order of altars and cities, she invented contracts and writing and bookburning.
The Third Aja of the Stormy Grey: a man, a poor nomad who rose among the grain folk, who brought the invisible arts of mathematics and engineering, who made music and paper and who repaired the sky.
The Fourth Aja of the Never-Still Parasol: a nun of the high crownward plains. She ordained the trees, she found the secrets of the Wind Horse, the sacred soma, she tamed the sacrificial fire.
The Fifth Aja of the Mountain-Loving Cloud: the Axle-Carver, a farwing woman of the Narisha hills. She freed the slaves, she tamed anger and war, she taught the subtle strengths of sun (non-violence) and diplomacy.
The Sixth Aja of the Spray-Tossed Fog: a voyager of the Tail Wing Islands. Ever-courageous, she angered the Ocean with her impious ships. Pursued by the mightiest of the Kut, she mastered the terrible secrets of tantra. She brought the first of the New Seeing.
The Seventh Aja of the Three Torches: Hwa-Mah, a blind woman of the Tlöna, greatest of the Sky Aji. Much-loved, she brought the mirror and the lens. She abolished marriage. She bought new speech.
Then came the nations.
The First Aja of the Passing Years, a woman of the Ban, known to us as Kiji Pledging Bird. In the first progress of the first epoch, the year of the opal crane, she gave voice and volition to the Kut in the first Theagyn ritual. It was she who birthed the Takut, the Speaking Devas. She taught a new language which opened minds to reality. Her Shala was the Songwhan of the Foaming Tide.
The Second Aja of the Rising Generations, a Root Princess of the Ban, her name was Moku Red-Brow. She mastered the secrets of furnace and steel, and in the fifth progress of the first epoch, the wing of the silver snow lion, she found Liberation. It was Red-Brow who first made slow-persuasion against the shamanka. Her Hero was the Bird Rider of Cho Lon, who bought the Xe mercenaries out of BanSam. The mudangs killed Red Brow during the NewSpan rites at Ha’shandan.
The Third Aja of the Wings of Pleasure, a male of the Tlöna, of the caste of touch-doctors. His gifts were the secrets of fermentation and pin medicine, and in the fourth progress of the second epoch, the byon of the silver yak, he attained Non-Self. He lived with no doorway, he lived with no roof, he died alone. His name was Tulsi-ra, and his Adversary was a ghost.
The Fourth Aji of the Progress of Truth, three in body, one in wisdom.
[Let no one speak of the Two False Aji!]
First came the Bearded Aja, called Satya-ri Half Crazy, a Tlöna priest of the altar builders, though he thought the TaKut but false mimics. His gifts were the paper bird, the alchemy of compounds, and the pathways of breathless trance. In the third progress of the fourth epoch, the year of the jijin tiger, he found Emptiness, and condemned all the priestesses of the queendom to poverty and silence. He made the contracts of new marriage. He opened the castes. His death was terrible.
Second came Du Li of the High Path, a female trader of the Ban, a pilgrim of the Iron-Lung Road. Her gifts were boundless compassion and strong anger, and in the third progress of the fourth epoch, the year of the opal goose, she united the temples of Tlön. She renewed the castes.
Third came Muk Bi Lan, the Eye of the Phoenix, once a bandit queen in the high forests of Ch’orokshanttang. She carried many wounds; her right hand was severed. In the fourth progress of the fourth epoch, the year of the silver snow lion, she conquered Illusion, and thereafter fell silent, lingering long in the realms of Story. At Wingtouch in the year of the jijin horse, in the city of Sinop, she gave birth to bi Bo Ki Sha, most beloved of the Kut, Deva who walked among women.
These were the Three, their teachings are One. Many were the Shali, and many the Munajeyo who opposed them. Yet as she grew in beauty and wisdom, bi Bo Ki Sha conquered the enemies of the Aji with fierce compassion.
The Fifth Aja of the Epoch of Liberation was Cha-ii of the Hundred Refinings, the White Mountain Empress, the Rider of Power. A Kal’ttar nomad of the high plains of Nunshanttang, her banner was the laughing lion, and her gift was the secret of the Walking Kut. In the seventh chon chon of the fifth epoch, the wing of the jijin snow lion, she attained Non-Duality, and with her armies brought the Friendship of the White Mountain. She blessed the mighty with poverty and the poor with meat and strong drink. She brought justice and mercy to the La Mahs. She taught simplicity and pleasure, hereness and nowness. She dissolved for a time the castes of the Tlöna. Her Nemesis was the White Lotus Rani.
[Then came Mountain Breaks Storm, in the third progress of the seventh epoch, the byon of the silver eagle].
The Sixth Aja of the Reality of Advancement was ka-Sin the Bountiful, a woman of the Tlöna, first Rani of the Stone Mountain. Her gifts were the new law, the printing block, and the secrets of the high dome and que tower. In the fourth chon chon of the seventh epoch, the byon of the jade turtle, she found Perfect Bliss. As Rani, she exiled the shamanka and the script traders and the lawyers, she forbad the warriors and tantrika their blood, she rebuilt the altars and made great once more the city of Sinop. Her daughters are many, as were the powerful who opposed her.
It is now the byon of the opal bear, the twenty fifth wing of the seventh progress of the seventh epoch. Two hundred and forty wings have passed since the terrible events of Mountain Breaks Storm.
All await with great longing the Awakening of the Seventh Aja, the Aja of Kasangsari, the Edge. Her city and her clan are hidden to us; her name is known only to our descendants. She will end the progress of the epochs.