Thursday, July 20, 2017

Chakras and Civilization

I really enjoyed taking Sociology last semester.  It stirred up a lot of think-juice.  On the first day of class the teacher handed out index cards and had us answer a handful of questions describing ourselves and our views.  The last question asked us to articulate how we viewed society: "Society is..."

Society is what?
The answer was supposed to give the teacher an idea on whether we viewed society along the lines of an Interactionist, a Functionalist, or a (Head over to the Cliff Notes for explanations on all that).  Neither here nor there though, we didn't know any of that stuff yet.  There was just the question to answer.

I noodled on it for a bit and finally wrote, "Society is like the Chakra system".

Over the next few days that notion blossomed into a rather fun, "What if" theory.  What if the growth and development of society is like the seven (or more?) Chakras described in Eastern philosophy?  Curious about what the heck a Chakra is?  I rather liked the descriptions given on Deepak Chopra's website, so I'll just drop that link here.  Fear not, here's the TL:DR, or if you're already familiar with Chakras, here's my (abbreviated) personal take on these critical energy centers in the human body:

1) The Root Chakra - Your connection to your "People"; your base and foundation
2) The Sacral Chakra - The creative center; associated with sexuality and reproduction
3) The Solar Plexus Chakra - Digestion and processing of new ideas and information; this Chakra is considered the dividing line between the mundane and spiritual
4) The Heart Chakra - Love specifically; feelings and emotions in general
5) The Throat Chakra - Communication and articulation
6) Third Eye - Perceiving more than what "meets the eye"; intuition
7) The Crown Chakra - Your connection to divinity; your spiritual awareness

So how does that relate to cultural development?
I feel that society naturally moves through various stages that can be related to the Chakra "ladder".  I can't imagine I'm the first to come up with this idea, but I haven't encountered it before. This is just a fun thought exercise and isn't a perfect analogy, so here goes:

1) A species develops its way up to sentience (yay!).  Family groups band together for protection, companionship and to help increase survival.  Budding culture starts to form as "rules" need to be developed to handle individuals living in larger groups: knowing one's place within the group; knowing that one must act differently/deferentially in the presence of certain individuals.  Social roles start to form: who gathers food? Should certain individuals eat first? Who makes the shelter, or finds the best place to sleep? Who tends to the young? Who keeps order? Who has the right to reproduce? Who isn't allowed to reproduce, etc?

I feel that dolphins, elephants, great apes, and certain parrot species are already at this level.
For humans, this is the early caveman era.

2) Moving along to the creative center.  More refined language develops.  Though rudimentary language forms back in the first phase with instinctual communication (body language, scent and universal utterances); communication leaps forward in this stage.  Grammar develops; vocabulary explodes; body language becomes more conscious and/or elaborate.  Dialects and "accents" form: Members of one group may no longer be able to communicate effectively with other groups.

Tool-making takes off.  Stone Age(s)!

3) In my opinion Humans are the only ones to make it this far (on our planet).  This is where the environment gets "conquered".  The building of elaborate dwellings.  The domestication of plants and other animals.  Mining.  Body adornments become more showy and not just for protection and warmth anymore.  Groups can get larger and more organized as language continues to develop and become increasingly refined.

Going back to Chakras: in the body, the diaphragm separates the solar plexus from the Heart Charka (hence the notion of the diaphragm separating the energies of the mundane from the divine).  This diaphragm "ceiling" meant that humanity hung out here for a very long time.  Speaking of the divine though, let's move on:

4) The religion of love!
Though religions certainly developed before this stage, they were authoritative to reflect and reinforce the (now ancient) cultural rules that have glued society together.  Before this point, even though humanity had been living together in increasingly larger groups for centuries, there was still a selfish "every-man-for-himself" attitude underlying it all.

Along comes The Buddha, Jesus and Mohamed talking about love and compassion.  For the first time people were asked to think of others as themselves instead of apart from themselves.

It's taken centuries since then for humanity to climb up out of the quagmire of a desire for world domination to an understanding that: living things go extinct if you kill them all; that the earth can be scarred if not cared for; that children are not just miniature adults capable of adult thought and reasoning; that oppressed people might actually desire freedom and autonomy.

I think this is primarily the stage humanity is at presently.  There's still plenty of thoughts and notions aligned with the three earlier stages, but there's also a fair amount of movement upward too.  The human race won't move forward as a whole until the older mindsets dissolve (we'll get there!).

5) My optimistic views are driven by the fact that there is clear movement into the communication center.  The printing press, telegraph, radio, telephones, television, the internet (OMG the internet!)  The world is shrinking as we continue to find new and faster ways to communicate with each other!  Societal empathy continues to grow as we communicate more and more with different people.

Previously oppressed people (women, racial/cultural minorities, etc) are "winning" their voices and the right to speak as growing equals to those who have held power in the previous stages.

6) As society equalizes and the thought of killing and oppression becomes increasingly distasteful to the masses, I feel we'll shift into this sixth stage.  Of course there are individuals already filtering upward - think the Indigo and Crystal Children touted about in the New Age movement. (Sorry, no links for this - go hunting yourself.  I couldn't find any good sites that weren't too "flowery").  And that's a big reason why I really don't think we're "there" yet.

At present this stage of humanity is viewed very romantically and (in my humble opinion) over simplistically because it's being viewed/projected through the lens of those old-fashioned mindsets I spoke of earlier. Yes, antiquated social structures that no longer serve our race or the planet will indeed need to break down to get to this point, but I feel the stereotype assigned to this stage is a group of uninhabited hippies wearing flowers and flowing robes; diluting their childish narcissism by chanting OM into their crystals.

I feel that instead of the people of this stage being self-absorbed and mis-/un-informed, there will instead come a sense of personal responsibility to oneself and others.  A thirst for knowledge and understanding of all things, not just what affects the self.  There'll be a universal level of self-awareness and (therefore) social-awareness at this stage.  A knowing and acknowledging that every thought, word and action affects others.  Yes, society will be very different; but that's because the rules of the first stage will be done away with.  The need for second-stage sexual power will no longer hold sway; previously held hierarchies and social roles will collapse.  The need to conquer the world and all upon it will be considered petty and unjust.

Instead people and society will flow consciously, intuitively, and empathically.  Love and communication with become the new foundation for the world ahead.

Another thing I predict for this stage is a great lessening of communal fear.  What I mean by that is events of the world (either societal- or nature-driven) are presently viewed as random and therefore scary.  Entering into the Third-Eye stage of development, the causes of things will be more clearly seen.  The seeming randomness of the world will evaporate.  A pervasive fearlessness will fill humanity. 

7) Oh boy!
This stage is so far above my head (Get it? Get it?) that I can't even begin to speculate.
A constant/conscious connection with Divinity.  A knowing of "Who You Are" (humanity's greatest question) without even needing to ask.  What will that be like?  Who knows.
Lets go find out!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Where've I Been?

Not writing, obviously!

This winter/spring has been crazy with school (three classes, one with a lab & lecture to boot), working full-time; and, oh doing a play and participating in a belly dance show because I'm crazy like that.  Have I mentioned that we've also taken in my (now) ten year old niece?  Yeah, things have been busy around here of late.

Happily, the spring semester finished up over a week ago, suddenly freeing up my time.  I won't have class again until July (yay!).  So in the meantime I'm planning on laying low and keeping my extracurricular activities to a minimum (cue canned laugh-track).

There's been no meaningful martial arts practice in my life for well over a year.  This is bothering me less now than it did a few months ago, but I'd really like to get back into it if I can.  Rather thinking of giving Wing Chun Kung Fu a try; and maybe taking a Tai Chi refresher class here and there.  Karate is going to have to take a long hiatus unless something new and exciting pops up.

Haven't been doing any sewing/crafting to speak of in about as long.  Fortunately I've discovered the Hamilton soundtrack (thanks to the theater kids in the afore mentioned play), and I'm chomping at the bit to make a King George III cosplay.  Of course the niece will want something too, so I'll have to plan accordingly for that as well. 

In the writing department, my thoughts keep returning to the WIP that I'm close to finishing, as well as "The Kai'us Planet".  Those aside though, school has really lit a fire under me concerning blog ideas.  I have a whole list of topics ranging from whimsical, esoteric pieces; to seriously researched and cited articles; to everything in between.  It was really hard not to work on them earlier, but food and sleep won out (seriously, these past few months have been insane!)  I'm hoping in the coming weeks I can set some time aside to hammer out a few of these ideas for your reading pleasure.

So that's the long and short of it.
This blog hasn't been abandoned, just set aside while life did its thing.  Here's to hoping you hear from me again sooner than five months from now!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Year in Review - 2016

Welp, that year didn't go as expected.
There's been some pretty interesting highs and lows this year.  Here's the breakdown:

Illness Leads to Education

I started off this year "right" with a rip-roaring case of mono.  Though it knocked me on my ass, I apparently got off pretty easy.  I slept a lot, didn't have a huge amount of stamina, I tired really easy, and standing in one place for more than ten seconds (like waiting in line at the store or bank) was terrifying as I felt I could collapse at any moment; but I could function.  Maybe because I was in the best shape of my life when I fell ill.  I was just thinking about gearing up for my next Karate rank, and had just started taking boxing lessons to improve my sparring.  I was assistant teaching Tai Chi and was doing daily exercises in the morning before work.

So instead of staying at home in bed sleeping, like I should have been, I'd go into work for four hours (since I was at my strongest in the mornings), then go home and sleep for a little bit and then remote into work for a couple hours in the evenings.  Looking back I'd say this arrangement was suicidally crazy, but I needed money and I really hate doing nothing.  Because of that, during a stretch where I couldn't work even under those conditions, I decided to apply to a local community college with the intent of going to nursing school. (I get bored easy you see; if you leave me alone with nothing to do, I end up doing crazy things like that.)

I got in!

Now some of you might be asking, "What?!"
While others will be cheering, "Finally!"

For the first group: I've been toying with the notion of becoming a nurse for a very long time; I just never felt I had the level of maturity and emotional wherewithal to handle being in that noble profession.  However, a lot has happened in my life within the past five or so years to make me feel I might actually be ready to give this a go.  Being home-bound, (supposedly) recovering from mono was just that little nudge I needed to take the plunge.

I just finished my first semester of prerequisite classes earlier this month, passing with flying colors (while working full-time).  I put in my formal application to the nursing program as soon as the final grades were posted.
Next semester (which starts at the end of January) will be ten credits (three classes) of general education classes that I'd like to get out of the way before doing "real" nursing school (which starts next fall if I get in).  The summer semester will also be just gen-eds.

I'll know if I've landed a coveted a seat in the Class of 2019 about halfway through this coming semester.  If I get in, I plan on dropping back to part-time at the 9-5 job, or stop working completely to focus on school.  We'll be playing that one by ear as it comes.

The current game-plan is to get my RN and work in a hospital for as long as I can tolerate it.  During that time I'd like to see if I can find an employer who'll pay for me to get my Bachelor's degree.  After which I want to get even more nursing experience before going on to get my Master's and become a Certified Nurse Midwife.  We'll see where and how that all goes (you know, the way to make God laugh and all that...)

As for my health: it's taken most of this year to recover my strength and stamina.  I'm still seriously limiting the extracurricular activities, but happily there's plenty of others things going on presently to keep me occupied (more on that later).

Martial Arts

Though I had every intention to push for my next Karate rank this year, thanks to mono and changes at the Karate club, I've been laying low in regards to the martial arts.  I also had to drop the Tai Chi assistant teaching due to my illness; but I think the couple months I did do it served their purpose.  I still practice the whole short form on my own periodically, which is quite lovely.

Recently I tried to do my morning exercises again (something I just haven't had the strength to do for most of this year).  I was happy to see I could stick with it for a full week, but because I'm not really doing anything physically challenging at present, I didn't see the need to keep up with it.

We'll see what next year brings to my martial arts journey.  It might be another time for a hiatus.  Who knows.

Cabin in the Woods

As soon as I was well enough to do any level of physical labor this spring, my husband Rick and I headed up to Raquette Lake on any and all available weekends to continue cleaning out his father's camp (a project we'd been tackling since last summer).  We had hoped to get an offer on it this spring and get it sold ASAP so we wouldn't have to pay another year of property taxes on the place, but it wasn't to be.

Still, we toiled through the summer as we slowly lost hope of selling it at all this year.

Then out of the blue, a serious offer came in.  The couple were happy to pay the list price but on one condition: the camp had to be completely cleared out by the closing slated for November 1st.

Can do!
Rick and I hauled ass wrangling up friends and family to help get that place cleaned out.
An outsider may wonder, "How bad could it have been? It was after all just a little camp in the Adirondacks!"

Yeah well, Rick's Dad was a hoarder and avid collector of all things not valuable.  He'd lived in the camp every summer for several decades.  Slowly and methodically he had haul things to up one boatload at a time.  Books and furniture, and he NEVER threw out mail, newspapers or magazines.  He loved all things Disney, so long as it could be fished out of a trash can for purchased for five bucks off ebay.  Happily most of the stuff was meticulously cataloged and stored, but it didn't make getting it out of there any easier as you could only access the camp via a five-mile boat ride.

It was not a fun or easy project, but we prevailed and the camp was "broom-clean" before the end of October!  The closing went through without a hitch and we couldn't be happier! 


You might have noticed that the blog hasn't gotten much loving this year (apart from a couple really fun Kai'us-related series that I posted this summer).
It's not that I haven't wanted to write on the blog: I've got several half-baked drafts sitting in my queue waiting to be finished.  Lack of time and energy is what I'm blaming (see above, lol).

Really though all my writing has suffered this year.  I haven't even been working on my other WIP's, nor did I have much interest in participating in NaNoWriMo this year.

So what else could be keeping me from writing apart from recovering from a debilitating illness, helping to clear out my deceased father-in-law's Adirondack camp and going to school?  Glad you asked (see below)!


This summer, Rick and I became legal guardians of my nine year old niece in partnership with her parents (my brother and sister-in-law).  She started living with us in mid-August.  She started the fourth grade in our school district this September, and is loving Girl Scouts and Karate (when we go).

Our days now tend to go as follows: Rick gets her up and ready for school as I get ready for work.  I drive her into school as it works well with my work schedule and route.  She and I get a few minutes of in-the-car-bonding time, which is fun; then I continue on to work and do grown-up things.
Rick gets her off the bus in the afternoon, makes sure she does her homework and makes her dinner.
In the evenings I come home, eat whatever is left of dinner and give Child my undivided attention so that Rick can get some alone time as she unwinds for the evening.  Every evening, the three of us read together before bed.  She has an early bedtime, so I get a good hour and a half, to two hours after she's gone to bed to do my own unwinding before I head off to sleep as well.

So far it's been working really well for all involved.  I honestly don't mind spending my evenings this way as otherwise I'd just be on the computer, probably not being terribly productive as I haven't been writing much lately.

So what do I hope for 2017?

School will likely dominate my life for the next couple years, which doesn't bother me too much.  I love learning.  My current boss knows that my days at the printing company are numbered and he'll hopefully get me a replacement that I can train soon.

The small business that I run with a friend is humming along nicely.  We attended a couple events as vendors earlier this year and thanks to a new product we had to offer, we nearly doubled our sales from last year in just the first few months of this one!  We also have a quiet etsy presence that's continued to generate tidy sales throughout the year.  Interestingly enough my business partner will also be going back to school next year, so there's no hard feelings about me being busy with academic pursuits.  It just means we'll have plan our crafting days a little more carefully than in the past.  (She blogs too btw.  Feel free to give her a read!)

As mentioned before: what I'll be doing in the martial arts department next year is a little up in the air.  Right now I'm just taking it one day/week/month at a time.  I AM a martial artist though, so I'm sure something will present itself.

Same goes for writing.  I have a WIP that's very close to being ready to go agent-hunting.  It'd be nice to get the ball rolling again on that soon.

2017 Holds a lot of promise and potential.  We'll see how it goes!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Kai'us Racial Genetics

This is the last of series of posts regarding Kai'us culture (for now).
The first bit was a five-part series last month going into the Kai'us creation myths.
Earlier this month I also talked about the system Kai'us' use to prevent inbreeding.

This post will talk about how interracial Kai'us pairings work on an over-simplistic genetic level.
Kai'us races are different from Human races.  What we consider different "races" are just regional and ethnic variations.  Any human can successfully produce viable offspring with any other human.  In short: every "race" of humanity can interbreed.

When I refer to "race" in regards to Kai'us', I'm actually referring to different sub-species.  The seven genetically-unique Kai'us races can successfully interbreed and produce fertile offspring, but the racial genetic markers do not hybridize and it's possible (easy actually) to "breed out" specific genetic markers.

This hasn't always been the case however.  When their world goes through its periods of great geological instability, everyone's DNA becomes unstable and hybridization occurs much more freely.  During the time period I'm working in though (Post-Second Cataclysm onward), Kai'us DNA is incredibly stable to the point where chromosomal abnormalities are practically unheard of.  Even identical twins are incredibly rare (though fraternal twins are actually more common than among humans).

Before I go into the details though, let's refresh ourselves on basic genetics.  Remember that every person typically has two genes for any particular trait: one gene they get from their mother and the other they get from their father.  Using that Punnett Square I mentioned in the last post, let's do an easy one and lay out the probability of parents producing a boy or a girl child.  (Genetic) gender in humans is determined by the x- and y-chromosomes.  If you have two x-chromosomes, you're genetically female.  An x- and a y- together makes you genetically male.

Let's step it up a notch and pretend a person's height is determined by one of only two genes: "T" would produce tall people, "s" would produce short people, and a combination of the two would produce a person of medium height.

Okay, so now that you've recovered from flashbacks of Biology class, let's apply these principles to Kai'us'.  As mentioned before, I'm going to over-simplify the following explanation significantly since no one gene determines all of a Kai'us' racial characteristics, but to make both our lives easier, let's just say that Kai'us race is determined by either a dominant (D) or a recessive (r) gene.

Pairings made from the same race can produce viable offspring no matter what combination of genes are expressed (DD, rr, or Dr would all be viable combinations).

When you start blending races however things get tricky: to produce viable (live) offspring, one parent must provide a dominate racial gene, and the other parent must contribute a recessive racial gene.  Two dominate genes or two recessives will not produce live young.  Interestingly enough, when interracial pairings do occur, people are often more drawn to each other when they're genetically compatible.

Another nice thing is that any children produced with the requisite dominate and recessive genes will be fully fertile and able to produce offspring of their own.

For our first hypothetical pairing, let's put together a Spider Kai'us (represented by a "$" for dominate, and an "s" for recessive), and a Cave Kai'us (C for dominate, and ¢ for recessive) as this would be the most probable pairing, especially among the Ka-Kiu.

Spider Kai'us' are a tall, desert-dwelling race with four arms.  Red/orange mane colors are not uncommon among them, but various shades of brown are the norm (running more to the lighter end of the spectrum).  Brown eyes are by far the most common, but other shades pop up here and there and run strongly in families when they do appear.

Cave Kai'us' bear the "basic" Kai'us form (two arms, two legs, and average build).  For mane colors, nearly every shade of brown can be found among them, though the extremes (blond at one end and black at the other) are very rare.  Like most races, brown eyes are what you're most likely to find, but Cave Kai'us' are the most likely to have dark blue or dark green eyes of any other race.

Obviously this isn't the only combination that will produce viable offspring.  A $s Spider Kai'us parent could have children with a ¢¢ Cave Kai'us (with a 50% success rate; all children would have four arms), or even a CC Cave Kai'us (50% as well; with two-armed children).

A $$ parent could have children with a C¢ person (with 50% success; all children would have four arms), as well as a ¢¢ person (100% success; all children would have four arms as well).

A ss parent could also have children with a C¢ person (also with a 50% chance of success; all children would have two arms though).  Mating with a CC person would provide a 100% chance of Cave Kai'us hybrids.

Even though statistically there's a 50/50 chance of a genetic mismatch with most combinations; nearly every attempt at conception will produce a viable baby.  This is because Kai'us' tend to only mate six times in their entire life. (The reasons are many) and Nature will do everything in its power to ensure the right genes match up to produce live offspring.

Now let's pair up a few hybrids and see the interesting combination that get produced:

For chuckles and giggles, let's introduce a third race.  Though this is rare, even among the Ka-Kiu, let's put together a Cave and a Spider hybrid that both carry the racially recessive genes for Mountain Kai'us' (represented with an "m").

The Mountain People have a heavier build than the other races. They're known for their physical strength; and they have thick, bristly hair that runs down the backs of their arms and legs the same color as their mane.  Both their mane and eyes colors are consistently darker than the other races, almost always dark brown or black. 

From this combination, you can see there's a 25% chance of no viable offspring, a 25% chance of a Cave/Mountain hybrid, a 25% of a Spider/Mountain hybrid, but a 25% of a genetically pure Mountain Kai'us.

And so there's the long and the short of Kai'us racial genetics.
I hope you've enjoyed this peek into the science end of Kai'us'.
If you liked what you've read these past two months, be sure to bug me periodically to get the book finished so you can read a whole novel about these fascinating creatures!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Kai'us Clans

Last month I posted a series of Kai'us creation myths (check out the intro here if you like; it will also lead you through the rest of the myths).

I was having so much fun writing all this Kai'us stuff that I thought I'd spill things over into this month and get science-y; discussing a little about Kai'us genetics and how they avoid inadvertent inbreeding.  Both these topics are very briefly touched on in the novel I'm working on (currently called "The Kai'us Planet"), but obviously they're far too involved to go into in-depth in the book, so I'll post about them here.

This week's post will be about the complex clan system Kai'us' use to ensure couples aren't too closely related.  It's not fool-proof though because people as close as second cousins would be able to marry, and sometimes people who we wouldn't consider even remotely related wouldn't be able to wed.  Still, it certainly keeps siblings and first cousins away from each other at the very least.

Though the dynamics are there (and have been for years), there's certain details I'm still hammering out, like: should each race have 24, 32, or even 64 clans?  How much bearing should a person's clans have on how they're viewed in society?  Are there "good" clans and "bad" clans for instance?  What should the clans be called?

I've thought of the Cave Kai'us clan names being after birds and things related to birds (they REALLY like birds!); Spider Kai'us' having insect and small, desert-dwelling creatures names; Mountain Kai'us' having names to do with stones, jewels, and metals; Winged Kai'us' after types of trees and plants; but that's a whole boat-load of vocab I've haven't even begun to hit on yet! (And that's just the Old Races!!)

So for the sake of argument, I'll do this break-down with just numbers (which is how I've been doing it thus far).  Even with this simple labeling system though it's likely still going to get confusing, so I'll do my best to keep things simple.

Unfortunately it gets insane right out of the starting gate: each and every Kai'us is identified by four separate clans, and how they're ordered is slightly different depending on if you're a boy or a girl.

First I invite you to re-familiarize yourself with the Punnett Square that you likely learned about in biology class concerning bean plants, fruit flies, and blood types.  Though it'll relate more to my next post about Kai'us racial genetics, it's general principle will come in handy with the clan break-downs as well.

With that in mind, you get your first clan name from the parent who's the same gender as you.
Your second clan name comes from the first clan of your opposite-gendered parent.
You get your third clan and fourth clans from your grandparents (that part will be easier to show than tell).

Let's break it down from the beginning starting with the "first man" and the "first woman".

The colors are arbitrary by the way.  I’m just using them to separate things out a little better visually (you’ll thank me in a moment).

The boy’s first clan is the same as his Dad’s.
The girl’s first clan is the same as her Mother’s.
And their second clan is the first clan of their other parent.
(Obviously for this example their parents only have one clan, but this will work even if there’s the normal four clans involved; we're starting out simple here.)

Now, these kids can’t hook up because they share clans. 
Even if just one clan is shared between two people, they can’t get married.

Lucky for these kids, their parents had neighbors of completely different clans!
Now let’s see what happens when all these young people get married and have kids.

This chart is likely going to look like an overwhelming mess, so let’s take a looksie at just one grandbaby.

Following the numbers (and handy colors), you can see that this young man’s first clan is the first clan of his father and his paternal grand-father.
His second clan is his mother’s first clan as well as his maternal grand-mother.
His third clan is his father’s second clan, which is the first clan of his paternal grand-mother.
And his fourth clan is his Mom’s second clan, same as his maternal grand-father’s first clan.

If you scroll back up, you can see that his sister’s clans are the same as his, just reversed.  
His cousins' clans are also the same, just flopped top to bottom
Now let’s go one more generation and see what happens.

As you can see, half of the clans get lost by the fourth generation, but the first clans of all the men carry through as do the first clans of all the women.

This is why it’s so important to Kai’us parents that they have at least one boy and one girl.
Boys carry on their father’s clans and girl’s carry on their mother’s lines.

Because the people living in a village can become very related very quickly, the clan system helps keep straight just who are cousins and who are a little too closely related for comfort.  

To give young people more options in the potential mate department, groups of villages gather together once every four years or so in a great festival called, "Keush-na-eekai" which translates roughly to the "Gathering of Young People".  Here eligible folks wear colored ribbons or beads to clearly display their clans.  They show off their skills and talents in various games of skill involving archery, races, and the like; or they'll set up "booths" where they can show off their crafts in weaving or pottery-making, etc.

Obviously these games and displays aren't just limited to the unmarried; anyone is welcome to participate.  These gatherings are an excellent opportunity to trade with others outside of one's home village and to see new techniques for making products and tools.

Village chiefs also have an opportunity at these festivals to discuss crops, births, deaths, and any problems they may have run into in the years between Gatherings.

There's music, singing, dancing and story telling in abundance at these multi-day events, and of course plenty of food.

If two people meet up who like each other, they'll spend time at the festival to get to know each other.  It typically doesn't take long for Kai'us' to determine if they like a particular person or not due to their telepathy.

Matches are made purely at the young people's discretion; parents are rarely directly involved in who their children choose to marry.  It's actually the villages chiefs (each village is run by a husband/wife pair) who make the ultimate decision if a potential match is a good one.

If the two young people are from different villages, the two sets of chiefs will sit down together and discuss what the young couple will contribute to the village they would live in and then determine which village needs those particular skills more.  If both villages already have a glut of what the pair has to offer, they'd be encouraged to move to another village where they'd be more useful.

Either way, once married, a young person leaves their parents' house and moves in with their new spouse.  When a person marries, they're considered part of the whole village rather than just their parents' families.

And so there's your glimpse into Kai'us clans and how they work.
Be sure to come back next time for an explanation of Kai'us racial genetics!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Kai'us Creation Myth: The Second Cataclysm

And here is the final installment of the Kai'us creation myth.
I hope you've enjoy this little glimpse into Kai'us culture!
Head over here for the intro if you're just stumbling on this now.
Then there's Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3

To be honest, I can't say I'm 100% happy with how this section has turned out.  Since it's the "end" of the creation myths, it's suffered the plight of being written down the least amount of times, so it's not as solid as I'd like; but I've noodled on it long enough and now it's time to shove it out into the daylight, come what may. 

Something I do like about this part though is the nod to the past as far as Kai'us development is concerned.  Back in grade school I had tons of Kai'us races (then called "breeds") and some were pretty ludicrous ("Princess Ciusses"? Really?)  The events leading up to the Second Cataclysm let me hug those crazy races one last time (yes, even the Mermaid Ciusses), before wiping them off the face of the earth to make way for something a bit more realistic (as realistic as fanciful, horse-faced creatures can be anyway...) 

One thing I've neglected to mention thus far is the word "Kai'us" means "Person".  Hence why I never call them "The Kai'us People" (otherwise I'd be saying "The Person People").  That little piece of information will come in handy in this final section as you may have noticed: the Kai'us' actually haven't shown up yet in any of these creation myths!

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The Kai'us Creation Myth: Part 4

Now there existed among the animals beings called "Creatures" who were more than animals but less than People.  They spoke the language of the gods, but did not know how to read or write.  They used simple tools and weapons but did not live in villages.  They could hunt, but they did not yet know of agriculture.

There were far more varieties of Creatures than there are now People and they lived all over the world as best suited them.  For instance the Ground Creatures lived underground; the Tree Creatures lived in the trees; the Winged Creatures lived in the air, and so on and so forth.

One day the Ground Creatures were conversing with the Water Creatures about how the gods interacted with them.

"The God of Creation has taught us how to move the very rocks to make spaces for us to live in," the Ground Creatures were saying.  "And the God of Water has given you the ability to breathe both air and water."

"This is true," replied the Water Creatures.  "But we are the only ones who can breathe underwater; and no other Creatures can move earth as you can.  It is a shame such powerful abilities have been given to just one type of Creature or another."

"Yes, can you imagine how powerful we would be if all Creatures shared the powers of the rest?"

The Water Creatures were thoughtful, "We had asked the Goddess of Fire once to teach us to use fire in the way she has taught the Desert Creatures.  She laughed and asked what use have we of fire?"

The Ground Creatures nodded, "And we have asked the Goddess of Life to teach us to heal as well as the Plains Creatures; but she would not.  It seems obvious to us that the gods choose to give only small pieces of knowledge to each type of Creature so that one does not know all.  Perhaps they fear how much power we would have if we all had the same knowledge."

"Perhaps we would be more powerful than the gods themselves!" the Water Creatures replied in agreement.

The two types of Creatures then tried to teach the other their own abilities but failed.  No matter how hard they tried, the Ground Creatures could not learn how to breathe underwater; and despite their best efforts, the Water Creatures could now make the burrows and tunnels through rocks like the Ground Creatures could. 

This failure enraged them both.  "The gods have made it so only they can teach new skills! We must all gather together and demand the gods teach all creatures everything they know!"

So the Ground Creatures and the Water Creatures approached the other types of Creatures and told them of their plan.

The Tree Creatures were intrigued, but were dubious of the plan.  Still they promised to tell the Winged Creatures since neither the Ground nor the Water Creature could reach them.  The Winged Creatures turned down the plan outright.  "We have the air and are therefore the closest to the gods.  We have no desire to know anything else."

The Mountain, the Cave, the Plains, and the Desert Creatures were also completely against the plan.  "The gods have given each type of Creature the abilities that best suit their purpose and inclination.  Why should we have the abilities of all when there is no need for them?"

The Ground and Water Creature became increasingly angry as each type refused them. "Can you not see the gods keep our skills separate so we will remain weaker than they?  We could be greater than the gods themselves if we all had each other's powers."

And so to prove their own power, the Ground Creatures heaved up the earth; leveling tall mountains and changing the lay of the land.  The Water Creatures drained whole bodies of water and made them appear in other places.  Out of spite they moved river beds away from choice places and gathered up all the dew that collected at night.

"All Creatures possess abilities just as powerful!" the Ground and Water Creatures declared to the others.  "Join us in demanding that the gods teach us everyone's powers."

Instead of being awed, the other Creatures were frightened by the senseless destruction that had been wrought.  The Mountain, Cave, Desert and Plains Creatures used their own abilities to protect themselves and the other animals rather than to strike out against the aggressors as it never occurred to them to bring harm to other Creatures.

The Tree Creatures on the other hand were impressed with the strength of the Ground and Water Creatures and they decided to join them.  Their own powers were meager compared to their new allies however and they had little to offer them.  The Goddess of Fire was the matron of the Tree Creatures though, so they would shoot off balls of fire at any Creatures or animals who tried to stop the Ground and Water Creatures from their demonstration of power.

The Winged Creatures completely ignored the suffering far below them.  They were of the air and the actions of the land-bound Creatures was none of their concern.

The Ground and Water Creatures saw the Mountain Creatures diverting lava flows from where other Creatures and animals lived; they witnessed the Cave Creatures creating shelters for those who were frightened or who had lost their own dwelling places; saw the Desert Creatures finding water in the bleakest, most barren places so that others may drink; and the Plains Creatures producing healing medicines for those injured in the great earthquakes caused by the angry Ground Creatures.

These acts only enraged the usurpers more.  Could they not see they were squandering their single abilities and if they just worked together against the gods then none of this suffering would be necessary?

In their rage, the Ground Creatures lost all sense of reason.  They gathered together all their powers to one purpose and caused the very earth to swallow up the Plains Creatures, killing each and every one of them.

All the Creatures and animals were shocked by what the Ground Creatures had done.  Even the Water and Tree Creatures were appalled by this willful act.

The gods living on Shuko had observed all that was transpiring on the world below.  They allowed events to run their course to test the mettle of the Creatures they had loved and nurtured.  But with this last act of destruction, the gods could no longer passively sit back and watch, they mobilized and took immediate action.

The Ground Creatures hardly had time to gloat over their display of force, for they were smote at once from the face of the earth for the wickedness.  Not a single one escaped the wrath of the gods.  Then the gods gathered all the water left in the world into one place and turned it bitter, killing all the Water Creatures. (This was the creation of the world's single ocean.)

The Tree Creatures begged forgiveness, saying the uprising had not been their idea and they had simply been coerced into joining with the Ground and Water Creatures.  The gods held back their anger against the Tree Creatures and instead turned them into mova (a type of small, tree-dwelling animal), declaring they would forever be animals living among animals.

After the world had time to settle and heal from the corruptions of the Ground and Water Creatures, the gods turned to the remaining Creatures.

"Winged Creatures," the gods said.  "Out of your arrogance, you sided with neither the destroyers nor the protectors of the world.  For that you shall learn humility.  You will become People, but you will be larger than you are now, unable to to live solely in the air.  You will tire if you fly for too long and will need to touch the ground and hopefully will learn that the suffering of others should also be your own concern."

The Winged Creatures sadly accepted their lot and settled in the thick forests of the south, away from the other Creatures.  They eventually became the Winged People of today; aloof and still arrogant, but willing to help those who ask.

Then the gods gathered the Mountain, Cave, and Desert Creatures around them.

"All of you showed great bravery in the face of horrible destruction and loss.  All of you will become People."

The gods taught them how to build houses and grow crops.  They gave them written language, numbers and math.  The gods opened their mind so they could speak as readily with their thoughts as with their voices.  The new Peoples were taught how create fire and move things with just their minds.  They were shown how to make more efficient tools and hunting implements; how to tan animal hides and weave colorful fabric. 

From eating better foods and no longer needing to move from place to place, the People became larger than when they were Creatures.  They stood tall, yet they continued to care for all animals even though as People were even greater than them.

The God of Creation had always enjoyed the company of the Mountain Creatures and he continued to teach them his wisdom.  As People they became great story tellers and users of metal.  They learned to build their homes with stacked stones in a way that was stable even when the earth occasionally trembled, and kept them warm when the nights were cold and windy.

The Goddess of Life looked after the Winged People.  Though they were saddened by the ruling of the gods, they were happy to be made People.  The Goddess of Life taught them how to make medicines from the trees and plants they lived among as well as from various animal parts.  She also taught them poetry and great songs.  They became the best makers of musical instruments.

The Goddess of Fire looked fondly upon the Desert Creatures.  From her teachings, they lived happily in the dry deserts where few other animals cared to dwell.  Because life in the harsh desert was difficult, she gifted the Desert Creatures with another set of hands; making them the Spider People.  She taught them how to make bricks for building homes and how to glaze and fire clay to make light and durable vessels for storing food and water.

The God of Water took the Cave Creatures under his care.  He showed them how to live on the plains where the Plains Creatures had once inhabited.  They learned how to build houses with thatched roof so birds could live among them and offer their teachings as well.  When he asked what they wanted to be called as People they said that though they would no longer live in caves, they would be called the Cave People to remind them of their humble beginnings when they shared their cave homes with other animals during the devastation wrought by the Ground and Water Creatures.

And so the remaining Creatures became People and the world recovered from the Second Cataclysm.

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And thus concludes the Kai'us creation myth.

Happily I'm on a roll and will be returning next month with more fun information concerning Kai'us clan structure and racial genetics.  Hope to see you then!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Kai'us Creation Myth: The First Cataclysm

Here's Part 3 of a series I'm posting weekly this month pertaining to the Kai'us creation myths.
Introduction is found here.
Part 1 can be read here.
And Part 2 is here.

This section of the creation myth introduces a major mainstay of Kai'us culture: The Moon Path.

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The Kai'us Creation Myth: Part 3

All the animals of the world had now been spit into male and female and new animals were created from their joinings.  The God of Death removed the souls of those whose forms were too weak to live on or those who were eaten by other animals.  The Goddess of Children would then guide the waiting souls to new forms to live again; or, if there were not enough waiting souls of a particular animal, she would call a new soul from The Void.  Thus the population of the world steadily increased.

Over time however as there became even more animals, it was harder and harder for the God of Death to collect the souls of the dead.  Souls started to get lost, trapped on the ground to fester and cause illness among the living.

It also became harder for the Goddess of Children to keep soul-pairs together.  The souls of the first animals were once a genderless whole after all, and it was only fair that those split pairs find each other again in their next life.  Offspring made from mismatched pairs were often weaker than those who had once been the same soul.  She also sometimes had difficulty pairing up the right souls to the right forms. If a soul ended up in the body of an animal it had never been before it would cause an ill-fit and deformities.

Another problem arose from the fact that every soul held all the memories of their past experiences.  If a previous death had not been pleasant, those bad memories would linger; this became another reason that deformities arose.

Drawing on all their past memories, older souls felt they were superior to the newer ones as they had known what it was like to live as whole beings, before there was male and female.  They lorded over the newer souls and treated them as inferior, causing jealousy and anger despite the fact the new souls had not chosen to be called from The Void.

Great misery arose as the world itself became scarred and poisons from all this suffering.  The ground itself heaved and waterways changed their courses to get away from painful places.  The great mountains burst forth with fire and ash, choking the very air.  Plants and animals withered and died for no apparent reason.  Something needed to be done.

All the gods gathered together to discuss a remedy.  There needed to be a place for souls to gather when they left their bodies as there were now far too many for the God of Death to personally handle.  Souls needed to be purged of the pains and anguishes of their previous existence.  Though the gods felt it was important that, say a deer-soul always be born as a deer, there also needed to be a way for it to be safely born into a different animal form if there was more need for another animal.  Soul-pairs could also not always be born near enough to each other to become mates; but offspring shouldn't have to suffer from mismatched soul-pairs.

To answer these quandaries, the God of Creation formed three discs which he placed in the sky.  The Goddess of Life touched each disc to give them light and life.  The first disc was a beautiful, rich green.  This disc would serve as a beacon for souls newly departed from their bodies.  It was lush with good foods that would draw the soul and give it a safe place to linger until the God of Death could help it along its way.  This disc became known as "Pako", or "Green Moon"

The second disc was filled with a special water which would make a soul who drank from it forget all their past pains and experiences.  This disc was "Nuko": "Blue Moon".

The third disc was the largest and red.  Fires burned across its surface.  On this disc, a soul could be reforged to undo any damage it may have accumulated in its past existence, or prepare it to live within a new animal form.  Soul-bonds between those who had originally existed as one being weren't necessarily destroyed, but they were weakened enough so new, healthy matches could take place.

Because the gods found the third disc to be the most beautiful, for the fires could be clearly seen even during the light of day, they chose this one to live on.  It was named "Shuko", or "Red Moon".

Once a soul was ready to be reborn into a new form, the Goddess of Children could lead it back to Nuko where it could drink more of the waters that would help it sleep while its new body formed.  She would then lead it to Pako where it could eat its fill once more.  This time the food would sustain the soul until it was born in its next body and able to eat physical food again.  Lastly she would lead it to its new body still forming in a stone or inside the body of its next mother.

In this way the Moon Path was established to guide souls from death to rebirth.

A problem quickly arose though as the light of the moons was blocked when souls gathered on each of the moons.  With a moon's light obscured, newly released souls could not find their next step along the Moon Path.  Also during the day the bright light of the sun would easily drown out the light of the green and blue moons, also making them hard to find.

The God of Death and Goddess of Children had to be careful that a soul did not linger on any of the moons longer than a few days to keep the cycles of light and dark balanced.

To help souls whose bodies died during the day, the God of Death took a little water from Nuko and mixed it with the rain brought by the God of Water.  The moon-water would release any souls that got lost or were trapped on the ground.  The mist the rises after a rain is the souls of trapped animals lifting up into the sky.

The God of Death and the Goddess of Children worked together to create rainbows that would guide souls newly-released by a rain into the sky.  A rainbow could also be used by souls waiting to be reborn to find the ground again and their new existence.

Through these measures tortured souls could now find healing and peace, and as a result the world itself could heal and settle again.  Mountains went back to sleep, the rivers stayed within their banks and the ground stopped its roiling and churning.  And so the First Cataclysm ended.

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Side note on Kai'us culture: it's considered bad luck to die when the Green Moon, Pako is New.  Even a tiny crescent is preferable since it's believed the soul will more easily get lost and/or trapped when the moon isn't visible at all.

Same holds true with births.  Kai'us women though have a bit more control than human moms as to when their child is born, so it's easier for them to speed up or delay the birth until the moon is in a more auspicious phase.

Dying or being born during a rainstorm though is the most auspicious (no matter the moon phase; but the more Full the better!).  Of course that's also incredibly rare.

Next week will be Part 4: The Second Cataclysm.