In the telling of The Damhán, the twinned spider of the Stars, as with all the tellings, the song calls into the darkness and the song sings back in loving answer, such is the song of Seanamhair-Cuan, and it this singing that reaches into the one shared heart of The Damhán. In the beating of that heart blood and fire and song flow to eight twins; four hearts from Alla-Tair four hearts from Alla-Mair; Fear-Na and Bear-Ba, Fearch and Bear, Do-Fear and Do-Bear, Ba-Sear and Na-Sear and as the two spiders they come together as songs in tandem, twinned in purpose. They catch the legs of Alla-Mair and Alla-Tair and in their purpose weave them together so that once again twined spirits of Damhán Alla-Tair and Damhán Alla-Mair are brought back to harmony and the storm of storms ceases.
Tei-Sar is the cosmological cycle of invitation, reception, creation, destruction and rebirth through invitation, reception, creation destruction and on into infinity.
Tei-Sar; “Everything in the moment is the moment of everything,” is not a definition of deity, rather an animation and rippling of that cycle.
Tei-Sar is that moment in the story of the first man & woman, Fear & Bearch, when they unite and create San Cràdh (Perfect/Sacred Love) in their union; the epitome of the perfection of the female soul and the male soul in that eternal turning.
Before the burden of the shadows of the dream of life, Tei-Sar is the spirits song in that perfect balance and harmony, each woven into one essence.
This essence in the stories of the ancestral Elders is made up of:
Na-Tei, the male half of the song (or soul) and Ba-Tei, the female half of the song (or soul).
Na – the male physical form Ba – the female physical form
This Spirit Song (soul) comes to the Earth through Yrgriddia, the Song of the Great Tree and is received by the Elementals who in turn create a vessel for that song. This vessel, body, life, destiny, reflects the balance of the two half souls, male and female, within Tei-Sar. The song of Tei-Sar will be heard in diverse melodies to reflect the needs and flowing of the community.
Within the stories of the Ancestral Elders are identified eleven vessels, i.e. genders.
These genders were seen as integral threads in a tribal weave, with each thread supporting, contributing and guiding the integrity of the tapestry of the tribe in an interdependent collaboration. This meant that none survived alone without the weaving into and out of the definition of each others diversity.
These eleven Genders or Weaves were identified as:
As Tei-Sar is the perfect Twin Soul, so Tei-NaBa (Na being the physical form of male and Ba being the physical form of female) is the rare being of the harmony of Te-Sir manifested in physical form, being both male & female in both soul & body (Hermaphrodite). This being was revered amongst the others as a deified being that came and remained present with the community for a specific purpose and that that the spirits had caused its birth as an oracle or message bearer. It may have been that in these ancient times the Tei-NaBa did live for a great length of time, being so close to the divide between the spirits and the mundane.
The Hearth Keeper
Sometimes referred to as the Hearth, was the container and matriarchal leader of the tribe or group. This female leadership was a direct reference to the Female Triune the ancestors revered, that of Sean, Máthair-Cuan, the Great Ocean, Máthair Tei, the earth and Art-s-Wath theForest, which had reference to eternal wisdom and maternal governance. She was both the gatherer and the gathering of the family and the directorix of tribal initiative. It was her calling that brought the ‘children’ from the shadow places.
Fear was the Stone Caster, the one who sought the means to survive and established the anchor points of the nomadic encampments of the tribe. He was the discerner, the one who heard the information then selected the right path forward. He was the seeker, the provider and the paternal leader of the tribe or group. In reference to the stories of the first man, he was seen in an explorer and testing role and whereas Bearch gathered, Fear directs, guides and sends out the ‘children’.
It is important to state that as a basic taboo amongst the community and all the weaves (genders), woman who brought and gave life never killed or ended any life; only men were allowed to kill. It seems that this ‘rule’ was waived when the tribe or community defended itself which suggested that warrior was not defined by any specific gender and men & women fought along side each other as equals.
The Weaves of Bearch & Fear are seen more as archetypal definitions and were within the tribal setting were defined as pillars (as in supporting) of the tribal community and may have truly held such leadership roles as defined by their gender characteristics. It is presumed that with the concept of Tei-Sar weaves (genders) worked in paired functions that ‘fed’ into the needs of the tribes through the elements or notions or individuals recognised as Bearch & Fear in the concept of Tei-Sar.
Each weave/gender was a participle of the overall tapestry which in turn was the perfect manifestation of the spiritual Tei-Sar.
In one sense no weave was perfect in its separateness, although each thread was seen and appreciated as a beauty in its purpose, as only the coming together of the weaves/genders created the perfect moment of song that mirrored or was Tei-Sar. We should be reminded that Tei-Sar is defined as the “Moment of Love”; “that everything is in the moment and the moment is everything”.
Within the weaves, roles of any pair of and in all genders, was a complementation of each others opportunities and responsibilities within the ancient tribal setting. It is the service of each within the weaves which is the suggestion of ‘pair’ rather than a physical collaboration.
Fearch & Bear
Female Body with Male Soul & Male Body with Female Soul
The presumed and ascribed service of this weave pair into the cycle of tribal Tei-Sar was the husbandry of animals and plants, which included the making of fabrics from fur and plant fibres. The weave nay have included tanning hides, cloth making, bee keeping, brewing and medicines.
Do-Fear & Do-Bear
The Makers of Magick
Female Body, twin souled with female soul dominant & Male Body, twin souled with male soul dominant
The presumed and ascribed service of this weave pair into the cycle of tribal Tei-Sar was that of rites of passage and divining. This included working with and through the rites of birth & death, teaching and matchmaking!
Fear-Na & Bear-Ba
Male Body, twin souled with female soul dominant & Female Body, twin souled with male soul dominant
The presumed and ascribed service of this weave pair into the cycle of tribal Tei-Sar was that of the Seanachais, the story teller and Smything. They were the carvers and adornment makers. They were the makers of music & song.
Ba-Sear & Na-Sear
Female Soul in Male body & Male Soul in Female body
The presumed and ascribed service of this weave pair into the cycle of tribal Tei-Sar was seen as those who lived on the edge of the shadows. As such they were able to see and be unbiased by any side and were often ascribed the duties of judge, mediator and challengers (fools). They were also the keepers of poisons and destruction.
Alongside these 5 male & 5 female weaves and that of Tei-NaBa, were the two additional weave/gender definitions of Mac-Tír and Sarn-Tir.
These were the weaves/genders of choice and destiny and were the surrender and sacrifice of the Pathfinders
The Pathfinders were considered (and expected to be) gender variant. This was the prescription that the ceremony, ritual or event determined the gender of the Pathfinder within that ceremony, ritual or event. This was achieved historically by the pathfinder apprenticing through all 5 male and 5 female gender definitions in order to achieve an animistic sense of the presence of Tei-NaBa. In some historic cases the Pathfinder in line with many other cultural traditions was of transformed gender which was a process not entirely a spiritual metaphor but a physical re-assigning of the physical manifestation of gender.
Even though in the tribal setting of history it seems that specific ‘roles’ were ascribed to specific genders it might be more appropriate to say that these weaves held the ‘medicine’ or the mysteries of that magic of those roles.
We as a community find an awareness of empowerment of the responsibilities inherent in the magic of all of women’s and men’s soul. It may be clearer not to look at the weaves as static or complete gender definitions, rather as points of focus in the fabric of the tapestry, or a turning of direction in a flowing river, of the journeys of Tei-Sar through the waters and threads of Na and Ba; each new turning of moment of focus brought a new challenge into the flowing and weaving. It seems always to have been so that the miraculous diversity of the gender flow brought new thought and direction through challenge and change.
These weaves as they were in many ancient traditions and cultures need to be understood as gender was understood in the past; they have to be viewed from the past, looking forward. In these contemporary times there needs to be a moving out of the “now, looking back” frame of mind in order to understand gender differently.
This is primarily because gender is such a deep assumption for contemporary people. The assumption is, biology = gender = role =sexuality, and then, that these things somehow define a type of spirit, as in good or bad. Yet, across the globe indigenous people didn’t make the assumption, even in cultures with strong community “gender roles”, like tending the hearth, making pots, or creating ritual, they still didn’t make the assumption.
“Gender, our maleness and femaleness, is determined by biological, social, experiential, and sexual factors. In shamanic cultures it is believed to also be determined by spiritual factors. Gender, particularly gender variance, is an aspect of shamanism. Traditionally shamans are of female, male, or a transformed gender.
Gender is apparently fluid and flexible. Gender is not an inborn trait. Biological sex, social roles, and sexual orientation are not linked biologically, but are influenced by each other. Gender identity is part of a range of options for human expression. Shamanic cultures look at the nature of these possible options as the unique expressions of the human spirit.” Christina Pratt; Encyclopaedia of Shamanism
Na-Tei and Ba-Tei are not just male and female, but they are yin and yang and as such are found together within each person. So we all have all of the designations within us. The constraints applied are those of the manifest vehicles Na and Ba, which society has come to define as man and woman. We may live a whole life presenting one of the 11 as our authentic expression of our self or we may gradually move through several as we transform through life, each an authentic expression of self. It is important that people don’t treat the 11 designations as we use “gay” or “straight” or “bi” or etc. People were not asked to choose and identify with one of the 11 because everyone contained everything, and at this point of the flowing they came to the surface of the river of life or at this point of the weaving they were this combination of coloured threads.
In the Weave of Sagh’ic-Tire Dhream there is no man or woman definition, merely containers for the flowing river or the looms for the tapestry
NOTE: the V is the symbol for the sacred path of life transformation of a womb-bearer, regardless of other distinctions. The life giving void is within, the path is to draw from it and give to the people. The upside down V is the symbol for the sacred path of life transformation of those born without a womb, regardless of other distinctions. Their path is to find the life giving void.
The cultures that recognized more than two genders and held respected roles for gender variant individuals often held a pantheistic view of the spirit world. These people worshipped and array of archetypes, including Great Mother Goddess, Amazonian female warriors, male consorts of goddesses, and deities of both sexes who embodied metamorphosis, gender variance, or same-sex eroticism. With these images imbedded in the spiritual awareness of the people, the gender variant individuals were perceived of as sacred people, reflecting the unknown, the Great Mystery, and the chaotic variety of the spirit realms.
Any individual may or may not express the gender identity implied by their biological sex, or morphology. They may vary in gender identification, style of dress, economic role in community, or sexual orientation. Traditional shamanic cultures believed that the traits expressing gender and gender variance were bestowed by divine powers. Therefore, these qualities were essential to the individual, not a culturally-constructed behaviour. Furthermore they believed that the unique perspective and wisdom gender variant individuals brought where essential to the health of the community. Conner, R.P; Blossom of Bone,
As we reflect on the weave/gender ciphers it will be seen that all the female genders, including Tei-NaBa and Ba-Sear are connected by the horizontal line of the female line Ba.
This reinforces that the female is unified in whatever definition to Art-s-Wath the primal forest. Whereas all the ‘Fear’ ciphers of the male appear to stand alone, this relates in part to the story of Fear being afraid to be one with the Forest.
It is of note that often it is the women who sing and the men who dance. This reflects the first stories when the female spirit sings out to call the male spirit to dance in;Mora-oa-Creon is considered to be female.
Dancing in this way was specific to the event, ritual, ceremony and/or celebration. It does seem that in general terms men and women danced and sang, albeit it on some occasions they did this separately or in response or refrain to each other.
In the end the the concept of gender is a dance of love between the stars and the earth and directional song by the Ancient Ones, mostly likely a dance of friction and a song of action, by which the diversity of gender maintains the turning of the Great Wheel and the singing of the Great Song, so that the tribe can and will survive. The manifest incarnation, body, spirit, gender and orientation is the intimate love affair between the Spirit and the Mundane as such each person in their ‘gender’ is a song of purpose and magic for the world.