The Quatrian Symbols Explained
THE FOREST is the fourth of the sixteen “Experienced” Powers.
There is ample reason that the cultic Mysteries of Elum and Delrin required initiates to spend three nights and three days deep within the depths of the woods. It wasn’t because danger dwelt among the boughs; rather, the candidate for initiation was expected to form a relationship with one of the tree species — a relationship which would define and guide the future
In the Tropsinion, a cosmogonic myth consisting of oral legends collected and translated by Aslanbek Tennison in the late 19th Century, our current Cosmos sprang from a samara which descended from the branches of the Maple-From-Before:
Play on, O Tropsi (1); sing of the Great Achene,
the Samara descending, drifting, alighting.
A hollow she found, within stolid Acho —
a place full of life from the previous world. (1)
Quatrian naturalists certainly observed plant succession, and how a seed fallen into a depression, even within apparently solid rock (Acho), can take advantage of the nutrients therein and germinate into an entire forest.
Forests were more than just timber for the Quatrians. They were sources of food, maps of Quatrian communities, even companions. Quatrian Woodweavers became so intimately knowledgeable regarding the forests that they could construct entire villages without felling or killing a single tree, simply by encouraging growth and pruning.
It is worth noting the Quatrian aversion to the desert. The desert belonged to Sa’at, “Spirit of the Desert,” who manifested as a scorpion nestled in a welwitschia:
The Quatrians understood the desert as a realm of its own (similar to the ocean), and one into which they were not interested in expanding. The desert was believed to be undergoing a process of ‘refertilization,’ and human meddling in this process would waste resources.
The Symbol in Magical Practice
When traced with a Spell Stick, the Forest sigil could be used to offer the benefits associated with any of the plants of the forest. However, doing so required that one’s Spell Stick was crafted from the same plant. So, as an example, hawthorn is sacred to Anthuor, and using a Spell Stick of hawthorn to trace the Forest symbol would grant the user Anthuor’s protection. A Spell Stick crafted from the deadly Manchineel Tree, on the other hand, could be used to bring down the wrath of Morbat the Magician.
During divination, Forest symbolizes growth, community, and interdependence.
- Tennison, A. (1892) The Tropsinion: A Quatrian Cosmogony. Columbus, Ohio: University of Ohio Press.