The Quatrian Symbols Explained
THE MUSICIAN is the last of the four Hypogeic Powers.
That the Quatrians had a complex and recondite understanding of music would be quite an understatement. The Quatrians used the same word for music and magic: wa’ata, which paleolinguists believe may derive from an older root meaning “Moving Thingness (2).” The word in Ancient Quatrian for either “magician” or “musician” was wa’taja (pl. watajan); however, prior to the Pantarctican invasion, a number of descriptors were employed depending on location to describe those who had the power of wa’ata.
The ability of musicians to alter emotional states and to enter “Ritual Space” was seen as inseparable from the ability of other watajan. Cursing one’s enemies could involve ritually hexing them with malevolent spirits, or it could involve composing a song-cycle describing their downfall. Conversely, certain healers could, by performing specially written songs, rid one of illness with as much efficacy as others who used herbal remedies. (3)
There is no specific personality associated with The Musician. In point of fact, although some attribute masculine qualities to this Symbol given its placement after The Maiden, there were no gender or sex-based associations (as befits the radically egalitarian Quatrian understanding of differences between people). One might consider this figure as a kind of archetype, a foundational idea perhaps preceding the latent esotericism of later Kremel.
The symbol clearly illustrates a strythis, a musical instrument which combined a monochord with a sistrum. The strythis is also depicted in Ancient Quatrian cave art; truly, this is an ancient instrument. The oldest such depiction can be found next to the famous parietal figure called the “Theriomorphic Summoner” (4).
The Symbol in Magical Practice
When traced with a Spell Stick, the MUSICIAN sigil granted the user with esoteric knowledge. After the symbol had been traced appropriately, the user would enter the Hypogeum using the Method of Entering (described in detail in a later installment of this series). Once within the Hypogeum, according to tradition, the caster would then encounter a personage wrapped within a heavy cloak. Inside the cloak, the answer to the caster’s question would be found.
The knowledge sought using the Musician symbol couldn’t have a direct impact on events (e.g. “grant me a bountiful harvest”). Instead, the knowledge could be applied time and time again to ensure the same results (e.g. “tell me the way to cultivate that I may be assured of a consistent harvest”).
When divining, THE MUSICIAN represents a major change that can be made by the diviner.
(1) Lyons, Joseph. “Paleolithic Aesthetics: The Psychology of Cave Art.” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 26, no. 1 (1968): 107–14. doi:10.2317/429249.
(2) “Thingness,” a phenomenological concept used by the Quatrians to indicate anything with sensory value.
(3) A deep dive into Quatrian musical theory may seem intimidating to the novice. For the beginner, we highly recommend Elizabeth Tyler’s Movement and Repose: Music as Practice in Ancient Quatria (Cambridge 1987). For those new to esoteric music in general, we suggest beginning with Harmonies of Heaven and Earth: Mysticism in Music from Antiquity to the Avant-Garde, Joscelyn Godwin, Inner Traditions 1989.
(4) Sadly, the cave in which this figure and many others can be located was demolished by Taliban radicals in 1997.