Sevensi Cosmogeny

What follows is a brief retelling of the creätion myth of Sevensi culture. Strange as it may seem to be reading a creätion myth in the contemporary age, this story has wide and deep significance for many areäs of Sevensi philosophy, making a general familiarity with its concepts necessary for any further discussion of Sevensi thought.

Sevensi does not have any divine texts, and “ objective ” storytelling is antithetical to the Sevensi conception of the human. Understandings of the world are developed through conversation and consensus and are expected to grow and evolve over time. Consequently, what follows is far from—and should not be taken as—the Truth of the matter—merely one fragmentary perspective.

Even so, I have done my best to limit the main telling to only those elements which I consider to be generally­‑accepted, core concepts with wide­‑reaching influënce and ramifications. Bear in mind that every sentence of the following story could probably be used as a launching­‑point for an entire essay. I have limited myself to marginal notes.

Origins

In the beginning, time and space had no meaning, and all was naught but energy ⟨ ye ⟦ JSV *hei ⟨ energy ⟩ > OSV HY− > OSM hye > SVI ye ⟧ ⟩.

But not all energy is the same, and so it happened that the heavy, dense energy of substance ⟨ wded ⟦ JSV *teueid ⟨ body ; substance ⟩ > OSV LW7D− > OSM duʼědh > SVI wded ⟧ ⟩ sank down to form the Earth ⟨ gub ⟦ JSV *geupû ⟨ earth ; world ⟩ > OSV GWB− > OSM gub > SVI gub ⟧ ⟩, and the lighter, free­‑moving energy of action ⟨ yof ⟦ JSV *ôfai ⟨ shrub ; chaötic ⟩ > OSV 7WYFY+ > OSM yofy > SVI yof ⟧ ⟩ was left to form the Heavens above ⟨ dyol ⟦ JSV *dautû ⟨ sky ⟩ > OSV DWYL+ > OSM dhyol > SVI dyol ⟧ ⟩.In Sevensi, the word for ‘ substance ’ can also be used to mean “ structure,” and the word for ‘ action ’ can also be used to mean “ chaos.” This distinction between structure and chaos colours much of the interactions between Earth and Heaven in this story. Thus was the world created.

Earth, being comprised of the energy of substance, was quite content with this cleanly structured state of affairs. But Heaven, comprised of the energy of action, longed for the prior chaos and detested these new boundaries.This is a death drive. Heaven was only given form and identity through its separation from Earth, and its essence as the energy of action requires the existence of objects to act upon. Yet, Heaven desires for a time before such things existed. You will see the interplay between action and death as a running theme throughout this story. Stirring up fire, wind, and rain,These are the three Sevensi elementals, and they are not direct products of either Heaven or Earth, but rather formed through their boundary and constantly in circulation between them. Heaven attempted to wear away at Earth ; in retaliation, Earth sent up great mountains, forcing Heaven away.

The space between Heaven and Earth is the Mortal Plane ⟨ ǒzhedin ⟦ JSV *hôʒei‑twein ⟨ mortal land ⟩ > OSV HWZLWYN− > OSM hǒzhedin > SVI ǒzhedin ⟧ ⟩, and was filled with the energy of mortality ⟨ hwdeyn ⟦ JSV *têweiûn ⟨ mortality ⟩ > OSV DWY7N− > OSM dhewěyn > SVI hwdeyn ⟧ ⟩.The energy of mortality is the energy of sustenance, as well as the energy of termination ( the sustenance of absence ). Together, the energies of substance, action, and mortality might be translated to English as ‘ beïng,’ ‘ doïng,’ and ‘ becoming,’ although much of their connotations are Sevensi­‑specific.

Life and Death

With the creation of the Mortal Plane came the birth of Life ⟨ yěwi ⟦ JSV *hâwî ⟨ life ⟩ > OSV HYWY− > OSM hyěwi > SVI yěwi ; change from positive to negative harmony during OSV likely through contrast with VAYY+ ⟨ death ⟩ ⟧ ⟩,Heaven and Earth are both the names of locations and of spirits. But here, Life is the spirit and the Mortal Plane is the place. ( It can be argued that the concept of “ place ” has no meaning for Earth or Heaven. ) formed by imbuïng Earthʼs energy of substance with Heavenʼs energy of action, and bound together through the energy of mortality found only in the Mortal Plane. Thus, Heavenʼs desire for a mingling of the energies was fulfilled. However, as Life was born of substance, to substance it was fated to return, and so also was born Death ⟨ vǎyi ⟦ JSV *fâî ⟨ death ⟩ > OSV VAYY+ > OSM vǎyi > SVI vǎyi ⟧ ⟩, formed by imbuïng Heavenʼs energy of action with Earthʼs energy of substance, which restored this prior order.It remains an open question whether Life and Death are actually distinct spirits. They might be portrayed as the twin rulers of the Mortal Realm—or as a single, two­‑faced one. The duality of Life and Death reflects the duality ( sustenance and termination ) of mortal energy and the Mortal Realm itself. These are the two disobedient children of Heaven and Earth : Life, a spirit of substance which acts, and Death, a spirit of action which brings substance.Remember again that ‘ substance ’ and ‘ structure ’ are synonyms in Sevensi. That which is in motion is de­‑structured—and thus action is the antithesis of substance in Sevensi philosophy. Death is a sort of “ final destructuring into structure,” an action which ends all further chance of action by an entity.

The Great Animals

Life grew to exist in many forms. Of the animals, there were thirteen principal spirits ⟨ f ⟦ JSV *‑ôfâ ⟨ great ⟩ > OSV F+ ⟨ great spirit ⟩ > OSM f > SVI f ⟧ ⟩This term for ‘ spirit ’ also means “ genus ” or “ genre ” ( ‘ genius ’ might be a more accurate, if unconventional, English translation ). It incorporates all great animal spirits and also other kinds of great spirits, such as spirits for plant life, natural features, or artistic mediums. It does not encompass lesser spirits, such as those for individual species, habitats, landmarks, or works of art. :— 1.odǒ ⟦ JSV *hôteu[‑ôfâ] ⟨ great crab ⟩ > OSV HWLW− > OSM hodǒ > SVI odǒ ⟧ [ Caris ; the Great Crab ],There are not direct English words which convey the broad species sense of these Sevensi names, so I have opted to borrow names from Latin as species­‑approximants. Feminine words were chosen because the great animal spirits are traditionally portrayed as female.2.yězhu ⟦ JSV *deizâ[‑ôfâ] ⟨ great fish ⟩ > OSV TYZW− > OSM yězhu > SVI yězhu ⟧ [ Carpa ; the Great Fish ], 3.kǒsho ⟦ JSV *gôs[‑ôfâ] ⟨ great bird ⟩ > OSV KWSW− > OSM kǒsho > SVI kǒsho ⟧ [ Avis ; the Great Bird ], 4.zhozh ⟦ JSV *ʒôʒô[‑ôfâ] ⟨ great frog ⟩ > OSV ZWZ− > OSM zhozh > SVI zhozh ⟧ [ Rana ; the Great Frog ], 5.zhovyǒi ⟦ JSV *zôfei[‑ôfâ] ⟨ great snake ⟩ > OSV ZWFWY− > OSM zhovyǒi > SVI zhovyǒi ⟧ [ Colubra ; the Great Snake ], 6.dexrǐ ⟦ JSV *deitô[‑ôfâ] ⟨ great wolf ⟩ > OSV D9Y− > OSM dhexrǐ > SVI dexrǐ ⟧ [ Lupa ; the Great Wolf ], 7.shǎchwi ⟦ JSV *sâtseu[‑ôfâ] ⟨ great deer ⟩ > OSV SCWY+ > OSM shǎchwi > SVI shǎchwi ⟧ [ Cerva ; the Great Deer ], 8.dadǒ ⟦ JSV *dât[‑ôfâ] ⟨ great otter ⟩ > OSV DDW+ > OSM dhadhǒ > SVI dadǒ ⟧ [ Lutra ; the Great Otter ], 9.dǒvaxro ⟦ JSV *dôfiy[‑ôfâ] ⟨ great bear ⟩ > OSV DWV9W+ > OSM dhǒvaxro > SVI dǒvaxro ⟧ [ Ursa ; the Great Bear ], 10.jyo ⟦ JSV *jô‑aifû ⟨ powerfully luminous [ being ] ⟩ > OSV JWY+ > OSM jyo > SVI jyo ; this is a different construction than is used for most of the great animal spirits, which suggests that this might have originated from a different source ⟧ [ Feles ; the Great Cat ], 11.geyǒ ⟦ JSV *gei[‑ôfâ] ⟨ great rodent ⟩ > OSV GYW− > OSM geyǒ > SVI geyǒ ; JSV *tau[‑ôfâ] ⟨ great mouse ⟩ > OSV LVW+ was an early alternate name ⟧ [ Mus ; the Great Mouse ], 12.dayǒ ⟦ JSV *tâ[‑ôfâ] ⟨ great insect ⟩ > OSV LYW+ > OSM dayǒ > SVI dayǒ ⟧ [ Blatta ; the Great Insect ], and 13.jyǒzhe ⟦ JSV *jôfâ‑zei ⟨ our great one ⟩ > OSV JWYZ− > OSM jyǒzhe > SVI jyǒzhe ⟧Sevensi has two separate words for describing humanity. ‘ jyǒzhe ’ specifically denotes the fundamental originary spirit as described in this story, and is not a proper synonym for ‘ humankind ’—as humankind may or may not be acting in the interests of jyǒzhe in any given time. [ Genitrix ; the Great Mother ] —: collectively, these are the great animals ⟨ zhadǒ ⟦ JSV *zât[‑ôfâ] ⟨ great animal ⟩ > OSV ZDW+ > OSM zhadhǒ > SVI zhadǒ ⟧ ⟩.As mentioned previously, these are ( with the exception of jyǒzhe ) not only the names of spirits, but also designators of species. Be advised that these distinctions are not scientific and nor do they conform to contemporary understandings of evolution. As an example, elk are traditionally considered equally related to bison as they are to deer ( all are children of shǎchwi ). These and their children lived and bickered amongst themselves for many years, fashioning offspring ⟨ yǎkhwi ⟦ JSV *hai‑xwî ⟨ enlivened ; animated ⟩ > OSV HYXWY+ ⟨ animal ( servant of a great animal ) ⟩ > OSM hyǎkhwi > SVI yǎkhwi ⟧ ⟩This Sevensi word literally means “ animal,” and specifically denotes any soulless animate servant of a great animal spirit. At this point in the story, this includes humans. In Sevensi, animals, trees, and so forth are not considered to have individual spirits, since all organisms of a species grow more­‑or­‑less according to the same plan. ( The substance and action of this plan comprises their collective spirit. ) In contrast, landmarks and artistic works generally each have a unique structure and design—and thus may be considered to have their own unique ( minor ) spirits. out of the substance of the Earth to perform their wills ⟨ khěxru ⟦ JSV *xeifô‑xai ⟨ core ; essense ⟩ > OSV X9WY− ⟨ soul ; will ⟩ > OSM khěxru > SVI khěxru ⟧ ⟩.This word can mean either “ soul ” or “ ( free ) will.” The important thing to note here is that the offspring are not given souls/wills of their own—they are merely acting out those of their creätors. In the case of dexrǐ and jyǒzhe, they even found love.The romance between the Great Wolf and the Great Mother is credited with the partnership between dogs and humans. In Sevensi folklore, there often appears an inverse counterpart : a were­‑people who live with and assist wolves, and who often act as liaisons between the wolf and human world, and/or seduce humans.

The Taming of the Wilds

Created from substance, to substance must all life return. But it was discovered that, through leading a structured life, one could for a time postpone the final structuring of death—and none excelled more skillfully at this than jyǒzhe. She rerouted streams, cultivated farms, and brought order to the chaötic wilderness in the interest of sustaining life for herself and her species.

The consequences of these actions deeply divided the remaining great animals. Some, like geyǒ, took advantage of these new habitats for their own benefit. Some, like shǎchwi, made partnerships with jyǒzhe, offering offspring for food and labour in exchange for their protection. Others, like the territorial dǒvaxro and predatory jyo, rejected this encroachment into their territory and the human protection offered to their prey.Note that domestic cats are not a part of traditional Sevensi culture, and most certainly would not have existed at this point in the narrative. What ensued was a great conflict among the animals the likes of which had never occurred before.

The Shattering of Humanity

Although humans were more populous than the felines and the bears, they were at a disadvantage, in the same manner that a hand with five fingers is disadvantaged against a knife. dexrǐ fought valiantly in defense of her beloved, but the war was readily becoming lost. And, it pained jyǒzhe to see her lover sacrificing herself so.

However, there was a far­‑fetched idea which carried with it the chance for victory. Just as it was possible to shore up life by cultivating structure, so too, jyǒzhe surmised, might it be possible to court chaös as a weapon of death. And so she did the unthinkable : jyǒzhe shattered her own soul.Whether jyǒzheʼs self­‑shattering was ultimately a wise decision is open to interpretation. Just as ordinary humans are susceptible to foolish, emotional, self­‑sacrificing gestures, the Great Human is perhaps greatly susceptible to the same. We are ( collectively ) allowed to interrogate and critique jyǒzheʼs motives and actions because we are ( collectively ) she. Spreading her spirit out amongst her offspring, she allowed each the ability to use its own intuïtion and, through thousands of independent, simultaneous actions, routed her attackers and brought an end to the war.This is what gives individual humans their souls and free will, and is ( in traditional Sevensi thought ) what sets humans apart from animals. Most of the other great animals were horrified by this action—especially ( and understandably ) dexri.

Fragmentation

But a clay pot, once broken, can never be re­‑formed.The shattered clay pot is a Sevensi metaphor which has a number of different interpretations ; the inability to repair all which is broken is the most fundamental. Unintentionally, in the shattering of her own soul, jyǒzhe gave birth to a new spirit of Fragmentation ⟨ zhǎfor ⟦ JSV *ʒâfû‑dôt ⟨ fragmentation ⟩ > OSV ZFTWL+ > OSM zhǎfor > SVI zhǎfor ⟧ ⟩, whose will accompanied each piece of her soul and prevented them from ever again beïng as one. The fragmentary wills of these dual spirits—jyǒzhe and Fragmentation—exist in each one of us today.This condition is known as ‘ dual will ’ and is fundamental to Sevensi philosophy. In Sevensi, people do not have single, whole souls but dual, fragmentary ones which are in perpetual conflict. This somewhat tempers the Sevensi ethic of radical interdependency—it is imperative that you help other people, but you want to make sure that the soul you are helping isnʼt just Fragmentation in disguise.

Distraught by the sudden destruction of her lover ( and unflattered by her new, fragmentary incarnation ), dexrǐ largely recused herself from human affairs, blaming jyo and dǒvaxro and swearing them her mortal enemies.After these events, dexrǐ is largely portrayed as feeling bitter and betrayed towards humanity, while at the same time sometimes offering assistance in memory of their past love. « Fucking foolish conceited self­‑sacrificing fucking humans » sums up the general sentiment. And humanity ⟨ zhyaxri ⟦ JSV *zei‑âtî ⟨ us­‑animal ⟩ > OSV ZY9Y+ ⟨ human ⟩ > OSM zhyaxri > SVI zhyaxri ⟧ ⟩,This word signifies humanity as a collective of individuals post­‑fragmentation—individuals who may, or may not, be manifesting jyozheʼs will. for its part, built towns, cities, and nations, in an everlasting attempt to manifest ⟨ xrwechor ⟦ JSV *ûxwô‑deitsô ⟨ presenting as though brought together ⟩ > OSV 79WYCWL− ⟨ manifest ⟩ > OSM xrweichor > SVI xrwechor ⟧ ⟩ in clarity ⟨ yed ⟦ JSV *deihîtû ⟨ clear ; unblemished ; flawless ⟩ > OSV TYL− ⟨ clarity ⟩ > OSM yed > SVI yed ⟧ ⟩ jyozheʼs will.The existence of Fragmentation does not make the manifestation of clarity impossible so much as temporary, localized, and requiring constant effort. You can, in fact, stick the pieces of a clay pot back together. They just wonʼt stay that way for very long.