the aristasian mindset

The Aristasian Mindsetter

This page is brand-new and currently unfinished, featuring only minimal content, mostly just quotations from primary sources. Expect more later. If you want to help, contact me

What on earth is a “mindset”? It sounds like something bongos might call their television sets. You know the thing that sets their minds. “Do not adjust your set - it will adjust you”.

Or is it the result of the mind-setting?

“How do you like my new mindset, darling?”

“It’s just the same as everyone else’s.”

“Don’t say that! Don’t ever say that! It is completely different. I am a rebel. I am an individualist.”

Well, of course she is. They all are. She probably has a “warped sense of humour” too. Not nasty messy warping like that caused by over-exposure to the sun or water on the brain, but nice neat warping, moulded to the correct curvature (politically and otherwise) and each with the same little dreadfully-clever swear word neatly turned up at the end. Rather like factory-torn jeans.

Lady Aquila speaking in the Aristasia Treasure Trove in March of 2008.

I’m not in a strong position to provide any kind of real expertise about belief systems, worldviews, and how Aristasia fits into a larger puzzle. I was far from a stellar scholar when I did study that kind of thing (briefly) in school.

All I can do is quote some primary sources, what research I was able to do, and tell you what I, personally, saw and experienced as part of Aristasia online. Much of the (primary, Aristasian) sources on this page come from the now-defunct Encyclopaedia Aristasiana. While mostly uploaded in the spring of 2009, this site drew from many older Aristasian sites and forums that were lost over time.

The Aristasians had a mindset, to be sure, and it's somewhat on display in the above quotation, actually. By "bongo" here, they speak of the modern (usually British) individual outside of their own subculture - really, anyone but them. This is quite an insider-outsider doctrine, and they're clearly trying to draw a distinction between (what they see as) false rebellion outside of Aristasia versus their own philosophy's critique of the modern world.

In a bit, I'll be talking about René Guénon and how his perennialist school of thought influenced Aristasia. Guénon was very critical of what he saw as “pseudo-initiatic” schools of thought divorced from their traditional foundations. Beauty, it is commonly said, is in the eye of the beholder, and humor is subjective. Much of what constitutes one's view of culture is determined by the individual. To an Aristasian, this wasn't really the case, at least not on a higher level. All aspects of life, from the jokes you crack to the hat you wear, were supposed to reflect deeper realities. It was that which the post-1960s world was forcibly perverting.

On one hand, you had Lady Aquila criticizing the impulse to be an "individual. " Yet it's in the same paragraph, there was this implication that if this hypothetical person she was arguing with in the shower were an Aristasian or somesuch, they truly would have a chance at being real and truly an individual. One might be unique, but it was only true uniqueness if it existed within certain parameters?

In any case, let's dive in.

Self: Personae and Bodies

We begin with personae, the individual, and how Aristasians view the self. In my opinion, yeah, it’s that big of a deal, and might actually be key to the whole thing…

The Aristasian perspective on what constitutes the self, and how one ought to go about expressing oneself as such, is astonishingly complex. I’m surprised I don’t have one of them light sensitive migraines just trying to put it into words.

All I can really do to start with? Quote the most definitive document I’ve found thus far addressing the issue that’s online. It’s mostly about how the Aristasian idea of personae (which existed way before online Aristasia) got translated into a virtual world (Second Life, which we called Virtualia).

Have a look.

In Aristasia-in-Telluria it is common for girls to have multiple personae. Readers of Children of the Void will recall that the book had twenty-one characters but only seven physical bodies . Some girls are even "ambis", having both blonde and brunette personae (this is not the norm, but it is not rare).

For some girls personae are not important. Some have no extra personae. Some have only, perhaps, a schoolgirl or a schoolmistress necessary for her school life. At this point persona shades of into Function — an important concept that we shall discuss shortly. Other girls have two or more very distinct persona, so that no one supposes she is talking to the same person when she knows the two of them — as, indeed, she is not. Some girls find this aspect of Aristasia alone a huge liberation, and wonder how they could ever have gone through life with only one personality! It would have been as if part of them were missing.

In Virtualia at present, it is usual to have only one Avatar and one persona. So in a sense it may be said that Virtualia, with all its flying and teleporting, is a little more staid than Physicalia! There is actually no reason why girls should not eventually have second personae (it may indeed be interesting to have personae that are not "tied" by a similar physical appearance), but at present this is not the case.

Nevertheless, a somewhat related phenomenon is that of Function, and that needs to be understood in the light of the relatively formal nature of Aristasian society. When one performs a Function in Aristasia, whether as a mother, a teacher, a minister, a military officer or even a subordinate Function, such as a daughter, a pupil etc., one is manifesting an Archetype. This is an important point for the newcomer to understand, because the modern Tellurian West — especially since the cultural Eclipse of the 1960s, when an extreme individualism has attempted to expunge even the vestiges of true Function — is at the opposite extreme from this consciousness.

In Aristasia, each Function is ruled by one of the Janyati — a musician by Sai Thamë, for example, a military girl by Sai Vikhë, a nurse by Sai Sushuri. Actually, it is more complex than that. A teacher, for example, is ruled by Sai Mati insofar as she imparts knowledge, by Sai Thamë insofar as she imposes order, by Sai Sushuri insofar as she gives love to her pupils, by Sai Rhavë insofar as she corrects them. However we look first at the primary Janya for each Function, and, indeed, traditionally a maid would invoke the tutelary Janya of her Function (or of a particular aspect of her Function) before performing it. This is very often omitted in the modern Aristasian West (another example of cultural decline), but even when it is, the principle behind it is not forgotten.

In the light of this, it is perhaps easier to understand why Functions in Aristasia are regarded more seriously than "jobs" or ""roles" in the Pit. A girl performing a Function is usually addressed by the title of the Function and will be treated almost as a different person in and out of her Function. Teachers, for example, are accorded great respect in Aristasia, and while in the role of teacher, even those who know her more intimately at other times will regard the officiator of that role almost as a divine representative (which, on a certain level, she is). The idea of calling a teacher by her first name (with "Miss", of course) would be unthinkable, even in the case of a person who is regularly addressed so at other times.

The point here is that while the Pit regards the individual as paramount, in Aristasia, the Function is paramount. When a maid takes on the mantle, or "mask", of a higher Function, it is the Function, or Archetype, that is paramount. Aristasian pupils (like pupils everywhere) may not always be above criticising their teachers as individuals, but during the actual "ritual" of the lesson, the perception of the Archetype should be to the fore. This does not mean there is never a joke in class — sometimes there is — but it does help to explain why classroom disobedience is a) much rarer and b) regarded as what Pit-dwellers might consider to be a disproportionately serious offence.

We have taken the Function of teacher as an easily graspable example, but similar remarks might be applied to any Function,

Pit-dwellers distrust masks as devices to hide the face of the all-important Individual (which to them is the only reality). Aristasians revere them as the means of actualising a supra-individual Reality that is in no way false, but is, in a very important sense, closer to the Solar Heart that we greet many times daily with the word "Rayati".

Aristasian Customs and Manners, “Personae and Functions”.

Well. Where might we go from there? I’ve repeatedly used words like “roleplaying” to describe online Aristasian interactions, but I only use those words out of utter convenience. Doesn’t convey it.

The Aristasian concept of online “life theatre” is really hard to grasp, because it didn’t feel like a normal Second Life roleplay. I’ve done all kinds of roleplaying games, online and off - this was quite different in ways I can’t quite articulate.

It lacked (and actively pushed against) the kind of boundaries you’d see in even the loosest of regular 2000s online roleplaying games. There’s a bit of an explanation here of how the personae concept worked in practice in Aristasian online spaces.

It was intimately related to things like the personal quest for racination and alignment with these functions/rôles. In that way, it tended to leak into one’s offline world by design. While for plenty of us, as I’ve said on other pages, Aristasia went no further than our (expensive) desktop computers, it was clearly supposed to go further. In that way, calling it a mere roleplaying game mischaracterizes it, though, as the Realness page notes, many Aristasians probably saw it as such.

Time spent in online Aristasian spaces (elektraspace) was unique. The lack of a definitive objective was a major factor, as was the emphasis on making friends in-character. The focus was often things such as spirituality, aesthetics, and just having a good time.In-character. Er, persona. Er…

And oh yes. There definitely were implied spiritual and occult implications to this peculiar way of viewing the self. I’m sure the above passage indicates that clearly, if you’re looking for such things. On that, I can’t get into it here, but have plans for discussions of it eventually. Maybe someone else can add more, or maybe for another time.

A later source (Racinated-Beauty, a Tumblr blog still in existence) speaks to a complex perspective on the self, this world, and others.

A Tellurian form is imperfect, full of contradictions and contrasts, whereas Aristasians are intended to be purer, more refined in their nature and purpose. Thus, a Tellurian vessel may hold several Aristasian souls of various natures. The Blue Camellia Club, Heartbook, Shining World, and other platforms were open to new participants, but they were NOT intended as simple public-facing spaces. A single vessel with multiple personae was not attempting to give outlanders any sort of impression; rather, they were allowing the many maids within them to manifest and interact freely and joyfully with other maids.

Racinated-Beauty, via her Tumblr.

Of course, Racinated-Beauty is writing quite some time after Aristasia’s dissolution, but does this speak to the actual Aristasian perspective? I think it does, at least to a degree. This is especially true when taken together with the earlier quoted passage. It also alludes, in a small way, to the notion of a “real” Aristasia Pura, I think.

I guess this issue begs a lot of questions. Just what is a persona? How does one distinguish it from the real you? Similarly, what (vague or otherwise) line does one draw between “life theatre” and one’s everyday existence? How do you navigate those boundaries if you’re doing this kind of thing? Particularly if it's (implied to be) the majority of your existence, a la Children of the Void?

I only participated in this online. I have no real answers for sure. Every primary source seems to indicate that yes, the on-the-ground London Aristasians did live as they portrayed in books like that, including incorporating this perspective on the self into daily life. Since I wasn't there, I can't say what it would've felt like offline, but I can definitely see the risk for exploitation and bad situations.

Traditionalism and the Perennial Wisdom

Aristasians described their philosophy as a sort of feminine essentialism. What does that mean? For that, it’s really best to let them speak for themselves - they had a manifesto, of course. I've plans to write a bit on my own here, but until then, I'll just leave this portion with some quotations. They published a book called The Feminine Universe (by Alice Lucy Trent), described as an absolutely essential (pun intended) guide. Some brief passages from it are quoted on old Aristasian sites online. These give a quick introduction to what they meant by “feminine essentialism.”


Essentialism and Substantialism in ''The Feminine Universe’’

We call traditional thought Essentialist, because it is, by definition, that intellectuality which recognises the universal Pole of Essence and (which is in fact the same thing) recognises that all existing entities, from an ant to a galaxy, are what they are precisely because of their Essential forms or Archetypes.

The late-patriarchal ideology, which we may call substantialist, or accidentalist, in contradistinction to Essentialist, consists precisely and wholly in a denial of the Pole of Essence and of the Essences of entities. Everything else the modern world believes flows from this denial. The whole project of late-patriarchal thought is to explain the universe wholly in terms of matter or substance and to deny Form or Essence.

At first these concepts may seem difficult. That is hardly surprising, since we are discussing things that lie completely outside the thinking of the modern world. Nevertheless, the Essentialist way of thought has been the underlying model for all human conceptualisation from the Golden Age right through to the so-called Enlightenment of the seventeenth century (vide Rationalism), and Essentialism was only fully eradicated from the normal thinking of most educated people toward the end of the nineteenth century.

In truth, there are only, and can only be, two ways of thinking - the Essentialist and the substantialist. All the different philosophies, ideologies and outlooks of the modern world, from Marxism to the New Age movement to the 'ordinary common sense outlook' of most people who believe they have no philosophy at all, are simply variations on the underlying theme of substantialism.

From an Encyclopaedia Aristasiana page on feminine essentialism. Posted in September of 2009?


Femininity is regarded by Aristasians as primarily a Cosmic quality. Miss Alice Lucy Trent writes in The Feminine Universe:

"Femininity has always been recognised as one of the fundamental Essences or Archetypes of the human world. And not only of the human world; for throughout most of our history - throughout all but the tiniest part of it - it has been recognised that what is true of humanity is also true of the cosmos.

"The sun and moon existed long before the ball of gas and the ball of rock came into being that incarnate them outwardly for us. Numbers were before there were things to be numbered. And femininity existed long before any female creature came into existence.

"For in each of these cases, we are speaking of primal Realities. Principles that cannot not be. Realities that may be manifested in different ways upon different levels of being, but which are not dependent on this or that manifestation for their actuality."

Aristasians do not see femininity as being fundamentally the converse of masculinity. Biologically, the human body is female from conception: only exposure to male hormones can make it male. Similarly, Aristasians would regard femininity as primary and natural, with masculinity being simply a possibility that may or may not come into manifestation under certain specific circumstances.

As has been pointed out, the term "the Eternal Feminine" is well known and strikes a deep resonance in the human heart. No one has postulated an "Eternal Masculine" with the same sort of spiritual depth. Aristasians would explain that this is because masculinity is not eternal.

But what is femininity? Another article from the Encyclopaedia Aristasiana, quoting The Feminine Universe.


In addition to this, the Aristasians were perennialists. I realize that the term “perennialism” means different things to different people, especially recently.

The word perennialist probably conjures up images of religious pluralism and the notion that all religions and spiritual systems, ultimately have the same truths. Simple enough, and not necessarily a mischaracterization. When I say it about the Aristasians, though, I mean perennialist in the sense of René Guénon, not Aldous Huxley, though. Unlike Huxley, the Aristasians (and Guénon, of whom they were rather fond) saw history as a cycle of degeneration. We live now in what they would call a Dark Age. They often appropriate the term Kali Yuga from Hinduism here. They also thought that true spiritual wisdom was in short supply nowadays for that reason, thus needing careful care and keeping.

Thankfully, there’s a bit of a summary of Guénonian Traditionalism, written by Mark Sedgwick, online, excerpted from an anthology textbook. I know this is pretty slapdash of me in terms of research, but I'm still working through what material I have, and will provide more as it becomes available. Let’s check it out.

Guénonian Traditionalists of both sorts understand “tradition” in a special sense that distinguishes them from the many other individuals and groups that use the term. For Traditionalists, “tradition” indicates the spiritual wisdom that is conceived as having formed the ancient core of all the great religions and spiritual paths – in effect, the perennial philosophy. The term “perennialist” is also used, both by some Traditionalists to describe themselves and by some outsiders. Traditionalists, however, differ from other perennialists such as Aldous Huxley (who published his The Perennial Philosophy in 1944) in their anti-modernism and their insistence on esoteric initiation. Huxley, for example, was interested in neither of these. This insistence is one basis on which Traditionalism may be classed as esoteric; another is the degree to which Traditionalism draws on other esoteric currents discussed in this volume, even though Traditionalists are fiercely critical of most other such currents, which they see as “pseudo-initiatic” or even “counter-initiatic.”

Traditionalism has a complex doctrine, and a cyclical conception of time borrowed from Hinduism. In the distant first age of the current cycle, spiritual wisdom was widespread and generally accessible; in the current and final age, identified as the kali yuga or dark age, spiritual wisdom has almost vanished. The result is what is called modernity, with all its problems. Inevitably, things will degenerate further. During the first age, spiritual wisdom was unified, and there was no distinction between the esoteric and exoteric.

The Cambridge Handbook of Western Mysticism and Esotericism, edited by Glenn Alexander Magee, chapter on Guénon by Mark Sedgwick.

Mark Sedgwick's a bit important in all this - his Against the Modern World is one of the few academic texts to (however briefly) mention Aristasia (more on that later). He seems to be an expert of Guénonian perennialism of the sort the Aristasians were fond. Aristasians would not have called themselves Guénonian Traditionalists, though. The influence is obviously there, and they admitted that. They, however, saw their own mindset as unique because of course they did. And, to be fair, their take on the notion of perennial wisdom was far more feminized than seen in most versions of this.

Ananda Coomaraswamy described traditional societies as “unanimous societies”: that is societies not fragmented by conflicting factions and opinions, but united by a single, essential Truth. And this unanimity exists – though often unrecognised—not only within all traditional societies, from the red Indian medicine lodge to the Chinese temple, from the Siberian shaman to the Indian guru, from the Platonic West to the Confucian East, but between all traditional societies. Each one is founded upon the same essential, unchanging truths, even though they may express these truths in superficially different ways. Each one is a unique expresion of the Sophia Perennis, the primordial, changeless and eternal wisdom that is the common heritage of all humanity.

Aristasia Treasure Trove on The Feminine Universe in September of 2007.

This, like all parts of The Feminine Universe, an Aristasian manifesto, links back towards the notion that this true wisdom is, in essence, feminine. They believed that this "common heritage of all humanity" was a very literal thing stemming from a "matriarchal golden age." We'll discuss this, which is a pseudohistory of sorts based on long-debunked theories, in a bit. We'll also talk about how it draws from (or rather, snags words from) Hinduism and other cultures.

I've numerous other issues with this perspective nowadays, but this particular page isn't the place to discuss them (yet). For example, the unanimity described in the book (The Feminine Universe) simply doesn't exist in societies (beyond those aspects such as empathy which tend to be ingrained in humanity). Attempts to fit all cultures within the mold of (what, you'll see, is a very feminine version of) Western Platonism rather insults their uniqueness. Once more let me give the caveat that I'm no expert on mindsets.

Aristasia in Academia

To return to Mark Sedgwick, author of Against the Modern World and several other (apparently) major works about Guénonian traditionalism, he wrote about Aristasia in that book. What did he have to say?

Aristasia is the post-1980s name of a group which, in slightly different form, was earlier known as The Romantics and The Olympians. It was started in the English university city of Oxford in the late 1960s by a female academic who used the name of “Hester St Clare.” St Clare was born in the 1920s; other details of her career are unknown. A Traditionalist, in the late 1960s she began to gather a group of younger women, mostly Oxford students, who were dismayed by the “cultural collapse” of that decade. They took Guénon one stage further: worse even than modernity was the “inverted society,” the postmodern, contemporary era produced by the cultural collapse of the 1960s, an event often referred to by Aristasians as “the Eclipse.” Inverted society—often referred to as “the Pit”—stands in much the same relation to modernity as modernity stood to tradition, argued “Alice Trent,” St Clare’s most important follower. Not all that was produced before the Eclipse was worthless—Beethoven and Wordsworth are clearly not “malignant aberrations,” for example. Each phase in the cycle of decline may produce developments that, while “of a lower order than was possible to previous phases, . . . nonetheless are good and beautiful in their own right.” Nothing produced after the Eclipse is of any worth at all, however (though theoretically something might be). In practice, all in the Pit is inversion—“the deliberate aim [is] an inverted parody of all that should be.” The higher classes imitate the lowest, “family life and personal loyalty” are replaced by “a cult of ‘personal independence,’ ” and even the earlier achievements of modernity are lost, as crime and illiteracy increase. Chaos is preferred to harmony in art and dress, and masculinity replaces femininity.

Sedgwick, Mark J. Against the Modern World : Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century. Page 217. New York, Oxford University Press, 2011.

It's surely interesting that Mark Sedgwick found Aristasia significant enough to include in this. He seems to have a good tag on what Aristasians at least professed to believe around 2001 (the year he interviewed Alice Lucy Trent about Aristasia for the book). The emphasis on beauty and aesthetics here is 100% accurate to what I've seen amongst Aristasians. The main symptom they saw of a deracinated society was always this nebulous quality of "ugliness," after all.

Before I continue, I do want to note that Mr. Sedgwick definitely does not have a good grasp of the history of Aristasia, seeming to have just asked one or two Aristasians and accepted what they said as fact. Given the movement's history, this was about the worst possible thing he could've done - it's like asking random people at Burning Man as part of scientific research on the neurological of DMT.

Against Modernity?

Aristasians are against the modern world, right? They, as the sidebar of this very site alludes to, attempted to abandon (to a degree) both men and the modern world. But what does that really mean?

It surely doesn’t mean that they wanted to live like feudal peasants with no electricity - after all, they loved technology. No group that was truly attempting to live a pre-industrial life would be jogging around the web so much.

The mythology of Aristasia Pura reflects or informs (however one parses it) Aristasian beliefs. Despite its vintage aesthetics, Aristasia Pura doesn’t reject technology (or, in their terms, technics).

In Telluria, the "scientific revolution" and subsequent "industrial revolution" were founded upon the 17th century "Enlightenment", which might well be termed the "rationalist revolution", or the acceptance of the arbitrary dogma of rationalism as not only true, but as the foundation for all thought.

In Aristasia no such rationalist revolution took place, and while technics have developed very rapidly in Western Aristasia, they are not founded on a revolutionary or anti-traditional outlook. On the contrary, modern science is seen to be the continuation and elaboration of traditional science, not a rejection of it.

The Encyclopaedia Aristasiana page on Rationalism, from March of 2009.

So, despite the swish of 1920s gowns and winding gramaphones, Aristasians did embrace technology, often to an extreme degree. As early as 2001, they were quite excited about Gameboys (or, as they corrected the name, Gamebabies), enough to create a page explaining this hobby and how it could be integrated with an Aristasian lifestyle.

Rejection of "Rationalist Revolution?"

So, no, the Aristasians didn’t believe that the Industrial Revolution had been a disaster for the human race or anything like that. Yet, yes, they rejected much of Modernity, though, but largely on a cultural and spiritual level. How, and why? Aristasians were critical of what they called the “rationalistic doctrine.” Aristasia Pura, (again, either reflective or informative of the Aristasian perspective) featured no “Rationalist Revolution,” and was much better off for it, they said.

Aristasians oppose the rationalistic doctrine which states that our only sources of knowledge are the five senses and the action of the brain on the data provided by them. Some ill-educated people believe that this doctrine is "scientific" or even that it is the basis of "science". It is not. It is a creed or dogma professed by people known as rationalists or positivists. The only thing it has in common with material science is that that discipline (or group of disciplines) restricts itself to the sense-data and the workings of the reason upon them. No serious philosopher of science would claim that this in any way proves that the sense-data tell us all that exists, any more than an anatomist would claim that there is nothing outside the human body.

Unfortunately, a large number of semi-educated people - including some unphilosophical scientists - believe that "science" proves that there is nothing beyond the material: which is rather like believing that plane geometry proves that there is no third dimension.

Encyclopaedia Aristasiana article on science, March of 2009.

The end summation? In Aristasia, it seems that the battle between science and metaphysics was settled long ago.

In the last analysis, if "science" contradicts metaphysics, then "science" must clearly be wrong. But in fact much of the time it is right, as one would expect from a precise observation of the workings of the material world. When it is wrong, the errors often spring from confusing genuine perception and analysis with the doctrinal statements of rationalism and the emotional and mythologising needs of a rationalistic society.

Encyclopaedia Aristasiana article on science, March of 2009.

But was it really a battle, even? The Aristasians didn’t believe so; and saw the two as ultimately cooperating, so long as metaphysics got the final say. They saw a metaphysical view of reality as far more conducive to advanced technology and learning, too. This shows up in the mythos of Aristasia Pura in the lore of the nation of Novarya - the most traditionally-minded and spiritual of the Westrenne nations, yet also known for high technology.

Pit Poisons

The modern world had, due (in some part) to its embrace of rationalist dogma, become rife with psychic poisons. In particular, the Aristasians spoke of three toxic tendencies of modernity: atomisation, deracination, and deformism.

The divide-and-rule tendency of the Pit, which seeks to isolate each individual by the clever use of the doctrine of "personal independence". By undermining and uprooting all natural loyalties, whether to family, religion, nation, custom or tradition, each individual is cut off from all sources of support and sustenance outside the cathode-defined "reality" of the Pit.

Article on Atomisation in Encyclopaedia Aristasiana from March of 2009

You might be surprised to realize this, but the Aristasians saw the sexual liberation of the 1960s as ultimately a manifestation of this psychic atomisation. They argue that the modern world is “banalising sex and desensitising the erotic sensibility by a grotesque and trivialising over-exposure.” It seems that they’re arguing that too much eroticism causes it to lose its social and spiritual meaning as a rite of bonding. This is the primary example given of atomisation, and while it might not mean they were against things like (obviously) queer liberation, it did make them critical of what they personally saw as a sex-saturated society resulting from the 1960s.

The process of cutting off an individual and a society from all natural roots; of creating a rootless, atomised type of humanity which, by its divorce from, and induced forgetfulness of, all normal standards and values, lacks dignity and self-respect; though it will often tend to be more aggressive and self-assertive as a compensation.

Article on Deracination in Encyclopaedia Aristasiana from March of 2009.

The act of racinating oneself and one’s image-sphere was a huge part of Aristasia. This is where, oddly enough, things like wearing vintage dresses and winding gramaphones comes from. You can read more about the how and what of that here.

Aristasians, in general, felt that the way people had begun to live, dress, and consume media after (about 1964) was deracinated, though. It was overly-casual, lacked innate aesthetics, and undignified.

For an Aristasian, it seems beauty wasn’t in the eye of the beholder quite so much, but rather an innate perennial quality. To them, the post-1960s world had lost its connection to this quality on a deep level. Divorced from the roots from which beauty might spring, culture became subject to deformism.

The things sane societies loved, it hated. The things sane societies hated, it loved; the things sane societies tried to do, it tried to avoid; the things sane societies tried to avoid, it did with relish. It pursued chaos and hated order, it worshipped ugliness and loathed beauty.

Article on Deformism in Encyclopaedia Aristasiana, quoting Alice Lucy Trent’s The Feminine Universe.

Deformism is further described as “the continual urge to pollute and parody anything real and to destroy any racinated image by adulterating it with deracinated elements.” We were given (repeatedly, in various venues) the example of a girl who might wear vintage dresses, but with heavy boots or after shaving her head.

This mixing of the vintage and the postmodern disturbed the Aristasians. They saw the latter as nullifying any aesthetic nourishment provided by the former. I’ve done both; to me, they draw from different roots aesthetically, sure, but I, like many, found their comments about “shaven-headed ladies in 1930s dresses” more than a little judgmental.

Matriarchal Prehistory

Earth, Aristasia taught, was once, like Aristasia Pura, guided by the feminine principle.

In other words, the Aristasians, and their precursor organizations, explicitly taught that Telluria (as in earth, here, IRL, whatever) was at one point home to a primordial matriarchy and free from the corrupting influence of the masculine.

In Raya Chancandre’s introduction to Déanism (Aristasia’s religion), an audio file called The Good News of God the Mother, she talks about this. I hope to eventually have this file transcribed, but that will have to be for the future.

The bare idea of a global matriarchal precursor civilization is hardly limited to Aristasia. It goes back to a man named Eduard Gerhard in 1849. You can read a quick, yet fairly accurate, summary over on Wikipedia, of course, and there’s plenty of further research to be done.

Gerhard’s ideas were picked up by a lot of the occult revivals that occurred over the next hundred and fifty years. They’ve been incorporated into what I’d call the mythic history of Wicca and other newer neopagan religions, too. Dianic Wicca, in particular, aligns with the notion of worldwide, prehistoric and monotheistic goddess worship.

This is a problem, though. As the Wikipedia page notes, Ronald Hutton (in Triumph of the Moon) describes Gerhard’s “Great Goddess” hypothesis as having almost no historical evidence supporting it.

That doesn’t, of course, mean that there’s anything invalid or wrong about Déanism or worship of God as Mother - it just means that our world has never, actually, been a global monotheistic matriarchy, let alone one including intermorphs. It’s worth noting that Déanism does predate Aristasia by a few decades, though it was popularized by Aristasia and Chelouranya.

Aristasian conception of earth history.
Aristasian conception of earth history.

The Aristasians believed in a cyclical and largely degenerative view of history (it gets worse as the years pass, but moves in cycles). The basic concept shows up in other, much older belief systems, too - the idea that the world is getting worse, and not better isn't unique to Aristasia. The words they use for these concepts (ie, Satya Yuga, Kali Yuga, etc), are from Hinduism, but I'm doubtful the Aristasian perspective on them resembles the Hindu perspective very much.

The Aristasians themselves acknowledged that these terms originate from other belief systems. They saw it as evidence of the perennial nature of their philosophy. I really have no idea why new (ie, Raihirailan) names weren’t chosen, though, to avoid confusion.

In all places and at all times it has been agreed that the direction of history is always "downward", from the Satya Yuga, Golden Age or Garden of Eden to the Kali Yuga, Iron Age or Latter Days. The religions, philosophies, and traditions of the world are unanimous in seeing not a pattern of progress, but of decline and degeneration.

If they are correct, then it follows from what we know about the "matriarchal" origins of civilization that the highest and noblest and most spiritual forms of culture must have been those primordial feminine ones, while masculine-dominated civilizations must have come into being as quite a late phase of the process of decline.

This view of history, is, of course, completely alien to that of the late-patriarchal world-view with which we have all been inculcated from the earliest age, and which places late-patriarchy itself at the pinnacle of a long process of "human progress", relegating earlier civilizations to varying degrees of "ignorance" and "barbarism".

“Satya Yuga to Kali Yuga,” from Chapel of Our Mother God (posted 2015?).

I am not Hindu, however, and cannot speak to the Aristasian use of terms like Kali Yuga, etc. It’s also worth noting that, over the past decade specifically, “Kali Yuga” has become a favorite buzzword of the esoteric-adjacent parts of the neoreactionary movement, which is kind of ugh. Their usage of the term is vaguely similar to the Aristasians, though - it definitely is. Both tend to fault modernity - they just blame different forces for modernity itself…

You gotta remember, The Aristasian version of this mythos begins with a specifically matriarchal golden age. And it ended with the coming of the mascûli (men).

In later years (seemingly after I’d departed, but I’m not sure on this), we see the idea that humanity was once an intermorphic species, just like the inhabitants of Aristasia Pura are said to be. This goes quite a bit further than Gerhard’s “Great Goddess” global matriarchy hypothesis, now doesn’t it?

Those humans who became femīni or mascûli (men or women), were known as mazei, or “lost.” Those who remained intermorphic (chelani and melini), were a mazei - not lost, in other words. We are told, thus, that this originated the “Amazon women” legend. It’s not historically accurate in the slightest, but I’m sure you’re aware of this.

I guess it would be true that masculinity and femininity (sexual reproduction in general, even?) are rather new inventions, biologically-speaking. The earthly parallel I’d draw for the Aristasian concept of intermorphism here would be something similar to the “mating types” that some species of fungi (and other lifeforms) have. It’s true that “mating types” are an ancient ancestor of sexual dimorphism. It’s also true that, of course, asexual reproduction came before anything sexual. That’s not quite the same as everything beginning as female and then differentiating/degenerating, though.

To this, the Aristasians (and me, at certain points during my experiences with them) might’ve said that biology reflects spiritual realities, not vice versa. They’d likely also have argued that this reflection is often messy and muddled, and the mythology presents it in a way understandable to maidens.

I’m not sure how (at the time) they would’ve responded to pointing out that their mythic history lacks evidence. I probably would’ve said something about how these stories weren’t literally true, but were translations of deeper realities which I, of course didn’t yet understand. Are they? Portions, perhaps, were certainly meaningful in other ways, too. You don't have to believe something for it to affect your life and change you. And the Aristasians, of course, aren't alone in this reliance on mythology that borders into pseudohistory. Particularly this flavor of it - feminine prehistory, that is.

At the time these things seem to have been written, this kind of pseudohistory was still commonly passed around amongst layfolk, anyways. Nothing about intermorphs, but in the early 1990s, it was normal-ish, especially for neopagans and the esoteric, to believe in things like Gerhard's Goddess Hypothesis. Often the news media would just ask random neopagans about their history and uncritically print what they said, without even consulting Ronald Hutton (or other decent historians).

I think from a 21st century perspective, we can agree that new religious movements don't need a fabricated pseudohistory to be valid. Neopagans and those who follow non-mainstream religions themselves are putting in a lot more effort to understand their own history and exercise critical thinking. This is all a good thing, obviously. I think that, by painting mythology as if it were actual history, the whole point of mythology really gets lost, doesn't it? The whole concept is thrown deeply askew.


What follows is my very best shiniest attempt at explaining what I was able to pick up of Aristasian spirituality. Please keep in mind that both Déanism in its simple form and Filianism are religions that exist outside of Aristasia. I am a follower of neither, really, though I share some beliefs. I also don't have a lot of formal training (ie, schooling) in comparative religion.

For this reason, don’t expect more than a cursory overview of these concepts, focused primarily on how they intersect with Aristasia specifically. If you’ve an interest in Déanism etc outside of an Aristasian context, I suggest connecting with those who do follow it. Sorry, I’m doing my best. Any Déanists wishing to contribute to this section are welcome to contact me.

Déanism: The Good News of God the Mother


Above, we have the definitive introduction to the Aristasian form of Déanic spirituality, in audio form. What is Déanism?

The religion of Aristasia is known as Deanism (occasionally Dianism). It may be seen as a monotheistic religion with a strong angelology. There are also some non-Aristasian Deanists, though they tend to be Aristasian-friendly.

Deanism means the worship of the Divine Mother (Dea) as the supreme and only Creatrix of the universe. This is the simplest and most minimal statement of the Deanist creed and the simplest form of Deanism teaches that the love of the Great Mother is the only thing necessary.

The term Dea (or Dia) is used for the supreme Deity. The term God is also freely used for the Heavenly Mother. The word goddess is generally avoided by Deanists as it suggests a concept derived from, or secondary to, a male god and may even be taken to imply the actual existence of a male god or gods.

Deanists do not worship any male figures, though they accept that Dea may have revealed Herself in various forms for the salvation of different beings and societies (those concerned with Tellurian auctoritas cite the Shakta tradition that Sri Lalita, the supreme Deity, manifested herself as Sri Krishna for the salvation of the gopis). They regard femininity as primal and not simply the contrepoise of masculinity, and therefore regard the feminine manifestation of Deity as the original and pure expression of God-with-form (saguna brahman).

Encyclopaedia Aristasiana on Déanism, March of 2009

The scriptures of Déanism are available in several different versions, scattered around the web. The (Aristasian) version that I saw the earliest can be found here. I may hunt up the other versions, but it’s quite the task.


The above speaks to what is called Déanism in general, but one must also speak of Filianism. This particular branch of Déanism was of major interest to Aristasians.

The Filianic branch of Deanism focuses on the Heavenly Daughter as well as the Mother. Its doctrines are much more specific than those of broad Deanism and are expressed in the Filianic Creed and Catechism.

According to Filianic thealogy, the Solar Mother is too bright for mortal eyes to look upon, because we have fallen away from Her. Her light is mediated to us by the lunar Daughter - who is also Dea.

Filianism teaches that Dea has three Persons - the Mother, the Daughter and the Dark Mother, or Absolute Deity, Who is beyond form. This doctrine is often likened by non-Aristasians to the Chistian Trinity, but is in some respects closer to the Hindu trimurti of Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma. The Mother, Daughter and Dark Mother are respectively the Creatrix, Preserver and Destroyer of the world (though more properly the Dark Mother is the in-breather of the world at the end of time, just as She is its out-breather at the dawn of time). Another clear parallel is the "triple-Goddess" of early Tellurian traditions, whose doctrinal aspect is now lost (and a prey to dubious late-rajasic and post-Eclipse speculation). Filianists suggest that the Filianic Creed reveals the true and eternal meaning of the Divine Feminine Triplicity in a form suited to the lesser capacities of the Kali Yuga.

Encyclopaedia Aristasiana on Déanism, March of 2009


Earlier, it mentioned how this is a monotheistic religion. Having spent time with Déanists and Filianists, I agree, but it also says that it has a strong angelology. What’s meant by that? Here, it refers to the Janyati, and primarily the Seven Great Janyati.

While the four elements (plus the Quintessence) and the three gunas represent the bases of manifestation from the substantial side, the seven Planetary streams or Powers represent the bases of manifestation from the Essential side. They represent the Essential (or if one prefers, informational) content by which all earthly forms are shaped. Everything that is, is fashioned by one or more of these great Essential streams.

Aristasians refer to the Head of each of these streams as a Janya (sometimes Genia) . The term has been translated both as "angel" and as "goddess". Of the two we prefer angel, though each has its merits.

People brought up in the modern West may be inclined to ask "Why should the Heads of these Streams be personified?" Part of the reason for such a question lies in the attachment of the modern mind to the outdated Newtonian-materialist model of the universe, which, while long disproved, remains the only way the modern Western mind has of understanding things. A certain adjustment has to take place in order to understand traditional thinking.

In the first place, let us be clear that the Janyati are not "forces" or "energies" conceived after the model of Newtonian physics (and dearly beloved of New Age movements). They are Intelligences. They are not people like us, it is true. But they are something more than people, not less than people. The greatest force in the universe is less than a person. It cannot think. We are speaking here of Intelligences immeasurably greater than ourselves. They have everything we people have, magnified a thousand times, and they have many qualities we cannot even conceive of. To picture them as something akin to people may not do them justice, but to picture them as something impersonal, like a force of nature, would do them infinitely less justice. They are everything we are and much more.

In the second place, let us remember that we are dealing with an intelligent, not an accidental, universe. The things below mirror the things above. The microcosm reflects the macrocosm. While the Janyati are very different from us, they nonetheless have a common measure with us. Just as we are made in God's image, so are they. Indeed they are far closer to the Dea-nature than we are, and in a sense, we may say that each Janya is Dea, in a certain aspect. That is why the translation "goddess" is in some sense as appropriate as "angel".

Encyclopaedia Aristasiana on The Seven Great Janyati, from March of 2009.

This may all sound awfully familiar to any of us who’ve any background in the occult, or even simply neopaganism or Wicca. Nevertheless, the Aristasians saw these movements as errors.

They believed that, since modern neopagans had hardly any connection to their supposed ancient precursors, these movements were merely husks, lacking the promised initiatory aspect. These husks, thus, had become residence for the late-patriarchal deracination themselves.

Traditionalist writers have warned against the dangers of the Counter-Initiation - pseudo initiatic movements, often taking on the shells of defunct traditions, which, because of their ignorance or rejection of authentic tradition and espousal of modernist notions, have become easy prey to tenebrous forces whose designs for maid include a dangerous transformation that is the very reverse of true initiation.

Both Simple Deanism and Filianism have been very careful to maintain a fully traditional outlook, in keeping with that of the Motherland and the principles set out in The Feminine Universe. Having no direct disciplic filiation to the Motherland, Deanic religion in Telluria does not seek to be initiatic, but focuses upon a simple and pure devotion to the Divine Mother or to the Mother and Daughter.

Encyclopaedia Aristasiana on Déanism, March of 2009

The Aristasian rejection of neopagan theology goes a little further than that, too. “The Earth Mother: A Fallacy for all Seasons” explains why Aristasians reject the notion of the Earth as a “Mother Goddess.” You might already know how central the concept of earth as mother is to (some, but not all) neopagan paths. Aristasians see this as an error - they see Déa as all-encompassing, yet primarily Solar, not earthly.


A lot of this makes for some strange bedfellows, at least when it comes to terminology. Déa is seen as a Creatrix, and thus the Aristasians explicitly referred to themselves as Creationists. This wasn’t the same kind of Creationism that you see with fundamentalist Christians who believe in Noah’s ark. They held that (for example) the Big Bang was compatible with their beliefs, and seemed to have little quarrel with the specifics of modern physics or geology.

All it really came down to was that Déa had created the universe in earnest and was God, not a metaphor or projection the self; ergo, they considered themselves creationists. How Déa (God) had gone about Creation was compatible, it seemed with what science was telling us, including the notion of the expanding universe. We might not quite grasp the literal specifics of the Creation, and the story of it may be a sort of translation for us, but it isn’t a metaphor, nor inaccurate.

Aristasian opinions on what happened after this Big Bang and universal expansion were, uh... mixed, to say the very least. Let's not even begin to discuss their views on what they called "evolutionism", for example. This was a matter of debate at certain times, though always pushed aside after a while in favor of more "polite" topics. I myself am not a believer in evolution; rather I know it to be the most likely model for life's origin. I've seen enough evidence. The Aristasians sometimes pushed the issue, but not often - must've been worried about how controversial it was, perhaps?

Extra-Aristasian Déanism and Filianism

Déanism and Filianism both exist as religions outside of Aristasia. The history of how this happened and why is a matter of much debate amongst those who follow them.

This certainly complicates things. These non-Aristasian Déanic, Filianist, and Janite traditions tend to vary in their interpretations of the Clear Recital (the Gospel) and the rest of this, and their feelings about Aristasia, too. Many are attempting to distance themselves from the unsavoury, abusive, or right-wing overtones of some eras of Aristasia, and this I applaud.

I’m not a Déanist or Filianist these days, though my more mystical beliefs do overlap to some degree. I can't help but feel warm and enamored by the idea of God as Divine Mother, yet I do believe this can be explored completely outside of Aristasian contexts. In any case, I won’t try to give some kind of summary of independent Déanism or Filianism here, but may update this section with links to existing resources concerning these subjects.

Gender: I have a migraine.

As you might expect of a small, niche queer movement like Aristasia, their concept of gender was pretty unique and significant in their grand scheme of things. I believe this is a topic I'm ill-equipped to handle, as it often leaves me reaching for Tylenol. If you've comments on it, you can contact me here. I want to learn more, and want to understand other people better through that, too. Anyways, for now, I'll give my best effort by providing references to Aristasian sources from back in the day, with what context I can give.

The Aristasians seemed to share the following premises regarding gender (and metaphysics as a whole, really):

  1. Femininity is a primordial, harmonious quality innate to the cosmos.
  2. All sapient life is naturally feminine, and thus naturally harmonious.
  3. All of this gets reflected, rather messily, in the physical world.
  4. Masculinization of sapient life represents one variant physicalization of this harmony.

Furthermore, Aristasians are all-feminine, got that? This point was emphasized constantly on every Aristasian website I ever visited, and even, verbatim, on of all places. Granted, Aristasians are not women, insofar as (to them) a woman is only a woman insofar as there’s a man involved.

They use the term maid, not woman. This was the case even with Aristasian precursor groups. Femininity was a natural order of life within the manifest universe. Masculinity, by contrast, was an aberration of sorts.

It will be argued that the term "feminine" makes no sense except in juxtaposition to the term "masculine"; and Aristasians would fully agree. There is no word for "feminine" in Aristasia Pura precisely because there is nothing to contrast it to. For a Pure Aristasian, femininity is simply the nature of things, the mother-heart of the universe. It needs no name; it simply is.

Masculinity, in contrast, can only exist in contradistinction to femininity, because femininity is primal and masculinity is one possible deviation or departure from Primal Reality that may or may not develop depending upon local conditions.

An article on Encyclopaedia Aristasiana speaks on the subject of femininity, in March of 2009.

Gender and the brain?

An early Aristasian document from 1998, entitled “The New Femininity” expresses a slight biological basis for gender as well. This was, apparently, an interview with Chris Henniker asking questions of an Aristasian using the name Annalinde Nightwind. It focuses on the chemistry of the brain, rather than any primary or secondary sexual characteristics such as muscle tone, body shape, or genitalia. The Aristasians, being essentialists of a spiritual rather than biological sort, however, saw the brain as a manifestation of matter's interaction with spirit, the organizing principle.

Thus, femininity wasn't really a biological thing. Biology is a matter of substance, and as such, cannot exist without an organizing essence. To say so would've been to deny the nature of essentialism. It could be detected biologically, perhaps, but, like most things, was more than physical. Much of the document (in interview format) quotes The Feminine Universe by Miss Alice Lucy Trent verbatim. Annalinde Nightwind states:

Well, to begin with, the female brain is physically different from the male. This is caused not so much by genes as by hormones. The human brain is naturally inclined to be feminine. It is massive doses of the male hormone testosterone, both during gestation and at puberty, that make a male brain different from a female brain. If the brain is not bathed in testosterone at critical stages, a genetic male will not develop male mental characteristics. As an adult, even if he is anatomically male, a -man may have a brain that remains female. It is also possible for a woman to have a male brain, but both these occurrences are very rare. In general men have male brains and women have female ones; and this is why men are masculine rather than merely male and women are feminine rather than merely female. It is not a matter of social conditioning. It is a matter of biology. To quote Dr. Anne Moir, who has helped to make a huge compilation of all the scientific research on this subject: "Men are different from women maintain that they are the same in aptitude, skill or behaviour is to build a society based on a scientific and biological lie." And from our point of view, it is also to rob women of their identity, which is their femininity.

Annalinde Nightwind in The New Femininity

I don’t believe this should be taken as a sign that the Aristasians were truly bioessentialists in the modern, accepted sense, however. Rather, these arguments are to be expected, given the complex relationship between matter and Spirit presupposed by (non-biological) essentialism. Spirit, they believed, was the organizing or essential principle. Matter simply existed as an (often impure) reflection of Spirit. The Aristasians always looked to Spirit to understand matter, not vice versa.

The author Annalinde Nightwind quotes, Anne Moir, is the author of such books as Why Men Don’t Iron and Brain Sex While she does have genetics and psychology credentials, she might not be a reliable source for understanding human sexual dimorphism. It seems to be largely a pop psychology series designed to appeal to people who want their biases confirmed or denied. Given that her books were released in the late 1980s, I was surprised to see them cited by Aristasians at all. I have not read these books, so I cannot be sure of their quality, and my own knowledge is a bit scant, too.

Some of the bare facts of this (as far as I know) are true (fetuses only gain masculinity later in gestation, etc). Much of the interview quotes the chapter on femininity and its relationship to beauty in The Feminine Universe by Miss Alice Lucy Trent. In this chapter, she argues that femininity itself cannot be a mere result of social conditioning, but rather must have a basis in biology, and ultimately spiritual essence.

Rather morbidly (IMHO), on page 62, she mentions that "postmortem" examinations of transgender folks (she uses the deprecated term "transsexual"), tend to share more with the brains of the gender they profess to be than that gender they were assigned at birth. It was the 1990s, and fMRIs (on living people) and such were simply not available, so I forgive the autopsy reference. Either way, this is thus, she argues, evidence that social conditioning plays little role.

As to whether it is scientific, well, I've heard this reiterated in quite serious textbooks recently, and it fits my own experiences to a degree. It seems science continues to support parts of this. I'm no expert, though, and have much to learn. Other aspects of the article, though and many of the conclusions it draws, seem to require great leaps. Despite being involved in something like Aristasia, I haven’t much of a clue about gender. I’ve no idea where to begin examining these ideas. I’ll need to learn more about this subject, and welcome comments from any respectful perspective.

Aristasia: TERFs?

I, myself, am not a trans-exclusionary radical “feminist” or transphobe. I’ve taken oaths over the years regarding related issues that I will be keeping. These include oaths from decades ago stating that I won’t out people as queer without their explicit consent, and also more recent oaths that I’ll do my best to learn and to listen to those who know more than me.

That said, during my time in Aristasia, I barely understood that transgender existed let alone how it all worked, and conflated it with a lot of other things. Thoughtless, I know, because I was, myself, queer, and had opportunities to learn, even though it didn’t click that I should. At the time, I would not have been the best judge of the situation for that reason alone.

Miss Martindale was once asked by a reporter if a “TV” could gain access to Aristasia sometime in the 1990s. I have a screenshot of this article, but am, at present, struggling to find the article itself in full to link to it. Some onlookers thought she meant a television reporter slipping in to videotape for (genuinely) male eyes. I guess if you’re looking backwards from the 2020s, this isn’t an odd assumption.

Actually, by “TV,” the reporter meant “transvestite,” though it’s unclear what or how they defined that in their 1990s British television parlance - it might’ve been a gloss for trans women, or might’ve simply meant men who dressed as women. It’s also possible that the people asking just made no distinction, so I’m not sure.

Anyways, Miss Martindale, after assuring that “TVs” weren’t allowed in Aristasia (at the time, at least, according to her), said, “This is very much a thing for genuine girls, as it were. That's a different thing altogether. I think the strength of that interest, or whatever it is you'd call it, is because of the dress of femininity in women. I feel it's like a reaction to recognising that femininity has almost entirely been pushed out of the Pit, and it creates a sort of longing for femininity which is then transposed in the individual thinking that it's inside him. When I feel it’s just a reaction to the drab, dreary masculine world that surrounds everybody in the Pit."

If we assume here that both Miss Martindale and the reporter asking about “TVs” actually refers to trans women, then yes, at different points, some within the movement were probably TERFs, had TERF ideas of different sorts, etc. It’s worth noting as well that one Aristasian, upon first meeting me online, suggested “calling me on the phone” to confirm I was female. This suggestion was almost immediately (and wordlessly) dropped (only ever mentioned once, by one Aristasian), thankfully, because it would’ve likely ended by tenure in Aristasia completely. I was, after all, a lying thirteen-year-old kid at the time, and couldn’t afford a transatlantic phone call.

Here’s the weird thing, though? This flies (perhaps?) in the face of exactly what the Aristasians had to say in their manifesto itself, “The Feminine Universe.” I quoted the book in an earlier section. The chapter on femininity argues that some “men” (ie, trans women) are going to have femininity as an essence, but that it doesn’t happen too often. The passage definitely reads like, well, something written in the 1990s. It still seems to be, after a fashion, somewhat accepting of the idea that some “men” and “women” are actually women and men, despite their birth assignment. It also strongly argues against the idea that you can, in any way, change this - you can’t, thus, turn a trans women into a man.

Miss Martindale (the woman asked about “TVs” by the reporter) has told others that she herself didn’t write “The Feminine Universe”, so that might explain the difference in perspective (if I’m interpreting her statements right). If you keep reading “The Feminine Universe” and put the “it’s caused by chemicals in the brain” thing in the wider context of their beliefs, it gets weirder though.

They were more metaphysically essentialist than bioessentialist, though; they saw any biological events as mere (messy) manifestations of upper realities. A woman was a woman not because of her biology - her biology was a side effect that might’ve happened due to her womanhood, which was essential to her being in a way that transcended physicality. There’s rumors (which I’m working on finding, confirming, etc) that Rhennes published stories of people using magic to change gender in ancient times, when such things were (according to them) still possible due to the subtlety of matter or something.

A lot of Aristasian websites use the term “genuine” women, not “physical women.” Maybe those within the movement who accepted (or were) trans women drew a distinction between transgender and being a “TV” or “transvestite,” the latter being one who (I guess) just dressed like the other gender. A feminine “essence” or whatever one calls it would’ve thus been required to participate as a female in this solely-feminine essentialist subculture.

It weirds me out a bit, because, well, who decides what counts here? I guess some men might, I guess, say, “oh yes, I am a transvestite, not a trans woman at all - I am a man, not a woman. I just enjoy dresses.”

In other cases that involve trans women conversely, though, what determines who counts as “feminine” enough for Aristasia? Did they just take people at their word about genuineness, or (shudder) was there a litmus? Heck, what counts as “feminine” enough for us cis women to join up (or did they just assume all of us cis folk were, hmm…)? This might be a moot question, because, again, I’m operating under the supposition that they did, in fact, think this way - it wasn’t directly spelled out to me, just seemed that way.

It’s also 100% possible that this weird, seemingly two-faced view resulted just from different people within the movement having different perspectives on the same topics. Worth noting as well that some people (mostly TERFs today) really want all the Aristasians to have been TERFs, but that doesn’t fit, quite, with what I personally saw and read. There’s also people who really want to believe other things about the movement’s views on gender, so it’s hard to sort out what they actually believed.

I was part of virtual Aristasia for many years, and these topics were never openly addressed, discussed, etc; I was (well, am) left with piecemeal information from sources like “The Feminine Universe” and chats the press had with Miss Martindale. I also have memories of those I interacted with. I’m a cis woman myself, and I know less about gender than I would like to. I welcome comments, of course.

Aristasians and Mascûli

Let’s return to the issue of Aristasians and men, though.

If masculinity and patriarchy (and possibly men as a gender themselves - if one believes their stories of the Amazons) are a symptom of "degeneration", where does that leave the Aristasians in their interactions with them?

The Aristasians I knew online didn’t seem cruel or hateful towards men (mascûli in the Raihiralan tongue) in practice. Some, part of the Aristasian diaspora of sorts, were very married to men, had children, etc. I recall some discussion of how male relations were reacting to their newfound interest in Déa and Aristasia, wardrobe changes, flea market finds, etc.

It is sometime claimed that Aristasians in Telluria dislike or deny the existence of men. This is founded on a misunderstanding. In Aristasia-in-Elektraspace, an alternative world is being created which is as near as possible to Aristasia Pura where men do not in fact exist, therefore references to them are kept to a minimum and words like bee-oh-why (boy) and em-eh-en (man) are sometimes humorously spelled out. This no more indicates hostility to the Tellurian male sex than a refusal to acknowledge technics in a mediaeval roleplay would indicate hostility to technics.

From the Encyclopaedia Aristasiana, March 2009 (?).

The truth is, aside from the kiddish euphemisms, this wasn’t that strange, to want an all-feminine space. Men have, for centuries, had spaces that are entirely masculine (lodges, etc). That was considered normal, and still is. No reason women can’t have the same thing, right? The concept isn’t misandrist in and of itself, nor was the execution, at least - not in the online contexts where I spent time. There was never any overt impetus to treat men in our lives differently.

Nevertheless, the lore and teachings of Aristasia was very misandrist in retrospect. I’m not going to sugarcoat that in the slightest. It is hard to say how many of the Aristasians from back then grappled with, actually believed, or toyed with these ideas. At the time, I wouldn't say I was misandrist myself - I tended to treat men the same as anybody, and tried my best, anyways. Marinating in such ideas will have an effect of some sort, even if it means one is doing mental gymnastics to avoid them, though. The same article goes on to say:

In Aristasia Pura, mascûli are clearly part of an alien species and are regarded with considerable circumspection because of:

  • Their tendency to kill their own kind.
  • Their tendency to practice torture in numerous and terrible forms.

These tendencies are observable at every stage of patriarchal cultures from their earliest records to the present day. While Aristasians in Telluria fully recognise that under normal circumstances few mascûli and almost no femīni are responsible for such actions, pure Aristasians cannot but observe these to be continually recurring tendencies of the species that play a major rôle in its history.

Encyclopaedia Aristasiana on mascûli, March 2009.

Aristasia Pura, of course, is that strange otherworld to which Aristasians owe allegiance on some level, either metaphorically or literally, depending on whom you ask. When you cut out all the lore, though, you were left with the notion that men (mascûli) are quite troublesome on a species-wide scale, though perhaps not individually.

In other words, it’s just the old, “I’m okay with the individuals, but not the group,” phrasing that people just to squirm around with when confronted with their own biases. They’re not exactly wrong when they say that humans as a species do tend to torture and kill each other a lot, for sure. I think we all know we needn't blame men entirely for this, nor reduce human history to a struggle between men and women.

The alternative to the carnage of Telluria (earth), though, is the intermorphs of Aristasia Pura - aliens from another universe that you’re reading about online. Do they refrain from killing and torturing, by virtue of having escaped the masculine principle entirely? If so, quite good for them, I guess? What does it have to do with us, IRL? I would argue a good deal of Aristasia's escapist tendencies are on display here.

Nowadays, I’m getting a better at grasping how gender shapes everyone’s worldview in one way or another, how my experiences might differ from other people’s, things like that. Nuance is a difficult thing when you’re young, and it took me a while. Remember, my initial exposure to some of this was around age thirteen.

Despite pages and pages and pages of writing on topics like femininity, the masculine as degenerative, It really seemed to vary depending on what had drawn the girl to Aristasia initially. For me, that had been LGBTQ stuff, and I ultimately stayed due to esoteric and other interests, too.

For that reason, a lot of the misandrist aspects bounced off me. I suppose someone who showed up expecting “radfem,” genuine interest in vintage fashion, Guénonian traditionalism, or was just there for discipline reasons to begin with might have a very different viewpoint, but I don’t know for sure.

Sexuality and Love

The question of close and intimate relationships in the "sex-centred" culture of late West Telluria is one that concerns us not so much from a theoretical and critical perspective but from a practical one.

The whole thinking of the past few Tellurian generations has been moulded by the "sex-centred" perspective: and this has not been a matter of theoretical understanding alone, but has shaped - and often devastated - the lives of millions, regardless of whether they are thinking people or are among the uncounted masses who have imbibed the practical implications of the theory as "the only way one can live".

As Aristasians we have two important critical perspectives on the late West-Tellurian sex-model for "relationships". The first is our own Aristasian culture in which procreation plays a much lesser role than in Telluria and the things associated with it are much less central to life.

This, it may be objected on practical grounds, may not be applicable to those inhabiting biologically Tellurian bodies.

What we need to understand, however, is that the sex-centred view of life and relationships is a cultural innovation even in Telluria and that it has re-shaped the culture in ways that have rendered it in many respects dysfunctional. It is vitally important that we do not import this dysfunctional model into Aristasia-in-Telluria.

They believed, amongst other things, that the erotic impulse had been banalized by overexposure.

In the 1990s especially, the Aristasians in London seemed quite happy with subtle (albeit not overt) eroticism on their websites, and there was no sense that sexuality was rejected. They did, in books like The Feminine Universe, talk about themes like those above, though, so this was clearly part of their teachings, even back then.

Eroticism, or, as they termed it “aphroditism,” was a major part of early online Aristasia. They just showed it in a teasing way. I still saw things like them operating (the British equivalent of) 1-900 numbers where you could apparently hear “spanking” stories, and a lot of other sexualized ways of financially staying afloat.

In the webmistress’s opinion, there’s nothing wrong with sex work, selling fetish wear or erotica, etc. Yet, it seemed, uh rather odd to complain about how the over-exposure of the erotic impulse was contributing to the atomisation of the Western mindset while engaging in that kind of sales, right?

By the post-Bridgehead era of Aristasia, though, the erotic or sexual aspects were increasingly pushed aside, at least online. This was in favor of a focus on spirituality, life theatre, and making friends. Many Aristasians, former Aristasians, and people who just found the movement strangely captivating have been critical of this. Maisappho, writing on her blog back in 2013 about Chelouranya, an Aristasian successor group, quite strongly condemned what she saw as their anti-sex attitude.

Finally, tying into my previous issue with Aristasia’s unconcerned attitude with reality, I take issue with the extreme “anti-violence, anti-sex” slant of the group. Violence exists, death exists, the darker aspects of life exist, whether we choose to throw the blankets over our heads and ignore them or not. And what’s up with the sex taboo? Without sex, we wouldn’t even exist to discuss Aristasia! While our culture has become overly saturated in sexual suggestions and outright pornography, especially in the media, treating it as a taboo is just as much an insult to nature and to Dea.

Maisappho’s My Issues With Aristasia, posted on Goddess of 10,000 names in June of 2013

I definitely to agree with Maisappho here, and I think her username is wonderful, too. This was part of why I grew increasingly uncomfortable with Aristasia as it shifted towards becoming Chelouranya in the late 2000s.

You can’t ignore sex like they did later on, nor can you (supposedly) disingenuously use it to fish for members, as was the case early on. It always seemed like Aristasia’s attitude towards sex in books like The Feminine Universe didn’t really match how they treated it in practice. The latter just seemed directionless, and always extreme in some way.

The way they talked about sex in theory might’ve resembled what you’d expect of a group calling itself traditionalist. In my opinion, their approach to relationships and how sex interfaced with them was more novel, though.

This outlook, combined with the general atomisation of society, gives rise to a pattern in which something termed a "relationship" (meaning a friendship involving sexual activity) has become central to most people's emotional existence. Whether one is "in or out of" a "relationship" defines one's fundamental status of emotional connexion.

How does this differ from the traditional concept of marriage (bearing in mind that it sometimes is marriage)? In two ways. In the first place by displacing the network of (often same-sex) relationships in which marriage took its place before the atomisation of the society, and secondly - and more importantly, though relatedly - by its essential instability.

Sociologists describe the condition of most modern Western people as "serial monogamy". Such a condition is by definition dysfunctional. The aim is still monogamy, but the monogamy keeps breaking down and having to be replaced.

One reason for this is that in late West Telluria, marriage is often the only close relationship and is called upon to fulfill a whole variety of emotional and other needs that would normally be fulfilled through other relationships. All too often it simply breaks under the excess load or because of unrealistic expectations.

They believed that the focus on sexuality made things like romance and marriage too much of a focus, breaking other, important bonds.

Most groups that use words like “traditionalist” are always complaining about the breakdown of normal marriage as an institution, which they see as incredibly important, central, and sacrosanct.

It’s interesting here that the Aristasians credit the failure of marriages to “excess load;” they believe marriage simply isn’t as central, and making it such is destroying it.

Nevertheless, it does, of course, happen in Aristasia Pura. And, whether a reflection or inspiration, Aristasia Pura mirrors the values of the IRL Aristasians. They have this to say about “falling in love” as an Aristasian, the form it takes, and bonding:

What, then, is the status of the thing called "falling in love" in Aristasia? Does it happen? How far is it related to marriage?

It certainly happens very frequently, from early schooldays when many girls range from being "a little bit in love" to having a deep crush on other (often older) girls to the passionate Amities of later life.

These Amities may well end in ritual bonding and exclusive, publicly recognised relations between two (and sometimes more than two) girls who may be of the same or of different sexes.

Such Amity may well include physical demonstrations of affection. Amity is certainly, in many cases a "falling in love" and to assume that it is less passionate than marriage (or its various Tellurian substitutes) or that it is in any way secondary to it is to fall into the West Tellurian way of thinking about it.

Love, in the sense of being "in love" is a fundamental part of Aristasian life, sometimes briefly, sometimes permanently: and only in a minority (though an important minority) of cases has it anything to do with marriage.

Admittedly, unlike anything seen on earth, really.

This is a very vibrant, joyful picture, though it probably wouldn’t work well on a large, earthly scale. Still, the Aristasians, their precursor and successor organizations, all implied on some level that this way of living and viewing relationships relates to their perennialism and traditionalism

In other words, they seemed to suggest that it was at least similar to the core way of living prior to the cultural cataclysm of the 1960s. I don’t, personally, see that in human history, and particularly not in the interwar Western cultures the Aristasians (initially) imitated aesthetically. Others might view things differently.

Science and Knowledge

It is absolutely true that Aristasians, at least some of them, presented an unscientific perspective regarding evolution. Those who argue that this was not present are attempting to "sanitize" the movement. This was present from the very inception of this group, from the days when this was simply known as Rhennes or Lux Madriana. We see clear evidence of this in their early writings, some of which got preserved by the Internet Archive. These include one bit called, cheekily, A Child’s Outline of World History.

Featuring cartoon sketches, it illustrates the Aristasian perspective on how life really came to be (they claimed) in the absence of evolution. It also dovetails heavily with the aforementioned idea of history running in degenerative cycles, which is seen throughout Aristasian thought. This is all really tied up (with a frilly bow, one must imagine) into the religious aspects of the movement, as one might expect given it concerns, essentially, eschatology.

It begins with a simple creation myth, which, as one will see, ends up taken quite literally indeed. This seems odd to me, given that the Aristasian manifesto (The Feminine Universe) cautions against literal interpretation of mythologies. Many of the Aristasians I knew were keen to sneer at fundamentalist Christians (for example) who held that Noah’s ark was a real ship, etc. More often than not, they accused such people of misunderstanding how mythology works. The Aristasian (or, in this case, proto-Aristasian, Madrian) version of Creationism might not be quite as bad as Jesus hiding dinosaur bones to test our faith, but it gets near. Anyways…

When God first made people, She did not put them on this earth, but kept them with Her in Heaven. It was so beautiful in Heaven, that I can hardly begin to describe it. But after a time, some of Her children disobeyed Her, and wandered away from Heaven.

Now Heaven is a place for perfectly good people, and because these children were disobedient, ‘they could net find their way back. But God sent Her Daughter, Inanna to help them, and Inanna created a new place for them to live, and this new place was callied the earth.

When She first created it, the world was so fresh and bright and beautiful that if you could wee it, you wuld say that Heaven could not be any more wonderful than that (but if you had seen Heaven, you would know that it could!).

When people first came to earth, it was called the Golden Age. People were. not stuck in their physical bodies the way we are, they could just "step" out of them. They could travel to another place just by thinking about it. They could understand the language of birds and animals, and build a Temple in the air without wood or stones or any other physical material.

From A Child’s Outline of World History, published by the Madrian Literature Circle in 1980

It is explained that, in this early Golden Age, people often lived several centuries, but as history degenerated with each passing millennium, the lifespan of humanity (or maids, one might say) decreased. This is followed by a perfectly childlike rosy picture of early matriarchal civilizations that, according to the Madrians, existed in the Silver Age. It seems that much of history, according to them, was quite utopian, and that our current predicaments are mere aberrations. This makes sense in the context of the rest of their beliefs, but isn’t quite borne out by how history actually seems to have functioned.

Great princesses ruled over the cities, and everyone was happy under their reign, because like true princesses, they did not rule according to their own likes and dislikes, but ruled in obedience to God and Her laws. These laws are so perfect that en maids live by them, they are always perfectly happy.

From A Child’s Outline of World History, published by the Madrian Literature Circle in 1980

The real strangeness comes when this little lesson begins to speak of the Bronze Age, which represents a period of rapid decay following the Silver Age. In this part, there are more specific arguments made about the nature of prehistory (no citations or evidence, of course). These can only really be taken as literal beliefs rather than metaphor or instructive mythology.

For a group that supposedly touted the “power of Myth” so heavily and insisted that other religions were taking an overly-literal view of their own lore, this seems a tad bit hypocritical. The idea of history as a cycle that winds down like a clock isn’t unique to Aristasia or related groups, but this might well be…

After the fall of the great cities, many people wandered the countryside, or lived in caves. Many profane people believe that these were the very first people in the world. They call them cave-men and believe that they had only just learned the simplest things, like making fire. Actually, of course, they only REMEMBERED these things, while they had FORGOTTEN most of the other things which they used to know.

Profane people believe that these "cave-people" had developed from monkeys only a little time ago, and that the whole human race is only about two million years vld, and could not make simple things by hand until about twenty-five thousand years ago, but they have found the imprints of well-made rope sandals in places where they must be at least fifteen million years old, But they just ignore things like that, and pretend they do not exist.

From A Child’s Outline of World History, published by the Madrian Literature Circle in 1980

I want to clarify that this was a minor part of Aristasia in the online era, though. While some core members spoke of things like this (sometimes even at length, on rare occasions), they were not widely accepted by the group. That was not the impression I go, anyways. Most of us had our own views on it, which didn't necessarily align with that. Despite disagreements, there wasn't a sense of pushiness about it. I, myself, don't believe in evolution; rather, I've seen enough evidence to know the theory of evolution contains truth, one way or another. It is not a matter of belief.

The core group of Aristasians certainly saw things differently, and referred to the concept as "evolutionism". They considered it a "creation myth" of the declining patriarchal world.

They believed that the sheer notion that humans might be another sort of animal (even merely physically) must’ve been (one) vicious instigator of the modern cultural collapse. If only because it called into question existing ideas about human origins (and therefore God), I’ll admit Darwin’s idea probably did scare some people. Sorry, though - the evidence is there. And really? It isn’t scary. Not to me. Even if you are spiritual, it ought not be frightening.

When we did discuss it, there were some arguments (as close as one can get in Aristasian spaces, anyways). We respected each other, but we definitely disagreed. I repeatedly tried to explain to a particular (really kind, sweet, and welcoming) girl that I could not see how evolution in any way implied a soulless, deracinated, or Godless universe, and that I, myself, believed in God and knew about evolution. I tried to explain that I knew where my body came from (a mutual ancestor to gorillas), but also know that God made my soul. I spoke from a Déanist perspective, because that had influenced me greatly, being the only paradigm for monotheistic goddess worship I’d encountered at that point.

While the Aristasians often turned away from sorcery (which they referred to by the Rahiralain term phenagulism), there were occult aspects to their strange beliefs about history and evolution, too. This surged a bit when some of the earlier ideas (which appear in the Madrian publications) began to mix with lore about Aristasia Pura being a real place. A few mentioned seeing visions of past “world-cycles.” While we lived in the late Iron Age (or Kali Yuga, a term they were fond of appropriating) of this particular cycle, there had been past cycles, one must suppose. The wheel ever turns. These visions often featured how these cycles ended or began, great battles, and that sort of thing.

How Aristasia Pura fit into this got left ambiguous, but many sources (from very early on, actually) reference a world before this one where everyone was feminine, as part of the Golden Age of this world-cycle. In that time, the Aristasians suggested (particularly on their Amazon-Intel site, amongst others) that humanity itself (as in, on earth, here, in what they call Telluria, our world) was once intermorphic (ie, with two feminine genders).

In the beginning, we are told, the people of Telluria were not unlike ourselves. In their Golden Age, before the coming of the mascûli, there were maidens only among them, even as among us.

And as with us there were two sexes: chelani, the golden-headed, that bore daughters, and melini, the raven-tressed that protected and provided for them.

Whence came the mascûli we do not know. They were not, it is thought, an alien incursor that might be repulsed with force of arms, as was the case with our people.

It is thought that the Telluri maidens committed grave sins, and thus a curse fell on them; and they bore creatures of their own loins that were unlike themselves, and not maidens. Creatures that filled some of their daughters with unnatural desire. Creatures that were - in the course of long millennia - to enslave them.

From’s page on World History, archived February 13th, 2009.

The above site ( is obviously no longer online, but archived thoroughly in various places if you poke around the Wayback Machine. It is, perhaps, the strangest Aristasia-linked site I’ve ever come across. It talks about their books featuring all-girl worlds, but also the Priestess-Queens of Atlantis, who apparently were the source of the perennial wisdom from which the Aristasians (and all other true and valid metaphysical systems) draw their belief structure.

Much of what we know, and shall tell, of Atlantis stems from the time of its decadence in the closing centuries of the Age of Bronze, but it should not be forgotten that in the High Bronze Age (and do not forget that the Age of Bronze lasted about twice as long as the whole of patriarchal history) the Great Western Empire of Atlantis was the glory of the world, the heart of the Mother Tradition both to the West (the Americas) and to the East (Europe, Africa and Asia).

The great Priestess-Queens of Atlantis guided the world on its true and proper course of love and service to Our Mother God and put down (by peaceful means, for deadly violence between humans was then unknown) various errors and degeneracies that might have perverted maids from their true course far earlier than was in fact the case.

From’s page on Atlantis, archived on February 13th, 2009.

Atlantis was, of course, a metaphor written by Plato to illustrate his own system of thinking. It’s a bit like how C. S. Lewis’s Narnia stories illustrate the author’s values, and are meant to instruct. Searching for Atlantis is a bit like looking for Narnia, I’ve got to say, because there’s just as much evidence of Atlantis as there is of Narnia (ie, none). Given how heavily the Aristasians push Platonism in their manifesto, it isn’t a surprise that Atlantis got mentioned. I was rather confused as to why the interpretation needed to be so literal, especially for a movement that claimed to respect the power of mythology as mythology rather than literal truth.

So there you have it. A lot of historical pseudoscience got folded into Aristasia, one way or another, and a lot of it is utterly unique. I doubt you’ll find that backwards-etymology for Amazon anywhere else, after all. And Atlantis got roped in, because of course it did. Still, unlike a lot of other New Age (or occult-adjacent, or whatever) movements, the Aristasians were never against modern medicine that I saw. They didn’t buy into “present-day” pseudoscience en masse like some groups, at least, that I saw.

Deliberately obtuse?

Aristasian beliefs often defy categorization. It’s difficult to pin down exactly what kind of worldview goes along with all this worldbuilding and talk of intermorphic aliens. Over the years of time I’ve spent as part of Aristasia-in-Telluria, I’ve noticed that it’s been a bit like a mirror.

Girls come to Aristasia and see what they want, expect, or, in some very rare cases , what they need to see. I credit this for the liminal quality I associate with my Aristasian experiences - it felt like an eldritch mirror adorned with alien runes. Did the runes contain wisdom to facilitate an understanding of what I was seeing of real life? Were they something worth having seen?

Maybe. I do believe we can learn from any experience... but that doesn't make all experiences worth having. I'm not sure what I would've done if I'd, at age thirteen, known what I now know about Aristasia's problematic past. I was thirteen when I discovered Aristasia. Thirteen-year-olds are stupid, but I wasn't that stupid, I hope. I can only hope that if I'd better understood the disturbing aspects of Aristasia, I would've made other choices had I access to the information I'm (only just now) able to read.

Often, it seemed the Aristasians were deliberately obtuse. In this (mostly forgotten) Encyclopaedia Aristasiana article, they criticize attempts “to place Aristasia into Tellurian categories.”

Western Tellurians like to categorise everything they encounter in terms of their own experience. Aristasia is a completely different world. Learning to understand it is not accomplished with an hour's browsing over Aristasian material. It takes time, study and empathy to understand fully, as does any new and different culture. Most Tellurian outsiders do not want to make this effort, but prefer to pretend that Aristasia is simply something from their world that they already know about. They have safe, comfortable little boxes for filing such things away.

Encyclopaedia Aristasiana, “Pigeon-Holing,” posted March of 2009.

The implication in this article, and in a lot of Aristasian media is that Aristasia, insofar as it’s a complete world, defies Tellurian (earthly) explanation.

Sadly, this ended up being something of a thought-terminating cliché for a lot of contradictions and vagaries in Aristasian thought. “We’re simply hard to understand because we’re aliens!” works in science fiction. It doesn’t work quite as well in this complex, yet dubious metaphysical system that exists somewhere in the twilight between fiction and spirituality, though.

Obtuse for the sake of being obtuse, or for any number of other reasons? I can give no answer, easy or otherwise, to this question, really. As I've said multiple other places on this site, I resist comparing Aristasia to alternate reality games (Aristasia was a real movement that affected real people - both good and bad). Still, it's hard not to have that vibe at times, isn't it?

Some will no doubt argue that Aristasia's obtuseness might only be an attempt to cover up for its less-than-savory past. That doesn't explain why matters unrelated to this also remained concealed, let alone the more innocuous parts of the group's history. With new information about Aristasia's past emerging recently, perhaps we'll know more, ultimately.

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