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Ashin

SoH Symbolism

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We do have a lot of new people, so maybe a little explanation is in order.

 

1. Why a fleur-de-lis, and why is it upside down?

One element of cartography is the compass rose. In older maps, the tradition was to use a fleur-de-lis to indicate "North", like so. Hence, Glyff (one of our Founding Members) had the idea that we could use an upside-down fleur to indicate "South". The compass that always points north is also a metaphor for ethics, and principles: a "moral compass". Therefore, the upside-down fleur suggests the notion of having been turned around, lost, led astray, etc.

 

2. Why a moth?

I believe I am quoting Bullfinch's Mythology here:

Bullfinch said:
Psyche signifies at the same time soul and butterfly. The myth was interpreted by playing on this double sense. It became the story of the soul touched by divine love, but which, by reason of the mistakes made, must undergo some tribulations before having access to happy immortality. The night butterfly [the moth] attracted by the flame, like the soul attracted by heavenly truths, burns in the flame, reflection of the trials that must be endured to eliminate the fleshy sink-stones before knowing the joys of the beyond.

The story referred to in the above quote is the myth of Psyche and Eros. The moth attracted to flame became a metaphor for Psyche's love, and since psykhe also means "soul" in Greek, the connection between the moth and the soul was first made. (Note that the same dual meaning exists within the Latin word "anima".)

Although the moth attracted to flame has been watered down in modern pop culture, to suggest a love affair, you can see the more pure meaning in the original Greek myth. The "love" in this case was Divine, not earthly. The moth's attraction to the flame is meant to suggest the instrinsic need for Man to know the truth, to approach the Divine. In order to do so, however, one must first pass through the fire...

It is before such a flame that our characters find themselves, just South of Heaven.

 

3. Doesn't South of Heaven mean Hell?

Yes and no. If you read our charter, the name is supposed to be ambiguous. Skydance, one of our Vets whom most of you have not met, said it best (quoting way back to May, 2005):

Skydance said:

Sure ... but this South of Heaven is not Hell (as clearly stated in the Charter). Instead, it's an earthly realm. Our "South of Heaven" is not a sledgehammer to the very bottom of Reality; instead, it's a little twist: a cul-de-sac on the road between Heaven and Hell.  The Moth/Soul metaphor is obscure, yes, and subtle. That just makes it all the more perfect, though: this is a collection of eclectic, subtle people.

 

4. Dude what are you talking about?

TLDR version: upside-down fleur + moth -> lost soul.

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I asked Tyrlis the other day about it and he told me there was a thread. Glad to have everything explained, and even gladder to be part of it!

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