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Why "Clad in the Light"?


Vassili
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I dont understand why all the Aes Sedai get naked when they elect a new Amyrlin, or at least I disagree with their explanation. When they raise Egwene they all strip to the waist to prove "only women are present". I believe it was the Keeper to be (can't remember her name) who tells Egwene that the ceremony use to be heald "clad in the light" because Aes Sedai use to demand more proof no men were present ;)

 

I tried to think of why they would do this. It could be because they don't want to be spied upon, but why target only men if spies were the issue? Women can spy too, and would easily pass this test.

 

They may have been concerned that a crazy man who could channel might try and sneak in and kill the Amyrlin. However, once men go crazy enough they pose a threat to Aes Sedai, it is unlikely they would have the wherewithall to disguise themselves or plan any elaborate plots needed to get in. All the crazy male channelers we've seen just blow stuff up with little awareness of what they are even doing. No such man would have gotten so close to the Amyrlin's inner circle that stripping would be the thing to unveil him.

 

Or, maybe they were worried a still-sane male channeler might try and off the Amyrlin, or spy on her. First, why would a male channeler want to kill the Amyrlin? Kill as many Amyrlins as you like, but they're still going to gentle you. And who would you spy for? Soon after the beginning of the Breaking, all male channeler organizationd dissolved. Insane weilders of the power can't exactly work together. If they had, no female Aes Sedai would have survived. Furthermore, the Mask of Mirrors would easily get a male channeler past this naked screening if they really wanted in. (More logically, such a man would want to be as far away as possible.)

 

AND, there is a much easier way to keep men out! Just don't let in anyone who can't channel Saidar. If they sense eachother's strength as easiliy as judging eachother's height, i think they would notice if a "woman" sneaks in who can't channel saidar. As for non-channelers, I don't think they want any at the ceremony anyway. Its just for the Hall.

 

So why do they all get naked together?

 

Personally, I wonder if it is an effect of the sexual tension/confusion the WT suffers from since they no longer have any male channelers to marry, and marriage itself is discouraged.

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Segregation of male channelers so they could never rejoin most likely. Think about it if males were to join the WT they would be secondary citizens unless most of the rules were removed. THe AS that made the WT made sure it would be impossible for it to be a united force with male channelers. Now that the taint is gone, it makes you wonder if the female channelers want men back with them, or it they want to have the places of power over male channelers.

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Guest Dreadlord

I always thought they did it to show they were being open and held no hidden weapons. Its like a symbol of fealty to a point

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I think there are two disctinct customs in play there--the first is proving that no men are present, which makes sense for a an organisation formed in the ashes of the Breaking. The second is the concept of being clad in the light--as in the light shields and clothes you, contains you. Protects you.

 

I say that there are two because we've heard of other situations being referred to as being clad in the light with none of the 'I am a woman' stuff, for instance when an Aes Sedai is raised to the shawl she used to have to walk the Halls of the tower clad in the light with only her shawl to cover her proving that she needed no more protection than the Light and the shawl of an Aes Sedai.

 

That's not a new idea by the way. The idea of nudity showing a belief in the protection of a higher power is fairly common in most religions in one place or another; it's often named 'skyclad' too, if thats of interest.

 

Mostly though it's all just custom, as Rand Al'thor points out. Antiquated rituals.

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Segregation of male channelers so they could never rejoin most likely. Think about it if males were to join the WT they would be secondary citizens unless most of the rules were removed. THe AS that made the WT made sure it would be impossible for it to be a united force with male channelers. Now that the taint is gone, it makes you wonder if the female channelers want men back with them, or it they want to have the places of power over male channelers.

 

I wouldn't think this since when the White Tower was made the time of when men and women channeled together had vanished and no of them could possibly think the taint would ever be gone.  So why make a custom to exclude something that in their minds would be impossible anyway.

 

Aes Sedai always want the power, many think the Reds plan to make Asha'man warders is just an attempt to control them.  But with the taint gone the time is approaching that male and female channelers will be equal again.  Wether or not they ever join forces as a united group(like in the AOL) or if they remain seperate black/white tower would be interesting to find out.

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I hope the Ashaman remain seperate. And I wish it was the Green Ajah that were designated to bonding the Ashaman. A Green Aes Sedai linked with an Ashaman, and two Warders for scouting and support, would be a pretty good little unit in the Blight

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I wouldn't think this since when the White Tower was made the time of when men and women channeled together had vanished and no of them could possibly think the taint would ever be gone.  So why make a custom to exclude something that in their minds would be impossible anyway.

 

I agree with you that it was unlikely to serve the purpose of keeping male channelers from ever rejoining--indeed, for the first centuries of the Tower's existence they all actively searched for a way to cleanse the Taint which suggests they hoped for a day when men could channel safely again.

 

But thats not to say that that custom makes no sense--remember the Tower wasn't completed till nearly three hundred years after Ellisane first began gathering the fourteen ajah. In that time those ajah lived in pretty dangerous conditions, were men who can channel appearing represented a great danger. Ensuring only women were present makes a great deal of sense for any meeting between the leaders of what was at the time an incredibly fragile alliance.

 

What began as probably a question 'are there any men in the vacinity? No. Good." likely over the years gained the heavy ritual baring of the chests and so forth--my guess is it was not an original requirement.

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I hope the Ashaman remain seperate. And I wish it was the Green Ajah that were designated to bonding the Ashaman. A Green Aes Sedai linked with an Ashaman, and two Warders for scouting and support, would be a pretty good little unit in the Blight

 

Yeah.  My idea is that you at least have an Aes Sedai/Asha'man duo.  The Asha'man deals primarily in offense, since that's what they're trained to do.  The Aes Sedai deals primarily in defense, because of the Three Oaths--the Aes Sedai probably know more defensive weaves because they can't attack unless there's Shadowspawn or they're in mortal danger.

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