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Rites of Ichor


Brandles
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[To the Ichor Way Creed Hub]

 

To aid in our adherence, and stoke ourselves like the great, burning flames we are. Rites, practices, and deeds that do not dictate who we become- but instead, let us see the power in who we already are.

 

 

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An example of Ichorian Exaltation Markings, featuring red ilmyumier and scarification embellishment.

 

The acts of giving and receiving markings are a pillar of what it is to be Ichorian. The body, especially that of Mali’, is an ageless work of art, and a vessel of great memory and timeless experience. An Ichorian body which is marked, be it through ink, or scar both intentional and not, is a body that understands pain and perseverance which strives for the freedoms of emotion and expression. They are acts of dedication and burden-bearing that the Ichorians revere. Intentional scarification is a part of the Creed Markings, as well as many rituals where adherents anoint themselves in dyes, in scars, permanent tattoos for the passion of their cause. When done intentionally, it is often to depict experiences or emotions felt by the Ichorian.

 

    Above all markings, most noted are those of Ichorian Exaltation, given to newbloods upon the completion of their trials as they move forward into the fold. Given from Elder to student, it is a devoted and private process shared between the two. Rather than ceremonial, the Rite of Exaltation is a tender moment between teacher and pupil, where the markings are bestowed with compassion, and appreciation of the student’s strength.

 

An excerpt of the First Tome, as dictated by the Koi Druid (credit to Mitto for the original Ichor Way):

 

 Scarification is one of the many practices of the Ichor Way, by the carving of the skin either through natural means, or by ritualistic patterning. The natural ways of scarification can vary, often from pain related trials of endurance and perseverance. The wounds of determination through pain should be cherished, as they also double as a sign of struggles past.

 

Through ritualistic scarification, certain symbols can be engraved into the skin. The lengthy and painstaking process is a true sign of dedication and can even be used over traditional tattooing. An Ichorian can use these to double up their current tattoos or add more over them. It's not an easy or soft process.

 

Ichorian Anointment

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The Ichorians brand themselves in their blood, and sometimes also the blood of their enemies or last hunt. Depending on the pattern is dependent on the emotions felt, even to mark yourself with a debilitating emotion is a sign of strength, because it shows despite that emotion you show determination and commitment through it.

 

 Two lines from the eyes

This marking is synonymous with mourning or sadness, often when someone has suffered loss yet is still challenged with a great task they will display their sadness this way. The markings themselves aren't reserved strictly for combative scenarios, some may even choose to bear this mark at memorials.

 

Hand on face

A bloody hand is a literal translation to feeling suffocated, which has become a symbol of fear. Some can wear it on their face, others on their neck. Fear has become known as weakness, however Ichorians know that fear can breed greatness, so they show their fear with pride.

 

Two horizontal lines

These markings show someone’s calmness, sometimes in the grueling experience of certain struggles, someone becomes completely desensitized to them. This can be a sign of someone’s dominance in a certain aspect, but to wear it falsely can mark anyone a fool.

 

Two lines under cheekbones

Lines starting from the ear under the cheekbone and sometimes straight down to the jawline is a sign of determination, bravery and loosely happiness. Someone's unwavering solidarity can be displayed through them, and in vast numbers it's a sign of camaraderie and perseverance.

 

One line from bottom lip to chin

To bring a line from either over the lip or under the lip down to the chin is a sign of a personal vendetta. If someone has a message to send, or a problem to settle. The wearer will often don this until such a time when the vendetta has ended, be it a score to settle with another,  or they possess something to prove to themselves or others.


 

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Sacrifice is vital in many things, and especially integral to the practice of the Ichor Way. It is a Rite that can be employed in any circumstance, for any reason. As simple as one’s daily offering, to great ceremonies cloistered around the carcass of a grand hunt. Sacrifice is a tool utilized in all of Aspectism, not solely our path. But our path has elevated the concept of Sacrifice, and turned the very act into something to be revered. Pain is to be worshiped, as much as love and mirth.

 

Revering the Body of the Beast is a rite performed after its’ hunting, or before a great hunt or battle. However, the rite can be employed as a facet of any Ichorian ceremony or Aspectist teaching. To exalt the flesh of the beast is to dedicate your heart and soul to the wild itself. It is a rite that can and should be performed for any beast and respectful game, as small as the hare or as large as the buffalo. The carcasses of larger game, however, go on to be used in further ceremony, to be crafted into art pieces as gifts and offerings, even totems for sites of worship.

 

The ceremony begins as the beast is cut into. The ceremonial head, being the beast’s hunter, will be anointed in the warmth of its blood, either done by their own hand or that of a Herald presiding over the event at large. Following that, the heart of the creature will be excised first of all, keeping care to maintain the wholeness of the carcass until the heart is removed from the body and ultimately eaten raw by the ceremonial head as the ichor will stain their face and be swept into markings. After which the head is severed, cleaned in and out of hide, flesh, and excess.

 

The rest of the carcass body is treated as normal, the pelts are moved on for use in clothing, some pelts are often worn around the shoulders for the rest of the ceremony to be repurposed later. The meat is divided for a feast, the inedible is used as fertilizer as aforementioned. Bones and skulls are used for a specific purpose known as bone raiments, and token-hewing.

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An example of a Herald’s raiment.

 

The raiment is a piece worn by every initiated Ichorian, hewn by their own hand soon after their marking rites. As extravagant as a head-dress and spaulders, or as simple as a collar of bones. Each piece is sacred and symbolic to the Ichorian that crafts them, worn either day-to-day, or during sacred moments. Those moments of ceremony, during battle, prayer, the Ichorian will anoint their raiment in dyes, inks, and blood- their own, and the ichor of the enemies after a victory. The raiment consists of a bone token, but is of the Ichorian’s making otherwise.

 

When an Ichorian dies, their raiment will be placed upon a site of relevance, either willed by the Ichorian before their death, or at the choosing of a Herald. Typically, it will be placed at the site of their dedication Totem, and left with an offering of fresh spider lilies, bone tokens, fruit, and freshly-hunted game.

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The proof of an honored hunt and a source of Ichorian pride, bone tokens are an essential part of Ichorian culture. More often than not, bones obtained in hunts will be transformed into art dedicated to the Aspects, as well as to the creature it was sourced from, to show respect for the life taken. Individual tokens themselves are often carved and embedded with intricate designs to represent Cerridwen’s beauty and grace while bones such as skulls are often turned into ornamental adornments of shrines, representing Cernunnos’ watch. The decorated bones are often taken care of wherever they end up, representing and celebrating the beast’s new life within the Eternal Forest.

 

Smaller bones are turned into decorative chips and pieces to be used within necklaces or other crafts of importance by the Ichorian who created them. Commonly laced with old elven and other ornate designs, these crafts are considered sacred symbols which can signify concepts such as luck, bravery, vitality, etc. While these accessories are mostly worn by the Ichorian responsible for them, they are occasionally given out as gifts or used as offerings in ceremonies or to the deceased. 

Rite of Bone-Hewing




 

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An ancient tradition of the Ichorians, totems are symbolic, and act as a physical representation of the respect and reverence given to every animal killed in the wilds at the end of a hunt. Carved by hand and created with care, these totems use a variety of resources mainly gathered from nature, including but not limited to rocks, branches, twigs, bark, flora matter such as fiber, and most importantly bones. The totems represent the ancient tradition of passing on stories, each one possessing a tale of its own behind its creation. These totems act as beacons of hope as well as representing the perseverance one must have to become strong and disciplined.

 

Bone totems also serve as a core part of an Ichorian Aspirant’s trials within the Ichor Path. All aspirants are tasked with creating a totem of their own, which is then adorned by their first bone tokens. These totems are then anointed in the blood of an Aspirant in order to represent dedication and vigor, proof that one’s will and vigor is one with the hunt they partake in.

 

Ichorians often find themselves before the totems of their creation when they are lost in defeat. The totems revitalize their confidence, reminding them that they are always capable of growing and that surviving defeat is nothing more than a call to become stronger.

By Raphael Lacoste

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Sensefasting

Sensefasting is the practice in which Ichorians willingly strip themselves of their senses on a consistent basis to ensure they never lose touch with what they pride themselves on. Utilizing various tactics, most commonly a blindfold, Ichorians revel in the basics of nature as they hone themselves day and night even amongst everyday life.

 

Childbirth Ceremonies

To celebrate and bless the birth of a new child to an Ichorian, one to several members of the Creed will gather around the prospective mother and mark her stomach. This is done typically a month or two before the expected arrival date. During this marking, the Ichorians will use a dye made of vervain and spiderlily to anoint the mother’s stomach. Designs can fall to the interpretation of the artists, but a circle is most common, followed by a bear.

 

Upon the safe birth of the baby, the Ichorians will anoint them in similar designs and spend a night in revelry, adorning the newborn and mother in wreaths of flowers, bramble, bone, and wicker.

 

Heartbeat Drums

In festivities and some rituals, Ichorians are inclined toward the use of chanting and the beat of drums, to symbolize the harmonious heartbeat of the collective. Rarely is this practice used when an Ichorian is alone, though it has been seen when an Ichorian is honoring a fallen creed member on their own, or wishes to perform a deeply personal ceremony or ritual.

 

Feast of Bones

Before the frosts creep upon us and bring chills to the bark of our bones, the passionate Ichorians may gather for a potluck feast, each member or invitee tasked to bring something gathered of their own hands, prepared by their own selves. During the feast of bones, each member will be adorned in colorful paints and dyes of their desire while feasting with their own hands. We are creatures hungering for survival, let us thrive as the gluttonous lion.

 

The day before the feast is to take place, the main course is to be hunted. A local predator of great renown large enough to accommodate the hungry. Their meat will be served at the feast, their bones used for broth and table adornments.

Rite of Red Tears

At the core of the Creed is trust, love, and freedom among Creedsiblings. Our bond is thicker than blood, hewn of sentimental ties and the expression of our burdens. We find lightness and emotional strength in togetherness. An Ichorian does not burden themselves with emotion, as our passions are our strength.

 

Gathering around a smoking bowl, inhaling the herbs and fungi, we divulge our secrets and burdens to one another. We find solace in the comfort of our Creed siblings, and build one another up. Pain is never to be forgotten, but appreciated as necessary. Our pains become the burden and blessing of the group, so that we might foster a greater strength in one another. Oftentimes, we may burn possessions tied to these weighing memories, and free ourselves from negative sentiment.

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