Elua and His Companions

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In Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Legacy saga of fantasy novels, Elua is the most important deity of Terre d'Ange. Elua's Companions are eight angels who forsook the One God to follow Elua.

The Eluine Cycle[edit]

Elua was conceived through the blood of Yeshua ben Yosef, the son of the One God, where a spear from a soldier of Tiberium pierced his side, and the tears of the Magdalene, combined in the womb of Mother Earth herself.

While the One God mourned the loss of his son, Elua travelled the land but was reviled and rejected by most given that he was not the One God's legitimate son and as the enemy's offspring by the people of Tiberium.

In Persis he was arrested for unknown charges, but the tales of his travels had reached Heaven and eight of God's own angels, Azza, Anael, Camael, Cassiel, Eisheth, Kushiel, Naamah and Shemhazai came to free him. Naamah was the first. She went to the King of Persis and offered one night of pleasure with her in return for Elua's freedom. The King accepted and each of the Thirteen Houses of the Court of Night-Blooming Flowers have a version of this story. After, however, the King of Persis was afraid of the One God's wrath and broke his promise to Naamah. Fearing the Angels, instead of killing Elua, he gave them strong wine to drink and put him on a boat in the middle of the sea with no sails. Elua sang and dolphins brought him to shore.

Elua went to Bhodistan, and while the people of Bhodistan did not wish to turn away from their multitude of Gods, they saw the light in Elua and wished him no harm. When Elua was hungry and Mother Earth's creatures could not sustain him, Naamah would lay with strangers in the market. As such, Namaah's Servants (see Court of Night-Blooming Flowers) are near-holy figures and perform an almost sacred act. While wandering in Skaldia, Elua made friends of ravens and wolves.

They came to Terre d'Ange, a then nameless country, as the armies of Tiberium were retreating from it, during the collapse of their empire. They saw that the land that was fertile and beautiful and the people here welcomed them with open arms. Here Elua and His Companions each founded their own territories except for Cassiel, remaining loyal to the One God, and Elua whose territory was all of Terre D'Ange.

For many years they dwelled there and abided by blessed Elua's precept, "Love as thou wilt." And Elua and his Companions lay with women and with men, and many children were begotten, save only unto Cassiel, who kept the One God's commandments. But the other Companions did not, and those secrets which they had brought from Heaven, they did teach to their children, and they grew wise in many arts.

After "three-score years" the One God turned from his grieving over the death of his son Yeshua and saw what Elua and his Companions had created. "He saw that their offspring would overrun the earth", and so sent the leader of his host to summon them before him. "But blessed Elua smiled upon the leader of the One God's host and gave him the kiss of peace, laying wreathes of flowers about his neck, and the One God's commander returned ashamed and empty-handed." The One God then sent his arch-herald with an offer of forgiveness and a place next to him in heaven. Elua turned to Cassiel and borrowed his dagger. He scored the palm of his own hand and where his blood fell on the earth anemones bloomed. Elua refused saying, "My grandfather's Heaven is bloodless and I am not. Let him offer a better place, where we may love and sing and grow as we are wont, where our children and our children's children may join us, and I will go." He was told there is no such place. Then Mother Earth spoke to her once-husband and said they may create such a place together. "Thus was the creation of the true Terre d'Ange that lies beyond mortal perception, and blessed Elua and his Companions went willingly into it, passing not through the dark gate of death, but straightway through the bright gate. And alone among them, only Cassiel gazed backward in sorrow."

For the full text of the Eluine Cycle: "Jacqueline Carey's Official Author Site - Links". Retrieved 2008-04-18. 

Worship[edit]

Elua's only commandment to his followers was to love as thou wilt. The nation of Terre d'Ange takes it as their guiding philosophy, and as such embrace all forms of love. This makes them a sexually liberated culture, accepting of homosexuality, bisexuality, and BDSM. Rape is not only a crime, because of this precept, it is the highest and most severe heresy. This includes forced intimacy as well as sexual acts with minors (generally considered under age 16 in the series) or animals as neither can make fully thought-out decisions or thereby give true consent.

Temples of Elua have no roof, only four pillars to mark the corners. The centre is unpaved. Everything, from oak trees to flowers and weeds, may grow well tended. There is usually a statue of Elua present, standing with unbound hair and an eternal smile, one hand extended in offering, the other scored with the mark of his mortality. Visitors have to walk barefoot in the temple. Elua's priests wear blue robes, no mask, and always walk barefooted as Elua did on Earth. Anemones or lilies, traditionally associated with Blessed Elua, can be offered to him. The Temple in the City of Elua has one of the oldest works of D'Angeline art and some call the large marble statue crude looking.

There is also the annual celebration of the Longest Night. This is a celebration dating to before the arrival of Elua. It is said that Elua loved the practice so much that it was adopted by Him and His Companions. For further information, see Rites and Rituals and the Midwinter Masque. Followers of Cassiel celebrate this night differently with Elua's Vigil.

Marriage[edit]

Marriage is common practice in Terre d'Ange though is often done for alliances. Forced unions are still heresy but, in matters of state or among high-ranking persons, love is not always the primary factor in a union. For this reason it is also not uncommon for partners not to marry. An alliance without marriage is not shameful, though more rare. Given that marriage is primarily for the begetting of children and passing on of inheritance, children of unmarried unions are rare—though they are treated no differently from children from marriages.

Marriages are only to one person at a time though the concept of infidelity is nearly nonexistent. It is almost the rule to have liaisons with others while in a marriage regardless of gender. These are done openly and without shame for Elua and His Companions loved many. Gay marriage is not portrayed. Marriages appear to be lifelong, without divorce, though couples can obviously be estranged and any union that becomes displeasing would not be forced to remain together.

Marriages can be performed in a Temple of Elua or anywhere where the sky meets the earth (i.e. outside). A priest/priestess of Elua presides while a priestess of Naamah assists. Marriages are simple affairs though the celebrations afterward are no less large. The ceremony begins with the priest/priestess touching the earth and then embracing the sky. He takes holy oil and touches the foreheads of the couple being married. The oil anointment is repeated by the priestess of Naamah. Vows are then exchanged, with the same vow for the woman and the man. Holding out both hands as though embracing everyone, the priest/priestess then asks the couple to seal their union with a kiss. The priest/priestess then says, "Let it be done", and the ceremony is concluded. Couples sometimes wish a reading of poetry or scripture to be done within the ceremony though it is not required.

Elua's Companions[edit]

Anael[edit]

Anael gave mankind the gift of husbandry and taught the growing of crops and care of the land. Scions of Anael have the telltale scent of apples, which rises from their skin when feeling strong emotions. His province is L'Agnace, the heartland of Terre d'Ange. His priests and priestesses wear brown robes with a rope belt.

Biblical Reference

Anael, or Haniel, is often listed as one of the seven archangels in the Hebrew bible, and is associated with the planet Venus.

Azza[edit]

Azza gifted mankind with knowledge of navigation. The Yeshuites name his sin as that of pride. He founded the realm of Azzalle. Priests and priestesses of Azza wear bronze masks of Azza and saffron tunics with crimson chlamys fastened with bronze brooches.

The temple in the city of Elua has a giant copper dome that can be seen from many areas in the city. In the temple the statue of Azza holds one hand open, palm upward, and the other hand holds a sextant. The burning of incense is common in his worship.

Biblical Reference

Azza, or Ouza, was one of the major angelic leaders in the fall from heaven. Ouza is credited with revealing the grail to King Solomon.

Camael[edit]

Camael is a martial angel, and founded the first armies of D'Angeline troops. His territory is Camlach. His priests wear a dark green surplice and a sword.

Biblical Reference

Camael is one of the seven archangels, and was the leader of the forces that expelled Adam from Eden. He is often considered the angel of pure love.

Cassiel[edit]

Cassiel, alone among the eight, took no province of Terre d'Ange as his own, choosing instead to remain at Elua's side as he traversed the world, a choice for which he believed himself eternally damned. Cassiel has no temples, but the Cassiline Brotherhood was founded for him.

The Cassiline Brotherhood has their own version of the Longest Night called Elua's Vigil.

Biblical Reference

Cassiel is often listed among the seven archangels. He is the angel of solitude and tears and was said to preside over the death of kings.

Eisheth[edit]

Eisheth was noted for her gentleness and for giving humanity the healing arts, which is why so many of the best healers come from her province, which is Eisande. She is also credited with gifting the D'Angelines with music and story, which is why Eisande gave rise to the Mendacants, or traveling bards. Her priests and priestess wear sea-blue robes.

In order to conceive, a woman of Terre d'Ange must pray and light a candle to Eisheth to open the gates of her womb. Once such a prayer is made, it can never be taken back. Unwanted children still occur, but presumably only to those who had invoked Eisheth in their lives previously.

Biblical Reference

Eisheth was one of the four angels associated with sacred prostitution, along with Naamah (see below).

Kushiel[edit]

Kushiel was the Punisher for the One God who delivered torments onto mortal sinners in order that they might repent. Alone among the punishing angels, he understood that chastisement was an act of love; and the sinners in his charge too came to understand and loved him for it. "He gave them pain like balm, and they begged him for it, finding not redemption, but a love that transcended the divine." This displeased the One God, who desired worship above all things. It is said in his province (Kusheth) that when Kushiel's sinners were offered the chance for repentance they refused out of love of their lord. Kushiel saw in Elua a soul that understood what he did, and thus left the service of the One God to follow Elua in his wanderings.

Kusheth is the home of the Shahrizai, one of the Great Houses, who are from his line. One important member of this family is Melisande Shahrizai. According to Melisande, any D'Angeline who kills an anguissette will be tormented in hell for 1000 years but if the D'Angeline is a scion of Kushiel they will be tormented for 10,000 years.

The priests of Kushiel wear black robes and full bronze masks, so that their identities are kept completely secret, including even their gender. Atonement for sins in Kushiel's temple involves a thorough flogging, to purge the guilt from one's soul.

Kushiel's Dart is the name given to a red mote appearing in the eye of one of his chosen mortals, marking the bearer as an anguissette. The heroine of the first trilogy, Phèdre nó Delaunay, bears this mark.

Biblical Reference

Kushiel is one of the seven angels of punishment, and was said to punish nations with a whip of fire.

Naamah[edit]

She is one of two female angels, and the eldest sister. Her domain is that of sexuality. Naamah's province in Terre d'Ange is Namarre. Priests and Priestesses of Naamah wear scarlet robes.

To enter her order, after training that is very similar to those of the Court of Night-Blooming Flowers, an acolyte must complete a year of Service. During this time they wander Terre d'Ange and are forbidden to refuse anyone who seeks them out of true longing. This is to help them to better understand the sacrifice of the goddess sleeping with mortals. In return Naamah blesses them with desire for each patron. After this year of service they are free to choose patrons and lovers as they wish.

Servants of Naamah refers to those who engage in prostitution, which is a holy act in Terre d'Ange. They bear marques (tattoos) on their backs as a sign of their trade. The most elite of these are the adepts of the Court of Night-Blooming Flowers, also known as the Night Court. Each of these Houses holds to a different explanation of why Naamah lay with the King of Persis, and caters to different preferences accordingly. It is blasphemous for a Servant of Naamah to have an assignation with anyone he or she does not desire, or to be forced to take assignations. For this reason, some Servants of Naamah will complete their marques in other ways (such as clothing design, etc.) and some will simply remain as teachers. For further information see Structure & Initiation

Biblical Reference

In Jewish mythology, Naamah is the name of a demon of sacred prostitution (and a succubus). This is the obvious parallel for which Carey selected the name. For more information on the Jewish myth that parallels the Kushiel's Legacy books, see the article on Naamah the demon. For other references to Naamah, see Naamah.

Shemhazai[edit]

Shemhazai is noted for treasuring knowledge, and is credited with teaching the D'Angelines their written language. His territory is Siovale and his priests and priestesses wear grey robes.

One of his temples in southern Siovale has a mechanical statue of Shemhazai, which moves to turn a placard toward his worshippers. The placard says, "All knowledge is worth having".

Biblical Reference

In the Hebrew bible, Shemhazai, or Samyaza, was the leader of the Grigori, the angels who birthed the Nephilim and taught mankind the secrets of civilization.

Similarities to Éloa[edit]

Elua sounds similar to the name Éloa from the French poem Éloa, ou La sœur des anges which deals with an innocent angel falling in love with a stranger (Lucifer) who had turned away from the One God. Eloa was also born from a tear, this one shed by Christ at the death of Lazarus, as cited here.

See also[edit]