Learning About the Wolves

 

The Classroom is a wonderful resource at TarValon.net. From November 2019 through January 2020, I was a student within “Val’Cueran with Alora Gaidin & Co”. It was a collaborative experience presented by Alora Sionn, Madhar al’Thera, Dreia Raieese, and Dravid ter’Mand. They presented an overview of the various facets of the company. Known as The Wolf Pack, the Val’Cueran are the Heart Guard of TarValon.Net. They are represented by the wolf and their colors are red and gold.

 

The three core values of the company are honor, loyalty, and brotherhood. As explained by Madhar al’Thera, the unspoken code of the Val’Cueran is “doing what is right and being trustworthy.” The wolves have developed a mutual respect. Honor and loyalty create brotherhood, and it is all linked together with devotion. The wolves rely on each other and do their utmost to not let each other down. They care for each other, as well as the members and guests of TarValon.Net.

 

Like each group at TarValon.Net, the wolves have their own set of traditions. Among these are head shaving, setting people on fire, and hibernation. Though not a requirement, several members of the company have had shaved heads. They tend to set people on fire, though done in a more figurative way, and generally to the benefit of all. (No one has been harmed in the fire settings of the Val’Cueran.) Though members of the company have gone quiet from time to time, they do stay in contact with one another, and will resurface.

 

As implied in their representation by the wolf, the Val’Cueran are a family group that has a hierarchy with roles for each of their members. The Company Commander is the leader, or the alpha of the pack. The Honor Guard is the second-in-command, or the beta. The Warder Councillors are the representatives within the Hall. The M’Hael Strategos helps determine the company’s participation in site events and the M’Hael Tribunus is the company historian.

 

The class had lessons and assignments for participants to explore the various components of the Val’Cueran. It was an engaging way to learn about the company. The wolves have their own values, traditions, and hierarchy, and are a part of what comprises the White Tower at TarValon.Net

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Wellness through Herbs

 

During my visit with the Yellow Ajah as part of my Guesting as Accepted, I have found them to be a very welcoming and warm group. My impression of the Yellows, from having read the series, is that the Ajah is focused on Healing. Through my visit with its members on TarValon.Net, I found it is more than simply that. As explained by Idine Sedai, “Yellows have a strong interest in wellness,” and per Nyavene Sedai, the “caring and fix it all attitude is very Yellow.” A general sense of wellness, be it physical or emotional, is a major aspect of the Yellow Ajah.

 

As it is spring, and the world is currently dealing with a pandemic, I though I would explore herbal remedies. Visiting with the Yellows has also shown me to the importance of tea, symbolically and literally. In reviewing the Yellow Ajah Newsletters in the Library, I found mention of numerous herbs, among them: lavender, marjoram, ginger, cloves, basil, and parsley.

 

In an effort to learn more about the healing properties of these herbs, I examined The Complete Illustrated Book of Herbs (Reader’s Digest, 2009). Historically, tea has been used to address various ailments. In reading this text, I learned more about infusion (made from pouring boiling water over fresh or dried herbal material) and decoctions (made by boiling an herb, though best suited for bark, roots, twigs, and seeds) in water. I also learned more about aromatherapy and essential oils.

 

Lavender can be used in aromatherapy to sooth nerves and relieve depression. As an oil, it can take the sting out of an insect bite.

 

Marjoram can be used in tea, in tincture, and as an essential oil. As a tea, it can help fight against influenza and common colds. In aromatherapy, it can be used to help relieve insomnia and reduce stress.

 

Ginger can be used in a tea to help settle the stomach. It has been used to help reduce the nausea associated with morning sickness and motion sickness.

 

Cloves can be used in oil form to help relieve tooth ache.

 

Basil can be used to relieve nerves.

 

Parsley can be used to treat fluid retention and urinary tract disorders. It can also be used to ease arthritic joints.

 

Of course, always consult a physician for proper use of herbs and supplements.

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Becoming an Accepted/Soldier at TarValon.Net

 

 

As I am contemplating submitting my application to pursue becoming an Accepted here on TarValon.Net, I thought it would be a good idea to ask those who have already obtained that level. As I gained some insight into the perks and expectations of the role, I thought I would share my findings.

 

 

 

Q: What do you like most about being Accepted/Soldier? Any perks?

 

Guesting with the Ajahs and the Companies has been a lot of fun!

-Ignis al’Caleum (Accepted)-

 

 

I liked the guesting process the most, and getting familiar with more of the Senior Members. Also, regaining access to the City forums and gaining access to new forums. It really opens up a whole new world of interaction.

-Owena al’Saturni (Accepted)-

 

 

I like access to more places on the forum to be annoying. It is also a perk.

-Thaddius al’Guy (Soldier)-

 

 

Honestly, the biggest perk about being an Accepted/Soldier is the ability to visit the different Ajahs and Companies. A real chance to explore the Tower.

-Lok Sionn (Soldier)-

 

 

The best part is being able to visit each Senior Member group in their space and meet some members that don’t get out into the wild very often. It’s fun getting to better know the vibe of a group. I never understood that until I was guesting.

-Dreia Raieese (Soldier)-

 

 

You get the opportunity to meet and interact with every group if you want. While you do get to see people all around, there’s a lot of people that post mostly in Ajah/Company specific parts of the boards who you wouldn’t get to know as well otherwise without the guesting process. Plus finding where you fit in is a fun experience.

-Madhar al’Thera (Soldier)-

 

 

I like the feeling of more responsibility. Guesting is definitely a perk.

-Juliya Karisu (Accepted)-

 

 

 

Q: Is being Accepted/Soldier what you expected it would be when you were a Novice/Recruit? Why or why not?

 

I think it has been. In many ways it is similar [to being a Novice/Recruit], but more is expected of you.

-Ignis al’Caleum (Accepted)-

 

 

I have read the Membership Manual pretty well and knew what to expect. Although, one thing I didn’t anticipate was how exciting it would be to finally find your home and aspire. How happy I was totally caught me off guard.

-Owena al’Saturni (Accepted)-

 

 

It’s a bit more freedom. As a Novice/Recruit, I lost access to the Olde Warder and Hen and that’s where I posted a lot. I missed that place while I was in the Tower for the requisite amount of time.

-Thaddius al’Guy (Soldier)-

 

 

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect, so I can’t really say one way or another.

-Lok Sionn (Soldier)-

 

 

It kind of is what I expected. From reading other people’s posts and going through the process with some other people at the same time, it helped clarify the process a lot. Being a Novice/Recruit was different than what I had anticipated, but being Accepted/Soldier was kind of what I expected. It’s fun getting to know everyone in a different way. Particularly since I tend to be Lurky McLurker.

-Dreia Raieese (Soldier)-

 

 

It’s mostly what I expected.

-Madhar al’Thera (Soldier)-

 

 

I wasn’t sure what to expect but I feel it is a bit different than I thought–I found guesting a little intimidating, but it was also nice to visit everyone and see what all the Ajahs and Companies are like.

-Juliya Karisu (Accepted)-

 

 

 

Q: What advice would you give to a Novice/Recruit who wants to become an Accepted/Soldier? Any warnings, or ways to prepare?

 

You’ll know when you are ready to move on. I’d also recommend taking the practice test in the Junior Member Support thread. I’m only halfway through my guesting process, but I’d recommend going as many places as possible. Not only do you get to know new people, but you might be surprised at where you feel like you may fit in.

-Ignis al’Caleum (Accepted)-

 

 

I would say to take your time with it when you become an Accepted/Soldier. When you’re guesting, visit in the Ajah/Company for a while to get the gist of what they are really like. If the activity level seems low in the Ajah/Company that you are guesting with, they might just be going through an unusually slow period. Replying to a thread or posting a new thread might be helpful in getting interaction going.

-Owena al’Saturni (Accepted)-

 

 

Have fun with it, get to know Senior Members better. Participate in events and threads as much as you can.

-Thaddius al’Guy (Soldier)-

 

 

Don’t feel pressured to pick a place to aspire right away. Take your time. After all, it’s going to be your home. Even if it takes you several years.

-Lok Sionn (Soldier)-

 

 

Nope! Just take it as it comes. Book canon doesn’t exactly hold true with site membership groups. That’s part of the fun.

-Dreia Raieese (Soldier)-

 

 

Talk to as many people and get as involved as you want for the best experience.

-Madhar al’Thera (Soldier)-

 

 

Take your time as Novice/Recruit and as Accepted/Soldier to get to know people and enjoy being a Junior Member. Do research in the Library about Ajahs and Companies before guesting there.

-Juliya Karisu (Accepted)-

 

 

 

Q: What is the role of an Accepted/Soldier within The Tower? What are your tasks or responsibilities?

 

At this point, I’m getting to know more people in the Tower, but there is more involved. I’m beginning to think of ideas for a community contribution, which will be a part of getting to Senior Membership.

-Ignis al’Caleum (Accepted)-

 

 

One of the roles of an Accepted/Soldier is to be a role model for the Novice/Recruits. You can really do this through contributions. Contributions are not only a good way to inspire more Junior Members, but it helps keep the site running. TarValon.Net is such an important site to all of us, and contributing to its success is an important goal.

-Owena al’Saturni (Accepted)-

 

 

To contribute and guest with Companies and Ajahs. Do something to give back to the boards. Sign up to give classes, apply to moderate forums, help edit in the Library, things like that.

-Thaddius al’Guy (Soldier)-

 

 

Well, we’re expected to get a real feel for the Tower, as well as to start really contributing to the site as a whole.

-Lok Sionn (Soldier)-

 

 

I guess it’s to keep interacting with the site, and show that you’re interested. Whether that’s through helping out with a course, writing an article, joining a committee or what have you, it’s being present. Which as a reformed lurker, is quite nice.

-Dreia Raieese (Soldier)-

 

 

I think the role of Accepted and Soldiers is to find where you fit in and really start to contribute in meaningful ways to the boards and community as a whole.

-Madhar al’Thera (Soldier)-

 

 

An Accepted/Soldier is supposed to be a little more serious than Novices/Recruits, but we still can have a lot of fun. They are expected to take on a little more responsibility–and there are all kinds of ways to do this. I am currently a forum moderator, which was eye-opening.

-Juliya Karisu (Accepted)-

 

 

 

Q: Any final words?

 

Honestly–have fun!

-Ignis al’Caleum (Accepted)-

 

 

Patience. Enjoy the journey to gaining the rank of Aes Sedai/Gaidin.

-Owena al’Saturni (Accepted)-

 

 

Don’t be like me and take on too many responsibilities, burning yourself out. Take your time and enjoy yourself.

-Thaddius al’Guy (Soldier)-

 

 

You’re no longer a cute little Novice/Recruit, nor do you have the power and authority of an Aes Sedai/Warder. This is the awkward teenage period in the Tower. Prepare yourself.

-Lok Sionn (Soldier)-

 

 

I think it’s worth it to move into Novice/Recruit then Accepted/Soldier. It’s fun getting to know people in a different way.

-Dreia Raieese (Soldier)-

 

 

Have fun. If you feel overwhelmed, just remember we all have at least one thing in common, which is a love for The Wheel of Time, so don’t be afraid to jump into conversations and join in.

-Madhar al’Thera (Soldier)-

 

 

I love being Accepted! I loved my time as Novice, too. I think it is great that TarValon.net has a system set up where we can experience these things. I don’t feel impatient to become Aes Sedai because I am enjoying my time in all stages.

-Juliya Karisu (Accepted)-

 


 

It was wonderful to find such a varied group willing to answer my questions–men and women pursuing the ultimate path of Aes Sedai and Gaidin. Read the Membership Manual to know the expectations, and then enjoy the process. I am definitely looking forward to the chance to guest with the Ajahs and Companies so that I can meet folks and learn about each group. It is during this period of exploration that we will determine where we will eventually call home. As Accepted or Soldier we will be encouraged to become more “mature” and make more contributions to the site and the community. As we are striving to be “servants of all” as Aes Sedai or Gaidin, it is a good time to learn ways to go about this.

 

I want to offer a special thank you to those willing to be interviewed: (Accepted) Ignis al’Caleum, Owena al’Saturni, and Juliya Karisu and (Soldiers) Thaddius al’Guy, Lok Sionn, Dreia Raieese, and Madhar al’Thera. Their insight has made me more confident in my decision to submit my application for Accepted/Soldier. If you choose this path as well, I hope their words have helped you prepare for that portion of your journey.

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Insight into Citizens

 

 

Once upon a time on TarValon.Net, we each started our adventure as a guest and then progressed to Citizen. I fondly recall my time as a Citizen in the City. The call of the Tower was strong, but I still have a great deal of respect for Citizens. So I decided to learn more as to why others have chosen to become Resident Citizens or consider becoming a Resident Citizen.

 

 

 

Q: What originally brought you to TarValon.Net?

 

This is pretty ancient history by now, but I believe I just sort of stumbled over the site while browsing and searching for WoT-related stuff online. I was still fairly new to online communities at the time, and this was before social media as we think of it today had really taken off, so I registered with some excitement and trepidation. In the end, it turned out to have been a decision that profoundly influenced my life, for the better.

-Aran Cherubim-

 

 

I am an elf in The Lord of the Rings, and when I read The Wheel of Time I was like ”Now I also want to be an Aes Sedai!” I was following TarValon.Net’s Facebook page but I had no idea they also had a library and a forum. One day I was googling for Aes Sedai shawls and I found this site by accident. I started reading everything in the Library, especially about this site’s Ajahs and Warders; I read about how this organization started and I liked the logic behind it. I felt like ”Now I can be an Aes Sedai almost officially.” Because this site feels official. If an amount of people accept you as an Aes Sedai, then you really are. This was the reason that I have joined this community.

-Lyndo Shiranui-

 

 

I was looking for a community. A place I could find friends and be engaged without having to leave my house.

-Arella Mathara-

 

 

 

Q: What keeps you around?

 

Well, I haven’t always kept around, so to speak. There have been times in my life when due to real-life stress and lack of energy, I’ve stopped posting for months at a time, or just had a very minimal activity level. I do keep coming back, however, and the reason for that is the many friends and acquaintances I’ve made here over the years, and while not all of them are still active, or are perhaps more active in other social media channels like Facebook or Twitter nowadays, there is something special about interacting here.

 

Adding to that, there is something about the old-school forum that I feel is a welcome change of pace from the hectic pace of Facebook, Twitter, what have you. The classic forum style is slower-paced, with more time to consider your responses, and more space to write how you feel about things. Additionally, it is significantly less intrusive in the daily rote of things, and so feels like more of a treat than the chore (or compulsion) that social media can sometimes feel like.

 

A more elegant platform from a more civilized age.

-Aran Cherubim-

 

 

I like being here in my free time. There are lots of nice and kind people here, like you. I remember the time reading your introduction post. Now you’re also here with us. I like this.

-Lyndo Shiranui-

 

 

The people, the classes, the games, the discussions.

-Arella Mathara-

 

 

 

Q: Any particular reasons why you’ve chosen to remain (or become) a Resident Citizen rather than join the Tower?

 

Way back in the day it was because I hadn’t read all the books yet, and I didn’t want to stay a Recruit with no access to the City for an extended duration of time (hah!). A decade later or so, here I am. But I don’t mind. I was even called the “Citizen’s Citizen” at one point, something I quite liked.

 

It doesn’t matter hugely either way for me. What matters is being here and enjoying the people and the conversations. And a little bit of spam every now and then.

-Aran Cherubim-

 

 

I really want to be an Aes Sedai…but I don’t feel ready yet. First I need to…organize my life. So this is why I am still a Citizen. But don’t get me wrong, being a Citizen is also fun.

-Lyndo Shiranui-

 

 

I have actually wanted to join the Tower for months. I want to find my home at TarValon.Net.

-Arella Mathara-

 

 

 

Q: What are some of the perks you especially enjoy as a Resident Citizen?

 

I haven’t used the Apartments in a while, but having a thread there was fun as long as posting kept up. Beyond that, it’s just nice to be of a lower rank so that newbies just act casually around you, or at least that’s how it used to be.

-Aran Cherubim-

 

 

As a Resident Citizen you get a house… for free!!! And you can enjoy being neighbors to Aes Sedai and Warders! Other than that, there is no difference than normal Citizenship except feeling more resident. I think there should be also some ranks in Citizenship like in the Tower and you should get signs [on the boards], too, but with special colours belonging to Citizens, similar-looking to the Aes Sedai/Warder signs.

-Lyndo Shiranui-

 

 

You are unaffiliated, making you very neutral. You can also take part in classes and take on some of the jobs that are hiring. I like that the Citizens are so included. This hasn’t always been the case, at least not with the classes, unless I have misunderstood that part of the Tower’s history. I’m glad we’re allowed to participate now at least.

-Arella Mathara-

 

 

 

Q: If you would recommend TarValon.Net to others, what would you tell them?

 

TarValon.Net is a mature community, not only because it’s been around a long while, or because the average age is probably skewing higher these days, but because as an arena of social interaction it’s built around individual responsibility and maintaining good relationships. That’s not to say it always works out, but to me this has always been important. TarValon.Net isn’t just an online message board, it is a genuine real life community of a diverse group of people who can come to together and enjoy each other and the relations we build. To me that is worth more than is easy to express in a short paragraph. Behind every avatar here is a full, complex person, and more than on any other platform I frequent, I am aware of this here. That’s rare, and it is valuable.

-Aran Cherubim-

 

 

I have already recommended this site to some of my friends who also read WoT thanks to me. Warmness, kindness, and when you become an Aes Sedai or a Warder you can really feel you are! I also told them this is not just a fan organization that only talks and does nothing. No, here we really are Servants of All. We help the world and we also inspire others to do the same. This is actually what keeps me here.

-Lyndo Shiranui-

 

 

That it’s a place where you can engage in a lot of activities; you can learn skills, discuss books (and everything else), and play games. It’s a place to have fun and get to know people from all over the world. And the Free Weeks are fun!

-Arella Mathara-

 


 

I want to thank Aran Cherubim, Lyndo Shiranui, and Arella Mathara for their willingness to share their insight into the mind of a Citizen. They each came looking for a place of shared ideas, stayed because of the home the site has provided, and would recommend TarValon.Net to others. Regardless of our path—to the Tower, or in the City— we are part of a vibrant community.

 

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