There is a possibility you’ve seen the Unity Shawls that the White Ajah likes to show off at events and post on forums occasionally. They’re all made exactly the same, white on the outside, with the Flame of Tar Valon, and lined with unique fabric to suit each Aes Sedai’s personality. Oh. And don’t forget that long…long fringe. They represent that while we’re all diverse and unique, we’re all a part of the White Ajah family.
I’m going to tell you about a tradition that I didn’t hear about until it was literally placed on my shoulders.
My first live Tower event was Fall Ball of 2018, in New York. I was incredibly proud of myself, after pushing through fear of flying alone for the first time. There was also the drive to the Dallas airport that began at 2:30 in the morning. (I uh…don’t recommend that, if you’re not used to it, which I was not.) And so, after a long and arduous day of travel I wound up at the hotel, and the first person I met was our dear Jaim. I think he could tell that I was nervous, because every other conversation and interaction I had with him was much more boisterous.
The first person I met from my aspired Ajah was my future first-sister, Ahmyra, who was the Head of the Ajah at the time. We…may have squeezed the life out of each other for a bit upon first meeting. We’re both huggers. She was also my roommate for that event, along with Alyria of the Blues, and Keelinnea of the Reds. Sidenote – Keeli did a great job trying to recruit me. It didn’t work, but it was a good effort.
As we settled into our room, I showed them my white shawl that a friend had commissioned for me from another site a few years before. I was a little embarrassed, because I was an Accepted at the time. But hey. When else am I gonna wear it? They all let out a nervous chuckle…which I thought was interesting.
We went down to the toast, and I drank Goldschlager, and toasted our community. I found out that Goldschlager is the traditional TarValon.Net toast drink, and that it was involved in the founding too. And then Lireina asked Ahmyra if she had brought anyone to be raised, and I about fell out of my seat! (The only other White there was Kelgan, you see.)
I held it together to kneel in front of our Keeper of the Chronicles and recite our Oaths (which I don’t remember), holding the bottle of Goldschlager that had provided our toast. Then when I was pronounced Aes Sedai and felt a shawl on my shoulders, I started crying. And I cried for like ten minutes while I hugged my two new Ajah siblings and sat back down with them.
But, wait a second. The shawl on my shoulders wasn’t the shawl I had brought with me. It was smaller, and a different color. It was the White Ajah Raising Shawl! (Ahmyra and Kelgan were sneaky and brought it into the toast in a gift bag.)
Our Raising Shawl is used to raise new White Ajah Aes Sedai during live events. Per tradition, the new Sedai keeps it until a newer Sedai is raised at the next event. And so, I kept it with me until Adanys was raised during JordanCon 2019. Alenya, an unaffiliated Accepted at the time, was the sneaky assistant there. Since I was the only White, I stood in for the Head of Ajah and got to place the shawl on Adanys’s shoulders and pass the tradition on to her…right before I made her my first-sister.
Because of the current state of the world, the shawl has changed hands a few times since then, but it is still in our Ajah’s traditions. Hopefully, we’ll be able to use it again some time soon. Until then, I’m proud to have been a part of it.