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Song of the Journey (mourning chant)

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The Song of the Journey is a Thessian funerary custom, delivered by a close intimate for one who has died. It is not traditionally part of a formal memorial service, but is spoken when the deceased dies, or when news of his or her passing reaches friends and/or family. An audience is not required, although in circumstances where a number of friends of the deceased are present, one may be chosen to deliver the speak the song on behalf of all present.

The first records of the Song predate siarism, but the custom has been adopted by many practitioners of siari, and is not uncommon among asari of all origins. It is traditionally spoken (never sung) in formal High Thessian, but if the deceased had a pronounced preference for another language or dialect, it is commonplace for the Song to be delivered in a translation.

Transcription

The Song of the Journey delivered in High Thessian, rendered phonetically in the English alphabet. The given name of the deceased is spoken in the first and final lines; some adjustment to the following syllables to account for non-standard names (not ending in the common "-a" suffix) may occur.

Ne meless'ara ko ame <Name> tashi.
Os meri te pora'tan, te lasi, te la ai'a me, te mur.
Anadar teavi nar yakshi, nar kalis.
Ai'a sol rasshi, mes.
Athame Me'elas, nassanie,
Athame Rala, kenta ri,
Athame Tylani, mavi ae.
Sia res, siari. <Name> ai'a me.

Meaning

In pre-siarist folklore it was believed in a number of cultures that the souls of the deceased remained with them until sunrise, whereupon the daylight winds would carry them back to the goddesses or their place of peaceful rest; the night winds ("yakshi") would sometimes attempt to steal away souls, so asari would sit vigil for their dead until dawn, their love for the deceased forming a barrier against evil influences. The opening stanza invokes this practice in modified form, expressing the love and gratitude of the speaker for having known the deceased, and wishes that good feeling to travel with her soul and shield her from the dangers of the journey from mortal living back to a state of unity with the universe, equated by siarist followers with the journey across the winds. Many variants of this passage exist, depending on the cultural background of the deceased and the relation of the speaker to her; the phrase "ai'a me" specifies a dear friend who is also a faithful ally, one who can be depended upon without question.

The following three lines invoke three aspects of the goddess Athame, and are found in the vast majority of forms of the Song; where the speaker is not a follower of Athame, they are spoken regardless in honour of the goddess's place in asari culture. The aspects invoked are those which most closely relate to the deceased - in the example given, Me'elas (invoked for joy and sensuality), Rala (invoked for huntresses; see Ajrakila), and Tylani (invoked for good humour and forgiveness; see Jina Mas). It is rare for fewer or more than three aspects to be invoked.

The final line wishes the deceased a peaceful existence, while invoking the siarist belief that "all is one", indicating by the positioning of the words that this applies to time as well as physical matter, and therefore that the bond between the speaker and the deceased exists as it did during the deceased's life, regardless of their physical separation.

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