Irisophy is a philosophic school - you could call it a religion - that tries to help us understand and come to grips with the forces that control our lives. Although it is young, it draws on ancient traditions like Feng Shui and the Platonic elements. Irisophers (as we are called) talk about Spirits as if they were living beings, like the gods of common religions, but we understand that they are in fact abstract forces. However, abstract forces like gravity and fear, despite being quite incorporeal, can be very powerful.
The name "Irisophy" derives from the Greek words for "rainbow" and "wisdom": we chose it because we use colors to refer to the Spirits. You'll recognize most of them from your familiarity with ancient teachings; the Egyptians, Chinese, Aryans, Persians, Greeks, Celts, Norsemen, Romans and others all told stories about them. But these myths now seem quaint, and can fool us into thinking these Spirits died long ago - not true! In order to separate the Spirits from these myths, we've used unfamiliar names for them, names based on the Greek words for their colors: hopefully, that will help you recognize them from your own life.
We all sometimes make decisions that are hard for others to understand; sometimes it's even hard for us to understand them. Stupidity, ignorance and psychology are parts of the problem, but often the only explanation is simply that a Spirit moved us to act as we did. These Spirits aren't omnipotent gods; in fact, they're almost powerless: they can only affect the world through their influence on us. As experience proves, that's often power enough.
There are nine such Spirits abroad in the world. We'll introduce them now, along with the Colors and Animals associated with each of them. Eight of the Spirits form four opposing pairs, while the ninth is neutral. Each pair consists of one male Spirit and one female, although we must remember not to impose our humanity on them: immortal and invariant, they neither age nor mate. But each is constantly striving - like we are - to advance its interests, to spread its influence further and to move the world in its favored direction. This struggle between opposing Spirits keeps the world in balance.
|Leuc is the Spirit of Hope and Faith. Her color is White and her animals are the Birds, from eagles to sparrows. She's the one who keeps you going when times are rough, and who helps you believe in something when everything seems against it. Because of this, she's also the spirit of deception and madness.|
|Eryth is the Spirit of Justice and Pride, but also of anger, hatred, and war. His color is Red and his animals are the Bear and the Boar. When you get the feeling that something just isn't right and you just can't put up with it any more, that's Eryth talking.|
|Xanth is the Spirit of Honor and Duty. Her color is Yellow and her animal is the Dog and other canines. She's the little voice you hear inside telling you what you "should" do. Although she always wants you to keep your promises and fulfill your obligations, her advice isn't always onerous: she's also the spirit of selfless (non-romantic) love and the family.|
|Chlor is the Spirit of Life and Change, of birth and growth but also of chaos, anarchy, and death. His color is Green and his animals are the Rabbits and Rodents. He's the one urging you to try something new, to take a chance, to let go of the past.|
|Cyan is the Spirit of Peace and Happiness. Her color is, of course, Cyan (light greenish blue) and her animal is the Cow and other ruminants (sheep, goats, deer and the like). She's the one who gives you that good feeling that everything's fine in the world, and enables you to enjoy life and see the other guy's point of view: she's the spirit of tolerance.|
|Ion is the Spirit of Love and Joy, but also of grief and sorrow. His color is Blue and his animal is the Cat and other felines. His are the passions that fill your soul and overwhelm you with emotion.|
|Porphyr is the Spirit of Order and Safety, the preserver and protector. Her color is Magenta (a rosy purple) and her animal is the Horse and other mount and draft animals (llamas, camels, elephants and such). She wants you to pick up your room and to vote for the incumbent, to signal before turning and not to quit your job: she'll take care of you if you do it her way.|
|Melan is the Spirit of Truth and Reason, of intelligence and wisdom, but also of despair and cynicism. His color is Black and his animals are the Fish and Reptiles. When you can accept reality and your place in it, that's Melan's work.|
|Tephr is the neuter Spirit of Ambiguity and Doubt. His color is Gray and his animals are the Ape and other primates, and the Bat. He wants you to see both sides of every issue, to keep your options open, and not to rush to a decision.|
The nine Colors are conventionally arranged to form an octagon, which is called the Iris.
The colors can also be arranged in three dimensions around the corners of a Cube, with Gray in the center. Hold the cube so that White is at the top and Black is at the bottom. The other colors are arranged around the other corners as in a color wheel: Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue, and Magenta.
The nine Spirits are each associated with the hours of the day and the compass directions, too, which is the foundation of Irisophic Geomancy. The four female spirits represent the four cardinal "winds": Leuc the boreal north of arctic midsummer midnight, Xanth the east wind of the dawn, Cyan the austral wind of noon, and Porphyr the zephyr of dusk. In the southern hemisphere, Leuc is south and Cyan is north. The boys are the diagonals, with Tephyr in the center.
|Leuc||Hope and Faith||White||Female||Bird||12:01-3am||North||Melan|
|Eryth||Justice and Pride||Red||Male||Bear, Boar||3-6am||Northeast||Cyan|
|Xanth||Honor and Duty||Yellow||Female||Dog||6-9am||East||Ion|
|Chlor||Life and Change||Green||Male||Rodent, Rabbit||9-12 noon||Southeast||Porphyr|
|Cyan||Peace and Happiness||Cyan||Female||Cow, Deer||12-3pm||South||Eryth|
|Ion||Love and Joy||Blue||Male||Cat||3-6pm||Southwest||Xanth|
|Porphyr||Order and Safety||Magenta||Female||Horse, Camel||6-9pm||West||Chlor|
|Melan||Truth and Reason||Black||Male||Fish, Reptile||9-11:59pm||Northwest||Leuc|
|Tephr||Ambiguity and Doubt||Gray||Male||Ape, Bat||Midnight||Center||Nobody|
Spirits with neighboring colors on the Cube are Friends of each other's. Tephr is friends with every Spirit.
|Leuc||Xanth, Cyan, Porphyr, Tephr|
|Eryth||Xanth, Porphyr, Melan, Tephr|
|Xanth||Leuc, Eryth, Chlor, Tephr|
|Chlor||Xanth, Cyan, Melan, Tephr|
|Cyan||Leuc, Chlor, Ion, Tephr|
|Ion||Cyan, Porphyr, Melan, Tephr|
|Porphyr||Leuc, Eryth, Ion, Tephr|
|Melan||Eryth, Chlor, Ion, Tephr|
Each Spirit and his or her friends form a group of five: a Spirit Table. There are nine such Spirit Tables, each named by adding "os" to the name of the central Spirit, and each Spirit belongs to five of them. Tephros, Tephr's Spirit Table, is the ninth Table, and includes all nine Spirits, and he also belongs to all eight of the other Spirit Tables.
In addition to the nine Spirit Tables, there are nine Element Tables, each composed of four Spirits. Each of these Tables represents an Element, which also has a Color associated with it. Tephr sits alone at the ninth Element Table, Lithos.
|Carpos is the Fruit Table, composed of Porphyr, Eryth, Melan, and Ion. Its color is Purple and its elements are the fruits, including wine.|
|Anthos is the Flower Table, composed of Leuc, Xanth, Eryth and Chlor. Its color is Pink, and its elements are the flowers.|
|Chthonos is the Earth Table, composed of Xanth, Chlor, Melan and Eryth. Its color is Olive and its elements are soil and sand.|
|Pyrrhos is the Fire Table, composed of Leuc, Ion, Eryth and Porphyr. Its color is Orange and its elements are fire and flame, oils and tars.|
|Xylos is the Wood Table, composed of Xanth, Cyan, Melan, and Porphyr. Its color is Brown and its element is wood, nuts, seeds and grain, including beer|
|Phyllos is the Leaf Table, composed of Leuc, Cyan, Chlor and Xanth. Its color is Lime and its elements are leaves, cloth and ropes.|
|Thalassos is the Water Table, composed of Cyan, Ion, Melan, and Chlor. Its color is Teal and its elements are water and the sea.|
|Anemos is the Sky Table, comprised of Leuc, Porphyr, Ion and Cyan. Its color is Violet and its elements are air, wind, and other gases.|
|Lithos is the Stone Table, where only Tephr sits. Its color is Slate and its elements are stone and metals.|
Here are the Element Tables in visual form:
Just like the Spirits, the Elements form opposing pairs. And just as the Spirits are either Male or Female, so the Elements are either Live or Dead. The Live Elements are Carpos (Fruit), Anthos (Flower), Xylos (Wood) and Phyllos (Leaf), while the Dead Elements are Chthonos (Earth), Pyrrhos (Fire), Thalassos (Water), Anemos (Air) and Lithos (Stone). But while each opposing pair of Spirits has one Male and one Female, the pairs of Elements are either both Live or both Dead.
However, there are qualities that differ between opposing members of a pair of Elements. The Dead Elements correspond to the four Aristotlean elements, which were classifed in antiquity into Hot versus Cold and Wet versus Dry. The Live Elements are similarly classified into Dark versus Bright and Round versus Flat. If one Element is Hot, its opposite is Cold, and so on.
|Carpos||Fruit||Purple||Live, Bright, Round||Porphyr, Eryth, Melan, Ion||Phyllos|
|Anthos||Flower||Pink||Live, Bright, Flat||Leuc, Xanth, Eryth, Porphyr||Thalassos|
|Xylos||Wood||Brown||Live, Dark, Round||Xanth, Cyan, Melan, Porphyr||Pyrrhos|
|Phyllos||Leaf||Lime||Live, Dark, Flat||Leuc, Cyan, Chlor, Xanth||Carpos|
|Chthonos||Earth||Olive||Dead, Cold, Dry||Xanth, Chlor, Melan, Eryth||Anemos|
|Thalassos||Water||Teal||Dead, Cold, Wet||Cyan, Ion, Melan, Chlor||Anthos|
|Pyrrhos||Fire||Orange||Dead, Hot, Dry||Leuc, Ion, Eryth, Chlor||Xylos|
|Anemos||Wind||Violet||Dead, Hot, Wet||Leuc, Porphyr, Ion, Cyan||Chthonos|
So each Spirit belongs to nine Tables - five Spirit Tables (including Tephros) and four Element Tables - and each Table includes one of each opposing pair of Spirits: the other four comprise the opposing Table. Tephr belongs to ten Tables: all nine Spirit Tables and one Element Table.
The eight non-neuter Spirits also pair up to form Couples. No Spirit mates with his/her opponent, but every other heterosexual couple occurs, a total of twelve, and each Spirit has three Lovers. These Couples are associated with musical notes and with the twelve Desires.
|Eryth & Leuc||C||Renown|
|Eryth & Xanth||C# Db||Wealth|
|Melan & Xanth||D||Work|
|Chlor & Xanth||D# Eb||Family|
|Chlor & Leuc||E||Adventure|
|Chlor & Cyan||F||Health|
|Melan & Cyan||F# Gb||Serenity|
|Ion & Cyan||G||Pleasure|
|Ion & Leuc||G# Ab||Romance|
|Ion & Porphyr||A||Friends|
|Melan & Porphyr||A# Bb||Wisdom|
|Eryth & Porphyr||B||Power|
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