pinwheels

Pinwheels are a simple, common device consisting of a number of curled paper loops connected to a stick by a pin. The loops are shaped in such a way that they will spin when blown on or held in any wind stronger than a light breeze. Often the loops are of different colors, causing a rainbow of motion when the pinwheel spins, or covered in thin foil to make them flash brilliantly. Pinwheels can be found across the Sora in use by people of all species and cultures. Most frequently they are treated as whimsical decorations or children's toys, though in some locations they have extra significance.  

Religious Symbol

The pinwheel serves as a holy or spiritual symbol in many religions across the Sora. Some of the more prominent examples are described below.  

Doflein

An unusual ten-limbed version of the pinwheel can be found in the Confederation of Doflein Realms, where it serves as a signifier of the Prime, the doflein deity. These pinwheels are of much higher quality than those used as toys, being made of thicker, sturdier paper designed to last for several years. The pinwheels are used during important religious observances, particularly during public ceremonies or parades. They are typically held aloft and waved gently about, creating an undulating field of color when viewed from above which is said to be pleasing for the Prime to look upon.   For most, these pinwheels are only brought out during these festivals, but an emerging trend finds some proudly display them year round, affixing rows to the outsides of their homes. Because propriety and piety demand all religious iconography be maintained in pristine condition, this means the pinwheels must be carefully monitored and replaced when damage becomes visible. While individually inexpensive when used in the regular manner, they wear out much more quickly when used on a constant basis, meaning the displays come at significant cost. Most doflein believe there to be more efficient and reasonable methods to display piety.  

Hidden Meaning

In actuality, these rows of pinwheels are used by doflein who are critical of the doctrinal practice of slavery practiced by the Confederation. Because opposing doctrine is a capital crime in the Confederation, openly expressing anti-slavery sentiment is unheard of. Even discussing it in private carries great risk, as the Court of the Prime take accusations of apostasy very seriously. Thus abolitionists use them to signal to others who disapprove of slavery that they are sympathetic to the cause and willing to discuss such beliefs in private. The fact they are religious symbols makes questioning their display socially unacceptable, thus protecting them from discovery so far.  

Akash

A six-limbed pinwheel consisting of black, blue, green, white, red, and yellow arms (typically in that order) is used across the faces of Akash as a representation of its six Planes. While each Plane has somewhat different methods of using the pinwheel, they are used across the realm as instruments of divination and fortune telling. Priests perform rituals which cause the pinwheel to rotate. Whichever arm faces upward when the pinwheel stops rotating signifies the nature of the divination or fortune; the home element is considered a good sign, while the opposing element is considered bad. Neighboring elements signify neutral or mixed omens. Depending on the complexity of the ritual and its importance, anything from one pinwheel to a hundred may be used, with trained oracles reading the many results to gain insight into the future.


Cover image: by Denis Khusainov

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