Vellich World View
The Vellich use something they refer to as their map of the world or worldview to explain the way in which they understand the world around them and how they relate to it. Clicking on the layers will allow you to see it from different perspectives, and these layers are explained in more detail below.
The UnderstandingThe Vellich, as a people, are aware that there is a great deal more unknown than known, and recognising this is important to them. In their map of the world, the external circle, which runs around the outside of almost everything, is the borderline between the known and the unknown. The known sits within the circle, and the unknown sits outside of it. In the other sections, anything which takes place outside of this main circle is considered to be part of the great unknown by the Vellich.
The BaseThe base of the map of the world can be drawn by any Vellich who has lived more than five years. The circle and the diamond are usually drawn first in quick succession. The other parts are represented however the artist chooses to, but always represent the same things. This base is how the world is explained to the young of the planet, and how the Vellich understand their position on Vellikka. No one knows where this image came from, but it can be found on the walls of almost any Bearer's House in any settlement in the continent. It has been crafted into the sides of buildings and painted as murals as well. There are some in The Vell who wear pendants formed from metal and glass of this design around their necks, waists or wrists, to show their affinity for the planet.
The Life PathThe Life Path is what is taught to young Vellich as soon as they are old enough to understand. It is important that everyone should understand their position on this path, and it is often a conversation which people have with the Storytellers of their settlement, to understand their position in life.
The Before is where life comes from. As the Great Spirit is said to have first brought life and spirits to the planet, it makes sense that this should appear at the top of the map.
The Beginning is where everyone starts. Anyone who is learning about the map of the world for the first time is at the beginning of their life path. This is where everything is new and exciting, full of uncertainty, learning and exploration. There is a reason this happens in one of the biggest areas on the map.
The Knowning occurs when a person understands the world. They are no longer in the learning part of their path and are instead consolidating that learning that has already happened. There may, of course, still be learning, but for the most part, that time of curiosity is over. There are many who believe they are at this stage before they are, and others who reach this stage and wish they could return to the Beginning.
The Sharing is when a person is wise enough and experienced enough to start passing on their wisdom to those who are still at the Beginning of their path. This doesn't always mean that they seek out the position of adviser, although some might, but more that people are likely to turn to them for advice or help or support.
The End is the final stage on the path of life. This is when some of what was learned may have been lost, or the changes in the world between what they learned in their Beginning and what is happening now are so great they are unable to keep up. This is not a sad time but is seen as a return to that childlike state. Some return curious, others stubborn, but all are respected.
The After is what comes after the life path is complete. This takes place outside the circle of what is known as none are certain what happens here.
The ElementsThere are a lot of elements on the map of the world. We will start with the bigger elements and work our way to the smaller ones.
Mountain - The top half of the diamond, from the line that runs through the middle of the main circle up to the point at the top, represents a mountain.
Sky - The areas above the mountain on either side are the sky. On the right you can see the single sun and on the left the two moons that orbit the planet. This can also represent night and day.
Land - The area below the line through the middle of the mountain but above the centre line, represents the land or the flatter areas of Vellikka. In this area, you will see a tree or plant of some kind on the left and a small creature, likely a snail, insect or small rodent on the right.
Ocean - The triangular area in the bottom part of the diamond represents the ocean. It is no coincidence that the mountain is as tall as the ocean is deep. From the Vellich perspective, both the land and the ocean are equally important to life on the planet, and so in this way, they get equal billing, so to speak.
Rivers - The area inside the diamond, above the ocean but below the land, represents rivers. Here too you can see algae on the left and an underwater creature on the right. These two are generally the river version of whatever flora and fauna has been drawn in the land section.
Underground - The area on either side of the ocean and river half of the diamond represents what is happening underground. Here you can see the roots of a plant of some kind on the left, and the burrow of an animal on the right, recognising that life happens here too.
Fundementals of the Vellich World View
The PlanetThe planet of Vellikka is at the centre of everything that the Vellich do. This makes them unique to many pre-flight civilisations as they recognise their planet as a single orb within a vast and unknowable universe. This is, perhaps, due to the infrastructure left behind by the Jakunguh, which include star maps and things so impossible that they could not be easily explained.
The StarsThe stars are sometimes pictured on the map of the world around the outside of the outer circle and are therefore considered part of the unknown. Interestingly, they still appear to be aware of constellations which are not visible from their planet, but these likely come from the Jakunguh imagery which was left behind.
The Great Spirit is used by the Vellich to explain whatever brought life to the planet, and the great number of unexplainable Place of Spirits which were left by the Jakunguh. Stories, such as Where The Spirits Come From seek to explain the things which cannot be known and provide a comfortable answer to the people of the planet. The Great Spirit is very much an idea from the past, something which travelled to Vellikka once but is unlikely to return again, although if it does, it may well be the end of the world (as noted in the story Return of the Great Spirit). The Spirits however were left behind by the Great Spirit. For the most part, the Vellich believe that they don't interfere with the lives of people, but people still find solace in them and the places they inhabit.
Gender, Sexuality and the Vellich
HermaphroditeAll of the Vellich are born hermaphrodites, as are many of the species on Vellikka. As a result, their concepts of gender and sexuality differ from those born on planets with more than one recognised sex.
GenderThe Vellich only have one gender and as such, gender constructs, such as male and female, are unfamiliar to them. To ask a Vellich whether they were masculine or feminine would be like asking a fish if it preferred to travel by bicycle or helicopter. They wouldn't understand the question.
SexualitySexuality is fluid to the Vellich and mostly irrelevant. As they are hermaphrodites, anyone engaging in an intimate encounter with another person or people simply needs to ensure that they have compatible preferences. But most are exceedingly flexible in this regard.
StorytellingThe Vellich have an oral storytelling tradition, and it is through professional Storytellers that they learn and grow and remember lessons learned by previous generations. Stories are at the heart of Vellich society, forming part of how they understand the world around them. The stories below relate to some of the elements covered in this article and are taught to children but are regularly repeated to the adults of the community. They are used for entertainment but also for the lessons they bring with them.
The Vellich don't judge people based on gender, because it's not a concept they are familiar with, nor do they judge others based on sexuality. They do, however, strongly believe in the individual's contribution to society. People are expected to make their best effort to contribute. For this reason, they have strong feelings about their professional pathways. The Vellich Profession Paths are made up of several different types of work, with variations within them. Most have the same structure as shown in the map at the top of the page with the life path. People choose their own pathways and once they have chosen they are expected to dedicate themselves to this pathway.