In its most basic form, Omi is used to represent love and benevolence. It is a common root Aon for a wide variety of words, including affection, care, passion, piety, zeal, and some synonyms of loyalty.
A complex Aon with strong symmetry, the Aon has often been used as an example of balance, and even perfection. The great AonDor scholar Enelan of the fourth century called it “The most perfect of Aons, fully incorporating the base of Aon Aon and spinning it into a complex icon that is artful and complicated, yet somehow basically simple at the same time.”
In later centuries, the symbol has come to mean not only love, but divinity as well, an association created by the Korathi Church’s appropriation of the Aon. Many Korathi devout also regard the symbol as representing the potential unification of all mankind through peace, temperance, and love.
History and Use
Aon Omi is best known as the official symbol of the Korathi church in Arelon. It was chosen by Korath (known as KoWho in JinDo) himself to represent the church and God. Scholars of the time say that Korath made the decision late in his life, after decades spent preaching his interpretations of the tenets of Shu-Keseg (which eventually became the Korathi religion) in Arelon and Elantris itself.
The choice was shocking to many, as the young Korathi devout saw the Elantrians and their worship as a competing religion. Their Aons, the basis for Elantrian magic an power, were then regarded as heathen symbols. Korath was always bothered by this competitive streak in his believers, and it is widely accepted that he picked an Aon to represent God and his religion as an attempt to show that all people were acceptable beneath the blanket of the Korathi doctrines. He himself called the Aon a “Thing of Beauty” and asked an Elantrian smith of his acquaintance to craft a silver pendant for him bearing the symbol.
That event, and the subsequent adoption of Aon Omi by the Korathi church, led to the odd relationship between the Elantrians and the Korathi religion which found root in their homeland. (Though, following Korath’s death, his right hand man and follower ShanVen moved the religion’s center of operations to Teod instead, where the young monarchy there had embraced Shu-Korath as its official religion.)
Over the years, many other Aons have been adopted by the Korathi religion, but this one–Aon Omi–has remained their most powerful and important symbol. It is used extensively in Korathi religious services, and pendants bearing Aon Omi are commonly worn by the devout. (Many simply call them Korathi pendants, or Korathi religious pendants.) Such pendants are commonly exchanged during Korathi wedding services. (See the end of ELANTRIS the novel for an example.)
Many Korathi priests now look at the use of Aons by their religion as symbol of the potential unity of all mankind, when different beliefs, sects, and cultures will be drawn together through sincere affection for one another.
Naming and Usage in ELANTRIS
As can be expected from its meanings, Aon Omi is a common root Aon for names in Arelon, particularly among those who follow the Korathi religion.
The most obvious word using Omi as a root is the name Domi itself, the Korathi word for God. This usage did not become common until the seventh century; before then, the Jindoeese name Dashu was used by the Korathi, and the Elantrians preferred a word using Aon Daa as its root. In an interesting exchange, the Aonic word ‘Domi’ eventually became a loan word back to Jindoeese, where the word DoMin eventually came to mean ‘god.’
The head priest of the Korathi chapel in Kae, Father Omin, also uses this Aon in his name. (As a side note, like many Korathi priests, Omin chose a new name for himself once he joined the priesthood. In his youth, he went by the name of Elenan.) Father Omin wears a jade pendant of Aon Omi.
Eondel wears a pendant of Aon Omi, his sky blue. Sarene wears one of green and gold, while Raoden wears one of black.
Aon Omi is a powerful Aon, and before the fall of Elantris could perform powerful magics. When drawn it puts out a powerful and pure white light; any who are touched by this light find their negative emotions wiped away, replaced by a sense of serenity and peace. It is difficult indeed to maintain a sense of hatred while Aon Omi is in force.
So powerful is this Aon, however, that using it requires much of the Elantrian who draws it. The Aon will be weak unless the one drawing it feels a sincere affection for those around him, making this Aon very difficult to use in tense situations. This strange requirement has fascinated AonDor practitioners for centuries, as it is one of the few Aons which requires something other than skill in drawing from its Elantrian.
Aon Omi is also used in other places in AonDor equations. It can be used to tie other Aon chains together, and is also a weaker power modifier, if used in the correct way.