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Understanding Tel'aran'rhiod: A Theoryland Collaboration

Introduction

The Creator and the Dark one are both constant, in all ages, in all worlds, in all layers of the pattern. Tel'aran'rhiod, the Unseen World, is the third constant. But we have yet to understand the scope of what is capable via tel'aran'rhiod. Below I will demonstrate some of the ways in which the various realms of tel'aran'rhiod are utilised, and how the Unseen World relates to Travelling, Portal Stones, Skimming, and even the Ways. The information contained within this study was compiled by Tamyrlin, SDog, and Raen M'haal, with some input by others (you know who you are!) at various stages.

Terminology

TAR = Tel'aran'rhiod
GOI = Gap Of Infinity
MW = Mirror World
PS = Portal Stone
AS = Aes Sedai
SAS = Salidar Aes Sedai
OP = One Power
TGH = The Great Hunt
TDR = The Dragon Reborn

The Unseen World, Tel'aran'rhiod

TAR is the World of Dreams, or otherwise known as the Unseen World. As the books describe the Unseen World can be found in and around all worlds, it is all encompassing. This unseen world, for the sake of this study, can be broken down into three separate layers; the World of Dreams, the Gap of Infinity, and the Skimming Space. I will now explain the distinction between each of these layers. I do not mean to suggest that these are all the layers of the Unseen World, but these are the only layers that will be discussed, by reason that these are the only layers we have been introduced to thus far within the series. (Note that TAR is the name given to the World of Dreams, as well as for the all-encompassing Unseen World.)

Section A: Tel'aran'rhiod, The World of Dreams

This is the part into which Dreamwalkers typically enter. This is also the part where Perrin goes to in the Wolf Dreams, and Rand has at times entered into in his own dreams. The part where Elayne and Nynaeve meet with the Aiel Dreamwalkers, where the Heroes Of The Horn reside, where Moghedien lurks, where Rand fought against Ishamael, etc. This is a reflection of the "real" world, i.e. the world that has the highest probability (Randland). Although it is a reflection, it only truly reflects what is constant or static in the real world. An example of this would be when the SAS used TAR to spy on Elaida in the White Tower. The rooms and corridors of the tower were identical to the real White Tower, as these are static. They don't change in the real world. However, Elaida's paperwork, which is not so constant or static, was constantly changing. Due to the nature of a letter, its reflection in TAR will not be constant, and may be subject to change, or to vanishing, at any time, with no chance of retrieval.

It has been noted also that within TAR, it is vital that one keeps their wits about them at all times. If the imagination is allowed to wander, the consequences can be devastating. We have seen what happens when a Dreamwalker doesn't keep a tight rein on their thoughts. The slightest uncontrolled thought can cause for the clothing one wears to change dramatically, as we have seen with Elayne and Nynaeve on countless occasions. For a greater example, I once again refer to the scene in which Nynaeve and Elayne led the SAS to the White Tower through TAR. Some of the AS in that group lost control of their thoughts, and immediately found themselves being tortured or cooked by trollocs. Others saw their plight, and tried to rescue them, but because they believed the trollocs to be real, they were also ensnared in the trap. Any injury, even death, which occurs in TAR, is real.

It is possible to channel within TAR. However, even if you drew on one of the Choeden Kal's, somebody using his or her imagination might still overcome you. The mind is the key to mastering TAR. As demonstrated by Amys and Bair, a dream walker has the ultimate control of what happens to them in TAR. If you believe something to true, then that something will become manifest. Amys and Bair have shown Egwene, and also Elayne and Nynaeve, exactly how ignorant they are of the Unseen World, time and again, by manipulating TAR to show exactly what they want to see, even so far as to put pigtails in their hair, and a rag doll in their arms, like little Aiel girls. Although any of these three alone could have defeated both Wise Ones in a battle with Saidar, they were powerless against them in TAR.

We also know that to enter TAR in the flesh is considered to be an evil thing, according to the Aiel Wise Ones who have the ability to dream walk. They say that traveling to TAR in the flesh makes you lose part of what makes you human. Note: the similarity with how Hopper talks to Perrin several times--"You are here to strongly. You could die," etc. In WH, I believe, Perrin goes to the Wolf Dream very strongly (Hopper tells him so) to try to find Faile. While he's asleep, Berelain and Annoura touch him and say he felt as if he had no soul.

From this we draw the conclusion that all souls exist partially in TAR. When you Dream there too strongly, you leave too little of your soul behind in your body. When you travel there in the flesh, you bring your body into a world that is not truly physical, and again your soul is stripped away from the RW. If you do this for too long, you run the risk of losing your connection to the RW, altogether.

Section B: The Gap of Infinity

The GOI is the area we are introduced to that Egwene travels to in TAR. In this realm, she is formless, floating in a "sea of stars". Each of these stars, or bright lights, symbolises the dreams of all people on all worlds. What Egwene sees here is the front end, or interface, of the GOI. In the back end, behind the bright lights that represent the dreams, you will find the various MW's. As stated previously, all souls exist partially in TAR. Well, the GOI is also the part of TAR that the soul resides in. For lack of a better way to define it, the part of every soul that resides in the GOI is the Subconscious, while the Conscious mind resides within the brain. Dreams are a product of the Subconscious, and dreams also reside in the GOI. So it is fair to say that the Subconscious resides in, or is linked to, the GOI. This ties into part of a soul residing in TAR - it is in fact the Subconscious Mind that resides in the GOI.

On occasion it has been known for people to appear briefly in the World of Dreams. When Egwene floats within the GOI, the lights flicker. They grow brighter, or dimmer. The reason for that is this: the Subconscious resides deeper in GOI than the interface, until such time as one is sleeping. At that point, the subconscious draws closer and closer to the World of Dreams as one dreams. As they draw closer to the World of Dreams, their "dream-light" brightens, and then dulls as it becomes further removed. Sometimes it has been known for a person to wander into the World of Dreams, in the height of their own dream. This is because as the light drew closer, suddenly it crossed the barrier, and they would find themselves in the TAR reflection of the place they're dreaming of. These visits to the World of Dreams usually last a very short time before the "dream-light" retracts into the GOI. Upon waking, the "dream-light" retracts further into the GOI, and is no longer visible from the interface.

Section C: Skimming Space

This part of the Unseen World is the part used in Travelling, Skimming, and also used in the creation of the Ways. This is often described as the dark void between worlds, of the skimming place. This aspect of TAR will be discussed at greater length under the Travelling, Skimming and the Ways sections.

Skimming

Skimming is a method of travel used by Aes Sedai. It works by creating a gateway from the world, into the Skimming Space. The traveler steps through the gateway, onto a platform of their own making, and then moves from point A, through the Skimming Space, until finally reaching point B. Skimming requires that you know the exact coordinates of point B, as this is pre-defined in the weave which creates the gateway. For the use of this weave, it is not necessary to know point A. You create a hole from the place you are at the time, to a location somewhere in the Skimming Space, and then you allow your platform to lead you to the exact coordinates of point B, where an exit gateway will open upon arrival. The coordinates of point B absolutely must be specified in the weave, or else the weave will not work.

It could even be possible, since this method of Travelling actually involves entry into the Skimming Space, that you could use Skimming to penetrate the Skimming Space, and thus come to the World of Dreams. And from there? Perhaps you could even skim to a Mirror World. In fact, we would speculate this as being possible from the Skimming Space. However, we have seen nothing to indicate that this would be possible.

Travelling:

Travelling, in Raen's opinion, does not utilise any of the layers of T'A'R. It cuts right through them, ripping a small temporary hole in the pattern which connects point A and point B. Thus, it is instantaneous. This type of Travel demands that one know the exact place from which they are leaving. I believe that this is because they need to know which part of the pattern they are bending to. They are bringing to themselves an exit point, and the exact coordinates of the entry point have to be known in order to bring the exit point there. They bend the pattern, and then bore a hole through it, which bypasses the Skimming Space, unlike Skimming, which cuts a hole into the Skimming Space, so you can travel through it until you reach the destination.

So Travel: must know entry point, so you can bring exit to that precise location.

Skim: must know exit, because you enter Space blind, and have to know the coordinates of your destination in order to get to where you want to go.

We also believe that when Rand and Ishamael traveled to T'A'R in the flesh that they bent the pattern in such a way that a hole opened which allowed for direct entry into Dreamworld. Perhaps it is possible to Travel to the GOI interface, but we are unsure. When Egwene was there, she was not in a body, but a floating consciousness. In Dreamworld she has an image of herself, which for whatever reason cannot be used in the GOI. I imagine that it would be possible to travel to the Skimming Space also, but once again, we have seen no proof of that. Although, we do note that the "spying" space that Perrin, Birgitte, and Nynaeve use along with the Forsaken, does exhibit similar properties to the Skimming Space. Whether or not the area used to spy on those in the Dream World is simply a part of the layer or not, is unknown at this time.

We know that women see the opening of the gateway as folding the pattern so that the entry and exit points are brought together, and then just stepping through. Men see it as boring a hole through the pattern to reach their destination. In fact, it is both. Women fold the pattern until the entry and exit points meet, right? So where does the hole they step through come from? And men...boring a hole through the pattern is not really a very good way of explaining it, and it seems to me that if they were boring through the pattern, the destination would not appear exactly before them, but would rather be through a tunnel. Think of the way women and men connect with the power. Women embrace it, but men seize it. Men seem to have the more aggressive side of it, whereas women have a more passive angle. Thus do women, when they travel, feel only the passive side of it, when men feel the aggressive side.

So what happens is that first, the traveler folds the pattern, until the entry and exit points meet, fulfilling what the women feel while doing this. Then, they bore a hole through, fulfilling what men feel. Fold, then bore. And thus does the pattern come together, and the gateway open, revealing the destination on the other side. Both ways happen, but a different aspect of it is felt, depending on the gender of the channeler.

Now they always say that it's the pattern. They either fold it, or bore a hole through it, but it's always the Pattern they are manipulating. This indicates that it is possible to travel to anywhere within the confines of the Pattern. We know it is possible to travel directly into T'A'R, as Rand, Ishamael, Rahvin and Egwene have all done it. So travel to the MW's must also be possible. Because it is the pattern that they bend, they could effectively create a gateway that exits at any location, anywhere inside the pattern. Tamyrlin slightly disagrees with this point on the basis that while the Mirror Worlds do technically forma part of the Pattern, a channeler must be able to conceptualize the place they would like to go. Accordingly, while he believes that it is possible to travel to a Mirror World, that most likely it is only possible once that person has visited that world through a Portal Stone. For example, Rand could open a gateway to the Mirror World he visited.

The Ways:

The Waygates are a fixed portal created by male Aes Sedai at the time of the Breaking Of The World, designed as a way to move between Stedding at a potentially "hastier" (giggle) pace. The Waygates, as we all know, lead into The Ways, which are described as a series of ramps, bridges and platforms suspended over a limitless void. This void is in fact the Skimming Space. The Waygates themselves are a ter'angreal, used to create a gateway into the Skimming Space. Once inside the Ways, navigation is a matter of moving from ramp to bridge to platform, until you find the desired exit, in the form of another Skimming Space Ter'angreal (Waygate). Placed at intervals within the Ways you have the Guidings, large obelisks that give directions through the Ways.

The Ways were created on the knowledge of Skimming, inasmuch as the Waygates are opened, and you then follow a set path of platforms through Space. These platforms are crafted, and very static, unlike with a Skimming weave, where the channeler must create their own platform. Perhaps the male Aes Sedai who created the Ways Traveled from one Stedding to another, and then Skimmed back, mapping a course as they went. There may well be a specific course through Space that one must travel, given that the paths of the Ways are static. This is not without precedent, given that when Rand chased Asmodean from Alcair Dal to Rhuidean, he was able to intercept Asmodean while inside Space, thereby suggesting that the course from Alcair Dal to Rhuidean is a set course that both must follow in order to reach the required destination.

(Digression: But then comes the problem of Machin Shin, the Black Wind. I would venture to say that Machin Shin is a bi-product of the Ways, created by the taint's effect on the weaves of Saidin that created the Ways (remember also that the Ways are alive). Thus Machin Shin is bound to the paths of the Ways themselves, and cannot travel out into the Skimming Space, or leave via a Waygate.)

Portal Stones and the Mirror Worlds

Mirror Worlds: Travel

As mentioned above, the Mirror Worlds are located in the back end of the GOI. Thus, they are still a part of TAR. However, it seems it is possible to enter a MW in the flesh, as well as the Skimming Space, without being subject to the evilness of entering Dreamworld in the flesh. Also stated above is the fact that it is possible to travel to anywhere inside of the pattern. Thus it surely must be possible to travel to a MW. The Portal Stones were created as a way of accessing the MW's without having to travel. In fact, it seems that the PS's were created long ago, even before the Age of Legends. Even AS in the Age of Legends knew very little about how the PS's worked. Verin mentions that the Portal Stones were created by those who knew the Numbers of Chaos. This reference has to do with the mathematics behind the process of traveling to one of these simulations in the flesh from the real world. The creators of the Portal Stones discovered that time in the real world is distorted when visiting one of these simulations. This distortion is a commonly known attribute of T'A'R, which seems to transcend each of its dimensions.

Mirror Worlds: Network Theory of Portal Stones

The PS's actually operate in a ring formation. Here is how the Portal Stone Ring works:

All portal stones, everywhere, are connected in the shape of a ring, and to travel between them, you have to start at one portal stone, and travel (for example) clockwise. It may only take minutes or hours to get to the next portal stone, but what if you want to get to the one behind you? Perhaps that takes longer, even months. So the passing of time is determined by the distance between the entry stone and the exit stone on the ring. Not the physical distance, or logical distance (the distance, on the ring, between entry and exit), but by the relational distance; the distance around that ring you have to travel. You may even have two stones within 10 miles of each other, and they are right next to each other on the ring, but to go from PS1 to PS2 takes an hour, and to go from PS2 to PS1 may take 6 months.

This can be used to explain why Rand and co saw their visions of various alternate lives they could have lived on their way to Falme. As Rand and co passed a non-intended exit in the ring, they saw a vision of themselves in the world that belongs to the exit that they passed.

The passage of time is also related to the amount of the OP channeled into the symbol. The more Saidin/Saidar you throw into that symbol, the faster you travel around that ring. You must reach a certain amount of OP to actually pass onto the ring, and your speed around it then depends on how much power you throw at it. Like the accelerator pedal in your car.

There was a whole lot of flickering when they passed through the PS from the MW to Cairhien, so maybe they were passing those PS's at such a fast rate that they just didn't get the visions. On the trip to Rhuidean, one minute they were in Tear, and the next they were in the Waste. No flickering at all. So perhaps moving at an even faster rate.

On the trip back from the MW, Rand pulled and pulled on Saidin, until he held as much as he could. He was so consumed in Saidin that Selene had to snap him out of it. On the trip to Rhuidean, he used the fat little man angreal, and pulled as much Saidin as he could. But on the trip to Toman Head, it says only that he channeled Saidin into the symbol, not how strong he was pulling on the source. So likely he was not channeling as much Saidin into the symbol, and thus traveled slower than on the other occasions, and thus went slow enough that as Rand and co passed an exit point, they viewed part of the life they would have lived on that world.

The PS's themselves are a man-made manifestation of something that is already there. They are located on the same place on each world that they exist in, so it seems that the location itself is the link to the ring, and the PS is a man-made tool by which to manipulate that link. This link may touch every single mirror world, but as the PS's themselves are man-made, it only gives travelling access to the worlds represented on the stone. Perhaps if you know the trick without using the PS ter'angreal, you could go to one of these places and transport to any MW of your choice. Rand, Loial and Hurin coming to a MW from a Stone which had been almost entirely buried supports this. Also, one of the Ogier Elders mentioned once trying to move a PS, but was unable, saying: 'it resisted being moved'. (TGH, page 523) This indicates to me that the PS ter'angreal is now bound to the link on the ring. Some evidence to supports these ideas has to do with Rand "imagining" a symbol, versus actually having to touch it.

Tamyrlin speculates that T'A'R actually controls this system of rings in regards to their appearance in the Mirror Worlds. Since those stones are merely reflections, no one believes that the creators actually traveled to each Mirror World to create separate stones. But then how else would we explain the "differences" as to the worlds each stone access, if they are merely reflections (each stone found in a Mirror World does display the same symbols as the stone that corresponds it in the real world.) To explain this difference, Tamyrlin believes that T'A'R must control the display of these stones in each Mirror World.

Mirror Worlds: Probabilities and Reality

At turning points in history, the pattern creates a simulation of what would have happened to the world if those turning points had different outcomes. The more probable the chance, the more solid, or realistic, the simulation. The pattern has the ability to create an infinite amount of simulations. All of those simulations reside within the back end of the GOI, and have no discernible location in the real world or real universe. Lives lived in MW's are only a simulation of how a person's life could have been, had a different decision been reached, as are the worlds those lives reside in. There is only one person, eg Rand, not many Rands, as there can only be one soul. All other variations of Rand are not real, only simulations, as it is impossible for a new soul to be created for each person for each decision made that could effect them. Similarly with the MW's. There is only one real world, and the MW's are exactly that; a reflection, or virtual simulation of what the world could have been, if certain decisions had gone certain ways.

Since these are merely simulations, they cannot affect the real world. Although, Dreamers and Dreamwalkers can see simulations of possible future events, which do end up becoming reality, but sometimes not in the exact manner in the simulated way TAR showed them. From all of its simulated worlds TAR is able to calculate a relatively accurate picture of the future, but these remain possibilities. Here are some important quotes to consider.

"There is no one set path to the future. The Pattern makes the finest lace look coarse woven sacking, or tangled string. In Tel'aran'rhiod it is possible to see some ways the future may be woven. No more than that."

"Verin, I lived and died, I don't know how many times. Every time it was different, but it was me. It was me."

"The Lines that join the Worlds That Might Be, laid by those who knew the Numbers of Chaos." Verin shuddered; she seemed to be talking to herself. "I've never heard it, but there is no reason we would not be born in those worlds, yet the lives we lived would be different lives. Of course. Different lives for the different ways things might have happened."

"Is that what happened? I . . . we . . . saw how our lives could have been?"

These simulations reside in the GOI where the rules of the dream dimension are not completely applicable. You cannot travel with thought (skip). Rand and Company were forced to travel as they would through their own world. The pattern apparently simulates the reality of the physical laws that control the real world to the degree in which the variations are statistically probable. The world Rand visited was dim, and they noticed a strange anomaly when they would turn to quickly making them dizzy. Lanfear states that it wasn't that probable a world. Also, from comments made by Egwene, it would appear that TAR also simulates a "real" life for the virtual inhabitants of these simulation worlds. One product is they dream, creating a small simulated "dream-light" within the GOI. These simulated dreams appear to be what the testing Ter'angreal in the white tower accesses to test novices. The Ter'angreal, probably created to mimic Portal Stones, possibly used in the Age of Legends by channelers who wanted to visit their possible pasts, presents, and futures, appears to access these simulated dreams of virtual inhabitants of Mirror Worlds. This seems more likely after analyzing the experience Egwene had when she was pulled into Gawyn's dream and when Nynaeve had her novice test that describes her future with Lan. We will not display those quotes at this time, but we invite you to consider what happened to Egwene, her feeling of being two "selves", but losing the thought of the second self at times, and acting according to the dream that Gawyn was having. Then compare that with Nynaeve's feelings when she took her last test, where she was herself with Lan, as his wife. The largest difference is that the novices go into these dreams in the flesh and would therefore be lost when that simulated dream ended. Another telling event is Nynaeve's ability to form a new portal in her mind, this suggesting that it is happening within a dream within T'A'R.

Here is a supporting quote from Lanfear:

She gave him a look, then nodded. "Yes. Exactly. Those worlds truly are mirrors in a way, especially the ones where there are no people. Some of them reflect only great events in the true world, but some have a shadow of that reflection even before the event occurs. The passage of the Horn of Valere would certainly be a great event. Reflections of what will be are fainter than reflections of what is or what was, just as Hurin says the trail he followed was faint." - Page 269 of TGH paperback

There is only one creator, one DO, and one TAR. We are then told that each one of these things resides in the real world and in all of the Mirror Worlds. Obviously, this does not mean that there is an infinite amount of Creators, DO's, and TAR's. What this means is that every one of the Mirror Worlds is a simulation of the real world. Egwene relates the following:

"Those flickering lights were dreams, all the dreams of all the people of the world. Of all worlds, places that were not quite the world she knew, worlds nothing like it at all. Verin Sedai first told her of those, the Wise Ones affirmed it was so, and she herself had glimpsed things, peeking in, that she simply could not credit, not even in a dream."

Egwene says, the lights are dreams of all people, of all worlds, worlds that were not quite the world she knew (Mirror Worlds), and worlds nothing like it at all (other worlds in the Universe), worlds that Verin had told her about. Egwene glimpses the worlds that Verin told her about. This is what Verin said:

"With one finger, Verin drew a number of parallel lines across the area she had cleared, lines clear in dust atop the old beeswax. "Let these represent worlds that might exist if different choices had been made, if major turning points in the Pattern had gone another way."

"The worlds reached by the Portal Stones," Egwene said"

"Very good. Some in the Age of Legends apparently believe that there were still other worlds - even harder to reach than the worlds of the Portal Stones, if that can be believed - lying like this...Well, that is neither here nor there. In all of these worlds, whatever their other variations, a few things are constant. One is that the Dark One is imprisoned in all of them."

So, through these quotes, we can easily make the case that within the GOI where Egwene goes to find dreams, she also sees dreams of people that are within the Mirror Worlds. Another quick reference:

"Formless, she floated deep within an ocean of stars, infinite points of light glimmering in an infinite sea of darkness, fireflies beyond counting flickering in an endless night. Those were dreams, the dreams of everyone sleeping anywhere in the world, maybe of everyone in all possible worlds, and this was the gap between reality and Tel'aran'rhiod."

So at this point we at least know that the worlds reached by the Portal Stones are the same worlds that are connected by T'A'R and that you can see dreams of those Mirror World inhabitants within the GOI, a sea of infinite possibilities.

Also, as mentioned above, the Ways and Skimming occur within the bounds of TAR, forms of traveling quicker between two points. Verin tells Rand:

"I know this much about them. Each stands for a world, the study of which led eventually to the making of the Ways. These are not all of the worlds studied, but the only ones for which I know the symbols. This is where gambling comes in. I don't know what any of these worlds is like. It is believed there are worlds where a year is only a day here, and others where a day is a year here. There are supposed to be worlds where the very air would kill us at a breath, and worlds that barely have enough reality to hold together."

Probably one of the more ancient forms of traveling great distances in short periods of time. Loial tells Rand:

"She says you were right about the Ways, Rand. The Aes Sedai, some of them, studied worlds like this, and that study was the basis of how they grew the Ways. She says there are worlds where it is time rather than distance that changes. Spend a day in one of those, and you might come back to find a year has passed in the real world, or twenty. Or it could be the other way round. Those worlds - this one, all the others - are reflections of the real world, she says. This one seems pale to us because it is a weak reflection, a world that had little chance of ever being. Others are almost as likely as ours. Those are as solid as our world, and have people. The same people, she says, Rand. Imagine it! You could go to one of them and meet yourself. The Pattern has infinite variation, she says, and every variation that can be, will be."

These quotes help us to summarize the belief that the Ways are within T'A'R because the Mirror Worlds within T'A'R were studied to understand how they distort time and distance in order to create the Ways. The male Aes Sedai had to use the dim void layer, or Skimming layer, in order to create a location where time and distance could similarly be distorted. We do understand that the Ways, when originally created, had light and trees and such, but obviously that was a construct that was built to surround this specific area because as their weave deteriorated through the corrupt nature of Saidin, it has broken down and the nature of the void that surrounded it in the first place can now be seen.

Mirror Worlds: Inside the Pattern - Outside the Real Universe

Lanfear through Loial makes an important point. The world Rand and company traveled to was a "weak reflection." There is only one real universe. Each person has one thread. There is only one Creator and Dark One, and the Mirror Worlds are reflections of what might have been, not a part of reality. All of these clues point to the fact that these worlds reside somewhere inside the Pattern but outside of the real universe. It all points to the fact that the Mirror Worlds reside within the Unseen World, where these reflections can play themselves out but cannot affect the real world. If these worlds resided in real time and space somewhere, then those inhabitants would be able to travel using the Portal Stones and visit the real world. This isn't possible. Mirror Worlds don't really exist; they are a simulation run by the pattern of probabilities and possibilities. Since we know there is only one set of real people on the real world...those people on Mirror Worlds cannot be independent threads. Those people and worlds are what you would see in a mirror, if the mirror could manipulate the image of you and the world it reflects. The mirror that is manipulating the images is the pattern - 3-D image that is only real if you "connect" into TAR...almost reminiscent of "The Matrix", except when you use a Portal Stone your entire body is transported into T'A'R, whereas a dream only sends your mind in.

However, PS's are not subject to simulation on the MW's. The reason for this is quite simple. As stated above, the PS's are a man-made ter'angreal which is used to manipulate a natural occurrence, specifically a link on the PS ring. This link is connected directly to the Unseen World, as it is a place in the real world from which you can travel to the MW's, which are located in the back end of the GOI. Because this linking zone connects directly to the Unseen World, it no longer becomes subject to reflection. The actual stone itself, having been bound to this natural link, is also no longer subject to reflection. Here is a supporting quote from Verin:

"The symbols on the top half of the stone stand for worlds. Not all the Worlds That Might Be, of course. Apparently, not every Stone connects to every world, and the Aes Sedai of the Age of Legends believe there were possible worlds no stones at all touched." - TGH, Chapter 37

So as you can see, if not every world has a PS, then the PS's cannot be subject to reflection. Also consider that each world accessible by using the PS ring has it's own symbol. More MW's are being created throughout the course of history, so given that the PS is a man-made artifact, it stands to reason that man designates the symbol for each world. So more symbols would then need to be created for the new worlds. So of course it's not possible to travel to other MW's via PS, right? Well, as stated above, it is possible to do so if you know the trick of manipulating the linking zone without use of a PS.

Testing Ter'angreal

Egwene married him; Egwene, stern-faced in the stole of the Amyrlin Seat, led the Aes Sedai who gentled him; Egwene, with tears in her eyes, plunged a dagger into his heart, and he thanked her as he died. - Rand seeing his alternate lives via a Portal Stone, TGH chapter 37, page 532

Compare this to Egwene's trip through the ring ter'angreal in TDR. While Egwene wasn't one of the AS who gentled Rand in her version of events, they are still practically identical. This is evidence that the testing ter'angreal is somehow linked to the Dreamworld, possibly a TAR reflection of something that occurs in a MW.

It is supposed that each of the three rings takes you to another MW, where it is possible to face other realities, and also see possible futures. The possibilities Egwene witnessed in the testing ter'angreal are also the exact same possibilities that Rand sees when traversing the PS network on his way to Toman Head.

In one Mirror World, Egwene married Rand, and he got his sickness from not being trained in controlling Saidin. Egwene, during her testing, was taken into TAR, to a reflection of that world, not her own.

This is also why Nynaeve scratched herself inside the training ter'angreal, and still had the scratch upon leaving - because she got the scratch in TAR, where injuries taken are real!. This is also why Egwene's ring, a ter'angreal for accessing TAR, caused the problem with the testing ter'angreal, another ter'angreal that accesses TAR. Two ter'angreals that are used for the same purpose coming too close to each other.

Prescience and T'A'R

The Pattern picks from probable futures and weaves the real present. Therefore, if the Pattern knows the probable future it will pick, then it could serve all three Talents: Dreaming, Foretelling, and Viewing. All of them do the same thing; they predict the future.

When Egwene dreams she sees moving images that demonstrate something real that will happen. When Elaida foretells, she speaks something real that will happen. When Min views, she sees an image, and interprets it as something that will happen. We know that Dreaming obviously uses T'A'R in connection with the Pattern. We don't have connections established to TAR for the other two Talents´┐Żbut it would make sense that, since it is the mechanism that the Pattern uses to predict the future that the other two Talents just tap into one of its many layers in a different form. An example, the Talent of Dreaming and Perrin's Wolf Dreams. Two different "Talents" that use the same mechanism, T'A'R.

Dreaming doesn't seem any less of an interpretation of real future events than foretelling does. All of these Talents tell/give images as to future events and most are usually vague. Min knows that Rand needs Perrin twice, that someone was going to harm Sheriam. Elaida says that Aes Sedai will walk the grounds of the Black Tower. Egwene says that Mat will take fireworks into his hands. I don't know that you can say one is more reliable than the other because there is the element of interpretation for each person. Those things will happen no matter what Egwene, Min, or Elaida do or say.

Now, some people have the ability to see the how the threads of individual lives will be woven into the Pattern, again based on what has already happened. Min can see certainties in individual lives, and, sometimes those small certainties have huge implications. But there is some trade-off, here. Min only knows what is going to happen in the vaguest sense, and sometimes not at all. She knows the Tinker in TDR is going to die, but she doesn't know how, or where, or when. She knows Logain is destined for glory, but who knows why or how? Once in a while, she does see something very specific, especially with regard to OP channelers. She knows those AS will be loyal to Rand, and she knows for certain that Rand will need Perrin more than once.

Dreamers, on the other hand, can apparently see both individual and group threads, and can see how they will be woven. Plus, they can see things about themselves, which Min cannot. In Raen's opinion, it could be that Dreamers could see things about themselves precisely because they are in TAR Dreaming it. Something about TAR gives them access to the probability of their own thread. While Dreamers' prescience is a bit more specific than Min's, it still does not have the certainty of detail that Foretelling has.

One step closer to adding Foretelling to the list of connections to T'A'R.

"She could not bring herself to tell Anaiya...You may be a Dreamer. It is a small chance, child, but...We haven't had one of those in - oh - four or five hundred years. And Dreaming is close linked to Foretelling. If you really can Dream, it may be that you can Foretell, as well."

"Egwene squeezed the ring hard. Dreaming was closely linked to Foretelling; the future, and events in other places, could appear in a Dreamer's dreams. "Maybe we will know after tonight."

Prescience and T'A'R: An Analysis of Viewings and Foretelling

Min's Viewings

  1. "Siuan Sanche was standing there as regal as any queen, and for a moment she was also lying on the floor, naked. Aside from her being in only her skin, there was something odd about the image, but it vanished before Min could say what. It was as strong a viewing as she had ever seen, and she had no idea what it meant."
  2. "Sheriam knew her all too well - and the red-haired Aes Sedai's face seemed battered and bruised. It was only the viewing, of course, but Min still had to bite her lip to stifle a gasp. Sheriam, with her calm authority and sureness, was as indestructible as the Tower. Surely nothing could harm Sheriam. But something was going to."
  3. "Her horse." Gawyn stepped from behind a wide - trunked paperbark, one hand on the long hilt of his sword. The blood streaking his face made exactly the pattern Min had seen in her viewing, her first day back in Tar Valon. "I knew you must be up to something, Min, when I saw her horse." His red-gold hair was matted with blood, his blue eyes half-dazed, but he walked toward them smoothly, a tall man with a catlike grace. A cat stalking mice."
  4. "It is still the same," Min said patiently. Siuan refused to understand or believe, however many times she told her, and so did Leane. It would not have mattered if she had not seen the aura since her first viewing of it in Tar Valon. Had Logain been lying in the road, rasping his death tattle, she would have wagered all she had and more on a miraculous recovery, somehow. The appearance of an Aes Sedai to Heal him. Something. What she saw was always true. It always happened. She knew the same way that she had known the first time she saw Rand al'Thor that she would fall desperately, helplessly in love with him, the same way she had known she would have to share him with two other women. Logain was destined for glory such as few men had dreamed of."
  5. "Around those women, and around most of the men, auras and images floated before her eyes, changing and flickering; most people rarely had anything for her viewing, but Aes Sedai and Warders seldom lacked an aura for as much as an hour. The children must have belonged to Tower servants. Aes Sedai who married were few and far between, but knowing them, they would have made every effort to bring their servants, with their families, out of any place they felt that they must flee themselves. Siuan had found her gathering."
  6. "If you want to stay alive, you had better stay close to him." Despite the heat, Min shivered. She had only ever had one other viewing with an "if" in it, and both had been potentially deadly. It was bad enough sometimes knowing what would happen; if she started knowing what might. . . "All I know is this. If he stays close to you, you live. If he gets too far away, for too long, you are going to die. Both of you. I don't know why I should have seen anything about you in his aura, but you seemed like part of it."
  7. "Min could only shake her head. How to explain what she did know about Hanlon now, that his hands would be red with more rapes and murders before he died? If she had known when or who.... But all she knew was that he would. Anyway, telling about a viewing never changed it; what she saw happened, no matter who she warned. Sometimes, before she had learned better, it had happened because she warned."

Summary of Min's Viewings

  1. Min sees things that will happen, like Siuan lying naked in the cell, stilled.
  2. Min's viewings can be vague, without timeline.
  3. Min's can see exactness in her viewings.
  4. Min can see things about herself.
  5. People that have the power to affect the Pattern have the most images, which suggests that the images are indicative of major "turning" points in the lives of those she views. (Example - Siuan being stilled, Gawyn leading the battle of the Younglings, the three falling in love with Rand.)
  6. Min's viewings are not always set in stone, some "ifs".
  7. Telling about a viewing never changes it.

Foretelling

  1. "This I Foretell," Elaida replied, "and swear under the Light that I can say no clearer. From this day Andor marches toward pain and division. The Shadow has yet to darken to its blackest, and I cannot see if the Light will come after. Where the world has wept one tear, it will weep thousands. This I Foretell."
  2. "And Gitara Sedai started up out of her chair, her arms and legs rigid, trembling, her face as if she looked into the Pit of Doom at Shayol Ghul, and she cried out, 'He is born again! I feel him! The Dragon takes his first breath on the slope of Dragonmount! He is coming! He is coming! Light help us! Light help the world! He lies in the snow and cries like the thunder! He burns like the sun!' And she fell forward into my arms, dead."
  3. "Apart from everything else, it infuriated her that she could not find Elayne. Elaida had the Foretelling sometimes, the ability to foresee future events. If it came seldom and faintly, that was still more than any Aes Sedai had had since Gitara Moroso, dead now twenty years. The very first thing Elaida had ever Foretold, while still an Accepted-and had known enough even then to keep to herself-was that the Royal line of Andor would be the key to defeating the Dark One in the Last Battle."
  4. Definition of Talents: Another Talent long thought lost is Dreaming, interpreting the Dreamer's dreams to foretell future events in more specific fashion than Foretelling.
  5. "So easy to forget that, erratic and infrequent; it had been so long since the last Foretelling that the very unpredictability made it strike like a thunderbolt. No one could say when it would come, not even Elaida, and no one could say what it would reveal. Now Alviarin almost felt the woman's shadowy presence following and watching."

Summary of Foretelling

  1. Foretellings can be general and vague.
  2. Foretellings can be about things in the very near future or present.
  3. Foretellings foresee future events.
  4. Dreaming foretells future events in a more specific fashion than Foretelling.
  5. Foretellings are unpredictable and infrequent.

Prescience and T'A'R: Summary

The three forms of prescience foretell the most likely future events. Would it not make sense to say that at the time of the viewing/dream/foretelling, that all decisions that could lead to that viewing/dream/foretelling being a certainty have already been fulfilled? Once all the requirements for a certain future playing out have been met, then the viewer/dreamer/foreteller can see that sometime in the future, an event will happen, and there is no way to change that. When Min saw the viewing of Suian in the cell, stilled, it was a certain future because every required event which would have been needed to bring that future to fruition had already occurred, and there was by then no way to change anything to stop it from happening.

It appears that there may be two different ways to use the dream world to predict the future. Egwene went to her own dreams and was able to logically separate out what were playful dreams, from the more meaningful, prophetic ones, and she was able to catalogue those. This is different from the GOI and from TAR. It may be that while someone may master the use of TAR, they still might not have the inherent ability to Dream as Egwene does. For example, a Wise One can Dream but cannot channel. But it seems like there is another thing that you can do within T'A'R, which is more like reading the future from possible events, like the Wise Ones tell Moiraine. What they collectively saw seems like something different than the stuff Egwene "dreams"?

Conclusion

After reading this study, it is apparent that some areas we are still developing and other areas remain in the realm of pure speculation. But we have sufficiently demonstrated the connection between the Unseen World and the various parts of Robert Jordan's world that use or reside within it and how that applies to the storyline. Understanding the Unseen World helps us to understand how the prediction of future events occurs, and how the Wheel weaves the Pattern of Ages. This Third Constant is much larger and complex than anyone could have reasoned. For instance, how does Moghedien force the soul of Birgitte into the real world without being "born" through the normal channels of the Pattern? We invite your comments, additions, or any contradiction you have. This is an initial study from two weeks of discussion on the message board.

If you have questions, please submit them to tamyrlin@theoryland.com Or if you have general comments, please go to the Theoryland message board to discuss them.

Raen Mhaal
SDog
Tamyrlin
Theoryland Board Members