Kestrel / Courtship Ksutre
by Kerrin Gaile and Alystrian Imbrilea
For those unfamiliar with the term, "Ksutre" is a Kestrel word that means "a collection of instructions" or "a collection of instructional or educational books". A Ksture is usually a set of instructions or several sets of instructions that are to be memorized and/or carried out. Although Kestrel courtship practices have varied through time and from locale to locale, an amazing number of them were followed very precisely. Dedication to rituals and ceremonies of courtship is readily evident in many old texts.
This book is based upon lengthy research through many sources on the subject. It is written as both an academic exploration of courtship practices as well as an instructional manual on how one particular set of rituals and ceremonies might be exercised by people today. In this spirit, this book has been written as a Ksutre.
Most of the research has uncovered that Kestrel courtship was actually a whole series of rituals and ceremonies performed over a lengthy period of time, not just one single event. Because they are from long ago, much of the information was in the context of arranged pairings and marriages. Much of this has been translated into a more modern context here in this text.
Only faint vestiges of the original rituals are left in modern ceremonies anymore. In fact, few modern courtships are formal in nature. The language of the source materials is from long ago and some colloquialisms from those times are difficult to translate directly into today's language. Sometimes approximations have had to be used.
In some Kestrel communities today there is no such thing as divorce. In fewer still, a Kestrel bereft of his or her mate never remarries. While the former is much more prevalent than the latter, both are still in practice in certain communities today.
There are references found in ancient writings to a rite known as Scepti. In this rite a married male and female fight what can be equated to a modern honor duel with each other. It appears that sometimes a champion for each side fought in these duels and other times it was actually fought by the pair themselves. Whether these contests were fought to the death or not is unclear. The basic result was that the victor could declare the marriage null and void. This essentially made it as if the union had never happened. In older times this was the only way some Kestrel societies would allow what amounts to a divorce. Today, no Kestrel communities are known to follow this practice.
Some Kestrel communities are matriarchal in nature while others are patriarchal. During a courtship the dominant matriarchal/patriarchal side of the relationship can call off the pairing at any time. The other side must usually petition and often compensate the dominant side in order void the arrangement.
Throughout the various courtship rituals and ceremonies food was regarded as very important. It was held as a sign of the future success of the union and is present in nearly all documented courtship practices.
Research has turned up that rituals and ceremonies were performed in a variety of fashions. Most of the time the actual actions performed for each ritual was left up to the betrothed couple. In this way each courtship was distinctive and personalized, both in deed and detailed meaning.
What follows through the remainder of this text is a series of Kestrel courtship rituals and ceremonies. They progress through:
- Ritual of Realization
- Ritual of Provision
- Ritual of Acceptance
- Ritual of Adversity
- Ritual of Resolve (to be completed)
- Ritual of Ideal Love (to be completed)
- Ritual of Engagement (to be completed)
- Ritual of Trust (to be completed)
- Ceremony of Marriage (to be completed)
Their original context is explained and original interpretations are explored. Specific examples of how each ritual was performed are difficult to come by. So, modern examples created with guidance from the original texts are provided where possible.