After a conversation on wotachat, I decided to alter the Church of Maasa a bit, I hope the changes will please whoever reads this and will show in future posts. One of the most obvious changes at the moment, though, would be the theme. A slight change in colours, which I think is a little more pleasing to the eye than the old white and blue theme, and a new banner. The banner is simple, but contains a bit of symbolism, so I thought I'd devote this brief entry to talking about what this all means.

Now, the banner as a whole shows an image of the Japanese sun early in the morning. Using a sunrise was quite important for two reasons, the second of which I'll go into shortly, but the first reason was a simple one. This is all about Maasa, a Japanese Idol, who, like most Japanese Idols, comes from Japan. And what other name is Japan famous for? That's right. It's the Land of the Rising Sun. In fact, I hear that name is what the Japanese name for their own country 日本 ("Nihon") translates to; the first character referring to the sun, and the second character meaning "root" or "origin". The sun already has some sort of spiritual and cultural significance which can be adapted for the Church's use.

Now, the first thing you probably notice when you look at it is the symbol (which has been adopted as the symbol of the Church) which has been conspicuously placed on top of the image. I looked across a lot of ancient imagery such as this one, and in the end decided to adapt this for the Church symbol. Now, I'll assume you have no knowledge at all about this symbol or where it comes from and explain all that to you now. This is a Lauburu, or Basque Cross. The shape is the same, but I have changed the colour to red. Why red? For one, the colour is eye-catching, which is why lots of different political groups adopted the colour red. Communists and Nazi's alike used the colour because if you fly your flags and symbols around as propaganda, you want it to catch a lot of people's attention, and red serves this purpose much better than most other colours. I'm pretty sure that the image on the right there is distracting you right now as you read this, and will stick in your mind for some time after you leave this page. At least, that's what I'd hope, because if that's the case, it has served it's purpose as a religious symbol well. The other main reason is because it is almost reminiscent of the National Flag of Japan and, like that flag, of the sun itself. We've come full circle, haven't we? Please excuse that terrible pun, it was unintended. Honest.

Now, you may or may not have noticed the Lauburu's resemblance to a Swastika. And in fact, it could be considered a Swastika, or at least a distant cousin of one. And, like swastikas, is generally used as a symbol of luck and prosperity. The Lauburu is a symbol fairly unique to Basque Country, and by the 16th Century were used unsparingly as decoration in Basque. The meaning of the symbol itself is quite disputed, whether each head represents each of the classic elements (Air, Water, Fire and Earth) or Life, Spirit, Consciousness and Form (is also one of the theories). People also believe the direction of the image (note that the Church uses a right-facing) denotes different meanings, albeit the right-facing lauburu signifying life and the left-facing with death. It has also been said to be a solar symbol.

This takes me back to the sunrise. With the right-facing lauburu said to signify life, and as a solar symbol, it matches up with the same spiritual significance of the sunrise in cultures around the world. The sun was worshipped by cults and ancient pagan religions as a symbol of life, as the sun provides life to everything on this planet. And by putting the symbol of the Church (and by extension of Maasa) inside the rising sun, the whole image symbolises the rise of the Church.

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