Member Spotlight: Arisaema Draconis

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Author: Maibella Rhoiden, November 2016

Do you know Arisaema Draconis? Chances are that you do, seeing as Arisaema Sedai has been a member of TarValon.Net since 2004. She had been away from the site for a while but after hosting several site members in her home prior to Anni 2016 and attending the event, she decided to come back … and we’re glad to have her!

Arisaema Sedai’s real life first name is Virginia but her friends and family call her Ginger, which, she says, “suits me just fine.” She is a “a Natural Resource Manager by training, a Horticulturist by education, and currently employed as a Private Estate Manager.” From other threads on the boards I know her job entails managing plants, water resources, and other related things on a particular piece of property. That sounds like quite a fascinating job in my opinion!

When I asked about her interests Arisaema Sedai shared the following: I also teach sustainable organic horticulture. I breed flowers, save heirloom seeds, and have developed an organic nutrient management program that has proven successful. My hobbies include the formal study and development of Japanese Gardens, genealogy, and reading all I can about physics, anthropology and the Anthropocene. I'm a decent cook, gluten free baker, and an artisan ice cream maker. I speak English, Spanish and Japanese. Knowing her interest in plants, I can better understand why she chose Arisaema as her site name: “Arisaema are my favorite group of plants belonging to the family Araceae. They are commonly called ‘Cobra Lilies’ or ‘Jack in the Pulpit.’”

Arisaema Sedai’s mom is the one who get her into the Wheel of Time. Her mom gave her a copy of the first book after reading it herself, and later sent her a link to an article about TarValon.Net. So all of you who know and love Arisaema Sedai should tell her mom thank you! Arisaema Sedia is currently on her fourth reread of the Wheel of Time series. Her favorite character is Aviendha.

Reading a member’s Library page can provide a great deal of insight. You can learn how involved a member has been during his or her time at TarValon.Net, and some of the things he or she is interested in. In Arisaema Sedai’s case I learned that she has been incredibly involved in our site through the years. She has held a variety of positions including Mistress of Protocol, Director of Administration, The Committee for Incorporation, Shatayan, Contributor to TVT, Event Food Committe, and Department of Moderators, and that’s not all. Her position as Mayor is the one she found the most rewarding. When I asked her why she volunteered for all these positions, her answer was simple: “To be a Servant of All.”

The great thing about the Library is that we can learn interesting things about our members, but the Library doesn’t give us the whole story. For example, I can see that Arisaema Sedai won Member's Choice Award for Most Inspirational Member three years in a row - wow! What, I wondered, could be so inspiring about this woman that led so many people to vote for her three years running? Arisaema Sedai provides the following answer: “There was a time when I chose to live a more authentic life and in so doing revealed my life's struggles and achievements more honestly.” Clearly her choices and actions had a positive effect on our community.

The Library also informs me that she was named Philanthropist of the Year in 2004, by not why. When I asked her about it, Arisaema Sedai informed me that "the year that I joined the Tower, I contributed household goods to a Tower member that suffered personal tragedy, costumes for Tower children for a family trip to Disney Land, and foodstuffs and cooking implements for the Chicago Refugee Anny Event as well as financial support for a member to attend a necessary function.”

Arisaema Sedai was formerly a member of the Blue Ajah and is now a member of the Green Ajah. Demotion isn’t something that everyone is comfortable talking about, but I found this Sedai willing to discuss her experiences. In previous years Junior Members did not have the opportunity to Guest with the Ajahs and Companies prior to Aspiring. Arisaema Sedia says: I chose Blue in large part because I thought that I could exercise a broad range of interests as a Blue. The Blue Ajah proved to be an ill fit for me and me for them. I was the first Sister to be Demoted. It was not an opportunity by choice at the time, but rather a course of action chosen by the Amyrlin and perhaps by the Keeper and the Hall of Sitters. I was unaware of the closed process at the time. It was suggested that I request the Right of Guesting among prospective Ajahs for an unspecified time in order to make an informed decision and in order to find favor among the Ajahs. I followed that advice and found a welcome among the Greens. It is an amazing feeling when you discover your true home in an Ajah or Company, particularly when you’ve had a difficult time getting to that place. Arisaema Sedai tells me, I realize now that I was Green all along. I had to overcome misconceptions, self doubt and certain insecurities before accepting that. I know that this sounds out of character for a Green, however, being strong does not mean being without weakness, being brave does not mean being without fear, being "battle ready" does not mean being without vulnerability. Like many of us, Arisaema Sedia isn’t only Green: “I pleat my skirts with Yellow of compassion, Gray of diplomacy, White of reason and logic, Brown of knowledge and research, and yes, Blue for the pursuit of independence of purpose.” However, she is solidly Green; she tells me she is Warder hunting, which is a very stereotypically Green thing to say.

I asked Arisaema Sedai to share three things she is good at. Her list?

Rehabilitating and training dogs
Making ice cream

Three things she’s not so good at are:

Using a string line trimmer
Drinking – she’s a light weight
Watching horror films

I’m right there with you sister – no horror films for me either. *shudder*

If you don’t already know this lovely Green sister, you should! Look for her in several of the Discussion Halls and the General forum, especially “Word Association”. She makes a concerted effort to interact with Junior Members, so don’t be afraid to say hi. (You won’t find her in Current Events though, so don’t even try.)

Thank you to Arisaema Sedai for taking the time to answer my questions. I hope you all have enjoyed getting to know her a bit better. I’ll sign off with her words: “GO BIG GREEN!”