Thursday, February 28, 2002

Weaves and Talents

By Linda

This article looks at what is known about weaves and Talents of the One Power. The topics covered include:

Losing the ability
The Five Powers
Mechanics of Weaving
Weaves of Single Powers
Weaves of Multiple Powers
Maximum Number of Weaves for a Channeller
Tying Weaves
Sensing Channelling
Cutting Weaves
Inverting Weaves
Reversing Weaves
Turning Channellers to the Shadow

Flows used to activate ter’angreal are discussed in the Ter’angreal articles.

The True Source is made up of two complementary parts: saidin, the male half, and saidar, the female half. Each has separate properties and affinities, working at the same time with and against each other. Only women can touch saidar, and only men saidin. Each is completely unable to sense the other half of the Source, except as an absence or negativity. Even the methodologies by which men and women utilize the One Power that emanates from the True Source are so completely different that no woman can teach a man to use the power, and no man a woman.

- The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time

Overall, men are stronger in the sheer volume of Power they can handle compared to women and gain strength faster, too (A Crown of Swords, Pitfalls and Tripwires), though there are certainly individual women who have great strength and individual men who are comparatively weak. However, women generally have far greater dexterity in weaving than men, individual differences aside (The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time) and this greater dexterity makes them effectively equivalent to the men (Robert Jordan on his blog, 2nd October 2005). (For rankings of women’s strength in saidar, see the Saidar Strength article. There is no equivalent ranking for men because few men have been learning to channel for long, and men can’t sense the maximum potential of each other as women can.)

Channelling without benefit of training results in death for four out of five with the inborn ability:

Those who first touch the power unintentionally generally feel nothing unusual at the time, but suffer a violent reaction as much as ten days later. This reaction seldom lasts for more than a few hours. Headaches, chills, fever, exhilaration, numbness, dizziness and lack of coordination are only a few of the most usual symptoms, often occurring simultaneously or in quick succession. These effects return after each incident of touching the Source. Each time, the reaction comes closer to the actual act of touching, until the two happen almost simultaneously. At this stage the visible reactions stop. But unless some sort of control has been learned, death becomes a certainty. Some die within the year, some survive as long as five years, yet without the control that is almost impossible to learn without guidance, all die. Their final days are usually marked by violent convulsions and screams of agony. Once the last stages are entered there is no known cure, even with the use of the One Power.

- The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time

The older the beginning channeller, the sooner they reach their potential (Robert Jordan at a booksigning).

Many who teach themselves develop mental barriers to hide from themselves what they are doing. They are only able to channel if they feel or do certain things, or limit their channelling in some way.

"The hours I spent howling and weeping before I could find saidar without my eyes shut tight; you cannot weave if you cannot see the flows."

- Lord of Chaos, Under the Dust

Fedwin stood highest of the three, but he had what Taim called a bar. Fedwin did not really believe he could affect anything at a distance with the Power. The result was that at fifty paces his ability began to fade, and at a hundred he could not weave even a thread of saidin.

- A Crown of Swords, Pitfalls and Tripwires

Blocks can be broken with assistance from those with training, but it is a painful and arduous process.

Losing the ability

Using the One Power is extremely addictive and it is easy to be seduced into drawing more than one can handle. The person may be burned out or killed.

In the Age of Legends, the process by which a man or woman was rendered incapable of channelling was called ‘severing’, as in ‘being severed from the True Source.’ In the present day, the process is given a different name depending on whether it is done to a man or a woman. The severing of a man is now known as ‘gentling’. He can still sense the Power, but is unable to touch saidin in any way. For women, the intentional removal of the ability to channel is called ‘stilling’. If the ability is lost by accident, the process is called being ‘burned out’...The stilled woman, like the man who has been gentled, is cut off from the True Source, always tantalised by the sense of saidar, yet unable to channel it. Those who are burned out can neither channel nor sense the Source. Stilling is usually done as punishment for a crime, while burnout occurs through overload or misuse of the Power, or is the result of losing to an attack by a greater power while channelling.

- The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time

A person who has the potential to channel but hasn’t actually done so cannot be severed, since they do not yet have an active connection to the Source and so there is nothing to cut (Robert Jordan at a Knife of Dreams booksigning).

Stilling is agonising to undergo. Those who are severed or burned out fall into a deep depression and may suicide soon after or lose interest in living and die within a year or two. Severed or burned out channellers live only if they can fill their lives with enough purpose to make up for their loss of the True Source.

The Five Powers

There are five different threads to the One Power, known as the Five Powers. They are named according to the elements their energies manipulate: Earth, Air (sometimes called Wind), Fire, Water and Spirit.

- The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time

The Powers are used to manipulate the five elements of fire, earth, air, water and spirit, not create them. A channeller can use those Powers to create things, eg a sword from Fire, or a club from Air, or set the conditions right for fire to occur, but not create the elements themselves.

Anyone who can channel usually has a greater degree of strength with at least one or two of the Powers, yet they may lack any particular ability at all with some of the others. For example, someone strong in Wind may be all but unable to weave Fire, or may be weak in Earth but equally strong in Spirit and Air. Some few rare individuals have been found to be very strong in as many as three, or in very rare cases four, of the Powers. But since the Age of Legends no one has had great strength in all five. Even then, such individuals were very rare.

Men usually exhibited greater ability with Earth and Fire while women more often excelled in the use of Water and/or Air. Equal numbers of men and women were strong in the use of Spirit. There were, of course, exceptions, but they were rare enough that Earth and Fire came to be regarded as male Powers, while Air and Water were considered female Powers.

- The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time

As an example, Egwene has an affinity for metals and very good strength in both Fire and Earth, (Lord of Chaos, The Amyrlin is Raised) and also Spirit, since Dreaming is of Spirit (The Dragon Reborn, A Flow of Spirit).
Fire and Air are regarded as positive (yang) elements and earth and water as negative (yin). So each gender is proficient in one positive and one negative element. The five powers themselves could be compared to Wu Xing (Five Agents) of ancient Chinese Philosophy.

Mechanics of Weaving

Channelling draws on threads of the One Power and uses them singly or in combination in a weave designed to accomplish the particular task at hand.

- The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time

To the channeller, the flows seem to originate in his or her very immediate vicinity, not to emanate from themselves, although to another channeller, those flows do seem to be emanating from the channeller. The latter is the actual case, as the One Power is passing through the channeller, one of the reasons for individual limits on how much of the Power a particular person can handle. (And you have seen characters react as if to a blow from having a flow snapped or cut.)

A channeller sees the flows as coloured very faintly, according to which of the Five Powers is involved (red = Fire, blue = Water, green = Earth, yellow = Air, white = Spirit), although the "feel" of the flows are also different to a channeller, so that a channeller can tell one from another without actually seeing them. (That is how someone can tell that somebody else has channelled, say, Fire and Earth, in their vicinity without seeing the flows.) It isn't a physical feel; you might almost as well say that they have different flavours. They appear to be smooth and nearly transparent, tinged with colour.

- Robert Jordan, TOR Question of the Week

The first way a channeller learns to do a weave for a particular thing imprints itself on them so that learning a second way is very difficult and almost never works nearly as well (The Path of Daggers, New Alliances).

Unlike the Wise Ones, Aes Sedai use hand gestures when they weave. The gestures are a part of the weave, but are essential purely because they were part of learning the weave and therefore imprinted with it (The Path of Daggers, New Alliances).

Pregnancy interferes with the ability to channel. It is harder to touch the Source or weave the flows. This difficulty often grows worse as the pregnancy progresses, although some women can channel reliably for a time in their second trimester (A Memory of Light, The Choice of an Aja), and the mother will be unable to channel at all while in labour or giving birth. The difficulty ceases after the child is born (Crossroads of Twilight, What Wise Ones Know).


If a weave is done incorrectly, even only slightly off, it could produce something dangerous (New Spring, Practice) or not work at all. The Dark One’s warping of reality changed this:

“Sometimes, if a weave is done incorrectly, it simply does nothing. Other times, the result is disastrous. I have not heard of a weave doing something like this, working but in the wrong way."

- A Memory of Light, Drifting
A weave can be held without seeing it.

Egwene believes that there is a balance to weaves:

That isn't the way it works, she thought. Two sides to every coin. Two halves to the Power. Hot and cold, light and dark, woman and man.

If a weave exists, so must its opposite..."

- A Memory of Light, The Last Battle

Although sometimes one weave can’t undo what its opposite has done. An example would be the removal of Compulsion, which cannot restore the mind.

Weaves of Single Powers

In many cases only one of the Powers is required to accomplish a task.


A weave of Fire alone will light a candle, control a fire or heat or melt objects. Such weaves are dangerous to leave tied (The Shadow Rising, What Can Be Learned in Dreams). Rand often makes a sword of fire. Weaves can be cut with a weave of pure Fire (Winter’s Heart, Ideas of Importance). A tiny thread of Fire was used to activate Sammael’s callbox.

Despite men usually being stronger in Fire, Egwene is strong, and Aviendha very strong in Fire (Robert Jordan, Aviendha notes). While Egwene wove a complex weave of fire to create a large fireball like a meteor (A Memory of Light, Into Thakan’dar), Aviendha made one early in her training.

Men can draw fire in, but women can’t:

It was one of the warnings novices were given; never draw heat in. A flame could be extinguished using Air or Water, but using Fire to pull the heat away meant disaster with a flame of any size. It was not a matter of strength, so Sheriam had said; heat once taken in could not be gotten rid of, not by the strongest woman ever to come out of the White Tower. Women had actually burst into flame themselves that way.

- The Shadow Rising, Playing with Fire


Flows of Earth were used to draw stone from the ground to build the Stone of Tear (The Dragon Reborn, Following the Craft). Pure Earth can be used to smooth stone (The Fires of Heaven, Gateways) or earth (Towers of Midnight, Working Leather), or to break stone, weaken chains and break locks (The Dragon Reborn, Threads in the Pattern).

Egwene is strong in earth and sent threads of Earth into the ground then heaved it up (A Memory of Light, What Must Be Done). Verin finds Earth difficult to weave.

Air (Wind)

A weave of Air is used to lift or move objects, or hold or restrain them. How much can be held depends on the strength of the channeller, which in turn also influences how many weaves they can handle at once:

True, the simple act of picking something up was one of the hardest in channeling, but she [Siuan] had been able to lift nearly three times her own weight.

- Lord of Chaos, To Heal Again

This was Siuan at her full strength; at her weakest she could not lift a man. Egwene, who could divide her flows many ways, could lift three adults simultaneously (Lord of Chaos, Summoned in Haste) and Elayne could lift a full laundry kettle quite easily. There is a height limit to lifting—for Egwene this was 10–12 paces. Air can also be used to make weapons to hit, cut or stab people with or to slice or peel things (Towers of Midnight, Gateways). A weave of Air can make a covering to hide things (The Great Hunt, The Grey Man) or to shelter beneath or behind (The Fires of Heaven, The Far Snows, Lord of Chaos, Dumai’s Wells), or a platform to walk upon. It can compress the atmosphere at high altitudes to warm the air and bring the oxygen level to breathable levels (The Gathering Storm, Just Another Man). A fire can also be snuffed out with a weave of Air. Simple flows of Air can be used to make a voice carry without seeming to be loud (Lord of Chaos, A Pile of Sand).

Yukiri made a massive cushion of Air to break a fall of a few hundred paces, and believes it might be the secret behind discovering how to fly (A Memory of Light, Not a Mistake to Ignore). Jordan said it was not possible for a person to fly by channelling, although machines did so, using the Power.


A weave of Water can be used to move water or draw water out of things and into balls or puddles. It can also be used to douse a fire.


Spirit is the only Power that can be channelled asleep (The Shadow Rising, Reflection). Dreaming is a thing of Spirit (The Dragon Reborn, A Flow of Spirit).

“Those who can channel the One Power,” Moiraine said quietly, “those who are particularly strong in Spirit, can sometimes force their dreams on others.” She did not stop her soothing of Min. “Especially on those who are—susceptible. I do not believe Rand did it on purpose, but the dreams of those touching the True Source can be powerful. For one as strong as he, they could possibly seize an entire village, or perhaps even a city…Aes Sedai learn to shield their dreams. I do it without thinking, when I sleep. Warders are given something much the same in the bonding.”

- The Dragon Reborn, The Hunt Begins

These wards are of Spirit (Robert Jordan’s Weave notes). The hedgehog ter’angreal trap that captured Faile and trapped her in Tel’aran’rhiod was woven of pure Spirit (The Dragon Reborn, A Flow of Spirit).

A weave of Spirit which affects memory is placed on a candidate for the shawl so that she must follow her instructions in the oval ring ter’angreal. The way it settles into the brain feels rather like Healing according to Nynaeve (Towers of Midnight, A Choice). Sanderson said the weave is also akin to Compulsion (2011 interview), perhaps because a very strong-willed person like Nynaeve could override her instructions just as she could break through Moghedien’s Compulsion. (However, Moghedien doesn’t think she has much talent for Compulsion.)

Spirit can be used to bond or bind others, even to control the form of their body, as Moghedien threatened to do to Nynaeve in Tel’aran’rhiod. The Warder weave is an intricate weave of Spirit and requires the channeller to touch the Warder while weaving it. (At least it is now, according to Robert Jordan’s Aes Sedai notes, due to the gesture limitation, but it may not have been, once.)

The Bonded couple are linked physically and psychically, such that each is aware of the other and can locate each other; vaguely from afar and with increasing precision as they come closer.

There can be a certain emotional "mirroring" effect, especially when strong emotion is involved. With Aes Sedai and male Warders, this "mirror" effect is almost always one way, him reflecting her. (The same is true in reverse if a man who can channel bonds a woman who cannot, with her mirroring him.)

- Robert Jordan, Aes Sedai notes

A male and female channeller can each bond the other, which produces a very close, even telepathic link, as Androl and Pevara discovered. Pevara found it hard to maintain a separate identity when they were in a circle and tended to merge with Androl to the extent that in an emergency she was able to channel independently while he led the circle, which should be impossible and easily weave something that he found easy but she did not, as though their talents and the circle leadership had merged when their selves did in the circle (A Memory of Light, The Last Battle). It is not known if two channellers of the same gender who bonded each other would have the same experiences.

If a man who can channel bonds a woman who can channel, the "mirror" effect works both ways, (?but most toward whoever created the bond?). In this sort of bond, either can draw on the other's strength, but whoever created the bond can do it without asking, so to speak, while a flow the other way requires cooperation.

The bond does work a little differently when it is between two people of the same sex. In general, it is the same, but for women the emotional "mirroring" can be stronger both ways, and there can also be a physical "mirroring." When one man bonds another, the mirroring effect is less. In truth, many aspects of the bond are less. The knowledge of physical and, especially, emotional state is markedly less than in a bond between a man and a woman. The knowledge of location and direction seems to be less reduced.

Under whatever circumstances, whoever creates the bond has the upper hand in a way, and can compel the other to obey (without difference with respect to which is male or female), but when the bond is between members of the same sex, there are changes. A woman bonded to a woman finds it harder to compel action than in a bond between man and woman, and a man bonded to another man finds it harder still.

- Robert Jordan, Aes Sedai notes

As well as shielded dreams, the Warder gains strength and endurance from the weave, the ability to temporarily go without food or water for longer than other people (although they do have to eat and drink hugely to catch up afterwards) and the ability to sense Shadowspawn (actually an ability to detect the Dark One’s taint, which is why he cannot detect Darkfriends except the most dedicated (Robert Jordan’s Aes Sedai notes)). These abilities show that the bond was developed to provide an Aes Sedai with a protector that can operate in the Blight (Robert Jordan, Continuity Notes 1). In return, the Aes Sedai is able to draw on her Warder’s strength even to his death. The death of a Warder will fill an Aes Sedai with a grief that will impair them mentally for some years.

Some have been known to suppress this reaction, but the suppression is considered unwise as the effect will occur anyway, and the longer it is suppressed, the harder it hits.

- Robert Jordan, Aes Sedai notes

If their Aes Sedai dies, a Warder plunges into a deep depression and, if she was killed by someone, a desire to avenge her death:

Not simply no longer caring whether he lives or dies, but wanting to die, he will take reckless chances. Some turn their faces to the wall and simply expire. Suicide is all but unheard of, but many Warders clearly become men seeking that which can kill them. They are hair-trigger with temper and violence, ready to lash on any provocation. This is not a conscious decision in any way, but the effects are very much as if they have consciously decided that there is no risk too great to take and nothing quite so desirable as death.

- Robert Jordan, Aes Sedai notes

Apart from death, the Warder bond is also broken if the Aes Sedai is still or burned out, or if the Aes Sedai travels to a parallel world and her warder doesn’t and the connection with that world is broken, as happened to Moiraine and Lan.

Some Aes Sedai can block, mask or “fuzz” some of the emotional sensitivity in the bond to give each a certain amount of space, so that each side can no longer detect the presence or her emotional or physical state of the other. All Black sisters are taught this, even those whose Warders are Darkfriends, because at times he must not know where she is. It is also fairly common among Aes Sedai who have sexual relationships, whether longstanding or casual.

Elayne and Aviendha wove another Bonding weave for themselves and Min of over a hundred precisely placed threads of Spirit for each of the three women to make a continuous lace. The weave was designed as an inclusive one: what happens to one meshed in the weave happens to all in it. It was then extended to Rand and converted into the Warder bond (Winter’s Heart, A Lily in Winter).

Myrelle used a fine flow of Spirit to mildly Compel Lan through the Warder bond and Rahvin used flows of Spirit to Compel an Aes Sedai.

A Finder is a weave of Spirit that makes a bond between the weaver and the one it is woven on. It is laid on the person’s personal items or on something given to them to carry. A Finder on clothing and footwear will fade in a few weeks or months at best, but metal will hold a Finder forever (Knife of Dreams, The New Follower). Only the weaver of the Finder can follow it, since it is attuned to the one who weaves it. So long as the items are in the person’s possession and they are alive, the channeller can find them (The Eye of the World, Listen to the Wind). The Finder will also tell the weaver if their target dies. It is akin to the Warder bond, but less complex (Robert Jordan’s Weave notes). Moiraine wove a variation of this weave on coins and gave one to each of the three ta’veren (The Eye of the World, Strangers and Listen to the Wind).

A small weave of Spirit allows the channeller to eavesdrop (The Gathering Storm, Questions of Control). Egwene wove inverted wards of Spirit to alert her to intruders and eavesdroppers (Towers of Midnight, A Vow) and Moiraine wove Moiraine wove a ward around Lan, Ryne and Bukama that would awaken her if they moved during the night (New Spring, Pond Water).

In battle weaves are commonly sliced with Spirit (A Memory of Light, The Prince’s Tabac) and shields can be shoved away with Spirit before they are in place (A Memory of Light, Just Another Sell-sword).

A complex weave of Spirit masks a woman's ability to channel (Lord of Chaos, Weaves of the Power) and the flow of the Power (Knife of Dreams When Last Sounds). The weave will also prevent men from sensing whether the woman is holding the Power (Knife of Dreams, A Plain Wooden Box ).

Women weave Spirit to make a gateway.

The Blue Ajah has a secret weave of Spirit that induces unease, fear or panic depending on how much it is tightened on the person (New Spring, The Evening Star).

Nynaeve wove spirit to Delve the Compulsion in Kerb’s brain (The Gathering Storm, A Conversation With the Dragon). She also used weaves of Spirit to pluck the barbs of the taint from the brain of male channellers when she Healed their insanity (Towers of Midnight, Use a Pebble).

When Rand broke through the shield on him at Dumai’s Wells, he crushed the knots being held by Aes Sedai in fists of Spirit, stilling them (Lord of Chaos, Dumai’s Wells).

A shield is a complicated flow of Spirit. If the weave has a knife sharp edge, it will sever the channeller from the Source rather than shield them (The Shadow Rising, Into the Palace). Severing and its consequences have already been discussed (see above). Anyone can be shielded if they are caught by surprise and someone weaker can hold the shield once woven, but usually not if they are a lot weaker. If woven skilfully, a shield can bend to a considerable degree without breaking, as Nynaeve discovered when Berowin shielded her (A Crown of Swords, Next Door to a Weaver). A channeller must be significantly stronger and/or significantly more skilled to break a shield. When women shield a man they must use all their strength to make and hold the shield and must not tie it (Lord of Chaos, Weaves of the Power). This is because it is harder to shield someone of the opposite sex than of the same sex:

I asked why Elayne thought even a Forsaken couldn't break the shield Adeleas and Vandene were holding on Ispan, expecting the answer that Elayne is clue-impaired. The correct answer is that holding a shield on someone depends not only on relative strength and fatigue, but also on whether the shield is held by channelers of the same sex as the victim. Thus, two women (Adeleas and Vandene on Ispan, or Ispan and Falion on Nynaeve in A Crown of Swords) can hold another woman, but three women just get severed if they try to shield Rand. As a curiosity, it is also possible for multiple people to hold a shield without linking, but this is less strong and less precise, producing basically a layered shield.

- The Path of Daggers book tour

and thus requires more channellers to do so. That is why Cadsuane thought that normally one sister would be enough to hold Semirhage’s shield, but they were using three (Nesune, Corele and Daigian) out of caution (and fear) (The Gathering Storm, A Tale of Blood).

Weaves of Multiple Powers

A weave of Fire and Earth will explode or break objects (Lord of Chaos, Lessons and Teachers) or reduce them to dust (Lord of Chaos, Threads Woven of Shadow). Asha’man use Fire and Earth to level hills for farmland (Towers of Midnight, Working Leather). Fire and Earth intricately woven makes Arrows of Fire, a weave which fires one red filament from each fingertip and these blow holes in or burn holes through any body they touch (Knife of Dreams, Vows). Hair-thin flows of Fire and Earth activated the red rod to call Mesaana (Crossroads of Twilight, A Mark).

Simple ribbons of Fire and Earth are hard to cut before they form (A Memory of Light, The Use of Dragons).

Fire and Air can be woven to make lightning, or a shield to protect from lightning (The Fires of Heaven, To Caemlyn), or earth lightning. They can be used to cut clothes from a person’s body, or rip the head off a Myrddraal. Other weapons made from Fire and Air are burning red filaments and shooting balls of fire (The Path of Daggers, A Cup of Sleep).

Folded Light is a weave of Fire and Air. It uses very little Power to make and bends the light around the weave so that what it encloses can’t be seen (The Path of Daggers, A Cup of Sleep). A globe of light is made with Fire and Air (Lord of Chaos, Letters) and small balls of such light can be placed near the eyes to distract the vision without damaging the eyesight (The Gathering Storm, A Tale of Blood).

Fire and Air woven with the True Power, which is inimical to the Pattern, broke the cuendillar domination band collar (The Gathering Storm, The Last That Could Be Done).

Nynaeve famously Healed severing by bridging the cut with Fire and Spirit in Lord of Chaos. According to Jordan on his blog October 4th 2005:

the Healing of stilling must be done by the other gender to be fully effective. A woman Healing a woman or a man Healing a man results in less than full restoration. It all ties into that theme I keep harping on. Men and women have to work together to be their most effective. And while the weave used by Flinn for Healing is not exactly that used by Nynaeve, either would use the same weave on a man or a woman.

Aviendha launched a weave of Fire and Spirit into the air as a signal (A Memory of Light, At the Edge of Time).

Earth and Fire woven together can join stone without seam or joint or mortar to make very strong masonry (The Dragon Reborn, Following the Craft). It also forms the second stage of cuendillar making. The Asha’man used a rolling ring of Earth and Fire to destroy the Shaido forces at Dumai’s Wells.

Earth and Air can be used to smother fire (The Gathering Storm, The Death of Adrin).

Air and Fire can be used to warm the air but used in larger amounts, can concentrate fire in a contained area (A Memory of Light, At the Edge of Time). A simple weave of Air and Fire amplifies the voice so much that it is not recommended for use indoors (Crossroads of Twilight, Surprises). Air and Fire can be woven into Illusion (also called the Mirror of Mists) to disguise a person’s appearance or an object. Moghedien wove a particularly intricate weave to disguise the Seal in the Panarch’s museum (The Shadow Rising, Into the Palace). A weave of Air with a touch of Fire is used for eavesdropping (Lord of Chaos, Like Lightning and Rain) with (Moiraine) or without (Verin, Wise Ones) a focus object. Moiraine’s range for listening was greater than that of the Wise Ones (Robert Jordan’s Weaves notes). A bridge is made from a weave of Air laced with Fire. Any amount of weight can cross any bridge (A Crown of Swords, Ta’veren). The length limit for a bridge made by a man is 20 paces, but for women it is longer, although unspecified, (presumably because they have greater skill in Air, on the whole.) Air and Fire can also be used to cut weaves (New Spring, When To Surrender) or to form a barrier against other weaves (A Memory of Light, The Last Battle). According to Robert Jordan’s Weaves notes, Rand made a sword of Air and Fire with which to fight Ba’alzamon.

A weave of Air and Water can form clouds (Lord of Chaos, Prologue) and manipulate the wind when woven through the sky, extinguish flame or pull a column of water from the river using the river’s own pressure (The Gathering Storm, The Death of Adrin). Graendal wove Air and Water to cool the air around her (The Gathering Storm, Prologue).

Ice is drawn out of the air with a weave of Water and Fire.

Spirit and Fire can be made into a barrier against channelling men—it feels like a wall of flame to them—but a strong man can channel through it (The Fires of Heaven, Pale Shadows). A complex weave of Spirit and Fire can inflict great pain on another (A Crown of Swords, A Crown of Swords). Semirhage stimulated the pain centres in the brain very gradually with Spirit and Fire as part of her technique for breaking people (Lord of Chaos, Threads Woven of Shadow). She forced Rand to make a complicated weave of spirit and fire to inflict agony on Min (The Gathering Storm, The Last That Could Be Done).

Spirit with a touch of Fire is used to make gateways with saidin (Knife of Dreams, Vows and Within the Stone).

Sprit and Air can be used to hold back a shield (A Memory of Light, Just Another Sell-sword). A tiny thread of Spirit and Air can be used to detect even slight movement (A Memory of Light, Advantages to a Bond).

Chesmal used a complex weave of Fire, Earth and Water to quickly kill Vandene and Sareitha (Knife of Dreams, House on Full Moon Street).

A weave of Fire and Air with traces of Water is used to make a ward against eavesdropping (Knife of Dreams, The New Follower).

Fire, Air and Spirit can destroy the documents in a box if an intruder opens it (The Gathering Storm, A Box Opens). The eighty first weave in the test for Aes Sedai is a very complex weave of Fire, Air and Spirit which creates three slightly different coloured rings of fire in the air that glow with an unusual light (The Gathering Storm, The Plan For Arad Doman).

Earth, Air and Fire can be woven into Blossoms of Fire: tall thin shafts of fire that expand to a disc of flame thirty feet across. The fiery explosions are violent and so cannot be used close up (Knife of Dreams, Vows). Sammael used a weave of Earth, Fire and Air to attack Rand in Shadar Logoth. It may have been Blossoms of Fire, since the resulting explosion made flashes of light, loud crashes and the ground shake.

To make Cuendillar, a close net of Earth, Fire and Air is woven to surround an iron object and then a second weave of Earth and Fire penetrated through the net to touch the object (Crossroads of Twilight, Secrets). A weave of Earth, Fire and Air can be used to remove the blacking on boots and dye on boots and form it into a ball (Knife of Dreams, When Last Sounds).

Air, Earth and Spirit was used by Moiraine to lay a false trail to fool pursuing Trollocs and Fades near Shadar Logoth (Robert Jordan’s Weaves notes).

Air, Fire and Earth can be woven into an airtight barrier that will keep out (or in) anything short of balefire (The Path of Daggers, A Cup of Sleep).

Air, Fire and Water can be used to create a column of light extending high into the sky (A Memory of Light, To Feel Wasted).

Air and Water and Fire were used by Rand to make a particularly explosive lightning storm (The Path of Daggers, A Time for Iron).

Air and Fire and Spirit was set around Callandor in the Stone of Tear in a very strong and intricate ward of saidin and saidar attuned to Rand (The Dragon Reborn, Tel’aran’rhiod).

A weave of Air, Water and Earth will remove ink from clothing. Air and Water with a touch of Earth will raise a thick cylinder of water from a pond and dump it on land (New Spring, Pond Water).

Affecting the weather, Cloud Dancing, uses Air, Water and Spirit.

Spirit and Fire and Earth can be used to cut a weave (The Fires of Heaven, Choices).

Caressing the Child to determine the health of mother and foetus uses Spirit, Fire and Earth (Crossroads of Twilight, What Wise Ones Know). A weave of Spirit touched with Fire and Earth makes a deathgate, a gateway which rotates open and shut continuously while it moves along the ground (Knife of Dreams, Vows). Deathgates are made sufficiently different to ordinary gateways that one with a talent for Travelling does not find them easy to make (A Memory of Light, The Last Battle).

The standard Aes Sedai Healing uses Spirit, Water and Air. Aes Sedai also Delve their patients with a simple weave of Spirit, Water and Air. Compulsion is a complex weave of Spirit streaked by Water and Air (The Shadow Rising, Into the Palace):

It was horrible, looking at it with her mind's eye, crisscrossing the youth's brain. Bits of the weave touched here and there, like tiny hooks, jutting deep into the brain itself.

- The Gathering Storm A Conversation with the Dragon

The same weave done in reverse and laid on each layer of Compulsion will remove it. Nynaeve tried to Heal insanity in this way in Towers of Midnight, Use a Pebble, but was unsuccessful. It requires a different method, see below.

Air, Fire, Water and Earth in a complex pattern can stop lightning and disperse clouds (Knife of Dreams, Siege).

All Five Powers are used for the complex Healing where weaves are varied according to the problem and the patient is not drained. A simple weave of all Five Powers is used to Delve the patient beforehand (or afterwards). A weave of saidar of all Five Powers can be used to detect if a man is channelling and in what direction, but not what he is channelling (Knife of Dreams, Call To a Sitting). The Bowl of Winds was activated by a series of complex weaves of all five Powers. Rand wove a trap for Shadowspawn at Shadar Logoth using all five powers (A Crown of Swords, To Shadar Logoth).

Verin’s Compulsion is a complex weave of intricately woven skeins of Spirit with some Air, Water, Fire and Earth. Four trailing threads of Spirit are pulled and the tangled weave collapses into order. It takes a while to weave, but is largely undetectable by Delving. The weave only works on a trusting or unsuspecting person, and they still must find a reason within themselves to obey any suggestions made during the weaving. It doesn’t work well on those of strong personality or on men, strong or not, and will eventually fade away if the person doesn’t find that reason. It quickly loosens the tongue of the person it is woven on and also sends them into convulsions while it takes effect, but usually makes them forget the weave was made (The Path of Daggers, Deceptive Appearances). On the whole, the weave is far more arduous and less successful than Compulsion is.

The Flame of Tar Valon weave is a combination of all five Powers which rebuilds the Pattern after it has been damaged by balefire. It repairs the threads of the Pattern but the threads may not be exactly the same (A Memory of Light booksigning), and grows crystals over the cracks in reality caused by balefire to give them time to repair, like a scab on a wound. Invented by Egwene, it is the opposite weave of balefire, and makes a white light which brings peace as well as rebuilding:

They matched one another, in stasis, for an eternal moment. In that moment, Egwene felt a peace come upon her. The pain of Gawyn's death faded. He would be reborn. The Pattern would continue. The very weave she wielded calmed her anger and replaced it with peace.

- A Memory of Light, The Last Battle

The Flame is particularly effective against those dedicated to the Shadow.


Wards give warning, injure or kill (even delayed killing), keep people or creatures in or out, or prevent eavesdropping. There are thousands of ways to spin wards, according to Moghedien (Lord of Chaos, Questions and Answers).

Wardings were complex weaves, if tenuous, and trying to make them do more than one thing could render them useless, in practicality.

- The Fires of Heaven, The Gift of a Blade

It is not possible to set two kinds of wards at once, according to Moiraine (The Dragon Reborn, News From the Plain).

Dreams can be warded with an intricate weave of Spirit. Wards of Spirit can be held by the sleeping channeller to wake them if set off. In Illian, Rand triggered Sammael’s wards against channelling. Such wards have to be remade once triggered. A ward of Fire and Air with touches of Water will prevent eavesdropping and warn of attempts to penetrate it (Lord of Chaos, Questions and Answers). The Wise Ones’ wards against eavesdropping are superior to those of the Aes Sedai (Robert Jordan, Aviendha notes). Inverted wards of Spirit can warn of intruders and eavesdroppers (Towers of Midnight, A Vow).

Weaves of unknown composition

The weave for balefire is unknown. The channeller has to be strong in the One Power for it to be of any use or work at all. Moiraine can only remove a few seconds from the Pattern, as she explains to Rand:

"When anything is destroyed with balefire, it ceases to exist before the moment of its destruction, like a thread that burns away from where the flame touched it. The greater the power of the balefire, the further back in time it ceases to exist. The strongest I can manage will remove only a few seconds from the Pattern. You are much stronger…With a sa 'angreal like Callandor, you could annihilate a city with balefire. The Pattern could be disrupted for years to come. Who can say that the weave would even remain centered on you, ta'veren as you are, until it settled down?”

- The Fires of Heaven, Gateways

Balefire threatens the integrity of the past, and thus the fabric of the Pattern, as was discovered in the War of Power:

Entire cities died in balefire that year, hundreds of thousands of threads burned from the Pattern; reality itself almost unraveled, world and universe evaporating like mist.

- Lord of Chaos, Prologue

and seen in action in the Last Battle where cracks of nothingness appeared in regions it was used frequently in a short time frame:

My interpretation of the way it works is that it's about a lot of balefire over a short period of time (and in a localized position) that causes the most serious damage to the Pattern. Cracks form in reality (like we see in A Memory of Light) when this occurs. The Pattern can sort of heal itself if the balefire ceases.

- A Memory of Light booksigning

The area near Shayol Ghul is vulnerable to balefire and reality broke down there:

Aviendha moved like the twisting wind itself, trying to stay ahead of Graendal, who hurled bar after bar of white-hot balefire at her. With each shot, the ground trembled. Black lines spread all across the rocks…
At the top, she found that she was standing on an impossibility: an enormous chunk of rock that was floating precariously with very little underneath it. It had ripped from the ground and risen here…
All around the valley were similar impossibilities. A group of fleeing Domani horsemen galloped over a section of rock that rippled like water, and all four men and mounts sank into it, vanishing. That deep mist had started to enter the valley on one side. Men and Trollocs alike ran from it, screaming.
A liquid bar of balefire broke through the floating chunk of rock, passing just inches from her head.

- A Memory of Light, Impossibilities

Large scale destruction with balefire will cause a balescream:

A wave of wrongness washed over her, a warping in the air, the Pattern itself rippling. A balescream, it was called—a moment when creation itself howled in pain.

- Towers of Midnight, prologue

The three ripples in reality in Knife of Dreams were balescreams and may have been a result of Demandred balefiring cities in Shara (A Memory of Light booksigning).

Brandon Sanderson has said

that Rand only took Rahvin out of the Pattern for fifteen minutes to an hour. So, even if the Choedan Kal were a thousand times stronger than Rand with the fat man it would only be like nine days at most. More interesting, however, is that he said that we have not seen anyone who could burn someone out of the Pattern that long, however, it was possible for someone to be that strong!—Who or what could this be?

- The Gathering Storm booksigning

Since the Dark One specifically ordered Demandred to loose balefire, I speculate that he has a Talent for this weave and is the one who could burn someone out of the Pattern for as long as several days.

Speculation: Balefire requires all Five Powers, since it burns threads from the Pattern and also destroys any object it touches except the ground or Cuendillar. Additional evidence would be that when Rand began to weave balefire and then changed his mind, he let ‘every flow but Fire and Air fall away’ to weave something else (A Crown of Swords, A Crown of Swords).

The weave to block a gateway is unknown, as is the weave for testing for resonance, the weave for cleansing personal items to remove Finders and the like and the weave for a Keeping, which can be woven around something to keep it in the same state while the weave lasts. The weave Semirhage invented to remove blood from a person and replace it instantaneously with something else is also not known (The Gathering Storm, A Tale of Blood).

The composition of weaves the Forsaken have used to manipulate Tel’aran’rhiod, including ripping Birgitte out into the everyday world, is not known. Nor is the composition known of the weave of menace and awe Aginor wove, or the razor-sharp ribbons Asmodean wove (probably Air), or the black sword of fire Be’lal made or the cooling net Graendal made for her palace.

Another weave of unknown composition is Night's Shade, which the Bloodknives’ ter’angreal ring also uses. It leaks the life away while granting the wearer great speed and agility and the ability to hide (A Memory of Light, The Last Battle).

Demandred channelled a complex weave of unknown composition to make a rippling field which other weaves bounced off ( A Memory of Light, The Last Battle).

Maximum Number of Weaves for a Channeller

Working two flows at once was far more than twice as hard as working one of the same magnitude, and working three much more than twice again working two.

- The Shadow Rising, Playing with Fire

Weak channellers can only work one weave at a time, whereas a very strong channeller like Rand can handle ten or more simultaneously. Fuelled by righteous anger and an angreal, Rand wove so many weaves to destroy the Shadowspawn army at Maradon that Naeff couldn’t keep track of them all (Towers of Midnight, A Storm of Light). A fair number of Aes Sedai can work more than one weave, but not many can work more than three at once (Lord of Chaos, Summoned in Haste). Aviendha can handle more flows than any of the women on the side of the Light except Nynaeve and may equal her despite being the same strength as Elayne and Egwene (Aviendha notes).

Tying Weaves

Few women knew the trick of tying a weave (The Shadow Rising, Into the Palace). According to Jordan, the length of time the knot lasts is the choice of whoever makes the knot and is not dependent on the strength of the channeller. The tied weave would continue to exist if the channeller died, at least if the channeller had not set it to unravel in a certain time.

Sensing Channelling

Men feel goosebumps when a woman channels or even just embraces saidar (The Shadow Rising, Playing with Fire). On the other hand, women feel nothing when men channel or hold saidin.

Cutting Weaves

A channeller’s weaves can be cut by another with various weaves (eg with air plus fire, or with spirit, fire plus earth) and the channeller would feel a recoil as the cut weaves snap back. The knowledge of how to cut a man’s weaves or disrupt his channelling survived the Breaking (Robert Jordan’s Aes Sedai notes). Aes Sedai are taught that the preferred method is to detect the residues of his weaves and aim their cutting weaves where they seem to be originating. This is quite difficult.

A channeller cannot cut or disrupt another channeller’s weaves unless they are stronger than their opponent, since this involved interfering with their drawing upon the One Power. However, a circle of women doesn’t have this problem Robert Jordan’s Aes Sedai notes.

Inverting Weaves

After they are woven, weaves can be inverted so that only the channeller can see them. Rand learned this from Asmodean, and Elayne and Nynaeve from Moghedien and they have shown others.

Reversing Weaves

Weaves can be inverted (reversed) as they are woven so that only the channeller can see them. Only the Forsaken appear to have this knowledge (Winter’s Heart, With the Choedan Kal).


The Wise Ones know how to unweave or successfully pull apart a weave. This is dangerous, since if a mistake is made the collapsing weave could do anything from devastating the area, killing or burning out the channeller or anyone else nearby, or nothing at all (The Path of Daggers, Threads).

The most visible thread of the weave to be unwoven is pulled loose as far as it will go and this is continued until there are no more threads. The more threads that have been unpicked, the easier the other threads are to see. After unweaving has proceeded for a while, the threads become very slippery and hard to hold or grip (The Path of Daggers, Threads). Unweaving is worth the risk at times because it leaves no residues to be read by those with the Talent (see below).


In the Age of Legends, more Talents were known and used than in the Third Age. This is connected to the general decline in ability and knowledge after the Breaking which is only now being regained.

Talents are abilities in the use of the One Power in specific areas. They are innate and cannot be learned, according to Maria Simons (Q&A 2010). Aptitude in various Talents varies widely from individual to individual and is seldom related to the strength of the individual's ability to channel. For example, Siuan found that her skill for Healing is exactly the same as it was before she was stilled even though she is now considerably weaker in the Power (Knife of Dreams, When Last Sounds). Practise and experience does develop a Talent however.

Aligning the Matrix

This is a major Talent with which metals are made stronger (Lord of Chaos, Possibilities).

Neald helped strengthen Perrin’s hammer, Mah'alleinir, first with weaves of saidin only, then saidar as well, but Perrin put something of himself into it too:

He [Perrin] felt something leaking from him, as if each blow infused the metal with his own strength, and also his own feelings.

- Towers of Midnight, A Making

So the creation of Mah'alleinir is probably not purely Aligning the Matrix. It is more than a purely Power-wrought weapon.

However once they moved to Andor, Neald worked out how to make blades that wouldn't dull or break. Perrin set blacksmiths to work with Neald in making blades for the Aiel’s spears (Towers of Midnight, A Backhanded Request). These are made in a different way to Mah’alleinir, since Neald can’t remember what he did when Mah’alleinir was created.

Blocking a Gateway

Rand blocked Aviendha’s closing gateway for some hours in The Fires of Heaven, The Far Snows, but we don’t know what the weave was. Few can do it: only Rand/Lews Therin, Demandred and maybe Semirhage. It is a strong weave since Asmodean felt it a fair way off and was impressed. The block lasted some hours.

Caressing the Child

The Talent has similarities to the complex Five Powers Healing. The Wise Ones have known of this Talent since they went to the Waste and it may well be knowledge from the Age of Legends:

“In Caressing the Child, you learn the health of mother and child, and by changing the weaves, you can cure some problems of either, but they will not work on a woman who is not with child. Or on a man, of course.”

- Crossroads of Twilight, What Wise Ones Know

An exploratory weave of Spirit, Fire and Earth produces a hum in the mother (like an ultrasound?) which gradually increases in volume. Then if there are any problems, different weaves are used to correct them, if possible. The weaves work best if the mother is very warm (Crossroads of Twilight, What Wise Ones Know).

Cloud Dancing

This is a major Talent. A channeller wishing to affect the weather must weave a flow combining Air, Water and Spirit. To stop lightning and disperse clouds requires some Earth as well (Knife of Dreams, Siege). Air and Water are used more often than Spirit. The flows are usually very thick, but woven intricately and spread across the sky (The Shadow Rising, Winds Rising). Once the weather is set as desired, it is easy to maintain it:

Working weather was like rolling a stone downhill; it tended to keep going the way you started it. When it bounced away from the path, as it would sooner or later, you just had to twitch it back.

- The Fires of Heaven, To Boannda

Changes to the weather must be worked slowly:

Doing too much too fast with weather could cause effects that rippled across the countryside for leagues, and you never knew what the effects might be.

- Knife of Dreams, Siege

The Windfinders are the best at working the weather, outstripping channellers of the Age of Legends. A sole Windfinder can affect the weather as much as a weather ter’angreal did in the previous Age (The Path of Daggers Unweaving). Apparently all Windfinders are trained in working weather and expected to do it, even if they have little Talent for it. Rand may have a strong Talent for weather since he was able to make it rain in the arid Waste for the first time ever at the end of The Shadow Rising, whereas Elayne was unable to form a cloud in Salidar in Lord of Chaos. It is consistent with Rand being one with the Land.

Elayne learned much from the Windfinders, but Aviendha has even more Talent for working weather than Elayne, according to Robert Jordan’s Aviendha notes. Other notables are Moiraine, who blanketed a river with fog for miles while riding a galloping horse, something that “not ten women in Tar Valon” could have done.


Compulsion is a complex weave of Spirit streaked by Water and Air (The Shadow Rising, Into The Palace) that is placed on the brain in layers. It makes the victim feel love, devotion or worship for the channeller so that they do the channeller’s will. Compulsion can be varied in extent from mindless devotion, which erases mind and personality, to subtle influence. A strong personality can escape Compulsion after a time. Compulsion can be removed one layer at a time by placing a weave woven identically but in reverse onto the layer (The Gathering Storm, A Conversation With The Dragon). However this does not undo the damage or destruction of a mind, and according to Semirhage,

removing Compulsion could have a very . . . nasty effect on a person. Even if the Compulsion were weak or subtle, the brain could be harmed seriously by removing it. If the Compulsion were strong . . .well, it was quite interesting to watch.

- The Gathering Storm, The Last That Could Be Done

Moghedien wishes she possessed a better Talent for Compulsion (A Crown of Swords, The First Cup). Graendal is the best at Compulsion. Rahvin was also quite good. Rand has little ability for Compulsion.


Delving involves the location of ores and occasionally their removal from the ground, and also working with metals and ores. This rare major talent requires strength in Earth and is consequently very rare among women. Egwene is the only one we know of with this Talent.

Delving to Determine Health

Delving to determine health is a simple weave. Tamra used Spirit, Water and Air to delve Gitara Moroso in New Spring, A Wish Fulfilled. This is probably the usual Aes Sedai method. Nynaeve usually uses Air, Water, Earth, Fire and Spirit (A Crown of Swords, The Kin) although she used Spirit, Water and Air in Tear to delve those who had been turned to dust by a bubble of evil (Towers of Midnight, Use a Pebble). Verin was one of the best at Delving to determine health (The Path of Daggers, Deceptive Appearances), yet she had only moderate Healing ability.


This major Talent is a thing of Spirit. A Dreamer has Dreams which can foretell future events in a more specific way than Foretelling does. Dreams involving ta’veren are especially important and likely to be true. The understanding of precognitive dreams must come from within the Dreamer, according to the Wise One Dreamwalkers. Sometimes they interpret them wrongly, placing more significance on them than is warranted (eg the Dreamwalkers’ dream of three women in a boat with Rand, A Memory of Light booksigning).

Aes Sedai who have studied the phenomenon and written about it believe that these Dreamers’ premonitions are not as certain to occur as those seen within a Foretelling, but concede that they are much more than mere dreams. The scholars believe that these dreams indicate possible future events, and must therefore be carefully interpreted. Some say that these dreams are the Pattern’s warning of what may happen while there is still a chance to change the flow of the Pattern.

- The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time

It is not necessary to be able to channel to be a Dreamer: the non-channellers Bair and Seanna of the Aiel had prophetic dreams and Wolf-brother Perrin had prophetic visions while in Tel'aran'rhiod (however, this may be akin to the 'reading' Tel'aran'rhiod that the Aiel Dreamwalkers told Egwene of).

Egwene has a strong Talent for the Dream, so she has two rare major Talents, the other being Delving. Prior to Egwene, Corianin Nedeal was the White Tower's last known Dreamer. Some of the Forsaken are Dreamers:

Brandon Sanderson: This might be old news, but people keep asking me about it. Yes, there ARE Dreamers among the Forsaken. Male and female.
Austin Moore: One male AND one female Forsaken are Dreamers?
Brandon Sanderson: There are multiple Dreamers. At least one male and at least one female.

- Twitter, April 2011

The most likely Forsaken Dreamers are Moridin/Ishamael, Lanfear and Moghedien since skill in Tel’aran’rhiod and Dreamwalking appears to occur with the Dreaming skill.


This is a separate Talent to Dreaming. The Aiel Dreamwalkers are able to enter the dreams of a person close by to aid healing (The Shadow Rising, Beyond the Stone). The Shadow’s Dreamwalkers, such as Lanfear and Ishamael, pull people out of their dreams to instruct, punish or manipulate them. Dreamwalkers can create a dreamshard, a fragment of Tel’aran’rhiod which they control, and use it as a haven or to read someone else:

One thing they [the Age of Legends Aes Sedai] learned was how to slice out a dream for themselves, a haven within their own mind, more controlled than regular dreams. They learned how to enter a fragment like this while meditating, somehow giving the body rest as real as sleep.

Lews Therin had known these things, and more. How to reach into someone's mind if they entered his dreamshard. How to tell if someone else had invaded his dreams. How to expose his dreams to others.

- A Memory of Light, A Shard of a Moment

A dreamshard could be likened to a vacuole in the physical world, a split off part of the universe which can be manipulated. However, it is unethical and therefore forbidden to take control of someone there:

"Show me your mind, Mierin. Open it to me completely. Give me control over you here, in this place of mastered dreams. If your intentions are pure, I will free you."

"What you ask is forbidden."

Rand laughed. "When has that ever stopped you?"

She seemed to consider it; she must actually have been worried about her imprisonment. Once, she would have laughed at a suggestion such as this. Since this was, ostensibly, a place where he had complete control, if she gave him leave, he could strip her down, delve within her mind.

- A Memory of Light, A Shard of a Moment

Dreaming, Dreamwalking to touch others' dreams and entering Tel'aran'rhiod are all separate but related Talents (Robert Jordan at a booksigning).

It is not necessary to be able to channel to be a Dreamwalker: the non-channellers Bair and Seanna of the Aiel were/are able to do it, as are Perrin and Isam, although Perrin’s access to, and experience of, the Wolf Dream is somewhat different to a Dreamwalker’s experience of Tel’aran’rhiod. Despite being trained, Aviendha has no Talent for Dreamwalking or Dreaming (Robert Jordan’s Aviendha notes).

Duplicating Ta’veren

The ability to duplicate the chance-twisting effect of ta’veren (though in a very small area rarely covering more than a few square feet) is a minor Talent that we haven’t seen yet.

Earth Singing

Earth Singing is a major Talent which involves controlling movements of the earth; for example, preventing, or causing, earthquakes or avalanches. Rand’s tapping of the deep underground water in Rhuidean in The Shadow Rising and The Fires of Heaven is an example of this, as is Egwene’s sudden heaving of the ground to destroy Trollocs in the Last Battle.

Entering Tel'aran'rhiod

The Aiel Dreamwalkers can enter Tel’aran’rhiod while awake by putting themselves in a trance-like state and have taught this to Egwene. More usual is to enter Tel'aran'rhiod while sleeping. Corianin Nedeal entered Tel'aran'rhiod with the aid of a ter’angreal. Perrin, Seanin and Bair are three non-channellers able to enter Tel'aran'rhiod and move about it with ease. The Aiel Dreamwalkers refuse to enter Tel’aran’rhiod in the flesh because they believe that each time a channeller does so they lose some part of their humanity ( The Shadow Rising, Beyond the Stone).

Perrin is able to enter Tel’aran’rhiod in the flesh by going close to a trance or to sleep and taking the appropriate pathway. Slayer also can enter Tel’aran’rhiod in the flesh, and thinks he is more skilled than the Forsaken in Tel’aran’rhiod, though his talent may not have been innate, but granted by the Dark One. Certainly, his ability to choose whether his body takes the form of Isam or Luc when he enters or leaves Tel'aran'rhiod is (Robert Jordan on his blog, October 2005).

Once in Tel'aran'rhiod, it can be manipulated to lesser or greater degrees depending on the skill of the person and the future can be 'read' there. In a slightly different manifestation of this Talent, Perrin has precognitive visions while there. Traps can be laid, or dispersed in Tel'aran'rhiod, as can nightmares. Moghedien has the greatest Talent for Tel'aran'rhiod, among the Forsaken, according to Birgitte (The Shadow Rising, Need), although Lanfear would dispute this. Egwene and Perrin have the greatest Talent for Tel'aran'rhiod among those allied to the Light.


Foretelling is the ability to foretell future events, but in a general way. It is a major Talent, and a rare one. The known Foretellers are: Gitara Moroso, Elaida a’Roihan and Nicola Treehill, and their Foretellings are covered in a separate article. They speak words when they Foretell. According to Jordan (from his blog):

Foretelling is not related to strength. The weakest possible channeler could Foretell as strongly as Elaida or Nicola, or perhaps even more so, depending entirely on the strength of his or her Talent for Foretelling.

Foretelling is passive; it doesn’t come on while channelling, yet only channellers Foretell. Min is the only non-channeller who can do something similar to the Foretellers and she see visions and often knows words that go with them. Her viewings are also in a separate article.

Those with the Foretelling know that certain events will happen; that these events are firmly set into the fabric of the Pattern, although the Foretellers simply do not know when and how. Foretelling has often been erroneously considered a type of Dreaming, but it cannot be called at will, and some with the Talent only have one or two visions in their entire lifetime. Foretelling is also linked to the Power (only those who can channel may have the Foretelling), but Dreaming and Dreamwalking are not connected to the ability to channel.

- The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time

While Foretelling can’t be called at will, Tuon commanded a damane to tell her fortune in Winter’s Heart, What A Veil Hides. She thinks that this is one of the things damane can do. Foretelling takes a slightly different form in Seanchan, perhaps due to the lack of free will of the damane:

For kcf, Tuon is stating a misbelief, really, a Seanchan urban folk tale, if you will. The Seanchan no longer know about Foretelling—though they are beginning to hear reports—but they have memories of the knowledge, you might say. There memories have gotten twisted into the widespread belief that any damane can tell your fortune. This belief is strengthened by the fact that some damane actually can Foretell, and more of them than on "this" side of the Aryth Ocean, a facet of sul'dam remaining in the breeding pool with the result that there are a higher percentage of women who potentially could channel among the Seanchan than on the Eastern side of the ocean. And also a higher percentage of many Talents.

- Robert Jordan on his blog

Foretellings can be hard to interpret, even if seemingly clear:

"Strange that she should be so clear and so erratic at the same time. It was always a rare Talent, and most who had it spoke so only poets could understand. Usually until it was too late to matter, at least. Everything always became clear then."

- A Crown of Swords, Prologue

While Elaida is fully conscious of her Foretellings, Nicola Foretells in a trance and does not remember hers.


Healing is the most common major Talent, yet according to Jordan's answer to a TOR Question of the Week, great skill in Healing is rarer than in most other Talents. Even in the Age of Legends, high levels of ability were much more rare in Healing than in other Talents (Robert Jordan, TOR Question of the Week).

Healing has a couple of limitations: the channeller cannot Heal themselves, but require another Healer to do it, and not even Nynaeve has found a way to Heal the same condition twice, however imperfect the first Healing was.

On the dark side, the ability to kill with the Power is closely linked to Healing (The Shadow Rising, Hidden Faces).

The Healer can develop an affinity with someone they have Healed and sense their presence if they are nearby (The Eye of the World, Listen to the Wind).

Simple Healing with Saidar

This Healing uses Spirit, Water and Air and was originally developed in the Age of Legends for speedy use on the battlefield (Lord of Chaos, Prologue). The same weave is used for every condition and the Healing corrects all the patients’ ailments simultaneously. Fatigue can be removed with Healing, and pain can be reduced or, with considerable skill, alleviated altogether, even without drowsiness (The Wheel of Time Companion).

Egwene wove Earth, Spirit and Air into a Healing, and said she had little Healing talent (Towers of Midnight, Wounds). She was right. There was an error in the weave: Healing is Spirit, Water and Air.

However, simple Healing draws on the patient’s physical strength and will to live, making them weak afterwards (The Eye of the World, A Place of Safety). A baby, for instance, cannot survive this form of Healing (New Spring, The Human Heart). If a channeller holds the Source while being Healed with this type of Healing, the Power can replace what the Healing would otherwise draw from them so that they are not weak afterwards like other people are (The Shadow Rising, Reflection).

While this Healing will knit up wounds and expel superficially embedded objects, deeply embedded objects have to be manually removed and the resulting damage Healed along with the rest of the injury. Insanity can’t be cured by this form of Healing.

During Healing, the patient feels a blasting cold, perhaps due to the presence of Water in the weave. If nothing ails the patient but exhaustion, they feel a chill instead (The Shadow Rising, The Stone Stands). Masuri excels at washing away exhaustion (A Memory of Light, Two Craftsmen).

Samitsu is one of a few Aes Sedai who can regulate the intensity of the weave and thus the amount of Healing performed on the patient from complete recovery to only slight improvement. This partial Healing is useful if the patient has little strength, since it drains the patient less (Crossroads of Twilight, Glimmers of the Pattern).

Sumeko, Nynaeve and Samitsu are the best at this sort of Healing, particularly Samitsu, since she has practised it the most. (Nynaeve and Sumeko use mainly the complex Five Powers Healing, see below). Samitsu has a great Talent for Healing, yet not great strength in saidar.

Simple Healing with Saidin

Taim taught the Asha’man a simple form of Healing with saidin. It feels rougher and more painful than the simple Healing with saidar, but works as well (A Crown of Swords, Blades) and may have also been used on the battlefield during the Age of Legends. Whereas the standard Aes Sedai Healing feels icy cold to the patient, and the complex Five Powers Healing makes the patient feel hot and cold, this Healing with saidin makes the patient feel very hot:

Waves of heat rushed through Rand, strong enough to make him grunt and send sweat gushing from every pore. He quivered violently from head to foot.

- The Path of Daggers Fog of War, Storm of Battle

Since the patient feels hot, the weave may be composed of Spirit, Fire and Earth, the Powers most men are most comfortable with and skilled in.

Flinn is the best at this form of Healing. Rand, Narishma and Dashiva have little Talent for Healing (The Path of Daggers, Fog of War, Storm of Battle).

Complex Five Powers Healing

Unlike in the simpler forms of Healing, different weaves are used to Heal different illnesses. It takes longer, but all the strength comes from the Power and not from the patient and Healer. This is the Healing used during the Age of Legends, and men were better than women at some kinds of Healing (Lord of Chaos, Prologue). Flinn and a few other men can use the Power to remove deeply embedded objects (The Path of Daggers, Fog of War, Storm of Battle).

The channeller can choose to Heal one particular condition and leave everything else as it was (Crossroads of Twilight, Glimmers of the Pattern). This complex Healing can even cure insanity to a limited degree (The Eye of the World, Prologue), but psychiatrists were probably preferred to treat most patients (Lord of Chaos, Threads Woven of Shadow).

During Healing, the patient feels both hot and cold at the same time (The Dragon Reborn, Threads in the Pattern), perhaps due to the presence of Fire and Water in the weave.

Sumeko, Nynaeve and Flinn are the best at complex Healing. The Forsaken showed a Black Asha’man how to keep very premature babies alive for a short time ( A Memory of Light, The Last Battle).

Healing Insanity

According to Rand

the most Talented of Healers during the Age of Legends had difficulty with diseases of the mind. Many believed it was not possible to Heal madness with the One Power

- Towers of Midnight, Use a Pebble

Nynaeve tried to Heal the insanity of male channellers affected by the taint in a similar way to undoing Compulsion:

She took hold of his arm and Delved him…She could see the madness, like a dark network of veins digging into his mind. It seemed to pulse, like a small beating heart. She'd found similar corruption recently in other Asha'man... She concentrated, weaving all Five Powers, and carefully prodded at the madness, remembering what had happened when she'd removed the Compulsion from Graendal's unfortunate servant. Naeff was better off with this madness than he would be if she damaged his mind further.
Oddly, the darkness did seem similar to Compulsion. Was that what the taint had done? Bent the men who used the One Power with the Dark One's own Compulsion?

- Towers of Midnight, Use a Pebble

She laid a counterweave on the area of the brain affected, but it did not work. She then pried each barb of the taint free of the brain and healed each puncture wound with a counterweave. The barbs had to be held away from the brain lest they grow back in again. Once all the barbs of the taint had been removed from the brain she released her counterweave and the insanity wobbled and vanished (Towers of Midnight, Use a Pebble). Nynaeve said she did not use Healing weaves in this procedure.


Illusion, also called Mask of Mirrors or Mirror of Mists, is a widespread Talent, according to Robert Jordan’s Aviendha notes. It is woven with Air and Fire and disguises a person or object as something else. A complex weave, it is convincing at a distance, but has to be very subtle to fool someone at close range or if it is touched.

Listening to the Wind

This is a passive Talent of Air and Water (The Eye of the World, Listen to the Wind); the channeller doesn’t actually channel a weave. It is a mild type of precognition in which the channeller is aware that good or bad events are upcoming (The Path of Daggers, To Keep the Bargain). It may not be particularly rare, since Moiraine was quite familiar with it. Nynaeve has this Talent, as do other women with the spark. In the Two Rivers, Nynaeve mainly sensed the weather and the state of the crops—important events in a quiet farming community. Since then she has sensed far more dangerous events, such as attacks. Among the Seanchan, the damane Malai can “tell fortunes of the weather” (The Gathering Storm, A Halo of Blackness).

Making Cuendillar

This Talent is uncommon in women because it requires strength in Earth. The weave requires only a small amount of the Power, but is tediously slow unless the channeller is very strong in Earth. A close net of Earth, Fire and Air is woven to surround an iron object and then a second weave of Earth and Fire penetrates the net to touch the object, which turns white (Crossroads of Twilight, Secrets). Moghedien taught Egwene the principles of making cuendillar (Robert Jordan’s Egwene notes).

Making Ter’angreal

Elayne held classes on this during Lord of Chaos, but few can make ter’angreal and none as well as Elayne. So far she has made a modified a’dam, medallion ter’angreal to protect against direct weaves to a degree, ter’angreal for weaving invisibility for those too weak to do so otherwise, and ter’angreal for accessing Tel'aran’rhiod.

As of Crossroads of Twilight, only three sisters besides Elayne had managed to make ter’angreal so far, with very spotty success (Crossroads of Twilight, Secrets). Elayne was told by Moghedien that ter’angreal making is a matter of strength, but actually it is a rare Talent. This is one of a number of lies that Moghedien told her captors, correctly believing that they would not be exposed (Robert Jordan’s Aes Sedai notes).

Milking Tears

This is a major lost Talent (Lord of Chaos, Possibilities).

Portal Stones

The ability to use Portal Stones appears to be related to the channeller’s overall strength in the One Power. To activate a Stone, the channeller draws on the Power (a great deal of it) while holding the destination symbol in their mind (The Fires of Heaven, Out of the Stone). There is no actual weave.

Reading Residues

The ability to read the residue of a dissipated or dispelled (but not unwoven) weave is a very rare major Talent. It is passive in that no weave is made. The channeller is only able to read the residues of the half of the Source that they use, be it saidin or saidar. The presence of residues of a weave of the opposite half of the Source can be determined by testing for resonance (see below).

The residues of a large weave (such as a gateway) can still be read two days later (The Path of Daggers, Unweaving). Reading the residues means not only identifying whether weaving (with the same half of the Source the channeller uses) has taken place, but also which of the Five Powers was used and what was woven. A channeller able to read the residues of a gateway could weave their own gateway to the same spot if they had sufficient dexterity.

As well as Aviendha, Sandomere, Akarrin, Shana, Nisain, Therva and Reiko can do this to a useful degree (Crossroads of Twilight, Surprises and A Memory of Light, Impossibilities).

Reading Ter’angreal

This is a passive Talent in that no channelling is required; a channeller with this Talent can know what a ter’angreal does, or even sense how to activate it, merely by touching the ter’angreal. Aviendha has the Talent strongly (Knife of Dreams, A Different Skill). Nynaeve has a related Talent see below as shown when she sensed pain on picking up the rod ter’angreal that inflicts pain, whereas Elayne felt nothing (The Path of Daggers, Unweaving).

Aviendha "reset" the glass columns ter'angreal in Rhuidean from showing the past to showing the future by attempting to read the ter'angreal (Towers of Midnight, Near Avendesora).

Reading Weaves

Related to the ability to read residues, and also very rare, is the ability to tell what a weave will do before it is completed, even if it is a weave the channeller has never seen before. Aviendha and Asra have this Talent (Rover Jordan’s Aviendha and Kin notes). This may be the Talent Verin refers to when she worries that a Wise One may unexpectedly walk in while she worked her Compulsion and have the rare Talent to realise what Verin was doing (The Path of Daggers, Deceptive Appearances).

Seeing Ta’veren

The ability to see ta’veren is a minor Talent which does not require any weaves. Channellers with this ability see ta’veren as glowing; the stronger the ta’veren, the stronger the glow (The Great Hunt, The Shadow in Shienar). It is a rare Talent, rarer than ta’veren, but Siuan, Nicola and Logain (Lord of Chaos, To Heal Again) all have it.

Ogier cannot see ta’veren, but some can feel (weakly) the Pattern swirl around strong ta’veren (The Eye of the World, Web of the Pattern and The Great Hunt, Among the Elders).

Sensing Resonance

Nynaeve is able to sense a resonance or feeling from objects, especially those associated with the One Power, either saidin or saidar, but to a lesser degree even with mundane items. In Tanchico she felt the suffering in the male a’dam and the pride and vanity associated with the three-pointed star of the Mercedes car ornament. When they were sifting through the Ebou Dar cache she sensed pain in the black ter’angreal pain rod (The Path of Daggers, Unweaving). According to Robert Jordan’s Notes for WOT-1, some objects crafted with the Power can be affected, even tainted, by the people who possess them. The effect can come from any strong feeling, such as love, or hate or greed and shows the power of belief that operates in his world see theology article LINK.

Spinning Earthfire

This is an unknown major Talent (Lord of Chaos, Possibilities).

Testing Objects for Resonance to the Power

By holding the Power and touching an item, a channeller can identify ter’angreal, angreal and sa’angreal (The Path of Daggers Unweaving) that use the same half of the Source (saidin or saidar) that they use. Such objects feel warm or resonate. (At times it is enough to channel near an angreal to sense it). It is not known if this method can identify items attuned to the opposite half of the Source the channeller uses, but it does identify objects of the Power that do not require channelling (such as the blue carving of roots) (The Path of Daggers, Unweaving and Knife of Dreams, A Different Skill).

Testing for Resonance to Locate or Identify Channelling

A channeller with this ability can locate or identify where weaves of the opposite half of the Source have been made and how much of the Power those weaves used. It complements reading residues in a way, and is a more common ability. In Crossroads of Twilight, we saw Aes Sedai testing for resonance to saidin. All Aes Sedai are taught the weave, but since some Aes Sedai find it impossible to learn, it may be a Talent (Robert Jordan’s Aes Sedai notes).

Travelling and Skimming

Travelling is the ability to shift oneself from one place to another without crossing the intervening space and is a major Talent.

In order to Travel the channeller must know their starting place in great detail. Men bend the Pattern so that there is no space between where they are and where they want to go and bore a Hole in the Pattern from one to the other. Women change the weave of the Pattern with a flow of Spirit to create a similarity between where they are and where they want to go so that there is no difference between the two at that point. A gateway then opens. The two methods are completely incompatible with each other (Lord of Chaos, Gifts).

In general, the stronger the channeller, the larger the gateway they can make, and without enough strength, a channeller may be only able to open small hole, or else no hole at all. Women can link, though, and then weave a gateway. However, Androl, a very weak channeller, has a strong Talent for Travelling and can make gateways when he should not be able to.

The Grey Ajah now specialises in Travelling weaves, and Yukiri, a Grey Sitter, has developed horizontal gateways and worked on making gateways that let only light through so you can stand on them, or gateways that have one-way visibility. She has made the latter, but says that the gateway is still visible from the other side from up close (A Memory of Light, The Last Battle).

If the starting area is not well known, but the destination is, a different weave can open a gateway for Skimming. The channeller stands or sits on an imagined platform and moves through the void to their destination. It is slower than Travelling, but fairly secure. Two channellers will not see each other while Skimming unless the gateways are made at almost the same time, from the same spot with identical weaves (A Crown of Swords, A Morning of Victory). (Nevertheless, Rand saw Asmodean when they Skimmed to Rhuidean in The Shadow Rising, The Trap of Rhuidean).

According to Jordan, travel to other planets within the solar system is possible and would require a circle of fairly strong channelers, though not necessarily as many as thirteen, depending on exactly how far out they wanted to go. Travel to a planet in another solar system would require a circle of the maximum possible size of very strong channelers, and there would a limit on how far they could go in one jump. They could planet-hop, of course. Another galaxy is too far away to reach by Travelling (TOR Question of the Week).

If a channeller tries to open a gateway where one already exists, that gateway is displaced just enough that the two do not touch (Knife of Dreams, Siege).

The usual method of True Power Travelling is to fade into or out of one place and to another. With this method the Forsaken can see what is at their destination before they are there strongly enough to be significantly harmed (Robert Jordan’s Forsaken notes), and can presumably bail out if required. However, some Forsaken simply appear and vanish using the True Power, with the risk that they are not forewarned about their destination. This method is used when the Forsaken is in a hurry and either are keen to escape danger or else confident of their destination. Lanfear vanished in front of Min at Falme to intimidate her (The Great Hunt, First Claiming). Either method damages the Pattern when it is undertaken:

To his ears, the world screamed as he used the True Power to rip a small hole and step outside the Pattern.

- A Crown of Swords, Patterns Within Patterns


Linking is the combining of the flows of individual channellers as one and was common in the Age of Legends. A group that is linked is called a ‘circle’ or a 'ring' even when it is only two people and it doesn’t break until the leader ends it, not even if a channeller goes to sleep (The Path of Daggers, The Breaking Storm). If one channeller in the circle moves away, the link will not begin to attenuate until they have gone several hundred paces and will not break if they move to the other side of the world, though it will have become useless long before that (The Path of Daggers, A Quiet Place).

Circles have more Power than any one member could channel alone, with more precision than several flows. The overall strength of the circle is not as great as the separate strengths of each channeller in it added together, no matter how large the circle. No channeller can draw too much of the Power in a circle because they can’t draw as much Power as they normally could (The Path of Daggers, The Breaking Storm). The precision of circles makes them powerful.

Linking also has gender-based limitations due to the inherent differences of saidin and saidar. Men have the greater general strength in the Power, but women are essential for linking. Women can initiate a link; men cannot, though they can be part of it and even lead in certain circumstances…Linking can be learned by any woman who can channel, and one who does not know how to form a link can be brought into one by someone who does know how. Leading a circle, however, depends on both strength and skill, which are not the same thing. The greater the combination of strength and skill, the larger the circle that a woman, or man, can lead. The one who forms a link is not necessarily the one to lead it. Control can be passed voluntarily, and in the cases of some mixed gender circles must be passed in order to weave flows.

- The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time

Entering a link is normally a voluntary act, requiring at least acquiescence, but under certain circumstances, a sufficient circle already formed can bring another woman forcibly into the circle as long as no man is part of it. Insofar as is known, a man cannot be forced into a circle, no matter how large.

- Lord of Chaos and A Crown of Swords Glossary

(A’dams, of course are a different matter). The Black Ajah force a woman into a circle of 12 against her will (Knife of Dreams, Prologue). They also use a circle to inflict pain.

In order to enter, the channeller puts themselves right on the edge of embracing the Source and then can be linked in. On joining, they become aware of the feelings of others in the circle. The Aes Sedai teach that it is important that they are not overcome by this and keep their identity separate (A Memory of Light, The Last Battle).

Thirteen female channellers can link together without the presence of a man. If a man is added to the link of thirteen women, thirteen more women can be added to the circle making a total of twenty-six women and one man. Thereafter for each man added to the circle, an additional eight women can be added until a total of seventy-two linked channellers (six men and sixty-six women) is reached; the largest possible circle. This is the minimum number of men and maximum number of women that can be linked together in these size circles.

The total number of people in a circle, when you have the maximum number of women for each man, is always divisible by three. RJ thought that there was an error in the Lord of Chaos glossary and that it had been fixed in A Crown of Swords.

- A Crown of Swords book tour

Other gender mixes are possible as well. The number of men in a circle is limited only by the fact that with the exceptions of the linking of one man and one woman or of two men and one woman (and of course of two men and two women), there must always be at least one more woman in the circle than the number of men. Thus, three men would need four women to be in a circle together, four men would need five women, and so on. There can also be smaller circles than thirteen, whether of women alone or of men and women.

The cumulative strength of a circle depends on its size, the strengths of the individuals linked, whether or not angreal or sa’angreal are used, and the balance between male and female members in the circle. Although men are stronger than women, the strongest linked circles are those which contain nearly equal numbers of men and women. A smaller circle with a closer balance can be stronger than a larger, unbalanced circle. The most powerful circle potentially, depending on the strengths and gifts of those linked, would be one containing thirty-five men and thirty-seven women, achieving the maximum possible size of seventy-two members as well as the greatest possible balance of male and female.

In most cases, either a man or a woman can control the link—but in the case of a circle of seventy-two, a circle of only one man and one woman, or in most circles of up to thirteen which contain more than one man, a man must lead. Excepting the examples given above, and other circles of thirteen or less, a woman must lead where the minimum number of men are present.

- The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time

Only the leader of the circle can channel.

Information on the leadership of circles is inconsistent in the books. The Lord of Chaos and A Crown of Swords glossaries say that a man must control mixed circles of less than thirteen. However, during a meeting between two male and two female Forsaken in Caemlyn, Graendal taunts Sammael when he asks to be part of their planned circle:

”Next you will ask to include enough of those Black Ajah children to take the circle beyond thirteen, so you or Rahvin must have control.”

- The Fires of Heaven, Prologue

ie that a man must control a circle of more than thirteen, and that a woman must control a circle of less than thirteen. This is supported in Robert Jordan’s Aes Sedai notes, which explain that the reason why it is not possible to force a man into a circle to control his channelling is that

even a circle of 13 sisters had small chance of forcing a man into a link without somehow ceding control to him, while smaller circles had even less chance.

Yet, according to The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time, a circle of two men and two women must be led by a man. The glossaries agree (though it is explained differently). From this I suggest that it depends on the relative strengths of the man and the women in the ring as to how many women would be required in the circle for a woman to gain/keep control of a circle. All books agree that a man must lead the smallest circle of a man and a woman (though the woman initiates the circle) and the largest circle of seventy-two.

In the Age of Legends,

according to what the circle was intended to achieve, members were recruited depending on their strengths in the Five Powers while the leader was chosen more for skill. It also seems that certain balances of male with female were considered best for certain tasks, and also certain sizes of circles. A circle of seventy-two may have been the largest and most powerful combination, but it was not always best for the desired results. Some tasks were best accomplished by a circle of one man and one woman, despite its limited strength, while others were more efficiently done with greater numbers.

- The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time

A mixed gender circle has X amount of saidin and Y amount of saidar available, set by the strengths of the men and women in it. Talents or special skills available to members of the circle other than whoever is melding the flows are not available to the person who is. If those Talents or skills are particularly needed, then control of the circle must be passed.

- Robert Jordan on his blog, 2nd October 2005

When two channellers who have Bonded each other are in a circle it is harder for them to keep their identities separate and if shocked they may merge, to the extent that one can show a Talent that the other has, or make a weave despite the other having control of the circle (A Memory of Light, The Last Battle).

Circles can be useful for shielding, since thirteen women linked can shield any man. On the other hand, it is no use shielding one member of a circle, they all have to be shielded.

Egwene thought that only a circle of thirteen could shield her while she was using the White Tower’s strongest sa’angreal.

With this much power, she could not be stopped save by a full circle

- The Gathering Storm, A Fount of Power

However, Rand thought that if he used only part of the capacity of the Choedan Kal he could overwhelm a full circle of thirteen:

"I'm only holding a little extra, as a precaution." The more of the One Power a person held, the more difficult it was to shield them. If the damane tried to capture him, they would be shocked by his resilience. He might be able to resist a full circle.

- The Gathering Storm, A Halo of Blackness

And after his epiphany he was unafraid of two circles of thirteen in the White Tower. Egwene thought he could break their shield:

"I doubt we could have held him," Egwene said. "There's something about him. I…I had the sense he could have broken that shield without struggle."

- Towers of Midnight, The Amyrlin’s Anger

Rand had the fat man angreal (A Memory of Light, Just Another Sell-sword). However back in Lord of Chaos The Mirror of Mists, he doubted that he could shield seven Aes Sedai already embracing saidar with it.

Circles can be used to accelerate learning how to channel as this conversation between Rand and Asmodean shows:

Rand cut him off. "You are not teaching me very well."
"As well as may be expected, under the circumstances. You can grasp saidin every time you try, now, and tell one flow from another. You can shield yourself, and the Power does what you want it to." He stopped playing and frowned, not looking at Rand. "Do you think Lanfear really intended me to teach you everything? If she had wanted that, she would have contrived to stay close so she could link us…I've told you I am not a very good teacher, especially without a link.

- The Fires of Heaven, Pale Shadows

Male channellers learn while linked into a mixed circle. The quote above shows that ‘teaching circles’ can be quite small, as small as just two men and one woman, but no smaller; the woman is necessary to link the men, and the man to teach the other man how to use saidin. Women can learn weaves in all female circles.

This is a useful function of the mixed circles of Darkfriends now available at the Black Tower. Logain’s faction remark on the rapid learning of Taim’s favourites:

"The men who take Taim's private lessons learn too quickly," Nalaam said. "Nensen was barely powerful enough to be considered for Dedicated just a short time ago. Now he's full Asha'man.

- Towers of Midnight, Working Leather.

If practised extensively, it might also cause the learner to gain their channelling strength rapidly too.

Turning Channellers to the Shadow

A circle of thirteen Dreadlords can weave the flows through thirteen Myrddraal to turn channellers to the Shadow. The process requires that the person to be Turned be able to channel. The male Dreadlords do not need women to link them. A circle of all one gender is the most effective at turning those of the opposite sex. Taim lacked women Dreadlords, which is why it took so long to turn Logain (A Memory of Light, Doses of Forkroot).

The stronger the person’s commitment to the Light, the harder it is to Turn them, but the more fervent their commitment to the Shadow will be when they are finally Turned.

Channellers change drastically in the Turning:

When Mezar had returned a few days back — explaining that Logain was well and that all would soon be resolved with Taim—Androl had begun to hope that there was a way out of this mess. But something had seemed off about the man. Beyond that, the M'Hael had made a great show of accepting Mezar as a full Asha'man; the Dragon had raised him. And now Mezar—once fiercely loyal to Logain—was spending his time with Coteren and Taim's other lackeys.

- Towers of Midnight, Something Wrong

Tarna changed in a similar way, becoming offhand about Taim’s restrictions and the Reds’ predicament and happy to stay on at the Black Tower. What is most distinctive is that both these people now have dead or lifeless eyes.


In Jordan’s world, as philosopher Herid Fel said, “belief and order give strength”—literally. Not just against the Shadow, but for everything; no matter who you are, or what side you are on.

Channelling REALLY shows the power of belief. For example, channellers who believe they can’t affect anything from a distance won’t be able to. And, by extension, if another channeller’s belief is stronger, then they feel outdone by that channeller’s weaves. There is no difference between literally exerting a mysterious force, even at a molecular level, or believing that something should happen according to your thoughts.

The attitude of some Wheel of Time groups or individuals to channelling is also interesting if it is a manifestation of what the real-world society commonly regards as a mental illness.

When we first encounter channelling, we hear about it from the point of view of ordinary citizens—Nynaeve, Mat, Perrin and even Rand, who little suspected that two out of these four were not only channellers, but strong ones. There is a strong stigma attached to channelling among the general populace, and very little trust. Fear rather than respect, even if channelling is used positively. It is rather like the stigma attached to a mental illness such as schizophrenia. In fact, channelling is equated with madness at first:

"He'll go mad and die! In the stories, men who channel the Power always go mad, and then waste away and die. Only women can touch it. Doesn't he know that?"

- The Eye of the World, The Peddler

"An Aes Sedai?" Rand whispered. "She can't be. I talked to her. She isn't . . . She doesn't . . .”
"Did you think they wore signs?" the Mayor said wryly.
“‘Aes Sedai’ painted across their backs, and maybe, ‘Danger, stay away’?”

- The Eye of the World, Out of the Woods

So fearful or repelled by channelling are they, that the Two Rivers people confronted Moiraine to drive her away, even after she had saved them from the Trollocs.

The reader gets used to channelling as the main characters learn about it; it becomes perfectly accepted. Of the main Two Rivers people, only Mat never stops distrusting or disliking channelling:

Just a little reminder, in case he should forget the markings under his friend’s coatsleeves, or those even stranger things inside his head that let him channel. If he could forget that Rand could channel—and he had not thought of it once in days; days!—then it was far past time to be gone.

- The Fires of Heaven, Before the Arrow

Some years ago, I discussed with a fellow writer about The Wheel of Time the likelihood that Jordan modelled his ideas of channelling on schizophrenia. There are considerable similarities, notably the early stages of learning control of channelling, especially unaided, as shown in the quote below, and also the personality traits of the strongest channellers.

"You felt nothing special at the time, but a week or ten days later you had your first reaction to touching the True Source. Perhaps fever and chills that came on suddenly and put you to bed, then disappeared after only a few hours. None of the reactions, and they vary, lasts more than a few hours. Headaches and numbness and exhilaration all mixed together, and you taking foolish chances or acting giddy. A spell of dizziness, when you tripped and stumbled whenever you tried to move, when you could not say a sentence without your tongue mangling half the words. There are others.”

- The Eye of the World, Listen to the Wind

Channellers must learn to control their thoughts, or else they will die:

But unless some sort of control has been learned, death becomes a certainty. Some die within the year, some survive as long as five years, yet without the control that is almost impossible to learn without guidance, all die.

- The World of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time

We are used to one culture in the series as our ‘normal’ and when introduced to another we look at it as inferior, whether they are Seanchan or Sharans. Or Whitecloaks. All groups have positive and negative aspects irrespective of the way they treat channellers.

Another inspiration would be witchcraft, long regarded with fear and hatred in many real-world as well as Wheel of Time societies and considered justification for execution. Witchcraft is heretical in Christianity, with the practitioner assumed to be in league with the devil. This is the view that Whitecloaks hold.

The first view we have of a publicly-known Aes Sedai is of her confronting angry and fearful people in the Two Rivers that she has saved from death and injury with her powers—a truly Salem moment. Many real world healers have also been driven away or executed by the ungrateful recipients of their knowledge, skill and care.

In those Ages without channelling, people are still born with the genes for the trait, but are unable to channel. Anyone believing they could affect matter with their mind are likely to be regarded as delusional or as a witch in non-channelling Ages.


While reading A Memory of Light, I asked myself “Why is there the One Power?” apart from to make the story entertaining. Does it perform any deeper role than this?

Channelling is something the gods, the Creator and Dark One, do all the time. But not people. In some Ages there is no channelling. So why should these last two Ages have it?

Jordan uses channelling to demonstrate alchemical symbolism in a concrete way. The Wheel of Time alchemical quest is usually to achieve the Great Work of self-development through social service and Healing the people and the Land from the blight of the Shadow, and it can raise humanity to very high levels, both positive and negative, even to demi-god-like levels. This is overtly so in the case of Lanfear, who wanted to kill the Dark One and replace it, and of Rand, who duelled with the Dark One and used the sacred conjunction to seal it away. But there were many others who did amazing and heroic deeds either with or against channelling. In contrast, the Aes Sedai spent a great deal of time learning and practising their weaves but contributed less and less to the common good during the Third Age until the Last Battle.


Written by Linda, June, 2005 and rewritten April 2013 and May 2019

Contributors: arun, RabidWombat, smallcatharine, DomA, Dr Saidin


Anonymous said...

When linked, saidar can be used to Travel the men's way - how? Wouldn't it still tear the Pattern?

Anonymous said...


Great article! I think, though, that all Aes Sedai can handle at least two separate weaves at the same time. The test for the shawl, while it might not absolutely mandate channeling something else while weaving the required whatever-it-is, seems to suggest that it would.

Eek. I hope you could make sense of that. To me, the Aes Sedai place a very great emphasis on their ability to channel - makes sense that they would make it so an initiate had to channel her way out of issues during the test.

Most sisters we've met seem able to tie off their weaves, too.


Anonymous said...

"When linked, saidar can be used to Travel the men's way - how? Wouldn't it still tear the Pattern?"

I don't understand the reference to that the same way. I think the article means that women have the unique ability to initiate a link and so make their gateways larger, so their personal strength isn't as much an issue right now. Of course, the same can be achieved with an angreal, and the more mix gender works will take place, the more this advantage will disappear (though we don't know if a travelling weave using both saidar and saidin is even possible. If not, then a man who can't Travel on his own could form the weave only if there are at least another man of sufficient strength in the circle.)

I guess it's theorically possible for a female circle leader to Travel the male way using saidin from her circle, but that'd be counter intuitive and as far as we can tell there'd be no advantage to doing that. Most likely, when gateway size is an issue, the method of Travelling, and the choice of leader of which gender, depends on whether the circle can achieve a bigger male or female gateways depending on strengths and gender distribution in the circle.

In any case, I have the feeling one of the limits of mix gender work is the ability of the leader to handle the opposite half of the True Source, and there again men probably can handle more saidar for heavy work - nothing fancy (as Rand's massive weave of saidar at SL), but women are probably more skilled at handling (relatively) small quantities of both power for precision work. I'm not convinced they can control saidin enough for complex weaves like Travelling, however. If some women can do that, it must be pretty rare.

Linda said...

Anonymous: what I mean is that women too weak to open a gateway indvidually can link to do so.

Anonymous said...

Not in the article, I think somewhere Rand mentions that a man and woman linked could make substantially larger gateways.

Anonymous said...

In KoD, immediately after Rand gets his hand burned off.

Anonymous said...

The way to form a weave is determined by the half of the source that is used for it's creation.

During the cleansing, Elsa controled the circle that contained Narishma and Calandor. When she spots Dashiva she decided to use Saidin to create a fireball. This clearly indicates that the person controling a circle can not only choose to use only one of the halves, but also also choose the half she/he normally wouldn't be able to channel.

In TGS, Semirhage is linked with Rand through the male adam. She decides to use Saidin to torture Min but she has to search her memory first for the weave that is used by Saidin wielders. This clearly indicate that the half of the source used dictates how the weave must be channeled.

It's not really clear to me if a mixed circle has to form both weaves at the same time or if there is a 3rd weave for a mixed circle. I don't think we have seen a mixed circle in which both halves were used for the same weave at the same time. During the cleansing, Rand used each half for a different weave and Elsa wasn't mentioned as using both halves at the same time.

There might even be a 4th way to make a weave for users of the TP.


Peter said...

Great article Linda - very comprehensive and well researched.

A small omission I noticed in "Making Ter'angreal". Elayne also made (inferior) copies of Mat's foxhead medallion.

Linda said...

You're right, Peter. I was sure that was in. I must have missed that addition in the editing.

JDH1973 said...

two things:

1. Aligning the Matrix

This is a major Talent with which metals are made stronger (Lord of Chaos, Possibilities). It has not been seen yet.

I'm pretty certain we've now seen this in ToM when they made Perrin's Hammer and later several other weapons were enhanced, such as the Aiel's spear heads.

2. Egwene's Healing weave may not be a mistake, but one of the new Healing weaves. Note that she actually did a far better job of Healing Gawyn than she's demonstrated in the past. Before she could only Heal a bruise, but with Gawyn some of his wounds actually began to close up. It actually seems logical that Earth flows can be of more value in Healing, from the perspective of the various Yellows who had the requisite strength in Earth to make Cuendillar too.

Linda said...

JDH: Thanks for drawing my attention to this section. I have made a slightly different take on it than yourself. :)

JDH1973 said...

Are you referring to Egwene's Healing weave? I see no difference in that and Nynaeve's varying types of Delving ... and given how many Yellows showed Strength in Earth if follows that some new Healing weaves would involved Earth. Of course it could as easily have been a mistake by the author :)

Gifted Designs said...

Women can initiate a link; men cannot...

If that's the case, how was the Ashaman who helped make Perrin's hammer able to call for a circle after he had already begun channeling?

Who initiated that circle?

Also, if men cannot be forced into a circle, how is Taim turning the men? Or is the person being turned not in the circle itself?

Linda said...

Well he asked them to join him, but they have to actually reach out to him with the power and make the link. Men can't do this.

People are turned to the Shadow by a circle of 13 weaving the flows through 13 Myrddraal. The weave is acted on them, they aren't brought into the circle.

Anonymous said...

Hi Linda,

Two points:

1) Egwene's healing weave, was not a mistake. FOR one thing, it actually worked. For another, its very possible since Nynaeve's discovery that Aes Sedai now use the flows they are strongest in for Healing.

2) I think your statement about OP strength and Gateway size needs to change to reflect Androl, and also account for Asmodean stating that the One Power was only partly involved in the making of Gateways.


Michael said...

A couple questions:
1. Let's say that Egwene, Elayne, and Nynaeve formed a circle for whatever purpose. Someone nearby is injured to the point of needing Healing. If Egwene or Elayne is leading the circle, would Nynaeve's Talent for Healing have any bearing on the strength of the Healing? Let's assume that for whatever reason, control of the circle cannot be passed to Nynaeve.

2. Same scenario, except Nynaeve is the one injured. Would it be possible for that circle to Heal Nynaeve, or would she have to be ejected from the circle?

3. I can't recall if Elayne and Aviendha linked when they bonded Rand (although my gut is telling me that they did not), but what would have happened if they had, or if Nynaeve and Elayne had linked while bonding Birgitte? Would the Warder be bonded to both of them, or just the one leading the flows?

Linda said...

Michael: A channeller can lend their strength to someone else leading the circle, but not their Talent. If their level of Talent is required, then the lead is passed to them.

So no in question 1.
2. She would have to be ejected.
3. They made an 'inclusive' weave beforehand (so Min could be bonded also) and they were linked while they did it.

If you read the section on Alanna bonding Rand, Verin talks about what would have happened had they been linked and she is not sure. (It's just not done).

But considering that Elayne and Aviendha did it, I would say that the Warder would be bonded to both of them.

Chris Cottingham said...

Hi Linda! Fantastic article as always! I'm still reading, but one quick suggestion - add Semirhage to Nynaeve, Samitsu, and Sumeko as one of the best Healers. Semirhage was a famed and very Talented Restorer.

Linda said...

OK I'll do that Chris. I just considered it too obvious.

Chris Cottingham said...

I'm overly pedantic sometimes, sorry. On what I hope is a more helpful note, you mention that Yukiri is thinking about one way gateways. Apparently she masters it quickly, because by the Last Battle chapter she has accomplished it. Gawyn questions if she is sure it will work. She replies that it has been extensively tested. She does admit that it would be easier to spot from close up, but cannot be seen from high up in the air.

Anonymous said...

Splendid article, Linda!

But you are mistaken about insanity healing. It was stated by RJ (aCoS signing), that insanity cannot be healed by One Power. Ishamael used True Power to heal Lews Therin.
Nynaeve did not find the way to heal insanity either. We saw what she realy did curing Asha'man, and that was removing the taint from poor man's head. This method will help her little and less, if she ever try to heal really crazy person. Well, if every madman or madwoman have the same thing in the head, that another matter, but I do not think that is the case.

Manetheren said...

Anonymous, I think you've just described what Linda did, just using different words. The section didn't say Nynaeve found out how to heal the insane, but hot to heal those male channelers afflicted by the taint who were insane as a result. By figuring out how to remove the taint and heal the punctures in their brains, Nynaeve "cleansed" them (or healed the cause of their instanity) and hence healed/removed the insanity (symptoms) resulting from the taint.

Anonymous said...

So Rand's plan to seal the Dark One hinged on him bringing Moridin into a circle. Yet it's been stated that no one can be brought into a circle against their will...what's the deal there, did Sanderson just forget that particular part?

Linda said...

No he did not. It has been foreshadowed by Jordan for some books that there was more to Callandor's flaws. One of them is that a man using Callandor can be forcibly brought into a circle with 2 women. See Angreal and Sa'angreal. It was explained thoroughly in AMOL.

Norry said...

Can control of a Compelled person be transferred?

In the Last Battle, Hessalam-Graendal's Compulsion weave (aimed at Aviendha) backfires. Would Aviendha gain control of Graendal's thralls, now that Graendal herself is a thrall?

My answer is no. I believe the individual doing Compulsion must be in control of him/herself. I have no basis for this belief, though.

belugakid said...

One actual question on talents is about the Talent of seeing ta’veren. Both Siuan and Nicola have shown it as they see glowing around the person who is a ta’veren. My question is for Siuan.
In TGH, she tells Moiraine “you know I have the Talent for seeing them”, when they talk after she sees Rand for the first time. How did she know she had the Talent at all? It never was mentioned she had it in New Spring. Does that mean Siuan has met other people who are ta’veren between then and the main series time? Could she have met people who have been ta’veren temporarily and of varying strength? Knowledge of the Talent could obviously have survived and could be taught to novices or Accepted at the Tower, but otherwise, how did Siuan and Moiraine know that Siuan in particular had it?

Linda said...

Siuan may or may not have known she could see ta'veren in New Spring. Not everything they knew was mentioned. At some stage she has seen people who are ta'veren, whether strong or weak.

Learning about different Talents is as much a part of training as learning weaves.

Anonymous said...

Hi Linda! Thanks for putting this together! I have a few questions, it would be great if you could answer them for me.
1. Regarding the “positive” (Air and Fire) and “negative” (Earth and Water) powers: I believe in the Glossary it says that channellers are usually strong in one or two of the powers, with rare cases of strength in three or four, or (very rare) all five. In this article it says that a channeller is usually strong in one positive and one negative power. My question is, is it possible (and do we know how rare it would be) for a channeller to be strong in two “positive” or two “negative” powers e.g. strong in Air and Fire, or strong in Earth and Water? I understand that it is possible if the channeller is strong in three or four powers, but I wonder whether a channeller who is ONLY strong in two powers could be strong in two positive powers or two negative powers.

2. When it says that strength in Spirit is found equally among men and women, does that mean that
a) all channellers have the “same” (proportional to strength in the Power, of course) strength in Spirit
b) A channeller can have Spirit as one of their strengths, and on average the same number of men have this strength as do women
If b) is correct, wouldn’t that make strength in Spirit a desired attribute in a sister of the Red Ajah (improved shielding, and ability to cut weaves of Saidin)

3. We know that it is possible, although rare, for women to be strong in “male” powers and vice versa. Egwene and “Pylar” Sedai are strong in Earth, and unless I’m mistaken, Aviendha is strong in Fire, however is there any way to tell exactly how rare of an occurrence this is? Would there be other Aes Sedai strong in the male powers? And on the point of my first question, would there be Aes Sedai strong in Air and Fire, or in Water and Earth?

Thank you for you resourcefulness, you have been a great help on many things.

Linda said...

Thanks for your comments, Anonymous.

1. We don't have the data about enough channellers' strengths in the 5 powers to say whether anyone can be strong in just fire and air or earth and water.

2. I think B is correct because we know of a weak channeller who has very great ability with shields, and great skill in shields requires strength in Spirit. It would certainly help a Red to be strong in Spirit, but Pevara tells us that the Reds also practise shielding a lot, and so hone their skill as much as they can, which is another way to be good at shielding.

3. Again, we don't have the data to be able to answer this question. Most channeller's strengths (if any) in the 5 powers is never mentioned. However, we know that Naeff, an Asha'man, is particularly strong in Air. But there are far too few data points to draw any conclusions.