The Voluval is both one of the Minmatar’s least understood, and most important rituals. Involving a specialized sort of tattooing process that marks the subject’s body, the Voluval is a rite of passage practiced by nearly all sub-clans of all tribes in the Republic. It is also known as the Test of Destiny and is the seminal event in a young Mimatar’s life, representing their coming of age and official recognition as a member of the tribe.
One of the most important rituals almost every Minmatar goes through in their life is the Voluval. But we have almost no idea what they look like - there are some examples in the Ray of Matar -chronicle artworks. I decided to take it upon myself to expand this part of the lore a little, but it should be noted that this is ENTIRELY PLAYER FICTION.
But, I wanted to give people some inspiration to create their own Voluvals for their own characters, or if you like these pre-made versions, you’re free to select them as well. Voluvals are not unique, so many people will have the same basic shape of a Voluval, but considering the sheer scale of the Minmatar population, there are bound to be at the very least thousands of different Voluvals, probably tens to hundreds of thousands. So, there is room for creativity here.
Also, this is entirely my headcanon, but take these symbols as just basic shapes, “If it looks something like this, it’s probably this mark” sort of thing. Like reference cards for Minmatar shamans to begin identifying various Voluval marks. There is probably all sorts of variations on these, lines might be longer, shorter, heavier, thinner, some parts missing etc.
So, I invite you to all to create your own versions. Also, since these forums tend to be difficult to work with over longer stretches of time and their formatting options are limited, I’ve made a backup of these in the Backstage OOC forum. You’re welcome to post yours here or there.
Voluvals made by me, with and without outside inspiration
Keeper of Traditions
A campfire / fireplace symbol, this Mark is traditionally considered the mark of a clan leader among Rhiannon. Its associated aspects are kinship, loyalty, preservation, tradition, insularity, deprecating, strict.
Wings of Freedom
Associations: Courageous, daring, free, self-reliance, recklessness, headstrong, proud.
Associated with exploration, vanguard, innovation, and general far reaching ideals.
Associated attributes: Determination, Strong sense of justice, Leadership, Headstrong, Anti-authoritarian
A Voluval rarely seen outside of the Brutor Tribe, resembling a simplistic Khumaak; Greatly respected because it is thought to be inherited from the collective trauma caused by the eradication of the Starkmanir, though in recent times the mark has become slightly less revered and even rarer after the rediscovery of the remains of the Starkmanir Tribe.
Associated attributes: Adventurous, intelligent, Charming, Indecisive, Temperamental, Reclusive, Adaptable
A common mark for Vherokior, but can be encountered in any Tribe. Typical place for the mark to appear is above the navel. Yetamo’s tongue is often associated with difficult personalities, but bearers of these Marks also have the drive to become just about anything they set their minds to.
Associated attributes: Trustworthy, Incorruptible, Blessed, Spoiled, Blunt
The Fern is a mark common to all tribes, considered to signal pure spirits, or someone favoured by the spirits. This mark brings great prestige to their bearer and bearers of the mark are often - but not always - headed to become shamans of their Tribes.
Associated attributes: Unfocused, Unpredictable, Creative, Hidden Strengths
Common mark with all the tribes, but often associated with the Krusual. Bearers of the Four Winds mark are frequently judged as absent-minded and unpredictable, but are also credited as people who tend to think outside-of-the-box more than most, and tend to find themselves valued in positions requiring creativity.
Associated attributes: Skilled, Strong-Willed, Social
Common mark for Brutor, rarer in other Tribes. The Geyser is among the Brutor considered a mark that signifies high strength - both emotional and physical, and perhaps perplexingly to outsiders, also taken to imply great self-discipline.
Associated attributes: Treacherous, Untrustworthy, Two-Faced
A mark only seen in the Vherokior Tribe. This mark is the same as the ancient Vherokior warning totems for quicksand. Those who get this mark are considered treacherous, and often get expelled from their clans. Individual families may still choose to retain such individuals, but the families are considered responsible for their actions. Their life outside of family circles is generally a strained one.
There is some contention on the meaning of this mark, as some believe it to be incorrectly interpreted as more damning than it really is. However, the description above is the dominant one in most Vherokior clans.
Associated attributes: Unpredictable, Passion, Aloofness
A mark seen in all Tribes, Yetamo is a mark associated with opposites - life and death, fire and ashes. Yetamo is one of the marks that is seen less defining than most, where the person themselves will define their mark with their actions. While generally such is to an extent true for any mark, Yetamo is considered especially flexible in this regard.
Voluvals made by Melisma Ramijozana
Bird-on-the-Wind / Birdwind:
Birdwind is a Corovid on the left turning into wisps of wind on the right.
It’s fairly common as a fate symbol among Sebiestor but for Ramijozana it is fortuitous if the cadet chief gets it as a Voluval.
The Long Tear
Looks like a tear in the skin or a trail of tears. It symbolizes profound grief and anyone who gets it as a Voluval is probably about to lose a whole lot of people.
Zemi / Spirit-Touched
Zemi can appear in any tribe but especially Vherokior, Krusual, and Sebiestor. It has a different name depending on which clan/tribe it is. But generally the bearer is spirit-touched and needs to become a shaman.
As noted, these were made by @Melisma_Ramijozana, posted on their permission.