Pon Farr Research

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by leifer, Nov 23, 2011.

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  1. leifer

    leifer Ensign Newbie

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    We were assigned to write about a ritual, real or fictional, and this is the one I chose. I have already submitted the proposal and my professor approved it as technically, it is a ritual. I chose it because I'm tired of writing non-fictional, boring crap and wanted to have some fun with the assignment! :)
     
  2. leifer

    leifer Ensign Newbie

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    Thank you Harvey :)
     
  3. leifer

    leifer Ensign Newbie

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    Here is a link to my Department website at the University of Regina, and the professors will be able to verify that Carissa Leifson is indeed writing a paper for the Anthropology of Religion course: http://www.arts.uregina.ca/anthropology

    If you wish to contribute any relevant information about the ritual of Pon Farr to my research attempts, please feel free to email me directly at leifsonc@uregina.ca

    I understand that you are a community of people with a common interest, and you don't trust me because I am so obviously uneducated in everything Star Trek. It does genuinely interest me, or I would not have chosen this topic to research. I only want to write about something different, rather than Catholic rituals or some other boring bs. If any of you would be willing to help me, you can contact me at the above email. If not, live long and prosper.
     
  4. JustKate

    JustKate Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Oh, I absolutely agree, Captain. I was merely summarizing a thread for Leifer's benefit. You must admit, that is a pretty accurate summary.

    Leifer, there are two Voyager episodes that rely on pon farr quite heavily, but they deal almost entirely with the physiological effects, not the ritual. One is called "Blood Fever" (season ) and the other is, I think, "Body and Soul." There's a nice article in Memory Alpha on pon farr: http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Pon_farr

    I see from this article that Enterprise featured pon farr at least once as well.

    I guess I don't quite get what else you want from us, Leifer. Might I suggest that you prime the BBS pump by asking a few specific questions? That might give you better material than a general query.
     
  5. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    The VOY episodes make a complete hash of the subject, so I'd avoid those.
     
  6. TigerOfDarkness

    TigerOfDarkness Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Not to mention the somewhat creepy resolution.

    Although Pon Farr is surrounded by ritual, isn't it is primarily driven by biological processes?
     
  7. Green Shirt

    Green Shirt Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There isn't a great deal of canon information on the subject, and I do not read, nor am I at all familiar with Trek books. So I wonder if there is enough info out there to provide sufficient material to take a credible stab at this subject.
     
  8. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Leifer, You might try using the search feature. There have been more than a few really good discussion on the subject here through the years. Reading through the entirety of the threads would give you insight not only about Pon Farr, but how different Star Trek fans interpret the same subject material.

    I'm just going to basically quote my old posts, so I don't have to re-type all this from multiple previous postings on this subject. Excuse me if the narrative is a bit disjointed.


    :)
    If the purpose (one of) behind pon farr isn't just for a couple to engage in sex, but for that sex to result in a pregnancy, then it makes sense for the female to be experiencing pon farr too, not just the male. The way I see it, the female would begin her pon farr cycle when she entered the Vulcan equivalent of estrous, she would then "send" a signal to the bonded male triggering his pon farr to begin.
    It wouldn't make any sense to arrive prior to the bride being ready, or at all if she were deceased. In historic times the groom would simply walk across the village or come in from the fields. But in ancient times, before bonding, the bride might have broadcasted her "readiness" to every male for hundreds of kilometers. All of whom would have come running. Part of the idea behind the arranged marriage of children would be a form of "crowd control." Because T'Pring was sending a signal solely to Spock, the signal could cross considerable distances, similar to Spock feeling the deaths of the Vulcans aboard the starship Intrepid . It's possible that Spock and T'Pring, since being bonded as children, have had a constant low-level contact.

    :)
    This assumes that all Vulcan's, as children, are entered into arranged marriages. Or maybe Stonn already has a wife and T'Pring is seeking to be Stonn's second wife. Polygamy.

    The episode would seem to make clear the husband has to hook up with the wife, not just a T'Hooker or the ship's nurse. And I think that there's more than just sex involve with pon farr. Spock said that he has to return to Vulcan and take a wife, here is the social and evolutionarily reason behind pon farr. Not just to reproduce and perpetuate the species, but a psychological drive to take a spouse and form a family, which would increase the chances of children living and becoming adults, especially on a harsh world like Vulcan.

    :)
    T'Pau's comments to Kirk seem to imply that T'Pring could have choosen any of the Vulcan's in the arena, in ancient times this would have prevented a woman from having to marry a weak husband. And I think it was pretty obvious that T'Pring intended to pick Stonn orginally, he was the only Vulcan present who wasn't part of the official wedding party, chime guys, weapons carrier, headsman. T'Pring brought him. As soon as Spock saw him, he should have know there was going to be a challenge.

    Did you notice that after he hit the gong a second time and Stonn entered the arena, even as Spock approached T'Pau, Spock kept the gong's mallet in his hand? Subconscious need for some kind of weapon?

    :)
    SPOCK : No. Nor am I man. I'm a Vulcan. I'd hoped I would be spared this, but the ancient drives are too strong. Eventually, they catch up with us, and we are driven by forces we cannot control ... to return home and take a wife ... or die.

    Notice Spock didn't say "have sex with the ship's nurse or a T'Hooker," nor did he say to " return home and mate."
    Spock specifically said "And take a wife." Not get laid, so something more involved than just sex is happening during Pon Farr. The compulsion may be to form a family unit, both to have children and take care of them through to maturity, family's stabilize socialites, that's the evolutionary advantage of Pon Farr. Form a family, a tribe, a community. This would prosper the entire Vulcan race and increase the likelihood of childhood survival.

    Vulcan could be a dangerous place, especially during primitive times. If two females become pregnant by two (different) males. One male only has a psychological compulsion for sexual activity. The other male has a psychological compulsion to form and maintain a family unit. Of the resulting two children, one with a single parent, one with two parents, which one statistically has a better chance to grow up and pass on it's genes? Easy, the child with the genes to compulsively form a family unit.

    :)
    Maybe not. Of the three friends that I have who are in arranged marriages, the intended spouse was always from the same town (in India), and usual a forth cousin. Arranged marriages throughout history tend to be inside of some kind of group, race, religion, money, social. If Spock's family was important (T'Pau), it's likely T'Pring's was too. And they might have been distant cousins as well.

    :)
    The ancient practice of arranged (in childhood) marriage might have also served as a form of "crowd control." I believe Spock did not begin pon farr until after T'Pring was already in pon farr (female version), it wouldn't make any sense to arrive prior to the bride being ready, or at all if she were deceased. In historic times the groom would simply walk across the village or in from the fields. But in ancient times, before bonding, the bride might have broadcasted her "readiness" to ever male for hundreds of kilometers. All of whom would have come running.

    :)
    T'Pau's comments to Kirk seem to imply that T'Pring could have chosen any of the male's in the arena, in historic times this would have prevented a bride from having to marry a weak groom to whom she had been bonded to as a child. In ancient times there might have been a free for all of combat.

    :):):):):):):)
    I wonder if the weapons and weapons carriers are part of the usual wedding party, if T'Pring hadn't intended to challenge the marriage would they have been absent? If T'Pring hadn't intended to challenge the marriage Stonn definitely would have been absent.

    :)
    Spock doesn't enter the blood fever until after T'Pring issues the challenge, up until then he was in at least partial control of himself. The blood fever might not be a common part of pon farr if there is no challenge. After combat the need for the blood fever disappears, Spock might not have been completely freed of the effects of pon farr yet, but had obtained the level of rational thought that would have come to him if T'Pring had simply accepted the marriage.

    :)
    If it was generally known that T'Pring was going to contest the marriage, Sarek may have keep Amanda and himself away. Given Vulcan strength and stamina, Spock and Stonn might have sliced and hack at each other for a extended length of time.

    :mallory:
    Leifer, in at least one novel, the intended bride not only issued the challenge, but choose to serve as her own champion as well. And there is a episode of Voyager where BeLanna Torrse did somewhat the same thing, when approach by a fellow crewmate who was in pon farr. Although in her case, she was rebuffing his advance.


    .
     
  9. Isis

    Isis Commodore Commodore

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    This is just a side point to this thread, but Sarek and Amanda's absence always made sense to me. Sarek is an ambassador, away on one of his assignments. Amanda accompanied him on those assignments.
     
  10. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    Judging by the ENT episode, I forget the title, where T'Pol enters pon farr, it appears that while Vulcans get violent and somewhat savage, females appear to go into heat. If their intended isn't present, then God help any other males in the area, 'cause she's comin' after you.

    Throwing this back to "Amok Time", T'Pring, by contrast, seemed quite calm and in control, which tells me that she'd already begun to sever the link with Spock, keeping it just active enough for him to return to Vulcan (probably about fifteen years behind schedule for the typical Vulcan; being half human has its advantages) so that she could invoke the Kalifee and make her union with Stonn legal (although she made it quite clear that even if Spock didn't reject T'Pring for her act of outright treachery, she'd still doing with the horizontal mambo with Stonn, while dragging Spock's family name through the mud).
     
  11. TigerOfDarkness

    TigerOfDarkness Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    IIRC, T'Pol wasn't expecting to go into Pon Farr (it was induced by a drug or something), also there were no other Vulcans around - maybe pheromones have some effects on the females?
     
  12. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    Is "Pon Farr" the ritual or just the bioligical contition that Vulcans enter prior to mating? The ritual its self is koon-ut-kal-if-fee (marriage or challenge), yes?
     
  13. Redfern

    Redfern Commodore Commodore

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    I'm going by vague memory, but I believe Spock said to Kirk, "It is Pon Farr, the time of mating," which suggest, at least to me, he is speaking of a biological condition. Later, as the Koon-ut Kal-if-fee is underway, Spock's eyes roll back and fades into a near catatonic state which T'Pau, described as, "The Plak Tau, the 'blood fever'," which definitely appears to be a physiological state.

    Sincerely,

    Bill
     
  14. Uxi

    Uxi Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Were T'Pol's symtpoms just like Spock in Amok Time? I would have thought that symptoms could be asymmetric between the sexes like they are for musk in bull elephants or heat in mammal females and the Vulcan male was the musk version (really aggressive and suited to the 'challenge' while females would get really really ... frisky).
     
  15. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    The problem with writing about this topic (I majored in anthropology in college, and did quite a number of papers on various religion-themed subjects) is that yes, pon farr is linked to the Vulcan marriage ceremony, but pon farr is NOT the ritual itself!. In fact, due to the challenge, we never actually see a normal Vulcan marriage ritual!

    Pon farr has nothing whatsoever to do with Vulcan religious beliefs! It is biology. I honestly think you are approaching this from a poorly-thought out premise. If I had been your instructor, I wouldn't have approved such a topic.

    If you wanted to explore religious rituals in the Star Trek settings, why not Klingon marriage or Right of Ascension? There is a great deal of information on Klingon religion/spirituality in the Next Gen/DS9 series. Or even Ferengi? There are some excellent episodes dealing with those.
     
  16. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    A little something McCoy said might shed a bit of light on this whole thing:

    "They still go mad at this time. Perhaps it's the price they pay for having no emotions the rest of the time"

    In ancient times, Vulcans probably didn't need any pon farr to take a mate and go off to make little baby Vulcans. They just set their eyes on some pretty little pair of pointed ears and killed whoever stood in their way.

    After the Surakian reformation, however, it was discovered that emotional repression only gets you so far. Sooner or later, something's gotta give, so the seven year cycle was begun, so that even the most repressed devotee of Kohlinar would have to go get busy or risk insanity as the emotional pressures reached critical mass. Or maybe those monks are all eunuchs, in which case Spock got out just in the nick of time.
     
  17. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    I find it some what unbelievable that they could change their biology in such a short span of time. Something like the Pon Farr would have to be hard harded almost from the time they crawled out of the primordial ooze.

    Given McCoy's track record, he's the last guy I'd go to for information on Vulcan biology/physiology/anatomy/whateverology. ;)
     
  18. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Partially biology yes, but there are also psychological and religious aspects to it as well. The imbalance in Spock's bodily functions would be the biological component, but there were also episodes of psychological compulsion, some of which Spock had no memory of. Given that the paper being researched was for a Anthropology of Ritual course, then the religious aspect comes into play as well.

    McCoy said T'Pau was officiating at Spock's wedding. We know that Vulan's have priestesses, and that there are one or two (or more?) Vulcan religions. So T'Pau's presents could be seen as a religious authority figure. The Koon-ut-kal-if-fee (marriage or challenge) would involve a marriage ritual of some sort, should there be no challenge. And the impression I received is that there still would have been a ceremony if there were any survivors of the battle.

    Spock: "We shield it with ritual and customs, shrouded in antiquity."

    Here is the fourth component of Pon Farr, that of social custom. I once figured that if Pon Farr is basically every seven years, and the effects last about a week, then in a (Earth) year one third of one percent of adult males would be in Pon Farr at any one time. The modern day to day business of Vulcan life would continue uninterrupted, everyone knows what's going on, and no one speaks of it.

    Taboo, shame, guilt. You disappear from work, everyone knows why. You return after a certain time period, no one says anything to you.

    Pon Farr is right up there with going to the bathroom at work to change your tampon.

    :)
     
  19. bbailey861

    bbailey861 Admiral Premium Member

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    This has, IMHO, become a great thread. Kudos to everyone here for their thoughts. Leifer, I hope you have gotten what you need. Incidentally, I also hope you are enjoying Regina. My wife was born there and was raised in Wilcox.
     
  20. leifer

    leifer Ensign Newbie

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    I have gotten some good information, and thank those of you who have taken me seriously. While Pon Farr is a biological condition, it is surrounded by ritual, and this is what I will be writing my paper on.

    I would love to include more about the actual marriage ceremony, but can't find much and don't think it was ever performed on any of the tv series or in the films, though please correct me if I am wrong. Can anyone tell me what happens at a Vulcan wedding from beginning to end? What do the bride and groom go through to prepare for it, etc?
     
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