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Rúmeš [ˈru mɛʃ] was one of the early Hermit Masters, the first known female one.

Rúmeš is rarely depicted with her actual age.  She was said to be thin, however, and wore ewemi robes.
Rúmeš is rarely depicted with her actual age. She was said to be thin, however, and wore ewemi robes.

Judging from her references to childhood, Rúmeš seems to have grown up in the 1770s in a small town near Šinj. She married into a merchant family from the city; she never refers to children, but as an ewez she was not expected to have any. Unlike most of the first Hermit Masters, she was never a Mešaist cleric.

When her husband died, she fell into depression, and decided to embark on a hermitage— extremely unusual for a woman at that time. She did so with a merchant's practicality: she sold her worldly goods and bought sheep, which she raised in the hills of southern Bozan. She took the name Rúmeš ‘redhead’, which had been her nickname; by the time she started teaching, however, her hair was mostly gray.

She returned to Šinj around 1825, where she immediately was sought out— at first as a freakish curiosity, then as an actual teacher. Many criticized her, but if they tried it in person they soon found that she had a ready wit and a way of making hecklers sound foolish. Perhaps because of her non-clerical background, her teaching was always accessible, even earthy, without the paradoxes or obscurity favored by other teachers. The handful of Hermit Masters at this time mostly lived in the countryside; Šinj grew fond of its unusual resident, and she drew visitors from all of Šuzep. Her visibility seems to have given a great boost to the new religion.

The first Hermit Masters spoke about the unimportance of male/female distinctions (which were due only to the Lesser Principle); but in practice they looked down on women and refused to accept them as disciples, much less as fellow Masters. Rúmeš was not afraid to criticize them for their hypocrisy. She was not acknowledged as a Master till near her death; but the younger generation accepted her message of equality (as well as that of her peer ne-Duox).

She died around 1850; in legend she was in the middle of an argument with a disciple, and didn't expire till he admitted that she had won.

In 2655 a pucigéšeč or commemorative festival was created to honor Rúmeš and Krosámis, to be celebrated annually on the 44th day of winter. The existing seven pucigešeš were all dedicated to the xaučipeje, the martyred Masters; it was felt that the earliest Masters should also be honored.


“My friends, you want to survive the end of your dance. But the slow dance must end for the fast to begin; one day must fade for morning to return. No movement is eternal. Yet the Dance continues.”

“Do not hate the pagan priests. They are slaves to gods who are not worthy of them.”

“Do you admire a monk who never fucks? I look at him and see him a slave still to his body— does he not eat and breathe?”

“Men must study and struggle to learn the Dance. For women it is as easy as waking. But men, do not take offense at my words! The dance is not a kingdom with one ruler; it is not a race with one winner.”

“Some worthies look at a woman in shock if she speaks any word of wisdom. They simply did not realize that a vagina was attached to speech organs.”

“One day there is one ruler; another day, another. It is no more meaningful than which dancer is closest to the front of the room.”

See also