The early TowerEdit
In the Age of Legends, ajah meant a temporary group of people banded together for a specific purpose. This carried over into the first few centuries after the Breaking, especially during the founding of the present White Tower, when there were more ajah than exist now. Elisane Tishar, the future first Amyrlin Seat, was one of more than twelve groups of women who 'Sat' each for her ajah. By 98 AB, the number of ajah decreased from this twelve to the current seven, though it is not known if these seven had any purpose that was close to the purposes of the current seven Ajahs, nor what the purposes of the lost ajah were. By the end of the second century AB, seven Ajahs were in existence, and the lowercase form of ajah was no longer in use.
The modern AjahEdit
Currently the Aes Sedai divide themselves into seven Ajahs, each dedicated to a particular task. Each of these sub-societies has representation on the administrative councils, its own ideology and purpose for its members, own ruling head or heads (known only to the members of that Ajah), and most have their own spy network. They also have secret weaves that are only taught to members, and own traditions governing things ranging from conduct in everyday life to what one might wear inside the White Tower.
Every Accepted requests acceptance into an Ajah when she becomes Aes Sedai. No woman is ever refused entry into the Ajah of her choice. The Amyrlin Seat is the only Aes Sedai who no longer belongs to a particular Ajah - formally she is "of all Ajahs and of none." The Ajah she was raised from is significant however, since that Ajah enjoys the prestige of having a sister of their Ajah as Amyrlin, and key roles such as Keeper of the Chronicles and Mistress of Novices are commonly given to women from the Amyrlin's former Ajah.
- Main article: Red Ajah
Focuses on capturing male channelers and bringing them to the Tower for gentling. They are the largest Ajah with approximately 200 sisters, comprising one-fifth of all Aes Sedai. The leader's title is Highest. Red sisters bond no Warders.
- Main article: Green Ajah
Also called the 'Battle Ajah', Greens stand ready for the Last Battle. They are the second largest Ajah, and the leader's title is Captain-General. Green sisters bond as many Warders as they wish, though a Green with only one Warder is typically married to him.
- Main article: Gray Ajah
Focuses on diplomacy and mediation in politics. They are the third largest Ajah, and the leader's title is Head Clerk.
- Main article: Brown Ajah
Focuses on gathering and preserving knowledge. They are the fourth largest Ajah, and are governed by a ruling council, the head of which is called First Chair. The librarians of the Tower Library are all Brown sisters.
- Main article: Yellow Ajah
- Main article: Blue Ajah
- Main article: White Ajah
Focuses on logic and philosophy. They are the smallest Ajah, and the leader's title is First Reasoner. White sisters rarely bond Warders, and they have no eyes-and-ears network.
- Main article: Black Ajah
The existence of an eighth "Black Ajah" whose members are Darkfriends has been vehemently denied and remained unconfirmed until recently. Black sisters keep their allegiance a secret and belong to one of the seven main Ajahs as well.
The sizes of the Ajahs have remained in roughly the same proportions since their formation, with rarely a shift of more than one place in the ranking. But the cleansing of saidin means that the Red Ajah's current purpose is now no longer valid, so it remains to be seen what effect this will have on the Ajahs and the Tower itself.
The seven Ajahs are not all on good terms with each other. Mesaana notes that the machinations of the current Ajahs at times almost matched that of the Age of Legends ajah, and indeed, inter-Ajah politics play a huge part in Tower life. Below is a general guide as to some Ajah loyalties.
- Blue and Green have a long-standing friendship
- Blue has a slight animosity with White and Yellow
- Brown supports White over Blue, and Blue over Yellow
- Red has a long-standing animosity with Blue and White
- White supports Blue over Red
Upon joining an Ajah, there were thought to be only three ways to leave it: death, stilling, or being raised to the Amyrlin Seat. With Nynaeve al'Meara's discovery of how to Heal stilling and gentling, and the subsequent changing of Ajahs by Leane Sharif from Blue to Green, an important question has been posed. Should an Aes Sedai who has been Healed of stilling be allowed to join a different Ajah than the one she was raised to? And where do you draw the line after you allow this?
List of current sisters of unknown AjahEdit
Throughout the series, many Aes Sedai have been mentioned without any confirmation of which Ajah they belong to. The sisters living though the first few centuries after the Breaking may not have belonged to any Ajah as we know them today, and as for the sole recorded Seanchan sister, it is never made clear whether anything resembling the White Tower's Ajahs evolved on the continent. Following is a list of all current Aes Sedai whose Ajah is unknown.
- See also Category:Unknown Ajah