The Four-Way Pillar
The Four-Way Pillar is a portal stone located in the landscape known by humans as the Garden of Eden. It is the only portal stone to remain on the planet during all seven Ages and thus persists through every turning of the Wheel. It is indestructible throughout all that time.
The Pillar is a prominent feature in Tel’Aran’Rhiod, and is guarded by a special avatar of the Arboreals called Tuuru, also known as the World Tree. It is the Axis Mundi, or the Earth axis celestial pole.
Philip gasped when he saw the Pillar. It was made of a golden metal he did not recognize, but for all purposes, seemed most like bronze. It stood slightly taller than he himself. Strikingly, at its top were positioned four heads, each pointing in the ordinal directions. The shapes were of a lion with its mouth reared open to snap, oxen with its horns angled sharply downward, eagle with its beak splayed open in frozen craw and a human man glaring with daring attitude. For each head, words pierced Philip’s mind, though he couldn’t be sure that Tuuru hadn’t uttered the four titles or if the words sprang from within: “speed, strength, flight and cunning.”
The body of the pillar was wrapped in the hug of four arms. Four feathered wings were coiled about the rest, two angled downward while two angled skyward. Markings covered the whole of the pillar from base to the neck of the heads. They seemed to plunge below the level of the grass, though Philip could not tell for certain how deep the base was set.
The ever-lasting nature of the Pillar is what holds the connection between our world and the world of the Arboreals. The Pillar is also connected to four specific dreamstakes, ter’angreal that operate and control conditions between the world of dreams and waking world. This pillar is also the origin by which all other portal stones are calibrated. A paired pillar also stands on the world of the Arboreals. When the Avatar, Tuuru activates the correct sequence, while all four dreamstakes are simultaneously activated, the key to the Book of Translation becomes operational. The Book will then translate locations that become the new stedding from their world to ours as well as translate newly planted portal stones around the world. During this time, channeling must be inhibited for the translation to be successful, which is why the dreamstakes must be activated.
There are four dreamstakes. One is represented by each of the four heads of the pillar. They are the keys of Cunning, Strength, Speed, and Flight. Patricus I was destined to acquire the Key of Cunning. Upon its reunion with him in the dreamworld, he twisted the stake and it disappeared. It reappeared in the equivalent location in the real world and waits for him to find it. The other three keys remain to be found and activated by their destined operators. Once this occurs, the Book of Translation will be operational.
Real world symbolism
Pillars (inspired by trees) are seen as a Cosmic Axis to the peoples of northern Asia. The Buryats and Mongols called it the Golden Pillar, while the Siberian Tartars referred to it as the Iron Pillar and to some it was the Solar Pillar. All of them recognized how this Pillar represented the centre of the universe and the place of penetration of the individual worlds. It is also seen as a conduit between the planes of the body and soul.
The appearance of the pillar as described by Patricus I is that of the shape of cherubim, terrifying guardians placed by God at the Garden of Eden.