Reclusive spiritual-contemplative communal lifestyle option, especially popular in the Sophic League and among mystic-orientated sophonts in general.

The tendency to live apart for spiritual devotion has a long history, going back to the ashrams of classical Hinduism and Buddhism, and the Christian mysticism in Middle Ages Europe. Many of these contemplative orders and lineages continued right up until the Technocalypse, with a few reappearing during the first Federation period. However the radical social and biological evolution resulting from the Technocalypse dark age, and even more so the rise of the new archailect religions a millennium later, meant that these original practices and paths were unable to compete and found themselves supplanted by new ones (an exception seems to be the Xenodharma, a First Federation adaptation of early Buddhism). Today various monastic communities and clades based on disciplines associated with mysticism are mostly associated with the Sophic League, so much so that The Ashram is considered the classic habitat-structure of that empire.
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Text by M. Alan Kazlev
Initially published on 08 December 2001.