The summoners are practitioners of a sacred art, sworn to protect the people of Yevon. Only a chosen few become summoners, who call forth entities of greater power: the aeons. The aeons hear our prayers and come down to us. They are the blessing of Yevon.
- —Monk in Besaid Temple.
- See also: Summoner (Job)
In the world of Spira in Final Fantasy X, the title of summoner (召喚士, Shōkanshi?), is given to skilled magic users who have trained in the process of summoning powerful beings known as aeons. Summoners do this to defeat Sin, a powerful monster that periodically returns to devastate the world. Summoners also perform the sending, a dance ritual that sends the spirits of the dead to the Farplane lest they become fiends.
List of SummonersEdit
The summoners are presented in the order as they are introduced in Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2.
The process of summoning relies on the control of pyreflies, manifesting them into a corporeal form of the fayth's imagining. This is how aeons, Dream Zanarkand and Sin are all formed. After completing their initial trial, each summoner undertakes a pilgrimage to the temples of Spira to gather aeons and develop their strength in body and mind. Acquiring an aeon from a fayth is a fatiguing process, as the summoner must have a strong mental bond with the fayth to be able to call form its aeon. At the end of the pilgrimage the summoner receives the Final Aeon from Lady Yunalesca at Zanarkand Dome and is ready to fight Sin. The summoner who defeats Sin sacrifices his or her life to perform the Final Summoning and is posthumously granted the title of high summoner. High summoners are worshiped by the followers of the religion of Yevon.
The practice of summoning goes back to at least 1,000 years to the days of Zanarkand, and thus precedes the faith of Yevon. As told in Final Fantasy X-2.5 ~Eien no Daishō~, summoners used to live on Besaid Island a thousand years ago during the time of the Machina War between Bevelle and Zanarkand. Summoners were described as those with an enhanced sensitivity to pyreflies, trained to fight against Zanarkand, perhaps used to conjure magical weapons or creatures to aid in battle, while living a life of suppression regardless of their own desires. Summoners took the name of a deity worshiped before Yevon became the main religion in the world, and once they died or became an unsent, they gave up that name, reverting to their original name with another succeeding the god's name.
The fayth placed in the temples were created by Yunalesca a thousand years ago when she established the Yevon faith. Summoning became a practice promoted by Yevon and the old summoning practices of adopting a name of a deity and creating one's own fayth for summoning faded, as only the fayth that had been created by Yunalesca were used. Summoners became revered among the faith as the beacon of hope, the only ones able to free Spira from Sin. To become a summoner, one must train meticulously under the care of the temples and only a few succeed in graduating into a full-fledged summoner.
Before Yuna's pilgrimage only five summoners in the past 1,000 years have defeated Sin: Lady Yunalesca, Lord Gandof, Lord Ohalland, Lady Yocun, and Yuna's father, Lord Braska. Other summoners appearing during Yuna's journey include Maester Seymour, Isaaru, Lady Dona, Lady Belgemine, Father Zuke, and Lady Ginnem.
When Sin is destroyed, the fayth are freed from their burden and disappear from Spira. As the beliefs in Yevon's teachings wane, summoners become increasingly obsolete as much of the population looks toward a new, and different, future.
Summoners in Final Fantasy X bear many conceptual similarities to the traditional Japanese miko. Traditionally, miko are female shrine maidens who offered numerous services in the past, including divination, prayers, and herbal medicine which was, in that time period, considered magical. In desperate times when the shrines and temples were short of funds they would occasionally provide funding through prostitution.
Most importantly, mikos were called upon to perform ceremonial dances, some of which were meant to drive away evil spirits and protect the shrine. The idea of dancing to ward off evil spirits in particular could roughly be used to describe the sending.
- When meeting Seymour and Isaaru, both summoners, Yuna kneels in front of them in a manner similar to the prayer. However, she does not kneel to Dona.
- In Final Fantasy X-2, the Ronso may construct a statue of Yuna with a horn on her forehead depending on the choices the player made regarding the Ronso. While not only referring to Final Fantasy X where the Ronso show willingness of constructing such a statue, it also alludes to the summoners of past Final Fantasy games who were often depicted with horns.