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Biographical information

Other name(s):

Heretic Saint



Political and military information








"Therefore, I conclude: the reason you persecute me is not because of the symmetry. It's because of the truth beyond the truth, the truth which you must dread: if we could destroy the darkness, but we had to give up our Light to do so, how many of us would make that trade?"
— Ulan-Tan[1]

Ulan-Tan was a controversial Warlock whose teachings formed the core doctrine of the Guardian faction known as the Symmetry.[2]

Ulan-Tan's thesis covers a number of points including:

  • The nature of the Darkness. There is a necessary symmetry between the Light and the Darkness. Each balances the other on a cosmic scale and therefore must co-exist.
  • The Traveler sacrificed itself to stop the Darkness and save humanity, therefore humanity must return that good will by healing the Traveler.[3]
  • He also theorized that all Light is interconnected across space and time; Ikora Rey believed this theory was supported by the Hive's use of a shard of the Traveler to remotely leech its Light.[4] By definition of the symmetry this means that the Darkness must also be connected across time and space.


Ulan-Tan was viewed by the Vanguard as a troublemaker with dangerous ideas that inspired too much fear.[2] This was in some part due to the publication of a pamphlet published anonymously but widely accredited to Ulan-Tan, titled "Finding Light in the Darkness". The pamphlet described the Light requiring the Darkness to exist and therefore for Guardians to embrace the Darkness as well as their Light. Additionally, it was his rejection of the Light and the Darkness being tied to moral absolutes, which meant he also insinuated that in some cases the Light could represent evil and the Darkness, good.[5]

At some point, Ulan-Tan died and was interred with a legendary burial ring.[6]

A grove on the Jovian moon Io is named after Ulan-Tan.

Ulan-Tan, Heretic Saint[edit]

According to "Ulan-Tan, Heretic Saint", "The idea of embracing the Darkness, even to learn from it, was the final provocation. One that the Vanguard could not let stand. So, while the true provenance of the document remains unknown, punishment was meted out against Ulan-Tan for having "let the cat out of the bag." Though authorities throughout the system attempted to discredit Ulan-Tan, essentially forcing him into hermitage for the latter half of his life, it speaks to the persuasiveness of his ideas that Symmetry is still a widely studied philosophy."[7]

The book goes on to state that Ulan-Tan's teachings provoked a dangerous idea that the war between Light and Dark was entirely unwinnable, "However, if their use of the Light simply prompted the spontaneous generation of Darkness somewhere else in the universe, then their military efforts were inherently futile. They were simply propagating an eternal stalemate at the expense of their own pain and suffering. In short, Ulan-Tan's biggest sin was telling a ruling warrior class that their war was unwinnable."[8]

List of appearances[edit]


  1. ^ Bungie (2017/8/9), Destiny 2: Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Symmetry Flight
  2. ^ a b Bungie (2015-5-13), Destiny, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: Ghost Fragment: The City Age
  3. ^ Bungie (2015-5-13), Destiny, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: The Darkness
  4. ^ Bungie (2015-5-13), Destiny, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: Chamber of Night
  5. ^ Bungie (2020-07-07), https://www.ishtar-collective.net/entries/solstice-mark-magnificent#ulan-tan
  6. ^ Bungie (2015-5-13), Destiny, Activision Blizzard, Item Description: Ulan-Tan's Burial Ring
  7. ^ Bungie (2020-07-07), https://www.ishtar-collective.net/entries/solstice-bond-magnificent#ulan-tan
  8. ^ Bungie (2020-07-07), https://www.ishtar-collective.net/entries/solstice-cloak-magnificent#ulan-tan