We know from countless places in the Wheel of Time that women who can channel can sense the ability to channel in other women. But is this also true of men?

I assumed that it was, but they have a lot of differences, and also, when Rand created the Asha'man, Mazrim Taim had to show him a test to use on men to see if they can channel.

  • I feel like the title could be a bit more concise… Jan 25, 2016 at 6:32

4 Answers 4


Not nearly as easily a women can, no.

As you noted, in the process of building the Black Tower, Taim teaches Rand how to find male channelers. The only way for a male channeler to detect the ability in another male is to channel a weave steadily in the other's presence and wait for the "resonance" to show up. The scene makes it clear that this is a tedious and time-consuming process. If there was any other way to do it, Taim would almost certainly have done so.

The Wheel of Time Companion seems to back up this reasoning, though it's not 100% definitive. Under the entry for strength in the One Power, it says this about men and women (emphasis mine)

Women who could channel could sense the ability in one another, and also sense there relative strength. Among women, the eventual strength of a testee was determined in the first testing. It would take time for her to reach it ... but the limits of her strength were known up front.

Among men, there was no way of knowing how strong a beginner would become. The Wheel of Time Companion, "strength in the One Power (p703)

It does not specifically say that men can't sense the ability in others, but the contrast drawn between men and women is extremely persuasive.

Things get slightly easier if the other person seizes saidin himself. At that point, other male channelers will sense it, and generally be able to tell how much of the Power the other person is holding. Unlike women, the men can't "see" anything odd about the other channeler, but rather, that person will give off a "sense of menace" that increases the more saidin they hold.

There's any number of examples of this in the novels; most times when Rand is around another powerful channeler he will take note when that person starts to draw on saidin. For example:

"Do I look fool enough not to?" Logain snarled. At another window, he already held saidin, nearly as much as Rand could draw. He was weaving as fast as he could. Knife of Dreams, Chapter 20, "Vows"

Note that Rand knows then Logain is holding the One Power, as well as how much of it. However, as noted above, there is no way to tell how strong another male channeler is -- you can only tell how much saidin they are holding onto at one time. Rand specifically notes, when he first meets Taim, that Taim could be intentionally holding back:

Taim held enough of saidin to devastate the farm and everyone there in seconds, enough to lay waste as far as he could se.. It was not much short of what Rand himself could manage, unaided. But then, the man could be holding back. There was no sense of strain and he might not want to show his full strength to Rand; how could he know how Rand might react? Lord of Chaos, Chapter 3: A Woman's Eyes

The scene with Logain in Saldea also also lets us know that men can see each others' weaves as they are channeling:

"Logain", Rand shouted, "The fires! Put them out!"

The other man did not answer either, but Rand saw the weaves that pulled the heat from the flames, killing them.


[Logain:] "Did you intend on keeping these new weaves for your favorites, like Taim? Those gateways. Where did we send those Trollocs? I just copied your weave exactly." Knife of Dreams, Chapter 20, "Vows"

This makes sense; if men couldn't see each other's weaves it would be extremely difficult to teach, and the Black Tower is proof that men can learn very quickly given the chance.


Men can sense each other holding saidin, but not always very clearly.

One of the Forsaken chapters (Rahvin's PoV, emphasis mine) tells us that even powerful male channellers can sense each other only "dimly" even when they're actually embracing the Source, and a lot of it at that:

Snatching at saidin, he filled himself with the Power, the taint on the male half of the True Source rolling off the protection of his bonds and oaths, the ties to what he knew as a greater power than the Light, or even the Creator.


Linked to saidin as tightly as Rahvin - this close Rahvin could feel it, dimly - Sammael eyed him warily. "I expected serving maids and dancing girls, Rahvin. Have you finally wearied of your sport after all these years?" Lanfear laughed softly into her wine.

-- The Fires of Heaven, Prologue: The First Sparks Fall

And one of Rand's encounters with Mazrim Taim (Rand's PoV, emphasis mine) tells us that male channellers can sense each other embracing the Source, but - more importantly, for your question - that this sense "fades" when the other man releases saidin:

"Seize saidin. Do it. As much as you can hold."

For a moment Taim only looked at him expressionless; then the Power flooded into him. There was no glow such as women could see around one another, only a sense of force and menace, but Rand could feel it clearly, and judge it. Taim held enough of saidin to devastate the farm and everyone there in seconds, enough to lay waste as far as he could see. It was not much short of what Rand himself could manage, unaided. But then, the man could be holding back. There was no sense of strain and he might not want to show his full strength to Rand; how could he know how Rand might react?

Saidin, the sense of it, faded from Taim, and for the first time Rand realised that he himself was filled with the male half of the Source, a raging flood, every thread he could pull through the angreal in his pocket.

-- Lord of Chaos, Chapter 3: A Woman's Eyes

As the other answers have already mentioned, there's also Taim's testing of Black Tower applicants to see whether they have the ability to channel. He needs to create a particular weave and then wait a while in order to sense the ability in the other men. From the same chapter (Rand's PoV, emphasis mine):

"The more Power that's used," Taim told Damer, "the easier it is to detect the resonance. On the other hand, too big a resonance could do unpleasant things to your mind, maybe kill you, so I'll start small." [...]

Abruptly a tiny flame appeared, an inch tall, dancing in midair equidistant between the three men. Rand could feel the Power in Taim, though only a small amount, and see the thin flow of Fire the man wove. The flame brought a startling relief to Rand, startling because it was proof that Taim really could channel.


Taim seemed intent, but on what Rand was not sure; he seemed to be listening. A resonance, he had said. Rand focused, listening, feeling for - something.

Minutes stretched out with none of them moving a muscle. Five, six, seven slow minutes, with Damer hardly even blinking. The old man breathed hard, and he sweated so much he looked as though someone had upended a bucket over his head. Ten minutes.

Suddenly Rand felt it. The resonance. A small thing, a tiny echo of the miniscule flow of Power pulsing in Taim, but this seemed to come from Damer.

-- Lord of Chaos, Chapter 3: A Woman's Eyes

Since such a rigmarole is needed to test for the ability to channel, we can conclude that

no, men can't sense the mere ability to channel in each other.


It does seem that men cannot innately sense the "talent" in one another, unless they are actually holding the Source. It's one of several differences between saidin and saidar. However, I can't find anywhere that directly states this.

As you say, in Lord of Chaos Rand learns from Taim how to test for the ability to channel in other men, and was only sure that Taim could channel when he embraced the source. He also, in The Shadow Rising, feels no affinity for Asmodean who is posing as a Gleeman in the Aiel Waste.


No, men can't sense each other. But the test they use is the same test that women use to test for the ABILITY to learn to channel if the woman doesn't have the spark. (EotW)

  • This doesn't seem to contain any more information than the existing, more complete answers.
    – tobiasvl
    Nov 28, 2016 at 21:52
  • I was simply stating that the tests are the same, which was something I don't think anyone had noticed.
    – Harlemme
    Nov 29, 2016 at 1:08
  • No, women can easily tell without any test, like in the case of Egeanin.
    – Mithoron
    Jul 1, 2019 at 22:05

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