Tosi proverbs + religion

Translation of a Tosi religious proverb, from the texts of Lamat.

Sa tapi gō fū sanā jela ji chi lōlchu i
neg imp be content without kneel.before 2sg.m gen goddess obj

“Content thee with naught without first kneeling before thy goddess”

I am working on writing the tenets of Tosi belief systems, which primarily focuses on one deity, Lamat, war goddess, but also on Kalu, god of silence and peace. The current matriarchal expansionist empire of the Tosi obviously draws most political attention to the cult of Lamat, but the priesthood of Kalu endures and cannot be denied its importance to the history of the Tosi people.

The highly stratified culture of the Tosi traditionally feeds/gears different sections of the texts toward either men or women, to further enforce gender roles. The modern translation (into Tosi from Old Tosi) shows this with the use of the masculine 2nd p sg pronoun: ji, rather than da (feminine).

~

In creating these deities, I originally wanted Lamat to be the only main goddess, to show the Tosi reverence for power and might through warfare, but I then decided that they should have more nuance in their spiritual and religious beliefs. Before Tos was an Empire, it was simply a small nation, with no massive army and military force to show the world. People would have worshiped a multitude of gods and demi-gods, as well as other divine spirits. I think, as Tosi culture changed over time with the changing political structure and the ever-expanding Empire, the religious institutions would have changed too, to emphasize those things that were politically beneficial for the expansion of the state and the Empire. The primary means of this expansion was via the military, so Lamat, as the goddess of war, would have expanded as well, from a goddess to whom soldiers would offer supplications for protection before going into battle, to a central deity whose texts would come to have a greater influence over many areas of life.

The masculine deity Kalu, who represents many of the opposing forces of Lamat (silence, peace, introspection, asceticism, purity, etc) is fundamentally seen as an extension of what the Tosi view as the perfect man: one is is serene and peaceful, not governed by passion. Women are seen as intrinsically superior in this matriarchal society, but they are also seen as imperfect in that they supposedly naturally of a stormier and more tempestuous nature. Men are supposedly a tempering force of quiet, darkness, passivity, rationality, as well as “softer” emotions, such as compassion and mercy. I don’t want to remove this opposing force in Tosi society, because I think without it, the religion becomes more one-dimensional.

Previously, I had only addressed the adherents of Kalu in terms of the priesthood–men who would cloister themselves from the rest of the world (including the world of war, which is seen as primarily the purview of women) and devote their energy to preserving some special force of calm in a culture that is known for its systematic violence and occasional chaos. I want to build up this side of the religion more, and include it in more fiction that I write for the Tosi.

Legend and Lore: The children of Hestaya (a poem)

In Orikrindian myth, Hestaya (the mother goddess, the goddess of the mountains and earth) bore 12 infants, which were conceived beneath the hardest rock in the earth, fathered by the fire god, whose life blood flows under the world as magma. The twelve children were born upon twelve hills that encircle the island of Orikrindia. In legend, the children were found by nomads of a group called the Lost Ones. The queen of this people, Crestellin, was the first to find one of these children, and then, one by one, she and her handmaidens found all twelve. She was a childless queen before this moment, but adopted the babies into her family and raised them as her own. According to legend, these demigod children grew into the founders of the twelve great cities of Orikrindia.

This poem is about Crestellin finding the first of the children of Hestaya.

~

Moving like a green snake

In the dewdrops

A fragmented line of tiny sighs

Blooming life along the dusty horizon.

 

Clinging still to mother

Unwilling to relinquish

That summer warm smell

Of newborns and flowers and vegetables

Singing in the sweltering heat

Humming with an old life

 

You know who they were

The ones who came before

The earthy faces digging themselves out from under hills and mounds

Stones in the dusk

In the distance,

They approached

Farther and farther

Until we heard their breath

Whispering and scraping in the evening air

Like leaves against your cheek.

 

We took them in

Opened our wings

And drew in these

Infants.

 

We gave them the instincts

We had left,

Pretending

To be mothers

Pretending

To understand beyond the eons

What we were doing.

 

The children of the stone

The babies found

In the earth                            

Creeping into humanity

Latching onto a nipple

They were lucky to find

 

Vines covering the tomb

An ancient space

Threshold to a world beyond

We remained and named the children

After the wish of the Mother,

Hestaya.

 

~

Mintaka

 

Orikrindian pantheon (pt 2)

Here are a few more members of the Orkrindian pantheon. Let me know what you think!

Orikrindian pantheon

Pultas & Peltas

 The Twin Gods—consisting of a brother and sister. Pultas (the brother) represents the past: wisdom, tradition, caution, prudence, understanding, experience, knowledge, but also implies regret, resentment, and weariness. Peltas, his sister, is the future. She represents ambition, vigor, intuition, risk-taking, daring, innovation, creativity, but also foolhardiness, misguidance, naïveté, childishness, and lack of attention.

As an individual neither can exist, for both are defined in terms of the other. Together they are worshipped as Time, or Sortas in the Ori language.

Epithets: Tin-Buta (The Two), Tun-Plembiltasa (The Twins), Tun-Biltasa (The Children), Lilemas na Liloris (Girl and Boy).

At their altar (the share one), people leave items that refer to or represent the dual nature of Sortas (e.g. double-tined forks, calpabeans (which have two kernels within one shell), double fruits).

Twins are sent upon their first birthday to be blessed by a priest or priestess of Sortas, and many twins end up becoming clergy of Sortas themselves, usually serving in the same temple together.

Sortas is one of the most represented in sculpture of the Orikrindian gods. Their statues can be found in almost every town over a certain size (>20k population, typically), and cities usually have more than one statue of them. They are often depicted intertwined together, or as two sides of the same person. Often, they are shown with an hourglass in one of their hands. Pultas may hold a skull or a book and Peltas may hold an infant or a fruit.

Calcurassen

Calcurassen is the god of justice, law, and order. He is called Arbiter of the World and Father of the Law. His domain is the taming of chaos and the establishment and maintenance of order in the world of his people.

Often depicted as an elderly man with a long beard, he wears the Robe of Forethought and golden diadem on his head. The jewel in this diadem is called the Jewel of Truth (Ti-clespeya Nalemasye) and can reveal any falsehoods told. Devotees of Calcurassen will often wear a clear jewel (often quartz) around a chain on their neck to indicate their devotion to the god of justice.

Epithets: Tetuya Nalemasye (Father of Truth), Tu-Calisoris (The Arbiter), Tu-Haneris (The Good Man), Tu-Gintes (The (Paternal) Uncle), Tu-Calpas (The Strength).

Asteren 

Asteren’s name means Light. He is the god of knowledge, learning, wisdom, logic, and reason. He is also the patron god of music, art, creation in general, and skilled work of many kinds (various artisanal works, such as sculpture, metalwork, ceramics, woodworking, ship-building, architecture, weaving, etc.)

He is often depicted as a young man dressed in scholar’s robes (blues and purples, usually). He hair is worn long, as is the style of scholars in Orikrindia, and he wears purple gems on his fingers (purple is the color of scholarly class in western Ei and Orikrindia).

His temples are essentially schools. For a rather generous fee, one can become a devotee of Asteren, and receive an education like none other in Orikrindia. Many young nobles are educated in the temples of Asteren, and even some foreigners who travel to Orikrindia.

Epithets: Tu-Selisis (The Teacher), Ayaloris (Opener), Ti-Nelcaya Nulyuya (The Tall God), Sullinseris (He Who Makes It [Knowledge] Flow), Tu-Taris (The Speaker).

Asteren is also described using metaphors of water; the water represents knowledge and Asteren himself is sometimes spoken of as a spring or well of water, allowing knowledge to flow throughout the world and the minds of his worshippers. The common prayer “Receive with a goblet” is written about Asteren in this manner.

~

Mintaka

Orikrindian lore and legend

I want to do a new segment about Orikrindian lore and legend (which may expand to other cultures), small little blurbs about ideas that have been floating around my head for a while. They don’t really have a home yet so we’ll see what becomes of them.

~

Today’s is about the Song of Esala. The word is not originally Ori, but comes from a nearby language from the mainland of Ei to the west. The word was originally Ashal, but changed over time and to fit Ori phonology a bit more closely.

The Song of Esala is a song that is supposedly divine in nature, or at least somehow supernatural. It is said to be heard in the wilderness when one is completely alone and can neither see, hear, nor sense in any way another person. It is at this time that one may hear the Song of Esala. What Esala is or means is not clear. There are competing etymological theories, variously saying that it is the name of a person, a place, or a concept.

To hear the Song of Esala is a disturbing experience. The listener will think they are going mad and may run even deeper into the wilderness, always avoiding the proximity of any other person. It is thought that this leads them to wander permanently and live like a wild person until a certain, unspecified time before their death, during which they will be released from the hold of the Song and “wake up” from their fervor or delirium. This time is usually months to years after first hearing the Song.

The Song is thought by some in Orikrindia to be a curse of the goddess Moltirin put upon those who have displeased her in some way. Others, however, consider it a kind of intense blessing given by the spirits of animals in the wild that have found a soul that they deem kindred to their own and wish to draw it in amongst themselves. This view is the predominant idea in Behr Gehen (country of the Ei Lands, west of Orikrindia). Those who return from being held by the Song are considered holy and are given special treatment upon their return to society.

Whatever the nature of the Song of Esala, it is a part of folklore that is commonly understood as one of the many risks of venturing into the wilds alone for lengths of time, both across Orikrindia and the Ei Lands.

~

Mintaka

Elucuna in Quarios (pt 3)

Continuation of Elucuna’s first days in Quarios. She and Glohitan meet a strange woman along the road outside of Naeglitan.

We took two amsas (1) to the edge of the city. My meager belongings were strapped onto the young female that was given to me. Glohitan called her Isma. I was unused to riding since it was not an activity considered womanly in Orikrindia, but I managed well enough given my inexperience. The mount was, thankfully, very calm and patient. Glohitan’s walking stick was tied to his back, wrapped in a saffron-colored scarf, and he rode just ahead of me as we made our way down a dark road near the outskirts of Naeglitan.

Continue reading “Elucuna in Quarios (pt 3)”

Poem to Moltirin, Orikrindian Goddess of the Forest

Mystic-Gothic-Sea-Fantasy-Statue-Dark-Forest-1305040.jpg

Poem about the Orikrindian goddess of the forest. I don’t have enough of the Ori language done yet to translate it BUT it still spoke loudly so I had to do it.

Moltirin (known alsois the Orikrindian goddess of forests, mysteries, vengence, the past, memory, and rebirth/reawakening. She is also the matron goddess of lost things, women who have died in childbirth, dead children, men who have died in battle, storms, and those who have been wronged.

the woman of the wood

the threads of days past

she weaves again

a whisper from before

taken up again

bright and vital in memory

damp with energy refound

glowing in the night

alight with vigor

surging forth once more

pulsing in the rain

dancing beneath the arms of trees.

 

and her eyes

lit like lodestones

a stormy blue

and shot through with light

like yesterday

the dust of an eon

settled and reformed

again we have awoken

the woman of the wood.

~

Mintaka

Conlang: Ori (relative clauses)

A bit ago I introduced some interrogative, indefinite, and negative pronouns for Ori. Related to these forms are relative pronouns, which are used to create relative clauses.

In Ori, relative clauses are head-initial, despite the generally left-branching (head-final) nature of Ori. This means that the head of the relative clause (the main noun) is placed before the relative clause (as it is done in French or English, for example).

The relative pronouns are basically all formed from verions of the interrogative pronouns, but with an additional suffix of -a at the end of the word.

nalar – ‘who?’ –> nalara ‘who’ (rel.)

nabel – ‘what?’ –> nabela ‘which, that’

nanye – ‘where?’ –> nanya ‘where’ (rel.)

nasya – ‘why?’ –> nasya ‘for which reason’ (rel.)

natin – ‘how?’ –> natina ‘in which way’ (rel.)

nalin – ‘when?’ –> nalina ‘when’ (rel.)

The trisyllable forms of the relative pronouns (nalara, nabela, natina, and nalina) also have short forms that are used more commonly in eveyday speech.

nalara –> na-

nabela –> naba-

natina –> nata-

nalina –> nana-

~

Relative pronouns take the same case that the shared noun uses in the embedded clause. In the below sentence,

Tu-hema-s na-s tet lyen-besorpa-tan nimas rya

def.art-woman-nom who-nom makes def.art-clay.pots-acc mother-nom be

‘The woman who makes the clay pots is a mother’

Lye-besorpa-s naba-t elucu-m cyan truma-s rya.

def.art-clay.pot-acc which-acc choose-1sg pst.perf red-nom be

‘The clay pot that I chose is red’

nanya, nasya, nalina/nana are all often used without a case marker at all.

Ti-trente-cya nanya ti-hiluma-pya peli-t cyan culim-bru alinda.

def.art-temple-loc where def.art-priestess-acc find-2sg pst.perf travel-1pl tomorrow

‘Tomorrow we will travel to the temple where you found the priestess’

Ideas on Ori names

Playing with an idea that in Orikrindia, there is a kind of superstitious tendency to name a child the opposite of what the parents wish for it to become (maybe just in certain classes or subcultures?). For example, Elucuna’s name essentially means “decider”, and her parents definitely did not intend for her to be deciding much in life. Maybe someone hoping for an outgoing child would name him Pilucya ‘timid’. Kind of like avoidance of a jinx by giving a child too “fortuitous” a name and attracting the attentions of an ill-meaning demon. The Orikrindians do feel quite a bit of discomfort with regard to demons…

Elucuna in Quarios (pt 2)

More of the story of Elucuna, a runaway Orikrindian woman who goes into hiding in Quarios to start a new life.

 

It was from there that I made my way to what I had long planned would be my destination. First, I navigated the cramped streets and alleys of Naeglitan to a man who was an acquaintance of my brother’s. His name was Glohitan and he was in the business of ground transport—whether of cargo or person, he did not care. Moreover, he was in the business of discreet transport, which was of utmost concern to me, as I did not wish for my family (other than, of course, Poltyar my brother) to get wind of my location in Quarios, or even that I had in fact fled there. For all they knew, I had perished in some dark wood of Orikrindia or fallen in the hands of highwaymen.

Continue reading “Elucuna in Quarios (pt 2)”