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).

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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.

Orikrindian pantheon (pt 3)

Next installment of the Orikrindian pantheon. This one focuses on the sea goddess and her half-mortal son.

One thing I want to note is the pervasiveness of the pantheon. These gods are recognized not only in Orikrindia itself, but also across eastern Ei. Some in Quarios also worship these gods, especially Orikrindian immigrants (such as Elucuna, of course). They did, however, originate with the native inhabits of Orikrindia (the island, rather before the “nation” itself was a thing), so they are referred to as gods of Orikrindia in Aeniith itself (as I will continue to call them in meta-documentation too). Worship practices do vary per region. My descriptions here apply to traditional methods in Orikrindia.

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Lumaya

Lumaya is a goddess who has domain over water. Primarily, she is associated with the sea, although her influence extends over all bodies of water. She is said to be the younger sister of Hestaya and Moltirin.

In Orikrindian depictions, she has pale blue skin and hair of seagrass. Sometimes she takes the form of a seal, and it is for this reason that Orikrindians, unlike some neighbors, do not eat the flesh of certain species of seals.

One of the powers of Lumaya are her eyes, which appear like swirls of abalone and are thought to be able to enchant those who stare into them. This is the origin of Orikrindian belief that gazing into the sea for too long can be dangerous to mental health.

Lumaya has temples by the edges of the sea. They are usually decorated with items that reflect the local maritime life and culture: carved driftwood, sea glass, shells, pearls, and other findings from nearby the temple. The priestesses of Lumaya are known to be “sponsored” by the national navy of Orikrindia.

Prayers to Lumaya are offered especially during certain very strong tides. She is revered by all mariners, who usually have an altar to her in their homes. Since most mariners in Orikrindia are men, this is probably the one female goddess that is worshipped mostly by men in Orikrindia. The devotees of Lumaya are some of the most vocal and open, possibly due to the island nature of Orikrindia as a country. Naval military successes are frequently credited to Lumaya’s blessing.

Epithets: Halumaya (Lumaya the Great, lit. ‘Great Water’), Ti-Hendessaya Cacalsaya (’The Infinite Sea’), Tu-Hemas Heltasye Plesstolsye (’the Lady of the Cerulean Voice’), Co-Lyosyal Tun-Golinorisi ‘The Grief of the Weak’), Syalanyas Culimyenya (’Queen of Journeys’), Tu-Syalanyas Yalunt Tellened (’The Queen of Star-eyes’), Tu-Hemas Estolis (’The Blue Lady’).

Giessembe (demi-god)

This is the child of Lumaya, Giessembe, who has control over bodies of fresh water. He is often depicted as a small child, a demi-god, who was conceived by Lumaya with a mortal man. The story of their meeting and relationship is told in the Ori epic poem Ti-Clespes Endessonisye na Bestini (’The Jewel of the Great Sea and the Earth’).

Giessembe’s name means ‘calm fresh water’, with embe being the word for any general body of fresh water.

In Orikrindian legend, Giessembe was sent to prove himself as an adult divine being, since he was weak as a baby, despite being a half-god. He was challenged by Apyolus, god of fire, to quell the fires of the mighty Cetispeltaya, a volcano whose summit cut through the fabric of the heavens. To accomplish this, he asked his mother to cause the sea to evaporate into clouds above the world, and a great rain fell for ten days without cease, and filled the fresh water streams and rivers. He then called on Moltirin to cause the trees of the forests to lie on their bellies so that his waters could flow freely around the world. Peltas (of the Twin Gods) was asked to make time flow quickly along the rivers so all the waters would surge across the land. Thus was Giessembe able to seep his waters down inside the earth (with the help of Hestaya) and extinguish the mighty volcano from the inside out.

Giessembe used his method of extinguishing the fires as a living hymn and tribute to the gods who had helped him, impressing Apyolus so much that he granted Giessembe the greater powers that were due him as a fully grown demi-god.

Epithets: Tu-Plenis (’The Half’), Tu-Prastanes (’The Clever’)

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Mintaka

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.

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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.

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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

Working on the pantheon of Orikrindia. This is part 1, the first three members.

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Orikrindian pantheon

Apyolus– Father God – God of Fire, Lava, Volcanoes, War, Season of Summer, the Sun (Worshipped as Force of Creation, as a Progenitor of all life, a driving mechanism of all living things)

Epithets: Ti-Hasterya Apyasye (The Light of Fire), Ti-Lyaya Iyutreseya (The All-seeing Sun), Yalus (Eye), Tetuya Huseya (First Father), Ti-Hupuse (The Knowing), Yoris (Watcher)

Apyolus is worshipped as a creator of life, a driver of existence. Without Apyolus it is believed all things would be as dead and empty husks, existing the likeness of life but without the crucial spark of consciousness.

The priesthood is Apyolus is all-male and open to those who have fathered at least one child. Their temples tend in be in cities, at the feet of volcanoes, and in the southern most reaches of Orikrindia. In the summer is the Festival of Fire, wherein people make material sacrifices to the fire in hopes of gaining such boons as: fertility/children, health good crops, warmer weather in winter, renewed physical and mental vigor.

Hestaya: Mother Goddess – Goddess of the Mountains, Air, Wind, Cold Weather, Snow, Ice (Worshipped as a stable force in the world, a protector, defender) –

Epithets include: Ti-Nimaya (the Mother), Ti-Nimaya Balnyeya (the Great Mother), Nimaya Coruni (Mother of Stone), Corus Cacalsas (Undying Stone), Crestenya Astersye (Kindler of Light [e.g. lightning via storms])

Prayer to Hestaya:

‘The solidness of the mountain

of stone

of ice

the movement of wind

the forbidding power of storms

the threat of winter

the protective blanket of snow covering the earth,

this our Mother

the Mighty

and the True

the One Who Covers,

The Kindler of Light

The Mother of Stone,

Undying and Eternal

Her light will find you

In the dark

Her stones surround you

Where no enemy can pierce’

Moltirin– Goddess of the Forest:also matron goddess of mysteries, vengeance, the past, memory, rebirth/reawakening, justice, lost things, women who have died in childbirth, dead children, men who have died in battle, storms, and those who have been wronged.

Associated with: birds of prey (especially ravens and vultures and other carrion creatures), wolves, snakes, spiders, vines/plants/trees, the color green/black/grey

Epithets: Ti-Roruya (The Dark), Cyentas Nastas (Wise Aunt), Emas Tin-Mulyurana (Woman of the Forests), Cyeltenalenya (Revenger), Murlinis (Raven)

Moltirin is equally feared and loved. She is the sister of Hestaya, who is married to Apyolus.

She inhabits all forests and is a very mysterious figure, rarely responding to the entreaties of humankind. When she does, though, it is with ferocity and sincerity. Moltirin may take the form of a young or very old woman. Prayers to Moltirin are given by those who have been wronged, those who are lost, who are pariahs, those whose honor has been destroyed (either by themselves or others). She is a protector of women and children, occasionally protecting them via deception or violence. She keeps the souls of those who die within her woods, as well as the souls of the drowned. These spirits are said to wander the places where they died, as it is there that they are with Moltirin.

Devotees to Moltirin often live in forests as hermits or wise women. They, like their goddess, are both feared and respected. Many work as apothecaries as well, specializing in both healing substances and poisons. In Orikrindia, one might visit a Woman of the Woods (as they’re typically called) to procure a less-than-legal concoction for whatever need.