Constructed Religions : it's a long one
|From:||J. Barefoot <lesfraises@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, December 30, 1998, 17:03|
Kristian Jensen <kljensen@...> wrote:
>There seemed to be a big discussion about religion while I was gone.
>But very few (if any, for I was only browsing through the 500 or so
>accumulated posts) had to do with conlanging. I began to wonder, why
>didn't anyone direct the topic towards constructed religions
>pertaining to their respective conlangs instead of arguing over
>something completely off-topic? I'm sure many of you guys/gals have
>created belief systems to accompany the con-culture speaking your
>respective conlangs. So here I am asking, what are your religions
>like? Monotheistic, polytheistic, animistic? What are the creations
>myths? Are there specific religious institutions, temples, places of
>worship associated with your con-religions? How is the world seen
>through the religion - cosmology? I can go on but I'm sure you all
>get my drift.
You mean you want to hear about it? This is too good to be true!
The Yisians were my first conlang and my only developed conculture. And
this is their religion:
The Yisians migrated to their "homeland" in three waves, approximately 7
- 10 thousand years ago. The Heta nation made up the first wave,
settling on the eastern coast and displacing the native Haewa. The Heta
incorporated many elements of Haewa religion (including their national
designation "Hetamde" from a Haewa word for the sun "he:ta") creating a
sort of henotheism. The Yisian triad - SkyFather, Ch (from che, also
means "all", written w/o vowel when it refers to God), EarthMother,
Unta, and the Sun, Etesh - still reigned supreme, while numerous minor
gods were borrowed from the Haewa.
The main myth of this period describes the daily regeneration of the
sun. Etesh is born again each morning from the horizon, the mystical
union of sky and earth, and each evening he melts back to earth. The
"dew of the sun" is collected each evening by the "Old Man of the Stars"
and scattered across the sky.
After subsequent migrations and the development of a Yisian State, the
original religion of the Heta had become more pantheistic; Ch now was
the WorldSoul. The religion in this form also became the state relgion.
The other gods are still worshipped, but are considered only great or
more advanced parts of the WorldSoul, of basically the same nature as
the mortal soul.
The main forms of worship are solitary or communal chanting and
meditation. Blood sacrifices are also performed at speacial occasions.
For this the propitiant makes two intersecting incisions in the tip of
his or her right index finger and scatters the blood across the altar in
The main festival is the New Year, which comes just before spring
planting. In rural areas the festival retains its agricultural orgins.
The priest or priestess blesses water by pouring it over the statue or
relic of whatever local agricultural deity, then uses it to bless the
fields of the village. After the solemn ritual observance, they hold a
wild drunken orgy (trying to set a good, fertile example for the earth
to follow in the coming months, no doubt). In urbanized areas the
festival is more restrained. The drunken orgy comes first, but they
spend the rest of the festival repenting and meditating.
Afterlife and Burial
Believe it or not, the Yisians find it appalling that we bury our dead.
They simply cannot comprehend such barbarism inflicted on our loved
ones. One of their most treasured cultural myths involves their own
civil war. A rebel leader had massacred an entire village in the course
of conquering territory (which is a BIG no-no for reasons I'll tell you
in a moment). When the loyal leader in the area heard about this, he
broke off from his assignment, hunted down the rebel division, massacred
all of them, and get this, had his troops bury all the bodies. In Yisian
belief the body has to decay before the soul can make a permanent exit,
so buring these fresh bodies also interred their souls. (But the point
of the story is that they had it coming for massacring an entire
village.) Nowadays its sort of a "in-these-very-woods" campfire story,
but wherever it is that these bodies are would be the most evil,
unlucky, haunted place in Yisia.
So what do they do with the bodies? Under cover of darkness, the body is
carried out of the village head first (unless that particular individual
was born feet first)and interred on his or her ancestral scaffold for 9
cycles of the largest moon, or until the body has decayed. The bones are
then interred in the village crypt, usually a cave near the village or a
chamber under the temple. Legends say that if one was to climb the
scaffold with a decaying corpse on it (but who would want to do that?),
one would see the soul have in and half out of the body.
The Yisians believe in something like ancestral reincarnation. Souls
travel in local groups. The first person to be born after someone was
interred in the crypt has that person's soul (which is why killing an
entire village at once, effectively scattering thousands of souls to the
wind, was such an attrocity). Often the new baby is even named after the
last person to die. This works in small villages, but it's next to
impossible for an urban dweller to tell whose soul they've got.
Saints are an important exception to the rules of reincarnation. A saint
is someone who has gained an insight into the fundamental nature of
something, someone whose been enlighted. Upon decaying their souls split
into however many pieces are necessary to give everyone born on the day
that the saint is interred a little piece of the saint's soul, thus
furthering the infinite evolution of the WorldSoul.
End of the World
There is no end of the universe in Yisian thought, though there is an
end of this age. The belief is that when there are enough saints that
many can die on one day and a new baby's soul can be made entirely of
"saint," that will be the beginning of the end. The End is sort of like
a rpature, when all souls will simply be lifted out of life and united
to Ch. The universe will continue to exist, more fully than it does now,
because what is reality but a manifestation of Ch?
I can really only touch the surface of this. A good example of Yisian
mystical symbolism is the horizon (yeshiao). It represents the union of
sky and earth, the real union of all things, a state of spiritual
knowledge clearly visible but never quite attainable, etc., etc. Volumes
have been written on meditations on the horizon, giving a good overview
of the character of the religion.
I could go on and on, but I'm sure that's more than you ever wanted to
know. If you're interested, you can ask me about the grand temple, human
sacrifice, and the che'a.
The Yisian language is currently in overhaul, but you can take a look at
the original (remember, it was my first) at
Thanks for listening.
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