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 Post subject: South Eresia
PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 3:27 pm 
Avisaru
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I'm going to start compiling information about my connation of South Eresia in this thread. Their language, T'ant'api, is not quite presentable yet (though it will be soon, I promise!), but there are some other aspects of their culture that are pretty well-formed and it would do me good to get some further feedback on them from people who know what they're talking about.

So here it is. Feel free to ask questions on anything, critique, discuss, whatever. I've thrown relatively large amounts of research into this (many, many hours on wikipedia :P), but I'm certain there are things I've overlooked.

I'll be posting the first major piece later today, about the theoretical underpinnings of South Eresian religion. Tomorrow I should have something up about the actual practice of the religion, and then we'll move on from there. I might rearrange the material to be in a more coherent format in the future, but for now I need to actually get the material in here. :p


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 1:01 am 
Avisaru
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South Eresian (T'ant'an) religion shares some elements with the religions of ethnic groups on the eastern coast of Norua, especially with that of the Darau, but it has developed in relative isolation from it and features some beliefs that are completely foreign to anyone from Norua. It influences and is influenced by the long tradition of philosophical thought in the area. There are some widespread regional differences, but classical South Eresian religion is generally considered to be centered in Tlaqoya and the surrounding areas. North Eresia (Tsepai) is a different cultural zone entirely and, although in many ways their religion is similar, there are some key differences that make them very different.

Nohos, in South Eresian religion, is considered to be the force that drives the multiverse. The idea is that at the beginning of time, something shattered the complete, shapeless peace that was the only thing there was, and since then everything has been trying to reassemble itself so that it can return to this completely calm state of existence. This act of reconstruction is nohos. The term for the complete peace before the shattering is known as aunaxos.

All of the countless universes are considered to have four aspects: physical, spiritual, mental and the core. The physical aspect is the most self-evident of the four: it comprises all things that can be directly observed. The spiritual aspect is, basically, emotion. The mental aspect is ideas and thoughts. The core is what makes all of these a coherent whole that is separate from other universes and is usually associated with the concept of awareness. The first three aspects, physical, spiritual and mental, all crumbled at the beginning of time and became mixed with the pieces of other universes. The physical aspect returned to the core right away, but it cannot return to aunaxos before the other two aspects have also returned.

What humans are, then, in this religion, are broken pieces of the mental and spiritual aspects of different universes that go around temporarily binding themselves to the still broken bits of the physical aspect within any given universe in order to check if it is their own world. If it is not, they die and go on to another universe until they find the one they are looking for. Note that the spiritual aspect and the mental aspect separate themselves at death; a spirit does not retain the same mind as it crosses into the next universe. The exception to this is if a piece of spirit and a piece of mind are originally from the same universe; they then stay stuck together and find their home world at the same time.

What happens when one does find one's world? Whichever aspect, spiritual or mental, that belongs to the world stays with it. When a person with only one aspect belonging to the current world dies, that part is now reattached to the world, but it is still not whole. Let's pretend that a person whose spirit belongs to the world dies. This spirit will be repeatedly reincarnated in the same world with new minds until it find a mind that also belongs. Upon all the pieces being assembled, this person becomes known as an ahaxan. An ahaxan is no longer subject to aging, death (usually) or illness and is perfectly integrated into the world. These people are born as normal humans, but they soon realize what they are and separate themselves from other people upon reaching maturity. An ahaxan is considered to be one of the real owners of the world in question, and is to be treated with extremely high respect if you ever meet one, but that's not likely; they are generally isolated and avoid human contact, and the ones that don't avoid other people almost never let on to what they are. It is possible to kill an ahaxan, but it is extraordinarily difficult to do so (because their connection with the world is so much stronger) and upon their death they are reborn from the ocean as adults, with all their memories and emotions completely intact. Some ahahaxan (yes, that is the plural :P), especially the oldest ones, are extremely hostile to non-ahaxan humans and will kill any that they encounter on sight. They are capable of magic, which they can perform by instinct.

Then there are the yeyehan, which can reasonably be called gods. Where the ahahaxan are reconstructed pieces of the original equilibrium, the yeyehan are pieces that never broke away. A yehan has an enormous amount of influence over the world, and most worlds have very few. The world in which the South Eresians live is generally accepted to have two: Atlatsi and Alalua, which usually manifest themselves as the sun and the moon. Although these don't seem like they'd theoretically be particularly important, in practice the yeyehan absolutely dominate the religious life of the average South Eresian. These exert the most control over the world, and them causing things to happen is often compared to the process of moving one's body. They are generally good-natured toward humans provided they show the necessary respect towards them and their world. As such, temples are built for them and people are expected to partake in numerous rituals in order to honor them, which will be covered later.

More on this tomorrow, I'm going to go pass out now.


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 Post subject: Re: South Eresia
PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 3:31 pm 
Avisaru
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Okay, I have left this sit for over a month now. I suck. Oh well. Here is, not notes on the practice of South Eresian religion, but a story from one of their old religious books. This story shows how old it is and how rural its origin is: it talks about the sun being quite personal, even capable of bleeding. The idea of the sun being personal is a widely looked-down-upon view among modern South Eresian religious scholars, who say that the sun should be viewed as not only impersonal but not even sentient, merely a physical symbol of the force known as atlatsi. In modern South Eresia, this story is taken very metaphorically by educated people, and uneducated, rural people generally are unaware that this story even exists.

The reason I chose this story instead of one of the numerous other stories within the same book is because this one is controversial. Specifically, it leaves it unspecified whether or not the ending is a good thing or a bad thing, and there have been debates arguing both ways, which I might attempt to cover later.

Anyway, here it is:

Tirel ma Hani wrote:
This happened at the eastern edge of the world, when everything was still new. One day, when the sun was climbing up the mountains out of the ocean to begin her daily journey on the river across the sky, she tripped on a rock and pricked her finger on a stone at the very peak of a mountain. She picked herself up and resumed her journey and by the end of the day she had forgotten entirely about this incident, but where she pricked her finger she left a drop of blood. This drop of blood shone like she did, even at nighttime.

Attracted by the light, some people settled in the valley below the mountain. There they prospered, as the light shining down allowed their crops to grow even when it was dark or cloudy. After a thousand years, this had become a great city of happy people who all worshiped the light on top of the mountain. Nobody ever dared to climb the mountain to investigate out of fear that they would accidentally end their prosperity by doing so.

One day, a traveling merchant came to the city in the valley, attracted by the stories he had heard of the wealth of this place. When he arrived, he saw the light and was in awe of it. He wondered where it came from, and he thought of how wealthy it would make him if he could take it and sell it elsewhere. He decided to climb the mountain and take the light for his own. It was a long, hard climb, but he came to the top of it. He saw that it was no more than a brightly shining drop of light, so he reached out to take it. When he touched it, he was instantly engulfed in flame and reduced to ashes which drifted away in the wind. The city prospered for another hundred years.

Then there was a famine through the rest of the land, as dark clouds covered the sky all summer and no crops would grow. The city in the valley still had light and their crops were bountiful. Many travelers came to collect the excess food and bring it home to feed their villages. One of these travelers, a farmer from the south, saw and wondered at the light. He thought about how his own people would never be hungry again if they had this light for themselves. He, like the merchant a hundred years earlier, climbed the mountain. When he saw it and he reached out and touched it, he was suddenly gripped by a terrible fear and compelled to run away, down the mountain, back to his home. When he got there and could see the light no more, he collapsed and died of exhaustion. The city prospered for yet another hundred years.

The city was known for wisdom and innovation, and it attracted many scholars over time from all over the world. One of these scholars saw and wondered at the light, like the merchant and farmer before him. He wondered if it would be possible to reproduce this light so that all the world's cities would prosper like the one in the valley. He, too, resolved to climb the mountain. When he did this and touched the light, he was not repulsed or killed by it, but instead he absorbed it and became as radiant as the drop had been. In the moment that he touched it, everything that he had previously been was gone. He returned down the mountain not remembering why he had ascended or even knowing who he was. He was transformed. All of his old imperfections were gone, replaced by the blood of the sun.

The people in the city had watched the light climb down the mountain. They had thought that someone was stealing their light and were ready to kill whoever it was, but when they saw him they saw only that he was the light itself and assumed that he had been all along. They threw down their weapons and worshiped him. Everyone who touched him forgot their old self and all they had loved and became like the scholar, although they did not shine.

Only one person in this city, a common man, saw this and felt fear; he had loved the city as it was, and did not want to see it change in such a way. He made a plan that he hoped would work, and he followed it: he came out, as if he was to embrace the scholar and become another follower, but when he embraced the scholar he stabbed him through the heart with a knife. The scholar died instantly and the light went out. The blood of the sun that had been in him transferred itself to the killer.

This man did not lose himself like the scholar had. He loved the way the city had been too much, and this made him remember the way things had been even as the blood of the sun coursed through his veins. He ran away from his beloved city, to the top of the mountain where the sun had pricked her finger so long ago, and sat down. He saw the angry people of the city advancing up the mountain, and wondered what he would do. When they were almost at the top, he made his decision. If he allowed them to capture him and kill him for what he had done, things would almost certainly return to the way they had been becoming before his deed. He could not defend himself, and he could not think of a way to return the drop of blood to the rock it had been resting upon.

The man, seeing no other choices, ran to the edge of the mountain over the ocean, the steepest edge, and threw himself off. When he hit the sea, far below, he died instantly, and in that moment everything that had been lost to the changed villagers returned. They remembered the way their lives had been, and they returned down to their homes. The light was gone, as when the man died his blood and the blood of the sun mixed with the seawater. The city dwindled without it, until nobody even remembered where it was or what it had been so long ago.

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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 5:08 pm 
Lebom
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Eccentric Iconoclast wrote:
Nohos, in South Eresian religion, is considered to be the force that drives the multiverse. The idea is that at the beginning of time, something shattered the complete, shapeless peace that was the only thing there was, and since then everything has been trying to reassemble itself so that it can return to this completely calm state of existence. This act of reconstruction is nohos. The term for the complete peace before the shattering is known as aunaxos.


Is this perhaps indicative of the concept of entropy, maybe?

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 Post subject: Re: Re:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:41 am 
Avisaru
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bulbaquil wrote:
Eccentric Iconoclast wrote:
Nohos, in South Eresian religion, is considered to be the force that drives the multiverse. The idea is that at the beginning of time, something shattered the complete, shapeless peace that was the only thing there was, and since then everything has been trying to reassemble itself so that it can return to this completely calm state of existence. This act of reconstruction is nohos. The term for the complete peace before the shattering is known as aunaxos.


Is this perhaps indicative of the concept of entropy, maybe?

What made that obvious? :p

I've been trying to make a bunch of concepts within South Eresian religion (but obviously not all of them, as some of them are clearly incorrect) vaguely resemble actual scientific phenomena. The idea is that there was a fairly scientifically advanced civilization in the same place in the distant past, and some of the things they learned survived, rather distorted by many, many years of being passed down as folktales. I don't know how plausible that is, but I like the idea of it.

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