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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 8:02 am 
Avisaru
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To take a break from conlanging, I've started to get some of my conworlding/conculturing stuff in order. As the myths and primary religion are the most fleshed out, I've decided to start with these.
I'll be crossposting on my blog, and comments/questions here are fine; it'll hopefully help me decide which aspect to focus on next.

<shameless plug> Ēmandē - Basic Overview </shameless plug>

Ēmandē, rarely also Ēmindē, (Stanard Baranxe'i [ˈɛːmɑndɛ] / [ˈɛːmindɛ], Temple Speech [ɛːˈmɑndɛ]) is a Baranxe’i term for the religious beliefs and practices native to the Baranxtumi people, and by extension those of other Marchers and Meleiyans, as well. Its literal translation is ‘the worship’, connected to the verb ēmanða/ēminða ‘worship, revere, show respect’; a term to denote other religions is ēmanðīr. The PA root is *ēmń̩-.

The actual religious beliefs and practices of the Baranxtumi people show high regional and sectarian variation, although they remain connected in their basic deities, myths and morality.

The first subgroup is the Ēmandē Sauba (organized worship, shortened also the Saubu) formerly a kind of state religion and in modern Baranxtu still the most publically prominent form. It is a highly hierarchic structure and owns and runs most temples and shrines in urban Baranxtu; it is led by a triad formed by the High Priest of Baranxi (always a man), the High Priestess of Maña (always a woman) and the High Priest of Mēlēija (varies), who are elected for life. Other countries with Emandean religions have similar institutions, although the primary deities can and do differ.
The Saubu has always been closely tied to the state, and less directly to its people; its function was to ensure the well-being of the state by paying hommage to the gods and carrying out their rituals. Especially in the cities, however, it has also been adopted as the primary religion practiced by the wealthy and the nobility.
The Saubu also had a hand in establishing and maintaining schools of higher learning, although secular universities have existed side-by-side with these. Furthermore, the Saubu also maintains the Temple Speech (Źutarġauz), the highly and artifically archaic Baranxe’i lect used to recite hymns, prayers and to read the myths in ceremonies.
These myths are recording in the Ēmandēja, the scriptures, and represent a standardised collection of the rather more divergent local myths.

In most religious Baranxtumis’ daily life, the Ēmandē Rauvēntu (farmer’s worship, or shortened the Rauvu, the soil) is much more important. It is the folk religion of the common people, and although it shares its gods and myths and concepts with the Saubu, it also differs significantly from it.
Unlike the Saubu, the Rauvu is not formally organised, and doesn’t truly recognise priests and priestesses, although villages usually had a family taking over religious leadership duties. Some of these families also keep contact with each other. The Rauvu is closely entwined with Baranxtumi folk medicine, costumary law and mysticism.
It relies heavily on oral transmission, although some subtraditions keep their own sacred writings. Others, especially in mid-sized towns, have adopted the Saubu’s scriptures, but added their own myths.
The Rauvu keeps some rituals alive that have long been abandoned by the Saubu; the most prominent examples of these is the Sacred Dance (referred to in SB as Āraþ Śāŋu and in TS as Ś-Āraþ, but its local names are manifold).
The full name Ēmandē Rauvēntu is used primarily by members of the Saubu, particularly the clergy, and is negatively connotated. Rauvu, on the other hand, emerged as a self-designation among Rauvunīja, who use it to emphasise that their religion is natural and egalitarian, and not as artificial and hierarchic as the Saubu.

Finally, there are the Ān-Śanixa Ēmandētu (new branches of Ēmandē, shortened also to Śanixa, splittings), which could be called sects. They are splinter groups and religious movements that sprang up after Baranxtu became an independent country and usually have an identifiable founder and even a definitive founding date.
Most of them were short lived and usually dissipated after the death of their founder (or one or two generations later), with few having a lingering effect.

These subdivisions follow Saubu terminology, and as such are not always accepted by some Rauvu practitioners or Śanixa followers.
In particular, Śanixa movements which see themselves as the sole legitimate religion would classify Saubu as heretics. Less extreme Śanixa may still prefer to see themselves as part of the Rauvu, and indeed, some traditions within the Rauvu would be classified as Śanixa if it weren’t for their age, predating the formal establishment of the Saubu.
In general, relations between the Saubu and the Rauvu have been neutral to antagonistic, but rarely hostile. There have been periods where the Saubu was heavily promoted over the Rauvu in an attempt to combat regionalism, or to enforce spiritual purity (the former attempts were usually spearheaded by Baranxtuan monarchs, the latter by particularly powerful Saubu triads), but overall, the two have largely existed side-by-side. Nevertheless, urban Saubu followers often see the Rauvu as a rural, backwards collection of superstitions and tainted, bastardised myths, and many Rauvu followers see the Saubu as the religion of arrogant elitists.
The relation between the Saubu and the Śanixa have usually been much more hostile, with the Saubu spending a lot of money and manpower on eradicated Śanixa movements. This sometimes included violent actions, either through incitation of the common people against Śanixa followers, through the hiring of mercenaries to eradicate the groups, or at times even state-backed military actions.
The relations between the Rauvu and the Śanixa have been much more mixed, and generally depended highly on the nature of a particular Śanixa movement. Those that claimed supremacy were met with hostility, whereas others which arose as a form of organised Rauvu, for example, faced much less Rauvu resistance, and sometimes were and are practiced syncretically.

--

TL;DR: The Saubu is the Catholic Church, the Rauvu is kinda syncretic religions based on Catholicism, and the Śanixa are new religious movements.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 12:40 pm 
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In a story you posted about baranxi, he was alternately called the god of mischief and the god of justice. Does he personify both?

Are there any holy days?

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 12:42 pm 
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What do followers of the three types of Ēmandē religions believe?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:01 pm 
Avisaru
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blank stare II wrote:
In a story you posted about baranxi, he was alternately called the god of mischief and the god of justice. Does he personify both?

Kinda. In Saubu, Baranxi is the god of fertility and health, of sexuality and sensuality, the son of fire and vengeance, and thus the god of justice and the divine law. This Baranxi is a syncretic deity, hence his wide range of roles (he's also the god who gave humans language and writing, and is the protector of cities and civilisation).
The story about the sugar fairies is taken straight from Rauvu folk tales, however, where the god Baranxi is harder to define in his role. He is basically a protector of humanity, and uses tricks and treachery to dupe malevolent gods and spirits, even if in the case of the sugar fairies it backfired.
In both types of Ēmandē, he is per the myths kind of the bigger brother of humanity, which I think explains a lot about his characterisation.

And there are lots of holy days; astronomical ones such as the equinoxes & solstices are marked with religious celebrations, as are the first sowing of spring and the harvest. Additionally, each deity has their feast day, although only the triad gets big, public celebrations.
There's no religious equivalent of the Abrahamic Friday/Shabbath/Sunday thing, however.

Observer wrote:
What do followers of the three types of Ēmandē religions believe?

That is what this series of posts will ultimately show; it's easiest to state for Saubu, as it has one canon and defined dogmata, whereas for the others, just some rough basics can be summed up.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:05 pm 
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Wait, I need to know: are Baranxtumi living in an alter-Earth or is a different planet?

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:11 pm 
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Izambri wrote:
Wait, I need to know: are Baranxtumi living in an alter-Earth or is a different planet?

A different planet in maybe a different universe which, through the powers of I don't give a shit about physics MAGIC, is suspiciously Earth-like.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 8:03 pm 
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The World, the Soul, Good and Evil

Note: The following represents the Saubu point of view.

The Material World humans live in exists parallel to the Spiritual World, which is the true abode of the gods and the resting place of the ancestors’ souls. The Spiritual is deeply interwoven with the Material, yet separate. Only the gods and certain spirits can travel between the two at will.
All living things of the Material have an essence, the haþanan; all haþanan are connected, like a net made of viscous fluid. It collects in animals, and especially in humans, where it forms part of the hãmðil, the self soul. The hãmðil is the conscious. It is connected to the Spiritual via the paherðil, the anchor soul, where the andalðil resides, the divine soul, which is memories.

The hãmðil is not completely fettered to the body, but can wander about. It does so especially during sleep, and the impressions gathered – whether in the Material or the Spiritual – are our dreams. It is the centre of emotions and of judgement.
The paherðil can be destroyed by doing great evil, but also by suffering greatly, which is the cause of restless ghosts who, unable to enter the Spiritual World to face judgment and then enter the afterlife, wander the earth and haunt the living.
The andalðil is the collection of all memories of all lives that a soul has already lived through.

When working together, they form the complete human mind. After death, the soul can either choose to be reincarnated, or face a trial which decides whether it can enter the afterlife, or if it must suffer punishment first.


The criteria for which a soul is judged form the bases of Ēmandēan morality.
Any action (including non-action) can have one of three natural qualities (sina otatu):
maŋāgood – these are actions which benefit others
mēsinēnneutral – these are actions which benefit oneself, and do not affect others
rañābad – these are actions which harm others

This spectrum of qualities overlaps with the law qualities (sina farantu):
zantājust – an action which is just and fair
mēzantāunjust – an action which is not

For example, it is just to do bad to prevent bad. Killing someone in self-defense is bad, but it is also just – but taking pleasure in their death is bad and unjust.
On the other hand, giving a relative a better deal on a trade than a stranger may be good towards the relative, but it has no just reasoning behind it.
The key concept for the application of the labels just/unjust is ēpetvalēŋul, balance – the balance between personal happiness and happiness of others, balance between the wellbeing of an individual and the community, balance between being generous and being a martyr.

Based on these qualities, an action can be found śaŋā holy or zurġanā sinful. These are the terms of judgement.

--

This was a very rough overview of Saubu morality beliefs and a quick look at their worldview. Maybe after some sleep, I can write up how the gods fit into this worldview, and delve a bit into Saubu mythology :D

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:05 am 
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Thank you! This is very interesting stuff. I like the distinction between "good/neutral/bad" and "just/unjust". I am curious to read more about this religion.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:47 am 
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#OP: Not the best idea, to begin describing sects. If I don't know anything about Emande why should I care about vanilla emande, strawberry emande, and pineapple emande ?

#worldsoulevilandgood: not clear about the three kinds of soul: what role do they play in worship, life, ethics? they look like id, self and memory, but the self part is... what, exactly, identity? are they separable?
Quote:
After death, the soul can either choose to be reincarnated, or face a trial which decides whether it can enter the afterlife, or if it must suffer punishment first.

which one?

D&D alignment much ?. okay, that's unfair: good looks like 'how much good it creates' and just looks like 'how good the principles are behind the action', right? but what does it mean for something to be just in emandean morality? is justice based on reciprocity, retaliation, as in ours, maybe lawfulness? and if so, which law? honor? self-honesty? coherence? pragmatism? purity of intention? purity of means? the quality of the principles which inspire the act and the coherence between the principles and the act itself? and if so, which principles are considered good?

Still, nice.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:49 pm 
Avisaru
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Torco wrote:
#OP: Not the best idea, to begin describing sects. If I don't know anything about Emande why should I care about vanilla emande, strawberry emande, and pineapple emande ?

Because they're delicious :P. Also, I had to start somewhere and this part was the one that is most easily summed up. Plus, I'll need to refer to the Saubu/Rauvu distinction a lot, so I thought it best to get it out of the way first.

Quote:
#worldsoulevilandgood: not clear about the three kinds of soul: what role do they play in worship, life, ethics? they look like id, self and memory, but the self part is... what, exactly, identity? are they separable?

They are basically 'self without memories', memories, and a link between the two. They can be separated, which is a Bad Thing, because it destroy the whole-ness of the self.
In everyday life, this partition doesn't play a huge role. They serve as an explanation for a number of phenomena - memory loss, mental retardation, amnesia, any number of psychic ills are attributed to a disturbance in the force link of the three souls.
The biggest role they play are when it comes to funeral rites, part of which includes the proper unbinding of the hãmðil and the paherðil so they can pass on.

Quote:
Quote:
After death, the soul can either choose to be reincarnated, or face a trial which decides whether it can enter the afterlife, or if it must suffer punishment first.

which one?

This is actually an attempt to combine two competing Emandean beliefs. In some regions, people believe in reincarnation, while others believe in only one life and one death. The doctrine that the soul can choose to either be reincarnated, or face direct judgement before entering the afterlife, was developed to unite these beliefs into one.

Quote:
D&D alignment much ?. okay, that's unfair: good looks like 'how much good it creates' and just looks like 'how good the principles are behind the action', right? but what does it mean for something to be just in emandean morality? is justice based on reciprocity, retaliation, as in ours, maybe lawfulness? and if so, which law? honor? self-honesty? coherence? pragmatism? purity of intention? purity of means? the quality of the principles which inspire the act and the coherence between the principles and the act itself? and if so, which principles are considered good?

I was actually considering to include a "I have never played D&D!" disclaimer there :P
The Saubu pov on "justness" is, basically, a highly pragmatic attempt to preserve a functioning society, incorporating other principles in a meden agan style of way of life - this is basically what I wanted to say with the concept of "balance".
For example, the concept of honour is much bigger in most branches of Rauvu thinking, with the honour of the village, the clan, the family and the self being different spheres that can be violated and whose restoration may be based on bad actions which nevertheless would be just. On the other hand, the Saubu, claiming responsiblity for society as a whole, cannot afford to support local feuds as just when it threatens societal cohesion as a whole.

As for principles which are considered good, at the start is the belief that everything enjoyable is a gift of the gods and should be celebrated.
At the top of it is life, and it should be preserved and enjoyed.
There is food, and it is just to enjoy it, but it is unjust to overdo it when others are starving.
There is sex, and it is just to have it, but it is unjust to force it on others (so yeah, rape is double-bad, as it is bad and unjust).
And so on...
I'm not super-good at explaining the abstract, I'm afraid - at heart, I'm a storyteller :D
Does the above make at least some sense, though?

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:12 pm 
Avisaru
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The Gods and Creation

The Saubu sees the gods (anara) as the caretakers of the universe, and responsible for much of our existence. Through their works and the divine laws they made the world; they keep existence itself structured (saubul) and prevent it from descending into chaos (þasavul). Chaos, here, refers not to the opposite to lawfulness, but to the primordial state that predates existence. For this, humans are obliged to praise and worship the gods, both by singing their hymns and offering sacrifice and by doing good and just deeds that honour the divine law.

Each deity has a domain or domains which they represent, and which dictates through which acts they can be honoured - Baranxi can be honoured by having pleasurable sex or by loving someone, Maña by bathing, Mēlēija by righting wrongs, Atama by skillful smithing, Aśaġaiza by being a good archer, Asuani by getting drunk, Ðikśasi by visiting the graves of one's ancestors and praying to them, and so on.
In the same vein, each god can be dishonoured by certain acts - Baranxi through rape or hating someone, Maña by polluting sacred places, Mēlēija by mocking the poor, Atama by throwing away perfectly working tools, Aśaġaiza by wasting a kill, Asuani by getting too drunk, Ðikśasi by neglecting the graves, etc.

While the gods themselves would not destroy their creation, too many misdeeds threaten to severe the divine law that is woven through existence, and as a result, it could break (draimīr haþantu).


And now, a summary of the creation myths and the different divine dynasties:

The First Dynasty of Gods and the Building of the World
First, there was only an empty, infinite universe, and in the centre of it, everything that was not nothing. It was primordial, unstructured chaos, the Þasa.

Then, water began to drop out of it and collected at the bottom of the universe, forming the first lake. This lake received a spirit, the first god, Ima.
Shortly afterwards, a small clump fell out of the Þasa and into the lake. It became a bird, the first goddess, Nu.
Ima and Nu fell in love, so Nu laid an egg, and Ima became warmer to hatch it. Finally, the shell broke into millions of pieces, flying through the whole universe (and becoming stars), and a woman, Ulxa, came forth. In the presence of the love between Ima and Nu, she felt unwelcome, so she ascended to the Þasa, where she conceived and gave birth to six sets of twins
  • Imant and Tum
  • Jija and Jiji
  • Bara and Bari
  • Dēna and Dēni
  • Hana and Hani
  • Za and Zi
and finally to Marxi, fire, whose birth burnt her so badly she died before she could give birth to Marxa. Marxi was then banished by his siblings.
Then, the six remaining siblings wanted to build a tomb for their mother's remains.
Imant and Tum begat Mamu, the first sun, to light up the Þasa.
Jija and Jiji separated the solids from the Þasa and formed a ball. Hana and Hani raised a platform on it. Za and Zi collected the remaining water and put it on the lower parts of the ball, but Za drowned in the first ocean. Zi mourned her by taking her name, and washing himself in the shallow pool of water she had spit out before dying. This turned him immortal, and in exchange for immortality, his siblings bowed to him and named him their king.
Then, Bara and Bari created the first grass to grow on the plain, and Dēna and Dēni the first animals.
Together, they build a city in the south of the plain where they would live, a tomb for Gulxa and the female Za in the centre, and a throne for Mamu in the north.
Spirits started to form in the vast swathes of land newly created, and a primal, primitive world arose.

These gods and spirits, together with their children, are the First Generation of Gods - Āŋu Meisīr Anartvu.


The Second and Third Dynasties of Gods and the Creation of the Current World
Some time later, Nu laid two more eggs, and Ima hatched them. This time, Hilja and Udar came forth. Hilja held an oak sapling in her hand, and when it was grown, Udar took a sharp stone and hew two figures from it. With the waters of Ima, they gave them life, and thus 'bore' their children, Īna and Alē’i.
These two married, and their children were Zixa, Mēlēija, Manxi, and finally, Asita. They raised them on the muddy shores of Ima.
There, Mēlēija created the first bees and harvested the first honey, whose pureness could grant immortality.

When they were grown up, the four descended to the world. Mēlēija took the north and raised her bees, Asita took the south and raised sheep, Manxi studied the plants in the east, and Zixa explored the west.
In the following time, Mēlēija adopted Atama of unknown parentage, and gave birth to Baranxi with Marxi, Kaśa with a rock spirit, Aśaġaiza with a forest spirit, Marvi with Daybreak and Ðikśasi with Nightfall. Only then did she, her children and her siblings travel to the city of the First Generation to demand entry as their siblings.
But Za, the King of Gods, laughed at them and demanded that they earn their entry. Mēlēija accepted this challenge, and ultimately created humans. Thus, Za had to allow them entry into the city of the gods.

The domains of the various gods are explained in later myths, and ultimately, the fall of Za as King of Gods and the gift of the world to the humans. He angered all the gods, even his own siblings, so much by mocking a humble human’s plea for mercy that their anger and grief over her subsequent suicide empowered her so much that she came back from the dead riding a wave, broke his sceptre and crown, and became Maña, the new goddess of water.

Other important events include the creation of the moon and the replacement of the old sun with a duo of new goddesses.

---

And yes, in due time, I will post that all in loving storytelling detail; once I've cleaned up the current myths and translated them into English, that is.

As a finish for now, have a lovingly created illustration of the Saubu view of the world:

Image

The upper three lines represent Baranxi, the ones in the lower left Maña and the ones in the lower right Mēlēija.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 4:55 am 
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Beautiful. Awesome.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:13 pm 
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*converts*


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:03 pm 
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Now, to show how Rauvu often clashes with Saubu, I'll present the cosmology taught in a village in the transition zone between Baranxe'i-speaking areas and Asuāneica-speaking areas.

--

Before there was our world, there was the chaos, Þats. It was all there has been, and all that will be, but in one.
But before that, there was the First World, Maku Aneik. It was a perfect world, with harmony and without strife.
One day, at the same time, four children were born. The twins Raup and Bejan, and Nu and Im. And Nu and Im loved each other from the first day, but Raup and Bejan hated each other with the same force. This was the first time hate had been in that world, and so, no one knew how to counteract it.
Raup grew up to be a famed huntress, but Bejan became a fabled swordswoman. They collected every living creature of the world and formed two giant armies. Only Nu and Im did not partake.
Then, they fought. Every plant was cut, every animal hewn apart, every man and every woman torn from limb to limb, every child cut in two. Raup and Bejan killed each other. The First World drowned in its own blood, and became the shapeless Þats.

But then, water began to drop out of the Þats, fell to the bottom of the universe, and formed a lake. A piece of Þats fell into the lake. The soul of Nu slipped into the piece, and the soul of Im into the lake. Nu became a duck, and the two loved each other again.
So Nu layed an egg, and Im hatched it, and Ōlla came forth. She looked as Nu and Im had before the First World drowned, and so they grew jealous and banished her.
Ōlla went to Þats and conceived.
She bore Za and Zi, who took the water from Þats. Za died, and Zi took her name, for which his siblings laughed at him. But then he washed in the waters female Za had touched, and he became immortal. His siblings pledged allegiance to him, and he became their king, and he made them immortal.
She bore Ija and Iji, who took chaos and made a ball on which Za put the water.
She bore Ana and Ani, who raised land and isles, and gave the big land to Za.
She bore Bara and Bari, who made grass to feed on the rivers Za had made, but they did not grow.
She bore Iminta and Iminta, who brought light and brought forth Mammu, the first sun, and the grass grew.
She bore Dajina and Dajini, who made animals to feed on the grass.
She bore Marxi, who was fire, and burnt her so badly she died.
And the other gods banished Marxi, who fled to the desert, and they built a tomb for her and female Za, and then a city in the south to live in.

One day, there was a knock on the walls of the city of the gods, and they went to see who it was.
There stood Meleja Laña and her sister Atsita Itśa, and their siblings Dzixa and Manxi.
There stood Atama Fīlnana.
There stood Meleja Laña's son, Baraŋxi Tsaumi, and her daughter, Atśa Verja.
And Meleja Laña spoke, "We demand entrance, for we are children of Nu and Im, we are your siblings and stand equal with you."
And Za laughed in her face, and spat at her once.
Atama Fīlnana grew furious, and her anger raised the mountains, the mountains destroyed the tombs, and they grew higher than any land, and Atama Fīlnana went to them and did not return.
And Za spat at Meleja Laña twice.
Atśa Verja grew furious, and her anger lit up the night sky, and she rose into it, and in her hair, the stars burn, and her moon-eye lit the night, and she did not return.
And Za spat at Meleja Laña thrice.
Baraŋxi Tsaumi grew furious, and in his anger ate Mammu, and rose up into the sky, and with his sun-eye, burnt the city of the gods, and he did not return.
And Za lay burnt at Meleja Laña's feet, and she took his crown.

Meleja Laña banished the other gods, and then made humans in the god's image to populate the world.
From the purest waters, a new goddess rose, and she was Maña Miña, and she ruled all the waters of the world.
And Meleja Laña bore a new body for Baraŋxi Tsaumi, and it was Baraŋxi Ēgi, and he ruled all the fires of the world.
And she bore a new body for Atśa Verja, and it was Atśa Ġaidza, and she ruled the forests of the world.

--

This version lacks many of the myths of a long struggle between the First and Second/Third Dynasties of Gods for power, which is present both in Saubu and many other Rauvu traditions.

Gods with more than one aspect receive an epithet (usually a colour) in this tradition to specify which aspect.
Meleja Laña Black Meleja is the primal force of vengeance and retribution. Meleja Melaraŋa, Honey-Coloured Meleja, is the protector of bees and honey.
Baraŋxi Tsaumi Yellow Baraŋxi is the sun god and personification of the day. Baraŋxi Ēgi Red Baranxi is the fire god who looks out for humanity. Baraŋxi Vereji Green Baranxi is the force of fertility that, in spring, makes plants grow and animals procreate.
And so on and so forth :P

To sum it up, their world looks like this:

Image

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Constructed Voices - Another conlanging/conworlding blog.
Latest post: Joyful Birth of the Oiled One


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