Drifting Sands, Drifting Souls
There are four major religions in the world of Thirajin. Religion can be (and is often) a source of conflict between people who worship different gods. The four major religions of the world are the Divine Pantheon, whose practitioners are commonly derided as “Pagans,” but often call themselves Theists. Se’hari is the religion of Aritika and various other that the Aritikan Empire has converted. Se’hari’s worship is based around a god of all things called Istikar, but the Se’hari often simply call him “god,” as using Istikar’s name in vain is a sin.
The Shining Lands of Alaekor have their own religion, which centers around self-empowerment and improvement of the body and mind. This is known as Araseism, but is often just called “the Alaekorish Religion.” Araseism is not a faith, per se, rather it is a philosophy. This is often confused by the more established nations outside of the Shining Lands of Alaekor, but outsiders’ confusion is rarely a point of contention.
Finally, a large group of people worship Thirajin itself as a nature goddess. Commonly druids, rangers, and other wilderness types, these people often will seclude themselves from civilization and erect their own societies in the hinterlands and outskirts of nations. While often derided as “nature worshipers,” these people tend to call themselves “Keepers of the Great Mother,” or as the scholars put it: “Thirajians.”
Perhaps the most perplexing of the religions is also the oldest one. In the mythical First Age, the Divine Pantheon was formed from heroes that lived and reached a state of apotheosis. While there are only sixteen actual gods and goddesses within the Divine Pantheon, each race was inclined to believe that members of their racial background were the ones who had reached that state of apotheosis and attained godhead. Thus, there are only sixteen true deities, but every race calls them by a different name. Each race has its own stories and beliefs as to how their gods and goddesses achieved apotheosis and became gods.
This is a dangerous proposition and a very dangerous religion in regards to how the Se’harists view their world. As the gods and goddesses of the Divine Pantheon reached a state of godhood through hard work, determination, and mythical quests, many heroes and adventurers who worship deities from the Divine Pantheon believe that this is also true for them, despite that no one has ever achieved this state since the First Age. If everyone believed they could achieve complete and total power over an aspect of the world through the same means, then it would severely detract from the beliefs of Se’hari, wherein to be a good worshiper, one must practice modesty and believe in the word of the Emperor, and then they will receive a final rest within the realm of Istikar. The belief in potential godhood is a hard thing to fight when you compare it to being an eternal servant.
And as such, the Divine Pantheon is possibly the least-understood of all of the faiths. Only the foolish, stupid, or very brave would attempt to replicate the mythical quests that set the deities on their path towards divinity. Many worshipers of the Divine Pantheon are peasants or people from lower classes. Some nobility worships the gods and goddesses in places like Valinos and Rhikari, but the faith is far stronger in the lower classes. It gives them more hope, that they can achieve something greater than themselves. And it’s an old folklore myth that the gods may give divine right to the lords and ladies of holdings throughout the world to rule, but their favored children are really the ones who struggle and toil.
Because each of the different races has a different story of origin for a god or goddess in question, each race will make their associations with the deities based on their own stories of them. As such, the portfolio of a Human goddess may not be the exact same as her Elven counterpart — she may not even be thought of as female to the other race! This has caused a great deal of confusion among many theologians who wonder whose story is actually true, and whether or not it even matters. A god by any other name…
Oddly, the divinities are not particularly welcome within the bounds of Thirajin. Despite the deference given to the Divine Pantheon, if a god’s or goddess’ avatar is sent down to Thirajin, it brings back dark memories of the middle days of the First Age, the Shadow Era which preceded the Mythic Era, when the world was controlled by dark and often inimical beings that were functionally immortal and controlled every mortal race. Regardless of the fact that the gods and goddesses were the primary weapon in the arsenal of the Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, and Halflings (among others) in sending the demons, daemons, devils, archons, angels, and azata back into their homes – and the Aberrations and Dragons into the Shadow Plane, no worshiper prays for direct contact with a deity. To do so would acknowledge that one requires help that would far outstrip simple divine intervention through prayer.
More description about individual religions and sects are listed in their specific pages for the sake of room:
- Se’hari – The monotheistic worship of Istikar.
- The Human Divine Pantheon – the gods and goddesses of creation from a Human perspective.
- The Dwarven Divine Pantheon – the gods and goddesses of creation from a Dwarven perspective.
- The Elven Divine Pantheon – the gods and goddesses of creation from an Elven perspective.
- The Halfling Divine Pantheon – the gods and goddesses of creation from a Halfling perspective.
- The Orcish Divine Pantheon – the gods and goddesses of creation from an Orcish perspective.
- Araeism – Perfection and oneness of body and mind.
- The Great Mother – Faith in the power and deification of Nature.