Worship and Religious Beliefs

Discover the ways in which the people of Aetaltis worship their gods, the Enaros. Unlock the secrets of dwarven ancestor worship. Delve into the the philosophy of spiritual balance known as Atlan Centering. All is explained as we discuss Worship and Religious Beliefs on the World of Aetaltis.

The temple of Lensae in the town of Thornwall. (Art by Jordy Lakiere)

The relationship the average person has with the Enaros is one of patron and petitioner. The Enaros may embody certain traits or qualities, but these moralistic beliefs don't necessarily drive or guide worship.  Typically, the people of Aetaltis perform rituals that are believed to please the Enaros, and in exchange they make specific requests of the Enaros that they hope to have fulfilled.

This isn't to say that people never align themselves with a certain Enaros based on their morals and convictions, but their actual worship of the Enaros is based more on personal needs and a desire to keep the Enaros happy, rather than philosophical beliefs.

While the Enaros are generally respected, the people of the Amethyst Sea basin have no problem disagreeing with the actions of an Enaros. For instance, a farmer might blame Grethken for a bad harvest, especially if the farmer had been actively worshipping Grethken diligently for the entire season. While it isn't considered a good idea to voice one's anger with the Enaros (no one wants one of the Enaros mad at them) at the same time it is completely acceptable.

Personal Shrines

Most people build small shrines in their homes that are used as a holy place to petition the Enaros for aid. Rituals, ranging from songs and meditation to minor sacrifices, are often used in this worship. The average shrine is seldom larger than a small table however among the nobility the size of one's personal shrine is a mark of prestige.

Temples and the Priesthood

Often, when enough people have settled in one place, they will work together to construct a temple. In the case of small towns or villages it is usually a Temple of Lensae. This is a temple that can be used to worship any of the Enaros. The larger the settlement is, the more likely it is to have temples for specific Enaros.

The idea of a temple is to create a sort of "guest room" for the Enaros. It is designed as a place that the Enaros would enjoy coming to and find appealing enough to stay for a while. Aetaltans believe that prayers made at a temple that is attractive to that Enaros are more likely to be noticed by that Enaros since that Enaros is more likely to visit that place. To this end the size and complexity of the temple is less important than the appropriateness of the construction.

Small temples may be as simple as an open space where anyone can come to worship, but the larger the temple, the more likely that it will be directed by priests. The priesthood is a specially trained group that is skilled in the arts of worship. They are familiar with complex rituals, specialized techniques, and secret prayers that are believed to increase one's chances of the Enaros hearing a petition. To this end, the people will bring gifts and donations to the priests and priestesses of a temple in exchange for their aid in contacting the Enaros.

Avatars

Each of the Enaros is served by avatars, lesser divine beings that specialize in a particular aspect of their patron Enaros' domain. Many people will worship the avatars in the same way that they worship the Enaros. Although the avatar is less powerful than the Enaros, it is assumed that an avatar is more likely to listen to minor prayers and petitions. Shrines to an avatar of an Enaros are relatively common.

Ancestor Worship

Since one's spirit is believed to go on living after death and spirits take time to reach Lensae, it is not uncommon, especially among dwarves, for the people of the Amethyst Sea basin to pray to their ancestors for aid. After the Age of Darkness this was embraced as the primary form of religion for the dwarves, although the practice has existed since the Age of Dawn. While the powers of spirits are even more limited than those of avatars, the spirits of one's ancestors are more likely to answer a call for aid or guidance due to the personal connection.

Ancestors are traditionally worshipped at the same household shrine used to worship the Enaros and their avatars. An image of the ancestor is typically used as a focus for the prayer, but it isn't necessary. The idol is merely a way to increase one's chance of success. As with praying to the Enaros, there are those who specialize in calling upon spirits. Called Shadewalkers, these people are experts at contacting spirits. Curiously, despite the important role they play, they are shunned by polite society, and their services are only used in secret. The reason is that most people consider it a loathsome act to call upon a spirit that is not related to you, even if it is at the request of a relative.

Atlan Centering

When the Atlan Alliance came to Aetaltis they had embraced a philosophy rather than a religion. While highly complex and outlined in a series of 23 texts called the Cycle of the Sphere, the general concept is one of balance in one's actions and peace in one's thoughts. It considers Light and Dark equally important parts of the universe and claims that the struggle between the two is the only eternal truth.

Few among the Alliance's people still follow the Cycle exclusively, and many weave its teachings into their lives along with worship of the Enaros. In a few places it is still the only religion among the atlans, such as the Kinjatsi Strongholds in the Stonegate Mountains. Even in these places, however, it is not seen as a religion to replace the Enaros but rather a co-existing system of beliefs. Rumors claim that Centering is the only religious belief in the Newardine Empires. Recently a growing number of dwarves have begun to follow the teachings of the Cycle as well.