Monday, March 25, 2013

Pantheon Monday: The Petty Gods

In honor of the Petty Gods project I thought I'd present some of Arunia's pettiest gods. These are deities that are worshipped primarily in the empire. Known as the dei minori, or the minor gods, these are deities too small to have their own churches and priests but who nevertheless find worship at home altars among the household gods. They are technically Aelio, though the least of their kind.

They are:

Elernus, the Little Flame. Deity of hearths and fires, Elernus' statue can commonly be found in stone kitchens, forges, and near hearthstones. He appears as a svelte man, nubile and generally clad only in a loincloth. He is a favorite of cooking servants, scullery maids, and household women.

Lanelus Aurora, the Dawnrider. Child of Avauna, Lanelus is the herald of dawn and the fore-runner of the celestial lamp. He is often depicted riding on its carriage, peering into the unknown, and for that reason he is sometimes invoked on trips that must carry one through the night or darkness. His statues are rarely seen in private altars, but sometimes adorn public buildings. He is always depicted as a young curly-haired boy.

Tanthis Profundis, the Master of Wells and Fountains. A cthonian lord of the deeps, Tanthis has domain over all wells, fountains, and springs and is considered to be the father-protector of naiads, nereids, and water-spirits. He is said to be the natural son of Vodei (though by what mother, who can say!) and he wears a curly brown beard and brown hair.

Naenia, the Lamentor. This goddess is always seen weeping or crying and is commonly invoked at funerary processions. She is the hysterix and the patron goddess of the funerary processions and professional weepers hired by nobles to attend their carriages. She is also, for this reason (strangely, perhaps) associated with actors. She is always shown wailing, tearing at her clothes, and is the bane of sound sleep amongst children everywhere.

The Silent Goddess. She is the attendent of Akem, the Silent Lord. Her name is never spoken and her rituals are always conducted by Akemites, but she is the official psychopomp in charge of conducting the spirit of the deceased from the site of their tomb or cenotaph to the edge of the Middle World. She is depicted as a masked and robed figure, grim but not terrifying.

Fornax, Goddess of Ovens. Fornax is commonly associated with Elernus, who is said to be her son. She is specifically master over the great communal baking ovens that are used in the empire. Since these are a noble monopoly, care of her statue is part of the fee all common folk pay to use the ovens.

Mefitis, Goddess of Poisonous Vapors. Not worshipped at all, by anyone, she is only invoked to ward off the things she is mistress of. Mefitis is often implored by miners and other folk who must journey into deep tunnels in the hopes of reducing the chance of smothering to death. She is often depicted as a gorgon, leading many to believe she is the daughter of Glyrea herself—perhaps by an incestuous relationship with her own son, Insitor.

The Parcae. The Fates, the Weavers of Sarnon, who assist him at his duty. Uthir, Vethir, and Skuld they are called, and they determine the length of the threads given to the Weaver. Invocations of the fates are frequent, but they are not believed to have much influence in every-day life: after all, it is Sarnon himself who weaves the tapestry, and they but serve him.

Household Gods
These are private, household gods. Their eikons are never to be displayed to those outside the family. They are made by the family members, generally from clay baked in a special controlled fire in the home or in the communal ovens. Once they are installed, they are not to be seen by outsiders or non-family members. If they are, the idols must be destroyed and made anew, else great evil shall befall the family.

Moneta, Goddess of Memory. Moneta's eikon must be buried beneath the threshold. She is the goddess of remembrance, and the ceremony of her burying is a way to consecrate a new home. During that time she is commended to the care and keeping of Sarnon, the Weaver and the Celestial Timekeeper, who is her husband, crippled though he be.

Familia, Goddess of the Home. Familia's place is beneath the hearthstone, family altar, semul-statues, or the bed. She is the daughter of Tuwayne the watcher, and is said to watch the walls and windows of the home to keep her family safe.

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