Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Valley Kingdoms: Understanding Sivanism

The last entry focused on some basic concepts of the Sivan faith which pervades the Valley Kingdoms, but I don't think it was as organized or as thorough as it could be. Therefore, we will spend another episode of the Kingdoms contemplating the strange order of Ya and its subordinate deities, and addressing the modern narrative presented by the priests of Ya.

Excerpt from...
(Roz Nangar deBayab)

IN THE BEGINNING the Valley was shrouded in the darkness of Yibrum, and there was only shadow. Yibrum is a vast god, neither male nor female, like our Yasivan of the Living Fire, who blanketed the whole earth. We do not know what happened outside the valley in those days, but there came a time when Yasivan entered our Valley and blessed it with light. 
This was the PROCESSION OF THE FIRE out of the wasteland. The Living Fire came in the hands of the High Priest, who brought it to Engan to reside. When it arrived there, the Valley Kingdoms began to awaken, to become truly Alive. Outside of the Valley, there are strange and many gods, but inside the Valley there are only those which were given life by the sacred presence of the Living Fire.

Sivanism posits that all of the pantheon of the Valley gods existed purely by reference to the Living Fire ensconced at Engan, which is itself an expression of Yasivan. If the Living Fire were to be extinguished, it is possible that Yasivan itself might be slain. Thus, the fanatic devotion around which the propagation of the Flame at various temples is faced is directly tied to the ontological need to keep the chief god of the Valley alive.

The Theological History is a narrative account of Sivanism, but the central holy texts are known as the Letheb Scrolls, which are the Scrolls of Trials. These were kept by priests entering the Valley and collected after the first settlements, to serve as a record of the rites and faiths of all the peoples under Sivanist rule during the very early history of the Valley. It is likely that the scribal workshop of Medenva gave that island its importance, causing the Yasivan priesthood to eventually locate there.

Yibrum. The god of darkness and unbeing, the primal opposite to Yasivan, Yibrum is not much worshipped in the valley. It is often associated with the lands beyond the mountains, and the wastes are said to be holy to Yibrum. In some ways, Yibrum is also identified with or perhaps in alliance with Febass, the Goddess of the Underworld.

Vihu. Vihu is the lord of luck and cats. His shrines are located in many small villages, and he is thought to be a good luck charm against travel, weather, etc. Cats themselves are considered sacred to him, and therefore many strays are fed and congregate at the little Vihan altars.

Febass. Febass is the goddess of both the open sea, and the underworld. Within the bounds of the Valley, water is the domain of her daughter, Flokay, who is much more pleasant than the chthonic and terrifying Febass. However, she is invoked at all ceremonies for the dead, and is asked to give them safe travels to her drowned halls where it is believed those with the Fire in them will be taken.

Ram. Ram is the god of roads and travel, and his waystations are seen all throughout the Valley Kingdoms. His appearance is often that of a horse, though he is often represented simply by a horseshoe or a wheel. Ram is a vagabond god as well, and his name is often invoked when someone is seeking hospitality from the road.

Othi. Othi is an angry and powerful god, who is in command of the storms, the skies, and the weather. He and Veged are said to be married, but he is known to have had dalliances with Ram. His altars are found in lonely places atop hills, or within the Yasivan temples along with everyone else's.

Iva. Iva the Smith is a mighty goddess, who is also called the Fabricator. She is the patron of all handicrafted arts across the Valley, and there are many potters, chandlers, and smiths who give her prayer. Her symbol is an anvil, which can be found in many homes or hung from many throats.

Veged. Veged is the goddess not only of the open fields, but of the dense forest. She is the tamed growth of the farm, and the wildness of the wood. She is a mysterious goddess, as powerful as the storms and as kind as the rivers. Her worship may have predated that of Yasivan, but her old forested altars have gone to seed, and she is only worshipped in the context of the united faith in these modern times. Her symbol is an acorn.

Rosu. The household goddess; Rosu is goddess not only of weaving, but of future-seeing, childbirth, and medicine. She is worshipped by physicians and midwives the Valley over. She is a kindly goddess, but furious when roused. Many families keep small icons of her distaff over their doors to protect their hearth and home.

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