The four great gods of the people, the Aze-Ashani, each rule over one of the classical elements. However Ashani philosophy does not consider opposites to be antagonistic, but rather complementary. Thus water is not opposed to fire but is rather its complementary opposite.
The most beloved of the four is Alquawen (also Alkaven, Alqawen, Alqaven), the Swanmother, the Lady of the Waters. The goddess rules over all water--fresh and salty--as well as rains, mists, and fogs. She is the queen of all that lives in water, and rules over dreams, wisdom, intuition and emotion, the moon and the stars (which the Ashani consider a heavenly sea). Her chief servant on Aralath is the Selviliya, also one of the most honored of all Ashani.
Alinar, the Lord of Fire, rules over not only flame, but also passion, will, volition, power and youth. By extension he is lord of the Sun as well, and brings summer with him. He is especially venerated by the Ashani on Endless Day. Alinar also rules over competition. He is at times portrayed as a joyful warrior, or skilled musician.
Ramaanath is the Lord of the Winds, and rules over air, communication, swiftness, inspiration, the dawn and storms. He is the lord of clouds as well, and of all things that fly are his.
Kemedhwen is the Lady of the Earth. She rules over rocks and soil but also plants, land animals (especially hooved, antlered and horned ones), agriculture, harvests, and wine. She is practical, and provides strength and stability. She is celebrated most by the Ashani on Longest Night, which they call ishur aish-yashirah 'Winter of the winter".
Creation Myth Edit
The Ashani creation myth teaches that the world was formed by Y'arani, the primal Creator, who wove it together from smoke and dust and ash. And the world was separate from Y'arani, but it had no life of its own. And the Creator desired that things should live, and separated him/herself into two, and then into four, entering into the world and bringing to it life. And where once stood Y'arani, now stood the Aze-Ashani, the First Children of the will of the Creator. And the Aze-Ashani were the four Karansa--Earth and Wind and Water and Flame. From Water and Flame came moon and sun, and the winds dried the lands that came forth from the sea. And the Aze-Ashani perceived that they were separate, but they could not again join as one, as they had been when they were Y'arani. And the world of spirit and the world of mortals grew separate. But as the world grew firmer, and solid, the Aze-Ashani saw that existing in the world made all living things subject to its laws, and that all things would therefore age, wither and die. And this is the great sorrow of the world; it's imperfection. And this wound of the world will be healed only by its people. And thus, from that day until this one, the Ashani have sought to repair that which was broken.
Philosophy and Worldview Edit
The Ashani spiritual quest is one of redemption. Redemption of the world. The Creator made the world, and gave it life, but is now absent, his presence seen only in shadow through the Aze-Ashani. Thus, Ashani belief aims at the reunification of opposites, and the creation of harmony. To bring peace and harmony to an individual is to heal him, and to heal all beings is to heal the world. And as the Ashani heal the world, the Aze-Ashani will again be one, and the Creator, Y'arani, will make all worlds into one, once more, and the Ashani (along with all other living things) will be as one. This desire for pure union is at the heart of Ashani spiritual yearning; thus all Ashani religion is to one extent or another mystical.
The Ashani, then have produced many of the finest healers the world has ever known. Injuries of the body, mind and spirit all have their own causes and their own treatments according to them.
Important Figures Edit
Each of the Aze-Ashani has a representative on Aralath--a high priest in the case of Ramaanath and Alinar, and a high priestess for Alqawen and Kemedhwen. These four figures form rallying points for Ashani culture, spirituality and society.
Ramaanath, the Lord of Air, is served by a priest called the Uakosar, or Eagle, who dwells in a tower called Yaremen, or 'Sky-home'.
Alinar, the Lord of Fire is served by the Kesalyn, the Son of the Sun, who makes his home in Lathanduran, the Summer-Land. The current Kesalyn is Salan Itarishan.
Alqawen is served by the Selviliya, or Swan Daughter, the most beloved and venerated figure in Ashani society. From her home in Yarathera (Twilight Home) she leads the worship of the Great Lady of the Ashani.
Kemedhwen, the Lady of the Earth, is served by her beloved priestess, the Ima Duryade, or 'Mother of the Golden Land'. In a remote valley called Muriyenasam 'Vale of Winter Dawning' she leads the worship of the Earth Mother.
Type: Polytheistic and animistic. Ashani beliefs hold four chief deities and a host of lesser nature and animal spirits.
Gods: The Aze-Ashani, or Lords and Ladies of the Karansa, or classical elements. They are separate aspects of Y'arani, the primordial creator.
Symbol: There is no standard symbol of the Ashani spiritual tradition. However priest/esses of the Aze-Ashani will often carry a token of their patron: a moon, star or swan for Alqawen; a leaf, tree or hooved animal for Kemedhwen; a solar disc or stylized flame for Alinar; an eagle, or feather for Ramaanath.
Texts?: There are no written, authoritative texts in Ashani religion. There are texts renowned for their wisdom, insight and counsel but none are considered divinely inspired.
Divine Interaction: Constant. The Ashani believe that the spirit of the Creator infuses the world through the elements, and thus all life is an interaction with the divine.
Afterlife: Death is an ending of the individual, and the soul returns to the Great Soul of the world. If the individual dies at peace, he unites completely and fully with the Great Soul. If s/he is not at peace, they are unable to find eternal rest and must reincarnate until they achieve peace.
Supernatural: There is no doubt among the Ashani concerning the supernatural. They perceive the spiritual realm as well as the physical one.
Society: Ashani spiritual beliefs are deeply intertwined with all aspects of Ashani culture. Priest/esses are respected figures. Since the decline of the Ashani, the homes of the High Priest/esses of the Aze-Ashani have become central communities. But the separation is promoting cultural differences.
Worship: The Aze-Ashani are not worshiped as are human gods, nor do they desire to be. They are honored in song, story and art.
Holidays: Each of the Aze-Ashani is venerated on his or her own sacred day. Alinar is celebrated on Endless Day, Alqawen on the autumnal equinox, Kemedhwen on Longest Night and Ramaanath on the vernal equinox.
Clergy: Priesthood in Ashani culture is not seen as a hotline to the divine. Rather, Ashani priest/esses undertake to pursue personal enlightenment and growth, and to seek to heal the world.
Clergy Function: healing, counsel, teaching, quest for enlightenment / union
Clergy Lifestyle: Encouraged to be simple, humble.
Clergy Family: no different from non-priests.
Creation Myth: See above
Major Myths / Symbols: flawed world; redemption; hope in sorrow; harmony; union
Major Sins: hatred, destructiveness
Major Virtues: selflessness, wisdom, inner peace, ability to heal
Coming of Age: 35 (Ashani are longer lived than humans, and while adults at 18 or so, they are not considered 'of age' until 35).
Marriage: She Ashani page
Death: Bodies buried naked, in the fetal position, or burned on a pyre.