The Faith, along with its temples, priests and faithful, are marked by the Eternal Knot. This symbol usually takes the shape of a knot, perhaps rounded or squared, that leads back upon itself. A circle, to represent The One, is incorporated as well. The sign may be painted, embroidered, carved, etched, tattooed, etc.
Followers of the FaithEdit
The faithful are divided into two groups--the laity and the priesthood. Lay followers are, of course, the vast majority of the religion's adherents. For their part, they venerate their Magedar at home, through prayers and offerings; attend weekly services at local temples and special ones in honour of their Magedar; and are encouraged to perform good works and acts of charity. Magedar necklaces, rings, embroidery and so on are common throughout the faith's lands. Through their good works they hope to be rewarded by continuing life beyond death, playing the same role, but in world of justice, hope and happiness.
As far as daily devotions go, the Faithful offer prayers, such as the Litany of the One Above All; the Hymn of Saint Verus; the Prayer of the Endless Knot; among others. It is common to greet fellow believers with the phrase, "One's Light to You", to which the response is "And that Light to you, as well". The Faithful attempt to avoid sin, which include pride, vanity, lust and greed. Powerful emotions are considered unbalanced and sinful; a calm and joyful demeanor is encouraged.
There are small prayers and devotionals appropriate for all manner of occassions. A man embarking on a long journey might petition Saint Elban the Wanderer for his protection; a single woman seeking a husband might make an offering to Saint Yulana the Blessed.
Each week the Faithful gather in their local temples for collective services, the goal of which is to strengthen their souls in pursuit of their purpose. Such services are offered in honour of the One, under the invoked protection and blessing of the significant Magedar.
The priesthood is made up of men and women dedicated to the faith and trained, for the most part, in Deici. They serve in local temples, officiating over rites of passage; marriages; funerals; the weekly rites of the religion; and the various specialized rites held on days sacred to each Maga. Each priest/ess belongs to a specific Order, each of which is dedicated to one of the major Magedar. However in each area the veneration of one specific Maga usually holds sway.
Priestly HierarchyEditThe Faith is organized on a local level in congregations, each led by a priest or priestess. A region, such a province of Akaryth or a Reach of Keledon, is overseen by a High Brother or High Sister, to whom the local priest/esses report. The High Brother or Sister is a representative of their Order's leadership, and the High Brothers and SIsters of a specific Order report to the Brother or Sister Superior, who leads that Order in that realm. The High Brothers and Sisters of a realm form a council-the Congregational Council of Akaryth, or of Matlisan, for example. Each council is led by the First Priest/ess of that kingdom--the High Brother or Sister of the dominant Order. In Akaryth, this is the Order of St. Luyan, and so forth.
The First Priest is expected to report to the High Priest/ess of his or her Order, and also directly to the Archpriest. In this way the higher levels of leadership in the Faith are able to gather information and decide on policy.
Above the Brothers and Sisters Superior, each priestly Order is ultimately led by a HIgh Priest/ess, the collection of which form the Council, or Conclave, of the Silent. From among their own number, the Conclave elects the Archpriest/ess, who serves as the ultimate authority and supreme head of the faith. Just as The One contains all things, yet is one, so too does the High Path contain all things through its followers, yet is lead by one. The Archpriest/ess is elected for life, although he or she may choose to abdicate. Practically, this rarely ever happens. To the faithful, the Archpriest/ess is not a manifestion of the One, but is considered to rule with divine consent and will. The Archpriest/ess is the one priest/ess without an Order, or as is sometimes said, is an Order of One, whose patron saint is The One. Greater fortitude and strength of will is said to be granted to the Archpriest/ess to aid him or her in the carrying out of the duties of the office.
In addition to governing the vast multitudes of the faithful across Amallon, Torthalon and Arenar, the Archpriest/ess is also the ruler of the island nation of Deici, although the eponymous city is co-governed by a council of merchant nobles called the Exalted. It is considered an honour and blessing to serve the Archpriest/ess; for this reason the office has traditionally been able to maintain a decent military force on the island.
Saints / MagedarEdit
Each Saint is associated with specific symbols and is portayed artistically in a specific way. Feast days are associated with each. In areas where more than a few devotees of a specific saint reside they often construct small shrines or buildings as a meeting place. When larger groups are present, entire temples may be erected. For example, the the kingdom of Akaryth, St. Luyan of Solstrom is venerated across the land, as patron saint of the realm and its people. Temples are rather common. However St. Arafeli, patron of artists, is not as popular and small shrines dedicated to her are the best one can find. However in Sitadori, where St. Arafeli is patron, her temples dot the landscape while St. Luyan is venerated only at shrines.
Within temples activities related to the saint are carried out. The temples of St. Elban the Wanderer often serve as inns or hostels, housing weary travellers, while those of St. Selinar serve as veritable bardic colleges.
A list of the major saints, their portfolios, and symbols follows:
St. Arafeli: Patron saint of Sitadori and of artists. Portrayed as a kneeling woman with chisel, bleeding hands
St. Aratar the Shattered: Patron of those who suffer unjustly, and of compassion. Portrayed as a broken and injured man.
St. Balathar: Patron of hunters and trackers. Portrayed as a man with a spear and bow.
St. Baren of Taryn: Patron of merchants and Matlisan. Portrayed as a richly dressed man with a pouch of gold.
St. Bashar: Patron of mariners, sailors, shipwrights and castaways,
St. Elban the Wanderer: patron of travellers, the lost and destitute. Portrayed as a man with a staff.
St. Garne the Victorious: Patron of knights, soldiers and warriors. Portrayed as a man with armour, sword and shield.
St. L'Cour of Elderswood: Patron of priests, foresters, and loggers. Portrayed as a man wearing a hat and tending a sapling.
St. Luyan of Solstrom: Patron saint of Akaryth and her peoples. Portrayed as a man holding the sun.
St. Marith the Devout: patron of children and priestesses. Portrayed as a smiling woman surrounded by stars.
St. Maryah the Black: Patron of criminals and death. Portrayed as a pale woman, raven haired, holding a skull.
St. Narn: Patron of monks, sages, knowledge and mystery. Portrayed as a seated monk, quill in hand.
St. Ryles: Patron of Almeidi and of horsemen. Portrayed as a man, armoured and mounted.
St. Selinar: Patron of music and musicians. Portrayed as a slender man with a harp.
St. Skarya of Lur Calend: Patron of suffering and oppressed women. Portrayed as a weeping woman with a sword.
St. Tharn the Greater: Patron of blacksmiths, metalworkers, miners and jewelers. Portrayed as a burly, bearded man with a smith's hammer at his side.
St. Verus: Patron of truth and justice. Portrayed as a seated man with a blade and scales.
St. Yulana: Patron of lovers and mothers. Portrayed as a pregnant woman surrounded by greenery and crops.
Type: Panentheistic. The High Path teaches that the One (God) is part of everything (inherent) but is also more than just creation (transcendent). A common metaphor is a bottle at the bottom of the sea. The bottle is the world, the One is the water. The bottle is filled by the water, and is meaningless without it, but the water itself is so much more than what is in the bottle.
Gods: The One is honored and revered. But S/he is too vast, mighty and powerful to be concerned with the daily struggles of every mortal. Therefore the Magedar, or Saints, assist the faithful in the name of the One, as agents of Providence.
Symbol: An endless knot--one that returns to its point of origin and repeats eternally.
Texts?: The primary text of The High Path is the Book of the Magedar, or Magedaroi. Over a thousand pages in length, it is a collection of writings concerning each of the canonical Magedar and their teachings; the One; early, formative documents; and prophecies. The book is considered holy, but not divinely written. Its power is in the weight of tradition, which informs the entire faith.
Divine Interaction: The One does not directly intervene, but his aid can be sought through the Magedar. Good luck and fortune is often credited to them. Direct miracles are very rare, but occur.
Afterlife: A good afterlife depends on a good life--learning that path destined for you and following it. Going with the current, as it were, not against it. For those who have failed, a time in a purgatory comes, when their soul is trapped in a world of their own failings until it learns the lessons it missed in life.
Supernatural: There are spiritual beings besides the Magedar, some for good and some for evil. Similar to angels and demons, but without being so starkly affiliated.
Society: The High Path adapts to each society that adopts it, but has its own strong influence. Art, music and literature are strongly influenced by the religion, and its educated priestly class helps create similarities throughout Amallon's societies. Monarchs are supported by the Arch/priestess (or not), who may judge them fit or unfit for their roles. The Archpriest/ess cannot dethrone, but withdrawl of support can create issues for the affected ruler.