Worldbuilding 101 - Part 13b: You Gotta have Faith (2)
Superstitions of the Colonists
General Beliefs: There are many stories that form the wide range of cosmologies believed by the colonists. Some believe the old stories, some talk of a conquering spirit that destroys others with its gaze (gradually transforming the world into its own image through its observances). Some talk of spiritual cycles in the universe, others speak of a single creation and an all-consuming battle at the end of time. Most have infused an interpretation of the church’s belief structure into their own, and many would prefer to get on with their own physical lives rather than deal with spirits and things that don’t affect them.
Regular Rituals: Generations of superstition have instilled a collective superstition into many colonists and those they associate with. There are dozens of common everyday rituals (such as saying ‘bless you” in response to a sneeze, or throwing salt over a shoulder when some is spilt), few remember the reasons for such ritual elements and generally include them in the category of “warding off bad luck”.
Holy Observances: Since the Church has claimed the seventh day as a day of rest, the colonists have an informal ritual of visiting the markets on the sixth day to stock up supplies. Other formal rituals include feasts at the turn of each season (summer to autumn, autumn to winter, winter to spring, spring to summer).
Places of Worship: The superstitious don’t have formal places of worship, but they typically respect the holy sites of others.
Views on Others
Holy Order of the Prophet (Empire and Church): They are powerful and their knowledge of spiritual matters is impressive, but they have forgotten the little things that make life important.
The Old Elemental Gods (Pirates): There may be something to their worship, linking it back to the origins of our own ways…but they have taken a different path.
The Spirit’s Path (Native Shamanism): They are different to us, their ways make no sense. The Holy Order says that they are misguided and worship demons, we have no evidence of this, but we’ll avoid them and their heathen ways anyway.
Superstitions of the Privateers: They seem to follow similar paths to us, but while we use the holy order as an anchor to our rituals, they seem cast adrift on the open seas.
Esoteric Mysticism of the Order of the Moon (Cult): Some say the cult don’t really exist, others say they are devil worshippers and heretics. Can anyone really be sure?
Superstitions of the Privateers
General Beliefs: In every religion there is an element of truth, every pattern of belief sees a fragment of the whole. By taking elements from every religion encountered, an individual can create the belief system that is right for them. No one should force their beliefs onto anyone else, nor should anyone blindly accept the beliefs thrust upon them.
Regular Rituals: By the nature of their beliefs, the spirituality of the privateers has no prescribed rituals. All privateers are permitted to engage in the ritual beliefs that mean something to them, as long as those rituals do not interfere with the running of ships or other privateer activities.
Holy Observances: As above.
Places of Worship: Privateers often seek out the holy sites of other religions, and use these to worship, regardless of their beliefs, or the beliefs of those whose holy sites they pray in. In a life on the sea, you take what you can get, and use it to best advantage.
Views on Others
Holy Order of the Prophet (Empire and Church): They are always trying to convert us or kill us as heretics. For people claiming to seek knowledge, they are very single minded and narrow minded.
The Old Elemental Gods (Pirates): They accept a variety of gods, but focus on the struggles in the universe, rather than the potential for harmony and justice.
The Spirit’s Path (Native Shamanism): Their ways are old, and there is much that can be learned from them to add to our collective spirituality.
Superstitions of the Colonists: They are willing to experiment with their ways and spirituality, but remain anchored to the Holy Order of the Prophet, if only they could let go.
Esoteric Mysticism of the Order of the Moon (Cult): If they truly exist, they are a mystery to us.
Esoteric Mysticism of the Order of the Moon (Cult)
General Beliefs: In the beginning, there was the One and all was the One. When the One realised its own existence, it also understood that there must be something that was separate from its existence. The one became two, and all was either a part of the perceiver, or a part of the perceived. That which was a part of the perceiver one was governed by stasis and understood, and that which was perceived was governed by flux and not understood. As a static entity, the perceiver could not learn about the flux; to grow, adapt, and learn, the perceiver had to accept elements of flux into itself. To stabilise the flux long enough to learn about it, the perceived needed to be infused with stasis. Breaking the barrier between stasis and flux, the perceiver and the perceived, myriad combinations spiralled out in all directions through time and space, and thus the world was formed. The essence of the perceiver struggled to learn about each of these combinations, eventually fracturing itself into countless beings each dedicated to a small part of the world. The most powerful of these beings observed vast regions of the partially stabilised flux, but with such size they were unable to observe the smaller elements of the world, in turn they fractured their essence to form smaller avatars. And thus the fractal pattern of life continued, time and again. In all sentient beings is a fragment of the perceiver, a hint of the divine. All must come to the understanding that this divinity is within them, but there are powerful beings in the world (and observing the world) who have vastly more divine energy in their veins, such beings are to be respected. There are also those who have mastered the divine essence in their own patterns of being, such people are to be learnt from.
Regular Rituals: If the Sun is the manifestation of the greatest perceiving essence in this realm, it sees all during the cloudless day. These are times when it doesn’t need us to be alert, at sunrise and sunset we should commune with the Sun; at sunset to determine what it needs us to watch, and at sunrise to tell it what we saw. The moon, in a state of flux between light and dark, perceiver and perceived is like us, a wanderer through the sky realms. We should greet it when we first see it each day.
Holy Observances: The full and new moons are the times when the “sky wanderer” is most and least perceived, sunset on these days is marked by a more elaborate ritual gathering those cult members who are able to meet. Solar and Lunar eclipses are the most holy times to the cult. During a solar eclipse, the “sky wanderer” meets with the greatest perceiving essence to share its knowledge, this is a time for trading books and scrolls among the cult. During a lunar eclipse, the “sky wanderer” meets a dark essence, the ultimate embodiment of the perceived chaotic flux, this is a time for calling on mystic effects and making resolutions.
Places of Worship: There are two types of place where cult worship occurs. One is the informal site that an individual uses for prayers at sunrise and sunset, typically surrounded by books of occult lore and theological knowledge. The other is a formal meeting place where cult members gather, conduct rituals and trade, such formal meeting places are typically observatories or locations where the motion of celestial bodies may be marked. An ancient underground planetarium serves as a central place of worship here on the island, no one knows who built it or why.
Views on Others
Holy Order of the Prophet (Empire and Church): They obsess over the light of reason, but miss half of the truth when true wisdom lies at the interface of light and of darkness.
The Old Elemental Gods (Pirates): They offer worship to some of the most powerful fractured essences of the perceiver, but do not strive to learn from them.
The Spirit’s Path (Native Shamanism): They are open to learning from the spirits, but do so in a crude and basic manner. So much potential.
Superstitions of the Colonists: They focus on the effects, and not the causes. They fail to understand why their superstitions work, and are just content that they usually do work.
Superstitions of the Privateers: Even worse than the colonists, they indulge in the ritual of superstition without actually realising what they’re doing.