Religion in Santauriel?

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Religion in Santauriel?

Postby Alberich » October 4th, 2013, 5:20 pm

Graybeard wrote:[OOC: This is actually an interesting question as regards the half elves of Santuariel, one that we never saw raised during Errant Story. They would have some knowledge of the elven gods, since they've dealt relatively recently with the rangers who saved them, and also have longer generations than humans, so that fewer generations would have passed since the last contact with elves who'd actually seen the Paedagogusi. However, lacking a Drusia, they would have no reason to re-establish worship of Senilis and/or Anilis, and powerful incentives not to, namely the elves who'd persecuted them. So what religious forms would they follow instead? Any ideas?]

My first thought was that they might revert to some kind of pre-theistic religious practice, like the ecstatic communal dancing of the !Kung Bushmen and Andaman Islanders (which I read about in this book. I don't really like that though because Santauriel doesn't strike me as having a "tribal" identity such as you'd see knit together with a communal religion. For the same reason I don't think they should have a "state religion" - they don't seem to have much of a state, and if they persecuted or excluded people for not adhering to it, every person they excluded would be a potential traitor...

Since Santauriel is a sanctuary for people on the run from a powerful force with a state religion, whose adherents have diverse ideas of their own but are bound together by their fear of the elves, I think the best inspiration is the Freemasons, as John Robinson speculated about their origins in this book. The idea being that every half-elf family has come to its own terms about what it worships -- the ones who believe in Senilis and Anilis, but think the hardline elves have corrupted the true worship; the ones who worship Luminosita but as distant from Veracian worship as a Nestorian Christian was from a Catholic; the ones who have adopted five-great-motherism, or whatever; but with a strict rule against proselytizing at town meetings or in other public places, as long as everyone swears by whatever-he-believes-in to defend the town and uphold its laws.

(Robinson suggests that the Masons' requirement that every member believe in God - regardless of how - was part of the whole mutual-protection thing; that the oath of a believer carried weight that the oath of an atheist did not. But I don't see any need to give that attitude to Santauriel.)
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Re: Religion in Santauriel?

Postby Graybeard » October 4th, 2013, 11:02 pm

Interesting ideas.

Errant Story is resolutely silent on the half elves' religious practices, but Ian's lengthy monologue early in the story (repeated here and following) regarding the elven creation story seems to come remarkably close to the truth. It therefore follows that the half elves do know about the elven gods in at least an "academic" way. The question is how that knowledge translates to religious practice.

In my description of Benedict, patriarch of Snamish, I made one attempt at addressing that. (BTW, I hope we can keep all this together long enough to take Desiree back to Snamish. There is many a tale yet to be told there.) I think the model would also make sense for Santuariel: elven gods as part of a larger Cosmic Good, which unfortunately is ignored and/or warped by the elves. It has been established (by Lillith, half way down the long entry) that there is an animist cult in Santuariel, but that it's fringe enough to be considered rather kooky. Benedict, however, would have no problem accommodating it in his own belief system, which is one of the other attractive things about it.
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