by Max Barry

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The Sky-Mother and Her Worship (WIP)

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[SKY]-Ejadri khereu chirek Ghes.

The Mother loves the children of Ghes.





An Overview of the Ghesite Faith

"Even in ancient times beyond the memory of the elders of dead generations was the world. And even cold and without life, the Mother embraced the world, for the sky has always existed as the firmament of the world has, and it surrounds and embraces the world, and the Mother is in it."

The Ghesite people have since time immemorial followed a semi-monotheistic religion that preaches the existence of the Sky-Mother [SKY]-Ejadri, a divine entity that resides within the heavens, and which sets the universe into order through the use of innumerable servants that take the shape of the clouds and winds. The Mother is chief in their cosmology, being no less than the personification of the spiritually-charged "outer sphere" of the atmosphere's uppermost bounds, the reaches of which cover the world. However, Ghesite teachings hold, the Mother has taken an especial liking to their people, as they live free like her beloved winds, not remaining still in dwellings and homes but forever moving from place to place in a life energized rather than sedentary. The Mother, however, holds some degree of affectation for all things underneath the sky, and to this end she makes use of a number of servant-beings that exist as components of herself within the outer sphere. These beings, when sent into the lower sphere and the Earth to do the mother's bidding, are embodied in the clouds and the winds.

The former of the Mother's servants, the clouds, are held to be messenger-beings, creatures of spirit who enter into this world from outside it and skirt through the lower atmosphere- nearest to the philosophical "ground" of the Ghesite's cosmology- but who lack the strength to adopt more corporeal forms like the Winds do. The clouds exist for one purpose- to speak to the people of Earth about the future and inform them of what is to come. Primarily, these take the form of warnings about the weather, but they can also indicate more serious phenomena- for example, smoke, which is credited to the Mother warning creatures of the presence of fire and thus of danger or warmth in turn.

The latter, the winds, are more dominant within the cosmology of the Ghesites, as they are held to be the more powerful and more cohesive of the two. Indeed, while some messengers of the Mother can be ascribed with motive, they are ultimately vast trawling spirits with little independent will, whereas the winds are strong things that are so present within the lower sphere that their passing can rustle hair and grass or whip flames into a frenzy. The winds are messengers of the clouds, as well, blowing them along their course to the places they are meant to go, and dissipating them back into nothing when they have served their purpose. The winds are more permanent dwellers within the mortal coil, and indeed possess the strength not just in body but in will to have discernible aspects to their personalities, and of their existence. For example, the cardinal Winds of West and East are cold, biting, yet reasoned and warm, loving, yet quick to anger respectively, as the East Wind comes off of the sea and is humid, giving rise to life-bringing rain and destructive storms, while the West Wind comes down from the mountains and rarely brings with it nary but chill. The winds are the Mother's agents within the world, each with a set role and each with a unique means of filling it.

The role of humanity within this cosmology is an uncertain one. There is no specific afterlife allotted to the dead, as one's soul exists within one's body only as an animating force, and when one dies that soul is collected by the Flensing Wind, which "flays" the soul off of the body and carries it up to the outer sphere, where it is released into the spiritual ether. The escaping of gases from the body of a corpse is seen as this process in action. In certain cases, it is noted that souls who have made great impact on the world are aggregated together into new Winds, which then rejoin the lower sphere. If that is not the case, though, then the soulstuff floats back down to Earth to constitute new beings, and so while it is not necessarily reincarnation, it is still a "rebirth" of sorts. So, while humanity exists within the cosmology of the faith, and is part of the natural order, it is no more so than the mouse in the field is, as each are simply dust animated by soul, and the soul of each will leave their bodies upon death, to rejoin the cosmos and cycle through life once more, a reflection of the greater view of the Ghesites on both the immortality and impermanence of the universe, where nothing is new, yet nothing lasts, and is only in motion for its own short, blessed life. The clouds grow and fade away into the ether, man is born and dies, the prairie is eaten by grass fires and regrows, and even the mountains are ground to dust by the passage of time, only for new ones to rise in their place. Only the Mother and her Winds are eternal in this endless cycle of death and rebirth. (Back to Top)



The Sky-Mother

"And Kauvighn said, 'The Mother has abandoned me. The grass of the plain is burned and gone.' But the Ashen wind, which comes after destruction and weeps hot tears for what is lost, spoke to him, and this is what he heard: 'The Mother abandons none. See, I am here with you now, even as the Mother is in all things under her gaze.'"

The Mother is... difficult to characterize, to say the least. She did not create the cosmos, for it has always existed, yet to some extent she is outside of it, as she is undying and not part of the cycle of death and rebirth, as are her Winds. But nonetheless she has forever been present in the universe, as she defines the upper sphere. Therefore, it can be assumed that the Mother simply is- that it is not the universe's nature to be impermanent, but the lower sphere's, and that the Mother's nature is that of the upper sphere's. The Mother ensures the duality of the universe, reflecting the impermanence of reality as the embodiment of the unchanging realm of spirituality.

Yet, in a certain sense, the Mother most certainly exists as an individual and not as some metaphysical qualification, as her actions are evident in the world. Clouds form, winds blow, all from her work and her motive force. And yet she is not these things- she is the one who commands them, but she does not constitute them. The winds are independent things with their own minds. Perhaps she is a sentient force, then? After all, the death of earthly beings sends vast "clouds" of spirit skyward, is it not possible that the clouds are not the same, the residue of the "death" of spiritual things sent trawling downwards into the lower sphere by an unfathomably vast force to course across the skies? Of course not- there is no death in the realm of spirit, after all, for it is eternal. Then there is only one thing that she must be- an incredibly powerful creature, capable of feats bridging the gap between eternity and impermanence, of twisting reality to her own whims. But she did not create the world, so what can she be?

There is only one answer to that statement. She did not create the world, so she is not outside of it. The world has always existed. She is not taking advantage of some natural process to send her gifts, so she must be defying nature to do so. But nothing within nature can defy its laws. However, something can be neither within or without of a system. It can be that system. Therefore, the Sky-Mother is the universe. Her nature as permanent means that she is naturally expressed within the upper sphere, but she nonetheless inhabits the lower sphere equally. She can send clouds past the boundary, and allow spirit-stuff through it, because she is that boundary. The Mother is not within or without, she simply is. And humanity and indeed all of life are simply fascinations within herself that she chooses to tolerate and even allow to thrive, solely out of her benevolence.

It is possible that this is more terrifying than any of the alternatives. (Back to Top)



The Winds: Agents of the Mother

"Listen to me, young ones, and hear the Mother's wisdom: From the East comes the Sea Wind, and on it comes rain and the gifts of the Mother for the plain. But against her strives the West Wind, the Mountain Wind, who keeps the order of the world, and he blows against her gifts and keeps them from where they are meant to go not."

The Winds of the Sky-Mother are, in a sense, the most straightforward of the Mother's servants. They are independent creatures, existing within the bounds of the lower sphere, who exist to fill certain roles in the ordering of the cosmos. They are also much more active forces, and are anthropomorphized with certain traits based on these roles, taking up the primary places in Ghesite myth. To compare the Winds to other mythologies, they fill the same role as river deities, demons holding court over a subjugated area, or other mythical creatures that are tied to aspects of their local geography. However, this does not change the fact that the Winds are nonetheless alien things to this world, and their nature, like all things spiritual, is that of the upper sphere, not the lower.

A non-exhaustive list of the Winds, with their roles and certain features of note, follows.

The Cardinal Winds, the first and chiefest category of winds, are the closest to "head gods" of the Ghesite "pantheon", as they play important roles in the ordering of the known world. There are, as one might expect from the name, four cardinal winds, the East Wind, West Wind, North Wind, and South Wind. The East Wind, or the Sea Wind, is the most active in Ghesite myth, characterized as a loving but fickle figure, thanks to the fact the encounters the Ghesites most often have with it are it blowing rains and storms from the eastern sea towards the plain, events that are as often destructive as they are life-bringing. Her opposite, the West or Mountain Wind, is characterized largely as the Sea Wind's double, thanks to the fact that the mountains' positioning often makes certain that the rains that come from the sea are confined to the plain and do not cross over them. Therefore, he is credited with being reasoned, calm, and lawful, and represents the maintenance of the Mother's order in the world. The North Wind, while lacking as much prominence as the West and East Winds, holds two immutable traits: a bringer of cold and a bringer of wealth, thanks to the fact that winter comes out of the North and, historically, the trading empires have brought their goods from the north. These empires have been in contact with the Ghesites for so long that their cardinal direction has been canonized as bearing one of their defining characteristics. The South Wind is not often mentioned, either, as it holds little role in everyday Ghesite life. Its most common characterization is as a destroyer, a bringer of drought, cursing winds, and bad omens.

The Storm Winds, the first of two broad classes of "group winds", or winds that lack singular defining personalities, includes within it large hosts of winds described as "helpers" or "soldiers" in turn, creatures of little power who work among the clouds and set them into the Mother's perfect order. The two main categories within the Storm Winds are the Shepherding Winds and the Striking Winds. The former, the Shepherding Winds, play the role of, well, shepherds, blowing the cloud-messengers from place to place at the Mother's will. The Shepherding Winds lack very much personification, given that they rarely affect the lives of Ghesites as much as their sheep do, and as such gain their describing characteristics from those sheep. For example, the bearers of cirrus clouds are energetic vanguards and riders, coming before great storms with words of warning, and so on. Thus, Shepherding Winds are often found in myths and stories as characters able to be shaped by the necessities of the tale, rather than defining it by their presence, as, say, the Ashen Wind does in the myth of Kauvighn. The Striking Winds, playing into Sky-Worship's theme of duality, are agents of change as compared to the Shepherding Winds and their maintenance of the cosmos, accompanying events such as the coming of thunderstorms and wreaking havoc, or coming down from the mountains as great gusts and breezes, bending even the strongest trees. Their role is much the same in mythology and the telling of tales as that of the Shepherding Winds, providing an opportunity for individual characters to appear without mandating they dominate the tale, though the personifications of Striking Winds are often more militant and hostile than those of Shepherding Winds.

The Celestial Winds, the second of the classes of "group winds", are perhaps the most esoteric winds, and the most removed from the Ghesites in everyday life. Their existence is, to use modern terminology, a hypothesis rather than a theory, as the roles they fill in the Ghesite cosmology are largely mechanical ones, and their existence even more so than other, more Earthly winds is solely to ensure that that cosmology continues its seamless operation. The most dominant of these "predicted" winds are the Lighting Winds, which are largely unknown aside for the fact that they must exist to sweep across the sky, light the fires of the stars, and blows the sun on its way across the sky. As such, they rarely appear in a direct role in mythology, and when they do only possess the common characterization of being aloof and ethereal in nature, with poets and tellers otherwise describing them based on their own personal interpretation of these mystical creatures' natures.

The Winds of Death are, thankfully, not as horrid as their names suggest. Rather, they are often subdued figures, and rarely portrayed in a negative light, reflecting the Ghesite view on death that it holds no morality but rather simply is. The chiefest of the Winds of Death is the Flensing Wind, mentioned prior to here as a "psychopomp". This term is not wholly accurate. The Flensing Wind's role is as the being that "flenses" and frees the soul from the body, which the Ghesites identify as the release of gas from corpses over time after they have passed on. Interestingly, this is the source of a taboo regarding the defiling of bodies among the Ghesites: If the lungs of a corpse remain intact and inflated, they are not to be disturbed until the Flensing Wind has taken its fill. Another Death-Wind is the Ashen Wind, characterized as a mourning woman and a guide coming after tragedy, and which is associated with the passing of fire and destruction. Its name is in reference to the falling of ash from the sky after a fire, likened to hot tears. (Back to Top)



The Clouds: Messengers from God

"The darkling thunderhead comes up from the East. When he comes, know fear, and do not ride. For the East Wind has been angered to send him, and he will strike against wood, plain, and tent, and he will spread fire and rain, and great hosts and hordes of Winds come with him, and the very earth trembles at the march of his warriors."

While the Winds may play an active, energetic role in Ghesite mythology, the Clouds hold far more important repercussions for the people of the plain, as they provide omens and divinations as to the future and what it might hold. These divinations at their most simple level are simply observations of reality as it is, as the Ghesites have learned over the centuries that, say, certain clouds indicate that rain or dry spells are in the future. These assessments are matters of meteorology. However, wrapped in mysticism as they are, this observation of the clouds has taken on a ritual aspect, and certain formations have taken on personifications and divine meanings in their own right, becoming spiritually important to the Ghesite faith.

As mentioned previously, the clouds are held to universally be divine spirits, sent by the Mother through the boundary between spheres to guide those of Her children willing to read the signs in the sky and to show favor or displeasure with them. In this light, the clouds are a sort of holy "script", each individual cloud a "letter" that forms a command, a warning, and even on rare cases a blessing or a sign of the Mother's favor.

THE BELOW IS ALL WIP. IGNORE PLS.

Image

Type

Class

Description

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Altocumulus

Secondary

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Altostratus

Secondary

---

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Cirrus

Primary

---

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Cumulus

Primary

---

---

Stratus

Secondary

---

---

Mammatus

Esoteric

---

---

TBA

TBA

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(Back to Top)


The Rituals: Observances of the Mother

"See to it that the priest is posted before the first dawn, so that as the Lighting Winds blow the Sun towards the horizon the messages the Mother has sent even in the night can be seen, and that her wisdom is not to pass unheeded."

(Back to Top)


A Depiction of the Face of God

For too long, our people have had the Mother's visage hidden from us. For too long has She stayed in the shadows. We must see Her. We must know the face of the One who has guided our people through eternity. Who provides for us, who feeds us, who sends the rain that waters crops, who melts the snow of winter and who lights the fires of summer, who makes things grow and who strikes them down, who encompasses all in Her love- and at long last we have done so.

God is known to us.

Thanks to the efforts of the most devout of us all, Terra Britania, we have witnessed her face- an image of pure bliss, humanity and the cosmos captured in perfect harmony- praise be unto Her! Praise be unto Her follower, for rendering this great honor unto us! Let their name be known in song and in verse, for they are Her chosen! They have done that which even great Ghes could not! She has honored us! Praise be! Praise be!

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