Category Archives: Theology

Afterlife

People die in Edgewhen. All the time. What happens next depends on many factors:

Creator’s Heaven

By default, people go to Heaven when they die, usually the heaven of the deity who created them. But this is not certain.

Consecration

A person can consecrate his or her soul to a particular deity. This makes a stronger bond between that person and that deity’s heaven.

The deity need not be the person’s creator. A Child of Knowledge could dedicate her soul to the God of the Lith if she chose.

Deeds

But the bond to heaven can be strengthened or weakened by a person’s deeds. Every evil act weakens the bond with heaven. Good acts can strengthen the bond, if they are the right kind of act.

For example, a student who spends all day in the library studying hard will strengthen a bond with Knowledge. But that would weaken a bond with Kashram, god of battle. Kashram wants students to get outside and practice combat forms.

Circumstances of Death

The circumstances of death can create a strong pull on a soul. Someone who dies during an act of rage might have her soul pulled toward the Demon of Rage. Someone who dies singing might be pulled toward Lashrefi.

Funerals

Because of all these forces pulling on a person’s soul, the deities taught their people how to perform funeral rites. A funeral involving the deity’s 3 dominant elements can send the soul on a journey to that deity’s heaven.

Some traditions say this is because the elements attract the attention of the deity, who then condescends to help the wayward soul. Other traditions say that the deity is already watching and the funeral rite provides the resonance necessary to help the deity collect the soul.

Hell

But there are other options. Souls can be consecrated to demons and rites can be performed to help ghosts go to Hell.

The final outcome is not always fair. A good person who was only a little evil may be in danger of going to hell. And a nasty person can sometimes be redeemed by a final act of kindness.

Especially important is the relationship between the contenders for the soul. Every deity is weak against a particular demon, and if that is the demon that has a claim on the soul, then even a good soul may have an uncertain future.

Ghosts

Souls that were not strongly tied to Heaven or Hell may remain as ghosts. Ghosts can become attached to objects or to places. If a ghost becomes permanently attached to a place, it becomes a nature spirit.

Consecration to Nature

People can give their souls to the nature spirits. This severs their default tie to Heaven and can also sever ties to Hell. A person who is strongly tied to nature will have the option to become a nature spirit after death.

Reincarnation

Another option is reincarnation. This is available to all devout servants of nature and to animals as well.

People are usually reincarnated as people of the same type. But it would be possible, say, for a Clanfolk woman to be re-born as a Klindrel man. Possible, but unusual.

Reincarnation is also available for souls that have spent time in Heaven and decided to return. They are usually reincarnated as one of that deity’s people, regardless of who they were in the previous life.

It is hoped that the demons are unable to reincarnate souls.

Swalethi

 
Also known as: Beauty
Primary elements: Air, Light, Emotion
People: Children of Beauty
Defeats: Cruelty
Vulnerable to: Vanity
In a triad with: Thafarsi and Zharnov

The Goddess of Beauty is concerned with art, creativity, expression, and passion. She’s not really a “goddess of love” but romantic expression is beautiful to her.
Beauty emphasizes the visual arts. In poetry and music, she has some overlap with Lashrefi, but Lashrefi is more focused on oral traditions and group singing, while Beauty focuses on the creation of poetry and the quality of individual performance.

Creation is sacred to Beauty and anything created becomes sacred. Theft is a sin because it tends to destroy the link between the creator and the created object. People are expected to know who made their furniture and tableware. Beauty values crafting, but not manufacturing.

Though Beauty is the least practical of the deities, she serves the vital function of being a check on Justice’s judgment. Ultimately, the question of right and wrong is an aesthetic question, and Beauty has persuaded Justice that if a punishment is ugly, it is most likely wrong. Thus, Beauty is also the goddess of forgiveness and mercy.

Zharnov

 
Also known as: Justice
Primary elements: Water, Motion, Life
People: Children of Justice
Defeats: Deception
Vulnerable to: Cruelty
In a triad with: Swalethi and Thafarsi

The God of Justice is concerned with right and wrong. Some philosophers say that good and evil came into being when the deities and demons were created, but right and wrong did not exist until the deities made people. If true, this would imply that Justice did not have much to do.

Justice can be a peacemaker among the deities. Yes, the deities sometimes disagree. Though divine, they are not perfect, and each has his or her own ideas about what it means to be good.

Though Justice is the ultimate arbiter of right and wrong, he expects people to be able to tell the difference without his help. He expects people to be able to resolve their own conflicts and find their own just solutions while their souls are in the world. Justice makes judgment only after death.

Justice can be a stern critic of behavior. Anything that is a sin to any deity is probably a sin to Justice as well. Bearing false witness is the greatest sin because it directly interferes with a judge’s ability to determine a just outcome.

Justice approves of the rule of law, but laws are not sacred to him. Laws are words that attempt to guide imperfect people toward just outcomes. Justice favors individual freedoms, case-by-case judgments, and local government.

Justice believes that punishment for crimes should be fair, reasonable, and restrained, but it is easy for Justice’s followers to lapse into religious zealotry.

Thafarsi

 
Also known as: Knowledge
Primary elements: Earth, Heat, Thought
People: Children of Knowledge
Defeats: Vanity
Vulnerable to: Deception
In a triad with: Zharnov and Swalethi

The Goddess of Knowledge is concerned with truth, learning, and scholarship, but also with secrecy. She wants knowledge to be used for good, and she understands that people must occasionally go to great lengths to keep knowledge from those who would misuse it.

Knowledge expects her people to spend 27 years studying, 27 years researching and gaining practical experience, and 27 years passing the knowledge on to others. Learning and teaching are both serious responsibilities.

In general, Knowledge does not see lying as a sin, especially not when lying is necessary to keep a secret. She frowns on those who shirk their duty to learn and pass knowledge on. Destruction of harmful knowledge is sometimes necessary, but mistreatment of a book for any reason other than preventing evil is an egregious sin, especially if the author is no longer alive to pass that knowledge on in person.

Knowledge is the wisest of the deities. The major weakness in her wisdom is that she sometimes expects people to behave logically.

Knowledge invented the language spoken by the Children of Knowledge, Justice, Beauty, and Sun.

Lashrefi

 
Also known as: Luck
Primary elements: Air, Motion, Thought
People: Lashrefites
Defeats: Despair
Vulnerable to: Bad Luck
In a triad with: Yolim and Devlen

Lashrefi is the goddess of luck, music, freedom, stories, jokes, and games. The language she created is full of rhymes and puns.

Lashrefi values creativity more than truth. She enjoys a well-told lie, a clever scam, or an amusing prank. But she will curse anyone who cheats at games.

Lashrefi is disturbed by confinement or imprisonment. And it is a terrible sin to discourage someone from engaging in healthy self-expression.

Lashrefi is believed to have power over all outcomes of chance. No one knows how often she actually exerts this power.

Devlen

 
Also known as: Labor
Primary elements: Water, Heat, Emotion
People: Worker People
Defeats: Greed
Vulnerable to: Despair
In a triad with: Lashrefi and Yolim

Devlen is the god of labor. He expects people to do their jobs. To Devlen, labor is not a means to an end. It is, rather, a person’s reason for existence. If you aren’t doing something, then of what use are you?

Devlen frowns on those who take advantage of hard-working people. Workers have the right to be fed, clothed, sheltered. People should not work so hard that fatigue impairs their ability to do a good job the next day.

Devlen is opposed to liars, cheats, and misers. But he is especially harsh on those who would steal or exploit another person’s labor.

Yolim

 
Also known as: Wealth
Primary elements: Earth, Light, Life
People: Clanfolk
Defeats: Bad Luck
Vulnerable to: Greed
In a triad with: Devlen and Lashrefi

Yolim is the god of wealth and commerce, but it would be a mistake to think that Yolim is about money. Yolim taught his people that wealth is like a stool with three legs – health, land, and stock. Thus Yolim is about caring for the assets that enable people to produce food from the earth. Money is just a means of accounting for debts.

More than any other deity, Yolim encourages interaction among the peoples. Yolim values good stewardship, fair dealing, and honest representation of value. Yolim despises swindlers and frowns on gamblers. (However, a wager on whose ox is stronger or who can grow the taller sunflower will be excused. It’s not gambling if you’re sure you can win.)

Woshi

 
Also known as: Moon
Primary elements: Water, Light, Thought
People: Daughters of the Moon
Defeats: Rage
Vulnerable to: Fear
In a triad with: Mamosi and Kashram

Woshi is known as the goddess of the moon. She is the most enigmatic of the deities. She cultivates magic and mystery. Some theologians question whether she truly serves good over evil.

The position of the moon is believed to influence how much power Woshi exerts in the world.

Little is known of what Woshi expects of people. She seems mostly concerned with keeping people from knowing what to expect of her.

Woshi can aid people by keeping things hidden, by protecting secrets, and by enhancing magic. Whether she will choose to do so is anyone’s guess.

Kashram


Also known as: Lith
Primary elements: Earth, Motion, Emotion
People: Klindrel, Mogadrel, Urodrel, Sharadrel, etc.
Defeats: Corruption
Vulnerable to: Rage
In a triad with: Woshi and Mamosi

Kashram is usually described as the god of battle. He exemplifies the way of the warrior. He is the most male of the gods.

Kashram also has some vague metaphysical connection to the lith, the third heavenly body in the sky. The position of the lith influences how much power Kashram exerts in the world.

Kashram expects people to be brave, to fight for what they believe in, to live and die honorably, and to accept death. Of all the deities, he is the most directly concerned with fighting the demons. Kashram expects all people to fight, but he does not expect all people to physically take up arms and train for battle. He acknowledges that many skills must be used in combination if the war is to be won. Kashram may be considered a god of teamwork, although it is a hierarchical teamwork.

Kashram despises cowardice and treachery. Lies and trickery are sometimes permissible, however, as long as they do not constitute a betrayal of trust.