Religion (Karanduun Supplement)
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There are a wide variety of religions that permeate the world of Sanlibutan. The largest and most prevalent is the Al-Kaigian Faith of Yavuman, which has spread far and wide since its founding by the First Prophet Kaig in the 300th Year of Yavum's Slumber in the Age of Darkness. However, the Lakungdulans have had religion and faith even before that, and so have the Giroans.
Dayawism, the religion of the Land
“The Land speaks, and we hear the whispers.”
The Land is divine.
Dayawism was the religion headed by Guro Harana, who spoke the words of Apung Pamahres, and the scribes of his Datu’s barangay wrote down the texts of the diwata into scrolls of bamboo. The thirty-six Scrolls of the Spirit, by Guro Harana has become the basis for Dayawism, which follow the following central tenets:
The Land is alive -- and it is embodied by the diwata. Our families are embodied by the anito. The most powerful diwata are the Apo.
The place in the sky -- Maka -- is the Heaven of the Apo. It is a place where even mortals that have accrued enough Bala -- whether through raiding or other forms of accruing this spiritual power -- reside.
The place beneath the earth -- Sulad -- is the Underworld that is guarded by Sitan, and ruled over by Siginarugan, God of the Underworld. Within this realm is also the Realm of Darkness, Gadlum, and within lies the decapitated body of Saragnayan. It is said the fifty powerful tamawo, human, agta, kalanget, and garuda warriors guard this land.
Worship of the anito and the diwata is known as “pag-anito”, and it is widely practiced across the land. Adherents of Dayawism put forth that powerful spirits live within every object that we see. They live in a world invisible to us, a sort of quantum realm that exists within and without the human senses. This is, of course, the Espiritu.
Dayawism since it’s conception has now pierced through most of the Land, even those in the land of Zuhayras, for it is the mercurial tribal beliefs of the Old Peoples given form. They worship a variety of deities -- most of which are usually not seen by the common eye. Since the Diwata are so numerous, and so are the Apo.
Under Dayawism, the people of Lakungdula created vast stone structures in the inland cities as shrines and temples (which they call dambanas) alongside natural places becoming places of worship. Their organized religion flourished, with various guros teaching the creation myth, mathematics, astrology, and theology within their stone dambanas.
Dambanas made of wood are stationed outside of every forest route dedicated to the deity Uwinan Sana, where they have to place various sacrifices on the dambana for safe passage through that route (it is highly believed that the routes were made thanks to Apung Uwin-sana, Lord of Grasslands, and Apung Okot, helping the early trailblazers of the Time of Malice). This includes food like crushed rice, to flowers like hibiscuses, jungle flames, Sambak jasmines, and jade vines, to used weapons like the kampilan, or the panabat, or bolos.
The greatest of the Dayawan Temples, and it being the largest. It is built out of the side of the Karay Mountain, part of the Serpent’s Ridge Mountain Range, on the 1012th Year of the Masked Moon. Commissioned by Datu Indara, It was partially built by the greatest of the Makkalan Lakandom’s Smiths, Stoneworkers, and Sorcerers, and they were given permission and aid by Dumakulem, God and Guardian of the Mountains, who carved away the hardest rocks with his bare hands. The Sayada Dawa has since become the premiere place of learning and enlightenment, and within its whistling halls they practice mathematics and astrology, and teach literature of both oral and written varieties, and pass down the stories of the past generation to the next.
The Sayada Dawa City situated by the base of the temple is also large, fortified by stone walls, and guarded by Dumakulem’s Guardian Dogs, as well as the various anito (ancestral spirits), some of which are Sorcerers, and are said to have kept their sorcerous prowess even in afterlife.
It is here they also teach of the fabled Bakonawa, who sought to ate the seven moons, but was defeated by Bu-an, his sister Halea, and his husband Sui-Dapa. It is said that even with Bakonawa gone, her Voice still echoes throughout the world…
Dayawist Creation Myth
There are variations according to which land you visit (and in certain parts of the land they are actually completely different), but this is the Myth as told by the Gods.
In the beginning, there was the Sky, and the Sea.
The Mad Sky God, Maykaptan, had a son named Hangin. The Goddess of the Sea, Magu'yawan, had a daughter named Dagat. They decided to make them marry, and thus the Sky and Sea were intertwined.
Hangin and Dagat loved each other, and they had three sons, and one daughter. The sons were Kalibutan, whose body was made of rock, and he was brave and strong. Adlaw, whose body was shining gold, and he was the most joyful of the lot. And finally Bulan whose body was of glowing copper, but he was timid. The daughter was named Suga, and she shone a beautiful silver and she was sweet and gentle.
Soon, from old age, Hangin died, and gave control of the winds to his son, Kalibutan. He was followed by Dagat, and soon the four children grew mature, yet were protected by their grandparents, Maykaptan and Magu'yawan.
Soon, Kalibutan grew proud due to his control over the winds. “I am stronger than our grandfather,” he resolved in his heart, and told his brothers. “Let us storm heaven.” He became the First Rebel, being the strongest of the siblings. The winds whipped about him in a constant dance.
His brothers disagreed at first, but Adlaw decided to not anger his brother, being amiable, and took up his arms -- golden weapons made from burning hot flame. With his invocations, he became the First Warrior, wielding weapons brighter than anything in the Sky.
Bulan at first decided not to, but when both of his brothers agreed, he did so as well, always timid, yet at the same time, always adaptable. His versatility was unmatched, and he stormed heaven in the form of the grand Celestial God-Monster -- the First Beast, connecting divine with mortality, becoming the First Shaman.
Suga was nowhere to be seen, but she foretold the fall in her primordial dreams, but she did not know the specifics. Only that the Fall was coming. And with this divination, she became the First Sorcerer.
The brothers stormed the gates of the sky, but could not batter it down. Kalibutan summoned the strongest of winds, and sent the gates flying open, but they were met with a furious Maykaptan. The three brothers, struck by fear at the countenance of the Mad Sky God, fled, but the Mad Sky God sent three lightning bolts after them, and it struck them.
When it struck Bulan, he was split into seven small orbs that shone a timid light. When it struck Adlaw, he melted into a golden sphere. When it struck the rocky body of Kalibutan, his body shattered into a hundred pieces and fell onto the sea.
Gentle Suga, looking for her brothers, found the way to the gates of heaven. But the Mad Sky God was blind with fury, and he struck her with a bolt of lightning as well. Her silver body, frailer than Kalibutan’s fragmented into a million pieces of silvery lights.
In blind fury and despair, Maykaptan came down to the Sea and tore it apart, demanding Magu'yawan why he ordered the attack on the sky. When Magu'yawan confirmed she knew nothing of the plot, they broke down into tears, and wept exceedingly, that the sky stormed and the seas churned. Even with all their powers, they could not revive their grandchildren.
And so, they bestowed great light upon the corpses of their grandchildren. Upon Adlaw, a great burning gold to create day. The Sun burned brightly against the sky, burning the black into white pastel whites. His corpse oversaw all.
Upon Bulan, gleaming bronze to create night. His corpse body was split into seven different bodies.
Upon Suga’s million pieces, a twinkling silver, spread across the night sky, becoming the stars, the farthest from creation, imbued with the ability to oversee all -- even fate.
But upon wicked Kalibutan, they bestowed none, keeping him the land, and from the tears of the grieving Sea Witch Goddess, a bamboo sprouted, and the first man and the first woman were born from it. And from that, his corpse governed the elements of wind, the earth, the sea surrounding him, the fire born from the Mad Sky God’s thunderbolt, and the Wood of Life. As the first man and woman sprouted, so did the first few spirits, who inhabited the Sun, Moon, Earth, Stars, and Sky.
And thus the world was made.
“Let Him sleep, lest he wake.” (Said when saying the name of the First Prophet Kaig or Yavum's full name.) Alternatively, "Let him shine, lest the world blacken."
The world was made in the dream/light of Arkheus Yavumalturas the Great Creator, otherwise known as Yavum.
The Yavuman Faith is the Religion of Light, Dream and Song. The world is a world of Nightmare and Darkness, and it is up to those who practice and adhere to the Faith to spread it to the world for the world to become a better place, as well as to save the world when Yavuman awakes and comes down to the world of mortals once again. The Grand Patriarch is usually closely connected to the Emperor, and are usually treated as Gentry wherever they go.
The Yavuman Faith is split up into two interpretations of the text, a rift stemming from the teachings of the First Prophet being interpreted in two different ways. When he spoke of the world and Yavum, he had used an ancient Yavuman word, which translated into either Dream or Song, depending on how you accentuated the speech.
Sevarios, a military commander who gave his life fully for the Yavuman Faith and his Lord Kaig, fought with fervor and perpetuated the thought that they are the Song, and as such, he Sang in the battlefield hymns and chants to Yavum. Many military men and eventually, those that were conquered by Sevarious’ Legions, were converted under the battlefield hymns. The Rhapsodists were known to interpret reality as notes in a song, and that Yavum is the original singer.
In another hand, a nomad bandit named Namashdi awoke from a dream with a sign from Yavum after having meditated upon the Scriptures. In his Dream he said that Yavum spoke to him, and told him that the Dream is him actually awake, and that when he awakes, he is actually Dreaming. He then said preached, with arm and sword, the countryside and taught that all of reality is but Yavum’s Dream, and it is their job to awake the people from the dream. There are two ways to bring People to “Wakefulness”: belief in Yavum, which will give them a full life and a chance to be with Yavum if they follow the Four Great Teachings, or Death, the forceful waking, although it is said that they might be sent to Limbo, the great twilight between damnation and salvation. The Dreamers are also forceful people, but Dreamer Scholars are well known to be forceful in their inventions, and have inadvertedly created alkimiya as a way to “exert their wakeful will upon the dream by manipulating its elements”.
There is third branch that nobody ever talks about, mostly because it is composed of those that are native to the region and are those who have learned about the Scriptures directly from the second man who read the Canticle, after Al-Kaig -- the historian and scholar Sallano Jerem, who purported that the Dream and Song rune was just a metaphor (putting forth that metaphor was in important part of the ancient rune language) for Yavum’s Light, and he put forth that Yavum is Light, and that the world is Darkness. Many of the Illumined do not intrude upon the Dreamers and the Rhapsodists, although they suffer the same amount of conflict with them. The Illumined are looked upon with prejudice because of their usage of Jeremian Theurgy, which is easier to use and channels the Merak, and puts forth that humans have the Light of Yavum within them, which is something heretical to the Dreamers and the Rhapsodists.
The Dreamers and Rhapsodists have been at odds with each other, and the Illumined try to avoid them to cultivate their light more. However, under the Holy Yavuman Empire of Al-Kaig, they were mandated neutrality and safety in the Seven Provinces, and were also given the right to scholarly debate and discourse in the universities and schools spread across them.
Icons are beloved and are a sign of great artistry if an artist in the Yavuman Faith (and the whole of the Kivhran region). Pieces of worship, such as the Prayer Braces (iron braces clasped over wrists) and images of Yavuman’s Symbol -- a seven-pronged star -- are all good and are usually created and traded for profit among the Islands.
Their main form of sorcery is one powered by Yavuman Faith. These sorceries tend to follow strict guidelines, and have a peculiar connection to the movement of the sky. Stars, sun placement, and the lining up of the heavenly bodies are crucial to performing powerful and large rituals for ceremonies. Professionally trained Magisters are known to be able to inspire with nary but words, using some special training used to fill their words with sorcery. The First Class Team of the Empire -- the Godglaves -- have been infused with this techno-sorcery, and are known to be a changer in the battlefield. They have the same impact as three cannons, with the ability to teleport here and there with hushed sorceries, and having a heightened state of awareness. It is said that no single Godglave is seen in the battlefield more than once. Many rumors pertain to the fact that their bodies cannot contain the sorcerous implements and most of them either go mad or are killed off.
It is a well known fact that this sorcery only works as long as the one who implemented it or the one who becomes the conduit for such sorceries has a great faith in Yavuman, strengthening the theory that their supernal sorcery works by connection to their God.
The Yavuman Faith also depends on the Canticles of Light, the written word of yavum Himself. Many peasants and commoners are illiterate, and so many of the interpretations and readings of the Chronicles of Light only come from the Priesthood.
Along with this, there are still some remnants of the Kivhran folk religion. The Seven Gods of Kivhran myth have more or less been subsumed as angels and demons -- the Gods of Fire and Justice, Jihan and Sara-ojja, have been turned into Ufrithem and Safrithem respectively, becoming Angels of Fire and Justice. The God of Death, Sharisa, is said to have become the Demon of Perversion, Shasathem.
Yavuman Creation Myth
The Canticle of Light said it as thus:
In the beginning was the Mind. And the Mind dreamt All.
The Mind Named itself, and called itself YVM.
And then, it spoke. It spoke its own name. YVM.
Within its dream, light erupted.
As light expanded, YVM created the world, with its million servants, the Merak. In the first Aeon, it dreamt the Day and Night. In the second Aeon, it dreamt the Sea, and the Sky. In the third Aeon, it dreamt the the earth, the vegetation, and the trees. In the fourth Aeon, it dreamt the Star of Day, the Rune of Night, and the Thousand Specks. In the fifth Aeon, it dreamt the creatures of the depths and the heights. In the sixth Aeon, it dreamt the beasts of the land, and the humans of skin-white.
In the seventh Aeon, it stopped dreaming.
Humanity walked about Paradise, the closest to the Dream, and they spoke with the Avatar of YVM. The Avatar told them not to eat the Fruit of Waking, lest they be removed from It.
Within its dream, the Merak continued its work. The Merak known as Zhayfrithem, Tester and Rebel, fought against the Merak, saying that he knew the true desires of the Dream. He brought with him one-third of the Astral Host, and he fought against the Host. Zhayfrithem then decided that Humanity was a creation better suited for following the true desire of the Dream, and not the false on that the Merak has created.
And so, he spurred them, tempted them, and humanity ate the Fruit of Waking.
They were sent out of Paradise, and lived in a land not actively Dreamt of. They lived in the Land of Nightmares.
When the First Sons of Humanity -- Urida and Hamed, were born, the Merak were interested in using these new Humans to further their agenda, and to end the Astral War.
All this ended when Hamed betrayed Urida, committing the first murder.
And the Merak, seeing this, began murdering as well. The War of the Hosts lasted for millennia, causing bombastic flames and scorching sulfur to scar the face of Creation, battering it, forging it, rebirthing it anew, until we see the earth we have today.
And thus, the Host of Zhayfrithem, the Tester and Rebel, was sent down to the depths of the Abyss.
And Humanity was subject to the pain of Nightmare.
Until the Avatar of YVM rises again.
And thus the Cosmos was founded. Let YVM sleep, lest the world shatter. Grieve when IT wakes. The world is ending.
"I pray to the Skyfather, and only to the Sky Father. We call him Bathala, but he is also Yavum."
Faith is the most powerful weapon, but--like a sword--it can be used in different ways depending on the wielder.
Despite most of Zuhayras being underneath the Hand of Yavuman, most natives to Zuhayr has had to syncretize their old beliefs (that is, Dayawism) into Yavuman as they accepted it. This is mostly because Zuhayrans are usually Yavuman out of orientation, since birth, because of the presence of Yavuman in the Archipelago. Thus, they still hold most of their old beliefs in heart… just in different names.
A Zuhayran who practices this “Folk Yavuman”, which is most common in the rural pueblos in the outskirts of the city-bastions, usually prays to Yavuman in the same way he would invoke the other gods to help him in his farming, or hunting, or what else. The Saints of Yavuman -- instead of being personalities within the Congregation -- are seen as more engkanto who have actual spiritual power, similar to their old diwata.
Yavuman prayers, or orasyon, are invoked instead of prayers to diwata. The most obvious manifestation of this is the School of Salamangka (a form of magic that evolved from the syncretization of Kulam and religious mysticism), within Espada Military Academy, which teaches the occult tradition of Salamangka, that allows them to glean the higher knowledges and affect reality with it. They use a mix of agimat (Dayawism) and orasyon (Folk Yavuman).
Under Folk Yavuman, every Zuhayran believes every other engkanto race to be Demons -- that is, those of the Merak host who decided to rebel against the Dream. Hence why Aswang, Agta, and Kalanget are all decidedly demons, even if this is not always the case.
The syncretized form of Yavuman is known to be called as “Folk Yavuman.” It is, by all intents and purposes, a butchered form of Yavuman filled with superstition and truths and ‘’mahika’’ that comes from Dayawism.
Before the Al-Kaigians arrived the people of the Thousand Islands adopted the Dayawism religion. The Polity of Datu Sinag has always upheld a Supreme Being over the other Diwata, which became the cause of his conversion to Yavuman. But the foundation of Dayawism is not lost, and still shines through even in the colonial religion.
Zuhayras has adopted the Yavuman Faith, but has twisted it so that it fits the things that they find true and have believed in since the beginning: the truth of the diwata and the anito. Belief in a Supreme Being is easy, and thus easily captured. The fear of maligno was only intensified with the coming of Yavuman, which associated darkness with evil. This was also a useful tactic for the Priests that sought to keep their flock both safe and controlled.
For the Zuhayrans, they believed in a Supreme Deity (which they’ve come to call Maykapal), and that he had angels to serve him in Heaven. But they also believed that the Anito are the spirits of their ancestors that answer to Maykapal. So do the Diwata, which can be found in every natural place, all being lower deities when compared to Maykapal, and he ruled over them from above. This is a perversion of Yavuman teachings, because the only supernatural beings in Yavuman belief is Yavum himself and his angels, along with those that rebelled.
Maykapal is also worshipped to be the lord of all anito, sending them off to various deeds to help their descendants.
Maligno are now deemed Demons, and are said to be controlled by Sitan, the Keeper of the Dead. Every other deity had been either turned into low-ranking Diwata or demonized, as was the modus of Yavuman Priests.
Magic is now wholly associated with witchcraft and evil, despite there being a lot more nuance to it. Only Yavuman-approved sorcery is taught, which includes the Astral Academy of Salamangka in Sanctuary.
Despite this, Kulam and Barang are all equally practiced, and the calling upon other entities for powers have evolved from just having Dayawism beings to also having Yavuman beings, and the combination of ingredients and prayers to Yavum in the Kivhran tongue (although those that did their research still use Diwatan for the most genuine effect) for their rituals.
The usage has had a drop off recently, but has since returned with the usage of gold-carved Usbong. Usbong before the Al-Kaigians came are known to be the idols and sacred images that the natives worshipped.
Along with this, the usage of a Deck of Cards for reading fate and fortune was popularized within the isles, which combined the usage of reading through various different mediums as well as imagery inherited from Al-Kaigian myth and stories. The Deck of Cards, which was called “Tadhana”, for the old Diwatan word for Fate, was made up of:
- Angel (Biraddali)
- World (Kalibutan)
- Sun (Adlaw)
- Moon (Bulan)
- Star (Suga)
- Lightning (Linti)
- Devil (Saragnayan)
- Death (Sui-dapa)
- Traitor (Rebelde)
- Bishop (Pamahres)
- Wheel (Gulong)
- The Three War Gods (Barangaw, Yna Guinida, Makanduk)
- Justice (Katarungan)
- Temperance (Timpian)
- Sword (Kampilan)
- Love (Dihan-Ma-Salanta)
- Four Natives (Tagabundok)
- Magician (Salamangkero)
Each one having different meanings depending on placement and on where they were put. Those that practice card reading are held in the same regard as Mangkukulam.
Every tenth day of the month, Zuhayrans go to mass, where they are taught the tenets and truths of Yavum. If an Al-Kaigian Mainlander were to listen to a chapel preceding in the countryside, they’ll find that it looks and feels differently from those from the city -- they are not teaching the true teachings of Yavum, but rather, are teaching the Zuhayran Folk Yavuman that the Zuhayrans have built for themselves.
Despite this, much of the original Dayawism Gods are now lost and/or have been demonized. Many have said that they have encountered the Gods themselves, the Apo, doing their usual duties despite the loss of worship, and have expressed their sadness at what has happened. But more of them express that something is not right with Al-Kaig itself. And even more express the broiling contempt and rage of those subjugated to Al-Kaigian rule.
The religion of the Giroans have also been transported to the Zuhayran Colony, leading to a rise of Qirong-mideumians and Omists. The religion of the Balaarians and the Bakhthir Desert Nomads have also arrived through way of T’Kapian travel as well as trade from the Balaarian City-State of Effisia. The Balaarians have introduced more ways of interacting with technology, as well as more ways of reading the stars, and the Bakhthir have introduced an epic form of writing that seems to have worked in parallel with the oral epics of the Lakungdulans.
The Karanduun are mysterious and new, and not much mentioned in the Yavuman Texts, save for the quick story of the “Angels that fell from Grace because of Rebellion”. The Emperor has deemed them to be “Dukes of Hell” and have created a specific branch of the Church -- the Inquest -- focused on eliminating the Dukes (alongside other maligno and Aswang).
Mostly though, any given person wouldn’t know what they are, and usually will either classify them as an angel or a demon depending on the context of their meeting. In outer regions, they are classified as Engkanto or Diwata when they are seen showcasing their Halo, and the outside people often mistake them for Saint-Kings.
"The one true path is the Om, and the Om is all, and to be with the Om is to be with the all."
Omism is the belief in oneness with the All, which is all of creation and the universe, which they call the “Om”. Many elders and sages put forth the principle of “Action Lacking Thought”. Which is to say they perform things with such oneness with the all that they do it without actively thinking about the activity. This Oneness is the ultimate goal in Omism.
"The Dragons are the peak of mortal life. Let us emulate them that we may ascend to heaven."
The Naga are the highest form of reincarnation right before ascension or Supreme Peace.
Qirong-mideum (Kee-rong meh-doom) emulates the Naga, which includes veneration of the dead as well as worship of the First Flame, from which the Naga came from. The head pantheon of the Qirong-mideum are made up of Naga as well. Various shrines are scattered across the Near East land, mostly natural vistas with statues of the Naga carved into them so that they can pay tribute. The rest of their religious practice involves fasting as well as practice and following of the Naga Dragon Lord Sutras, which was written by a Human loving Naga named Shengren Ranshao. The Naga Dragon Lord Sutras, which they call the Ashen Scrolls, are read and followed by the monks and priests and adherents of Qirong-mideum.