Kamuran Celestialism

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Since significant cultural contact was established with Anarians there have been cases of occasional Anarian converts to ''Gokraavan Yol'' and even reports of small Celestialist congregations being set up in [[Anaria]] itself. The Sieti Gokra is considering sending a delegation to the continent to investigate.
Since significant cultural contact was established with Anarians there have been cases of occasional Anarian converts to ''Gokraavan Yol'' and even reports of small Celestialist congregations being set up in [[Anaria]] itself. The Sieti Gokra is considering sending a delegation to the continent to investigate.
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Latest revision as of 18:46, 12 June 2019


Gokraavan Yol

Central figures

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Key scriptures

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Institutions

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History

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Notable individuals

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See also

Symbols · Laws
Teachings · Texts
Calendar · Divisions
Pilgrimage · Prayer

Kamuran Celestialism (Gokraavan Yol - The Heavenly Way) is the official religion of the Empire of Kamura and most widely practised among the Sriaav people. It is a dualistic religion with syncretic elements merging ancient Yaemic traditions with Shuocian totemic beliefs. Followers of this religion worship two deities, one female and one male. The Celestial Mother, a goddess named Keija, is considered an active divine entity who attends to creation through occasional intervention and the blessing of totems while the Celestial Father, a god named Otokai, is considered to be a 'shattered' or dead god who has left divine signs behind that can be seen in the Mortal Realm.


Contents

Cosmology

Keija

A artistic representation of the goddess Keija.

Keija is the Celestial Mother of the universe and stands vigil over the world which she created with her consort Otokai. After he sacrificed himself in the fight against evil, Keija is alone and unmatched as the primary divine agent over Creation. She is said to play an active role in the workings of Gotha and commands over a Spirit Realm that interacts with the Mortal Realm, in which humans live, though the power of totems. Keija has the power to bless totems with the power of spirits that serve her including both living and non-living things. She is regarded as a benign matriarchal figure that gifted sentient beings with a moral compass and the free will to choose the path towards reconciliation with her where she resides, the Realm of Light. It is believed she tries to communicate with mortals to show them the right way of being in order to be worthy of the higher place but will not be able to reconcile with those who are unrepentant transgressors.

Keija plays a central role in the Imperial Cult of the Khatunate because when a young woman is chosen to be Khatun she is considered the most powerful of all Keija's totems and though coronation is entrusted with her voice.

Otokai

Otokai is considered the Celestial Father and co-created the universe with Keija, his consort. Soon after the dawn of creation, the forces of evil sought to sabotage the divine couple's work and attacked them. The story of Otokai's Sacrifice is a tale of savage beasts, the Yaban Kenon, being sent to take over the Realms of Creation, among them a Basilisk and a Dragon, representing subversive and coercive forms of evil respectively. Keija and Otokai entered battle together with the bravest of their spirits and though skill and valour defeated most of the beasts until only the Basilisk and Dragon remained. The Basilisk turned it's potent gaze to the two gods, Keija knowing of it's terrible power turned to view the beast through her mirror but Otokai did not turn away quick enough. He was turned to stone and then the Dragon breathed fire upon him and he was shattered. Keija was heartbroken by the loss of her partner and incensed so ordered the army of spirits to chase the evil beasts away which they did.

Otokai is essentially a dead god, though some believers would prefer to describe him as merely in a passive state. His influence is said to live on though signs he left behind to guide spirits and sentient beings out of danger. These include the stars in the night sky which are described as parts of him by devout sailors who praise Otokai for guiding them across the seas to new lands.

The Yukashin

The Yukashin is the collective name for the army of spirits that fought alongside Keija and Otokai in their battle against darkness. It translates as The Brave Spirits. They are said to have been gifted with the form of the most majestic of Gothan creatures including bears, wolves, big cats and elephants - creatures that are typically seen as being courageous. These animals are therefor treated with great respect by Celestialists and largely left alone. Though nowadays some Kamuran merchants trade in the pelts and ivory of these holy animals in pursuit of great profit, it is met with distaste by devout believers.

The Yaban Kenon

The Yaban Kenon are were creatures said to have invaded creation from the Dark Realm, a realm of malign intent. Among them were said to be giant reptilian monsters with great teeth and claws including Basilisks and Dragons of which some corrupted and shrived forms are understood to still exist in the Mortal Realm. Other remnants of the invaders are said to be hiding in the dark depths of the ocean in the forms of menacing ocean predators with soulless faces or many limbs that occasionally snatch and devour sailors and swimmers.

Realms of Creation

The collective name for Creation is Sozoka and is used to define the realms (Ren) that were created by Keija and Otokai, of which Keija is benign caretaker. The Shinaavan Ren (Spiritual Realm) is a parallel world of spiritual beings that exists beside Lunaavan Ren (Mortal Realm), home of humanity, and came into being at the same time and whose inhabitants also serve Keija (mostly). It is unclear to Celestialist philosophers what form a spirit actually takes in its own realm but the assumption is that they are in a purer state than mortal spirits and their realm is less corrupted by evil. The moral gulf between the two realms is said to be the reason why Keija has employed the help of the spirits and their powers to try and correct the faults of the Mortal Realm, simply that they are more able and trustworthy. Some philosophers are of the belief that the Spirit Realm is the true home of all spirits and that the Mortal Realm is a hostile place that is destined to kill the mortal bodies of its inhabitants after a time. This is a supposed justification for mortal bodies in the first place - to prevent the spirit from perishing while the Mortal Realm is being 'colonised'.

In the future, believers say that all worthy spirits of both realms will be united with Keija in the Ren Hikra (Realm of Light, colloquially known as Gokra - Heaven) where she herself resides.

The Dakaavan Ren

The Dakaavan Ren (Dark Realm) is a realm located beyond Sozoka and the source of malign forces that composed the Yaban Kenon who invaded Sozoka soon after it was created. Many evil things in the Mortal Realm are said to have originated from here and are relics of the invasions. It is the closest analogue Celestialist cosmology has to a 'Hell'.

Organisation and Clergy

The Sieti Gokra

The Sieti Gokra (Church of Heaven) is the state church of the Empire of Kamura and interprets the doctrines of Celestialism. The Church is the first source of morality and ethics for many Kamurans and is the codifier of a rights charter that protects adherents under the Khatunate while also outlining a code of conduct for adherents to follow. Church doctrine also contributes significantly to the Kamuran legal code and most judges consult religious scripture as a part of the legal process especially in the case of a plaintiff highlighting such scriptures relevant to their grievance.

The Khatunate

HSM Kikia Hosha Sakura is the current Khatun.

The Khatun of the Kamuran Empire is Head of the Church and considered to be divine. It is believed a coronation ritual conducted by the Church on a young woman chosen as the new Khatun brings her to the attention of Keija who blesses the new Khatun and entrusts her with her voice. In affect she is a powerful conduit of totemic power with a intense connection to Keija and an instrument of her will. She has the power to veto any legislation that she feels is blasphemous or harmful to the nation. The power of the Khatunate is only checked by the Mertaki (Council of Judges).

The Church and State

A great shrine to Keija of which there are many in the Empire.

In Kamura the Church effectively is the State, with the distinction between the two appearing seamless. The Khatun is Head of the Church and the most powerful political actor in the country, wholly conferred her status by divine right in the eyes of Kamurans. The one institution with the authority to override that Khatun, and only under certain circumstances, is the Mertaki, the Supreme Court of Kamura. It too is just as beholden to Celestialist doctrine and ethics as the Khatunate and most rejected imperial edicts have been overruled with some religious justification.

Role in Law

The Dol Gokraavan Khatuni Kamuraavan (Heavenly Code of the Kamuran Empire) is main legal code of Kamura and dictates how the legal process should be conducted by the Mertan (Judiciary) and which penalties are appropriate for which offences. The Heavenly Code is detailed and extensive, answering various ethical questions concerning what kinds of capital punishment are permitted, the rights of defendants brought before court and how evidence should be interpreted.

Spiritual Unity

Official decrees of the Sieti Gokra and the Khatunate have insisted that Gokraavan Yol is indivisible as a spiritual communion and there are no recognised denominations of the religion from the standpoint of the Kamuran administration. There are great variations in the ways the faith is practised between individuals and localities however due to the relative tolerance of these differences on the part of the clergy while the widespread deference to the Church and the Khatun remains very centralised and the faith united as a cohesive identity.

Across the Celestialist communities overseas, the current administration has sought to align believers with Imperial interpretations of the religion and this has met with broad success backed by significant financial resources. The exception to this is The Bind where Wolgos authorities have opposed missionary activities within their jurisdiction. As a result the underground congregations within the Bind tend to follow a divergent and more decentralised interpretation of Celestialism.

Scriptures

The Gokraavan Tsolen

The Gokraavan Tsolen (Heavenly Canon) is extensive and includes a whole library of sanctified scriptures compiled over centuries and ever growing with new editions that are recognised through an intense review process conducted by Church Councils (Sietakan) and with the blessing of the Khatun. Subjects of canon scripture include:

▪ Works on Celestialist cosmology, Sriaav folk legends and historical events.

▪ Instructional manuals covering knowledge of totems of various kinds, their respective powers and religious rituals.

▪ Codes of ethics, codes outlining the rights and responsibilities of believers, codes pertaining to non-believers and exiles.

▪ Works produced by coronated Khatuns which are considered sacred.

Beliefs and Worship

Totemism

A Celestialist Shaman conducting a totemic ritual.

Totemism is one of the major tenants of Gokraavan Yol and heavily steeped in the Shuocian tradition. Totems are regarded as the main instruments through which Keija's power can be exercised in the Mortal Realm and these come in virtually every conceivable form be that of a solid, liquid or gaseous consistency, made from inanimate objects, organic material or as living creatures including blessed persons who are believed to act as conduits of totemic power. Totemic items can be crafted and sanctified by holy rituals to be used as pendants, charms, items of clothing, ornaments, weapons, practical tools and building materials. Consumables such as food, beverages and oils can also be sanctified and buildings that are constructed either using blessed materials or on holy ground hold totemic status as well.

It is believed that totems can be employed to stave off demonic spirits and unclean auras invading the Mortal Realm from dark realms beyond as well as more tangible threats such as disease, toxins, dangerous animals or natural disasters. Some totems are also touted as sources of good luck, health and guidance from Keija. Believers in totemic practices can be found across all sections of Kamuran society and will seek totems they trust will help them in certain situations or to complete certain tasks.

There is a high variation in totemic practices and expression across the Sriaav world and each locality will have it's own preferred style of totem which is a major source of cultural pride. Many areas have an entire economy specifically dedicated to trade in totems and in the spirit of Kamuran thrift have exploited spiritual custom in service of financial gain.

The Natural World

One of the foundations of a Celestialist world-view is a commitment to respect the natural world of which the humans of the Mortal Realm are dependant to their ultimate survival. Followers of Gokraavan Yol conceive the Natural World as allied to the Spiritual Realm and the will of Keija, by whom nature as mortals understand it was predominately shaped. This is not to say all manifestations of nature are regarded as positive, however, as it is believed that nature was deeply affected by the invasion of the Yaban Kenon, the evil beasts from the Dark Realm of whom residual traces are said to still be active in the Mortal Realm.

It was believed that before the Yaban Kenon invaded, the natural world was in perfect balance with calm and orderly processes regulating everything from weather patterns to the landscape. All land was fertile, their were no winters, no storms and no earthquakes. But the invasions and the dark, angry energy they released upset this balance the Celestial Consorts designed and since then the Natural World has been blighted by upheaval and instability that has lead to periodic diseases, disasters and dangers. It is resolutely believed however that despite these flaws, nature is ultimately a force for good and the spirits that compose it want the calm and order of the early times to return.

It is no coincidence holy sites in Kamuran Celestialism are places of natural beauty for these are seen as proof of the will of nature to fulfil Keija's intentions and be at peace again. Typically Celestialist shrines and temples are built near sacred groves, streams of running water and hot springs or atop hills and mountains. Due to certain animals being considered holy and totemic, their habitats are often protected and sanctified reserves are common across Kamura. Some non-native species that have been identified as holy have been introduced to Church run menageries.

Rituals

There are thousands of approved variations of Celestialist rituals practised across the communion of believers. They include rituals concerning sanctifying totems of all kinds, blessing people, consuming sacred elixirs and obtaining totemic energy from various sources .

A couple of the most interesting examples of rituals include:

The Coronation Ritual of the Khatun - This entails the young woman who has been nominated as the new Khatun receiving several totems believed to be of exceptional power including a holy headdress, shawl, necklace, bangles and pendents and being anointed with holy oils while under direct sunlight. The totems will have been blessed from highly esteemed sources including the blessings of Yukashin and highly restricted holy sites which several shamans would have gone to great lengths to obtain.

The Yukashin Blessing Ritual - This is a ritual that is considered particularly powerful in Kamuran culture. It entails a high degree of risk for a shaman who wishes to conduct it and requires them to enter close proximity to a large predatory mammal considered to be a Yukashin. This may be a bear or a big cat such as a tiger. The shaman must first bless a piece of meat, usually from a pheasant or a goat, with special totemic herbs and oils and then cook it on a stove of logs sourced from a Sakura tree. The shaman then has to locate the animal in it's habitat, approach calmly and lay down the offering in sight of it and remain present until the animal takes the offering at which point the shaman releases incense that fills the surrounding air and allows an aural connection between the Yukashin and the shaman. Any 'vacant' Yukashin totems the shaman is carrying with them will be blessed by the Yukashin provided the encounter doesn't end violently.

Non-believers and Proselytism

Though Kamuran Celestialism has it's origin as a shamanistic folk religion and still retains many of these aspects, it has since the rise of the Kamuran Empire and the Khatunate become a more centralised and hierarchical faith which is geared towards promoting a common culture across Kamura's sphere of influence which came to encompass sizeable areas of Mainland Davai, Eastern Altaia and parts of Raia. During the Hanayakaav Era the administration was content with maintaining Celestialist dominance within Sriaav communities and amicable neighbours while interactions with more distant foreign cultures remained strictly commercial. Since the Kamuran Revolution, however, the policy of the Deyanrengi has been to adopt a more evangelical attitude towards non-believers and use religion to re-consolidate Kamura's position in the region of the Shangti Sea.

The Sieti Gokra has embraced this change of approach with enthusiasm and has experienced a dramatic increase in it's power and influence on the Kamuran political scene. Due to intensive Church efforts at proselytism in Kamura's 'Near Abroad', recent decades have seen a rapid growth in non-Sriaav congregations of Celestialist believers.

Demographics

Within the Empire of Kamura there are thought to be at least 70 million followers in Gokraavan Yol which is the vast majority of Kamurans including non-Sriaav minorities. Beyond Kamura there are roughly between 50-60 million Sriaav followers of Celestialist religion and their could be as many as 50 million non-Sriaav followers spread around West Davai and the Shangti Region. It is estimated that there are at least 180 million followers worldwide.

Since significant cultural contact was established with Anarians there have been cases of occasional Anarian converts to Gokraavan Yol and even reports of small Celestialist congregations being set up in Anaria itself. The Sieti Gokra is considering sending a delegation to the continent to investigate.


   Kamura   
General Kamura
History of Kamura

Muurvan Era, Hanayakaav Era, Kamuran Revolution

Culture and Society

Languages: Kamuran, Hwando
Religion: Kamuran Celestialism
Ethnicities: Sriaav, Ameratsu

Government of Kamura

Institutions:
Currency: Koku

Military

Army, Navy, Air Force

Famous People Historical:

Current:

Geography

Regions:
Administrative Divisions: Jotan
Cities: Shuido (capital city)

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