'And Lo; today Alea Waxes, and she shall blesses us. For soon a great change is upon us, for soon our beliefs shall be hallowed! We as a group, we as a people, we as a religion, shall be acknowledged. Our efforts shall no longer be in vain!'
--The Prophet John, Sermon to the Capitol
Note that in the world of Atheus, Lunism, like all the religions, may or may not be true.
The moon has always been seen as holy by the peoples of Atheus, or at least as something more than the norms of mortality. Cults that worship the moon are frequent, as are barbarian tribes that worship some moon god. As such being the case, was it any surprise that a whole religion dedicated to the moon arose?
Lunism is an ancient religion. It either predates Trianarianism, or (if you believe that Trianarianism returned by the prophet Adonis), was founded in its lull. Its prophets and priests spread it quickly, as its basic tenets was all ready common beliefs among the peoples.
In the modern world of Atheus, Lunism is the most widely spread religion that it has the most followers. However, if you were to take the two halves of the world- the barbarian half, and the human half- Lunism would be less common in each of those. This is true mainly because Trianarianism is a 'human' religion, and the barbarians are mostly polytheists, while Lunism has spread over the entire continent. It is also prevalent enough to have a place of worship at every human city in Atheus- including Triastu, the Trianarianistic Holy City.
Lunists believe that the moon is one entity, represented by five different gods. These gods would be represent themselves through new moon, the crescent moon, the half moon, the gibbous moon, and the full moon. Though each has power, and can enact their wishes whenever they please, they have greater power when its their phase.
However, the gods themselves do have their bad times of the year. And the times when the moon is waning is those times. The waning crescent, half, and gibbous moons are all 'bad' times of the month, especially the half moon, because the half moon is seen as the God of Change (more on the gods themselves below). Likewise, the waxing moons are seen as 'good' times of the month.
This carries over into births. The lunar phase that a child is born under effects what kind of person the newly-born is going to be. A child is more likely to worship the god they were born under, as that god is probably going to be their protector. In fact, occasionally (though this practice has all but been stamped out in the modern world, but is still done in secluded, fully-lunist communities), a child born under the waning half moon will be smothered, and buried far away from town, certainly not in the family graveyard. For that child will be seen as a herald of bad change, that may signal doom for either the mother, the family, or the community.
Lunists also have iron-founded traditions that are carried out at night. For some moons, certain things must be done. For example, a celebration is generally carried out the night of the full moon. No one leaves the house the night of the waning half moon, from sun-down to sun-up. And the New Moon sees Lunists going to visit their family graveyard, to mourn their fallen family and friends.
Mortes, Deity of the New Moon and Death
Mortes' main duty as the God of Death is to guide the dead's souls to the afterlife, of which he is the Lord of. Some say that the solar eclipse is a rare window into that very afterlife. He is not seen as an evil god, nor a good one, but simply a fact of life. As the month turns slowly towards the new moon, a person's life turns slowly towards their death. A common thing to note about Mortes is that he lacks a gender, though most use the male pronoun when discussing him.
Catenam, God of the Crescent Moon and Liberty
Catenam has also been refered to as the 'Shackled One,' or the 'Giver of Choices.' The first is because he remains imprisoned forever in a dark cage in the middle of the moon. None but one without it knows how precious liberty is. As he waxes, liberty, and choices that aid in freeing oneself, are helped (as such, there are more attempted prison breaks on the waxing crescent moon than any other time of the month), but when he wanes, choices that are made to gain freedom are hindered. For those all ready free, your choices are effected. The Waxing Catenam makes your choices better, and the Waning Catenam makes your choices worse.
Alea, Goddess of the Half Moon, Change, and Chance
The patron of the gambling hall, and the overseer of big decisions, Alea is a fickle goddess, and changes her wants and fancies as much as she pleases. She may bless you for a while, but be wary, for your luck may run out as Alea abandons you for someone else- hopefully not your opponent after you go 'all in' in the local casino. Her waxing and waning selves differ only slightly. She seems to be in a fouler mood when she wanes, and some say that worse changes to peoples lives happen more frequently on those dates, but it is an acknowledged fact that bad and good changes happen roughly equally on either side of the moon.
Iustitia, Goddess of the Gibbous Moon, and Justice
Iustitia is not worshiped by any. She is the deity of the state, not the people. She is venerated in courtrooms or places where guilt is found, and she is called upon (in Lunist places) to aid in the discovery of truth. She is the goddess that insures that all is right with the world, and those who seek to wrong it have been dealt with. Of course, this is all for when she waxes. Waning Iustitia is the Mother of Vengeance. When she wanes, personal matters of revenge are aided, and though they may go against society, Iustitia cares not, for justice of a sort is being carried out. And then, when the night is done, vengeance has been carried out, and Iustitia starts to Wax, she bears the might of the state against the revenge-taker, and brings them to justice too.
Vivenus, God of the Full Moon and Life
At the opposite side of the lunar cycle from Death is Life. Vivenus is a stern god, and is unforgiving. It is he who balances the scales of life, and determines the path that one must take to keep those scales balanced. As such, he attempts to take the role of fate, and determines every child's destiny when they are born. However, he is sometimes thwarted by either the person themselves or the other gods (most notable Alea).
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? Responses (8)-8
Another very original submission.
Would have been a full score had it had more content, but this was really good, best one I've read from you so far. I don't get why noone except the state worships Iustitia, sounds like anyone bent on revenge and/or justice would.
A very good religion - very 'realistic' :).
Now, what significance do such things as lunar eclipses have? What about those times of the year where the moon is plainly visible during the day?
I find this a great, believable sub.
My personal belief (and one that doesn't affect my standing with the sub) is that Mortes would be more suited as the full moon and Vivenus as the new moon. I feel its more suitable for the religion plus it would be a cool switch. Mortes's symbol can be the blinking eye and Vivenus the opening eye (Vivenus's eye is represented by the waxing phases of bew to full, the 'opening eye', and Mortes by the waning of the full moon to new - the 'blinking eye'.
This seems more suitable as to mimic life: we are born an empty slate and as we grow our life fills with experience like the Waxing moon and Vivenus's opening eye. When we reach the pinnacle of life, Mortes casts his eyes gaze on us, and our life wanes: we grow old and age and illness deteriorate us. Under the gaze of Mortes's slowly blinking eye we pass, and when the eye is shut, death takes us.
In this way it seems more suitable that Vivenus and Mortes would be considered the more 'major gods', and the others part of their domains.
Also, in line with this, perhaps Lunists would believe in some kind of reincarnation: as their life wanes away to nothing, Vivenus takes their soul and breathes new life into it; just like the never ending cycle of the moon, their soul is born anew.
I like that people are born under their 'lunar signs', sort of like star signs. And the barbaric way that some sects might slay their child born on the waning change phase is a nice touch - has a very 'witch-hunt' feel to it.
I would have it tradition for places of gambling within Lunist cities to close when Alea wanes.
This is a cool religion, Caesar, and as Val said; its believable. I wouldn't be surprised if at some stage in history ancient man had a religion nit dissimilar to this.
This is pretty cool in my book. A lunar religion? How could I not like it? :)
Since the waxing moon is associated with generally positive things and the waning moon with generally negative things, are there any associated beliefs regarding the evening and the morning? (Since the waxing moon is more visible in the early evening and the waning moon moreso in the late morning.)
Are there differences in how the moon phases are perceived during the different seasons? For instance, would the new moon in winter be seen as a strong time for Mortes since the harsh weather likely means more deaths?
To echo the others, really cool take on Moon religion, with a strong sense of... 'Yes, I can see this religion happening!' Love it! I find myself wanting to know more. The nuances and minutiae and such, and some answers to the questions asked. This has a great inspirational spark to it.
As others said, this is a thoroughly believable faith with naturalistic sources. Well thought out, too.