“Aheth (Athvaldes), the lord of wide pastures, gives swiftness to the horses of those faithful to Heaven. Fire (Ayr), child of Aheth, gives the straightest way to those faithful to Heaven. The good, strong, beneficent spirits of the faithful give a virtuous offspring to those faithful to Heaven. Victory-making, army-governing, endowed with a thousand senses; power-wielding, power-possessing, and all-knowing”
- ‘Poem of Dawn’, traditional chant
The differences lie in
- Ancestor worship
- Hadur is dead, and is therefore not worshiped.
- Only Ovech and Tarsans considered ‘god-blooded’; and bloodline determines social standing.
- Requirement of Haq-Ilse, though not to Ovdendurra in particular
- Use of ‘holy sorcery’ (though Magosi Haddism allows this too)
- Wyrmtome is a valid holy book
- Practice of concubinage, though only unfaithful can be taken by force, and a complicated code of moral conduct exists regarding it, and marriage.
- Holy wars allowed, called by the Kral (without an Archon, the Magosi cannot do this. And all other Haddists cannot in any case)
- Shamans can hold military office and have families
The pantheon consists of two main gods – typically depicted as gold and silver dragons. Known as the ‘guardians of heaven’, they both comprise and maintain the material and spirit worlds. Combined they are ‘Tzoha’ – a concept considered heretical by the Abshuri.
- Athvaldes/Aheth: God of the Sun, Life and Death – Creator of the Material World
- Sheboleth/Sah: God of the Moon, Spirits, and Souls – Creator of the Spirit World
Both deities are at once supreme in power, but indifferent in the large to mortal concerns. Aheth created as favored creatures those with hoofs, such as the goat and horse, as well as all life in his benevolence. Wyverns were his servants. Sah bestowed upon humans the power over their own blood, through a soul. Aheth in his anger, turned much of the world into wasteland, with only the Svalek highlands left as paradise. His defeat at the hands of Dagev forced him into the spirit relam of Sah. Hence Aheth is worshiped so his rage doesn’t return and Sah worshiped out of gratefulness.
Hadur is the name for the first human bestowed with the blood of Sah. All ‘godblooded’ beings descend from him, namely the Red Men, Tarsans, and Wyverns. Dagev, the legendary founder of the Ovech nation, is worshiped as the national god, is considered the herald of Sah, and the patriarch of all Red Men.
The 6 Creations
The rest of the pantheon is 6 major ‘deities’ symbolizing aspects of the union of material and spirit realms, represented by animals. Each has both positive and negative traits, and the union of all 6 represent the aspects of the human soul.
- The Wolf: Strength and Blood-Lust. Seeks Mastery. Represents Metal.
- The Eagle: Charisma and Pride. Seeks Spleandor. Represents Par’neh.
- The Fox: Cleverness and Selfishness. Will to Power. Represents Fire.
- The Bear: Temperance and Sloth. Seeks Perseverance/Stability. Represents Earth.
- The Snake: Foresight/Knowledge and Hubris. Seeks Wisdom. Represents Water.
- The Crow: Luck/Insight and Greed. Seeks Prosperity. Represents Wind.
The first 3 are associated with Aheth, the last 3 with Sah.
Besides the great temple of Sah in Svalos, temples are given a patron from the above list – but in practice their main gods could be local/house gods too. Temples of any god are tended to by a head priest sworn to that god, who must outrank all other priests in that temple. Promotion in rank is done by a priest at least 2 ranks higher, and the highest rank of Keeper, that of ‘Keeper of Mysteries’, resides only in the great temple of Sah.
Fire and Water ‘Worship’
There are no temples to Ath – he is praised universally at dawn in open air, as Sah is praised in moonlight. Certain activities, such as offering libations of wine or blood, also constitute symbolic worship of the Tzoha. The main aspects of Ath are Xwarn (sun/glory), Ard (fire/truth), and Aryun (blood/life). For Sah it is (moon/wisdom/order), (water/mysteries/enlightenment), (stars/spirits).
Fires are thought to embody Ard/Arta, and some are consecrated. There are grades of consecration, corresponding to: (sanctified) candle, temple brazier, hearthfire, fire of naxarari/courts, fire of victory, and great fire.
- The first 2 are simple. The hearth is usable and consecrated by family. The court fire is used upon coronation of a naxrar, and is an upgraded hearth.
- Fires of victory are lit during festive seasons, but can be permanently established with a complex ceremony. They are attended to permanently, and housed in sanctums.
- A great fire is one which was lit by the presence of Ath, when he resided on the world. There were 3 at one point, residing in the kingdoms of the Halraavi, Pchzari, and Levraani respectively. Only the ‘Fire of Parnah/Xwarnah’ (attended to by the Pchzari) still remains.
- The Levraani’s ‘Fire of Abundance’ was put out during the Exalted March
- The Halraav’s ‘Fire of Stallions’ was taken to Dashtavard to avoid capture during Tarsan invasion, but was lost in transit.
Sah is worshiped by all priests, who derive their power from her intervention. Just as with grades of fires, there are grades of waters (finish this)
Ancestor Worship and Shamanism
The second facet of Ovechzism is ancestor worship. Since blood is the vessel by which Aheth’s power is channeled, the passing of blood down a lineage holds heavy importance. The actions one takes in life affect the blood of all his descendants. Blood is said to be a mix of father’s and mother’s, which is the reason for the peculiar Svalek inheritance and marriage customs. Finally, ancestors are said to reside with Sah, and watch the land of the living – it is they who confer blessings for more particular things. Hence, the Ovech have many shrines to their ancestors, usually within their temples. The Halraav and Ceratis practice this to an extent which has caused conflict with the more monotheist and orthodox Srivli high priesthood.
Some temples are built to honor entire dynasties, for the 6 great bloodlines. Dagev, Vagosht, Kohara, Teshar, and Aram as well as the 6 legendary patriarchs, are the demigods which are worshiped heavily, though there are many ancestor-gods revered by specific regions or families (see house-specific articles for such information). In Naronar, a principal god was and remains King Araxan Ceratis.
The final aspect of Ovechism, is ‘Kadagoba’ – Shamanism. This is akin to the Greek oracles, i.e. cults of local deities communicated with through ‘possessed’ shamans. These deities are spirits of the land, hence aspects of the 6 great creations.
Note: The mythology here is based on
There are 12 months, starting on Midsummer (end of June)
Format: Name – Meaning – Association – Festivals
- Navasard (New Year) – Month of Glory – Eagle – Vardavar (Midsummer)
- - Fire – Fox
- - Desired Dominion – Wolf – Mehrarut (Mehregan)
- Tir – Wine – Bear – Cherabovt
- - The Hunt – Crow – Nareczla
- Sandaramet – Wholeness/Perfection -Snake – Alaverdoba
- - Purpose/Resolve – Eagle – Bahmancha
- - Truth/Purification – Fox – Sada (Coming of Fire)
- Vrkazda – Covenant – Wolf – Trndez (Arrival of Spring)
- - Devotion – Bear – Spandarmad
- - Immortality – Crow – Amrdad (Amordadegan)
- - Waters – Snake – Chahetshan