|This page (or section) is a work in progress by its author(s) and should not be considered final.|
|Region(s)||Ayaupia and northern Libertanny|
|Founded||5th century CE|
|Origin||Vatoral mythology, elemental balance|
Vatoral is an indigenous panentheistic and polytheistic nature religion originating from Ayaupia. The adherents of Vatoral, named Vatorans, believe the universe is possessed by genderless and bodyless spirits who live through the elements and phenomenons of nature. Divided into three branches, each ayaupian species follows a prophet from their community, whose dictated their view of the religion and lead to unique interpretations.
"Vatoral" comes from the proto-ayaupian "Vatel", meaning "element". As Vatoral is the ayaupian name, foreign countries sometimes call it "Vatoralism".
Vatoral is founded on a balance between the four elements - fire, water, air, earth - that are believed to be inhabited by spirits, who created the world themselves. The balance is made of opposite and complementary forces. Major opposite forces: fire is opposed to water, as air is opposed to earth, while the minor opposites are earth and water, as well as fire and air. The complementary forces are earth and fire, air and water. There are two attributes to these elements : earth and air are "mineral", as they are motionless and compact, water and fire are "organic", as they are moving and living.
In addition to the "natural elements", exist two "human elements" : the "body", related to earth and water, the "spirit", related to air and fire. It is believed that humans were created from a mix of earth and water, modelled by the mud of a swamp, then became alive by a breathe of fire and air infused into their head, creating their mind.
These forces are said to keep the world liveful, as life couldn't exist without them.
At the very beginning of all things, the world was inanimate. Although continents, oceans, atmosphere existed, they were lifeless and static, as eternally stuck in the same state of being. In this world, spirits were freely moving around. Those were without body and mind, in a form that transcended any form of life we knew today. They were perfect, complete and without any default or degradations, and were eternal.
At one moment, an anomaly made one of the spirits desiring to be above others and be the unique spirit among all. That entity trapped those into the ground, the ocean, the air and the underworld, making the world of Urth alive. The earthquake and landslides, the tempest, the waves, the forest fires, and all natural phenomenons, are the spirits trying to escape the elements they had been trapped into. By animating elements, they made them into opposite or complementary forces.
To punish the egoistic spirit, the four others transformed them into an element that, if animated, wouldn't have any power and couldn't do anything dangerous, therefore turned into a single sentient. That sentient individual was made by a bit of each element, as they couldn't be a unique and pure essence, therefore losing its power. As to be sure to lower its abilities, they were divided into two sentients completely opposed by nature, a male and a female. Since then, that spirit tries to obtain power again by making males and females attracted by each other, thus populating Urth with sentients, which are multiple forms of himself. It is believed that if sentients want to reproduce, it can only be explained by the condemned spirit desperate to get a revenge on the elemental spirits.
There has been a debate during centuries between scholars to determine if the first sentient person ever was a feline, an elf or a human. The three branches of Vatoral ; Nestonism, Palayonism and Asconism, tried to give their own answers.
Internal conflict solving
Each humans being constitued of a bit of every element, and being separated in a binary opposition of the body and the mind, has to get through internal conflicts and issues, caused by every elements wanting to separate from each other. The individual has to resolve its own problems and contradictions, to become a unified being. This goes through religious duty, as prayers and confessions, and personal achievement, such as knowing and understanding more about itself, learning about its failures, confessing and repenting its mistakes, and reducing its own bad side. If someone did progress into the research of himself, and finally accomplished its unity, they will be purified after their death and become a pure and eternal spirit free of any matter. On the contrary, if someone didn't progressed at all and kept being subject of contradictions and errors (such as hypocrisy, lie, perversion, etc), the person will be separated into each of its elements after his death and will be torn apart several elements accross all the world for eternity. The first one could be qualified as a sort of "heaven", the other as "hell".
All traits of personality and character are due to the four elements.
- Earth : realism and down to earth thoughts, seriousness, as well as powerfulness and activity.
- Air : idealism and dreams, lightness, powerlessness and passivity.
- Fire : passion and hot tempered thoughts, optimism, as well as unsubmissive and aggressivity.
- Water : temperance and calm, pessimism, submissive and friendly.
When a person has such character, ideas and behaviors, this is due to being made of more of some elements than others. For example : a hot tempered and idealistic person is believed to be made of more air and fire than earth and water.
In Ayaupia, people identify by gathering into a group sharing the same character, forming into a tribe. That tribe has to embodies the elements and character it identifies to, therefore using a wood or stone carved totem to depict them. Each aspect of the totem indicates something about the people rallying under it.
Priests, prayers and rituals
There is no unique established sovereign power ruling over every followers, but rather a network of influential priests and scholars known as the "Federal Masters", which was created in 1957. Each tribe had traditionally a master, which was a priest considered to have the most knowledge and to be the most wise person of the religious community. They were chosen by the people and kept their role until their death. They were the most eminent in representing a tribe and used to act as diplomats, as they were, for instance, invoked to manage conflictual matters and promote alliances.
Every follower has to pray two times in a week, where they have to first praise the elements they were attributed to, then praise those left other, and finally praise them to unify into one pure element. This comprise the four natural elements and the two human elements. This is done while sitting on a sheet of wood with the religious symbol drawn on the visible side. These prayers are done at home and at any moment of the day, from the morning to the evening.
At every last day of the week, the followers gather into the local temple with a priest affiliated to the tribe's master to pray "the unity inside all of us", as this is the catchphrase that begin all ceremonies.
Nestonism, Palayonism and Asconism
Prophets in Vatoral religion where those who lead their followers to their own view, and those who founded some parts of it. Nesto is the first prophet to tell to its own species how to behave, what is forbidden and what is allowed. As a feline, he told that the first living being to have been created by the four elements where felines, elves and humans being abnormalities that appeared through the times, thus those were inferiors beings. This has been the origin of the Great Separation and is why elves and humans got chased from the continent and were forced to establish settlements on the island of Torusta. The felines, following Nesto, were called nestonians, and their own side of Vatoral, "nestonism". As nestonians were raising cattles and lived from farming, they were called the "people of the organic".
Such similar events happened between elves and humans. Following respectively Palayo and Asco, both prophets and both considering elves or humans were the original beings, they divided themselves into palayonian and asconian, creating "palayonism" and "asconism". Each of the three prophets were convinced that their species were the only one to be able to rise towards the pure spiritual form, as others were anomalies incapable of finding unity. Such thoughts lead to numerous wars between the three species.
Vatoral and modernity
If a majority of ayaupians are still religious, only a minority follows the prophets verses. Most of the believers consider the religion as a philosopy and use the elemental balance as a way to answer existential questions, or to succeed in everyday life.
Many forms of reject inside ayaupian society is due to religious beliefs. Behaviours, personal favorites and likings, thoughts, relationships, are attached to religion and thus numerous citizens can face critism and stereotypes in their jobs, school or social interactions. Some phrases are popular amongst people, as "you have white eyes", to say someone is a debauched and has a lot of sexual relationships, as white is the color of air, and air is related to the character of not taking life seriously. See List of ayaupian phrases.
Psychiatric illnesses were often during a long time attributed to the unability to find personal unity, and persons who were suffering mental issues were considered as condemned to "hell" and lost forever, not able to accomplish themselves.
In the current days, such illnesses rose in consideration and more and more people can have access to medication and diverse treatments and therapies.
Homosexuals and other non-heterosexuals were seen as abnormal as they couldn't reproduce, and as the spirit inhabiting each individual is determined to perpetuates himself by reproducing with opposite sex, they were creatures where the spirit couldn't find a way and got stuck, thus considered as "spiritless" or soulless beings. This is why a lot were considered inferiors beings or even non-beings, and there was an urge to avoid them by any mean, because approaching or killing them would give a curse, as being unable to find unity and eternal purity. Although, Asconism is distinguishable by a radically different view, in opposition to Palayonism and Nestonism - homosexuals are unique and rare beings who escaped the spirit's will by not being able to reproduce, which is here seen as an advantage, completely freed from the spirit they are more able to find internal unity. They are respected and popular, even praised, possessing highly ranked roles in society.
Today, the federal government has actively made a campaign about accepting homosexuality and other minor sexualities, as supporting a foundating idea that is "all individual are born equal, no matter what they are". There are still rejections in very conservative and isolated groups.