Votive Way

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Votive Way
el Camino Votívo
The most common Votive symbology includes Three Candles signifying the Three Truths and the Málama Cross, the Antoran national icon
BeliefEmanationist Code of Living
Region(s)Antora and the Antoran diaspora
FounderUnknown, codified by Arturo Gael Andres de Naranza
FoundedUnknown, codified 13th Century CE
OriginFolk spiritualism, chivalry
Votive Conclave ChairVictór XI
Followers~56 million worldwide
DenominationsAntoran Righteous Church
Votive Way
Antoran Chivalry

The Votive Way (Corric: el Camino Votívo) is a complex belief system native to the country of Antora. A blend of social contracts, religious doctrines, and cosmological philosophies, the Votive Way is the largest Antoran spiritual community with over 56 million practitioners. The word Votive describes the practice of sealing a vow or promise with an offering, most often by lighting a candle. Many religious aspects are considered emanationist and draw intentional parallels between different religions worldwide. Many aspects of Antoran chivalry are directly taken from the Votive beliefs of self-actualization, strength through character and community, and moralistic living. The formal Votive Way and its practices have existed since the 13th Century and the Arranzic Conquests, though the actual ideas behind them date back to the original Impelantic colonization of Antora. Despite the presence of Votive institutions such as the Antoran Righteous Church, much of the belief system is decentralized, and "Votive" is considered to be an exonym. Most modern adherents to Votive ideals will refer to the belief system as la Manera Honoráble (the Honorable Path) and practitioners as viajeros (wanderer, traveler.) Adherence to the Votive Way is strongest in Costa Tranquíla, which is the center of Votive holidays and festival days including Harvestide on October 20th and the Festival of Honor on April 12th, which is a celebration of the collective accomplishments of all people on Urth.

The Votive Way is an interconnected system of beliefs rather than an organized religion, defined by varied philosophies and practices related by shared concepts and history, ritual, sites of significance, cosmological structures, texts, and geography. The various Votive practices are known as aspectos (aspects) and can be dedicated to the discussion and exploration of a variety of topics, such as mythology, cultural history or expression, paracausality, religious or social ritual, astronomy, diplomacy, agriculture, warfare, personal improvement, ethics or morality, some of which can fall under multiple aspects at once in varied combinations.

Prominent aspects include la Esta y la Esa (the Self and the Other,) which philosophically separates observable reality into the Self (ego, superego, id,) and the Other (all social, natural, metaphysical, and memetic concepts, structures, and continuums that exist outside the Self.) Another important aspect of the Votive Way that build off the Self and the Other are the Three Truths, the ultimate guides and goals of corporeal existence: Intención (intent/intention; the exploration and definition of morals and ethics through the lens of sociocultural circumstances, along with the examination of actions and their impact on both the Self and Other,) Veráz (truth/truthfulness; the contemplation, understanding, acceptance, and improvement of the Self, according to Intención,) and Honór (honor/decency, the understanding and acceptance of the Other throughout its many contexts and the imperative to never cause undue harm to come to it at the expense of the Self.)

Compassion, honesty, restraint, trust, open-mindedness, and serenity are common themes among Votive practices influenced by these two aspects. They contribute to many of the underpinning concepts and ideas that exist within the Votive Way, including todos son uno (all are one; a universal worldview that rejects impermeability and exclusivity,) madre de hogar (hearth-mother; a social imperative for communities to support their least members,) and pluralidad (plurality; the understanding that any group of individuals comprises simultaneously of multiple Selves and one Other and must take care to examine all relevant viewpoints when making a decision.)

Votive practices originate from the historical Antoran-Impelantic ritual of devoción (devotion/dedication,) a simple regional variation of Tunseist worship, which became widespread soon after 513 CE with the collapse of the Empire of Impelantia and the resulting fracture of Tunseism. Evolving from a religious to a psycho-philosophical practice, devoción was a meditation upon oneself and ones wants, needs, and goals before undertaking an important action or decision. This ritual culminated in the lighting of a candle and making an oath to see the chosen course to completion. The candle signified the devotee’s strength of will and character, and if the candle went out before burning down, it was taken as a sign the devotee needed to adjust their approach, whether re-examining their reasons or changing the actions.

Modern Votive society places much less emphasis on the importance of devoción in everyday life and the practice is seen as antiquated, though there is no stigma in performing it and it is very common as a symbolic ritual. The custom of Antoran knights standing vigil for a day and night before a candle has its roots in Votive custom, as do the round-table discussions of knightly orders, the morals and ethics in the famous Preceptos Antoran para la Vida Honorable y Caballeroso (Antoran Precepts for Honorable and Chivalric Life,) and portions of the medieval essays Convertirse en un Caballero Ideal (To Become an Ideal Cavalier) and Acciones Santas del Hombre Noble (The Holy Actions of the Noble Man.)

In some Votive aspects, individuals will come to terms with and then resign their Self and devote their lives in service of the Other. This practice is known by many terms; some practitioners call it la Cuatra Verdad (the Fourth Truth) or el Intercambio (the Exchange,) others have no name for it, while those who do not practice it typically refer to it as desintéres (selflessness/non-person) or as the murté de persona (death of personhood) taboo. Most who undergo the Exchange are devoted to a singular purpose, be it monastic or hermetic-style reclusion and contemplation of metaphysical ideas, artistic expression and exploration, scientific research, community service, or atonement for perceived wrongdoing. Most clergy-people among the Antoran Righteous Church have undergone or are in the process of the Exchange, as it is seen in their doctrine as the last step before Santidad (sainthood/revelation/apotheosis.) Persons of historical note who have undergone the Exchange are referred to as santas (saints) and hold great cultural importance in Antora even among those who do not practice the Votive Way.