Wednesday 22 July 2015

Gods of Atlantis

Six of Pentacles: A Black Atlantean Ritual to Akhantuih.
The Atlantean body politic and the religious establishment are one and the same.

The same complex polytheistic religion governs both factions of Atlanteans: the Emperor-Adept or God-Emperor, half human, half divine spirit, is the Sun-God Incal himself (which is the original reason the Muvians seceded). The God-Emperor is the final authority and intercessor between the Atlanteans and the Higher Gods; the priests in their various orders are only intermediaries between the people and the Emperor.

Atlantean religion is contractual; the rituals preserve the balance of the world. The Gods survive through the worship of the people, and world survives if the gods survive. If the rituals are left undone, or violated, the world ends, and the minority of priests who believe in the Coming Catastrophe blame its onset on the current crisis in the Atlantean divine politic.

Because the God-Emperor is so central, in any era, how the Atlantean religion works in practice largely depends upon what the God-Emperor is like. When Gwauxin XVIII was God-Emperor, the Atlantean religion had more festivals and holy days than at any other period; the reign of Menax was defined by the sombre, bleak nature of the rites.

This worked until about eighty years ago, when the Atlanteans found themselves with two God-Emperors. Before Helio Arcanaphus's first year on the throne had ended, Oduarpa, a general of the army and a cousin of the Imperial Couple, declared himself the Black Sun and claimed his own right to be God-Emperor. In a swift, brutal palace coup, he ejected Helio Arcanaphus from Chalidocean. Helio Arcanaphus, surviving a swift succession of assassination attempts, escaped with the loyal regiments of the army to Keriophis, where the White Sun now reigns. Because the priesthood depends upon the God-Emperor, the character of the religion in the South now depends upon the Black Sun's preference for orgiastic rites, the use of the inhuman Bestials as celebrants and the prolific use of human sacrifice. In the North, the restrained, rarefied and slightly fossilised rites of the White Sun hold sway. White Sun practitioners are hunted down and killed in the South now, but Helio Arcanaphus is nowhere near as ruthless as Oduarpa, and the Black Sun has several footholds in the North.

Incal (called Helio) is the Sun, who aspects in Black or White, and is the giver of life and of drought, light and fire, love and wrath. Incal is incarnated in the God-Emperor, and both halves of the Atlantean empire claim that the other is false, and that hence the rituals of the other are broken.

Heliona is the female aspect of the solar deity, and the Altanteans see her as incarnated in the Nameless Sister-Wife of the God-Emperor, with whom the God-Emperor is soul-bonded in a ritual blending science and magic. The God-Emperor and his Sister-Wife share a single merged mind, and Between the Emperor and the Empress, the worship of the gods is centred around a Sacred Androgyne, or it should be; Oduarpa, the God-Emperor of the Black Sun, has no consort; Heliona is no longer worshipped in the South.

The ambivalently gendered and faceless god/dess named Tau-Khu in male aspect and Kheii-Tau in female represents Sirius, and claims lordship over time and space. His/her priesthood is led by the leonine Paschats, natives of Sirius who advise both God-Emperors and only apparently defer to them. The priesthood of Tau-Khu's lives, bodies and souls are the property of the divine Paschats, to do with as they wish, and many are remade within and without by the joining of Siriun and Atlantean sacred science, the better to serve their alien masters. The priests of the Star-God carry the Staff Wreathed With Serpents and use a sistrum in all rituals.

Khiyet-Shyin is the goddess of protection, justice and retribution, the Judge of the Dead and the Giver of Sacred Knowledge. She is depicted in statues and images as one of the Great Sabretoothed Cats, her sacred animal, which roam her temples freely, and eating the careless acolyte. She is the voice of Akâsha. Her priesthood are the celibate nuns and monks of the Akâshic Colleges, who mete out cold and bloody judgement on the people of Atlantis.

Dannuih is the goddess of the earth, of fertility, of sex, the patroness of the fertile field and the fertile parent, overseer of love of all kinds. Her sign is the tree, and in each temple one priestess is given the honour of becoming an avatar overshadowed by a soul-fragment of Dannuih, devoid of memory and past, offering only future, whose voluptuous and expansive body promises all things.

Pheleyia is the goddess of wisdom, architecture and science, and is depicted as a flat disc with a pair of wings. In the temples of Pheleyia the Divine Colleges of Priest-Eugenicists and Priest-Engineers shape the future of the Empire's people; the Architect-Monks maintain the crystalline vril-batteries that power the science of Atlantis.

Akhantuih is the Shaper, the Negotiator of Chaos, the giver of laws and the arbiter of history. The monolithic face of Akhantuih, a noble-browed man, heavy of brow, proud of chin, adorns countless temples, stands in the centre of every city. It is from Akhantuih, the Atlanteans believe, that the divinely ordained hierarchy of classes and races descends, for Akhantuih decrees the place of every human. Akhantuih is the god of government.

Finally, Satakh is the Cradle of Chaos and the personification of all collapse of order. Neither the White nor Black Atlanteans worship Satakh.

The Atlanteans recognise angels (benevolent emanations of the Divine) and elementals (malevolent emanations of the World-Spirit), but while they might occasionally summon them and treat with them, these creatures receive no worship.