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The Four Deities

For as long as anyone can remember, there have been the Four Deities.   The Goddess of Spring, the Deity of Winter, the Goddess of Summer, and the Deity of Autumn.   Each deity has a degree of personality. A set of domains they tend to embody. The directions in which they tend to go. But each deity is intrinsically connected to their respective lands. The Winter Deity embodies the winterlands as much as the Summer Goddess protects the summerlands. Regardless of how a deity might be presented, at their core they are their kingdom. And their kingdom is them in kind. If you go to a town in the Spring Kingdom, you can bet good money that the vast majority of the inhabitants worship an aspect of the Spring Goddess.   This is where any kind of simplicity ends.      

Underworships

  In order to truly understand religion in the Four Kingdoms, you must first understand underworships. Underworships are religious sects focused on worshiping different aspects of each deity. Each deity has dozens of underworships of varying popularity, with a few holding dominance in each kingdom.   Each underworship prays to a different version of their deity and practices different traditions in honor of that deity. While underworships to the same deity might share common traits, they are likely to be very different from one another as they worship different aspects of the same god.  
Confused? Let's look at a practical example. The Summer Goddess is worshipped as both the Radiance and the Woman of Woe.   The Radiance is a being of light and strength, the sun setting on a day’s hard work, the sun’s rays spilling over the mountains the next day with all the security of a fact of the world enduring; she rewards the devote with stalwart dedication and straightforward, truthful living.   The Woman of Woe revels in chaos and destruction, a creature of erupting volcanoes and weeping lovers, shifting sands and burning sun; her followers sow trickery and sometimes outright misfortune wherever they go.   The Radiance is the Summer Goddess. The Woman of Woe is the Summer Goddess. But the Radiance is most definitely not the Woman of Woe and while the followers of both underworships will share things in common and some camaraderie as a result, they are also likely to be at odds in some of their beliefs.
    Underworships vary in terms of popularity and influence. At any given time, a handful of underworships will dominate the landscape of a given kingdom and the majority of inhabitants will follow one of those few underworships. However, there is always a minority that focuses on one of the smaller practices. And over time, those landscapes shift, a less influential underworship becoming one of the main ones, while a formerly popular underworship fades into the background. Most religious doctrine accepts this as a part of life; they are all the same deity after all. People, however, especially those who tie their identity or fortunes to a particular underworship, are rarely so accepting.  

The Deities

  A deity of the kingdoms cannot be understood in isolation from their underworships, as each aspect is a part of the parent deity. They must be understood in multitudes. Their traits and values do remain roughly the same, but as underworship dynamics shift, so does the deity themselves.  

The Spring Goddess

  The Spring Goddess is most commonly portrayed as a younger woman with long, flowing hair. She is associated with life, growth, and benevolence and is widely regarded as a loving deity intent on nurturing those under her care.  

The Lady of Flowers

Goddess of floral growth and love freely given   Symbols:
wreath of flowers, a single flower with three petals   Follower beliefs:
  • Flowers are sacred objects
  • Love freely given is the most precious gift in this life
  • Love required will atrophy and rot the soul

Ulaa

Goddess of cultivated plant growth and animal care   Symbols:
a hoe and reins   Follower beliefs:
  • That which is grown will give you growth
  • You must cultivate that which you care about in order to thrive
  • Sometimes you must kill that which you have cultivated in order to further grow

Spring

Goddess of...spring. Just kind of generally. Bit of a generic catch-all goddess…   Symbols:
flower bud, clasped hands   Follower beliefs:
  • Spring is a sacred time
  • Kindness to other beings is essential to prosperity
  • Why worship an aspect of a god when you can worship the whole deity
    • Considered an underworship rather than a main faith by most people due to its central and core beliefs in the sanctity of the Spring Kingdom and ironically, due to its insistence on spreading the ideas of worshiping the main deity rather than an underworship
    • Try to tell them they’re an underworship and they will try to fight you
 

The Winter Deity

  The Winter Deity is most often portrayed as an elderly person with varying gender expressions, wearing a heavy cloak. The Winter Deity is associated with knowledge, solidarity, and strength in the face of an indifferent world. Regarded as a remote force that acts through their representatives on the mortal plane.  

Krepost

Deity of struggle, strength, and the honor of self-sufficiency   Symbols:
a monolithic building or stone   Follower beliefs:
  • Aid comes to those who have struggled to succeed
  • Struggle brings strength
  • Sometimes all we have is our own strength and in our own strength there is a beauty and a freedom more sacred than anything else in this world

The Snow Mother

The warmest aspect of the Winter Deity, deity of light in the darkness, food in a belly that has gone empty, a warm home after an age in the cold, and of family/community   Symbols:
a melting snowflake, a pair of empty gloves with palms open   Follower beliefs:
  • The winter is hard but it makes the warmth all the more precious
  • You band together in the face of hardship in order to bring warmth to the cold
  • You destroy anything that would take that from you

The Star-Eyed One

Deity of history, knowledge, and storytelling   Symbols:
a quill and star   Follower beliefs:
  • People’s stories must be recorded so that they will be remembered
  • Remembrance = living on after death
  • Not necessarily a faith of learning or sharing info, more about hoarding it
 

The Summer Goddess

The Summer Goddess is most often portrayed as a stout and mature woman, either in armor or plain clothing. She is associated with strength and duality, fire and warmth, chaos and destruction, renewal and change.  

The Radiance

Goddess of light, truth and straightforwardness, and endurance   Symbols:
a seven-pointed sun   Follower beliefs:
  • Light must be shined on every darkness
  • It is holy to live life in a straightforward manner and to endure the hardships of the world

The Woman of Woe

Goddess of misfortune, disaster, and trickery   Symbols:
a flame that transitions into a teardrop   Follower beliefs:
  • Suffering is universal and is therefore sacred
  • Chaos brings wonder to an otherwise painful existence
  • If you do not suffer you have not lived
  • The Wavekeeper

    Goddess of the ocean, cyclical or rhythmic change such as the moon, and storms   Symbols:
    cresting wave within a circle, the moon over water   Follower beliefs:
    • The water is a sacred source of life and death
    • One of the most predictable aspects of life is the unpredictable
    • Change is best accepted, resistance will only hurt
    • You may not be able to see the source of the tides, but it will pull nonetheless
     

    The Autumn Deity

    The Autumn Diety is just as mysterious and secretive as their kingdom. The bits and pieces that have floated to the rest of the kingdoms portray the Autumn Diety almost solely as a tall, androgynous figure. They have been known to be associated with wild plant growth, specifically trees and leaves, as well as protection. Not much is known about them. They are only ever heard referred to as the Autumn Diety in the wider world.
    Type
    Religious, Pantheon


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    Articles under The Four Deities



    Cover image: Kingdom Spread by Kethry Tiggs

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