Calitai, God of Life

Kah-lee-TAI (a.k.a. World Mother, First Mother, Maker, Giver)

A good dinner smooths many ills and more squabbles.
— The Book of Hoary Lore
  The World Mother was not the first god, but she is considered the most important in Bearfolk lore. It is Calitai who holds everything else together, who reminds the selfish - be they gods or mortals - that true strength is found in one's ties to others and the diversity that ensures survival.

Holy Books & Codes

Penned by Kaskani Khivika, the Book of Hoary Lore is part cookbook, part household and relationship advice. This book gives little guidance in the ways of worship, so each denomination has developed their own set of specific rituals.   There are several other books that are considered part of her lore that contain brief moral parables illustrating the ideals of the Calitian church. For instance, A Mother's Honor is popular in Eswe households.

Divine Symbols & Sigils

A circle containing abstract representations of the noses of a mother and cub. Most clergy stick to wooden representations, though lay worshipers often have small metal pins or amulets.   In iconography, she is a large bear with silver eyes, often depicted in clearly mothering roles such as nursing or carrying a cub on her back through deep water.

Tenets of Faith

Family is a state of the heart. Home is not a place, but a feeling.
— The Book of Hoary Lore
  You have a responsibility to the group. Do not put individual needs above the good of the group. Do not abandon your own.

Respect the sanctity of the homes of others.

Fight loneliness, in yourself and others. It is a disease of the soul that cannot be healed in solitude. Never allow someone to languish alone.

Offer food. Welcome all to the Feast of Creation.

Be a Maker and not a Destroyer.

Holidays

Festival of Devotion Communities hold large potluck feasts. Everyone is expected to contribute a dish to share. (It's considered bad form to eat what you brought yourself.) Very small children are encouraged to help older family members cook, and a child's first independently created offering is particularly celebrated. As the sun sets, the members of the community come together in a central location like a town square. They carry small candles and sing. A priestess of Calitai lights the candle of an elder who in turn lights the candle of a young child (both drawn by lot for the privilege). The flame is then passed from person to person until all candles are lit. While this is happening, celebrants sing songs of strength in kinship and communal identity.

Mental characteristics

Personal history

My table is yours. Please accept this meal. I share it freely. May it nourish your soul as well as your flesh.
— bearfolk ritual welcoming a guest to a meal
 

In the beginning, the bearfolk foraged for themselves. Like their ursine ancestors, parents fed their children only until they were old enough to fend for themselves. Then came a flood like none that came before and none that has come after. Many died, washed away by the ruthless waters. For those who lived, the trials began then. Resources were scarce. The survivors began fighting among themselves, even killing each other for food.

Legend has it that Calitai was an older woman whose children were grown. Though it drew ridicule for foolishness, she shared what she had. When some tried to take what she would give freely, she defended both her food stores and her guests. Her selflessness and dedication led to her ascension.   (Skeptics point out that this conflicts with other myths, including the origin of life. But church leaders dismiss this issue as unimportant.)

Taboos

Letting people go hungry.
Disrespecting or betraying the hospitality of others.
Abandoning those for whom you are responsible.

Holy Symbol - Calitai

by Sakura Doku

Divine Classification
God
Species
Bearfolk

Portfolio

Community
Family
Home
Cooking
Coming of Age
Motherhood
Caretakers
A star laughed into the void. That laughter sparkled in the darkness and Idhrishi was born. But Idhrishi, for all that he amused himself, could not eat laughter, and he starved. Compassion for his tears and practicality for his woes coalesced and Calitai offered her first comfort.
— A Mother's Honor, holy tome
  Calitai is the calm of the morning before you get out of bed. She is the breath a mother takes when her child has done something woefully stupid. She is the warm glow of the hearth fire on a cold night, the feel of a belly full of hearty stew in winter. It is to her that newlyweds pray for a long life together. Her priests bless the first-laid stone in a new hearth, and her symbol appears on many lintels. Calitai always wants you to come home.


Cover image: Baribal by Gustav M├╝tzel

Comments

Author's Notes

The Book of Hoary Lore is a tribute to my husband's grandmother, who passed down an old cookbook - crumbling, but still used every year for our Christmas dinner prep.


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