Haltjanism is an ancient religion practiced by the Saralians and Nehenians. It involves the veneration of their ancestors and the worship of the spirits of nature.
Mythology & Lore
Creation MythHaltjanists believe that the spirits were around before the world even existed, but after centuries of remaining idle, they formed the planet of Ryel so that they could inhabit new homes. Thousands of spirits merged up to form a rock sphere and then the spirits of the sea filled the surface of the new planet with water. The sky spirits came next and they worked together with the sea spirits to bring rain and thunder to the world.
For thousands of years, they were content with their new home, but many of the spirits desired a dryer place to inhabit, and so thousands of them formed the islands and continents that dot the landscape of the planet. With water, land, and air, the spirits began experimenting with life itself. At first, the life they created using their ancient magic was weak and died within minutes, but then, they decided to inhabit the lifeforms themselves and discovered that only with a spirit, can a creature exist.
Haltjanisms origins lie with the fall of the old Empire of Lethea c. 5000 BA. The oppressed Saralians rose up and defied the Lethean government, freeing their people from foreign rule and their foreign religion.
According to Saralian folklore, a local man, who most considered an insane hermit, almost drowned in one of the Great Saralian Lakes, the exact lake is unclear, but he miraculously survived without any help. Upon reaching the nearest village, he spoke of a semi-transparent, half-naked woman, who had carried him back to shore. At first, the locals thought nothing of it, after all, he'd told stories of strange and absurd things before, but the man didn't give up. He kept telling the village folk about the miracle that had happened to him and after months of being a nuisance, the village elder gave in to his demands and went to the shores of the lake.
For an hour they waited, but nothing happened. As the elder's patience had been about to run out, the spirit revealed herself for just a few seconds, but long enough for the elder and the other villagers to see that she existed. The story spread from village to village, giving the Saralians hope that times were about to turn for the better and that their lands would be reclaimed with the assistance of these spirits.
As their ancient war for independence began, the Saralians began worshipping the spirits as gods, and in return, the spirits granted the most devout Haltjanists the powers of a spirit mage.
Tenets of Faith
Haltjanism doesn't have priests who have developed complicated books about how a true Haltjanist should worship the spirits or how they should live, instead, several unwritten tenets of faith have naturally developed through the course of history.
- There are no gods, only spirits.
- Always ask for the spirits permission when committing actions that might have an effect on the spirit or their habitat.
- Respect everyone's ancestors, unless the specific ancestor happened to be a serious criminal.
- Consume within reason and give away what you cannot use.
- Keep the environment clean.
Haltjanists worship and show their admiration and respect toward the spirits by bringing them offerings and animal sacrifices. The most offerings are portions of their harvest, bear pelts, and the ashes of their deceased family members. For their ancestors they leave a hardy meal with kvass on the table for the night on Rebirth Day.
Political Influence & Intrigue
The only two Haltjanist countries in the world are the Kingdom of Sarala and the Grand Duchy of Ärli, and only the former is properly recognized by the international community. Since their religion lacks gods, many find the Haltjanism confusing and alien, unsure whether it could even be called a religion. This has left the Haltjanist states in a precarious diplomatic situation as few wish to enter into a military alliance with them.