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Religious Expert

A religious expert (Òrdulúɥɛȟtə) is an individual member of a Droga who is particularly devoted to religious practice, and has, thusly, learned a great deal about the Stenza gods and muhye. Each clan has at least one, and some have specific knowledge related to the region in which they are based. For example, Pass clans have religious experts who are highly knowledgeable about the Snow Warrior and Snow Pups.   A religious expert is not an astronomer, although there is a lot of overlap and collaboration between the two professions, and it is commonly known that the first astronomers were also the clan religious leaders.

Qualifications

A religious expert must be highly studied in the arts of prayer, dance, and the stories of the gods and spirits (the stories of those who have gone before don't hurt either). Often they are taught by another expert, having sought them out as adolescents or children due to phenomena like particularly strange dreams (highly uncommon) or strange "feelings" (somewhat more common). The decision to train is something of an intuitive process, but the willingness to commit to the long years of study show great potential. An expert will not just train up anyone, although it knows no civilian/citizen divide.

Requirements

A student of Òrdulúɥ is chosen by a current expert for a host of reasons (many relating to signs, omens, or vague "senses", allowable in this case due to the nature of the work) and must then give years or decades to the study of religion and its practices. The more basic components, such as prayer in the form of An'o, are the first skills taught (and some, like prayer, are taught to all children on the belief that no one should be prohibited from the most basic forms of devotion). Deeper work, like ecstatic trance, comes later, as well as lessons in skills such as mountain climbing.   All of this is coupled with instruction in the stories of gods and spirits (and, with regard to the latter, appropriate customs of appeasement), with which the student must become fluent. This is a requirement the student shares with Khe'drakha orators and non-Òrdulúɥɛȟtə an'o performers, so potentials in all three groups are commonly instructed together, although expectations are higher for potential experts.

Appointment

To be considered an "expert", one must have studied intently for years, finely honing the techniques of ecstatic dance, prayer, offering, and so on, and "know the myths backwards and forwards", so to speak. They must also be proficient at Mountain Climbing. Only then is one considered an expert on the subject.

Duties

Most broadly, a clan's religious expert or leader is responsible for the "spiritual well-being" of the clan. While this does not come up often in day to day life, at least once a year many help preside over shifting pups, counsel individuals (some as young as a few weeks old) on spiritual experiences they have had, and may help oversee a Citizenship Trial, depending on its arduousness and location. Additionally they teach the fundamentals of prayer and dance to all as part of the education system, with the support of a Khe'drakha oralist.

Responsibilities

Religious experts spend much of their time teaching the children of the clan the basics of an'o, the stories of the gods and spirits, and other fundamentals as part of a well-rounded education on how to function in Stenza society. They also get called in by Fourth Officers (and the occasional Third Officer) in order to vet questionable spiritual experiences reported by the troops.
Type
Religious, Special
Alternative Naming
Religious Leader
Related Locations
Related Organizations

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