The God of the Ocean and of War

"By Raidhse’s hammer, may the dogs of war pass over you."
Laird Sadach to His Order on the Eve of Battle


Born of Cal's blood sacrifice, Raidhse is often written off as a bloodthirsty god by nature, the fiercest and most feared of all the gods. But in truth, they long not for the bloodshed necessary to maintain their very existence. They only wish to bring Cal's dream to life, and create a path between the darkness below and the light above. Raidhse is saddled with this, the most impossible task of all, forcing them to wage war against the land and sky with their uisgeach for all eternity.

The blood of those killed in honorable battle is necessary to sustain Raidhse, but they live for the love of their parents. This combination of ferocity, kindness, and endless diligence attracted the great eye of the sky, Fìrinne. The two fell hard and fast for each other, and from their romance come the tides, as Raidhse follows their spouse in their daily orbit. Raidhse treasures truth and the blood of an honest death above all else. However, those that cross Raidhse by recklessly spilling innocent blood, or by upsetting their beloved Fìrinne, must face the incredible, destructive force of Raidhse's war hammer.

Worship and Ritual

For luck in battle, knights and warriors of all ilk will confess a heavy truth, seal it with a thumb print of their own blood, and cast it into a body of water. In this, they are said to strengthen Raidhse with their blood, and appease the god of war with a gift of truth for their eye in the sky.

When a warrior dies a heroic death, they are returned to the god of war to receive their eternal blessing. When the battle is done, their bodies are gathered upon a raft, ship, or other watercraft, and set adrift in the nearest body of water. Once away from shore, the craft is set ablaze with a flaming arrow customarily fired by one that knew them well. It is believed that to see waves lapping up at the flames is a sign that the powerful uisgeach are carrying the warrior souls into the light above.

However, as powerful as the god of war may be, they are not infallible. In honor of brave, heartbroken Cuimhne -- the only being to whom Raidhse has ever lowered their head in surrender -- there is one final tradition worth mentioning, as much as Raidhse may despise it. 

At the close of the Festival of Samhain every year, the people of Èirigh deal a humbling blow to the god of war by winding a thread of yarn about a stem of barley and throwing it upon the blazing hearth. Out of regret for their actions that fateful hour, Raidhse turns a blind eye to these offerings, knowing better than to cross the god of memory a second time.

by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

See Also

The Many Gods of Èirigh: A Religious Primer
Myth | Dec 28, 2021

A brief overview of the spiritual practices of Èirigh.

Myth | Jan 1, 2022

The god of the hearth, the home, and memory.

Cover image: by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash


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Dec 31, 2021 17:22 by TC

A god of war who does not wish to fight, the impossible battle they have to wage... I absolutely love the visuals you're painting, this is really rich in symbolism and layers, I love it so much :'0

Creator of Arda Almayed
Apr 2, 2022 19:22 by Maybe Stewart

Thanks so much, TC! I truly appreciate it ^_^

Apr 2, 2022 13:17 by E. Christopher Clark

The summary section here is such a huge part of why Raidhse comes across as such a compelling antagonist in other articles/stories. You've really considered what makes them tick. They're not at all a one-note villain, and I really appreciate that.

Track my progress on Summer Camp 2024!
Apr 2, 2022 20:49 by Maybe Stewart

Thank you, Chris! It was definitely a challenge to make sure the full pantheon was fleshed out like this, but I had a blast doing it.