Amanojaku, Goddess of the Unwanted Character in Pretheya | World Anvil

Amanojaku, Goddess of the Unwanted

"Oh, Mother Bastard: Protect me from the judgements of others, shield me from their mocking stares, and guard me against their othering words. Grant me the strength to walk upright, through wind and rain untouched, with emptiness itself for company; that I might never feel alone."
— Common prayer to Amanojaku
  Amanojaku is a minor divinity thought to hail from the time of the First Country, and is one of the eldest of the Pagan Saints. She, like all others among their number, are forbidden to be worshipped within the Rukhmarite world on pain of burning at the stake. She is also uniquely frowned upon even in countries that are normally more tolerant of other gods, such as those that follow the Ormr tradition, owing to her nature as a goddess of individuality and rejection.  


Amanojaku's full title is Bastard Mother of the Unwanted and Unloved. The first portion of her title has two meanings, depending on what order it is spoken in: Bastard Mother refers to the fact that she is believed to have been abandoned by her parents in life, and Mother Bastard refers to her role as the caretaker of the unwanted.   She is thought to preside over all those who are rejected by society for one reason or another; be it for their appearance; their mannerisms; their religious beliefs; their gender or sexuality; or anything else. Her domain has also been extended over the centuries to include various other related or commonly associated topics, which has lead to her coming to be worshipped by some as the patron goddess of homosexuality. In addition to these two primary roles, she is also associated with nature, specifically in regards to bad or unpleasant weather, foundlings, bastards, and in some cases the physically disabled.  


The Bastard Mother is primarily worshipped by those who have either been cast out from, or voluntarily left their community, and who do not seek to integrate into a new one. In this regard she is different from a goddess of outcasts, and rather represents those who have cut their ties with the rest of their people and now do not seek any place to call their own.   The reasons for which a person might choose to leave society vary enormously from individual to individual, but the majority who do so end up becoming wanderers of some sort. In some cases, these people become entirely solitary, attempting to avoid any contact what-so-ever with other people and living independently as hunter-gatherers in the way it is said that man did in the time after the First Country's collapse. Most, however, do not have the skills required to sustain themselves through such a way of living, and so more often they instead travel from village to village, plying some sort of a trade in exchange for food and a place to stay. They most often remain only for a brief time, usually a single season, before moving on to the next settlement. They commonly reside at the edge of a village or just outside of it when staying there, and many will attempt to avoid contact with villagers as much as possible; so as not to risk getting involved with them.


An uncommonly large amount of Amanojaku's followers are Speakers; individuals gifted with the ability to speak the Wild Tongues, who can speak flawlessly with both humans and animals alike. Speakers are prone to being shunned in towns and other communities due to their uncannily precise communicative abilities and perceptiveness, which often lead them into conflict with other villagers, commonly resulting in their expulsion. Many eventually grow tired of their poor treatment at the hands of fellow humans, and decide they would rather seek companionship from animals instead. Because of their ability to communicate with non-human creatures, they are incredibly adept hunters, and most have no problem sustaining themselves without the aid of others; making them uniquely well-suited to the solitary life of a follower of Amanojaku.  

Cultural Conceptions

Amanojaku herself is considered a heretical foreign divinity throughout the Rukhmarite world, as are all deities other than the Firebird herself. Little is known about her in most places, with her name being practically un-heard of in all but a handful of cities and towns. Knowledge of her mostly survives in small villages at the outskirts of civilisation, where she is still needed by the people. Even among the more tolerant populations of countries that still follow the Ormr tradition, she is usually thought of poorly due to the fact that her worshippers do not contribute to society.   Her followers are most commonly known as They Who Stand Apart, and most are, fittingly, shunned by others who do not worship her. They are often conceived of as lazy and antisocial individuals who would rather live alone than contribute to a community, and as travelling leeches that stop to drain the resources of one village before moving onto the next. They are believed to be untrustworthy, as they have no reason to try and foster good will with anyone they meet, and so are commonly accused of being witches or other kinds of magic-users. They are also the subjects of all sorts of rumours, with many people often suggesting that they are cursed, possessed by evil spirits, or had something go wrong with them at birth.

Within the Asutoan Peninsula

There exists one noteworthy exception to the followers of Amanojaku's usual perception: Within Asutoa, there are various settlements founded by Thousandforms whose ancestors were Intersedran traders that settled down in the region. The Thousandforms are no strangers to being made outcasts of by humans, owing to their unusual appearances and the fact that they follow the Estrellan religion, and so many have taken to founding settlements for those of their own kind where they can live away from persecution.   Within these communities, the children of Amanojaku are at times welcomed as kindred spirits; thought of as being similar to the Thousandforms in the sense that neither fit in among human civilisation. In one of the greatest ironies in Pretheyan history, this has lead some of They Who Stand Apart to settle down permanently in these villages, causing them to become a part of the community that lives there, and as a result, cease to be followers of Amanojaku.  


There are not any miracles associated with Amanojaku, and she has never been known to directly intervene in the mortal world as some other divinities have. In fact, while the Pagan Saints are known for their limited powers in comparison to modern deities, Amanojaku is considered particularly weak even by their standards; to the extent that many believe she does not grant her followers any blessings at all.   However, it is said that her followers always seem to be in good spirits, even in spite of the squalid conditions and rejection from others that many of them endure. They are known for being certain of themselves in a way that few others are, and it is said that insults and abuse slide off from them like water from a duck's back.
"The Bastard Mother does not grant her children miracles in the way that other deities might; and it is good that she does not, for what possible use could We Who Stand Apart have for them? Miracles are the domain of villagers, soldiers, priests, and nobles; worldly folk with desires in need of fulfilling. All that we desire is one thing: To be able to stand up straight while all others in the world wish to hobble us. To that end, She grants us the strength to believe in ourselves; to love ourselves no matter what others might say or think about us. And that, I say, is worth more than any miracle."


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