Archpastor Rank/Title in Salan | World Anvil
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The archpastosr are the leaders of the temples of the Sisters of the Weaver. They are the highest authorities in the priesthood of Áfawarsal the Weaver, and among the most important people in Aramacänten.  


  • Working as an intermediary between the other pastors and the Goddess
  • Highest leadership of the áçäwal
  • Managing the performance of the religious ceremonies
  • Managing the taxes and gifts from the surrounding countryside
  • Managing the production activities of the temple
  • Approving the new members to the monastic order
  The Áçäwal temples are semi-independent political entities, and often exercise rulership over the nearby countryside and towns. The rulership of the surroundings is often shared with a local king, who is usually a man and a military leader. The different temples form a complex web of diplomacy, where some of the temples hold more power, based on their control of resources and contacts with the military.  


The archpastor is chosen among the Pastors of the Flock. She is often an older pastor, but usually not the oldest, because she needs to be both wise and strong, and preferably capable of leading the Flock for a long time. While the pastors can in rare cases be men, the Archpastor is always a woman.

The Archpastor should be talented in the crafts of the monastery, wise in knowing the oral history and the gods, and blessed by the Goddess. The worldly relationships should in theory not affect the choise, but in practise pastors with good relations to the current rulers are often chosen. There have been many times, where the ruling Archpastor has been the sister or other close relative of the ruling King of the empire. This helps to stabilise the dualistic ruling system of Aramacänten, where the rule is divided between the divine leadership of the Archpastor, and the mortal king.  


Horned crown

The Pastors of the Weaver wear a goat-horn headdress to symbolize their position as the leader of the herd that is the Sisters and the whole spiritual family. The headdress of the Archpastor is made from especially large goat horns. The horns used for the headdress must be sourced from a wild goat, that was never leashed. A new headdress must be created for each new archpastor. Otherwise there is no other requirement for the shape of the horns, and the preferences have varied through times.

The shape and other decorations of the crown are chosen depending on the horns used as its base. The base of the headdress is often made from gold, and precious gems can be fitted to the base or the horns. These are often gifted to the archpastor by local kings and nobles that wish to buy her favour.  


The headpastor wears and multi-layered cloack of the finest wool. It is made of the clerical fabric weaved by the virgin Sisters, and no man or uniniated is allowed to touch it during the production. The dress is dyed with expensive coulour, and imported purple and blue are often prefered as the accent colours of the red of the typical sacred clothing.  

Inauguration ritual

First part of the inauguration of the chosen new archpastor, is the hunt for the horns for her crown. Mountain-travellers all around Aramacänten try to identify a goat suitable for the use. The goat's horns must be majestic in size, and an unusual colouring of the fur can be a sign that the goat has been chosen by Áfawarsal. Other qualifications can be announced by the future archpastor.

Once a suitable target has been identified, a hunting party is sent after it, while trackers keep the target goat in sight. The party consists of the future archpastor, talented hunters and trackers, and some of her closest Sisters. The main group is usually joined by spectators of important members of the society that want to be part of the ceremony. The kill should be made by the future-archpastor herself, but she is aided by the other members of the hunting party, who lead the goat to her and make sure it can't escape. Technically a failed hunt means that the pastor is not blessed, and thus can't be crowned, but the helpers make sure that this never happens in practise.

Once the kill is made, the horns are harvested, and the pelt is preserved for the archpastor's dress. The meat is prepared for a sacrificial meal on the spot, for the glory of Áfawarsal and the god of hunting (who is that?).  

Historical development

The old stories tell, that in the past the choosing of the next archpastor was left directly in hands of the divines. Any prospecting woman could join the hunt, and whoever caught the goat with the most impressive horns was deemed the winner. However, it is told that so many animals were slaughtered, that there was too much sacrificial meat for the gods to feed on, and the wild goats soon became so rare, that they were seen only on the most distant peaks that few dared to travel to. Then Áfawarsal stood down from the peaks and ordered, that is was proper, that only one candidate was chosen, and then she was to ask for the favour of the gods.

Áçawal hierarchy

  1. Archpastor
  2. Pastors
  3. Sisters
  4. Initiates and male sisters
  5. Employed laymen
  6. Servants and slaves
Religious, Clerical
Related Locations
Related Organizations

Ara and the goats

Goats are a culturally important animal to the Ara people, whose most important livelyhood in the Yamenawa highlands is goat herding. They are also the sacred animal of Áfawarsal, that produce the wool that she weaves into the threads of fate that guide every mortal. Goats, of all animals, are also thought to be closest to the gods, because they travel fearlessly to the high mountain peaks where the gods reside, to meet them.

Ara Religious Terminology

Goat symbolism is prevalent all over the religious language of the Ara.
  Buckling: male brother (considered pejorative, usually sister is used instead)
Doeling: sister, a priestess (a young female goat)
Flock: the congregation, people serving in the monastery
Kid: a young initiate (a young goat)
Pastor: priestess


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Jul 2, 2023 10:57

Overall very good title article. I really enjoy the take that goats are holy because they are fearless and climb mountains so obviously they communicate with the gods. (but what then of any natural predators of goats? something to explore in other articles possibly) There are a couple of things I might change for readability or clarity.   In the responsibilities section, it may be better to list the responsibilities as a bulleted list instead of in sentences. I would also possibly change the last bit to "some responsibilities are delegated" rather than the use of shared.   For clarification, does the king help rule the temple or the surrounding lands? You imply the latter throughout the article but explicitly state the former.   I'm not quite sure Initiation is the correct title for the last section, Inauguration is the only other thing that comes to mind but may also not fit. I think a cool addition would be some history about this, as I could see how in times past rather than one hunting party it would be separate sisters all hunting for the most impressive goat, but this changed due to "insert reason"   As I said, I enjoyed the read. Thanks for sharing and good luck with the rest of SummerCamp

Feel free to stop by some of my WorldEmber articles if you want. My favorites are The Book of the Unquiet Dead, Outpost of the Moons, and The Emerald Hills. Feedback is always appreciated.
Jul 2, 2023 11:06

Awesome feedback, thank you! Those are definitely questions I need to come back to!

Check out my Summer Camp 2023 wrap-up here!
Jul 3, 2023 07:59

I did some edits based on your feedback, in case you want to see what changed!

Check out my Summer Camp 2023 wrap-up here!
Jul 2, 2023 11:32 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I really love the idea that goats are divine. The bit about the Archpastor having to make the kill of the goat for her headress herself is great, especially the note about helpers making sure it never fails. I also love all the stuff about weaving and dyeing. Sounds like a lovely religion.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Jul 2, 2023 17:26

Thank you! ^^

Check out my Summer Camp 2023 wrap-up here!