Saya Unal

The Eyes of Netamesphut

A deep twilight sky awash with fast-streaked flames, alas, the bright song of a Heron sing; here a great people fall to an icey howling born of deceit.
Pasali Nihat, 2nd Saya Unal of Baruti;
Oracular Record, 2nd century

The Saya Unal are a highly esteemed group of religious oracles revered among the Ileri, and second only to the religion's High Priest- ranking them second highest among the Ilerian religious Elite.   While many minor Oracles exist among the Ileri, having a natural propensity for divination, only the best are trained to serve in the Se-Hesmiya. These individuals are trained in the ways of vision seeking, becoming Saya Unal.
Current Oracles & their Locations

Requirements for Service

 
Saya Unal are exclusively chosen from women, as only the women of the Ileri are born with the natural gift of prophecy required for the position; in the event that a male presenting individual manifests such abilities, they become Haram and are taken to temples to live as women in service to the Saya Unal.   Such divinatory gifts typically present themselves among the Ileri by age 12. Many who manifest them, however, have low level abilities and typically stay within their village- using them to help their own people. Occasionally a young woman will manifest stronger abilities, driving them to seek out training at one of the Se-Hesmiya.
Unlike among the Enethi, who have similar Oracles, the Ileri maintain no purity laws for those serving as Saya Unal. For this reason they are free to have sexual relations, marry, and even birth children during their tenure. Many find it difficult to juggle such responsibilities with those of their profession, however.   Still, Saya Unal are encouraged to bear at least one child throughout the course of their life, as there is a always a higher chance that their children will possess strong enough abilities to take their place after their death.
 

Methods & Interpretation

 
I saw her cast the petals in one by one and contemplate them. For the life of me, I couldn't see whatever it was that she did. But within minutes she produced a favorable omen for my travels abroad. And so with a heavy heart I write to inform you that I leave tomorrow. I shall go to Ar'lasang first- and then from there to Martova. Where, from there, I know not yet.
Pylus Tomusli, Marine Elf Adventurer
Divination is typically performed through Hydromancy, Water based Scrying methods, and Dowsing. Other methods, however, may include casting rocks, leaves, and other trinkets into flowing water and examining their path for signs and omens (a form of Divination similar to Hydromancy).   Divine visions themselves, however, require an intense trance state entered into through a combination of magical incense, and the consumption of the toxic root of a particular kind of Lotus sacred to Netamesphut, which grows in areas believed to be blessed by her presence and energy. The resulting visions produced during these transcendant states, are believed to be direct revalations from Netamesphut herself, and are poured over by Priests seeking their interpretations.
  The results of both divination and vision seeking are frequently vague- leaving them open for interpretation; many a squabble has resulted from conflicting opinions as to how a prophesy or omen should be interpreted. All have come to pass with accuracy, however, even if the original interpretation was incorrect.

Cover image: Reaching Hand by Min An

Comments

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2 Jan, 2021 01:39

The requirements for service section is really interesting, especially the comparison between these and a similar profession of another cuture. :)

2 Jan, 2021 01:54

I actually should have also mentioned the discrepancies between what the Ileri consider an oracle, and what the term's typically applied to by other groups. Because there's a male Ilerian character usually called an Oracle by outsiders who ISN'T technically one, but it's just kind of become common to call him that; I might expand the article to talk about that once the WE award ceremony's over lol.