Winds of Creation Tradition / Ritual in The Calinan Sea | World Anvil

Winds of Creation

"Shiereleya, Lady of Wind, Mistress of Creation, breathe your free spirit into the souls of these budding artists. Spark their imaginations, spur their creativity, unshackle their spirits, and know that in seven days you will be presented with the fruits of their adoration."
-Exarch Tresio of the Shiereleyan Templar, inaugurating the annual Winds of Creation.
  The Winds of Creation is a festival held in most city-states and kingdoms with a considerable Elementalist presence. It is a festival dedicated to Shiereleya, the Elemental goddess of wind, and patron goddess of free spirits, creativity and art. Aspiring artists- from writers to sculptors to silversmiths to jewellers to many many more - all attend the festival. These artists are all driven by the hope of creating a piece of work worthy of being selected as the work that best reflects the spirit of Shiereleya.   Generally speaking there are no restrictions on the topic of the piece of art that may be submitted. There have been many instances where a work that seemingly has no relevance to the goddess has won, as it still demonstrates the tenets that the goddess holds dear, such as creativity or freedom. As the work is intended for a period of public exhibition, it is expected that a certain level of taste be shown, but beyond this, a work can be about anything.   All kinds of works have been submitted; poems, songs, sculptures, paintings, mosaics, anything tangible. With that said, the artistic works are intended to be sacrificed to Shiereleya at the end of the ceremony, an act that will destroy the work, so therefore the work must be a tangible item. In the case of a song, poem, play or story, it must be presented in written form on a medium of the artist's choosing. If it is a play or song, it may be performed once by the creator, and may never be repeated again - doing so would be seen as a grievous slight to the goddess and a direct attack on the Shiereleyan Templar.  


The festival takes place during the early summer, and is intended to concide with a period of time where the winds across most of Arikanda are strong, but not so strong as to be unpleasant or intolerable - the 'idealised' condition for Shiereleya's winds.   The largest instance of the festival, and the one considered the 'official' instance of it, takes place in the holy city of High Shie, located in the Vessene Mountains. For those who are unable to make the journey to High Shie, there are a number of satellite festivals that take place in many major cities and towns across southern and central Arikanda. Generally speaking, High Shie is the place a person goes if they seek fame and glory, but even regional festivals can help a budding artist.   In addition to Arikandan cities, some instances of the festival take place in distant former colonies and non-Arikandan cities with a sizable Elementalist presence such as Maganti and Solathi in northern Calina, and the Free City of Kas on both sides of Arikanda and Sembar.  

A blue glass statuette of Shiereleya, submitted and chosen first in the Winds of Creation of 422 TE


The festival is split into seven days. The first four days are known as the Days of Creation, and are in turn followed by the Day of Exhibition, the Day of Reflection, and the Day of Affirmation respectively.  

The Days of Creation

The first Day of Creation begins early in the morning with a ceremony held by the Exarch (or outside of High Shie, the ranking priest) welcoming all attendees to the ceremony. They lead a prayer to Shiereleya, honouring the goddess and invoking her blessing on her faithful as a whole. The various artists who are participating are then called forward, and the Exarch calls upon Shiereleya to inspire the winds of creativity and freedom within them.   After this ceremony, the participants are then sequestered from the rest of the populace in specially isolated workshops to commence their works. They must undertake this alone, and may not leave the workshop until the fourth Day of Creation has ended. They are provided with meals, and their workshops are equipped with bathing and bedding facilities. They may request materials for their works from specially appointed attendants who can acquire these.  

The Day of Exhibition

The fifth day, the Day of Exhibition, sees the participants attend the Courtyard of Creation (or if outside of High Shie, the local Temple of Shiereleya) to present their works for inspection by the Exarch or priest. During this period, the general public are not permitted access to the temple or the works. Each artist is asked to explain their creation, their process, and how it pays homage to the goddess and her tenets. Once this is completed, the participants are dismissed.  

The Day of Reflection

On the sixth day, the Day of Reflection, the Exarch or priest is sequestered in the temple sanctum, where they reflect upon each work. They are not permitted to go back to the works and are expected to use only their recollection of the works and the feelings and impressions they experienced. They are expected to spend the entire day thinking about these works and looking for ways in which they best reflect the tenets of Shiereleya, particularly the concepts of creative and spiritual freedom. They may - and indeed are expected - to commune with the goddess for guidance, and can consult texts for guidance, but may not discuss their decision with anybody else.   While this is going on, the location of the works are made public, and the populace are invited to view each work. The artists are encouraged, but not required, to attend and discuss their works with the populace.  

The Day of Affirmation

On the final day of the ceremony, the Day of Affirmation, all participants are summoned before the Sky Altar, a large bowl altar built on a flat stone plateau on the outskirts of High Shie overlooking the Vessene Mountain range. Outside of High Shie, other equivalents ranging from a smaller bowl altar all the way to a simple cobbled-together altar of wood and stone out in the elements can suffice. The important factor is that the altar must be set up under the open sky, in open view of Shiereleya herself.   The Exarch then announces the winning piece of art before the assembled peoples. The winner of the ceremony is presented with a mistletoe wreath and a light, airy white robe said to be blessed by Shiereleya herself. The Exarch then prays and invokes Shiereleya's blessing upon the artist, and they are acclaimed before the crowd of assembled peoples.   Once this is done, the participants conduct a ritual prayer honouring Shiereleya and commiting their work of art to her. The winning piece of art is then sacrificed upon the altar - in the case of wood, textiles, vellum or papyrus these are simply burned in the altar, while stone works are broken into fragments and ground to powder before being symbolically cast into the flames and scattered to the winds. Other participants may then sacrifice their own pieces.   Crowds generally tend to dwindle at this point, although the nominated priest remains until the final piece has been sacrificed. At that time, the priest closes the ceremony, invoking a final blessing, and the participants and crowds return to their homes.


The festival is presided over by the highest ranking priest of Shiereleya in the area. In High Shie itself, this is the Exarch of the Shiereleyan Templar. In other cities this can be the ranking Kolotor of a region, and in towns and villages it can be a simple priest. In any case, the ranking priest's role is to inaugurate the ceremony and invoke Shiereleya's blessing, judge the submitted works, and then oversee the final sacrifices.   Historically, many artists who have won the Winds of Creation festival have gone on to great fame and acclaim - many archons, kings and queens have attended the festival specifically to seek out the finest creative minds for patronages, and a talented individual could find themselves in their service.   Natural philosophers and accomplished artists also visit the festivals both in High Shie and around Arikanda, and sometimes take on disciples. Word of mouth can spread very quickly, and with Elementalism's presence in many kingdoms and city-states, a winner or someone who created a particularly impressive work might be the talk of a city hundreds of kilometres away.
Important Locations
Related Ethnicities

Cover image: by World Anvil


Please Login in order to comment!