Ocean worship Organization in The Ocean | World Anvil
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Ocean worship

The River Culture bands who followed the river Ciiadociee to the Vastland coast brought with them their belief in the moon as a mother goddess. Over the next few centuries, as their descendants began traveling by sail to and from nearby islands, that belief was transferred to the ocean as the source of life. Ocean worship remained strong among Tideriders throughout the Oceanic Era, but began fading after the Cluster Islands were settled and shipping routes migrated to the east. By about 1000 Vol, a very few families were still performing rituals to the ocean, and those not frequently. Modern Tideriders respect its power as a force of nature, not as a divine entity.

Mythology & Lore

Below the surface of the ocean is believed to lie the Deeps, the place where people first came from and where they would return to when they died.

Divine Origins

The first bands to settle the Long Coast quickly observed the correspondence between the moon's location in the sky and the height of the tide. They concluded that the ocean was a means by which people could communicate with the moon, and Tide Readers established themselves as divine intermediaries. With the advent of offshore sailing, the ocean became more central to the beliefs and practices. By 800 Oce it had entirely replaced the moon as an object of worship.

Cosmological Views

In the ocean cosmology, all the people originally dwelt in the Deeps. A figure called First One emerged from under the water to find a barren land. He returned to the Deeps five times, each time returning with someone else who contributed something to the land: seeds, leaves, rain, wind, and breath. With each gift, the land gained a new attribute: life, growth, motion, change, and companionship. Only the last person stayed with First One, and together they brought forth people onto the land.


The most common ritual was that of the meal's first serving, known to be widely practiced by 6000 Oce. Before any meal could be served to the crew, a portion first had to be placed in the water as an offering. If the crew were taking the meal too far inland to give the ocean its share directly, they would designate an individual to be fed as the ocean's proxy.
Some tiderider lore suggests a possible origin for this ritual. There are stories that describe a human figure rising from the ocean, stepping onto the ship, and asking to join in the meal. The stranger would then take the offered food and return to the deeps. From the modern perspective, it seems clear that these were early instances of visitors from the Eddy's Water Seekers. The Tideriders of the time, however, believed them to be a personification of the ocean, and could reasonably have considered it safest to continue offering food whether the ocean asked for it or not.


As a religion, ocean worship never had a formalized structure of clergy. Navigators learned the trade through a guild system, but were not involved in the daily religious practices. Their role was more that of a prophet, watching for the signs that told where the ship was and what mood the ocean was in. As the one responsible for the family and fleet, the Mother Captain was usually the one who served in the role of priest, determining the appropriate rituals to perform and making sure they were done correctly.

600 Oce - 1000 Vol

Religious, Other

What Remains Today

Not all the rituals and practices of ocean worship faded out when the beliefs did. Superstitions about the tide are still commonplace; interestingly, they are held more by island dwellers than by tideriders. Many activities are associated with favorable tides. People born at a high tide are thought to be especially lucky. Even among those who do not hold to superstition, expressions such as "good tides raise you" and "by the turning tide" are part of daily speech.

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