Lepi Monotheism is, as the name implies, a monotheistic religious tradition found primarily among the Northern Lepidosian culture on Lepidos.
Mythology & Lore
Lepi Monotheism is also known as Raikepism after its primary deity, Raikep. This deity is also known as the Creator in the context of the syncretic Evermornan religion of Ancestral Patronism, where Izetsu serves as a mad prophet of the godhead in addition to his own role as a Patron of knowledge, the seas, and the void.
Raikep is often referred to as 'The Waters of Creation' because he represents a spiritual understanding of various natural phenomena (as observed in the religion's native Great Ilmenite Desert) which are associated with water. Raikep is symbolically associated with the rains, the flow of underground aquifers, the filling of freshwater springs, and (if angered) the crushing force of flash floods. Traditionally, Raikep is said to reside within Lepidos itself and serve as the body of all waters of life. When a Lepidosian is born, the amniotic fluid that comes with the child is said to be left over from when the deity was shaping the individual and infusing them with ren, one of the several spiritual essences that make up a living being. Drawing ground water or collecting rain is seen as partaking in the gift of renewed life offered by Raikep. Similarly, the preservation of things through dehydration - including the embalmed bodies of the honored dead - is seen as a proper offering of water, and thereby life essence, back to the godhead. The water of life will subsequently be regifted to subsequent living beings upon birth, completing the cycle of eternity. The part of a Lepidosian that lives beyond death is said to go with this water back to Raikep in the Place of Twilight Mists, with final unity and peace in the godhead coming about once one has completely finished drying out. Exposure to space travel under the influence of their Cobalt Protectorate allies has forced Lepi Monotheism to expand their beliefs regarding Raikep and his place in the cosmos. Modern Lepi Monotheists regard Raikep as being not only in Lepidos, but in any part of the universe that harbors water or ice in any form, as each of these places has the potential to harbor Raikep's gift of life. In turn, Lepi Monotheism has influenced Ancestral Patronism in that it interprets of the water of life as a gift to be shared with future generations; these beliefs pair well with the Evermornan spacer's desire to support their loved ones even beyond death in the form of nutrients for the food-giving soil. In this sense, Raikep is now regarded as a ubiquitous creator deity tasked with the prepetuation of life wherever it might be harbored.
Tenets of Faith
Followers of Lepi Monotheism are expected to conserve and make careful use of their resources, particularly water supplies. Preservation of foodstuffs through drying should be accompanied with orisons to Raikep in the hopes that he will accept the supplicant's offering of moisture. A gift of water is the gift of life; one should share water with those with whom one wishes to forge strong bonds, but not with those likely to show ingratitude. Fresh water should never be willfully spilled or mixed with spoiled or saline water, as this shows that the person doing it is spurning the gift of life-giving drink, though soups and beverages are acceptable so long as their constituents are added to the water instead of the other way around. For this same reason, Raikep commands that his followers avoid spilling blood except in defense of oneself or others; it should be noted that this is technically a commandment against wasting the waters of life, not killing per se. Raikep requires that the dead be properly embalmed and entombed so that their water of life can return to him and complete the cycle of life and death. Traditionally, Lepi Monotheists met this requirement by mummifying their dead and interring them in niches in catacombs through which dry air can be circulated. Cremation and dissolution in supercritical water reactors (as one might find on long-haul starships) are also acceptible funerary practices, so long as the remains are thuroughly dried and the water vapor allowed to return to the natural cycle. Similarly, the cast-off tissue that accompanies a newborn should also be dessicated as an offering to Raikep, as this demonstrates that the supplicant sees and respects the deity's gift of new life.
Priests of Raikep are humble men and women of faith who distribute rations of water from sanctified clay decanters for the imbibment of their congregation. Priests wear white robes adorned with the Piplekre na Tae 're' glyph, representing both the first sound in Raikep's name and the image of vapor rising from a spring in the desert. Members of the clergy are drawn from the ranks of the faithful and elevated to their position after a period of apprenticeship as an acolyte to an elder priest. Though they generally recieve larger allotments of water than most members of the faith, as channelers of Raikep's divine will, they are required to distribute most of it to the faithful and drink only after all others in a group situation have had their first sip.