Temple of Papatūānuku Organization in Totania | World Anvil
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Temple of Papatūānuku

The Temple of Papatūānuku is one of the major religions of Totania, centralized in the Northern Sea. The Major Domains of the religion are Nature and the Element of Water. She is Goddess of all of the land and sea.  

The Sunken Temple

Unlike the beauty of Papatūānuku's nature, her temple is a ruin beneath the sea (See Sidebar for more details). The Nereids are now the only ones who can readily travel to the Temple, with any land-dwellers needing water magic to even get to the Sunken Temple.   This has led to a new job in Northern Nereid society: the tour guide. Northern Nereids learn common, then staying off the northern coast of Elone and waiting for some land-dweller to seek out the Temple. The Nereids will then warn the land-dweller of the danger and how they won't be able to breathe, and say they can bring the land-dweller to the Temple in exchange for some money, goods, or services in return.
Selene by Jarhed

Underwater Garden

When one approaches the Sunken Temple of Papatūānuku, the first thing they would see is almost an air bubble that surrounds the temple itself. This air bubble is created by the unbelievably large garden that grows around it, with the trees in said garden producing oxygen to allow land-dwellers to walk in the temple.   The garden is filled with at least one of every kind of plant, from the Stemine to the Spiteful Plant to simple roses. It is grand, the largest garden in the world, spanning a circular area around the entire Temple of Papatūānuku. Pillars of plants, shaped in extravagant sculptures depicting scenes of nature, are found within the garden, alongside raised paths made of vines and other plants that allow anyone to walk in the garden without trampling the crops.  

Animal Shelter

Within the Sunken Temple, there are all sorts of environments for all kinds of animals in Totania. Therefore, anyone who has a pet who they must rid themselves of for one reason or another can bring it to the Sunken Temple. This was once much easier when it was above the waves, which is why there are now fewer animals there.   The animals are taken care of by one of Papatūānuku's Archpriests, who deals with the animals. They also have some lower ranked Priests helping them, of course.  


The Sunken Temple is, of course, not a ruin. Not anymore, at least. After thousands of years, it was never going to stay a ruin. Renovations of been done to keep it up with the times, including glass walls in some areas to permit grass and other plantlife to get sunlight, as well as to allow visitors and Priests to see the ocean and the marine life around the temple.

Indifference vs Jealousy

Papatūānuku had few Gods who would ever even imagine doing anything against her. After all, she controlled all nature on the planet. What most Gods had domains for was in some way tied to Papatūānuku herself. However, there was one Goddess who would spite Papatūānuku as many ways as she could.   Selene, Goddess of the Elves, has a second title after all. This title is the Jealous Goddess. This is especially exemplified in one of her major domains: The Moon. This is stolen from Izanagi. But one of Selene's most well known achievements is the creation of the Northern Sea, the ocean that covers the entire north of Totania, keeping Moroza separate from all other continents.   This land once belonged to the Giant Kingdom, who worshipped Papatūānuku alongside some other Gods like Phrixus and their major Gods, the Holy Trinity of Leigong, Athena, and the Nameless God. Papatūānuku's Temple was at the center of their Kingdom, as nature was at the center of all life.   Selene was jealous of Papatūānuku's worship as some form of foundational Goddess, thinking that she was just as worthy of worship. Selene knew she could not just recreate nature itself, but she also knew she could try to recreate Papatūānuku's Great Sea, the southern ocean of Totania. So she did so, destroying the Giant Kingdom and sinking Papatūānuku's Temple beneath the ocean.   Selene has often clashed with Papatūānuku due to her jealousy, but Papatūānuku pays it little mind. She says that nature does not care for rivalries. Nature is the indifferent force of the world, as it is mortals who choose sides.
Papatūānuku by Jarhed
Some other renovations that were done include replacement of the old, mossy stones in favor of newer, greener stone that is suited to growing more sustainable plant-life on it other than moss. After all, there are beautiful flowers all over the temple, and with moss there the flowers would be only a dot in a large sea of green.  

Origins of the Church

Many question the origin of the Sunken Temple. Its architecture does not seem man-made in any way, even not resembling Giant architecture like the Church of Athena, instead seeming more like it was built into Totania itself. This is, in fact, the case.   When Totania was made by Hadur, God of Creation, Family, Community, and eventually Dwarves, there was a dead world. Stone, mountains, and little else. The general shape of the world was there, even places where oceans and rivers could eventually sit, but there was only the shape. Nothing more.   Papatūānuku, then, stepped in. She grew trees, plants, and grass. She made sand for deserts and beaches, ice for Moroza, rivers and lakes that dot all continents, and the Great Sea, which spanned the southern part of Totania. From this, on the Northern Continent, she built herself a place. A place that would eventually be called a temple. It was made of all natural resources, wood from trees that simply bent into place, stone as if they were deep underground, dirt and soil for plants to grow in, sand to suit her desert needs, and so much more.  

The Giants

It was only retroactively that it became a place for worship, as the Giants made by Athena, Leigong, and the Nameless God decided to revere Papatūānuku as a holy figure akin to their trinity of creators.   While Giants could not always fit into Papatūānuku's Temple, they would at least poke their heads in or say a prayer outside of the temple.   Selene would go on to flood the Northern continent and destroy the Giant Kingdom. This would sink Papatūānuku's Temple as well, making it what it is now: The Sunken Temple.  

Creation of the Nereids

For quite some time, Papatūānuku worship and her texts were believed lost to time. As Elves became the most prominent race in much of Elone, and Korvians and Orcs took over Udai, their Gods tried to keep Papatūānuku's teachings quiet. Selene was jealous of Papatūānuku, Morrigan creates death and therefore is not a fan of the Goddess of nature and, in a way, life, and the Orc God Nergal seeks destruction, so the reconstructive nature of Nature is against his teachings.   After about 200 years of Elves and Orcs keeping Papatūānuku away, she decided to make a race of people to populate her watery resting place. She made the Nereids, people with gills, colored blue to adapt better to life in the ocean. They split into two factions, yet each worshipped her. The Northern Nereids, who lived around her temple and the former Giant Kingdom city, which was now their capital, Lorev were the originals. The secondary kingdom was the Southern Nereids, whose society was more warlike as they were farther separated from Papatūānuku and her Temple.  


Papatūānuku, thanks to the Nereids getting her teachings out to the world and making it easier for people to visit the Temple, once more became one of the most worshipped Gods, with Druids and Beastmasters especially flocking to her religion. After all, it suited their beliefs of nature and their love of it.   Ever since, few Gods have attempted to challenge Papatūānuku. To challenge her is to challenge the world, and with Churches like the Churches of Hadur, Phrixus, Sia, and most notably the King of the Gods Izanagi speaking out in protection and defense of Papatūānuku. To this, Papatūānuku says,
"I do not need the Gods to speak for the trees. I need the people to do so. I need each and every resident of this beautiful world to acknowledge and pledge themselves to preserving the perfection of nature."
— Papatūānuku


Papatūānuku's teachings are found in her Holy Text, also known as the "Suor." Within it, one can find Papatūānuku's thoughts, though for the most part she tried to keep them brief. They are written on stone tablets, but she knew that they would need to be published on trees to be distributed, and she did not want too many trees to be cut down for her to simply say that they should not cut down trees and waste their resources.  


Papatūānuku wishes for all people of Totania to respect the natural world. She wishes that life could exist in it without further development, saying that civilization can be seen in many ways as a curse that will eventually destroy nature. However, she does not hate her followers who still live in civilization.   As a matter of fact, she believes civilization can be good for spreading ideas, and that it should simply stay as is with no further expansion. She hopes her teachings can spread faster in cities, where more people will agree with them.   She also preaches that people should not harm plantlife, and should instead work towards growing and cultivating more. It is Papatūānuku's belief that:
"If every person in the world could plant ten plants or trees, the world would be a better place. They would all understand the fragility of life and what it is like to create it, as we Gods created them. They may be able to cut down a forest of trees, but I could cut down an army of them. They must understand that."
— Papatūānuku


Papatūānuku's teachings also bring up the idea of clean drinking water. She speaks out against polluting the oceans, lakes, and rivers of the world, saying that to do so is
"Criminal and Unjust."
— Papatūānuku
  She urges her followers with Water Magic to find those who litter or pollute into the ocean and spray them with water. If they wish to put refuse in the water, let the water bring refuse back unto them. That is her philosophy on it, at least.  


Papatūānuku's Priests have many duties. They tend to the garden, the animals, and Papatūānuku herself. They say prayers to her as they do their duties, and then often are asked to travel the world and check on nature in any place they can. The Elven Forest is one of their major destinations, but so is the Uncharted Desert.   To become a Priest of Papatūānuku, one must show her their undying love of nature: both plants and animals. They are given a small, potted plant and a small animal companion, often a dog or a cat, and asked to travel to a major city in Totania by land. They must keep the plant and animal alive on the journey there, as they stay there to spread word of Papatūānuku and see the corruptions of society on nature, and on their way back to the Temple.   Priests, then, often keep this plant and animal as long as they can keep it alive. Some older Priests are even known to be able to extend the lifespans of their animal and plant companions so they can stay with them to the end.

Cover image: by bere69


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