The Rite of Passing Tradition / Ritual in Ulterra | World Anvil
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The Rite of Passing

When an adolescent lizardfolk comes of age at 15, they are inducted as a full member of the Houses on the Marsh. While the young one usually begins to act in their societal role, be it as a craftsman, a warrior, or a shaman, they are not officially recognized, and often do not receive any rank or respect in their role until they have completed their Rite.


Mayka'luna, the Great Hag is a powerful being that acts as a patron of the lizardfolk peoples living on Coliar. They make offerings to her and offer their worship in exchange for protection from the harsh forces that live on the island. The people on the island do not know the origins of the traditions, but Mayka'luna is said to have taught them her rites in the early days of their arrival on Coliar. The lizardfolk worship Mayka'luna as a goddess of magic and life. However, they also keep a healthy level of fear of their goddess. Many of their rites involve sacrifices of belongings, animals or supplies. It is said by some that the darkest of these rituals even include the sacrifice of sentient life.   In the hundreds of years since, the lizardfolk shamans have of course thought to make guesses as to the nature of their enigmatic patron. Many of her religious rites revolve around the phases of the moon, so the shamans have rightly guessed that Mayka'luna holds some connection to the moon, although the nature of this connection is unclear.   The Rite of Passing is one of the oldest rituals that the lizardfolk of Coliar still practice, and has changed much throughout the years. In the beginning, the sacrifice of belongings involved in the Rite was a secret that was not shared with the Hatchlings before the day of their initiation, as it was believed that this would make the sacrifice more potent. However, a shaman by the name of Okzi, who was the spiritual leader of the shamans at the time, broke this tradition. At the time, she was nearly deposed as High Shaman, but Mayka'luna sent a messenger in the form of a monstrously giant frog to indicate her approval of Okzi's decision. Since then, the Hatchlings are diligently prepared by their elders for the Rite, and they receive the protection of Mayka'luna's power regardless.


The hatchlings seeking an adult place in their society must each bring a sacrificial totem.  The shamans of the community use their magic censers and burn a magical herb that creates a heavy fog, rather than smoke, which fills much of the island. After the fog has settled, the hatchlings are instructed to run into the woods, until they are lost in the fog and cannot find their way home. There, lost in the mists, they are to hide their totems deep in the swamps, never to be found again. When the hatchlings hide their totems and leave them behind, saying their goodbyes, the fog becomes translucent to them, and they are able to find their way home, led back by a pathway of moonlight from the full moon. As they exit the fog and return to the village, they are greeted as adults. The love and devotion that the children showed to the totems is then reflected back upon them, and Mayka'luna claims the items. For the rest of their days, while the children remain on the island, they are protected by the love that they showed to their totems in childhood. They walk silently through the swamps and swim swiftly through the rivers and lakes. Although the monsters on the island can still harm them, their injuries heal quickly, as if repaired by a loving hand.   Once the children have all escaped from the fog, the censers are extinguished and a great feast is held to welcome the new adults to their lives on the island. The Houses on the Marsh all contribute something for the celebration (music, food, alcohol, or even entertaining illusions created by their shamans), as all hatchlings from all of the houses must undergo the rite, and the former hatchlings are treated as guests of honor. During the celebration, stories are shared of times when totems were nearly lost or badly broken.

Components and tools

The sacrificial totems for the ritual are given to the children at the Rite of Passing when they are five years old. They are allowed to choose between many things, including toys, articles of clothing, and blankets. The hatchlings are told that these totems are precious, and that they must protect them, and that they would be protected in turn. The children are taught to repair their totems if they are broken, and the adults in their lives treat these things as a priority. In fact, adults in the community are so inclined to assist that they are often even willing to assist with the retrieval or repair of totems that belong to hatchlings to which they have no relation or responsibility. Lovingly maintained for 10 years, the totems become items imbued with a strong emotional charge, a crucial component in the Rite of Passing.


The key figures in the ritual are the shamans who prepare the Rite, the warriors who wander the mists during the trials to keep the more dangerous beasts of the island from encroaching on the hatchlings before they are able to earn the protection of Mayka'luna.


The Ritual is carried out on the first full moon after the Summer Solstice. This is said to be when Mayka'luna is strongest. Awakening from the winter, it is said that this full moon marks the beginning of her cyclical work schedule.
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