Ash-Shallal Al-Hadi

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 Manat of the Waterfall: Lore dump

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Yamakari
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PostSubject: Manat of the Waterfall: Lore dump   Mon Dec 05, 2016 5:08 am

Lore thread for details on the goddess of Ash-Shallal Al-Hadi:
Her offerings, the procedures involved, animals and plants sacred to her.

Those who worship Manat are Manati, singular and plural.
Those who teach the way of Manat and act as judges in courts pertaining to her are Speakers.


Mythos
Associated with the waterfall, fate, and the creation of the world, Manat is the only divine being in Ash-Shallal thought. By convention a Holy Mother and a She, though in theory Manat is divine and Her pronouns are more or less an approximation Her people's minds can handle.
"Manat has no gender", "Manat is a she!" and "Manat identifies as an attack helicopter" are all valid, because although she's folklorically considered to be female, she is also what she is interpreted to be.

It is also true that Manat was once an ambivalent divinity that demanded occasional leonine sacrifices, somewhat justifying Fahari's demonization of her. However, contact between the proto-Ash-Shallal and a group of felines praising an Unnamed God softened her image considerably, essentially giving her name and attributes to the Unnamed. The role of the Speaker and parts of Manati religious law -- including tenets on monotheism, nonviolence and avoiding the consumption of carrion -- were directly inherited from the faith of this other group.
Animism remained to some degree, however, and thus three trees symbolizing three virtues are left over from three gods. The tradition of reincarnation and venerating the dead (though no longer as anything but shades blessed by Manat) also comes from the Manati proto-religion.

Additions forthcoming; thus far includes the lore put together by Umaiza for Ash-Shallal as well as the tale of the Two Brothers and the pride's Concealment in the waterfall.

Rites

1.When cubs' eyes open, the Speaker of Manat brings water from the falls to the nest and mixes a poultice with it of red grass and herbs. Anointing the forehead with this in an M shape is supposed bring them into Her protection. Cubs born with a tabby-like marking are considered favoured by Manat and especially likely to survive; if this marking persists into adulthood, the lion is generally seen as more desirable and beautiful. In their case, the M is not drawn on but traced from the tabby mark already on their forehead.
This is also the ritual for conversions.

2.Although the Goddess protects the pride now, there was a time when they were not Her chosen. Thus, in memory of how many youth died before they could see their third year, when a young lion (or an entire generation) reaches adulthood, festivities are had and sacrifices are brought to the waterfall. Acorns symbolizing potential, anemones for growth, pearls for wisdom, acacia for ethics, prey for plenty, bark for protection and red grass for a good and timely ending to the life story are arranged together and floated out to sea.
2A. There are probably a lot of other rituals and festivals in Ash-Shallal that have to do with martyrdom and escaping persecution. Probably.

3.When a new heir is chosen or monarch comes to power, they are brought up to the top of the waterfall, whence they announce their acceptance to the people. The Speaker and the parent of the same sex are traditionally required to be with them, though in the case of the absence of a parent, another relation or trusted friend can fill the role. In the case of an heir being chosen, the previous monarch takes the place of the parent.
It's a little like professing vows, with a traditional format that's forthcoming (there's no need of it now; we have a monarch and she hasn't chosen or birthed an heir.)

4.A new Speaker is inaugurated differently; should Manat choose them by imparting them with the power to do so, they are to call her down from her abode around them and sing to her -- literally or metaphorically. The song (or statement, or whatever format the rite takes for that Speaker) is personal, never to be shared except between that Speaker and the single faithful child Manat warns them will be their successor. Manat's replies are to be received only in a ritually pure state; that is, the new Speaker must fast, immerse themselves beneath the falls and consume red-grass seeds before they can participate in the rite at all.
(For those wondering how this is meant to work, simple! Someone on staff (and/or the previous Speaker?) just throws together a character "Manat" and starts a party with the prospective new Speaker.)
To ensure confidentiality, the pride leaves the waterfall during this time, having themselves a day or night or however long it takes of revelry to distract them from whatever's going on.

5. Standing under the waterfall (like, the physical downpour) may or may not wash off your sins/bring you to Manat.

6. When pride members die, the pride sits vigil over them for a night.
In the case of a layperson, the next dawn, the pride comes together to prepare a...
Cool  fUNERAL BARQUE
for the deceased. In practice, because killing so many trees for a high mortality rate is absurd, there's a bundle that gets made for the deceased that's supposed to guide them towards Manat. A butterfly's wing for swift return, a bundle of red grass for fortune on the journey, an acorn for birth again someday and leaves/needles from the three trees for good character are bound together into an amulet, which is placed somewhere on the body of the deceased. Then they're floated out to sea, with many funeral dirges, and the posthumous honorific that's appropriate for the occasion is called out.
e.g. "Safe journey for Simba, may his return be swift!"
For a leader, a saint, a hero or a Speaker, it's a bit different: they're believed to have been sent by Manat to fulfill only one purpose, and to be her children whom she cherishes and would be wroth to see suffer again. For this reason, they are simply buried around the waterfall, with quite a bit more pomp -- this is believed to bring them closer to her more quickly.
Generally, reincarnations of laypeople are considered to be more common: if a butterfly lands on you, there's the soul of someone else riding you, and one of your cubs will be one of the dead come again.
On the other hand, sometimes leaders and Speakers and heroes and saints really do come back to earth, but the omen for this is always a comet, a meteor shower or some other event of great magnitude.

It is the choice of the community and the family which rite is performed; some relations of great individuals might opt (somewhat selfishly) to be secure in the knowledge their loved one will be reborn sooner, even if this is disrespectful and theoretically sacrilegious.

7. If a lion for some reason commits a heinous crime that cannot be atoned for, the pacifistic Ash-Shallal probably won't harm them. They will, however, excommunicate them. Probably.
I'm not sure what this would entail -- maybe they just sit a vigil as normal for a death and then act like the person is just not there until they're motivated to leave by the sheer amount of shunning.
YMMV on how heinous this crime has to be; it varies with Speaker and monarch, naturally.
Analogous but less salty tradition to ghosting in Fahari.
For truly serious crimes, they are excommunicated, and the Speaker questions Manat as to what must be done. If she judges the criminal to be irredeemable and the pride concurs, then the Speaker leads three lions (symbolic of the Three Trees of good character) to hunt down and kill the perpetrator.
There is a traditional statement made to the criminal by the Speaker and the three:
"In the sight of Manat, you have committed the crime of [insert charge]."
"Beneath the shade of the oak, you have acted without wisdom."
"Your steps quieted by the needles of the pine, you have misused your cunning."
"Hiding behind our trust like the wasp in the acacia flower, you have betrayed us."
"It is not for hatred of your soul that we come to spill your blood, but for sorrow that your crimes cannot be erased. May your blood not run to water in vain, and may Manat keep you well."

The body is then floated off to reincarnate, but without any of the typical ceremony surrounding that rite.

8. Honourifics for the dead.
To avoid summoning them back (gasp, necromancy) and to differentiate their names from those of living namesakes, it might be traditional to add certain phrases to the names of the deceased. Not everyone does this and not in every circumstance, but is nifty and lorey!

[Name] the justified: as in justified before Manat; free of sin even though not part of her fold; honorific for deceased non-worshippers.
[Name] of the waterfall: the dead buried around the falls.
[Name] of the red grass: especially successful or heroic dead, such as monarchs and war veterans.
[Name], may their return be swift: the dead floated off to mcReincarnate.
[Name], may their memory be cherished: generic honorific.
[Name], may they walk on warm sands: honorific grandfathered in from qOrowa contact; that group's afterlife has an equivalent to purgatory where your sins in life are proportional to how hot and generally nasty the terrain is that you have to cross to get to the afterlife proper. Wishing someone warm sands on the path to the afterlife means that you probably assume they're qOrowa and probably want them to have an easy time of getting there.
[Name], may their blood not run to water in vain: martyrs and murder victims.
[Name], for whom may the heart of Manat not be heavy: martyred/murdered Speakers; now generic, though originally referred to very specific usage where the congregation disowned their Speaker before they died.
[Name] who returns to the mist: Speakers dead of natural causes.
[Name] of the gifted crown: Dead monarchs.
[Name] of the stolen crown: Usurped/assassinated/otherwise killed monarchs.
[Name], may their road lead elsewhere: Dead or excommunicated sinners and other undesirables.

9. Weddings
Oh, yes. This is a thing.
Mateship -- even the arranged kind -- is quite a different bond to enter into than simply concubinage, and must be accompanied by appropriate offerings brought by the pride to bless the union. The family of the involved must be in agreement, to prevent infighting later, and both parties must consent.
Having obtained the consent of all involved and chosen an appropriate date -- always a full moon -- for the wedding, the pair are traditionally refused the right to be wed four times. This is the same number as that of cubs in a single litter that are ideally supposed to happen.
Each time, they must present, together, a reason why the rite should proceed.
Once four times justified, the pair are painted with dye made from the waterfall's water and red grass. The markings have ritual significance, with the bride painted in ornate swirls and spirals to symbolize life coming full circle. The groom is given highly stylized stripes and rosettes, as well as a feather to wear. These are meant to symbolize that the bond is between two souls, not merely two of the same species, and would be just as strong if one party were a tiger, a leopard, or even a bird of the air.
Traditionally, the pair then go on a nuptial hunt together, and the prey is shared first between them and then among the pride.
They are led to the top of the waterfall to spend the night there, that Manat may know their union is as strong as that of monarch with Speaker.
And that's how a wedding works in this mess.
Regarding divorces, one simply stands before the waterfall, walks around one's partner thrice to ensure there are no second thoughts, and walks the other way. Each of the pair walks out as far as they can go to hunt, brings home a small piece of prey and eats it alone before the Speaker, who then declares the marriage dissolved.

Offerings and plants and things symbolic
Pearls: Wisdom, vanity ('pearls of wisdom', but also they're not very useful besides being pretty)
Water: Clarity, concealment (obvious)
Red grass: Longevity, purpose, success, fortune, mystery (no real reason, they just like it.)
Anemone: Growth, tenacity, beauty, change
Acorn: Potential, laziness (it COULD be an oak, but look how darn long it's taking!)
Bark: Protection, motion, closing-in (obvious, but also you float other offerings on these.)
Roots: Beginning, hope, source (obvious)
Mussel shell: Adversity, fighting spirit (y'ever try opening one of these things with anything that might model the experience of a feline with protractile claws?)
Oak: The passage of time, passivity, wisdom
Pine: Strangeness, travel, cunning
Acacia: Joy, morals, intellect (there's probably a Three Trees myth that explains better)
Butterfly: Reincarnation, fertility (Supposed to carry fallen stars down to incarnate. If it lands on you, you have good odds of becoming a parent.)
Wading bird: Blessings, trepidation (walk around being all close to Manat, but be careful, because if you try to walk like one you'll mess your legs up, just like a mythical songbird did.)
Fish: Purity, naivety (they're always immersed in water but can know nothing else)
Prey: generosity, exchange (a life is given so another may continue, but when that one dies it feeds new life)
Bone: Integrity, death (holds the body together, but bared in death)
Blood: Vitality, life, action (obvious)
Stars: Souls awaiting reincarnation?


Last edited by Yamakari on Tue Dec 06, 2016 10:49 pm; edited 4 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Manat of the Waterfall: Lore dump   Mon Dec 05, 2016 4:40 pm

Yamakari wrote:
Lore thread for details on the goddess of Ash-Shallal Al-Hadi:
Because of the connection to Umaiza that this has, it's all tentative until she approves it.

When you love it all, but a decision is required.
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PostSubject: Re: Manat of the Waterfall: Lore dump   Tue Dec 06, 2016 3:12 am

All fixed :'D
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