Elven Religion

The elves are only marginally theistic, worshiping only the All-Mother, a deification of mother earth. Worship, however, may be too strong of a word, for there is neither church nor priesthood nor knightly vows related to her. Practice of this religion is instead centered around balance in all things. As such, elven religion may be considered more of a philosophy despite referral to the All-Mother.

Elven religion is more philosophical than theological. If they can be said to worship anything, it is the All-Mother, a personification of mother earth used primarily as a literary tool and for standard greetings and farewells. At the start of any formal gathering, for example, the officiator of the group begins his opening statements with “May the All-Mother watch over our words this day,” She is referred to in numerous poems and lays and is considered to be both resilient and vengeful, visiting disaster upon those who violate the balance of nature.

The philosophy of the elves begins with the statement, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” The elves believe nature to be the officiator of this principle, and thus consider nature to be both resilient and vengeful, visiting disaster on those who perpetually and egregiously violate the balance in order to restore it. The elves themselves participate in many rituals and rites to give back to nature everything they take, thus maintaining both the balance and assuring their own survival. They do not view the land or any part of nature as being owned by anyone, but instead believe that they belong to the land, and that if they care for it, it will in turn care for them.

Of particular note are the rites of death. Elves are extremely long-lived and will only die a natural death upwards of a thousand years of age, with some living to be nearly three thousand years old. They are heavily resistant to disease and natural poison, though they are not immune to it and are vulnerable to poisons created through alchemical or magical means, and they may be killed with weapons of war. An elf may also die for violation of the balance, for example, by falling to his death, which would be considered a violation of the law of gravity. Regardless of the circumstances of death, witnesses of the event utter the phrase, “May the All-Mother welcome you into her embrace, and return you to us at the time of her choosing.” This statement may also be a call-and-response at elven funerals, and it is founded upon the belief that the soul of any living thing does not truly die but is instead reincarnated into the birth of a new creature somewhere in the world. They do not believe that any part of nature is greater than another, and so the idea of karma does not hold sway with them, for to be reincarnated as a slug or a toad to them is no better or worse than returning as an elf.

Elves do not eat meat unless it is presented to them by another, viewing the killing of another creature for any other reason than self defense or defense of another as a most severe violation of the balance, for it is inviting death upon the killer. When they are served meat by another, usually an outsider, they are not forbidden to eat of it, for they believe only that killing is wrong, and that nature’s vengeance will be visited upon the one who dealt the killing blow. The only exceptions to this are orcs and goblins and other creatures of the void, for their very existence is considered to be an affront to nature and a threat to the balance, and for good reason.

Balance is also sought inward in terms of peace and harmony between oneself and the world around him. No emotion is considered inherently evil or dangerous as long as it is properly balance with its counterpart or with an opposite action (eg. fear with courage, anger with peace, etc.). Actions also must be balanced so as to maintain the harmony of nature and avoid incurring her wrath.

Agriculture is particularly regulate, especially given the methods of other races which are focused almost solely on personal gain. The Jakari clan, as those responsible for the production and delivery of the food supply, keep meticulous records of everything that is planted and harvested so that they may give an take in balance, sowing what they reap and reaping what they sow. They also keep a rotating cycle of those responsible for delivery and production so that no elf become too much of any one thing. Other clans keep similar guidelines to govern their own responsibilities.

In sum, the All-Mother is less a deity to the elves and more the personification of a lifestyle. She is not worshiped but is respected and feared.

Elven Religion

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