Today's blog post will be around the subject of belief in the land of Oramia which we discover in Flammeus, the first book of The Emberjar.
The land of Oramia has a single, female deity, known as the Goddess. The Goddess is the creator of the world. She is the one who has brought life into the world; plants, animals and people. In Oramia, the Goddess is worshipped and glorified in buildings known as Temples. The Temples are administered by the Priestesses who bring up the Temple Maids who arrive at the Temple as unknown and unwanted babies.
In the centre of each Temple stands a large stone sculpture of the embodiment of the Goddess. The sculpture is made of a particular type of smooth stone which reflects the light and colours around it. The Goddess is decorated each day with the colour of the day, and the statue is oiled with scented oil, with the scent of the day. For instance, on the day of Flammeus, the Goddess is decorated with red and scented with cinnamon. The statue of the Goddess is placed between two sides of the Temple, separated by carved wooden screens. In one side the Priestesses and the Maids of the Temple are seated. The Priestesses sit on benches and the Maids sit on the floor. The Priestesses lead the worship with chants and song. On the other side of the screen is the area where the people of the Outer can visit the Temple to pray to the Goddess, but the two groups are never mixed, and there are separate entrances for the inhabitants of the Temple and the people of the Outer.
In Oramia, the Goddess is known to have had a chosen messenger or interpreter of her message to people. This messenger is Ashkana. Ashkana wrote down many of the instructions of the Goddess about the ways in which her chosen ones, the Priestesses should behave in their daily life. The Priestesses and Temple Maids are exhorted to continually work for the greater good of the Goddess, and the writings chosen for the Temple Maids to learn off by heart are known as the Aphorisms of Ashkana. Talla learns all the Aphorisms in her time at the Temple and is often reminded of these short sayings or proverbs as she goes through her life in the Outer. A couple of examples are given below:
"If you have time to notice the passage of time, you have too much time and not enough work."
"Hope will not get a job done."
"Fulfill your work and you will be fulfilled."
The people of Oramia believe that the Goddess is the one who gives children and causes them to be created. Therefore, those who wish for children pray to the Goddess for the blessing of children, and those who have unwanted babies leave their babies at the BabyGate which is a part of every Temple, and allows for the leaving of a baby safely, without being seen.
The Priestesses of Oramia wear long robes in the colour of their allocated day of birth. (Because all of the inhabitants of the Temple are left there as babies, they are allocated a day on arrival). They also wear an embroidered veil in the same colour which covers all of their hair and face. There is a finely made mesh at the front to enable the priestesses to see out, but to prevent others from seeing them. The Temple Maids wear a robe stitched out of scraps of brown and grey cloth called a Drab coat. They fit most sizes and are not owned by any one Maid but rather they are washed weekly and a clean one is taken from a communal collection. The Temple Maids have no personal possessions.
I hope that in devising this system for my society I have given my readers pause for thought, and the opportunity to contemplate the various aspects of the system and consider its qualities and its pitfalls! Please feel free to post any questions in the forum/comments section!