It derives from a fusion of the polytheistic Ndak and Gezoro religions, and was centred on a triad of deities - Anaitī, Zilūa, and Aiūnaka - with numerous subordinate demigods. It originally had two sets of holy texts, the Books of Song and the Books of Speech, both of which were compiled around -500 YP.
The prophet Zārakātias instigated a reform of the Anaitism, replacing the older Books of Speech with his own work, the Book of Law. His reform became popular throughout the Rathedān, bringing the squabbling city-states together and also increasing the prestige of his home city, Athalē. Another significant result was the adoption of the Year of the Prophet calendar, the main reference calendar used in the study of Akana.
The Religion of the Dāiadak
|Written by Dewrad.|
The Dāiadak call their religion lōzera, which simply means religion. When they wish to be more specific, for example when contrasting it with the unholy doctrines of Huyfárah, they will call it lōzera anaitīran, which means religion of Anaitī. In this study we shall refer to it as Anaitism. I have been extremely fortunate in the following short study of Dāiadak belief by being able to draw on the as yet unpublished works of the foremost scholar of Anaitism, Dónal Ó Chíain; many of the conclusions herein are his.
Prior to the Zārakātian reformation c. 150 years ago, the sacred texts of Anaitism fell into two groups- the Books of Song and the Books of Speech.
The Books of Song (ākhīrala ax abizeien) were the holiest texts, comprising two books, The Book of the Sun and the Book of the Moon. The Books of Song were believed to be divinely inspired and formed a corpus of liturgical material, in which were snippets of myth and a little exegesis. The Books of Speech (ākhīrala ax abeien) were a rather open-ended class of books on exegesis, speculation and philosophy, accepted as the work of men and varying greatly from city-state to city-state, each fire temple holding a different set sacred.
The Books of Song were probably compiled either towards the end of the Edak Empire or shortly afterwards, initially in oral form. It is thought that the priests at the time were worried that with the end of civilisation their knowledge would be lost, and so compiled it into two compendiums of ritual.
It should not, however, be thought that the contents of the two books represented a continuation of classical Edak polytheism, as survived in Kasca and Axôltseubeu. On the contrary, even during the Imperial period, the religion of the Edak invaders had become syncretised with native Xezoro beliefs, symbolised by the marriage of Ophai (the main goddess of the Edak) to Zilūa, the chief god of the Xezoro. Throughout the Books of Song we can detect Xezoro influences- some scholars have gone so far as to classify all the rituals into three groups- those which are essentially Edak, those which are Xezoro and those which are mixed.
It is thought that the Books of Song were first written down at the same time as the composition of the first Books of Speech, around seven hundred years or so after the fall of the Empire, using the Tjakori syllabary. By this time, the exact contents of the books had varied slightly from city to city. The most important of these city books are the Mezaras recension and the Athalē recension, as these were combined by Zārakātias to form one authoritive text.
The Books of Song were considered inviolate and untouchable, the holiest relic of the Temples, and as such they formed the basis of the Zārakātian reformation. Zārakātias, using a literal reading of the Books of Song, authored a new book (the Book of Law, khīrala ax odan) to replace the Books of Speech, as the Prophet felt they codified errors and heresies. Writing a new book of exegesis was nothing new- Dāiadak philosophers had been doing it for centuries- but Zārakātias claimed his book was dictated to him by Anaitī and Zilūa themselves, and so was equal to the Books of Song.
At the heart of post-Zārakātian Anaitism is a triad of deities, Anaitī, Zilūa and and Aiūnaka.
Anaitī was originally a Xezoro title of Ophai, meaning "daughter of Earth", however the Xezoro epithet has since taken the place of the Edak name (in fact, "Ophai" in Dāiadak thought was seen as an epithet of Anaitī). She was seen as the mother goddess and the creatrix of all things, the source of life, almost a personification of the generative power. Her main epithet was āpazā maker. Hence she was prayed to for fertility, rain, good crops and so on.
Her son and consort, Zilūa, was originally the Xezoro smith-god, who lacked an Edak counterpart. Where Anaitī was seen as the creatrix, Zilūa was responsible for sub-creation. Anaitī created ex nihilo, while Zilūa shaped Anaitī's creation into things pleasing to her. As such he was seen as the patron of humans, who also made things from Anaitī's bounty, his main epithet was kārō ax ēab, Friend of Men. His other task was defending creation from his brother, the fallen god Aiūnaka.
Aiūnaka, the Lying God, was Anaitī's second son, but he was less skilled and jealous of his brother. As such he rebelled against them and made it his mission to pervert their creation. His name was taboo and often replaced by si naka that god, dephi ax mina aka son of his mother and, most commonly, akāran the Enemy.
This tension between Aiūnaka and Zilūa was parleyed into a great cosmic battle between Light and Dark, which will be explored further below.
In addition to the three main deities, there is also a large pantheon of demigods (or sub-deities), who form part of the retinue of one of the three main deities. Most of these are personified abstractions, such as Zarā Dawn, daughter of Zilūa or Xaxō Anger, bondsman of Aiūnaka.
Light and Dark
Zilūa and Aiūnaka were considered to be the gods of the sun and the moon respectively, and as such the day was considered to belong to Zilūa and the dark and dangerous night to Aiūnaka. During the day Zilūa was thought to ride across the sky in his chariot and at night he would travel underneath the earth in search of his brother. Aiūnaka, however, would escape his brother and ride across the sky in his wolf-drawn chariot for most days of the month, leaving his minions to fight his frustrated brother. However, each month Aiūnaka would become over-confident and Zilūa would catch him and do battle with him under the earth, and the moon would not rise. Being evenly matched, however, Zilūa would not be able to defeat Aiūnaka, merely severely wounding him.
As such, the main periods of daily ritual activity were at sunrise, giving praise that Zilūa had survived the night, at sunset, praying for Zilūa's victory. At the full moon, protective rituals from the Book of the Moon were intoned throughout the night, as Aiūnaka was at the height of his power, leading his hunt across the sky. At the new moon an all-night vigil was staged, praying for Zilūa's victory over his brother.
The most portentious times were the solar eclipses, when Aiūnaka would attack Zilūa during the daytime. During the eclipse itself great lamentation would occur, only to be followed by a great impromptu celebration when Aiūnaka had been defeated.
The Dāiadak believed that Anaitī was sorely grieved by her sons' strife, and she would weep whenever they met in battle. Anaitī would place her tears in the heavens as stars as testimony to her grief, and to give her human children light during the night.
Temples and Fire
The most holy thing in the world to the Dāiadak was fire, as it partook of the natures of all three gods. Like Anaitī it seemed to come from nothing and have a life of its own, like Zilūa it is transformational and a source of light and heat and like Aiūnaka it destroys. In every temple burned a sacred flame, which was built up to titanic proportions during the night in order to drive away Aiūnaka and in memory of Zilūa below the earth. As such, the Adāta word for temple, alizadu, means "great place of fire" etymologically.
Fire was also a means of sacrifice. Like the Edak before them, the Dāiadak preferred holocaust as a means of sacrifice. Appropriate offerings were things which had been made by humans, carvings, bread, wine, food- it was thought that Anaitī and Zilūa were best pleased by those things which had been created in their honour. The sacrifice of living things was considered to be unforgivably impious, as it was seen as a destruction of Anaitī's handiwork.
In the same way, many sects and priests became vegetarians, out of a desire not to harm Anaitī's creation. Zārakātias, however, ridiculed this attitude, maintaining that Anaitī had clearly intended for both animals and plants to be eaten and to refuse to do so would be to refuse the goddess's bounty and so impious.
The Dāiadak believed that when anything alive died, its spirit returned to Anaitī, the source of life. However, the fate of humans was not so secure. At death each soul was judged by Anaitī. If the person had lived a good life, they would join the gods and demigods in the rania ēlōra, the Field of Flowers. If they had lived a wicked life, they would be cast down to be hunted by Aiūnaka's wolves and dragged down below the earth where Aiūnaka would feed on their souls. If they had lived a life of both good and wicked deeds, Anaitī would send them back to the earth, to live another life and try again.
Creation and Eschatology
Neither the Books of Song nor the Books of Speech spoke much of either the beginning or end of the world, except for vague hints that Anaitī had drawn the world as a map on a leaf to create it and the equally vague anticipation that the end times would be accompanied by a final battle between Zilūa and Aiūnaka.
Zārakātias didn't say much more, however, maintaining that the creation of the world is essentially unknowable. The occasions when he mentions the end of the world, however, are somewhat more ominous. He basically says that the world could end at any time, and if Aiūnaka gets strong enough by consuming more and more wicked souls then the whole world could be destroyed, so Watch It.