Paganism

Overview

Paganism is a uniquely personal religion that changes throughout regions, throughout manors, and even throughout individuals. This page is meant to provide players with common, mainstream practices for the Cymric regions of Logres. As most of the tribes have been gathered into manor families, this interpretation of Paganism has evolved to befit nobility, gentry, and the romantic and chivalrous cultural renaissance of the Arthurian age.

Druidism is the highest level of the Pagan faith, and is where the mythological magics of the era manifest. Everyday Pagans are not inherently gifted with druidic magic, though they still perform rituals, sacrifices, and rites that are rooted within the mysticism of the Druidic practices. Only true Druids can actually bring forth manifestations of magic, and are restricted to Staff.

For more information on the Pendragon interpretation of Paganism, please see page 149 in Chapter 7 (Ambition and Faith).

OOC NOTE: pg. 150, right hand column, third paragraph from the bottom: Thus the druids recognizing that some of the ancient practices from which they drew their religion was "wrong," outlawed certain heathen rites and tradition. Especially odious were human sacrifice and headhunting, both of which were outlawed, as noted in the laws of Dunvallo Molmutine, the Great Lawgiver of ancient times.

So human sacrifices are outlawed by the druids as of now.

The Great Gods

The Paganism pantheon of Logres consists of many gods and goddesses. These deities all possess strengths and weaknesses, and often are called upon for specific tasks. The Pagan priesthood honors all the major gods, including select minor gods, and a priest is often called upon by a certain god to honor above others. The Great Gods of the faith are honored across all of Cymric, though there are houses who have their own gods and goddesses based on familial tradition.

Gods

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The Great Father: Beli Lugh

The most ancient god of fire, sun, and heaven still rules over a Faerie world called the Land of Youth. Often called the Shining One, this god is he who intercedes among the gods and spirits in favor of the living. He rules the tribe of the Gods of Light and is the furious magical king who wields the thunderbolt. He is widely worshiped as a god of life and death.

Beli Lugh is honored both at Beltaine on May 1st and again at the end of summer at the festival of Lughnasadh in early August.

Cernunnos.jpg

The Horned Hunter: Gwynn ap Nudd

The great hunter Gwynn ap Nudd is the Lord of the Wild Things. Some Pagans believe he is the counterpart to Arianrhod, as both represent life and death and rebirth. He is said to be born on the darkest night of winter, and slowly gains power over the course of spring and summer, only to die at the end of the harvest. Gwynn ap Nudd is seen as a horned man with the antlers of a stag perched atop his head.

There are many sides to Gwynn ap Nudd, as the wild has within it both darkness and light. He is also known as Arawn.

Llew.jpg

Of Life and Light: Llew

This is the God Who Comes Again, the resurrected warrior of light who arises from the darkness, rescues the flower goddess, and begins the season of Plenty. He is sometimes called the Sleeping Hero. Sometimes he is associated with a lion.

Llew is the sun god and protector of the harvest. When Brigid warms the world to bring about Spring, offerings are given to Lew to ensure a full and bountiful harvest. He is the Summer God honored at the Beltaine rites and battles Winter for the reign of the year.

Goddesses

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The Great Mother: Don

This First Goddess has many aspects and is most quickly recognized as Mother (Modron or Anna), Fire and Poetry (Brigid), Moon (Arianrhod), Horses (Epona), Sovereignty (Rhiannon), and Earth (Don or Gaia). She is wife to many, and mother to the rest.

Brigid.jpg The Exalted One: Brigid
Morrigan.jpg The Phantom Queens: The Morrigan

House Pantheons

Common Practices

Blood Sacrifices

Even as the social and cultural norms change, Pagans still engage in meaningful blood sacrifices as a common practice. What has changed over the course of the centuries is the type of blood that is spilt. Roman testimonies lay claim to human blood often splashing the rocks and grassy knolls of Cymric lands, but with tribes forming into familial houses and houses being brought under the charge of the High King, this practice has evolved to meet the social and cultural pressures of the age.

Animals are the choice for blood sacrifices for Cymric Pagans. Like human sacrifices once were, animals are chosen carefully and are sacrificed sparingly for very specific purposes. An example of a regular blood sacrifice is the offering of a firstborn lamb on Imbolc. The lamb's blood is used to divine the coming spring planting, and is mixed with ewe's milk as a blessing to those attending the fire festival at Stonehenge.

A noble family might have their own sacrificial practices.

While much of the Cymric lands have changed to animal blood sacrifices, there are still murmurs and testimonies of the wilder clans to the North beyond Logres participating in human blood offerings.

Theme Note: Pendragon notes on page 150 of the base rulebook that the Druids have outlawed such practices as human sacrifice and headhunting, which is reflected in this game's interpretation of Paganism.

Festivals

The Pagan festival days coincide with the life cycle of the sun, as its power grows throughout the summer and dwindles in the winter. There are eight major festivals, four of which fall on the two solstices and equinoxes and are known as the Fire Days. The other four festivals fall in between each Fire Day, and are known for specific deities they honor.

wheeloftheyear.png

Festival Date: 31st of October

Overview

Samhain (sow-in) is the last of the Harvest Festivals, and is celebrated as the Celtic New Year across Britain, Scotland, and Ireland. The harvest has been gathered and stored, and the peoples of the God and Goddess are preparing for the long winter ahead. The veil between this world and the Otherworld is thin, allowing for those passed to re-enter this world as spirits — for good or for ill.

As the last day of the harvest, this Festival Day is a time for celebrating the wealths of the harvest, but also honoring the Otherworld, and the Wild Hunt. This festival coincides with the Christian festival of All Hallow's Eve.

Overview

Common Practices

The Wild Hunt

Glossary of Terms and Phrases

A
Annwn: (ah-NOON) the Welsh Otherworld; a place of paradise, eternal youth, and the land of the dead; believed to be located underneath the earth; ruled by the Welsh god Arawn (also known as Gwyn ap Nudd)
Cwn Annwn: (koon ah-NOON) the hunting hounds of Gwyn ap Nudd
Arawn: (AH-ron) god of the Otherworld and king of the Tylwyth Teg (the fairy folk); also known as Gwyn ap Nudd

B
Blessed Be: a blessing or benediction, spoken at the end of a prayer or ceremony

C
Cernunnos: the Gaulish and Irish name for Arawn


Important Note

Creative Adaptations: Please note, this adaptation of Paganism is to combine what little is known historically about Welsh Celtic Paganism and the setting of Pendragon. While the information on this page tries to be accurate, decisions have been made to simplify the complex, and sometimes contradictory mythology of the Celtic Pagan faith.

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