Saturday, 14 May 2016

Two Shrines

The Ysan Shrine of Ishtar is:

a smaller Temple of Belisama;
i.e., an earlier home of the same Goddess under a different name;
in Lowtown;
rammed earth with a slate roof;
on a small plot marked by boundary stones;
plain inside, with clay floor, rough altar,
polished Mirror and murals of Star and Moon;
open twice a year, in spring and autumn;
then staffed by a single priestess who prays and waits for supplicants whom she blesses or guides.

Another Ysan place of worship is:

called Lir Shrine on the map (Gallicenae, p. 10);
called the Temple of Lir in the text (p. 254);
under the Gull Tower;
neither Greek like Belisama's nor Roman like Taranis's;
stone with a slate roof;
plain inside, with an altar block inside a whale's jawbones;
staffed by a different ship's captain every day.

Every Ysan captain is an ordained priest of Lir. Hannon Baltisi, Lir Captain, presides over their guild and speaks for it and its cult in the Council of Suffetes. Before the King locks or unlocks the sea gate, he enters the Temple, kneels, receives on his tongue a pinch of salt and asks Lir to withhold His wrath.

This has to be the most primitive form of religion: mere fear of a nature god. The Christian minister calls the Ysan Gods demons. In John Milton's Paradise Lost, the fallen angels, released from Hell, do indeed go about the Earth and receive worship as the pagan deities.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I had a sudden thought, Ys is described in THE KING OF YS as being originally a colony founded by Phoenician/Punic settlers from Carthage in North Africa. Carthage in turn was founded by colonists from Tyre. Just now I've wondered why we've seen no mention of any formal, official worship of Moloch in Ys, who had human infants sacrificed to him in both Carthage and Tyre. Or was the ritual but deadly combat between the Kings and their challengers meant to substitute for that?

My view of the pagan gods is that they are quite literally non-entities, not existing as real BEINGS. But that does not mean I deny many pagans did believe they really did exist.