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Vorinism

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Vorinism
Related to Alethkar
World Roshar
Featured In The Stormlight Archive
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Vorinism is the primary religion in Alethkar, Jah Keved, Kharbranth and Natanatan (known as Vorin kingdoms).[1] It becomes less common further west in Roshar.

The traditional temples for Vorinism are circular and domed. Usually, the dome is exactly ten feet tall at its highest point. The temples are often filled with statues and pictures of the Heralds.[2]

Beliefs[edit]

In Vorin religion people believe in the Almighty, force of good, creator of mankind, and the divine prism, with the ten facets representing his Heralds. It tells of a struggle between mankind and the Voidbringers. When the Voidbringers, an embodiment of evil, had forced mankind and the Heralds out of the Tranquiline Halls, into Roshar, the Voidbringers didn't stop there, coming again and again in times known as Desolations, trying to force mankind off Roshar as well, into Damnation.[3][4]

On Roshar, mankind led by the Heralds and their chosen knights, fought them off ninety and nine times. Until finally, Aharietiam came, the Last Desolation. The Voidbringers were defeated and cast back into the Tranquiline Halls and the Heralds followed to force them out of heaven as well and mankind entered the Era of Solitude.[3]

People are expected to choose a Calling, their greatest talent, and those who grow to be the very best at their Calling are chosen to join the Heralds in the fight to regain the Tranquiline Halls when they die. Those who are the very best at farming in life become farmers for the Heralds in death, and those who are the greatest at battle are chosen to fight beside the Heralds.[5][6][7][2][8] It is taught that those who do not achieve their greatest potential are given to a sort of dreamless sleep, stuck in limbo-like eternity, and those who do horrible things will be cast into Damnation.[citation needed] They teach that a warrior is the highest calling, because when they die they will help the fight in the Tranquiline Halls.

Symmetry is considered holy, so many names are symmetrical or close to symmetrical. Names that are actually symmetrical are looked upon as 'too holy' and are frowned upon by Vorinism. Many Rosharans are named as similar to the heralds, e.g. Shallan's namesake is Shalash, the herald of beauty.[citation needed]

Oathgates[edit]

The ardents believed that the eleven lamps in the oathgates stood for the ten Epoch Kingdoms, the eleventh for the Tranquiline Halls, and the huge keyhole to be "The need for ardents to ignore borders, and look only at the hearts of men".{{book ref|sa2|i|12} They called it the Circle of Memories in Kholinar.

Culture and tradition[edit]

The Vorin religion is closely interwoven with the culture of the Vorin kingdoms, to the point where the same word is applied to both the faith and the culture. Its modern form appears to be based on the book Arts and Majesty, outlining what is proper for men and women. Women are expected to completely cover their left hand (called Safehand in Vorin vernacular) since the age of roughly eleven or twelve, as it is generally considered obscene.[5][9] They are, however, permitted to learn how to read and write, and expected to manage a household and business. More confrontational positions, such as politics and military, are considered masculine - however, men are forbidden (or at least discouraged) from learning the alphabet. Additionally, Vorinism differentiates between feminine and masculine foods (sweet and spicy). Those division between genders do not apply to ardents, who are considered genderless from cultural standpoint, and thus permitted to engage in both feminine and masculine activities.

By tradition, every person can learn a trade at a Vorin temple, including those of the opposite gender.[citation needed]

Prayer[edit]

Vorin pray through glyphwards, prayers written in glyphs, typically on a strip of paper, calling on the Almighty and, sometimes, one or more of the Heralds. They are typically burned to carry the soul of the prayer to the Almighty.

In higher classes of Alethkar, much of the religious observation falls to the the priesthood, the Ardentia, rather than the lighteyes themselves. The ardents in the employ of a lighteye are supposed to perform the required rituals for their master, so that the lighteyes do not have to worry about the spiritual aspect of their lives.[10]

Priesthood[edit]

The priesthood of the Vorin religion are referred to as ardents. Ardents join devotaries (sects) based on their beliefs. Both males and females can become an ardent,[6] though many of the devotaries encourage women toward the female arts, rather than studies of theology.[11]

Following the Hierocracy, the ardents are not allowed to own any property of any kind, and they are directly owned by lighteyed lords, similar to slaves.

Though the heads of the Vorin church are nominally the leaders of Vorin countries, in practice the ultimate authority lies in the hands of the ardents known as the Curates, operating from the Holy Enclave in the city of Valath. They can be distinguished by blue robes and gemstone-covered staves, and have the authority to excommunicate members of the church - including the national leaders - for heresy. This right was given to them by Covenants of Theocracy, which are unspecified, but centuries old.[12]

Devotaries[edit]

There are many different devotaries of Vorinism, which vary greatly in their interpretation of the beliefs. A devotary and its ardents encourage to expand the growth of a person's talents. So far the known devotaries are:

  • The Devotary of Purity[11] is dedicated to wholesomeness and honesty. Members of this devotary are expected to keep their thoughts and actions 'pure'. A member's talents are expected to be dedicated to purity as well, such as an artist depicting only things like the Heralds. Known member: Shallan.
  • The Devotary of Sincerity[13] is dedicated to seeking truth in all things. Members believe that there is always something to learn, and everything is subject to scrutiny, even their own religion. No question is rebuked. It is the smallest devotary.
  • The Devotary of Insight[11] is not described. Many ardents from the Devotary of Insight are seen exchanging dulled lamps from the Palanaeum and putting infused ones in their place.
  • The Devotary of Denial[14] is not well defined. This Devotary seems to emphasize the denial of desires to the point of asceticism.
  • The Devotary of the Mind[16] is the Devotary of Ellista. Its home is the Jokasha Monastery on the western slopes of the Horneater Peaks. Ellista remarks that she is supposed to able to "just read" there, free from the worries of the outside world. Known members: Ellista, Urv. When Dalinar's visions allowed them to tranlate the Dawnchant, the Devotary of mind studied it, and came to the conclusion it was a codified written language, not always spoken.

Ardentia[edit]

The Ardentia is the collective body of Ardents from all of the separate devotaries.

Monasteries[edit]

The Jokasha Monastery is a quite Monastery, it is found "Nestled in the forests on the western slopes of the Horneater Peaks"[16]. It is one of the rare places on Roshar where Highstorms are not felt in force, in this case only in harsh rain. It is supposed to be a desirable location, with mention of Ardent's working half their lives just to get in. It is made perfectly to be a quiet place away from all the normal problems of human civilization, a place to quietly think. Or at least until the Everstorm came.

Hierocracy[edit]

The Hierocracy had been a time when the ardents attempted to conquer the world and control the people "for their own good." The Hierocracy is considered the failure of Vorinism.[3] Priests controlled what people learned, what religious paths they followed, and the overall doctrine. The priests claimed to see visions and prophecy, and claimed that the common people could not understand theology.[2]

They were taught to follow the priests. Not the Almighty or the Heralds, but the priests.
— Kadash [2]

These priests were eventually cast down by the Sunmaker in the War of Loss and they split into the devotaries.

Notable Members[edit]

  • Ellista- Second interlude in Oathbringer, Jokasha Monastery. Studied the Dawnchant, discerned it was only a universal written language.
  • Pai- Twelfth interlude in Words of Radiance, Queen's retinue. Denounced the queen for her waste.

Notes[edit]

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