Post by Finnley on Sept 13, 2020 16:47:57 GMT -5
THE COVEN OF THE TWOFOLD GODDESS
Some Nevermeren witches have formed a religion, the Coven of the Twofold Goddess. The overall religion is referred to as “The Coven” while many also have their own smaller covens in their area or family.
(This is like how the Catholic church would be referred to as The Church when talking about the entire organized religion, but you go to a church on Sunday.)
The Goddess worshipped by this Coven has two forms: Lilura, goddess of the sun, life, and growth and Seluna, goddess of the moon, death, and harvest. They believe the goddess cycles between her two forms along with the progression of the year, fulfilling the needs of her people and mirroring the cycle of their lives. In this belief, humans are born from darkness and blood (Seluna, the start of the year), live their lives in the sun and feel its bounty (Lilura, Spring and Summer), but then return home to their mother, the darkness, in the end (Seluna, Autumn and Winter).
Lilura is seen as loving and generous to her people, giving them crops, fish, and game to sustain them. Seluna, the dark side, is the source of power and of death, who rules over the darkness of Autumn and Winter, but births the New Year when the days once again begin to brighten and she transforms into her other form.
The coven believes that this Goddess is the source of Nevermeren magic, having gifted her daughters with power to protect them and their land. For them, aggressive magic is centered on the feminine and dark energy of the goddess and its role in the natural progression of life. When they make sacrifices or use arcane ingredients in their magic, they are making offerings to Seluna for power. They return living things to her in exchange for the energy for their summonings or curses. There is also magic in healing potions and salves using natural ingredients; they believe these gifts are provided by Lilura, rather than Seluna, and require no sacrifice, only thanks.
The Goddess is generally seen by The Coven as loving and gentle towards her people, willing to help them in exchange for proper sacrifice to uphold the balance. She can be wrathful, however, to those who have wronged her followers. They believe The Curse of Sarilla was one such moment--her desperate sacrifice caught the attention of the goddess who acted with her to protect the people of Nevermere and give her daughters their vengeance on those who had invaded. In this way, the balance of Seluna and Lilura had been upset, and for the last twenty-two years, Seluna’s wrath and power have ruled the land. Many Coven members see Sarilla as a martyr of the goddess who now rests at her right hand as they guide their daughters to justice.
Prayers are addressed to the Goddess either silently or aloud, and ended traditionally with either “as you will it, so mote it be” or “as I will it, so mote it be.” The choice of ending often depends on the person and their intent--if they are using their prayer as part of a ‘spell’ they will likely say “as I will it.”
- Ravens are seen as messengers of the Seluna form. Their meanings are often interpreted based on the bird’s actions, or in accordance with a popular rhyme:One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret,
Never to be told.
Eight for a wish,
Nine for a kiss,
Ten for a bird,
You must not miss
Eleven is worst
Twelve for a dastardly curse.
- Many Coven members refer to things out of their control as being up to “the will of the Goddess”
- Coven members end encounters with “Goddess guide you” answered with “And your path be easy” (this is only used with other coven members and not imposed on those who do not practice)
- Coven members gather on the first Sunday of each month to pray together.
- Meetings begin with a circle of held hands and a prayer
- A message based on the month of the year is shared (somewhat like a sermon in a christian service based on the gospel reading) by a chosen leader, which may or may not rotate based on the coven
- This is followed by a ritual sacrifice to the goddess, more than likely burned bread/grain in Spring/Summer for Lilura and burned meat in Fall/Winter for Seluna
- Members may ask the coven to intercede for them on specific matters ie: sickness, loss of a family member, struggling business, personal troubles
- The gathering is ended with a song (possible example here), and members often enjoy a shared brunch after to socialize
The new year is celebrated at the winter solstice--the shortest day and longest night of the year. In Coven beliefs, this is the night that Seluna is at her strongest. When the sun rises on the first day of the year, she begins her transformation back into Lilura: the days begin to lengthen, the sun returns, and the snows begin to melt.
On this night, Nevermeren witches are believed to be at their most powerful. Many spells are cast during the time between sunset on the old year, and sunrise on the new. Moonwater charged during this time is also said to be most potent in potion-making.
Many Coven members perform blessings and cleansings for the new year--removing the ‘dust’ of the old year from their homes, and preparing to welcome back Lilura. This may include literally sweeping the home, burning sage, and wearing brand new clothing. Several superstitions surround this day-- holes in your pockets meaning that money will leak out of your ‘pockets’ in the New Year, that lazy cleaning will result in past actions haunting you, etc.
At sunrise of the next morning, a massive breakfast is held, often with several Coven families working together to prepare a feast. A serving of each food is burned as offerings to the Goddess, and then the family members are allowed to eat and socialize.
Ver [ Spring ]
Spring is celebrated in the name of Lilura, rejoicing in her return and the new life that has begun to flourish across the land. A ritual blessing of gardens, fields, and seeds is made, asking Lilura to bless them that they might be filled with her energy and help them to grow to feed her people throughout the year.
This is a popular time of year for Coven weddings, as the new life in the earth is also associated with fertility. Couples hoping to conceive a child often make extra offerings to the Goddess on this day.
On the Equinox, unmarried women who are seeking love weave a wreath of vines and flowers to wear during the blessings. Noblewomen often have access to more flowers, resulting in a more colorful wreath, while commoners often include ferns and other more easily accessed plants in their wreaths. These young women are blessed, like the seeds, with a prayer for new life, vitality, and love.
At sunset, the women place candles in their wreaths and float them on the waves of the sea. The fate of one’s wreath is said to be an omen for your chances of finding love that year: a wreath that is successfully carried away on the waves represents good fortune, a sinking wreath represents bad luck and heartbreak, and if a young man manages to catch a woman’s wreath it is believed the goddess blesses their connection.
Aestas [ Summer ]
Midsummer is celebrated by the Coven with massive bonfires. As soon as the sun sets on this day, flaming arrows are launched into meticulously made bonfires, which light the night as musicians play and the people of the Coven dance. A ridiculous amount of snacks are prepared during the day to be enjoyed at night, and anything that can be roasted on the fires absolutely will be.
Not many rituals are associated with this day in a religious sense--it is a time of celebration and the least formal of Coven holidays. A prayer of praise to Lilura is often said at the lighting of the fire, but the revelry explodes from there. Those who manage to jump over a bonfire without being singed are said to be blessed.
Autumna [ Fall ]
The Autumnal Equinox, like the Spring, has two halves. The day before the equinox is a celebration of gratitude and harvest. Crops are brought in, dinner is shared with family, and prayers of thanks are shared with Lilura for the bounty she has shared, and the homes they are blessed with.
At sunset, many nobles celebrate with masquerade balls or other costume parties. As the next day is dedicated to the return of the dead, legend says that the dead may hide in the masked crowd to revel with the living. There are many ghost stories told of women dancing with their lost loves, or falling for mysterious strangers who vanish into the night. There is also a popular tale of a woman in white who lures unfaithful men to their deaths on the ocean cliffs each year on this night.
The Equinox itself is a day dedicated to Seluna. Here she begins her return to the world, in a memorial of death. Families visit the shrines of their dead, burning incense and leaving gifts. Often these include candles and other glowing objects to guide them to visit the land of the living, as well as to fight off the gloom left behind by Sarilla’s curse.
This is a day of remembrance of those who have passed, and a time to ask ancestors for guidance. Many Coven families set out an extra place or more at dinner, as an invitation to ancestors to take their place at the table.
Hiems [ Winter ]
At midwinter, Coven members celebrate generosity. This is a time to give to those who are less fortunate and to make sure that all community members are thoroughly cared for. Noble Coven members may give more conspicuously, sometimes holding open feasts for nearby commoners or donating mass amounts of blankets or clothing to those in need.
During this day of generosity, gifts are also given between close family and friends. Tradition suggests that these gifts be handmade to represent the time and energy you are willing to give to that person and how much they mean to you. In more modern times when goods are more easily available, some people do purchase gifts rather than making them.
Giving chocolates or roses among those of opposite genders may be used as a way of confessing romantic feelings for that person.* Reposted with permissions from the creator & post originator: Maggie L.