Saturday, July 19, 2014

Gods of Tel-Avi: YGO

Yes, there is room here for people to be offended, and that's okay...

Yet another religion based on a mixture of music and intentional modern jackassery (that tendency in the internet empowered age to talk extensively about subjects we really know nothing about). YGO can be basically summed up as "Judaism if your only exposure to it were Matisyahu songs", seen through an intentional fantasy-world, polytheist filter. Based on several albums worth of Matisyahu songs, especially Chop 'em DownKing without a Crown, and Warrior.

Live at Stubbs was my son's favorite album as an infant...one of the few things that would consistently put a stop to his fussing and get him to sleep...

YGO:

Chant sweet melodies, utter hymns and sing praise to his name
For he’s alone exalted holy,
Performing mighty deeds and making new things,
Sowing righteousness and creating healing
He spoke, the world came into being
Master of praise, renews each day
Redeems and saves, continuously, blessed is his name
Making great lights, creating luminaries
Abounding in mercy
Won’t you grant me?
Understanding
To perceive, 
all your teachings existing eternally

The Yigden worship YGO (pronounced yi-GEE-oh), a god light and life. They are strict monolotrists, acknowledging the existence of other deities (especially YGO’s nemesiss Dgn), but claiming that only YGO is worthy of worship.

YGO is light. According to the Yigden all light in the world draws its source from YGO, and all sentient life draws its source from light. YGO is worshiped as a source of light, a giver of life, defender against the terrors of the night, and a co-creator of the universe.

According to Yigden legend, in primordial times, before the world was made manifest by the twelve sisters, YGO and Dgn battled for supremacy of the cosmos. The Cosmogonists often point out this conflict as a excellent example of the prototypical battle between the “celestial supreme being” and the “primordial marine monster”. This enmity persists into the present age, and there is considerable ill will between the Yigden and Dgn’s cults.

YGO’s realm is said to be a plane of dazzling, constant, light. The sun, moon, and stars are said to be the gateways by which the light of YGO’s realm enters the material world. The Yigden claim that the closest a mortal may come to YGO’s realm is a place known to them as the Spiritual Desert, an empty plane of glaring light and fine white sand. It is said that a person can reach the Desert by fasting and meditation, though powerful priests and oracles are said to be able to project their spirits into the Desert at will.

In addition to the supremacy of YGO, the Yigden beliefs include the following key concepts;

First is the idea of the “princess”, the “bride of YGO” that was stolen by Dgn at the beginning of time. The Yigden believe that the major goal of mortal life is to seek out this princess and reunite her with YGO. Some claim that the princess is, in fact, a metaphor for mortals themselves and that the quest is to bring all people to the Yigden faith. Others insist that the princess is an actual being, a missing goddess who co-created the universe with YGO and was kidnapped by Dgn.

Second is the idea of the Yetzer Rah, alternately described as a demononic force intent on subverting the will of men, or as man’s natural inclination towards evil and desire to misuse things the physical body needs to survive. Thus, the need for food becomes gluttony due to the Yetzer Rah. The need for procreation becomes sexual abuse, and so on. The idea that humans are born with a Yetzer Rah (physical needs that can become “evil”), but that humans don’t acquire a Yetzer Tov (“a good inclination”) until an age of maturity.

Last is the evil of water. Yigden poetry and song are full of references to “rushing water”, “swimming against the stream”, and drowning. Legends speak of Yigden heroes parting seas, drying up rivers, or vanquishing aquatic monsters. Water, particularly large, deep bodies of water, are seen as the domain of Dgn and therefore a source of danger and evil. Some Yigden take this so far as to refuse to drink water (many take this as an excuse to be notorious drunkards under the guise of greater piety).

The Yigden are the dominant religion in the Saexe Empire, though the people of the island of Frejsa also openly worship Dgn as the god of harvests alongside YGO as the god of the Sun, and thus are not strictly counted among the Yigden.

“Look to the sky, where your help comes from.”

Symbol: The Yigden believe that all light comes from YGO and is a part of him. Yigden strive to always bear a light source with them, even during the day. This can be anything from a simple candle, to any variety of lantern or lamp, to an object enchanted to shed light via a spell. In addition to their light, each Yigden is expected to own a copy of the Harot, the holy cannon of their faith, said to be penned by YGO himself.

All temples, and many homes, of the Yigden feature large skylights and numerous windows to allow the light of the sun, moon, and stars to come in. Flickering lights and guttering torches are seen as a sign of YGO’s displeasure, and an eclipse (lunar or solar) foretells some great calamity.

Prayer: Yigden must always pray in the presence of a significant light source, at least a bonfire, but preferably with the sun in view. Prayers must be spoken out loud, preferably from a standing position. Yigden priests must pray to regain their spells at mid-day, when the sun is highest and the world is at it’s brightest.

The Continuous Fire: In each temple, home, or other major structure of the Yigden it is expected that a fire be kept burning at all times. In temples, this is typically a large bonfire or brazier which is constantly tended by novices and acolytes. In homes it may be a series of candles that are lit as the previous one burns low, or a hearth-fire that is kept constantly fed. Where such magic is available, continual flame spell is often substituted for an actual fire.

Shav Bomer (Festival of the Princess): This feast day is a yearly renewal of the faithful’s dedication to the mission of finding the princess and re-uniting her with YGO. It is preceded by a day of fasting and is celebrated with picnics (traditionally including several dairy courses), bonfires, and archery contests. Yigden children can often be seen wandering the streets on this day collecting debris to be used as fuel for the bonfires.

The Afterlife: The Yigden believe that all sentient souls are made of light, and that all lights are made of sentient souls. It is a grave sin for a Yigden to douse a light of any kind. After death, souls are said to go on to dwell with YGO, adding their light to the great lights of the sky, the sun, moon, or stars. When smaller lights are made on the earth, such as lighting a candle, a soul is dispatched by YGO to give it life. Likewise, when a sentient creature is born, a soul comes forth from YGO to dwell in the body.

The Yigden care little for the disposition of dead bodies, as their light has left them and gone on. They generally dislike the thought of their own being left in the dark, and those that die underground are, when possible, taken to the surface to bask in YGO’s light before being devoured by scavengers. Most corpses simply left where they lay to be picked clean by carrion birds, though wealthy or important Yigden will arrange for their bodies to be burned so that they might be “devoured by light”.

Alignments: YGO is lawful good. His worshipers may be of any good or lawful alignment. Lawful Evil Yigden generally do not interact with other sects.

Races: The Yigden accept worshipers of all races, save those that dwell beneath the waves. Creatures with the aquatic subtype are viewed as children of Dgn, and are generally shunned by the Yigden.

Favored Weapon: As a being of pure light, YGO is not depicted as wielding any weapon. Clerics and Inquisitors of YGO take the Starknife, Morningstar, or Longbow as their chosen weapon, as these are thought to be representative of stars or beams of light.

Unique Magic: In the hands of a Yigden, regardless of class, any weapon affected by a spell with the light descriptor is treated as silver for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. If the weapon is already made of silver, it is treated as being good-aligned for overcoming damage reduction. The duration of any light spell cast by a Yigden is increased by 50% (this has no effect on spells with a duration of “instantaneous”, “permanent”, or “concentration”).

burn away my brain, away my brain is too compound
elevating my soul, purifying my sound
like the son of a sun ray
burning up through the clouds
Harot food for my brain let it rain till I drown
thunder, let the blessings come down.
said Harot food for my brain let it rain till I drown
Thunder, let the blessings come down.
Lord You found my soul, raised it up from the ground
Yeah You found my soul, raised it up from the ground

I said a moonlight enlighten my way
a twilight from the heights of my roof
I sing praise and poof
looking up to the night
I ask for help to get up and get it right