Gelalhát

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Gelalhát is one of the major religions of Ereláe, originating in Munkhâsh and nearly universal in its successor state Dhekhnam.

Etymology: Ver. Gelalát, with lh restored from Munkhâshi; the closest thing to a native term would be jôtmu ‘worship’. Gelalh is gel 'holy, numinous, frightening' plus a divine affix; Cuêzi Gellâx.

In Munkhâsh

In ancient times it was polytheistic, centered on the worship of the “Six Gods” (rurumálh plhek), who formed a symbolic representation of Munkhâshi society:

  • Gelálh (Dhekh. Gelat), the chief of the gods; he was their ruler and object of worship much as the ktuvoks were among humans; he was of course represented as a ktuvok
  • Tsôkálh (Sogat), his wife, who is described as bearing not only the other gods but the earth as well; she can be said to represent women; also represented as a ktuvok, or as a frog
  • Ulgâsh (Ogash), the warrior god, representing the army; his totem was the alligator
  • Korkâsh (Koykash), the craftsman god, representing the élite metallurgists; his totem was the spider
  • Kumnatnâk (Khuvnagh), associated with the earth and thus with those who work it for produce'; his totem was the snake
  • Chakprashi (Tsakhwashi), a goddess, associated with the sea and the rivers, important for fishing and transportation, but also important as the sea was the domain of the ktuvoks; her totem was the shark

The gods were the source of natural disasters, and it was believed that they were by nature hostile to humans, only moved to benevolence by the intercession of the ktuvoks as well as by frequent sacrifice (including the most powerful type, that of humans). Without the ktuvoks’ guidance the gods visited hapless humans with famine, poverty, corruption, banditry, and endless war.

As noted above, each god was associated with an animal— always non-mammalian, at least given the Munkhâshi classification of ktuvoks among the reptiles.

Human priests (litndekno, literally ‘intercessors’) oversaw village and military life and offered intercession, healing, and the blessing of life transitions.

Outsiders considered Gelalhát to foster cruelty and hierarchy, and the gods to be demons. Gelálh was identified in Caďinorian paganism with the demon Kezul, and in Jippirasti with Kulig the opposite of Jippir; his wife Tsôkálh became the Caďinorian demon Zukde, and Ulgâsh became Chaos.

Article begun by Stilgar, largely rewritten by Zompist

Later developments

After Munkhâsh was destroyed and the Eynleyni lands parceled out between Caďinas and the Jippirasti -- first the Kurundasti Tej, then the Carhinnoi -- the religion went underground due to banning by the victorious powers. After a moribund period, the Eynleyni had an apparent reformation and started worshipping a deity they called Andor, ‘the Mighty’. The Caďinorians accepted their protestations that it was a new religion rather than the recycling of the religion of Munkhâsh that it truly was and when Dhekhnam was established after the Caďinorians and Carhinnoi lost control of the Eynleyni lands during the Gelyet invasion it was officially reestablished as modern Gelalhát. Under Jippirasti influence, the religion became henotheistic rather than polytheistic, with the other Munkhâshi gods deemphasized in favor of a more fervent worship of Gelalh alone.

Today, Gelalhát is the official religion of not only Dhekhnam, but also its client states— Mútkün and Azgami in Eretald (where only an elite minority practice it), and Sejnihal and Gêsh on the Lenani plateau. In Dhekhnam, other religions are practiced, including the (often considered heretical) Kahon form of Jippirasti among the Carhinnoi, and Caďinorian paganism, and Eleďat in Sarnáe. Whereas Kahon Jippirasti is legal, due to its emphasis on loyalty to Dhekhnam, the other two religions (along with Staji Jippirasti, practiced by a few people in southeastern Dhekhnam) are heavily proscribed. In general, the more loyalty a religion shows to Dhekhnam as a state, the fewer restrictions it has on it.

Author: BGMan