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The Eight Million Gods was an ancient faith practiced in Wa and Kozakura in Kara-Tur.[1][2][3][4]

DogmaEdit

It was less an organized religion and more an assemblage of beliefs and practices associated with a variety of nature deities. There was no great teacher or holy text to give it a formal doctrine.[2][3]

DeitiesEdit

The Eight Million Gods included a host of deities, spirits, and incredible creatures,[3] and even ascended mortal heroes.[5] There were the Heavenly Deities[6] and the Animal Spirits.[7] They included:[note 1]

RitualsEdit

There were no consistent or common rites for the Eight Million Gods, and observances were different for each deity and for each shrine. However, they did have some similarities and generally involved ritual purification and making prayers and offerings of food or money, such as at planting time.[2][3] The benefits that the deities and their rites granted were all different too.[2]

Once a year, if not more often, the major shrines held grand festivals including bonfires, sacred dances, processions along streets.[2][3] Such festivals aimed to entertain their respective deities and could grow rather rowdy.[2]

HistoryEdit

Legends of KozakuraEdit

The Age of GodsEdit

During the semi-mythical Age of Gods (or Age of the Gods),[9][6] the seasons and the vault of the sky were created by divine dragons, while the waters were created by two great deities: Nagikami, the Heavenly Brother, and Namikami, the Heavenly Sister. They also produced the countless other deities and divine spirits.[9]

Next, Nagikami and Namikami created the islands of Kozakura.[9][7] They stood upon the Heavenly Bridge and used the Heavenly Jeweled Spear to stir the ocean. Droplets fell from the spear and back into the ocean, and around them water coagulated and turned to land. The first droplet gave rise to Ichiyama, the holy mountain, and the island of Shinkoku formed around it. Even as it grew, enjoying the sight of this new land, the Earth Dragon came and laid upon it and went to sleep, forming the basis of the mountain range that ran down Shinkoku called the Dragon's Spine; the dragon stirring in its sleep continued to cause earthquakes.[9] Such is the general consensus; some hold other deities responsible, and the korobokuru maintained that the world and the islands were created by the Animal Spirits, most likely Bear God or Eagle Goddess.[7][10]

Either way, the gods dwelled on Shinkoku for thousands of years.[7] However, Fierce Wind Son banished his mother Namikami from Shinkoku. Seeking a new home, she created the island of Tenmei.[9][7]

Fierce Wind Son and Fire Bright fought a duel that inadvertently created the island of Mikedono. Their war went on to create all the Senshi Islands. They used these as stepping stones to journey to Shinkoku.[9][7][26]

At some point, humans appeared and settled the islands of Kozakura.[6] The korobokuru oral histories told of how the gods gifted the islands to them and their hero Poinpeyuan, provided their maintained reverence of the gods and certain taboos, but that they must've broken these taboos, for humans came from over the sea and took the islands from there. The humans, of course, have no record of this.[7]

Finally, Namikami died in childbirth. Nagikami interred her on top the snow-covered peak of Tokuyama on Shinkoku. The Temple of Namikami later marked that sacred site.[9]

Soon after, Nagikami retired and created the island of Hinomoto for his home. He resided there in seclusion. The greatest temples of Nagikami were found here.[9][7] With his retirement, the Age of Gods had passed, after over 10,000 years.[6]

Reign of the Earth Spirit EmperorsEdit

Thereafter, the islands were ruled by demigod offspring of the gods and humans, called the Earth Spirit emperors, supposedly receiving such titles from the Heavenly Deities, but more likely called emperors by the rulers of later eras to legitimize their own rule. This era was known as the Reign of the Earth Spirit Emperors. Legends such as the Stone-Bearing Empress, the War of the Oni Kings, and the exploits of Naka no Moriya were set at this time; such accounts mingled fact and fiction and embellished history into mythology. As the Earth Spirit demigods bred with mortal humans, their bloodline lost its might and almost disappeared completely and there was strife between the human tribes. But the people of Kozakura kept honoring the gods and asked them to intervene and take sides. Thus the gods selected Mori, descendent of the last Earth Spirit emperor and chief of the Akimatsu tribe, to lead the folk of Shinkoku and supported him miracles. Hence Mori became the first emperor of Kozakura, and recorded history began.[9][6]

Legends of WaEdit

The island of Tsukishima was established by the Spirit of Wa. It was here that two sisters, the beautiful Bloom Lady and the unappealing Rock Lady competed for the hand of Ninigi, the August Grandchild. After Ninigi selected the Bloom Lady as his bride, the Rock Lady cursed her sister's flowers to live but brief lives.[11]

The Spirit of Wa once banished the "devils" who used to roam the main island to the Isle of Devils, where each was trapped unless a human voluntarily agreed to take its place.[27]

AfterlifeEdit

In Wa, the spirits of all the newly deceased were required to follow the River of Three Routes, or Sanzu-no-Kawa, to reach the afterlife. Where the river was found was not for the living to know, but one theory placed it in the Ikuyu Mountains, likely near Mount Matazan, another a tributary of Lake Sari, yet it could just as easily be found within a seashell or under a rock. Obviously little reliable knowledge made it back to living ears.[11]

The Three Routes led to different afterlifes: the Beast Life, the Great Hells, and the Realm of the Hungry Ghosts. On their journey along either, spirits encountered ghostly judges who examined them and gave them trials to perform. After completion, the King Judge evaluated the spirit fully and passed sentence on them, including punishments. Only after fulfilment of the sentence could a spirit achieve peace in an afterlife.[11]

Others followed the River for different reasons. The legless ghosts known as chu-u, who were not evil enough to warrant further sentencing yet not good enough to pass the judges were doomed to crawl along the Three Routes seeking other spirits who could testify for them to the King Judge. There were also devils that menaced defenseless spirits, but these were fought by the wanderer Jizo.[11]

Along the River was a barren and dusty river bed called the River Basin of Offering, or Saino-kawara. The spirits of infants who'd died from parental neglect wandered its banks eternally. Jizo patrolled the basin often to protect them.[11]

LocationsEdit

LandsEdit

It was the very oldest belief of Kozakurans, and was one of the two major religions of Kozakura, the other being the Way of Enlightenment.[2][10] The Kanchai school of the Way of Enlightenment in Kozakura borrowed freely of the concepts, beliefs, and entities of the Eight Million Gods.[2][3]

In Wa, a number of sects followed the Eight Million Gods in an open manner. Although it was not explicitly encouraged by the government, they approved it as a non-corrupting religion.[4]

ShrinesEdit

Shrines to the Eight Million Gods were generally constructed at sites of particular natural beauty or significance in a local legend, such as on the banks of rivers, beside the ocean, on the sides of great mountains, or deep in forests, or where a god once washed his hands or a spirit dwelled. The majority of shrines were completely independent from the others, and had features and beliefs unique to them. There were two kinds: normal shrines and first shrines.[2][3]

The normal shrines were usually erected and supported by the local peasantry, and even by local nobility when in villages and towns close to their own homes. The purposes of these shrines could be to guarantee good harvests, commemorate historical events, to ward against evil, or even to appease powerful entities.[2][3]

The first shrines were larger and more influential, and had received centuries of recognition and support from nobility and emperors. More often than not, these shrines were found in older parts of district and provincial capitals. A good number opened branches in other provinces to spread their particular beliefs and gain greater economic support.[2][3]

There also very important shrines in Kozakuran dedicated to key deities like the sun goddess and the emperor.[2][3]

Notable FollowersEdit

AppendixEdit

NotesEdit

  1. While many gods, goddesses, and significant spirits are mentioned in Wa-an and Kozakuran lore, few are specifically said to be part of the Eight Million. Nevertheless, they have many similarities and no other pantheon or faith they could be part of, so this wiki assumes all deities and worshiped spirits in these lands are among the Eight Million Gods. There are a lot of them, after all.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Gary Gygax, David Cook, and François Marcela-Froideval (1985). Oriental Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 140. ISBN 0-8803-8099-3.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 David Cook (1986). Swords of the Daimyo (Province Book of Miyama). (TSR, Inc), p. 9. ISBN 0-88038-273-2.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 145. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 176. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  5. 5.0 5.1 David "Zeb" Cook (1987). Blood of the Yakuza. (TSR, Inc), p. 22. ISBN 0-88038-401-8.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 David "Zeb" Cook (1986). Swords of the Daimyo. (TSR, Inc), p. 16. ISBN 0-88038-273-2.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 David Cook (1986). Swords of the Daimyo (Province Book of Miyama). (TSR, Inc), p. 3. ISBN 0-88038-273-2.
  8. Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 138. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 149. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 144. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  11. 11.00 11.01 11.02 11.03 11.04 11.05 11.06 11.07 11.08 11.09 11.10 Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 167. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  12. David Cook (1986). Swords of the Daimyo (Province Book of Miyama). (TSR, Inc), pp. 18, 23, 26, 31. ISBN 0-88038-273-2.
  13. Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 180. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  14. Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 158. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  15. Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 159. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  16. Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), pp. 142, 146. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  17. Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 182. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  18. Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 142. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  19. Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), pp. 135–136. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  20. Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 154. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  21. Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 180. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  22. Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 181. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  23. Jon Pickens and others (1986). Night of the Seven Swords. (TSR, Inc), pp. 6–7. ISBN 0-88038-327-5.
  24. Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 130. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  25. Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 130. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  26. Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 130. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  27. Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 158. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  28. Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 153. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
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