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 Post subject: Postings of a Heretic
PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2016 5:01 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:37 pm
Posts: 767
Location: Michigan
I have been inspired by others who post their thoughts to the masses at times. Though I know I lack the prose and clarity of one like Tukufu, I do hope I can be entertaining. How? Why? Why should you read this sheet? Because I am a heretic. It's not really my fault, but sadly, it’s out of my control. The church defines heresy, and despite the fact that I believe in the Pantheon of Man, they define me as a heretic.

All because I talk with spirits.

That’s right, I talk with spirits. Many would consider me a “shaman” though that is not the term those in the west use. I prefer spirit-speaker. Also, I’m only an apprentice, not really a full speaker at all.

I love being one though, and I’ve been amazed at all the crazy things people believe about “shaman,” so I thought I would try to explain my view of “shamanism,” and why I love it. Maybe I’ll succeed in removing some of the fear and confusion around it. Maybe not. It really can be a confusing and scary world.

I guess, since the Church's’ define speaking with spirits as heresy, that by definition that has to make is a religion. Therefore I should be protected by the First City’s promise of religious freedom. That’s why I’m posting these letters here. We’ll see. I need to be free to travel, so I’ll be keeping these post anonymous, and I might change some minor details about myself and my experiances for my own security. I really don’t want to run into the inquisition, or get harvested. So I don’t know how often I’ll be posting, between travel and concerns about security, it might be erratic. But I’ll keep my eyes open for response posts, and bring you my thoughts as a spirit-speaker.

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AKA Kavaris, awakened "Human" from the Hinterlands, psionic transmutation specialist, adventurer, and no one important


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 Post subject: Re: Postings of a Heretic
PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2016 5:04 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:37 pm
Posts: 767
Location: Michigan
I’ll start with defining a “shaman.” Simply put, we’re people who speak with spirits. In some ways that gives us a lot of overlap with Beltinians, though if one tries to talk to them about that, they get all red in the face and deny it all without being able to say how it’s different. I know some Shaman who would be really impressed by what the Beltenian’s did to the Pride of Chendo. That’s exactly the kind of work some shaman can do, so it’s clear shaman and Beltenian’s have a lot in common – but according to them it’s entirely different, so don’t even bother asking them about it.

But I digress.

Generally, becoming a shaman is a calling, people do not generally choose to become a shaman, any more than they choose to be born with the spark and become sorcerers (as I understand it). No, one does not choose the path of the shaman, it chooses them. One comes into power because the spirits have taken notice of him. In my case I saw the house spirit (a Coryani might call it a dii familiares, or a Milandesian might call it a kobold), of my home in a moment of crisis. Having seen it, spirits then became interested in me, and brought a shaman to teach me.

That is generally how a shaman starts. Most of the time, it is when the spirit world chooses to reach out to you, and you really see it. Some shaman aren't people chosen by the spirits, but people who chose to see them. That choice is harder, and more dangerous, because if the spirit world doesn't naturally reach out to you, the only way to initially perceive it is to bring yourself to the brink of death to perceive it. One has to have a breaking-moment, which I often think of as similar to what psionicists must experience when they "break" into their power. Those kinds of shaman are often the most powerful, because they are willing to do anything to get their power, but they are also usually the worst. I think there is a reason why the spirit world didn't reach out to them.

Once one can perceive the spirit world, this perception of the spirits is what gives one the power to interact with them, and gives the spirits a reason to be interested in you. At this point, it is one of the duties of a shaman to be willing to train others who have begun to perceive the real world around us, the dream world we all live in, so that it doesn't drive them crazy. This training is usually quite short, as the teacher need only teach the student that they aren't crazy, and the rudiments of interacting with the spirits. The spirits will teach the student from there. Because of this, spirit talkers can all be very different, and have significantly different views on how their own abilities work, depending on how they were taught.

I can tell you some of the most important things not to do, if you start to perceive the entire world around you, rather than just that most sleep walk through: don't go to your priest. Nothing changes a priest's definition of you from beloved parishioner to kindling faster. I can't understand what motivates them so, to kill someone they previously would have protected, but I kid you not, there is no faster way to die. Don't kill yourself because you think you are crazy either, but better that then letting the church get a hold of you, they're.... vicious.

Better that you believe in yourself. Get to know the small things around you. Be kind, and speak with those things around you that are kind. They should be able to set you on a path you can survive, and the world needs more people who aren't murdered for just being who they are, and who don't dive in too deep, too fast, and get lost.

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AKA Kavaris, awakened "Human" from the Hinterlands, psionic transmutation specialist, adventurer, and no one important


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 Post subject: Re: Postings of a Heretic
PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2016 7:48 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 3:59 am
Posts: 750
Location: Northwest Territories, Canada
To Whom it May Concern,

I find myself deeply troubled by your admission of heresy. It is odd that there exist people who would willingly serve lesser powers when the Gods offer such blessings to their faithful. Before you find yourself too far down your current path, I would advise you to renounce your heretical ways. Many cultists and heretics have found themselves cleansed by Nier's flame, I trust you do not wish to count yourself among their number.

Heresy is a choice, do not pretend otherwise.

Glory to Lord Nier

Raseri val'Emman
Master of the Order of Incandescent Flame

_________________
Akira Currier
aka Raseri 'Crash' val'Emman - Val Grand Master (Martial 2.10)
aka Leif of House Borghild - Skohir Human Myrmidon (Martial 2.4)
aka Rurik of Nol Dappa - Dwarven War Priest (Divine 2.3)


Last edited by acurrier on Sat May 07, 2016 10:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Postings of a Heretic
PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2016 9:20 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:37 pm
Posts: 767
Location: Michigan
acurrier wrote:
To Whom it May Concern,

I find myself deeply troubled by your admission of heresy. It is odd that there exist people who would willingly serve lesser powers when the Gods offer such blessings to their faithful. Before you find yourself too far down your current path, I would advise you to renounce your heretical ways. Many cultists and heretics have found themselves cleansed by Nier's flame, I trust you do not wish to count yourself among their number.


Good Master Raseri,

While I find your absolutism disappointing, I do not find it at all surprising. I am not at all a heretic, and yet to you (and the church) I am. I believe in the gods and I do not serve lesser powers. I speak with spirits, and work with them, just as I work with people. That does not mean I serve them as priests serve the gods, or that I have chosen serving them over serving the Gods. But just because I speak with these spirits, I am defined by the church as a heretic. Would you prefer I had gone mad seeing those things that no one else around me saw, rather than learning to control them? Would you have preferred I turned down learning about the world(s) around me and rejected a power the God's saw fit to gift me with? Ignorance does indeed appear to be bliss to the Church, but ignorance is (literally) madness to those whose eyes are opened to the world(s) around us.

I do find your argument strange though, that heresy is inherent and avoidable, considering you are the member of a church. Tell me, are you a follower of the mother church and thus a heretic in Canceri, or a follower of the triumvirate and thus a heretic when in Coryan? In which instance are you wrong, if your belief is right? Is not, by definition, one of those Churches wrong in labeling you a heretic? If so, could not the same be said for other people they label thus?

This is exactly why I have decided to share my thoughts with community, to hopefully overcome such ignorance of the ways of spirits, and such prejudice of those trained by the church. Please, I hope you continue to read my words with an open mind, that further letters can clear your obvious misunderstandings of those like myself. I also hope that you understand that I have much love and respect for the church, as I believe it does much to support the will of the Gods, but only argue that its stance on those that deal with spirits is wrong, not the faith of the church itself.

And of course, your letter clearly indicates why I am posting in anonymity via proxies in a city known for its religious tolerance. For it is clear that to do otherwise would be to risk that which the God's have given me, at the hands of men too free with "cleansing fire." (personally I find it leave ash and smoke everywhere, there is nothing cleansing about it)

Signed

Anonymous

[Text edited from initial post due to prior post revision]

_________________
AKA Kavaris, awakened "Human" from the Hinterlands, psionic transmutation specialist, adventurer, and no one important


Last edited by toodeep on Sat May 07, 2016 11:10 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Postings of a Heretic
PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2016 10:28 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 3:59 am
Posts: 750
Location: Northwest Territories, Canada
My apologies, I misread your initial post. I've adjusted mine accordingly

_________________
Akira Currier
aka Raseri 'Crash' val'Emman - Val Grand Master (Martial 2.10)
aka Leif of House Borghild - Skohir Human Myrmidon (Martial 2.4)
aka Rurik of Nol Dappa - Dwarven War Priest (Divine 2.3)


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 Post subject: Re: Postings of a Heretic
PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2016 1:57 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:06 am
Posts: 1725
Location: Portland OR
Dear Sir or Madame,

It's very naughty that you do not follow the practices of the Mother Church. They very clearly speak against the supplication of demons and pagan spirits. For the good of your immortal soul I urge you to reconsider your choices in life. But I also want you to know that you need not fear physical reprisals from me because you talk to spirits. We live here in the First City with its freedom of conscience. I assure you the Golden Court explicitly forbids "compelled conversion."

As it probably should be. I would never place much faith is a conversion derived at sword point.

Now, as you hopefully weigh the merits of the Mother Church, perhaps you could ... in the meanwhile... take a moment or two to answer a few questions for me? I concede that it is hard to find open and honest sources concerning the practice of "talking to spirits." I should be grateful if you could answer just a couple of questions?

Can you explain how, if at all, the choice of spiritual patrons impacts the powers you can weild through the arcanum? From what I can tell you are ALL a hexing, animalistic, elemental manipulating group of necromancers. How can that be? Does this mean that all primal practitioners essentially contact the same types of spirits? It seems very odd to me that a group of Undir water folk who talk to "the elements" should have the same powers as the followers of Jeggal Sagg much less infernal cultists such as the various covens of the Faerdau Witches of Milandir. Yet this seems to be the case....I confess confusion.

I find the "spirit talkers" of the Hinterlands even more vexing.

Is it too much to hope you are connected to the, yes yes heretical, group known as the Ehtzarta? I have heard they are Shamans. Or also sometimes wizards. Or perhaps they are their own thing? I have also heard conflicting reports that adults go through an initiation and are inducted into their order, but also that children born under the Sign of Ravani...apparently the tribal name for Sarish among the Hinterlanders...are given up at birth to be raised by the Ehtzarta. Can this mean they also represent a heretical worship of Sarish?

What an ill defined mess. I look forward to any answers you care to leave around the First City. And, of course, will pray for you.

I remain your obedient scribe,

Tukufu, Ambassador of Altheria.

_________________
Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


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 Post subject: Re: Postings of a Heretic
PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2016 4:14 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:37 pm
Posts: 767
Location: Michigan
val Holryn wrote:
But I also want you to know that you need not fear physical reprisals from me because you talk to spirits. We live here in the First City with its freedom of conscience. I assure you the Golden Court explicitly forbids "compelled conversion."

As it probably should be. I would never place much faith is a conversion derived at sword point.


If only all were so civilized, but I hope you can understand my desire for anonymity, considering the very first response to my post was, in essence, a death threat.

val Holryn wrote:
It's very naughty that you do not follow the practices of the Mother Church. They very clearly speak against the supplication of demons and pagan spirits. For the good of your immortal soul I urge you to reconsider your choices in life.


The wording of the holy texts is ambiguous, as they generally indicate that "...[dealing] with unsanctioned spirits is unclean." But what does unsanctioned mean? What is unclean? I will be the first to admit that there are horrible and unclean spirits in the world of dreams, and dealing with them can taint one’s soul, just as there are creatures of that nature in our world. But I also know there are wonderful and amazing spirits there that want only the best for the world, including spirits that serve the PoM. The church takes the obviously conservative view therefore, that all spirits are unclean, while I take the position just like people, some are, and some aren’t. I haven’t become a monk and cloistered myself away from the world to avoid meeting unclean people. I do not plan to cloister myself away from spirits for fear of encountering an unclean one either. My plan is the same no matter which world I walk in, to fight against those I oppose.

val Holryn wrote:
Now, as you hopefully weigh the merits of the Mother Church, perhaps you could ... in the meanwhile... take a moment or two to answer a few questions for me? I concede that it is hard to find open and honest sources concerning the practice of "talking to spirits." I should be grateful if you could answer just a couple of questions?


That is just the reason I have decided to start posting. Though I do wish to indicate these are just my perspective, which may change as I study my art.


val Holryn wrote:
Can you explain how, if at all, the choice of spiritual patrons impacts the powers you can weild through the arcanum? From what I can tell you are ALL a hexing, animalistic, elemental manipulating group of necromancers. How can that be? Does this mean that all primal practitioners essentially contact the same types of spirits? It seems very odd to me that a group of Undir water folk who talk to "the elements" should have the same powers as the followers of Jeggal Sagg much less infernal cultists such as the various covens of the Faerdau Witches of Milandir. Yet this seems to be the case....I confess confusion.


You might as well ask why most elder casters in the first city seem limited to elemental magics, creation, mental manipulations, and transmutations? Where are the great powers of creating new life forms and contacting new worlds we’ve heard about in legends? They are known to contact many planes of existence. Is this done through elemental magics?

So why are spirit-talkers limited in their abilities when they can associate with the limitless types of spirits in the spirit world? All I can say is that everyone must start somewhere. Not all spirit talkers develop to have the mastery of onieromancy that is their birthright. I know I am nowhere close. Personally, I have very little interest in necromancy, but I find that the spirits with which most spirit-talkers deal are those that have been most primal to life, especially before finding the gods.

What did man seek to understand before the gods? Why does it rain, flood, and how can we protect ourselves from drought and fire? (elementalism) What is death, and what comes after? (necromancy) How can we hunt and feed ourselves better, how do we domesticate animals? (animalism) How can we protect ourselves, and hurt our enemies? (hexes) These specialties tie into our most primitive instincts as a people, which helps drive what spirits to most strongly associate with people and thus with spirit-talkers. These are, if you will, the most humanocentric spirits in the spirit realm, and thus the first and easiest types of spirits a shaman learns to master. It is my intent to discuss the nature of the spirit realm at greater length later, but it is a subject that far exceeds the scope of your question.

I believe that the most powerful spirit-talkers are only limited by the spirits with which they connect, though I think that most never develop to this level of their art. Keep in mind, many spirit-talkers learn only what they need to in order to maintain their sanity and provide for a position within their community. They know that delving too far into the spirit world does have risks. Just as few swordsmen become masters of the blade, so to do few spirit-talkers go beyond the basics of their craft.

But as an example of shaman expanding their powers, I have heard that the shaman of some hyena men recently invited to settle in Milandir by the Ssressen had the ability to call upon demons and other fiendish powers. I am sure they made contact with some form of fiendish spirit capable of granting them these powers. While that is a perfect example of the type of spirits spirit-talkers should fight, rather than assist, it is an example of how a shaman can expand their abilities as they grow in power. Though it also raised serious questions in my mind about the goals of the Ssressen in Milandir, if they support such creatures, but that is a concern of mine as an individual, not as a spirit-talker.

val Holryn wrote:
Is it too much to hope you are connected to the, yes yes heretical, group known as the Ehtzarta?


I am not one. I harken from what the Coryani call the western lands, and there we have a much more religious and elemental tradition to our beliefs, while it is my experience there is a much more necromantic and arcane tradition in the hinterlands. I have met some, and can confirm that they are at least some form of spirit-talker, but I cannot speak to whether their organization has additional patrons from the spirit world that may provide powers beyond those of which I know.

Beyond that, I know nothing about the Ehtzarta that you probably haven’t already heard. Interestingly, I have heard that the Hinterlanders place Saluwe as the patron and source of primal magics in a much more primitive aspect of her than the Coryani espouse. I am not surprised to hear of their ties to Sarish as well. Additionally, I have heard that the Ehtzarta of the Hinterlands and the Sarishans of the Dark Triumvirate have had some friendly dealings, indicating that not all churches view shaman with blind hatred. Though considering the church in question, that is not very likely to help with supporting the argument that we spirit-talkers aren’t heretics…

[quote="val Holryn"]And, of course, will pray for you.[quote]

And I will pray to the gods for those like you as well, as any believer in the gods should. And how can anyone who has that belief be considered a heretic?

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AKA Kavaris, awakened "Human" from the Hinterlands, psionic transmutation specialist, adventurer, and no one important


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 Post subject: Re: Postings of a Heretic
PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2016 6:02 am 
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Location: Portland OR
Dear Sir or Madame,

You note that the Elder style of manipulating the arcanum utilizes four common traditions: control, creation, elementalism & transmutation. The teachings are homogenous across all elorii practitioners (and also I assume the Ssanu). You then ask, why should should Shamanism be any different?

And my answer is: the elorii learned their art from Salos. He stole the knowledge from his ancient Ssanu master. As far as I understand, all of the eloran arcane arts build on that common foundation.

This is not the case with primal casters! As I understand it, some make pacts with infernals. Some make pacts with what might be called nature spirits. And some make pacts with elemental forces. If we are to trust the writtings of Nettius these varied creatures don't even originate on the same planes of existence. How is it they teach the same set of "spells." Why are diverse Shamnas essentially as monolithic in their arcane powers as the eloran casters who are all disciples of the teachings of Salos?

I have second unrelated question. Do you ever see spirits while on consecrated ground?

Your honest answers are appreciated.

I remain your obedient scribe.

Tukufu, Ambassador of Altheria

_________________
Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


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 Post subject: Re: Postings of a Heretic
PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2016 1:57 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:37 pm
Posts: 767
Location: Michigan
val Holryn wrote:
This is not the case with primal casters! As I understand it, some make pacts with infernals. Some make pacts with what might be called nature spirits. And some make pacts with elemental forces. If we are to trust the writtings of Nettius these varied creatures don't even originate on the same planes of existence. How is it they teach the same set of "spells." Why are diverse Shamnas essentially as monolithic in their arcane powers as the eloran casters who are all disciples of the teachings of Salos?


Sadly, I am not conversant with the writings of Nettius, so I do not know what the learned know about the spirits, I only know what I have been taught. My understanding of spirits is that they all come from the spirit realm, or dreamtime, as many know it. I think it is easy to confuse where spirits come from though, as many otherworldly creatures either have found a way to enter dreamtime and have come to dwell there, extend dreamtime from the physical world, or are reflected there from the physical world. It is a bit of a philosophical question, is the dream of a fiend a fiend? Does it matter if it has the power and the taint of a fiend?

As for the abilities and spiritual connection that all shamans have, it is true that some shaman (and I use the term shaman here rather than spirit-talker on purpose) do have pacts with other powers, and often times these powers provide additional access to spirits beyond those commonly dealt with by shaman. I will use the hyena-men as an example here; as it is reported that they had obviously had dealings with fiends, and reportedly had powers I’ve never heard of in a shaman before because of their use of fiendish spirits. So in some cases these beings can provide additional power. But most of the time, deals with such powers don't make a true shaman more powerful, they just allow a non-shaman to become a shaman who did not have the sensitivity before. Not a gain to any true shaman, who is already sensitive, but a potentially huge boon to one who is blind to the real world around them. Thus, this kind of thing is actually very rare. I think the idea that many "make pacts with" elementals, nature spirits or demons is slander from the church designed to discredit shaman. Our relationship with the spirits around us is as old as our race and is natural as life. It takes no pacts for a spirit-talker to learn to communicate with the spirits.

That said, once one is connected to the spirit world, I can say that the spirits that are closest to people are those that connect with people’s most primitive needs – food, defense, life and death, etc. I think these connection are true for all sentient beings. These spirits have a strong symbiotic relationship with humanity (or ssressen) and thus all shaman find it easiest to exert influence over them. That is why all spirit-talkers appear to share these connections. I have heard, however, that some spirit-talkers eschew association with some types of spirits in order to strengthen their connections with others or gain access to other spirits, but I have not met any who have done so. It is my understanding though that that takes a conscious choice on the part of the practitioner, and is therefore rare.



val Holryn wrote:
I have second unrelated question. Do you ever see spirits while on consecrated ground?


Of course! But then, we consider many of our sacred sites of power to be consecrated by the spirits. It would be impossible for there not to be spirits there! But I assume what you actually meant is, have I observed spirits in places that have been consecrated by priests solely to the pantheon? The answer there is more theoretical, because I have not yet found a church willing to let me come in and perform such a ceremony in their consecrated grounds. I suppose that would be a worthy test of the management of the First City and Cathedral if of the Pantheon to see if I could gain a few hours in the grand cathedral, as by definition, spirit-talking must be considered a faith in order to be heretical, mustn’t it? And the Cathedral is to be shared with all the faiths of man, is it not? I wonder if I would live to see the dawn if I were to try such a test? But I digress….

But I believe that yes, spirits should be present, though I would expect the influence of consecration to extend into the spirit realm, and thus many types of spirits might be hedged out of such a location. But it is well known that the servants of the gods are active in the spirit realms, and I see no reason why such holy beings would be denied access to holy sites.

_________________
AKA Kavaris, awakened "Human" from the Hinterlands, psionic transmutation specialist, adventurer, and no one important


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 Post subject: Re: Postings of a Heretic
PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 6:54 am 
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Location: Portland OR
Dear Sir or Madame,

Where do spirit talkers come down on matters of the soul? Do you believe your soul came from the Cauldron? If no, then where does it come from and return to? If yes, do you fear that your practice of spirit talking will anger either Beltine or the Judgement of Nier?

Your Obediant Scribe,

Tukufu, Ambassador of Altheria

_________________
Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


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