The New Divine Order
The Prayer Economy
Spirit- A being composed entirely of Soul.
o Demon: A demon is a foreign entity, something from outside the 9 worlds, and from beyond the Sea of Dreams.
o Devil: A devil is a being imprisoned (to various extents)in the Dread Prison of Natit.
o Ghost: The soul of a mortal that is no longer attached to its corporeal form.
o God: Gods (alongside Demons and Devils) are the most powerful spirits. They rule the 8 spirit worlds and have the greatest influence of spirits on 2nd Earth.
Elemental- A being composed entirely of Matter.
o Example: Animals, Plants, Dragons, Soulless creatures.
Mortal- A being made of matter, but containing a small soul.
The Prayer Economy:
To understand Gods, Religions, and the interactions between spirits and mortals you need to understand one simple truth. That truth is that there is a connection between Mortals and Spirits, between 2nd Earth and the 8 Spirit Worlds, and that despite what Spirits want you to think, Mortals have most of the power in the relationship.
When a mortal thinks of a spirit, speaks of a spirit, offers them prayers, or offers a sacrifice in their name. Through means even Gods don’t understand, the spirit receives an amount of Ambrosia, corresponding to the emotional attachment or feelings expressed by the mortal during the event. (That is, a king who makes an offering of a hundred gold coins likely generates less ambrosia than a beggar who gives away his last bottle of rum.)
Gods value Ambrosia, it’s useful, amazing. It can be used to form clothes far finer than any on earth, food more exquisite, create materials unmatched by any earthly equivalent. While a spirit could simply travel to the Bright Moon and build out of available stone, such a building would pale in both durability and desirability to any Ambrosia made structure. In fact the entire Divine economy runs on an Ambrosia market.
The Job of Priests, Clerics, and Druid
Priests, Shamans, Clerics, and Druids are the middlemen of the Prayer system… and while they are often treated the same, they actually have notably different roles.
A Priest or Shaman is a representative of his community and the people that live in his area. His job to organize worship to Spirits (usually gods) he deems important to his community’s happiness and survival. Most Priests advocate for one god, although they usually also serve in some capacity to service local deities like city fathers or forest kings, to better appease spirits. When spirits become a threat to his community it is the job of priests to intervene. This threat can be as small as an angry ghost escaped from Dream or as large as a greater god actively attempting to work against his community in some fashion. The Priest is supposed to discover what is agitating the spirit, and discover how to appease it. Often this is something relatively simple for a priest to organize, if a little bizarre. For instance Mito often demands that the unmarried men in a village gather together on a sea shore once a year to sing. She often becomes weepy, drastically increasing local rains and floods if this doesn’t happen. An angry ghost may simply want a burial. A road god may want his walkway cleared of overgrowth… many of these types of requests become ingrained town traditions and their origins are often forgotten. This can lead to trouble if people decide to cancel or stop events (for instance, if a town is attacked by raiders and many young men are killed, they may not sing that year, spirits are often not aware of all that goes on in the lives of their followers, and often only see an insult or feel abandoned when events they take deadly seriously don’t happen as expected.) Other times the demands are more exotic, recover a stolen or lost item, a beautiful woman to commit suicide and become a god’s wife, rid oneself of all books except the teachings of Anzo, allow the forest to take over your city and move elsewhere. In these cases the Priest must weigh the spirits demand vs the good of his community. If the demand is too much, the Priest must race into action, cutting off worship of the offending god, while holding lavish festivals and the like in the name of gods who can become interested in his community. The goal at this point is draw in enough divine support from other parties to either get the offending god removed from his position, or at least make him unable to trouble the community in fear of angering other more powerful spirits who don’t want to lose the new source of revenue.
A Cleric is a champion and representative of a single god. The job of a cleric is not to protect or lead a community, though they often do. The job of a cleric is to act as an agent of the Spirit he represents, speaking the gods agenda, and undertaking efforts to increase the amount of prayers his god receive. While clerics often act as priests to an extent, at the end of the day their ultimate loyalty is to the god they represent and not the community they serve.
A Druid (for the new order) is not devoted to a single god, but rather to one of the 5 Heavenly Bureaus. While the stereotypical Druid is dedicated to the Bureau of Nature, there are in numerous Druids dedicated to the service of the other Bureaus. Druids for the Bureau of Seasons tend to dedicate themselves to hurricanes, avalanches, earthquakes, meteor showers or other astronomical events. Druids for the Bureau of Heavens tend to focus themselves on the balance between the Spirit World and 2nd Earth. Urban Druids of the Bureau of Humanity live and thrive in sprawling cityscapes and actively work toward the propagation of mortals. The Druids of the Bureau of Dreams pushing the boundry between the Waking world and the sleeping one, often undergoing vast spiritual journeys through the dream realm, and dealing with the wyrd places (the places on 2nd Earth where Dream begins to overlap causing distortions in reality). While Druids can act as priests, they both better and worse at it than clerics. Worse from a mortal perspective in the sense that a Druid does not actually represent a single god and cannot offer divine representation. Better from a spirit perspective as Druids are the closest to a neutral arbiter that any spirit can ask for.
Do Ghosts have clerics?: No. Ghosts don’t have enough power to grant domains or spells. As an analogy both nuclear reactors and batteries are sources of energy as both gods and ghosts are spirits… ghosts simply don’t have the power to spare.
Do Ghosts, Devils, and Demons gain ambrosia? Yes.
Why do people worship ghosts? Two reasons. First, people often give a loved one a funeral and wake as a way of giving them some Ambrosia to start their spirit life until their eventual rebirth. Some provide various degrees of remembrance and worship for years as a sort of obligation or even charity to deceased friends and loved ones to help them in their new realm of existence. Second, while ghosts are vastly weaker than other spirits, it is also much easier to gain their attention. Ghosts in this way can become representatives of their living relations to the awesome Bureaus of Heaven. The problem is that while its easy to bribe a ghost, it is something of an uphill battle for a ghost to get anything done. Most people on second Earth regard Ancestor worship as somewhere between a courteous charity and a desperate Hail Mary Pass.