Holodomatic School

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The Holodomatic School (Literary Kaikian ὁλοδωματικα, "of the Whole Household") is the dominant religious movement in the County Palatine of Kezan. The name also refers to the institution that developed these philosophical principles and applies them to a religious context.

The school developed out of the Kaikian Diaspora that settled in Kezan shortly after its founding, and thus is predominantly grown out of the Kaikian Antican religious and philosophical tradition. Other Antican traditions, such as Providentialism and Aryashti Sattva, as well as the Church of Elwynn helped to influence and distinguish the nascent school among its peers in the diaspora.

The school's philosophical principles have expanded beyond the Antican population and Antican religions to take root in other communities found in Shireroth and Natopia, such as the Cedrist Temple to Sakat in Shirekeep.

Cosmology

Immanent Spirits (τα Κηρα)

A principle inherited from the greater Kaikian Antican Tradition is that of κηρ, a heart, mind, or spirit. All individuals have a spirit, including people, places, and certain objects imbued with power. A subset of the spirits are the Αδνοι, the Holy Ones, who have a controlling influence over the world at large. The Kaikian Tradition maintained an evolving pantheon of Holy Ones for general, overarching worship. Kaikian mythology concerns itself with the origins of the world, the history of the Holy Ones, and their interactions with humanity.

The Holodomatic School does not deny the existence or relevancy of the Holy Ones, but rather teaches that they are just a part of the finite universe.

Two Truths (τω Αληθοτητη)

There are two kinds of truth:

  • Momentarily True (Αυτικ’ αληθης) - things that can be said about discrete characteristics of the finite world
  • Eternally True (Αει αληθης) - things that can be said about the unifying characteristics of the infinite world

The finite world is by nature an ordered world (ὁ Κοσμος), in which change is constant but according to patterns and cycles which can be studied and understood. Scientific pursuits are given a religious significance by being a means of discovering greater truths about that order.[1]

Dualities[2] and the apparent complexity of the finite world are a consequence of finite existence, in which time and space and characteristics have boundaries and sequence. Beyond the finite, beyond the realm of momentary truth is that of eternal truth, and the eternal truth is that all the diversity of the finite world is truly united in a harmonious whole.

The fundamental oneness of the Cosmos is called The Ultimate (το Υπατον). The Ultimate transcends duality and distinction. The Ultimate is the origin from which the Cosmos was born and to which it will return.

Emanation (απορροια)

At the dawn of time, when the finite world was reconstituted anew, Holy Wisdom (Αδνη Σοφια) emanated outward from the Ultimate and entered finite space and time. Holy Wisdom is the agent of the Cosmos, the source of the cosmic order, and the instrument by which the Ultimate directs the Cosmos's existence from birth to demise. It is the spirit of the Cosmos (το του κοσμου κηρ), without which it would not.

At the end of time, Holy Wisdom will withdraw (αναχωρησις, "withdrawal, recession") from the finite world back to The Ultimate. The finite world, having lost the ordering presence of Holy Wisdom, will become unordered and a void (χαος). The finite world will then be reborn when Holy Wisdom emanates from the Ultimate again.

Incarnations (Ενσαρκωσεις)

As a result of developing out of the greater Kaikian Tradition, the Holodomatic School associates Holy Wisdom with various major figures within the Kaikian mythology:

  • Ariadne (Αριαδνη, "Most Holy"), who divided the primordial mist into air and water and filled the universe with life
  • Pallantis (Παλλαντις), a storm goddess, culture hero, and tutelary spirit of Kaikias, second-in-command in heaven after her father Dias (Διας), the Judge of the Cosmos
  • Nemo (Νεμω), the inescapable dispenser of dues and correcter of undeserved good fortune

Holy Wisdom has also become associated with various major and minor figures from other religious traditions:

  • Providence, Divine Fate as found in Antican Providentialism
  • Elwynn (Эљөн), the national goddess of the Elwynnese Union
  • Adi Paraśakti (आदि परशक्ति), the great divine mother in Aryashti Sattva
  • Sakat, God of Wisdom in Cedrism
  • various minor spirits and deified mortals

All of these figures have been interpreted as being incarnations of Holy Wisdom, descending into the mundane world, appearing and intervening at various times to provide spiritual guidance, protection, mercy, creative inspiration, etc. These incarnations thus form the basis for popular worship and meditative practices, symbols used to align oneself with Holy Wisdom.

There is disagreement as to whether the incarnations of Holy Wisdom constitute distinct beings who share the same divine essence, parts of the single divine being, or nonreal symbolic manifestations created by primitive cultures to approximate Holy Wisdom. It is, however, rejected that the incarnations are Holy Ones who have imitated the glory of Holy Wisdom to deceive humanity.

Spiritual Exercise

The school's teachings include both doctrine and practices, the latter of which it calls spiritual exercise (κηρικη ασκησις). Together, they form the praxis of the Holodomatic School.

This consists of a holistic lifestyle approach to release the individual person from their passions as well as fostering a charitable and compassionate manner towards others so that they may too achieve freedom from their own passions. Once free from their passions, one may then commune with Holy Wisdom and become one with the Ultimate nature of the Cosmos.

The Nature of Suffering

Within the context of the school's doctrines, passion (παθημα, also translated as "suffering" or "misfortune", from πασχω, "I suffer, experience, undergo") refers specifically to the sources of internal conflict that a person experiences, which causes disturbance or upheaval (ταραχη) in their spirit. These passions have the power to shackle and corrupt a person and distort their relationship to others and to the Cosmos and prevent them from reaching a state of peace and internal quiet. One's passions may also drive a person to inflict sufferings upon others.

Each person's passions are unique to themselves. They may be fleeting or they may afflict a person for the duration of their life. They may be intermittent or they may be a constant source of suffering.

Freedom through Discipline

The intermediate goal of the Holodomatic School is achieving freedom for the spirit.

Being free from passions does not mean that the spirit is purged of all feeling and becomes indifferent to the world. Instead, this freedom is taken to mean that the spirit is no longer imprisoned and enslaved by its passions, and the spirit has become free to experience the world as it truly is, to develop positive relationships with others and with the Cosmos, and to be at peace even when experiencing adversity.

The school instructs its membership in the performance of five exercises towards spiritual freedom and inner peace:

  • Listening (εισακοη): receiving education from clerics, fellow members, and those beyond the school
  • Denial (αρνησις): abstinence from satisfying urges
  • Stillness (ησυχια): contemplative, meditative quiet
  • Guidance (υφηγησις): assisting others in their spiritual pursuits
  • Mercifulness (ελεημον): compassion to those in need

Union with the Divine

Organization

The school as an institution is organized into Nomes (νομος, "habitation, district, precinct"). A Nome consists of one or more buildings, including at least one congregational hall, for the purpose of performing rites and spiritual exercises and to serve as a temporary or permanent habitation for members of the school and visitors.

Each Holodomatic Nome is overseen by at least one master, though the nomes within Kezan typically have a college of masters. Several ordained clerics, Zenophores, perform many of the regular functions of the Nome.

The Mother Nome (ὁ Μητρονομος), located in the foothills of Azeley Ward, Honour of Parini, serves as the spiritual hub of the Holodomatic School. It has been located at this site since House Octavius became a patron of the school. Its college of masters is the largest.

During the reign of Kaiser Dominus, the Mango Throne acted as a patron to the school and funded the creation of several Holodomatic Nomes attached to temples and religious sites typically associated with Cedrism and the Imperial Cult, most notably at the Temple of Sakat in Shirekeep and the Valley of Mors.

Ranks of Initiation

  • Syndomate (συνδωματος "one with the household"): initiated into the school, may be authorized to perform some assisting duties during the exercise of rites or during community events
  • Zonophore (ζωνοφορος "wearing the belt"): ordained cleric; may bear another -phore title that reflects a ritual and/or pastoral responsibility that one has qualified for or been assigned to. Generally endowed with authority to teach, initiate people into the school, provide spiritual guidance, and perform public or private rites
    • Choephore (χοηφορος "carrying choe, a libation for the dead"): one who is tasked with overseeing graveyards and attending to burial rites
    • Dorophore (δωροφορος "carrying gifts"): one who is tasked with overseeing charitable functions
    • Hieraphore (ἱεραφορος "carrying holy items"): sacristan, one who is tasked with caring for holy vessels used in ritual
    • Selasphore (σελασφόρος "carrying light"): teacher, one who is tasked with leading students in their spiritual and intellectual growth
    • Ulaphephore (ουλαφηφορος "carrying a corpse"): undertaker, someone who prepares the dead
  • Master or Treasury Keeper (ἐπιστάτης "overseer" or θάλαμου φυλαξ "Guardian of the Inner Room"): ordained cleric holding authority and tasked with preservation and development of the rites and teachings of the school, responsible for testing and ordaining candidates for the belt

Background

A majority of the population of Kezan is Kaikian Antican in origin, bringing their religious traditions with them. In Aquilaria and Phedodah, Providentialism became the dominant tradition -- with some bringing it to Kaikias and carrying on their ideas to Kezan during the diaspora. Aryashti Anticans, already established within Shireroth, helped to facilitate their settlement (some even settling themselves. Additionally, Elwynnese political and economic advisers, as well as the Sentinels who were tasked in providing a military presence early on and many of whom later settled in the county. The refugee population interacted with these different people and reacted to their different understandings of the world and the nature of the divine and, as different schools developed, reacted with one another. In some cases, they learned, adopted, and highlighted the parallels. In others, contradictory positions were assumed, pushing that school's philosophy in a different direction.

The mainline Kaikian Religious Tradition up until the Diaspora was established centuries ago by the Sage Plethon of Zankorias (Πληθω Ζανkωριαδος), whose followers established the Plethonic School to perpetuate his teachings. The Line of Octavius, the rulers of pre-unification Kaikias and the northern line of Dinarchs following unification, remained steadfast patrons of the Plethonic School, granting that school legitimacy and monetary support. By the time of the Antican Revolution, despite the school itself being closed and never refounded, it had crowded out all competing philosophies and its liturgies became synonymous with the Kaikian Religious Tradition itself. It could then be said that all of the schools in Kezan are Post-Plethonic in nature.

Other Contemporary Schools in the Kaikian Tradition

The New Plethonic School (Καινοπληθωνικα), also known as the Red Scarfs for the school's identifying badge of membership, presents itself as rediscovering a pure form of Pletho's teaching. Much of the Holodomatic School's early tests are edited from debates between themselves and this school.

The Eteodic School (Ετεωδικα, "of the True Way") teaches a Gnostic philosophy. This school is viewed with suspicion by the others, especially since its core text, the Apocalypse of Sebaste, is an inverted retelling of the origin story of Holy Iacchis, a deity originating in the Tauchira region of Old Kaikias and later integrated into the common Kaikias tradition. Instead of a heroic Iacchis overthrowing the demon spirit Aethra, Eteodic School's universal creator Arche-Aethra (Αρχη Αιθρα) is overthrown by the villainous Iacchis, who now rules over the world and prevents humanity from ascending to divinity. The secret teachings of the school provide a means of escaping the world and reuniting with the creator.

The Anokatohodic School (Ανωκατωοδικα "of the upward-downward path") teaches a philosophy of infinite regress and reincarnation. It borrows much of its foundation from Aryashti Sattva, translating it into Kaikian philosophical language.

The Diophobic School (Διοφοβικα "of the Dias-fearing") teaches an apocalyptic philosophy, in which the father god, Dias, will soon return to the world in judgement and destroy it. They attempt to renounce the shame of the world and thus avoid obliteration along with it. They do this through self-denial and, to varying degrees, self-mortification. Their sects are found primarily among the nomads and meager settlements of the Apollonian Green and those states bordering it. Rumor abounds regarding their specific practices and beliefs, most of which is learned from those banished from their sect to the wilderness after having been found to have broken their celibacy. Their sects are also known for adopting or stealing children from the surrounding population.

Notes

  1. An unresolved question within the school is whether the order can become fully understood or whether some aspects (i.e. metaphysics or supernatural phenomena) of the order exist that cannot be comprehended by the human mind.
  2. matter and energy, material and spiritual, light and dark, living and dead, real and imagined, firm and yielding, existence and nonexistence, predator and prey, known and unknown, past and future, good and evil, etc.