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Shufrantei Religion

Miradi Religion

Prophets in Bergonian Religion

Atlantean Origins of Bergonia


The Bergonian Gods


The first civilization in eastern Bergonia was that of the Kuan people.  As early as 1000 B.C. they built cities of brick, stone and wood in the Amota region.  The Kuan worshipped a plethora of nature gods, usually in combinations.  They evolved the belief that the gods and goddesses transformed from one to another.  Perhaps  and on a deeper level were manifestations of a single god-head. By 400 BC, a religion called Nine-God-Worship had come to dominate the east.  The Ceiolaians, who conquered and unified all the east, were especially devoted to Nine-God-Worship.  They made it the official imperial religion.  

Nine-God-Worship, as the name implies, focuses on a corporation of nine gods and goddesses.  There are five male and four female in their primary aspects, but each has a secondary sexual manifestation, producing a group of nine gods and nine goddesses, producing 72 possible combinations (minus incestuous possibilities between the male and female aspect of the same god).  This became a system of divination accomplished by throwing sticks.    

There survives a version of the Mineoathi that follows a Nine-God story.  In this version, the Nine-Gods dispatched a race of cosmic adversaries called the Enemy-Gods.  The mythic record is ambiguous about whether the Enemy-Gods were dark or evil, or whether they were just a similar bunch of competitor gods.  When the Nine-Gods forcefully dispatch the Enemy-Gods to a distant dimension "beyond the ocean, beyond the sky," the chronicle is for a moment wistful, and even sympathetic to them.  The chronicles do not contain a certain eschatology, but they do suggest the possibility that maybe the Enemy-Gods will return.  

The banda warriors invaded the east and spread the Shufrantei religion everywhere.  As they established their regime, they systematically crushed Nine-God-Worship.  They converted Nine-God temples to Shufrantei temples.  They prohibited all Nine-God rituals and worship, and they outlawed all Nine-God priests.  By the time of the Second Ceiolaian Empire, Nine-God-worship had become extinct. 

Although Nine-God-worship dominated the east in Pre-Shufrantei times, there were other religions too.  The cult of the god Anramrapal was significant because it was as monotheistic as any pre-Christian religion in Bergonia.  Anramrapal was known for the passionate devotion of its followers.  Anramrapal was a gentle, generous deity, unlike the more ponderous and combative Nine-Gods.  His worshippers chanted prayers and went into meditative trances, where they sought a direct experience of the god-essence.  They developed sophisticated mystical practices.  Since Anramrapal had been a minority religion, existing around the margins of the dominant Nine-God-Worship, it easily survived as a minority religion around the margins of Shufrantei.  Throughout the Shufrantei era, a small cult of Anramrapal survived, largely in small cells in the cities, village redoubts in the countryside, and in the forest.    



In Bergonia, the "Classical Gods" are the gods of the ancient Shufrantei religion, dominant from 200 BC to 1000 AD.  The male-female head of the "Clan of Gods," Arcan-Icotesi, do reflect Zeus-Hera in Greek mythology and Odin-Frigga of Norse mythology.  But otherwise the Shufrantei Gods had a much more rigid organization, almost corporate in nature, than the Gods of any of the ancient polytheist religions of Europe & Asia.  

The gods & goddesses of most Eurasian mythic cultures are human in form.  Among Eurasian cultures India and ancient Egypt  alone have gods with animal form.  Many of the Bergonian gods, however, have animal or other non-human form.  Bergonian anthropologists have theorized a natural trend in mythic development that starts with pre-Neolithic tribal cultures identifying with animals, and as cultures cross the Neolithic divide their gods take on human form, enter an agricultural-imperial solar phase and assume a hierarchical human organization.  Some solar religions will retain vestiges of animal forms to reflect caste-type social divisions, in the same way that Pre-Neolithic tribal cultures uniformly use animals to metaphorically reflect human differences, e.g. animal clans and totemism.  c.f. Levi Strauss.

The Shufrantei Gods number 64, and together form a tightly symmetrical corporate structure:  Arcan and Icotesi count for two, then the "refractive" or "shadow couple," Mara, the female goddess of sorrow and solace, and Sorei, the male goddess of death.  Arcan and Icotesi had two sons, Lacori and Tanteli, and two daughters, Apura and Macheina.  The remaining 56 are the Grandchildren Gods, 28 male and 28 female, divided into clans of Earth-Gods, Sky-Gods and a few Water and Fire Gods.  The Gods in various mating combinations with each other spawned floods of life, including races of spirits, angels, demons and jinn.  

The Ancita and other Nacateca people of ancient times spun many myths, and transmitted them in the fluid, ever-changing form of spoken word.  All over ancient Bergonia, the people enjoyed chianeiolei, plays portraying the gods with masks and costumes, and reenacting their stories.  The Prophet Ierecina came onto the scene and prescribed the order and descriptions of the 64 Gods that has survived to us.  His telling of the myths became the official, dominating version for the next thousand years.  In Shufrantei Bergonia, the concept of "orthodoxy" as much meant the correct telling of the myths as correct theology.  His followers also put on chianeiolei on feast days and in temples, with the plots faithfully following his scripts.

The Shufrantei Gods no longer have any direct relevance to modern Bergonian religion, and they certainly do not compose any part of the Miradi doxology.  However, the Miradi priesthood still use the myths for allegorical purposes, and so have kept the myths alive.  The corpus of myths do survive vividly to the present day, providing a rich set of metaphors which most Bergonians share and understand.  



The very ancient Lasa civilization worshipped Arcan and Icotesi, as well as many of the other Gods, or at least earlier versions of them.  One clay baked and painted statuette, carbon-dated 2200 BC, portrays the male and female gods entwined in embrace, in the same manner that the Shufrantei portrayed Arcan & Icotesi.  

Arcan is the Sun; Icotesi is the Moon; they are together the light-source.  Arcan and Icotesi penetrate out from a common point in beams of light into the darkness, the Abyss, and thus create the universe.   Light is the first essence against the dark.  Arkan is the direct light and Icotesi the refracted, the reflected light, the glow, all indirect light, as the receptacle of light, as the female is generally the receptive.  Light becomes the universe.  (1a)

The cosmic husband and wife are often thought of in the act of dancing, in embrace, and in the act of love-making. They generate the universe by their dancing and love-making.  As the two Gods continue in the rhythmic ebb and flow of dancing and love-making, the universe gushes forth. (1b)  The clouds form their bed; we hear thunder when they make love, and then rains come. This produces the water, the fluids of the universe.  Thunder thus means passion to the Bergonian, reflecting the reproductive, the stimulating, and the frightening nature of sex to the ancients.  (1c)

Arcan the male face of God.   Bergonians have called him the "All-Father," the "Commander of All," the "Architect of the Sky Chamber," the Giver, "Great Grandfather." He is the "Fire Against the Void," "the Sun Above the Sun."

Arcan appears out of the Bergonian imagination as a great noble figure of a man with a wispy beard and long hair.  Ancient artistic conventions showed Arcan with Nacateca features-- a wide heart-shaped face with high cheeks and thin features.  He usually holds an obsidian dagger. Sometimes artists depict him holding the sun (a gold ball) in his hand, or with a great blazing fire burning in the palm of his right hand. He wears a blue tunic and kilt and a gold cape. He has among his pets an unassuming sparrow, a fleet hawk and a crafty crow. These birds watch the earth and then bring him reports of the doings of the livings beasts, including humankind.

He is represented by the Preba, the great puma-like wildcat that inhabits the mountains of Bergonia. The great winged Preba appears in painting and myth as his symbol. His color is gold, sometimes gold and azure or sky blue. He is associated with maize and the sunflower. He is the husband of Icotesi.

Icotesi, the female side of God, is the World's Womb, the River of Life. She stands guard at the edge of the Abyss and so fills the dark and the night.  The Moon is her lantern, and its light produces the rhythms of the tides and menstruation.  Beginning with the "Starry River" (the Milky Way"), her liquid pours forth, and she gives the rains, the rushing waters, the still lakes, and the never-quiet ocean.   If wakefulness, quickness, heat and dryness are Arcan's qualities, then sleep, repose, cold and moistness are hers (analogous in large part to the Chinese Yin-Yang division).  And likewise, if Arcan expresses himself in the animate and the red-blooded animal, Icotesi's water fills the earth and manifests in all the green things.  When people face serious trouble, and especially when they are sick, they pray to Icotesi, for she will give comfort.

I see the silver eye in the ink black night.

I see the silver mirror of the night.

There I saw a woman's face. 

I saw the stars in her hair.

I felt her sleeping next to me. 

I felt the breathing sea of flesh. 

I felt the warm earth next to my body

    and I slept well and long.

In the morning I heard her sing the litany. 

She sang in the garden

    with her children gathered around.

The tide waxes and wanes. 

The moon waxes and wanes. 

A mother rocks her baby

    and sings a lullaby.

She churns the ocean,

she informs the night,

she breaths into the ground

she owns nothing

and becomes still.

The believers perhaps held Icotesi a little more in awe than Arkan, for she presided over the night, and also the world of sleep and dreaming.   All humanity has faced the night with at least a little wariness, which sometimes surges into full dread.  We modern folk, so utterly dependant on electrical light, have only a faint idea how compelling the dark night was for our ancestors.   The night robs humankind of the security of sight and presents the specter of demons and monsters.  Icotesi also presided over the ground and the earth, which, of course, included caves.  Caves evoked the vagina and womb, the most feminine of organs, and caves are dark like the night.  Indeed an early sage wrote,

"The day descends from the sky, the abode of the sun, while night emerges  from below.  Shadows arise from the ground,  climbing out of holes and caves, up onto the base of trees, weeds, hills and walls, and then leap up into the eastern sky as the sun retreats into the west, and quickly devour the blue."

According to this view, the night arises out of the ground, so that the two are of  the same essence, Icotesi's feminine essence.  While Arkan remained the master of the sun,  he evoked his own type of terror, that of stormy weather, but Icotesi's domain aroused the most visceral fear.  


CERIN, the faceless God

Arcan and Icotesi formed a dual god-head-- a "Duinity," in contrast with Christianity's Trinity.  But on a deeper level the myths do admit to a sort of Bergonian Trinity, joining Arcan and Icotesi to a third co-equal god-head.  This is Cerin, "The Faceless One," "The Concealed," "Silent-God" and "Headless-God."  He is said only to exist in the darkness, and hence is Arkan's utter opposite and Icotesi's other consort.  The myths ascribe nothing to him, no characteristics, no deeds, no interest or motivation, and utterly uninvolved with the other Gods.  But the myths in all versions and renderings make it a point to refer to Cerin with rhythmical regularity.  

Cerin most certainly equates with "nothingness" as in both an existentialist and Buddhist sense.  Cerin is not remote; he does exist in the world, and indeed is present in every space in every moment.  Cerin fills the residual places in space between atoms and particles, and in time between the "moments" where nothing else exists.  Cerin fills vacuums and voids, and thus is irresistibly linked to the Abyss, the all-important backdrop to all Shufrantei contemplations of death.  Cerin is still and unperturbed.  Occasionally in a mythic drama a mythical personage declares that he will abandon his life and "seek out Cerin" or "Cerin's comfort," and then departs the stage.  

Cerin has no temples, worship, litany, or presence at all in active religious life, except that in the processions during the Festival of Light a character will walk alone dressed in plain gray robes carrying a large black curtain on a pole.  The figure's face is concealed behind a gray mask.  No one sings as this character passes, although everyone claps a rhythm to match his step.  This figure is Cerin's one appearance in all Shufrantei ritual life.



In classical Shufrantei mythology Arcan and Icotesi gave birth to a generation of Gods known as "Children Gods" who in turn begot the "Grandchildren Gods" (sixty-four in the official pantheon). They in turn engendered a race of beings known as the "Descendants"  The four generations of deities allowed for the evolution of a complex mythological system and thousands of myths.

Sorei -- the "refractive god," the god of fate and time, the destroyer, the god with an axe.  He is grim and silent, indifferent to humankind.  He embodies the paradoxes of time, change, transformation and death.  He has a grey-black face and body and green eyes and red lips.  He is the "Eater of Light" and the "Enemy of Fire."

Mara -- the "refractive goddess," the protector, consoler and intercessor for life in the time of death.  She loves humankind.  She is blue and beautiful and sad and wears a cape.  It is said that under her cape she carries absolute darkness, or that her cloak conceals the brilliant "light of final life."  She and Sorei are consorts, she the one who stays his hand.  Mara stands at the gat of the Mansions of Heaven, when the souls of the dead go.  When a person dies, he or she must journey around the edge of the Abyss and then Mara receives her.  

Lacori -- the god of order and form, Logos, the Apollonian aspect, the "culture" god who gave the arts to humankind, a god descending from the sky.  One modern anthropologist wrote that Lacori was the god of the frontal cortex.  One modern psychologist wrote that Lacori is the god of self-consciousness.  He is gold-skinned and robust, with flowing hair of a hundred colors.  He is energetic, outward-looking, creative and interested in everything.  He loves humankind.  The Lacori Myth (8) is the most popular myth of the lot.  

Tanteli --God of chaos and consumption, storm, rot, of the earth, similar to Trickster, and also Loki.  He is red-skinned, lean and handsome.  He toys with humankind, and has contempt for all men and women.  

Apura -- the germinal goddess, the goddess of spring and growth, vegetative and fecundity, of the earth.  She spurns most men and women, but has her chosen few.

Macheina -- Goddess of love, sky, wind.  She is distant and blue and diaphanous, but she loves humankind.  

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The 64 "grandchildren gods" are so called because they are a generation removed from Arcan & Icotesi. The 64 are equally split into two sets of moieties, one differentiation between 32 male gods vs. 32 female goddesses, and then a division between an equal number of "sky gods" and "earth goods."

earth gods, male:

1.      Traders, shopkeepers and bankers said prayers to Ireio, lord of plenty, a towering human figure with long flowing golden hair.  He was always shown carrying some tool, usually a golden hammer or pick or hoe.  He conferred material gifts upon humankind.  The artists adorned him with jewelry.  He wore a bright yellow ankle-length coat over a green kilt tunic.  He wore shoes made of gold and a great gold crown.   

Ireio governed gold and silver, which was said to be from the placenta of the birth of Cliesri (sunlight), daughter of Iesha (sun) & Anupisani (mineralogy). (10) 

The popular mind looked to him as the god of material blessings, but he really was the god of labor, who governed the process by which humans transformed the things of the earth, and this included plants and minerals.  So he is associated even in Shufrantei times with industry, and now with modern industrial technology.  

His element, gold correlated with corn, the sun and Arkan, while silver correlated with wheat, the moon and Icotesi, but Ireio was the god who presided over the process itself.  People engaged in labor or endeavor prayed to Ireio to ask for reward.  He sometimes interceded and occasionally thwarted the designs of Fane, whom for the most part the people feared.  Ireio was, of course, an earth god.  He often had a thing going with Iesha, the goddess of sunshine blessing. (12) His cult became the largest cult of all in the Medieval period, since he appealed so much to the ascendant merchant class.

2.      Tam, the god of warm-blooded animals, stored his power in blood, invested the animals with their vitality, and protected their souls-- as well as the primal, animal part of the human soul.  Tam transforms himself from one animal form to another, and eludes and teases humankind.  Tam has a tail; he is silent and wary, capable of great violence, and utterly lacking any concern for the values and things of civilized human life.  If he while in one of his animal manifestations should get inside your home, he will leap about and swish his tail and smash all your possessions.  His grace is that grace of security-- the security of the den or lair, with the contentment of a full stomach.

3.     Caratoshe, earth god, 

4.   Red Eyes, earth god, reptilian, serpentine, alien.  Out of his/its mouth flicks a forked tongue, and on the tips of the tongue were little snakeheads, and on the tips of their tongues were more snakeheads. Red-Eyes is a chthonic creation.  He does live in a hole in the ground, like some snake species.  

Related to this god were mixed concepts including: alienness/horror, coldness/cold bloodedness, stillness, formal logic, wisdom.  The key that provides a link to these all concepts is lack of personality and lack of emotion, which is related to meditative technique, not to mention an advanced step in the "holy road" to union with the divine.  In advanced priestly studies Red-Eyes appears as a theological construct of great inexplicable profundity.  

Thus, he often has his own chapel in many large temples, and priests who hear private confession would often send worshippers to these chapels to chant, mantra or some other basic technique or prayer available to the common man or woman.  

This all made him the figure of penance in Shufrantei religion, and indeed in the myths and angry Arcan punished Tanteli over some despicable prank by sending him to stay with Red-Eyes, but Red-Eyes failed to have any calming effect on Tanteli, and finally Tanteli began to torment Red-Eyes, and that is how Red-Eyes, often the stillest of gods, adapted by acquiring the quality of lightening speed, for he sprang forth and swallowed Tanteli whole, provoking satisfied laughter among many of the other gods. (15)  The quality of watchfulness is expressed in a reptile's eyes, like most prey species, on the opposite sides of their head.

5.    A small clay pipe, painted in bright red, yellow and orange, used for smoking abea—the symbol of Cushlu, the Crazy God.  Cushlu has a real serious underground side-- god of drugs, visions, hallucination, the kaleidoscope of free thought, and recombination.  But his grace is that of imagination and creativity.  Also he is the god of the odd turn, the strange juxtaposition, the peculiar.  

A very human god, with a smiling clown-face, but also manifesting in a wild bird form with giant manically-colored feathers and frightening beak & eyes that can be scary and very violent to weak or unprepared (e.g. conventional) people, and also as an invisible running creature that passes through walls, which is what imagination does within the architecture of the mind.  He is used to test people, to bring in ideas.

He has no cult or chapels, but is a highly visible figure in most festival dramatic productions.  He is the figure that all the other gods run to for a new idea, or the figure who suddenly appears and works a new plot twist by fortuitous and sometimes brilliant interference, and often comes on stage to introduce new characters or to interupt the action on stage  with sarcastic comments.

6.    Babruk, another war god, the God of the Sword, tall, beautiful, scarlet, evocative, the elegant warrior, also related to the dance.  When banda warriors make ready for battle, when they assemble at the lodge for a new campaign, they pray to Babruk.  He is an earth God.  His grace is that of discipline and focus.  He had a very powerful cult among banda warriors.

7.    Uishalo was the little possum god, “little white face,” who occupied the small holes and recesses, the ugly gray hermit, humble, mystical, and patron of the religious hermits of the Shufrantei forest tradition.  A kindred spirit for the humble and downtrodden of the world.  His grace is in sympathy for the little and lonely, and (like Tam) the grace of the den.  But Uishalo one time was tired of the teasing and taunts of Kirshe, the powerful storm god, and challenged him to a whole-scale fight.  The other gods laughed.  Kirshe immediately put the little possum god on the ground, and the other gods laughed all the more.  But Uishalo dusted himself off and asked Kirshe and the others, "so, who here is surprised by the outcome, and who here can tell me what you've gained by it?"  Kirshe and the others were awoken to their error and stupidity. (19)

8.    Iclumei, the Monkey-King, master of the trees, reminding us of Hanuman, the Hindu monkey-king.  Monkey-King had a rather messy, unpleasant liaison with Tocathe, and their progeny was the race of gnomes, a group of which killed Lacori. (20)

9.    Etlarei, “the God of Thirty-Two,” referring to the 32 clans, is also the founder of the banda warrior class.  He is a great culture-hero, (21) creator of the ur-culture, a civilizing god, along with Lacori but preceding Lacori.  Etlarei is dark gray, long blue-white hair, large teeth, armed to the teeth.  Every year the myth of the First Warrior (22) is told in the warrior festivals held at the banda lodges. 

Siufala, the hero, has been civilized by woman and now is a strapping youth.   One day Siufala walked down the Grassy Way . He walked along and found a great godly figure sprawled across a log, wounded, barely conscious. It was the God Etlarei (et-LAH-ray). Siufala took Etlarei to his log and thatch house, which stood on the banks of a rushing river.

After Etlarei regained consciousness he cautioned Suifala, "You found me on the ground because a villainous sorcerer stole my pendant, where my powers reside. So I have lost my powers. Soon my enemies from the regions beyond will track me down and have no trouble killing me. They will kill you if they find you with me, so be done with me." "I'll protect you," Suifala said in reply. But Etlarei said, "You shouldn't bother with me for a second reason as well. It'll be much worse for the world if the sorcerer figures out the pendant's use than if I die." "Well, but you should live, and so I will remain with you." Etlarei at last said, "If you do anything for me at all, I insist you hunt the sorcerer. Go," he commanded. Suifala agreed to do this and he boasted, "I'll return with the amulet before your enemies arrive," and immediately made off to pursue the sorcerer.

Fortunately the sorcerer had not yet figured out how to activate the great power that resided in the pendant, when Suifala finally caught up to him. The sorcerer dropped the pendant during the ensuing struggle, and the hero recovered it. Amazingly, the amulet responded to his touch. The power within it awoke and in a red stream poured into him. With this wondrous new strength, the hero slew the sorcerer.

When the hero returned to his home he found that four gods, enemies of Etlarei, had torn the place apart. They had come down out of the heavens in search of Etlarei, and finding him weakened, they seized him and took him to the banks of the rushing river. Suifala arrived to find the four enemy gods on the river bank making the cruelest sport of Etlarei, lacerating him in small ways again and again, taking time to burn his flesh with a heated brand, causing him the sharpest of pains. Etlarei sang (quote Inca Clendenin)

The power of the amulet filled Suifala, and he leapt out and charged the enemy gods. They rose to meet him. One by one they attacked him. The first one came brandishing an itle, a Bergonian tomahawk, and Siufala, never having seen an itle before, recoiled. But another itle miraculously appeared in front of him and he seized it up. He turned and faced the attacking enemy god. Though unfamiliar with the itle, he bested the attacking enemy god and killed him.

The second one came brandishing a sword, and Siufala, never having seen a sword before, recoiled. But another sword miraculously appeared in front of him and he seized it up. He turned and faced the attacking enemy god. Though unfamiliar with the sword, he bested the attacking enemy god and killed him.

The third one came brandishing a bow and arrow, never having seen such a thing before, recoiled. But another bow and a quiver full of arrows miraculously appeared in front of him and he seized them up. He turned and faced the attacking enemy god. Though unfamiliar with the bow, he still bested the attacking enemy god and killed him

The fourth enemy god refused to fight him. Instead he grabbed up the faltering Etlarei and made off with him by jumping into the river, and the rushing waters swiftly carried them away.

Suifala gathered up all his new weapons and pursued him over land. He finally found him. But the enemy god mocked him and said, "you see, I no longer have your friend Etlarei. I had the pleasure of finishing him off and then burying him long before you could catch up to me. You will never find his rotting corpse," he jeered. They fought. Suifala used all his new weapons to kill the enemy god, and the god turned into a bat and flew off into the darkness of things.

The power, now like a blue light, passed back into the amulet. The hero instead of keeping it straightaway returned to Etlarei and presented him with the amulet. Etlarei drew power from it as was restored. He then said to Siufala, "You could've kept this power for yourself, but if you had you would've displayed a personality not worthy of it. The sorcerer was not worthy, and the power refused him. But you were, and so the power awoke when you touched it." Then Etlarei proclaimed, "You are the servant the Gods need among men. You shall protect those things here on earth that the Gods inhabit. You shall protect the things they love." Etlarei gave the amulet to the hero, and then with a thunderclap returned to heaven.

The enemy gods returned to attack Siufala and his woman. When Siufala looked out the window he saw a vast dark host descend from all directions, and he knew they were going to die.  Etlarei's words about being a servant of the Gods sounded hollow to him now. Siufala and his woman held each other, and they shared their concern about their lack of progeny. Siufala and the woman prayed and then made love. The Goddess Shiefali (shee-eh-FAH-li) was attracted by their passion, and she entered the body of the woman to experience and invest the love-making. Afterwards, filled with the goddess's power, the woman swelled up and gave birth to thirty-two different animals, all male. All thirty-two disappeared into the wilds, into the world where they dominate, the enemy gods unable to find them. (Another version says that Siufala had intercourse with a female of each of the thirty-two species.) Later, after Etlarei died, thirty-two new sons emerged from the wilds and founded the thirty-two clans.

10.  Peirushler, one of the "descendants," a protector of men and women and an avenger.  Earth god.  He is a preba-banda figure, half feline and half warrior who avenges wrongs done to Arkan's worshipers.  

Peirushler has dark red skin painted as if with a banda warrior's war paint, big green feline eyes, feline fangs and whiskers, and a blue banda warrior's costume.  He brandishes a great broadsword and goes through a pantomime of vanquishing four other masked figures who represent Crime, Deceit, Sickness and Madness.  He fights the other Gods to defend mankind.  He resists death and all things leading up to it.  He fights bravely, sometimes with desperation bordering on madness, and often futilely.  

In many stories he associates with Blue Heart and accompanies him on a mission or a fight, most significantly the battle on the parapets of Star-City against an attack of the kulei hugely powerful demons fathered by Acloret. (c.f 25)  These monsters recur in the myths as a major foe to the gods.  In one myth they acquire the ability to bite creatures and turn the creatures into more of themselves, the way vampires recruit. (28)  In recent years this figure of Peirushler is one associated with cancer, and featured significantly in publicity for cancer treatment..  

He represents the idea that the world does have a compensatory principle of justice that rewards good people and strikes down the evil.   He represents the persistence of the cause, and self-sacrifice is his end.  He has a very fierce and loyal cult, with temples in every town and city, and also a festival

The myths famously kill him in unsuccessful battle against Mara, because he would not back down after insulting her.  It is the one time in all the myths that Mara does anything violent or angry.  Mara, the death-goddess, takes Peirushlar away from the earth as a dead spirit..  The other gods ask her to reconsider, but she says, “I cannot cheat time, I cannot cheat the event.  A death occurred, and so I must have the body of a god.  Give me another body and I will give Peirushler back to you.”  She anticipates that the other gods won’t kill another one of themselves.  But instead each of the other gods gave to the god Ireio a piece of themselves, and out of the parts Ireio made a complete body.  He presented the body to Mara, forcing her to return Peirushler, allowing him to come back to life. (30)

11.      Chacamo -- "Big-Ugly" -- had a horrible pig's head and a short stumpy body, covered with filthy, matted hair.  He is the fool among Gods, an animal fool, a little like Caliban.  He first came to attack men, but upon observing them he became fascinated by their civilization.  "They take baths, fold their clothes and sing songs with lit candles," he said with admiring disbelief. (32)  Though an occasional ally of Tanteli and sometimes persuaded by Tanteli to wreck havoc on men and women, for the most part he enjoys them.  He is largely motivated by curiosity to come around mankind.  He tracks dirt in the clean hallways, knocks over the vase, steps on the flowers and uproots the vegetable garden. (33)  

He is especially attracted to children, who share his curiosity, and since children have not yet learned what is ugly, they are not repulsed by him but rather reciprocate his kindness.  Big Ugly was thus portrayed a huge brute engaged in play with children, crowned with a daisy chain.   Monkeys are his cousins, and he does enjoy a good friendship with Monkey-King. (34) Also enjoys a fortuitous friendship with the beautiful goddess Kaire, the muse. (35)  Obviously an earth god. His blessing is that of innocence.

He expresses the joy of animal immediacy, or animal-as-companion, and in the myths he does gratuitously accompany some goddess or a weaker creature on some mission, and ends up defending them from an attack.  For centuries parents have given Big Ugly dolls to their children (without filthy, matted hair).  In our time Big Ugly is a popular cartoon character. 

12.    Paparei is an ancient earth god of animal and muscular energy, a male god who manifests in musculature, athletic motion and force, stamina and punch, a god of masculine endeavor, with a holy side and also with a side infected with evil, a god very dear to to those ancient banda-warrios who gained the strike advantage by impressive feats of speedy movement over all kinds of terrain, and especially dear to runner-messengers, and thus became the messenger god.  He had a small, devoted cult. His blessing is athleticism & associated discipline and devotion, and in Shufrantei there was a form of discipline that linked worship and god-seeking with athleticism, similar to the Tantric idea of sexual discipline in aid of god-seeking.  

In modern Bergonia Paparei is consciously evoked by athletes, especially superstitious baseball players.  He manifests in the form of Ram-man, a strong protector-warrior-animal with the head of a ram, dominating, far ranging, of the mountains and the forest, solitary, the ego, the individual. (37)  Earth god.   

There is a sub-deity, named Ierlo, Red-Horn, who help the weak and needful, and does so with Paparei's blessing and protection.  But Red-Horn is constantly bedeviled by his own twin brother, Fraio, Black-Horn. (38)

They say a man is like Paparei, the split god who does both good and evil. Paparei, and also all men, have an Ierlo and a Fraio—a “good side” tending toward progression and sensitive to “the light in the world,” and an obstructing aspect, “the weeds growing on the walkway, dust settling atop the books, too much wine, a bad smell,” in other words lack of discipline, dissolution and dissipation.

earth gods, female:

1. Shiefali the goddess of female animal fecundity, menstruation, pregnancy and childbirth, of course an utterly feminine god, an earth god. Not at all a goddess of plant regeneration. A goddess where fire and water mix in energetic combustion. Also related to blood, since ancient Bergonians generally felt that blood (not just menstrual) is ultimately a product of the feminine, and thus with a relationship to medicine. Among the goddesses she was known as one of the best dancers. But she danced well only when she danced with Craili, the male moon deity. All the other gods wanted dance with her, and she would let them, but she was always unhappy dancing with them, and so they just sat and watched, much to the consternation of the other goddesses, who were deprived of dance partners. (39)  This myth illustrates the Bergonian view that animal reproduction is tied to lunar cycles, while plant reproduction is tied to the annual solar cycle. Just as Shiefali is tied to Craili, Carishana the goddess of plant fecundity is tied to Tliere.

2. Magun ( or Imagun) the Spider, female, an earth god, creepy, feared, on the edges, and yet absolutely essential, and sympathetic to humanity. It is because of the cult of Mangun that people think killing spiders is unlucky. Magun spun the threads out of which the other goddesses wove their gowns. Spider webs always reminded ancient Bergonians of fishermen's nets, and thus related to rope and string, and thus suggesting strongly a link between relationships among entities and spiders.  Magun's webs were used as nets by Mara in trying to catch the wayward souls falling away into the Abyss. (41)  Tocathe and Magun are very close friends in the myths.  (42) There was a distinct cult to Magun.

3. Sifacoe, “Green Hair,” earth goddess of the field and the grasslands. The word "sife" does not refer to green generally, but to the light springtime shade of green that one finds in the open grasslands in Bergonia in the early spring when the cold rains nourish the land. Indifferent to humankind, except for shepherds, whom she loves, and who had a cult to her. She hates farmers of course. She plays a central role in the myths that resemble the Old West “range wars” between ranchers & farmers, for in Bergonia farmers and shepherds have fought over land for centuries.  (43)  Sifecoe has an occasional relationship with Feisa, god of fire & lightening, which results in range fires. (44) 

4. The goddess Tocathe dominated the dark woods. She was alien and unhelpful to humankind. Distant from Star City, she was definitely an earth goddess, said to be the daughter of Seian and Lacori.  (45a)  She was alternatively portrayed as Apura’s daughter, and her favorite one at that.   (45b) Her hair looked like a twisting cascade of vines, and she had green skin. Sometimes men alone in the woods, particularly at dawn or dusk, ran across a strange young woman, who smiled seductively. If he succumbed to her temptations she would subsume him and he would end up transformed into some forest creature. 

But she also had another side, and became quite revered by the adepts seeking holiness in the woods, and related to meditative practices, where the body's own fundamental processes were linked with the most spiritual of practices, and a great cult developed around her.

5. Vine Woman, Sinithanice, an earth goddess, slow, devious, dark and rotting. She is the place of worms, insects and decomposition, the midden, the compost and the shit-hole. She personifies what seems to be entropy, the trance-world of miasma, inchoate, but very broad and powerful, a god that infuses under and through so much of the earth, and related to the stuff of the earth, a goddess very alien to humankind. But ultimately it is the stuff out of which new life emerges, and it is best left alone, for it is miraculous. Black and green, with frightening pale-yellow eyes and eight mouths.  

6. Lanara, the goddess of female beauty, vanity, fashion, coyness, subtlety, consciousness. Goddess of the mirror, the reflection, the persona, the face, the external, the mask, the mystery behind the mask, poison to the tempted man. Goddess of the woman sashaying across the plaza, trying on a new dress, or entering the ballroom, or dressing to attract the attention of a man or the jealousy of other women. Portrayed as a lean, delicate, utterly civilized, very beautiful woman with fully human features.  A cult of ladies, costumers, dressers & haberdashers, beauticians, painters, actors, and the theater ended being located either on or near the grounds of her temple.

7. Carishana, fecundity of the field, the mother of Iraio, according to one version. It is said that at every sowing Arkan comes and inseminates Carishana. Carishana of course is Icotesi in disguise. She is either sister or daughter of Sifacoe.  (47a, 47b)  She is the regular lover of Tliere, sun god.  (48)  chapels and a festival

8. Buzhe, the cook. The female control of fire, the hearth, externalization of the inner feminine fire (see Shiefali). Another civilizing female goddess. In the legends she runs the kitchen in Star-City, and she is very firms and menacing when crossed, just like mom, and she sometimes intervenes in the other deities' quarrels. (50)

9. Sherila, the goddess of women as civilizers. A stabilizing, taming force, one as essential to the process of civilizing humankind as any male god. Including the virtues of wifely consortium and sexuality, she is also importantly goddess of craft. There were, after all, many female craftsmen in ancient & medieval Bergonia.  Most large temples had chapels to her.

10. Anupisane, goddess of metal, especially the “base metals” such as iron, copper, tin, lead, and not so much gold or silver (see Ireio). Anupisane combined with Cracasho, of course. But Anupisane survived the ordeal of heat and became the new, manufactured thing of metal. (51) Thus Aunpisane had a small cult for the farmers plow, the warriors blade, and the rich man’s lock. (which god was the key?)

11. Patlishar, the god of piety, devotion, love, attachment, humility, martyrdom, sacrifice, purity, the conscious face of purity, compared and linked to the Virgin, intercessor, and also physicians and counselors and firemen and lawyers, those who serve. A kindly dog-like face, the ever-obedient and devoted servant.  Chapels exist in a great many large temples.

12. Fetreshe, the god of wisdom, justice, conscious reason.  The Bergonian equivalent of the blindfolded woman holding the scales of justice. human-looking, exceptionally tall (e.g. far-seeing), thin, dressed in long striped robes, holding a glass eye that allows awareness over the horizon, and in the other hand a long ruler that stretched across the universe, from one end to another.  The mythic episode about Fetreshe tickling Imoru's nose with the tip of his ruler while she slept, making her sneeze, is the "astrologer's tale." (55) Chapels exist in a great many large temples.

sky gods, male:

1. On the Day of Darkness (the shortest day of the year) Kutlechi comes forth and walks the earth, a figure with a round white face trimmed in black, huge white black & red eyes, and a dress of feathers. He looks quite a bit like a fancifully distorted owl, which is exactly what the Bergonians meant, for Kutlechi is related to the Owl who sees so well in the night (and inevitably has a connection with Owl Clan). With such eyes he can stare right through the night of a person's soul and discern all the pollution and shamefulness there. Kutlechi carries an unlit torch, signifying the promise of the comings days as well as the darkness of the present day, and an empty gourd, in which he collected all the bad of the year just concluding. Many people take out Kutlechi dolls and stand them up in their homes and talk with them. One had better admit evil deeds to Kutlechi, since he sees everything and will report his findings to the other gods. It is best that he report you admitted to your shortcomings. The Day of Night, ironically named, provides people to examine the pollution in their souls and therefore embark upon the way to purity. With this day, people get their sins of the past year out from inside themselves to conclude the old year and prepare for the new. (11) A sky god.

2. Emaosha, a god of occlusion, thus of fog, mist, curtains, closed doors, squid-ink, darkness, lies, falsehood, secrets, riddles, false names, secret societies, spies, disguises, masks, fiction, pretence, drama, hiding places, closets, curtains, veils, clothes, costumes, cosmetics. He is the word perverse, the word used to conceal, obfuscate and mislead, not to reveal, but he is also equally the artful word, the riddle, the metaphor, the joker, the poet, and so does ultimately reveal. He of course always covers his face with a garishly feathered mask and fine colorful coat. He often irritates the other gods by imitating them and masquerading as them. It is said that he does not have a face at all, and that the mask conceals nothing. His grace to humanity is art, and is the patron to all artists, performers, writers, spies, criminals, the boudoir, and clothiers. A sky god. Shares something of the same essence of Sasla, though she is generally much nastier.

3. Aslinare, Sky Dancer, god of wind, spirit of air, animator of the sky, of life, essential breath, giver of life. His blessing is obvious. Portrayed as a young man, sky-blue in color, in light robes, with great billowing wings, very agile and fast on his toes, a great spiraling dancer. In ancient time he was portrayed a sky-blue bird. In the myths Aslinare does not like to take sides in disputes, but he goes everywhere and influences everything. He carries spirits through the air, and he is the father of many sky spirits( good guys), called edelei. (13)  He is paralleled with Anramrapal, the popular non-Shufrantei god in eastern Bergonia, and given the same attributes

4. Kirshe, also known as Storm-God, the god of hurricanes and storms, a sky god, occupies a big place in the common lore.  He has an annual festival in July, right before the advent of hurricane season.  A few temples have chapels to him.  He is a god of calamity, fearsome, implacable. In the legends the other gods intercede with him quite often, for Kirshe is so powerful god that he can destroy the works of the other gods, particularly the earth gods, and while he usually refuses their petty entreaties and remains in repose, he does not mind unleashing his fury occasionally, because it feels so good for him to do so (14), and in this sense Kirshe is the god of the springing cat, the explosiveness of athletic energy, and in modern times the blast of gasoline, explosives and firearms. Thus in ancient times Kirshe was inevitably associated with the watery elements of wind and weather, but in modern times he is now as much associated with the fiery elements. 

He is portrayed with a long thin fox-like face, with a huge upper body to support muscular arms and giant wings that he flaps to make the winds roar. He is white, like a seagull. 

In one of the most popular legends, the earth gods go to war with the sky gods. The earth gods rose up in pride against the sky gods. Of course Tanteli was involved in stirring up the trouble. The earth gods had many successes against the sky gods. The sky gods begged Kirshe to help them but he refused until Arcan directed him. So Kirshe came forth and single-handedly blew the earth gods tumbling across the surface of the world, and washed them into the ocean. (16)

Kirshe God of Lightening and Thunder, one of the great sky gods, one of the constellations on the maker of thunder, maker of lightening, God of the month of Sefenei, great rider of the storm, had his hammer, the hammer called Came (cah'-meh"). The ancients observed that the hammer and chisel against stone produced a spark of the color that they saw in lightening, and so they easily believed that the lightening god should carry a hammer (like Thor’s Mjolnir). Kirshe loved the hammer; it was his only dependable friend, and once he said to Came, “I am afraid of the day that you break apart, for that seems to be every hammer’s due, just as any of our creations sooner or later meet its end. The day you break apart in my hand will be a grievous day. I could avert that day by putting you up in an honored spot, and getting another hammer.” But the Hammer said, “A hammer doesn’t belong on the shelf or with the family heirlooms. A hammer belongs in the hand of the laborer. A hammer is not a hammer until it swings and strikes the stone.” (17)

5. Aranet, one of the sky-gods, was guardian of wisdom, although his behavior as recounted in the myths suggest that he possessed only a little of it. He was also the patron of song. He possessed a distinct ego and personality (and therefore associated with humankind and is portrayed with a human-like face), unlike many of the other gods. He so loved his children that he became a fool about them (see Jumaro). He resolved to give them something only adults should have. He resolved to give them each a sip from the Cup of Wisdom, a sip of the ale that allowed penetrating vision, the ability to see all. He presented to them the cup and they drank of it at his insistence. But the power of it was too strong for children, and so it killed them. (18)  His grace is that of solace from grief and the wisdom born of plans gone awry.  He has temples and a festival.

Aranet is the bearer and protector of the Cup of Wisdom, and nearly every myth about him involves the Cup of Wisdom getting stolen, spilt, lost or abused. He does not enjoy very good luck, but he is often beset by overwhelming forces.

Aranet had a twin brother named Achicet who tried to kill him. Ierecina’s authorized version says that Achicet boasted to Aranet how much Arcan & Icotesi loved him and resolved to show it by writing a hymn to them and earning their praise. “Wait until you see how much love they heap upon me.” Achiect then urged Aranet to write one too, to see how much praise each could get. The next day Achicet stood before the assembled gods in Star City and confidently sung his hymn. Arcan, Icotesi and the other gods responded with loving appreciation. But when Aranet sang his, the other gods enthusiastically joined their voices to his, and with clapping hands and quick-footed dance they sung his hymn over and over, much to Arcan’s delight and Icotesi’s joy. This aroused murderous jealousy in Achicet’s heart.

The more popular version has it that Achicet’s girlfriend took one look at Aranet singing and went head over heals for him. Achicet did not enjoy see his girlfriend drool over his brother. He suspiciously crept around until he found her lying on top of him in the garden. Sadly, he overlooked the possibility that she might have just initiated a brazen move on Aranet, and rather blamed Aranet for the whole thing. 

Either way, Achicet tried to kill Aranet. Even as Aranet fended off the attacks, he desperately kept trying to reconcile. Finally he decided he could endure no more of Achicet’s hate, for he still loved his brother, and he resolved that the next time his brother attacked he would stand passively and allow his brother to slay him. But the next time Achicet put on a costume, a disguise, making himself look like a common soldier. He tried to surprise Aranet, but Aranet seized him up. Thinking that a mere mortal was attacking him, he shouted, “You little worm, how dare you detain me from my destiny,” and put the blade though what looking like a common soldier In this way did Aranet slay his twin brother. (23a)(23b)

6. The handsome Atrago, also called Blue Heart, loved humans, and he avenged the weak among them. He took on human form and lived among people, though the others Gods cajoled him constantly to desert humans and return to live with them in Star City. 

His one weakness was his susceptibility to human women, and of course the form he took on was that of a handsome young man. His myths contain many comic incidents where young women distract him while he is on his way to rescue someone or perform a heroic deed, and where his enemies employ feminine duplicity to trip him up. (24) He is, therefore, a rather flawed hero, but rather endearing to the Bergonians, appealing to the Bergonian hedonistic streak.   In the dramatic performance of his myth, the most attractive man around usually plays him. In later days when professional actors went around from place to place performing the myths, an exceptionally handsome actor always played him. In our times the comparisons to both Hercules and Krishna are unavoidable. Earth god.

Often partners up with Peirushlar

7. Acloran, the war god, a sky god who (like the individual banda) sacrifices himself, yet who takes from others. He is red and black, armed, helmeted, and has terrible yellow eyes like the preba-cat, and his wings were like the wings of a bat. He devotes strength to purpose yet applies destructive energy with frightening fury, a god loving order and loving chaos. 

Warriors formally pray to Babruk at he beginning of the campaign or on the morning of battle, but soldiers are rather personal with Acloran, even to the point of being afraid of him. When a soldier tears his tunic on a brier bush, drops his sword, or slips in the mud, his curses evoke Acloran. In the heat of the moment he screams his prayer to Acloran. Babruk is the god of the clan lodge rite, lord of the training ground, god of the flags, the oath-taking and the institution, while Acloran is the god of the army campfire, the sharpening of the blades, and the dust of the long march. He is the god of the battlefield frenzy.  His most prominent myth is his leadership in the war against the monstrous kulei-- demons whom he himself fathered in a liaison with the goddess __. (25) 

8. Shilaluc. A god of appetite and hunger, longing, sorrow, satisfaction, gorging, most certainly a god related to all animal nature. In his rawest sense Shilaluc is god of the Id, the instinctive limbic patterns that underlie all animal (including human) behavior. Shilaluc was always expecting his due, and could wreck revenge against anyone, whether god, spirit or human, who trespassed on his portion. It was said that at dinner the other gods always deferred until after Shilaluc had enjoyed his first plate of food. In many medieval tradition, one always left one bite on the plate-- Shilaluc's portion-- and the host always deposited these collected scraps in his garden. One prayed gratitude to Shilaluc when fed. One respected Shilaluc; if there was any god that lived inside the one's own body, it was Shilaluc.

It is said that once he began to eat, and didn’t stop eating until he had eaten everything in the universe.  He even ate, one after another, all the other gods.  He ate both the earth and the other worlds and Star City, and he drank the oceans and all the water in the universe.  In one version he even tried to eat his own toes.  After he had eaten everything, he curled up on the blossom in the void and went to sleep.  In one version he vomited up the world; in another he shits it out.  In a third he becomes the world.  (26)  He signifies the basic drive undergirding all life, hunger, both as restrained appetite and also the excess of compulsiveness.  It is the drive for life, the basic élan of life, but also the potential for evil and ruin, and this is his grace to humanity.  One of the few deities without any devotion, but 

According to one account: “The god Shilaluc grew passionately in love with the human maiden named Lirac. Lirac had lips like rubies, eyes like emeralds, skin like amber, a body like a temple pillar, and a voice that silenced the evening songbirds of the garden. But she spurned his advances. "I love another," she said. "Who?" he demanded. But seeing the fury in his eyes, she demurred, "It matters not, so long as it is not you." 

So he left, but when the crescent moon rose high and summoned the lovers of the world forth, he hung in the shadows by her gate until she emerged, and he surreptitiously followed her as she moved through the avenues and the fields, until finally she found the waiting arms of Moroc. Moroc, raged Shilaluc within his heart, Moroc, his retainer, his follower, one like a son. 

The next morning Shilaluc went to her and announced, "I have a way that will satisfy everyone. Your lover shall take you intimately and then so will I." Then he killed her, chopped her up and cooked her in a stew. He delivered the stew to Moroc as an offering, and Moroc accepted. But then Moroc collapsed on the floor, stricken by the poison that Shilaluc had put in the stew. As Moroc lay panting, Shilaluc showed him a case. Let me now show you your dinner fare," and took out for him to see Lirac's head. "And to whom will you feed my flesh," asked Moroc, enraged. "I will have you both," jeered Shilaluc. After Moroc expired, Shilaluc put his remains into a new stew and consumed it himself, but the poison that killed Moroc retained great power, and it killed him as well. Yet as Shilaluc lay dying he said, "It matters not; I have done for myself the best I could." (27)

9. Arufa, the masculine god of authority, kingship, the ruler, the sovereign, the judge, the decider. Sky god. His grace is empathy, discretion and judgment. Pictured with a human face, handsomely gray, bearded, with a long sword and a gold disk.  He has temples, plus his festival is known as Pacunot's Day, and the drama performed shows him sweeping a side a tyrant and appointing and inaugurating a new man to rule, but only after a cautionary harangue.

He has a role in judging the dead, and thus there is a powerful relationship in Shufrantei mythology between death and the sovereign, which makes sense. (29)  Remorseless. He is often shown extending his sword, with the point in the dirt, drawing a line to settle a dispute. 

10. Craili, the male god of the moon cycles, being the male-mover & turner of the cycle, and also the mover of water, of waves, of women and females of all animal species. He is the explicitly male sexual mover, the piston and pump of the universe, e.g. fucking, so sometimes depicted like Priapus, but most often more coyly with a cloak or tunic draped over the erection, but still the one thing in Bergonian culture most shocking to European Christians in colonial times. But since he was the god of rhythm, he also became the god of counting, and thus promoting math, science and astronomy, not to mention engines in modern times. 

11. This god was originally known by the ancient Nacateca name Sheracue, but the Minidun name, Zhuram, is the name he became famous by. Zhuram is the male rain god, of course a sky god, and also the god of insemination and male sexuality, and it is always said that he goes into the ground and re-emerges as the crop.  (31) His consort is Aforishi

12. Tliere, the male god of the sun. He is Arcan’s favorite, his prime minister, his ego. Tliere is the god to whom emperors pray, the god of state ritual, of systems, architecture, engineering, supra-structure, physics, the cosmos. He of course has a very involved relationship with Imoru(30) He had a huge cult associated with the Official Churches in Imperial Times.

sky gods, female:

1. Most prominent in the popular imagination was Fane, the goddess of Fate and Destiny.  She was perceived as a female wild dog with wings, later shown as a glamorous, richly attired lady, with a bat-winged vishget-dog on a leash. Bergonians had domesticated two species of dog, but a third strain of dog, the vishget-dog, eluded domestication and ran wild in packs through the woods, remaining invincible to all other creatures except the preba cat, which represented proper authority and serenity, and so the two species generally avoided one another. Yet at the stage performances of the myths at the annual festivals Peirushlar, the feline figure among the dieties, often has a very major dance with Fane. (36)

Fane had a cold randomness about her favors, and she was fickle and unpredictable. Gamblers said prayers to her, although they doubted she listened. Fane also went by the name "the Two-Faced," because of her smile and scowl, expressions of her ambivalence, like the Roman Janus. It was said that she “uses rain, dice and pregnancy to either bless or wreck the lives of men.” Sky god.

Neither Fane nor Ireio developed a serious individual cult, and in early Shufrantei times the priesthood actively discouraged any devotion to them, except to allow chapels in the temples to the other deities. But Fane and Ireio proliferated the popular mind. Peasants and lords alike evoked them daily in exclamations, blessings, curses and lamentations.

2. Aforishi was a weather goddess, of course of the sky, primarily the god of changing clouds and atmospheric color. She was portrayed as rainbow-colored bird with human-looking eyes, and the consort of the rain god, Zhuram

She was a god of spiritual purity. She was a god of knowledge and insight, a god of beauty, a god of distant knowledge and secrets revealed, a characteristic associated with the idea of a high-flying bird able to see all things occurring on the ground. A true spiritual adept prays to Aforishi for sublime, esoteric wisdom. A god of light, translucence, refraction, variability and purity. Since Aforeshi is most distinctly manifest to the world as a rainbow, or as beautiful sunsets, she is seen as a source of and a constant in the realm of beauty, and makes the connection between beauty and knowledge. Sky God with a distinct cult.

3.  Salafila, or Butterfly Queen, the lover of flowers and beauty, delicate and fragile, ephemeral, fleeting, like gossamer, experiences hundreds, thousands of rebirths. A sky god. Fears humankind. She dances in the sunlight. Her blessing is color.  She is easily chased away, but always returns sooner or later.  There is a general springtime festival to her.

4.  Anithishana, also known as “Ink-woman,” patron of scribes, and thus they and all literati had a cult to her.  She was goddess of the word, very distinct from the blank page. She governs the essence of books, the essential content in contradistinction from the carrier, media, or packaging. Of the sky. When the ink leaves the brush and touches the paper, Anithishana is present.

5.  Eusa, the Dew Goddess, a sky goddess, but very close to earth. She touches the earth, kissing it. Sometimes associated with fog or frost. Her grace is of touch, mystery, darkness, intimacy, smoothness, moisture, sleep, frost, winter and (of course) dawn. She flees from Iesha the sunshine goddess. (40)  She is the goddesses of edges, the place where two worlds intersect.  There were thus chapels to Eusa on the verandahs at the doorway inside.

6.  Sasla, powerful, feckless, insane, vengeful, encourages the worst impulses, welding a blade. “Sasla, he recalled joyfully to himself, the arch foe of the other demigod, Manusha. What better demigod from which to receive patronage in the struggle against Nshucu? What better friend to have in revenge?” She is blue, of the sky, capable of mists, fog, and obfuscation, generally considered rather evil, craven, willing to kill, but also cool, deliberate and subtle. Goddess to whom the feticinai often prayed. This is a god to whom Talleyrand, Bismark, Kissinger and Carl Rove would pray.  

In the myths she is an instigator, a destructive force that the other gods must thwart and contain, and in one memorable turn even Tanteli was intimidated by her and sought help from the other gods, but they laughed at him, for all the mischief he had caused them, and that turned out to be Sasla's aim-- to humiliate him, the worst possible thing to do to the God of Pride.  (42)

7. Imoru, the most distant of all deities, goddess of the heavens, the firmament. Goddess of the stars. The highest of all the deities. An utterly silent goddess. Barely a goddess, often perceived as unisexual. She was in some cults also associated with caves and the womb.  Also with temple buildings themselves, since Imoru's essence is the idea of superstructure, which resonates with architecture.

In her small cult the priests and priestesses enact the myth that Arkan made love to Imoru and Imoru then gave birth to Icotesi, and that later Icotesi was impregnated by a male Imoru and then gave birth to Arkan.  (53)

Imoru of course has very involved relationships with Tliare. (54)  There are chapels to Imoru in the temples to the other gods.  Temples to Tliere uniformly had twin chapels for Imoru to either side of the approach to the alter in the main sanctuary, giving the building the shape of a cross like Christian churches.

8. Omisitur, goddess of childbirth, the vagina, and of everything exclusively female, including female herbal lore, the female baths (similar to arab baths), the female clans and sororities, and female animals.  Omisitur, not without controversy, was also goddess to prostitutes.  Several times in the myths other goddesses come to her for refuge and counsel.  

Once, Tanteli tried to seduce and subvert Acloran the war god, and when Alcoran turned out to be an ally to peace in an ironic way, and Tanteli turned viciously upon him and chased him through the heavens. Acloran gave him the slip in the endless hallways of Star City.  Tanteli went barging all thoughout Star City, invading the abode of many other gods & goddesses, since they were likely to give Acloran shelter or aid.  But he passed Omisitur's apartments by, because he just assumed that she would never shelter a male god, but this one time she had, and so it was said that Acloran was "inside Omisitur's apartment," which was to assume that she had hid him inside herself.   (46)

9. Kaire, the muse. She is often depressed and withdrawn, pouting, emotional, sometimes flagrantly dramatic, shifting from deepest dark to shining light. The other gods find her trying. Psychologists now would say that Kaire was a little bipolar, with a touch of histrionic personality disorder to match. But all the great art comes from her, so her blessing is enormous and obvious. Certainly a civilizing god. 

Several of the male gods decided to pull a prank on her, and matched her up with Big Ugly, but she surprised them by telling them how honestly in awe Big Ugly was of the beautiful and she decorated him in garlands, ran and frolicked with him, laughed at the gods, and made Big Ugly her friend.  (36)

10. Okuresha was goddess of the birds. She was the messenger and spy for Arkan and Icotesi, and thus the goddess of far-seeing vision. It was said that the sparrow will report the sinner to Arcan and Icotesi. She was also goddess of flight of the human soul, and also of song, dance and speed. She was, on a more metaphysical level, the link between earth and sky or air. She possessed a device called the Sirai, the "eye in the sky," that was something of a detached eyeball with wings.  She had a cult.

In one story, Emaosha and Tocathe were sneaking around, an unlikely pairing for an affair, but Emaosha's girlfriend, Iesha, see immediately below, (virtually his opposite) resolved to find out and enlisted the aid (these gods are always enlisting each other's aid) of Okuresha, who send the Sirai to fly out and spy on Emaosha, but Tocathe went to her old friend, Magun the spider, and obtained webbing to use as nets to throw up in the air and bring down the Sirai.  (49)

11. Iesha, goddess of sunshine, enervating light and warmth, and animating the world, kind of like Persephone. Consort of Arcan, kind like the Hindu Lakshmi. She is of course one of the most beautifully portrayed of the female goddesses, with a classically beautiful heart-shaped face, gold skin, gold gown, gold wings, and bright red tresses, to western eyes like a beautiful, golden angel. She was beneficent with her gifts to everything on the earth equally without exception.  (52) Thus hers was the ultimate grace to humanity and indeed all life.  She had a big cult.

12. Patapatoma, a goddess of sickness, rot, much feared, with a small, really perverse cult surrounding funerary rites and handling bodies for cremation and animal corpses after slaughter, yet Patapatoma's name was evoked in every funerary rite. It is ironic that Patapatoma is a sky deity.  No cult , no chapels, but prominent in the dramatic presentations in the festivals.

Water gods, male and female:

1.   Corfa, the total goddess of water, the opposite of Feisa.  Thus one of the most important deities.  Credited as being a daughter of Mara. (56)  Water in all its forms, both “descending” (moving) and “pooled” (still). 

2.    Theomolo is “discord and strife,” a goddess of chaos and destruction, utterly contemptuous of all living things, consort to Sky Dancer, and they gave birth to Kirshe, the hurricane god. (57) A water god.

3.    Fish-God, Shiatrica, of the ocean, huge, totally alien to humanity, totally alien to all earthly life, a god of the depths, the limits of the world, associated with death, like the ocean, into which all the earthly rivers run.  Whales and sharks are his worshippers.  He is considered masculine, but barely so, and really sort of bisexual.  Fish-God was much more frightening to the ancient Bergonians than Poseidon ever was to the ancient Greeks.  Fish-God takes the bodies of those who drown at sea.  He is gross and he eats the bodies, but the souls of those he takes enjoy a special dispensation and go straight to the Mansions.  (58)  He is related to the gigantic terrible blue-and-purple sea monster God __ of the ancient seafaring Svegons.  (59)  Fish-God is portrayed as blue, very fish-like, with round fish-eyes, scales and a gaping toothless fish-mouth.  But Fish-God did not inhabit just the big waters on the edges of the Bergonian earth, but even the marshy lake waters of the interior, the small green ponds, the little stagnate puddles, wherever underwater life could thrive.

4.    Pesuru, the goddess of waves, of rhythms, of motion, of percussion, involved in the hearts of humans and animals, and in the flow of time.  At the same time her realm includes randomness, chance, the logic of Russian roulette. Pesuru is consort, lover & queen with Fish-God, and together they incite and maintain the life of the waters. (61)  But Pesuru has more than one husband, it seems, and she receives visits from Craili of the moon cycles. (62)  Pesuru's grace to humankind is the heartbeat and the breath.

 There is the story that Lanara wanted to recover a valuable stone from Sasla.  She of course knew how addicted Sasla was to gambling and that no one could ever beat Pesuru at any gambling, so Lanara pursuaded Pesuru to disguise herself as Lanara, and gamble with Sasla to recover the stone.  Sasla was not going to let the matter rest, and on her own came up with the same idea-- to get a god who could control the outcome to disguise herself.  Ironicaly Sasla went to Pesuru with the request, and Pesuru so shocked and amused almost managed to lose her demeanor, but she refused and sent Sasla away.  Sasla then went to Fane to ask for the same favor since Fane was goddess of destiny & fate & knew the future, but Fane laughed at her and said, "I guess you haven't figured out that you're not the first one to have come up with this plan."  Sasla realized that she had been had by Pesuru and Lanara.  (63)

Fire Gods, male and female:

5.    Feisa, the total god of fire, the opposite of Corfa.  Arising from a union of the goddess of plants and wood and the god of lightening. 

6.    Cliesri, the goddess of sunlight, the direct golden shining that is the light of day.  Though the sun is male, the sunlight, as it comes down and illuminates the places, the creatures and the things of the world, is female.

7.    Eshe, fire, the pyre, deliverer of prayers, provides an intercessionary service for mankind, but also delivers the spirits of the death into the sky, also fire out of control, that burns down houses and spreads through city neighborhoods.  Vindictive and capricious.  Fire in its consuming mode, and not in the tamed, domesticated form of candles and lamps, or fire’s lighting function at all.  Related to Mara.

8.    Cracasho, the god of volcanism, the furnace, metallurgy, hot springs, very indifferent to the affairs of humankind. The culture hero Hare acquired fire for mankind by thieving fire from a very pissed off Cracasho. (60)

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Gods of no realm:

9.    Orosatle, a blind god, saw all.  He was portrayed as a bent old blind man, but with a large pair of bat-wings.  He was bald and with an impossibly long beard.  He flew through the air without the benefit of sight, and sometimes was comically shown flying while winging a blind man's cane..  He was valued for what he saw and knew, and what he saw and knew included the future.  He “walked (or flew) sideways to time, across the road of time and through regions where the road of time did not run, and time did not limit him.”   He often refused the queries and entreaties from the other gods, and he often laughed at them.  But though he could be abrasive and contemptuous, they all continued to defer to him.  (65)  He had a fondness for Big-Ugly, and occasionally intervened to frustrate one of Tanteli’s mean tricks on Big-Ugly. (64)  Orosatle was neither classified as an earth or sky god.

10.  Ushan, God of the empty places, formless, who filled the odd spaces between the blocks of form, god of sleep, chaos, beyond time and order, sexless, the Abyss.  United with Imoru, indeed Imoru's only recorded lover.  (66)  Associated with Cerin.