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There is no organized religion in this world, though traces of religious traditions have filtered down from humans crossing from Earth earlier. However, that is not to say that questions of metaphysical nature are ignored, or that there is no expression of a spiritual nature, whether personally or culturally.

Generally speaking one might say that encounters with entities or powers far outside of human definition have been viewed as experiences that erase sacred distance, if only because attempts to define 'sacred' have always eventually led to even larger questions.

Not all humans sense--or even acknowledge--the sacred. For some the 'sacred' is defined as 'tradition'. For others, spiritual expression is bound up in rituals with aesthetic appeal, or in magic that complements physical verities (in popular terms, call this environmentally friendly magic) and/or that resonates outside of the physical and mental boundaries of self. Since these boundaries are perceivable in those who have "made their unity" (dena Yeresbeth) there is a general sense that the universe, or megaverse, is not a random collection of dust and light. But there are some who believe that it is, and since no one can prove otherwise either way, there may be debate, but there is no attempt to legislate.


Sartoran Labyrinth

Oldest is the Sartoran labyrinth. The oldest and most formal are probably descendants of the Twelve Stations of the Cross, for the number twelve persists, as do triune patterns, symbols, falls of notes in music. Walking the labyrinth is a meditative, sometimes mystical experience, and at different times there have been ritual words meant to focus mind and soul.

The labyrinth is also walked at other important life posts: in some places it is done before before being accepted as an adult (which led to Guild Walks), by persons wishing to marry; as part of death rituals, etc. Sartorans built the first labyrinths, some say in the form of the Celtic Cross; the division is four petals further divided into three, but sometimes as elaborate as nine, though generally there are twelve, or even twenty-four, sections. Some personal labyrinths, in tiny indoor gardens, are in threes. Sartor and places that cherish their Sartoran influences and traditions still have various forms of labyrinth, generally made of paths of smooth pebbles found in stream beds, divided by groupings of aromatic plants and trees, especially those that form three and four-fold petals or lobes.

There are also labyrinths of mosaic and stone. The Colendi denied the royal rose garden being laid out as a labyrinth, for at the time Martande Lirendi broke away from Sartor, Sartoran ritual had become hidebound, and many saw it as a method of social control. The Colendi did not entirely throw away Sartoran sacred things, but they turned to flowers and music to express them.

The Chwahir Hum

Equally old is the Chwahir Hum. The hum began as a form of meditation/prayer. There are personal hums, and group hums. A Great Hum is a deeply important community function, which became profoundly important when the latter day Sonscarnas forbade them. Hums can be accompanied by percussive instruments made from ordinary items of life. During the terrible period of The King, at times pipes and drains would be subtly arranged to create drips in Hum patterns, and other natural sounds manipulated into rhythms.

The Four Questions

Some believe that these were part of the Old Sartoran wedding ritual. Whether that is true or not, the Four Questions have proliferated in many forms over the centuries throughout the world. More often associated with love, romance, and weddings, there is still a spiritual element to the Four Questions, as each question (and they can vary) leads through attraction of body, mind, social obligation (or family) to the union of souls. Common elements of Questions (Pilgrim, O Pilgrim . . . or Seeker O seeker . . . or Lover O Lover, why this [element] for me?) are: cup, branch, garland, firebrand, flame, candle, rose, lily, and the most common of all, a ring.

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Page last modified on January 19, 2016, at 08:38 AM