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Armazism (Varkan: არმაზიზმის, Armazizmis; Aetolian: Αρμαζισμός, Armazismós; ♁) is an ancient polytheistic pagan religion and way of life, revolving around the syncretized Aetolian and Varkan mythologies into the Armazist mythology, and embracing Dinaric values and virtues. Armazism has been often described as a religion that adapts to scientific discoveries, while holding deep roots of syncretism and holding several mythological concepts from neighboring cultures' mythologies.
It is the largest of the pagan religions, with over ??? million followers or ???% of the global population.
- 1 Beliefs
- 2 Armazist observances
- 3 Religious leadership
- 4 Temene
- 5 Relations with other religions
- 6 Demographics
- 7 Culture
Armazi (არმაზი/Αρμαζι) is the spiritual and fundamental life force understood by Armazists, giving its name to the religion. It is transcendent, omnipresent and manifests everywhere: organisms, the environment, events, etc. Armazi is the pure primary energy that composes the universe and created it along with Chaos.
The first generation of gods, they
|God||Aetolian name||Varkan name||Image||Functions and attributes|
|Chaos||Χάος||ქაოს||75px||The personification of nothingness from which all of existence sprang and is depicted as a void.|
|Chronos||Χρόνος||ქრონოსი||75px||The personification of time.|
|Ananke||Ἀνάγκη||ანანქე||75px||The personification of inevitability, compulsion and necessity. She is often depicted as holding a spindle. One of the primordial deities, Ananke marks the beginning of the cosmos, along with her consort, Chronos. She was seen as the most powerful dictator of all fate and circumstance which meant that mortals, as well as the gods, respected her and paid homage. She is a self-formed being who emerged at the dawn of creation with an incorporeal, serpentine form, her outstretched arms encompassing the cosmos. Ananke and Chronos are mates, mingling together in serpent form as a tie around the universe.|
|Helios||Ἥλιος||ჰელიოსი||75px||The personification of the sun and day. Helios is described as handsome, crowned with the shining aureole of the sun, who drives the chariot of the sun across the sky each day to earth-circling Oceanus and through the world-ocean returns to the East at night.|
|Nyx||Νύξ||ნიხ||75px||The personification of darkness and night. A shadowy figure, Nyx stamds at or near the beginning of creation and mothered other personified deities. She is a figure of such exceptional power and beauty that she is feared by Zeus himself.|
|Gaia||Γαῖα||გეა||75px||The Mother Goddess, also known by the name of ადონია/Ἀδώνια (Adonia), the personification of the planet Adonia. Gaia came into existence after Armazi and Chaos, around the same time as Helios and Nyx. Gaia first brought forth her equal Uranus (Heaven, Sky) to cover her on every side and to be the abode of the gods. Gaia also bore the Ourea (Mountains), and Pontus (Sea), with no father. Afterwards with Uranus she gave birth to the Titans. Gaia conceived further offspring with Uranus, first the giant one-eyed Cyclopes: Brontes ("Thunder"), Steropes ("Lightning") and Arges ("Bright"); then the Hecatonchires: Cottus, Briareos and Gyges, each with a hundred arms and fifty heads. As each of the Cyclopes and Hecatonchires were born, Uranus hid them in a secret place within Gaia, causing her great pain. So Gaia devised a plan. She created a grey flint (or adamantine) sickle. And Saturnus used the sickle to castrate his father Uranus as he approached Gaia to have sex with her. From Uranus' spilled blood, Gaia produced the Erinyes, the Giants and the Meliae (ash-tree nymphs). From the testicles of Uranus in the sea came forth Aphrodite. By her son Pontus, Gaia bore the sea-deities Nereus, Thaumas, Phorcys, Ceto, and Eurybia. Saturnus became king of the gods after overthrowing his father Uranus with the help of Gaia. But because Saturnus had learned from Gaia and Uranus that he was destined to be overthrown by one of his children, he swallowed each of the children born to him by his Titan sister and queen Rhea. But when Rhea was pregnant with her youngest child, Zeus, she sought help from Gaia and Uranus. When Zeus was born, Rhea gave Saturnus a stone wrapped in swaddling-clothes in his place, which Saturnus swallowed, and Gaia took the child into her care. With the help of Gaia's advice, Zeus defeated the Titans. But afterwards, Gaia, in union with Tartarus, bore the youngest of her sons Typhon, who would be the last challenge to the authority of Zeus.|
|Tartarus||Τάρταρος||ტარტაროსი||75px||He is both a deity and a place in the underworld. Tartarus was the third of the primordial deities, following after Chaos and Gaia (Adonia), and preceding Eros, and was the father, by Gaia, of the monster Typhon. While according to the mythology the realm of Hades is the place of the dead, Tartarus also has a number of inhabitants, most of them being gods or monsters.|
|Uranus||Οὐρανός||ურანოსი||75px||The Father Sky or Heaven, he is the son and husband of Gaia. Conceived by Helios and Gaia, Uranus and the latter were the parents of the first generation of Titans, and the ancestors of most of the Armazist gods, but no cult addressed directly to Uranus survived to this day.|
|Pontus||Πόντος||ფონთოსი||75px||The personification of the sea. With Gaia, he fathered Nereus (the Old Man of the Sea), Thaumas (the awe-striking "wonder" of the Sea, embodiment of the sea's dangerous aspects), Phorcys and his sister-consort Ceto, and the "Strong Goddess" Eurybia. With the sea goddess Thalassa (whose own name simply means "sea" but is derived from a Pre-Greek root), he fathered the Telchines and all sea life.|
|Selene||Σελήνη||სელინი||75px||The personification of the moon and the daughter of Gaia and Helios, sister of Uranus. She drives her moon chariot across the heavens. Several lovers are attributed to her in various myths, including Zeus, Pan, and the mortal Endymion.|
The second generation of gods, the 18 Titans comprise the females Mnemosyne (memory), Tethys (fresh water), Rhea (female fertility, motherhood and generation), and Themis (personification of divine order, fairness, law, natural law, and custom) and the males Oceanus (personification of the sea), Coeus (intellect), Saturnus [Σατούρνους/სატურნი Cronus] (Harvest), Crius (constellations), and Iapetus (mortality).
Coeus' children Lelantos (air and the unseen), Leto (womanly demure and motherhood), and Asteria (goddess of nocturnal oracles and falling stars); Iapetus' sons Atlas (condemned to hold up the sky for eternity), Prometheus (creator of humanity and its greatest benefactor, who stole fire from Mount Mytikos and gave it to humankind), Epimetheus (twin), and Menoetius (god of violent anger and rash action); Oceanus' daughter Metis (mother of wisdom and deep thought); and Crius' sons Astraeus (god of the stars) and Perses (destruction).
The third and current generation of gods, numbered 20. Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Apollo, Aetole (Artemis), Ares, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Hermes, Dionysus, Hades, Persephone, Asclepius, Eros, Hebe, Aeolus, Thanatos.
|God||Aetolian name||Varkan name||Image||Functions and attributes|
|Zeus||Ζεύς||ზევსი||75px||King of the gods and ruler of Mount Mytikos; god of the sky, lightning, thunder, law, order, justice. Youngest child of the Titans Saturnus and Rhea. Symbols include the thunderbolt, eagle, oak tree, scepter, and scales. Brother and husband of Hera, although he had many lovers, also brother of Poseidon, Hades, Demeter, and Hestia.|
|Hera||Ἥρᾱ||ჰერა||75px||Queen of the gods and the goddess of marriage and family. Symbols include the peacock, cuckoo, and cow. Youngest daughter of Saturnus and Rhea. Wife and sister of Zeus. Being the goddess of marriage, she frequently tried to get revenge on Zeus' lovers and their children.|
|Poseidon||Ποσειδῶν||პოსეიდონი||75px||God of the seas, earthquakes, and tidal wave. Symbols include the horse, bull, dolphin, and trident. Middle son of Saturnus and Rhea. Brother of Zeus and Hades. Married to the Nereid Amphitrite, although, like most male Armazist Gods, he had many lovers.|
|Demeter||Δημήτηρ||დემეტრა||75px||Goddess of fertility, agriculture, nature, and the seasons. Symbols include the poppy, wheat, torch, cornucopia, and pig. Middle daughter of Saturnus and Rhea.|
|Dali||Ντάλι||დალი||75px||Goddess of the hunt, archery, and all animals. Symbols include the wolf and the cypress tree. Daughter of Zeus and Hera. She is the patron god of Varkana and the Dalian Mountains.|
|Apollo||Ἀπόλλων||აპოლონი||75px||God of harmony, order, reason, prophecy, colonization, poetry, music and arts. Son of Zeus and Leto. Twin brother of Artemis. Symbols include the laurel and the lyre. He is the patron god of Myr and (former colonies), and as such is one of the most venerated god.|
|Aetole||Αιτωλη||აითოლე||75px||Goddess of wisdom, intelligent activity, literature, handicrafts and science, defense and strategic warfare. Symbols include the lion, the shield, and the olive tree. Daughter of Zeus and Leto and twin sister of Apollo. She is the patron god of the Aetolian peninsula.|
|Ares||Ἄρης||არესი||75px||God of war, violence, and bloodshed. Symbols include the boar, serpent, dog, vulture, spear, and shield. Son of Zeus and Hera, all the other gods (except Aphrodite) despised him. His Latin name, Mars, gave us the word "martial."|
|Aphrodite||Ἀφροδίτη||აფროდიტე||75px||Goddess of love, beauty, and desire. Symbols include the dove, bird, apple, bee, swan, myrtle, and rose. Daughter of Zeus and the Oceanid Dione. Married to Hephaestus, although she had many adulterous affairs, most notably with Ares. Her name gave us the word "aphrodisiac".|
|Hephaestus||Ἥφαιστος||ჰეფესტოსი||75px||Master blacksmith and craftsman of the gods; god of fire and the forge. Symbols include fire, anvil, axe, donkey, hammer, tongs, and quail. Son of Hera and Zeus. Married to Aphrodite, though unlike most deity, he was rarely ever licentious.|
|Hermes||Ἑρμῆς||ჰერმესი||75px||Messenger of the gods; god of commerce, communication, borders, eloquence, diplomacy, thieves and games. Symbols include the caduceus (staff entwined with two snakes), winged sandals and cap, stork, and tortoise (whose shell he used to invent the lyre). Son of Zeus and the nymph Maia. The second-youngest God.|
|Hestia||Ἑστία||ჰესტია||75px||Goddess of the hearth, virginity and of the right ordering of domesticity and the family; she was born into the first Mytikosian generation and was one of the original thirteen. She is the first child of Saturn and Rhea, eldest sister of Hades, Demeter, Poseidon, Hera, and Zeus.|
|Hades||ᾍδης||ჰადესი||75px||God of the Underworld, dead and the riches under Gaia; he was born into the first Mytikian generation, the elder brother of Zeus, Poseidon, Hera, and Demeter, and younger brother of Hestia, but as he lives in the Underworld rather than on Mount Mytikos.|
|Persephone||Περσεφόνη||პერსეფონე||75px||Queen of the Underworld and a daughter of Demeter and Zeus. Also goddess of spring time. She became the consort of Hades, the god of the underworld, when he kidnapped her. Demeter, driven to distraction by the disappearance of her daughter, neglected all of the earth so that nothing would grow. Zeus eventually ordered Hades to allow Persephone to leave the underworld and rejoin her mother. Hades did this, but because Persephone had eaten six of the twelve pomegranate seeds in the underworld when Hades first kidnapped her, she had to spend six months in the underworld each year. This created the seasons when for six months everything grows and flourishes then for the other six months everything wilts and dies. Her symbols include the pomegranate, willow tree, waterfalls, rivers and springs.|
|Asclepius||Ἀσκληπιός||ასკლეპიოსი||75px||The god of medicine and healing. He represents the healing aspect of the medical arts; his daughters are Hygieia ("Health"), Iaso ("Medicine"), Aceso ("Healing"), Aglæa/Ægle ("Healthy Glow"), and Panacea ("Universal Remedy"). He is the son of Apollo and Coronis.|
|Eros||Ἔρως||ეროსი||75px||The god of sexual love and beauty. He was also worshiped as a fertility deity, son of Aphrodite and Ares. He was depicted often as carrying a lyre or bow and arrow. He is often accompanied by dolphins, roses, and torches.|
|Hebe||Ἥβη||ჰებე||75px||She is the daughter of Zeus and Hera. Hebe was the cupbearer for the gods and goddesses of Mount Mytikos, serving their nectar and ambrosia. She is the goddess of youth.|
|Aeolus||Αἴολος||აიოლოსი||75px||God and King of the winds, keeper of the Anemoi, master of the seasonal winds. Son of Poseidon and Leda.|
|Dionysus||Διόνυσος||დიონისე||75px||The god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness, fertility, theater and religious ecstasy. He is the patron god of Kotcija.|
The cult of heroes is very important in Armazism. Every locale or cultuer has a number of heroes associated to it, Aetolia having the most. A hero is more than human but less than a god, and various kinds of supernatural figures have come to be assimilated to the class of heroes; the distinction between a hero and a god is less than certain, especially in the case of the Aetolian Heracles, the most prominent, but atypical hero, who was effectively a demi-god. Most heroes were Aetolian
Armazists believe in an underworld where the spirits of the dead go after death. At the moment of death the soul is separated from the corpse, taking on the shape of the former person, and is transported to the entrance of the Underworld. The Underworld itself is described as being beneath the depths of Adonia, accessible through an underground river called the Styx, who is also a goddess. She judges the dead and decides if they are to be reincarnated in the world of the living or enter the Underworld. The deities of the Armazist pantheon swore all their oaths upon the river Styx because, according to Armazist mythology, during the Titan war, Styx, the goddess of the river, sided with Zeus. After the war, Zeus declared that every oath must be sworn upon her. Zeus swore to give Semele whatever she wanted and was then obliged to follow through when he realized to his horror that her request would lead to her death.
One of the most widespread areas of this underworld was ruled over by Hades, a brother of Zeus, and is known as Hades, a place of torment for the damned. The other well known realm of the dead is Tartarus, prison for the gods and monsters. While Tartarus is not considered to be directly a part of the underworld, it is described as being as far beneath the underworld as the earth is beneath the sky. Tartarus is the place that Zeus cast the Titans along with his father Saturnus after defeating them.
In the most modern mainstream form of the Armazist faith and philosophy, all lifeforms are considered part of one single living planetary being called Gaia (Adonia). In this view, the atmosphere, the seas and the Adonian crust would be results of interventions carried out by Gaia through the coevolving diversity of living organisms. The Gaia principle is a scientific theory that proposes that organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Adonia to form a synergistic self-regulating, complex system that helps to maintain and perpetuate the conditions for life on the planet. The Armazist Church advances that this complex system is the being called Gaia, which they view as divine. However, Gaia or Adonia as a unit does not match the generally accepted biological criteria for life itself: for example, there is no evidence to suggest that "Gaia" has reproduced, even if in mythology, she has. Adonia is understood to describe the deity herself and the concept of humanity's home planet interchangeably in Armazism.
Related to Gaia, the Armazist Church suggests that organisms co-evolve with their environment: that is, they "influence their abiotic environment, and that environment in turn influences the biota by evolution process". Scientists gave evidence of this, showing the evolution from Adonia of the early thermo-acido-philic and methanogenic bacteria towards the oxygen-enriched atmosphere today that supports more complex life. The modern scientifically accepted form of the Armazist theology has been called "influential Gaia". It states the biota influence certain aspects of the abiotic world, e.g. temperature and atmosphere. They state the evolution of life and its environment may affect each other. An example is how the activity of photosynthetic bacteria during Precambrian times have completely modified the Adonian atmosphere to turn it aerobic, and as such supporting evolution of life (in particular eukaryotic life).
Armazism theological scientists usually view the factors that stabilize the characteristics of a period as an undirected emergent property or entelechy of the system; as each individual species pursues its own self-interest, for example, their combined actions may have counterbalancing effects on environmental change. Most scientists sometimes reference examples of events that resulted in dramatic change rather than stable equilibrium, such as the conversion of the Adonia's atmosphere from a reducing environment to an oxygen-rich one, to oppose these views.
Armazist ethics may be guided by Dinaric traditions, by other moral principles, or by central Armazist virtues. Armazist ethical practice is typically understood to be marked by values such as wisdom, justice, fortitude and restraint, the four cardinal virtues. Proper ethical practices regarding sexuality and many other issues have evolved over the centuries, mainly with the influence of Armazia.
Worship in Armazism means devotion, the participation in and the love of a primordial deity, a Titan, or a Mytikian by a devotee. Worshiping is generally practiced through individual private prayers within one's home or in a temple or in nature, sometimes in the presence of an idol or image of a deity. Worshiping is sometimes practiced as a community, such as singing devotional songs, where verses and hymns are read or poems are sung by a group of devotees.
Devotional songs are numerous and are considered one of the main component of worship. Anecdotes and episodes from scriptures, the teachings and descriptions of mythological gods have all been the subject of devotional songs who are normally lyrical, but may be as simple as a numinous sound. Dinaric folk music is heavily influenced by and compromises many Armazist devotional songs.
Every god and goddess has a festival attributed to them, and the celebration of these festivals vary on the region and personal relationship of Armazists with the gods. Generally, the central festivals of Armazism are the Winter festival (end of November to end of December), Selenia (held every month) and Dionysia (August).
Celebrations begin on 24 November for Promethesia, in honor of the god Prometheus, and last for a month, until Helisia on December 25, celebrating Helios on the winter solstice. The festival includes night-time feasting, drinking, and merriment. It is the most widely celebrated festival in Armazism. Fire is the most typical element associated with the Promethesia celebration. In many countries bonfires are lit on the evening of 24 November for people to jump over. In modern times, this practice is also generally combined with fireworks. Although the Winter festival occurs during the darkest time of the year in the Southern hemisphere, it remains a festival of lights.
Dionysia is a large summer festival held in honor of the god Dionysus, at the beginning of the wine harvest season in August. The central events of the festival are the theatrical performances of dramatic tragedies and comedies. The central event is the pompe (πομπή), the procession, in which phalloi (φαλλοί) are carried by phallophoroi (φαλλοφόροι). Also participating in the pompe are kanephoroi (κανηφόροι – young girls carrying baskets), obeliaphoroi (ὀβελιαφόροι – who carry long loaves of bread), skaphephoroi (σκαφηφόροι – who carry other offerings), hydriaphoroi (ὑδριαφόροι – who carry jars of water), and askophoroi (ἀσκοφόροι – who carry jars of wine).
After the pompe procession is completed, there are contests of dancing and singing, and choruses (led by a choregos) perform dithyrambs. After these competitions, the bulls are sacrificed, and a feast is held for the masses. A second procession, the kōmos (κῶμος), occurs afterwards, which is a drunken revelry through the streets.
The next day, the playwrights announce the titles of the plays to be performed, and judges are selected by lot: the "proagōn" (προαγών, "pre-contest"). The proagōn is also used to give praise to notable citizens, or often foreigners, who had served in the community in some beneficial way during the year. The proagōn can be used for other announcements as well, such as the death of playwrights. Five days of the festival are set aside for performances.
It is held each year, in honor of Dionysus, from the 11th to the 13th of the month of Anthesterios (February), celebrating the arrival of Spring, particularly the maturing of the wine stored at the previous vintage, who were now ceremoniously opened. The festival gave the name to the month when it is held in the Armazist calendar.
Dietary laws: pativi
The Armazist dietary laws are known as pativi (პატივი, in Varkan literally means "honored"). Food prepared in accordance with them is termed pativi, and food that is not pativi is also known as usindiso (უსინდისო, "dishonored"). Many of the laws apply to animal-based foods. The dietary laws originated from Varkan traditions and syncretized with Armazist practices during the late Antiquity and are notably not followed by the Homeric Church. The main law that forms part of pativi is the commandment to slaughter animals according to a process known as pativistshemit (პატივისცემით).
Ceremonies and rites of passage
Armazist ceremonies and rituals are mainly performed at altars. These are typically devoted to one or a few gods, and support a statue of the particular deity. Votive deposits are left at the altar, such as food, drinks, as well as precious objects. Libations, often of wine, are offered to the gods as well, not only at shrines, but also in everyday life, such as during a symposium.
Major life stage milestones are celebrated as rites of passage in Armazism. They are not mandatory, and vary in details by gender, community and regionally. In Aetolia especially, amphidromia, a ceremonial feast celebrated on the fifth or seventh day after the birth of a child, is heavily practiced. It is similar to a baptism in its importance to some Armazists.
A temenos (Aetolian: τέμενος, témenos; plural: τεμένη, temene; Varkan: ტაძარი, tadzari) is a place of worship for followers of Armazism. In traditional Armazist architecture, temene are often arranged in the shape of rectangles, originating from Ancient Aetolia. During the Middle Age, towers or domes were often added with the intention of directing the eye of the viewer towards the gods worshiped. Modern temenos buildings have a variety of architectural styles and layouts; many buildings that were designed for other purposes have now been converted for temple use; and, similarly, many original temple buildings have been put to other uses.
- Temenos of Helios in Armazia
- Didymatheous in Abasha, Varkana
- Pantheion in Theodosia, Aetolia
- Temenos of Demeter in Sioni, Varkana
- Temenos of Dionysus in ??, Kotcija
- Temenos of Gaia in Senaki, Varkana
- Temenos of Hera in Klow, Varkana
- Temenos of Zeus in Palaiochori, Aetolia
Relations with other religions
To its worshipers, Armazism is the only valid religion of Adonia. All other religions are mistaken, where they have the wrong concept of the gods. Other religions' conception of God is the worship of the gods through a a different mythological concept. But as these worshipers are falsely believing in their mythological concept, without respecting the observable deities such as Gaia or Helios, they are considered as heretics and can even be labelled as parasites if their actions are deemed virulent.
To Armazists, all pagan religions are closely related to Armazism and could be considered the same with different mythologies and legends retaining the same core. Therefore, pagans are the only other religious groups that ultra-orthodox Armazists tolerate and, to an extant, support.
According to a poll made by a newspaper in Varkana, using only Armazist respondents, 76% of Varkan Armazists viewed other pagan religions positively, 21% had no opinion and 3% viewed them negatively. When it came to Christianity in general, 86% viewed it negatively, 8% had no opinion and 6% viewed it positively. Asked about their view of the Magdalenan Church in particular, 50% of respondents viewed it positively, 30% had no opinion and 20% viewed it negatively, compared to drastic 97% of negative views of both Catholic Churches. Regarding Islam, 94% of Varkan Armazists saw it negatively, while for Judaism, 50% considered it negatively.
Approximately 12 countries are Armazist-majority, and the Dinarides account for around ??% of all Armazists worldwide. The majority of Armazists live in Empodia and Illypnia. Approximately ??% of the Adonia's Armazists live in Empodia, with over ?? million adherents in former colonies.
The Armazist calendar was the predominant calendar in the Mesogean Sea, and most of Illypnia and Kaftia, until it was refined and gradually replaced internationally by the Petran calendar, promulgated in 1224 by Pope ???, centered on the birth of Jesus Christ. The Armazist calendar has been replaced as the civil calendar by the Petran calendar in almost all countries which formerly used it, although it continued to be the civil calendar of some countries into the 20th century. Aetolia and Varkana switched (for fiscal purposes) on 16 February/1 March 1917. However, most branches of Armazism, including the Armazist Church, still use the Armazist calendar for all purposes. The Armazist calendar is currently (since 14 March 1900 Petran/1 March 8461 Armazist and until 28 February 2100 Petran/15 February 8661 Armazist) 6560 years and 352 days later than the Petran calendar.