TRINIA

Religion and Philosophy

The Trinian Empire follows a policy of religious tolerance, and there are a number of different faiths practiced within its borders. By far the largest Trinian religion, however, is a local faith known as Astirŭlism (or Astism). It is a polytheistic religion, and has been practiced in some form for many centuries. In modern times, it is considered one of the most distinguishing features of Trinian culture, and although many Trinians are not religiously inclined, the religion still plays an important part in Trinian life.

The only detailed statistics on the religious affiliation of Trinian citizens are now somewhat out of date, and in any case, the vagueness of the dividing line between Astirŭlism and general Trinian culture means that it can be difficult to judge whether someone is truly an Astirŭlite. As such, there are no solid figures on how many Astirŭlites there are. Roughly speaking, however, around three fifths of the population are Astriŭlites and a further 5% follow other religions. The remainder do not follow any religion, although some may adhere to the traditional Principles (see the Principles section of this website) strongly enough that outsiders sometimes classify it as religion.


Common symbol of the Astriŭlite religion, in the form of a stained glass window Astriŭlism

  See: Astriŭlite Theology, List of Astriŭlite Deities

Astriŭlism is derived from the religion of the Tiŕănese people, whose culture arose in around 2400 BP. This makes the religion nearly three thousand years old, although there have been a large number of significant changes to it since that point. An early codification of Astriŭlism was made by one of the emperors of Tiŕăn, which gave the religion an organised basis and helped it spread — by the time Quorian settlers arrived in Trinia, the Astriŭlite deities were followed throughout most of modern Trinia.

The Quorians had a major impact on the religion. As trade between the Quorians and the Tiŕănese grew, so too did cultural exchange, and the pantheons of the two religious traditions became somewhat mixed. Astriŭlite priests made strong attempts to spread their religion among the settler population, and because the small, newly-founded Quorian villages did yet have temples or priesthoods of their own, the Astriŭlites filled a vacuum, becoming the only real organised religion in the Quorian lands. They would not have been accepted had they denounced the existing Quorian beliefs, but most chose to interpret the Quorian deities as simply variations of the Astriŭlite ones — the Quorian nature goddess Dima, for example, was fully accepted by the Astriŭlites as simply a different revelation of their own nature goddess, then called Ulasni. More slowly, deities with no direct equivalents in one culture also became established in the other. Over time, the Quorians came to see themselves as Astriŭlites, but not because they abandoned their original religious beliefs — instead, it would be more accurate to say that they came to see their existing deities within the context of Astirŭlism, and as a consequence, embraced the whole religion.

Astriŭlism is, as noted, a polytheistic religion, with some forty deities in common worship. The relative importance of these deities can vary between different parts of the country, as can the attributes each deity is believed to possess, although rarely to an extent that they are unrecognisable. Individual Astriŭlites generally pay their respects to all deities (except those considered malign), rather than select certain preferred deities, although many Astriŭlites do have a deity that they regard as holding special personal significance for them.

The most obvious manifestation of Astriŭlite worship is found in the form of temple services. Many followers of Astriŭlism attend religious ceremonies at temples dedicated to one or more of the deities, and although there are too many deities for citizens to regularly pay respects to them all, services held at one temple will generally offer respect in passing to other similar deities. Different temples have different types of service, but the intention is generally just to show respect for the deity in question and to ask the deity's favour. In times past, sacrifices were made, but this is no longer the case.

Astriŭlite temples themselves are often elaborate buildings, and represents a significant part of Trinia's architectural heritage. Like many Trinian buildings constructed in traditional styles, they make extensive use of stained glass windows, either with abstract designs or depicting something important to the particular temple. Each temple has its own favoured colour or colours — for example, temples to Aliron, god of life, feature yellow and orange, while temples to Deluneţra, goddess of nature, feature various shades of green. Almost all temples, in addition to their own symbols, also display a particular design featuring four diamonds, pictured on this page — this, for reasons that historians still debate, has come to symbolise the Astriŭlite religion in general.


Aldeţeronian Principles

  See: Aldeţeronian Principles

The Astriŭlite religion does not set down any single, unified code of morality or ethics of the sort that many foreign religions have. Individual deities may have their own precepts, but a person can be an Astriŭlite without doing necessarily adhering to any of these. Trinia does, however, have a set of rules which fill a similar role — these are known as the Aldeţeronian Principles. Strictly speaking, the Aldeţeronian Principles are philosophy rather than religion, and are not connected with Astriŭlism at all — although many follow both Astriŭlism and the Aldeţeronian Principles together, it is also possible to follow just one or the other. Most Trinians, regardless of religion, describe themselves as followers of the Aldeţeronian Principles.


Commentary

The whole Astriŭlite religion is made up, and isn't meant to particularly resemble any real-life religion, although similarities can certainly be found. In modern Trinia, most people aren't particularly religious — there are some who are truly devout, but for a lot of them, you believe in the gods in the same way that someone in real life "believes" in Santa Claus when talking to their kids — you don't really, but that fact doesn't mean you react with loud skepticism to any mention of them. They're just part of the culture, even if you don't actually think they exist in concrete, physical terms.