|“||Only through careful practice do we avoid entering the Void of nothingness||”|
– Furui Shisai
Onmyoji Mysticism is a Godless religion that focuses on Ancestral Worship and symbolism. It is mainly followed by various people throughout the Eastern Lands, placed wildly among the populace depending of the Khans' opinions of it.
Onmyoji and the Great Beasts
Onmyoji, or Court Magi, run this religion in earnest. They maintain family tombs, Temples, Divine, Summon Spirits, and invoke the elements. Their trade is a long and difficult one to learn, typically choosing a job related to their element. At the Grand Temple, the locale where most Onmyoji go to train, there are masters of the Faith and Magic who educate the younger apprentices.
The Onmyoji often take the part of communing with various creatures to hold the evil spirits, which the West would know as Demons, out and away from their homes. When or if a Demon enters the realm, Onmyoji are sent to deal with the Demon, and find the cause of it's summoning.
The greatest beasts to the faith are the Giant Tortoise, the Giant Serpent, the Fenghuang, and the White Tiger.
The Tortoise is known as the Black Warrior. It is a cold, focused creature that moves slowly and cautiously. When one becomes a thousand years old, it is said to be able to commune with humans and give tellings of the future. Those who follow the path of the Tortoise learn to divine the future through this.
The White Tiger is known as the Protector. It is cold, much like the Turtle, but carries a fiery personality to defend it's territory. The Territory it claims is the land of the Dead, protecting and maintaining the Tombs of the deceased. It is associated with Earth, Metal, and the West. The Onmyoji who follow the path of the Tiger, swear their lives to watch the deceased. Others tend to use the path to become great and powerful Generals who protect their people.
The Fenghuang is known as Fortune. It is fiery, elegant, and a symbol of the ruling classes. When a Fenghuang dies, it is said to become reborn just as the Phoenix does. It is unknown if they are actually the same creature. The Fenghuang's path is practiced by Priests who summon spirits to aid in combat, an elegant display of the power held by the Onmyoji.
The Serpent is known as the Royal. It's domain is the Woods and Wind, though it rests in the Seas and Storms. It's power is fearsome, able to invoke the harshest punishments upon people, as well as Demons. However, the Serpent is reserved, choosing to hold back it's power for the cold logic to set in for it's planning. The Temples where people go to pray are maintained and run by those who follow the path of the Serpent, as well as the construction and dedication of new Temples.
Serpents and Tigers share an unending rivalry, the raw strength of the Tiger unable to defeat the unending cunning of the Serpent; but the intelligence of the Serpent cannot even comprehend the sheer will of the Tiger to endure and fight.
The Tortoise and Fenghuang, likewise, have a rivalry. The Future is cold fact of what is to come, lumbering slowly as it does, while Fortune riles and promotes Luck, which just like the hope of a flame goes out with a flash.
Ancestral Spirits fill the Void, a lack of elements that the deceased enter. Within the Void it is said the darkest Demons dwell, awaiting to devour the souls of the dead. Only the blessed few are brought to the next world, guided by the Tigers.
All Religious ceremonies, from those of life to those of death, are done by the Onmyoji, Magi who are bound by service to the ruling class. These priests invoke elements, calm the Great Beasts, weaken malevolent spirits, and welcome benevolent ones. Circles of salt water and smoking wood act as barriers against the Spirits to allow the Onmyoji to work unopposed.
Temples are built under very specific details. They must keep the doors open during the day, and closed throughout the night. A source of water lays to the North of the main chamber for cleansing of the soul before entering the grounds. The East holds a garden, for meditation and relaxation. The West, holds an altar of iron where the deceased are brought and embalmed, as well as mourned. The South is the way to exit the Temple, through smoke to give good fortune on travels. The center chamber is where the Onmyoji converse and meditate as a group, staring into the Void with their protections to see what knowledge nothing can offer.
Each of the Four Types of Priest learns at least two forms of combat. Those who follow the Path of the Tiger learn the art of swordsmanship, gifted a Katana, said to carry a soul to protect at all costs. Those of the path of the Serpent learn the staff, taught to block until an opening is offered. Those of the Path of the Tortoise learn to use armour, protecting themselves as they push forward. The Onmyoji who follow the Fenghuang learn the art of Summoning, calling aid from spirits to protect and strike evil at it's core.
Each Priest swears to kill no man, and only raise a hand to face the Dark Spirits that confront the land. They are taught to otherwise willfully allow themselves to perish, or to flee.
Commoners are told to make sacrifices to their Ancestors, as well as the Great Beasts. Whether this be of coin, gold, food, or time matters not; so long as debts are repaid. They are taught to embrace themselves, but follow the will of the Beasts in doing so, else their protection fade.
Nobles are often taught to fight by the Onmyoji, and often learn to use these skills in war. However, it is the Ruling Class' duty above all to ensure the populace remains pious and willing, else the Spirits will allow a rebellion to rise to overthrow them.
- Though the Onymyoji Mystics have little experience with Western faiths, they have a tendency to shun idealology that cannot support their Spiritual Pantheon. This led to a harsh imbalance when Hiroto Haru converted to Saradominism, angering the local Serpent and allowing a place for Demons to enter unopposed.
- The Void is the Destiny for all Deceased, but only the eternal resting place of those who were cruel enough the Honoured Dead refuse to guide them. This is shown by Icthlarin guiding all deceased to the realm of the dead, but Amascut's Followers interfering and devouring the souls of those outliers.