This time, I thought I'd do a series on the Gods of the Ancients. The Ancient Pantheon is worshiped by many people even though the worship is forced underground. Pagans, as they are called, are not apart of the great Monotheistic religions that exist in the Caithness Isles. Nor do they worship the philosophy of the Light.
Pagan worship is mostly centered around the Ancient deities, but can include the Old Gods as well. The first visited is Aetheria.
Aetheria of the Forests, the Creatures, and the Sky
Symbol: Two cumulus clouds
Homeplane: Wilderness of the Beastlands and the Plane of Air
Alignment: Neutral Good
Portfolio: Forests, woodlands, storms, flora and fauna, fertility
Worshippers: Wood elves, gnomes, half-elves, halflings, rangers, druids, hunters, farmers, and woodcutters.
Cleric Alignments: LG, NG, N, CG
Domains: Animal, Air, Good, Plant, Weather
Favored Weapon: Lightning Bolt (halfspear)
Aetheria is the Goddess of the sky and of nature. She is revered as the personification of life and the wilds itself. She is associated with the sky and is also associated with weather and storms. The rain is thought to be the tears of Aetheria as she weeps for the loss of her beloved Justin. Aetheria also cares for the beasts in the field and the beasts of the field are considered her creations. Life is revered in the Aetheria cult.
Aetheria is not that much different from the Greyhawk deity, Ehlonna. Aetheria is the great open sky and the provider of the breath of life to all. She watches over all good people who love the forest or make their livelyhood there. Forests and wildlands are sacred to her and her priests ensure that the wildlands are protected from destruction or overuse. Storms are considered to be sacred by worshipers, since the rain is considered to be Aetheria weeping. Rain is sacred, and if its not powerful enough, people pray to express their gratitude for it outside in the storm.
Aetheria's dogma is that her followers are to live in harmony with her creatures. To respect the wilds, and taking only what is needful. Aetheria is thought to be the creator of all plants and animals in respect to the world and her followers are expected to respect the wilds.
Clergy and Temples
Aetheria's churches had suffered a schism during the pogroms in Caithness by Christians against atheists. The schism has resulted in the Reformed Church of Aetheria and the Rustic Wild Church of Aetheria. The Reformed Church is located in the Republic of Devonshire and Angland (despite that land's Laws of a National Religion). The Rustic Wild Church is centrally located in the Nomad Lands and on Long Island but there are pockets of the Rustic Wild Church scattered in Northumberland and Caithness.
The Reformed Church builds temples and meeting houses for the followers. While the Rustic Wild Church regards the open gaping sky as Aetheria's chapel. The clerical attire ranges from the functional of forest green to diaphanous clothing of blue and white to being skyclad (that is, nothing at all). The Reformed Church includes clerics while the Rustic Wild Church is made up of druids. When being confronted by most anyone who would despoil the forest, the clergy tend to be gentle and firm. If they continue, or they are being incredibly misguided, her clerics can be ruthless.
The Rustic Wild Church has built Wayshrines all over the Caithness Isles where pilgrims can pray for the blessings of Aetheria. A typical Rustic Wild Church's meeting place is a statue of the Goddess in a glen with some benches and a stand from which the priest can read from the holy scriptures of Aetheria. Temples to Aetheria built by the Reformed Church are circular and often include a huge hole in the roof. Rooms are built for instruction of the faithful. The instruction of the faith includes the sylvan language, the dogma of Aetheria, and the study of performing miracles in the name of the Goddess.