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Selenism (/səˈliːnɪsəm/) is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of the goddess Selene, ruler of Luna, who serves as the focal point of the religion. It is the fifth most common religion in the world with a large concentration of Selenii followers in the middle east and Mediterranean region. Modern Seleniis believe that the creator God gave birth to Selene to watch over his creations on earth from the ‘clouds of Luna’ believed to be the holy land beyond Earth,
Selenic theology is categorised by chapters, marking the life of the Daughter of God from her tasks on Earth to her spiritual ascendance to Luna. The holy book, ‘The Chapters of Selene’ was first compiled in the 2nd Century B.C.E. by Grecian philosophers and the practice of the faith exploded when the Romans determined Selenism the state religion.
After the rise of Christianity and the partition of the Roman empire, Selenism was almost eradicated in the Western Roman Empire but still thrived in the Byzantine empire. Selenism took a second blow during the spread of Islam and was almost completely extinct by the time the ottomans came to power. In modern times Selenism is the fifth leading religion in the world with a handful of states considering it the state religion, but hardly as influential as it once was during antiquity.
There are three main branches of Selenism in the world that had slight differences that overtime have developed into distinct sects and creeds. The Oldest branch known as Classical Selenism is mostly practiced in the south-eastern Mediterranean and Balkan states and is closest to the earliest practice of Selenism. Second is the Northern Selenism which is prominent in Germanic states and involves more roman influences than classical Selenism. The third and Most Common is Islamic Selenism and is considered an endangered religion. Considered a ‘hybrid religion’ of sorts, it is mostly found in North Africa, the Middle East and the Western Mediterranean and features much more Islamic influences than Classical Selenism.
Within Classical Selenism there was a belief that the daughter of God, Selene, had descended from Luna a young woman to Earth to face trials of faith that would spiritually enlighten her. Most Classical forms agree on the trials; Devotion, Charity, Diligence, Prayer, Pilgrimage however slight details of the trials are different due to the regional differences of Selenism.
The Chapters of Selenism
I - Faith
|And lo when The Young Goddess awoke, a cry brought forth from her for naught was she surrounded by the splendour of God’s Palace but with humble earth and wood.
Unto the heavens The Young Goddess pleaded O’ who is of heart so cruel that condemn a Goddess to this earthen prison?
And with thunderous rage the skies torn asunder as the God King himself would appear before The Young Goddess,‘O’ child do not weep for you are safe in God’s plan. For you, The Young Goddess, hath been chosen to champion a mortal trial.
Only with faith shall you find yourself returned safely to the Palace of God, worthy to rule as the Daughter of God’
Thus The Young Goddess with faith in her heart would set out on her trials, for The God King was mighty and in his name would offer sacrifice every virgin moon for her soul was unwavering in God’s plan.
In the first chapter of Selenism we hear the story of The Mortal Descension, in which her god-like powers are stripped from her and she is made mortal by the King of Gods, often presumed to be Zeus. The Houses differ in describing Selene's descent from Luna. Some say Zeus brought her to earth by a chariot where other say she arrived atop a thunderbird's wings. From this Selene awakens in the night and in her horror cries to the God King demanding her return to the Palace of Gods. It is the God King himself who explains her trials before she can rejoin the Pantheon. Thus during her journeys on Earth, Selene would vow to offer sacrifice to Zeus, often burning insence and herbs, as a token of her unwavering faith in his plan.
The rituals of the Virgin Vigil, the activity of burning a candle on the full moon, and the Selenic New Year are both derived from this chapter. The effigy of the New Year Festival is a small wooden horse or bird, representing the chariot drivers or the thunderbird, and the Festival of the New Year is celebrated on the first full moon of the year.
II - Charity
|In travels, The Kind Goddess bore witness to anguishing cries, 'O' forsaken souls for what has transpired to leave you heart so burdened?'
The Kind Goddess set upon the Asclepeion of Trikka and the priests who tended to the ailing. 'For what brings you to our sanctum young one'
The Kind Goddess puzzled, unsure of her path until a whisper on the wind 'With love in your heart even mere mortals can work the miracles of Gods. Go forth in the name of I, Aphrodite and heal these souls'
And lo The Kind Goddess spoke, 'By my heart and the will of Aphrodite, I will provide service to the aflicted in this sanctum.'
Blessed be the Gods on high who hath sent forth a champion of noble sacrifice, rejoice that the aflicted will be saved!'
Lo, The Kind Goddess studied in medicine with the Priests and administered treatment for the ailing for many moonrises.
In the chapter of charity we see Selene volunteer at the request of Aphrodite to help the sick and dying in the Asclepeion of Trikka. This trial is seen as the representation of personal sacrifice for the greater good of society and emphasises the fact that charitable acts are not always material. It is also speculated that this chapter is the origin of the myth regarding the moons healing abilities. The effigy of charity is considered to be a dove or Stave of Aesculapius. The festival of charity is celebrated in spring at the turning of the first spring moon.
III - Diligence
|Lo, The Great Goddess would arrive at the fields of Sparti. The land was hard underfoot and the crops withered in the farmsteads.
The Spartans called upon The Great Goddess for her miracles in Aceso were world known, and asked she bequeth them a miracle of their own. 'O' Great Goddess we beseach you! Restore our crop before harvest for failure will surely mean starvation for our children and wives'
Poor souls your plight hurts my heart ever so and yet I am but a powerless mortal.' Selene would weep for many nights for it would seem that her best endeavours could not salve the farmers of Sparti.
By firelight one night a voice in the thick smoke would call to The Great Goddess, 'Child you must not weep for the Spartans for they have grown proud and idle. They must be taught anew the power of diligence. Do this in I, Hephaestus' name a lo by Demeter's hand we shall call forth the harvest once more.'
And lo for forty sunrises and sunsets The Great Goddess would toil in fields in Hephaestus' name. Soon forth from the heavens fell marvellous rains and the fields bore plentiful harvest. The Great Goddess revelled in the miracles of the Gods
In the chapter of diligence we see Selene travel to Sparta to find it's fields barren and crops failed. For the Spartans to have a plentiful harvest, Selene must reteach the farmers the power of hard work. In Hephaestus' name Selene works the fields and by Demeter's hands the rains come to nourish the crops once more. This trial is seen as the representation of hard work in the face of adversity. The effigy of charity is considered to be an ox. The festival of diligence is celebrated at the end of the fall harvest.
IV - Prayer
|The thankful Spartans showered The Proud Goddess with Jewels and Gold. A palace was erected for Selene and feasts were performed in her honour. Lo, The Proud Goddess would spend many moons with the Spartans, ignoring the warnings of the gods and her reascendence to the palace beyond the sky.
Her heart was plagued by avarice, greed and temptation. For why would The Proud Goddess return to those who condemmed her to Earth, when the people of earth would worship her? 'For now the Spartans worship me, no effigy for those who forsake me will burn brighter than my jewels.'
Lo, with the setting of the sun on a cold eve when The Proud Goddess lie down, the wratful Athena sent forth an asp to strike. Strick would The Proud Goddess be, descending further into a deathlike sleep.
In dreaming meet would The Proud Goddess with Athena who bade her gaze upon her figure before the glassy pool. Her greed had twisted her into a sight of grotesque horror. Her face wrinkled under her gaudy makeup and her body hunched like a hag under her jewels.
O' mighty Athena my disgrace to the palace is unjust. May the Gods turn their back to me now for I have forsaken their cause. Unworthy am I to gaze upon the Palace of the Gods,'
Fair daughter, quell your tears, for this is but a reminder of your destined path. Resign from the sullied path you tread, entreat with the God King, repent before him and know his forgiveness will be granted. For humility and prayer will be your salvation
Lo, The Proud Goddess woke from her plight.
In the chapter of prayer we see the disgraced Selene turn away from the gods and receive wicked retribution as consequence. The trial is seen to highlight the importance of self reflection, humility, prayer and repentance before the gods. Many use this chapter as the basis of prayer and meditation. The effigy of prayer is considered to be an asp. The festival of repentance is celebrated in late winter.
V - Pilgrimage
|For now, The Wise Goddess old in her mortal body would had spent many moons preaching the teachings of the gods. The gods were appeased with The Wise Goddess.
By the wings of Hermes I hath brought forth a message from the Gods. You must sail for the isle of Rhodes and place upon the isle an offering to the palace. For then the gods will be ready and sent forth a chariot to collect The Wise Goddess'
The Wise Goddess commandeered a Captain, 'Kind sir, I do not have much to offer but this silver piece, but know that for what I ask of you will be rewarded with riches far greater' the generous captain refused such an offer for he was a mere mortal commandeered by The Wise Goddess.
Lo, The Wise Goddess journeyed to Rhodes. She lay down her silver piece atop a rock and with a flash the silver chariot descended from the heavens. The silver light enveloped The Wise Goddess and now a resplendent young woman stood before the sailors.
For your kindness dear sailors, I offer you safe passage to the heavenly court at your mortal life's end. So long as you spread the word of the gods to the four winds your lives will be enriched beyond your heart desires'
And thus The Resplendent Selene would return to the Palace of The Gods, enlightened by her mortal trials.
The final chapter sees Selene at last re-enter the heavenly pantheon to rule over the palace of Luna once again. Also noted in this chapter are the Sailors of Rhodes, the group believed to be the first disciples of Selenism and the Captain, seen as the first Elder of Rhodes who built the Temple of Ascension. The effigy often associated with this trial is the silver piece. The festival of ascension is celebrated in mid summer.
The First Selenii ~ Early Antiquity
Prior to early antiquity there were many pagan gods to the ‘Mother Moon’ across many ancient civilisations. It was during classical antiquity that we first see the name Selene associated with a goddess of the moon. Selene alongside Artemis and Hecate were believed to be the rulers of the Moon. From here many pagan cults would offer up gifts to the three lunar gods, Selene would receive offerings of silver and lamb blood to signify her purity. Over time the worship of Selene grew and poets of ancient Greece would tell of Selene’s epic ascent to the heavens. This was the primordial foundations of modern day Selenism. By the time of the roman expansion, Selene was the sole Lunar goddess in Greek culture, with Artemis being the goddess of the night hunt and Hecate the goddess of the Occult. The religion at the time was not considered a separate sect as Selene was just one of many deities worshipped by the Greeks.
Roman Expansion ~ 1st Century BCE
It was during the time of the Roman Empire that Selenism saw its first rapid gain in popularity. Selenism was actively worship throughout the Roman provinces and separate provincial sects across the Mediterranean Sea were commonplace. During the peak of this the First Selenic Age there were as many as eight separate branches of Selenism practised across the Roman Empire.
Roman Selenism arose to be the second most practised, sect of Selenism in the empire besides Classical. Roman Selenism was much more complex, issuing in new chapters for the arts and society for the Selenii. The Romans championed Selene as the Virgin Goddess, Daughter of Jupiter and held many festivals in her honour, now known as Luna in Western Mediterranean Selenii culture, the largest of which was celebrated on the first full moon of the year, ‘The Virgin Moon Festival'. The Roman trials were many and divided between the Jovian and Minervan chapters. The Jovian Trials were trials of society; Faith, Workmanship, Charity, Prayer, Justice and Pilgrimage whereas the Minervan trials were trials of the arts; Craftsmanship, Poetry, Drama, Astronomy and Science. It is said only when Luna had completed all her trials that she would have enough spokes for her chariot wheels to take her to the heavens. The Roman Selenii were much more pagan, believing in a polytheist Selenism which was spread across Europe during the rise of Roman Empire. Many smaller sects were established as hybrids between local provincial pagan worship and the Roman pantheon. One of these known sects is Brythonic which existed in the British Isles and had a ‘Mother Moon’ goddess often attributed to Selene by modern historians.
The Egyptians under Roman rule also adopted Selenic practice. The Ptolemaic rulers were the first to declare Selenism an official religion of the province, much to the anger of many Egyptians, seeing their rulers as turning away from the Old Gods of Egypt. The sects were split between the Alexandrian Selenii in the Nile Delta region and The Nilo, or Nubian, Selenii to the south. Not much is known about Nilo-Selenism as many records were destroyed during the Christian-Selenii Purge. However, the Alexandrian sect is very well documented, with many papyrus scrolls from the early order in Alexandria surviving into modern day. Alexandrian Selenism saw Selene’s trials occur around the Nile River Valley and differed slightly from the Classical Theology. Selene was to undergo; Faith, Prayer, Justice, Knowledge, Charity, Pilgrimage. The Alexandrian Selenii believed that upon completing her pilgrimage, Selene died and was entombed by her entourage in the Nubian desert so that her soul could ascend to Luna. This was the only time in any branch of Selenism that Selene had left a mortal body. Many archaeologists has chartered expeditions to uncover Selene’s tomb but none have had such luck. In some more extreme branches of Alexandrian Selenism, people believed that Cleopatra was a direct descendant from Selene herself.
The First Christian Purge ~ 4th Century CE
With the advent of Christ in the 1st Century and the steady growth of followers that Christianity has gained throughout the holy lands and Rome, it was not long before the two religions would clash in what would be known and the first Selenic purge. There was constant battle between the two faiths for dominance in the eyes of Rome. The first major downfall of Selenism began sometime in the fourth century. By now Christianity had already converted large amounts of the population to their monotheistic belief system, a system which itself was directly in contrast to the vast pantheon of Greco-Roman gods. Under the emperor Constantine I the Edict of Milan, the decriminalisation of Christianity in the Empire, was signed which once Constantine had passed was then left to his sons to begin the Christianisation of Rome. From here the decline of the religion gained much quicker traction with the banning of pagan ritual and closing of many temples. Many Selenii in roman territory were forced to flee, a large diaspora made there way north into Gaul and the Germanic lands to escape the persecution. By the end of the fourth century the Selenii were dispersed across the empire, there numbers dwindling due to the rising force of Christianity. It is during this time that we see the fall of many great branches including Roman, Alexandrian and Brythonic Selenism.
The First Revival ~ 5th Century CE
With the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the lands now ruled by Germanic Kings, we enter The Second Age of the Selenii in which the newly established Northern Branch of Selenism, an amalgamation of Classical Selenism from the Roman Diaspora and the regional pagan ritual, rose to prominence around Western Europe. With the fall of Rome came an age of prosperity for the Selenii in Europe. Now without the threat of persecution from Rome, the Selenii traveled far from their Germanic Lands and disperse their faith once again.
The First Revival can be marked by the prominence of tribe like bands of followers which modern theologists refer to as ‘Selenic Houses’. Most had a similar faith structure following closely to their parent faith, the Northern or Low-German branch such as the central Gallic(Frankish), Bavarian(High-German) and Prussian Houses.In Northern Selenism it is believed Selene had undergone six trials; Faith, Prayer, Charity, Knowledge, Diligence and Pilgrimage. In the sixth trial, the trial of knowledge, it is believed that Selene had underwent teaching by classical poets, astronomers and philosophers to have a better understanding of the world and God’s part in it. It is unknown when this trial took place but modern theologists and historians place the trial between those of charity and diligence. Many Houses became dominant in their regions such as the Gothic house in the Iberian Peninsula and the Angle House of the British Isles. We also see many houses diverging from the Northern path such as the Milanese, Neapolitan and Sicilian houses which encompass more of a Christianised Selenism with origins in the Roman sect and the Slavic House which seemingly rewrites the chapters of Selene in entirety to better fit with their pagan culture. Selene within Slavic Texts is known as дама богиня or the lady goddess and thus her trials were trials of femininity; Faith, Prayer, Motherhood, Charity and Pilgrimage. It is believed that Selene achieved the ultimate feminine enlightenment and ascended to Luna, queen of the gods beside the creator god. The first Slavic Selenii were believed to be offspring of Selene and the Slavic god Svetovid. This would be the last great revival for Selenism until the modern era.
The Islamic Purge ~ 7th Century
By the beginning of the 6th century, Selenism was once again very popular in Europe and the Mediterranean with historic texts indicating the presence of Houses as far as North Africa and the Middle East. These houses were mostly practising Classical Selenism with the exceptions of the Carthaginian and Barbary Houses being offshoots of the Gothic House of the Iberian Peninsula. This was the height of Selenii influence with some houses being fairly wealthy and powerful in regional politics. It was during the 7th century that the great fall of Classical Selenism occurred. Like The First Purge (Christian) before it, The Second Purge (Islamic) began in the middle east with the rise of Islam. The expansion of the Rashidun caliphate all but wiped out many houses along the North African coast and the Levant. Most of the Selenii were captured and executed while the rest fled. The Levantine Houses crumbled under Islamic reign as did the rather prosperous Carthaginian house, whose followers mostly fled by sea to Sicily and Iberia. By the time of the Umayyad expansion, The African and Middle Eastern houses had ceased to be, yet the Houses of Europe still stood. The only European house to fall during the Rise of Islam was the Gothic House of Iberia, one which had been established for centuries.
The Islamic purge was cataclysmic to the Classical Houses, with only the Greek house standing by the end of the Islamic expansion.
The Second Christian Purge ~ 14th - 17th Century
For many centuries the Selenii and Other faiths of Europe lived side by side in relative peace, each vying for power within the ever-shifting political climate of Europe. It was during this time, around the turn of the 14th century that we saw the emergence of the last of the four modern great houses, The Arabian House. The origin of this house is traced to 14th century Constantinople where the city that bridged Europe and Asia provided the perfect melting pot of culture necessary to amalgamate Classical Selenism with Islamic Beliefs. This House proved popular in the Middle East and North Africa, issuing in a new renaissance on Selenism in North Africa albeit under the Arabian House and not the previous Classic/Northern Houses. It is worth noting that this is the first time that the crescent is also considered a symbol of Selenism alongside the Chariot Wheel. Some houses grew to great wealth and power during this age, with the Elder of Rhodes being considered as powerful as the Pope at this point. This age of prosperity was not meant to last however.
In the 16th century, due to disagreements with the marriage laws of the catholic church, King Henry VIII established the church of England. The Pope wrote to the Elder of Rhodes at the time suggesting alliance between the two religious factions in the face of the reformist threats. The Elder refused in his reply to the pope writing, ‘This quarrel is not of my people, but of the men of the cross.’ Enraged the Pope ordered for the imprisonment of all Selenii in the HRE and for the capture of the Elder of Rhodes. The Elder was travelling through Brandenburg to meet with the Grand Master of the Northern House when he was captured and executed. Unbeknown to the Elder the Pope had also wrote to Henry VIII warning of a Selenic Uprising in England. This had disastrous effects on the Houses of the North. It is here we see the fall of many Northern Houses such as the Bavarian, Anglo, Prussian and Gallic houses. It would take many centuries for the houses to reach significance again following this.
The Northern Diaspora - 1933 - 1945
The final great revival for Selenism came recently during a dark time for Europe and the world at large. In the years leading up to WW2 the Nazi party came to power in Germany which brought about many atrocities against the Jewish population of Germany. In one incident, a Jewish man was robbed and beaten by German Police, a follower of Selenism stopped to help him and was arrested for obstructing justice; the man was never seen again. This sparked outrage across the Northern houses with riots in Berlin and Königsberg with the Grand Master of the Northern House and the Elder of Rhodes both condemning the Nazi’s and their treatment of the Jews. This only made matters worse however as Hitler would come to see the Selenii just as deplorable as the Jews, calling for raids on Selenii run businesses and the round up and capture of Selenii. This caused many to flee into neighbouring allied countries. This brought a large influx of Northern Selenii to Sweden,France, Yugoslavia and Britain, somewhere that there had not been a significant Selenii presence since the Angle House of old. Some Selenii scholars, scientists and civilians even fled to the USA and Canada to escape the horrors unfolding in Europe, with larger Selenii centres focusing on Boston, New York, Toronto and Chicago. From there many would settle after the war and establish minor houses under the Northern Selenic Banner and spread the teachings of Selene to the new world.