“Even in the darkest night one must dream of the dawn.”
Tenets: When hearing lies, speak the truth. When confronted with suffering, show compassion. In all things seek to better both yourself and the world. Deception and darkness, all that clouds the mind or heart with doubt or cruelty: these are your enemies. When beset by these evils, banish them with the light of a pure mind and firm hand. Your work is not complete until the world is a better place than when you were born to it.
There exists in the world a Light. This is not light as it exists as a by-product of fire and friction, but Light as the mortal mind conceives it, the essence of illumination, comfort and understanding, purity and truth. Yet this same Light can also be harsh and unforgiving, painful and, if overused, blinding. All of these facets are encompassed by Aurvandil.
As with Thaurea, who in many ways is considered their twin, Aurvandil is seen as a very mystical deity. Unlike gods such as Vengrim, Athaya and others who rule over set concepts, the concept of Light is not so easy to define, and their worshippers tend to be diverse. However, Aurvandil of the two is generally seen as the more “mainstream”, largely due to his worship by the elves of Calandor.
The mysticism of Aurvandil is by no means reflected in all of their facets. Whilst in many ways they are a symbol of the abstract notions of goodness and clarity, they also require involvement in the world – followers of Aurvandil are seldom found in detached monasteries or hermitages. Aurvandil demands that each of their followers be proactive about bringing illumination to the world around them, whether it be as a healer who brings comfort to the sick, a paladin crusading against evil, a mystic who seeks enlightenment on their own behalf or others, or a preacher who inspires with both words and deeds. A prominent elven theologian, Iella Evermorn, summed up the philosophy of Aurvandil best with “It is not enough to say “I shall do no evil”. Evil must be fought wherever it is found.
Worship of Aurvandil is solemn, but not sombre. Congregations tend to celebrate their god with music, particularly bells, flutes and other sweetly-pitched instruments. Storytellings, particularly parables, are especially important as they provide inspiration and lessons for others. By contrast private worship is usually more meditative and introspective, with long prayers by which worshippers attempt to become serene and ‘clear’. Confession is also practised as needed in most churches to give lay peoples a chance to unburden themselves. Prayer to Aurvandil is usually at the first light of morning and last of the evening, and is usually quiet and contemplative.
Aurvandil has several localised holy days in Peredor and Calandor, but their four main ones are at the solstice of each season. These are periods in which all worshipers of Aurvandil come together to swap stories and gifts, and the churches are decorated to new heights of extravagance.
These churches tend to be large, airy places with large windows to let in natural light, and sometimes the roofs themselves are made of glass or crystal, or enchanted to amplify the light of the moon or stars outside. When true darkness falls outside, there are candles, lanterns and mirrors to provide plenty of illumination. A common theme of many Aurvandilian buildings is that they must never be fully darkened – even a single candle remaining lit is enough.
Iconography and Trappings
The symbol of Aurvandil is a rayed star, light on a dark background (usually white, silver or gold on black or dark blue). Worshippers also dress in these colours, looking for contrast between light and dark ones to epitomise their role, as Aurvandil’s, as a light in the darkness.
Rituals and ceremonies that invoke Aurvandil often use mirrors and candles or lanterns to create large amounts of light. Water is used for cleansing rituals and before services, to ‘purify’ participants, while sweet incense cleanses the air and allows for relaxation.
A breakdown by nation of those who follow Aurvandil.