A Toriwi is usually considered the symbol of Kamism, although it in itself is not a symbol of worship, nor did the various denominations and shrines come into agreement for a unified symbol for Kamism.
|Type||Traditional Gao-Showan religion|
|Theistic philosophy||Animistic, pantheistic, polytheistic, non-theistic|
|Region||Gao-Soto, Sekowo, Dankuk|
|Liturgical language||Classical Kunikata, Kyo, Sekowan|
Kamism (Kunikata: カミ教 kamikou or kami-no-wosihe, also written as 神教) is an indigenous religion of west Dovani and the Gao-Showa people. Closely related to Sindo of Kyo and, to a lesser extend, Guidao of Indrala, Kamism is believed to be closest to the common ancestor of these Gao-Showa belief systems in pre-historical times, often called proto-Kamism.
Despite the introduction of Daenism from Seleya during the early days of the Empire of Gao-Soto, Kamist belief systems still receive widespread support from the population, especially those in rural regions. Combined with the non-interference policy of the empire to prevent religious conflicts, Kamism remains as one of the most popular religion of Gao-Showan people to this day. It is generally agreed by Gao-Showan followers that Kamism is not only a religion, but also an integral part of their heritage that emphasised the totality of their civilisation, for it connects the past, the present, and the future of the people with a single belief regarding the nature of kami, or spirit.
As its name implies, Kamist belief is centred around Kami(カミ, 神 in Gao character). Although it is often translated as "god" or "deity" in Artanian texts, it is deemed an inaccurate translation, especially as opposed to the god in Qedarite belief systems. Some Kamist scholars believe that the mistranslation of the term can and have caused misunderstanding of the belief system and religious philosophy of Gao-Showa civilisation at large.
Most commonly translated as "spirit", kami is defined, by modern Kamist scholars, as: "anything, either tangible or intangible, physical or mental, that produces the emotion of fear and awe". Because of it, numerous things and phenomena in nature are considered to be, or possess, a kami within. This ranges from animals, such as bear and wolf, to human, such as the emperor of the Empire of Gao-Soto and some of the more revered religious figures of Kamism, to personification of natural phenomena, such as rain, thunder, death, and so on. This also means, unlike the Qedarite god, Kamist spirits are an integral part of the nature, instead of being above it, making the cognate between kami and "up" in Kunikata a false cognate.
While every living being, from plants to animals to human, possess a kami of its own, in the same vein as a soul, a kami is not necessarily a single entity. More often, kami is thought to have at least two components (also known as tama, "soul" or "sphere") within: ara (アラ, "rude" or "new") and nigi (ニギ, "harmonious" or "calm"). Some denominations also believe that some or all kami also possess additional components, such as saki (サキ, "happy" or "blossoming") and kusi (クシ, "wondrous"). While the exact numbers and responsibilities of these components differ between denominations and the nature of the kami in question, they always exist at the same time, complementing each other to form the personality, or "nature" of a being.
Most personal practices of Kamism focus on the reverence of kami, both the one oneself possess, and all others in the world. It is believed that such practices can help the cooperation between different components and different kami, and thus enrich the body and mind of oneself. For kami of other beings, especially those not of living humans, from dead people, animals to natural phenomena, reverence of kami is believed to be able to calm them and prevent them for derailing, as they, for the most part, lack the self-control living humans possess, either by nature or by death. Without external complacence from worship and reverence, the negative aspects of each component of kami can take over, and would cause harm to the surroundings.
|Aratama||Representation of bravery (勇). It symbolises motivation, ability to withstand pain and suffering, as well as the extroverted nature of a being. In inanimate beings, it also symbolise the raw power of the being itself.|
|Nigitama||Representation of harmony (親). It symbolises calmness, will to cooperate and complement others, as well as the introverted nature of a being. In inanimate beings, it also symbolises coordination with the nature.|
|Sakitama||Representation of love (愛). It symbolises the ability to understand, care, and love oneself and other beings. In inanimate beings, it also symbolise the energy of life itself.||Sometimes considered part of aratama.|
|Kusitama||Representation of wisdom (智). It symbolises ability to observe, analyse, and understand, as well as curiosity. In inanimate beings, it also symbolise the underlying principles that govern the being.||Sometimes considered part of nigitama.|
List of Kami
Because of the nature of kami and Kamism, there are literally countless spirits for countless denominations of Kamism, each with its own assortment of spirits to revere. Although the "pantheon" between Kamist denominations can vary greatly, it is often accepted that the differences are only in name or technicality, thus most Kamists do not pay much attention to it most of the time. The following is a list of spirits that are usually worshipped by a significant population of Kamist followers, and thus can be considered the closest to the pantheon of Kamism, if such is possible.
- Amatubime (アマツビメ, 天津姫): Personification of the sun or the heaven, Amatubime is often considered the sun goddess of Kamism. However, there are also archaeological studies that suggest her being the personification of the underlying principle of all beings ("heavenly rules").
- Houhisimiwemu (ホウヒシミヱム): A kami of unknown origin, it is generally believed to be one of the guardian spirits of a nation. Although for most of the history of Kamism, Houhisimiwemu is not commonly worshipped in most places, it has become semi-popular again following the rise of pan-Gao-Showan nationalism, and is mostly worshipped by nationalists or soldiers. Its name probably means "the enlightened ones met with smile" in pre-classical Kunikata.
Unlike many religions, especially monotheistic faiths like Qedarite religions, Kamism does not require its followers to publicly profess their belief in it. Followers are also allowed to practise other religions and belief systems, as long as their practices are not in conflict of the tenets of Kamism itself. Because of that, it is very common to see that many Kamists to practise other religions at the same time, such as Daenism and especially Mazdâyanâ and Zenshō Daenism. It is commonly believed that the tolerance of Kamism stems not only from its animalistic nature, but also its need to incorporate all denominations that existed since pre-historical times as proto-belief systems of the Gao-Showa people.
Life and Death
Followers of Kamism believe that death merely sets the spirit within the body free from physical constraints, which will either wander the physical world in an (almost) intangible form, or join with other kami that manifest in the nature and become part of it. However, it is believed once they depart from the physical body that also hold the spirit in one piece, the spirits within one's kami will become somewhat different. The exact differences vary between denominations, ranging from the weakening of self-constraints, change in personality, to transformation into an entirely different being. However, all holds that these spirits require constant reverence and remembrance to be kept in their natural, benign form, where the negative aspects of each components of the kami is controlled from taking over the whole and doing harm.
Sometimes, these spirits can manifest themselves into other beings, such as animals and natural phenomena. This is believed to be a way for them to communicate and influence with the living, presumably to protect them from harm or derailing from the faith. It is believed that some animals and natural events are more common as one of these manifestation, such as wolf (also known as "the great kami, after its Kunikata name, おおかみ ookami), bear, thunderstorm, and even death itself. As such, when these beings appeared or occurred, they are meant to be respected and learnt, so that the exact message from the nature and the spirits can be understood and followed.
Change and Purity
Kamism teaches that everything that possess a kami can and will be subjected to change, either internal change that affects the components of the nature of the spirit, such as deeds and misdeeds done over time, or external changes that affects the physical body and, over time, the spirit itself as well, such as the physical cleanliness of a location, body, and food. It is believed that these changes, while not malevolent in nature, accumulates impurity that, if left unchecked, can cause corruption and obstacles to the spirits and the bodies alike. Because of that, many rituals of Kamism are devoted to the purity of both the physical and mental state of individuals, as well as physical cleanliness of sacred locations and shrines.
As opposed to many religions in Terra, Kamism does not preach against sexual intercourse, even if it is pre-marriage, or even extramarital under certain circumstances. A general rule regarding sexual intercourse beyond marriage is that as long as it does not end in pregnancy, and all parties involved are given the reverence they deserved, then the intercourse is no something to be shunned, and is sometimes even desirable depending on the circumstances and denominations in question.
It is believed that the pro-sex attitude, as well as the existence of sacred prostitution (see below) in a majority of the denominations, dates back to the fertility worship proto-religion of the Gao-Showan people in pre-historical times. Archaeological records of neolithic Gao-Showan settlements showed that the centre of a settlement is often a source of clear water, be it waterfall, river, spring, or freshwater lake. Such sites were often also considered sacred, and the worship sites built there were believed to be the first shrines of Kamism. Because of the supply of fresh water, as well as support from shaman living and studying in the site, makes it the perfect place for a safe delivery and raising of newborn.
Such sacred places, due to its higher child survival rate than other places, were also considered the perfect place for sexual intercourse and impregnation, and the rising priestess caste, who do not need to perform menial labour, became the perfect candidate for child-bearing. It is believed that such tradition of impregnation during fertility rites ultimately became the sacred prostitution, which still exists today, although the role of them have gone through major changes following the introduction of western cultures.
Ritual purification is one of the most important parts of Kamism, for it teaches that only a physically clean body, whether human body, sacred grounds, or even inanimate objects, can host a spiritually clean kami. Because all things that host spirits are subjected to change as part of the nature, and change inevitably accumulates impurity along with beneficial changes, purification rites have to be performed regularly to maintain both physical and spiritual cleanliness of the object concerned.
For physical cleanliness, people are encouraged to clean themselves every other day, while domesticated animals should be cleaned weekly. For the home and inanimate household objects in general, they should be free of dust, or otherwise cleaned semi-regularly, depending on the circumstances. However, for priests and sacred grounds of important kami, be it shrines or bodies of spiritual importance, the rules are much stricter, for even a trace amount of corruption of these spirits can have adverse consequences for a large group of people. The exact rules differ between locations and the spirits in question, but generally they are required to be cleaned daily with clean and flowing water, preferably one from a waterfall or a river. People who comes to worship said beings are also required to bathe themselves before, tidy up their clothes before entering the sacred grounds, as well as cleaning the hands and mouth within the water ablution pavilion.
Food and water that are consumed also contribute to the impurity, or the lack of it, of the consumers. It is believed that animals that are slaughtered without reverence of its sacrifice for the survival of others will become unclean, and consumption of their bodies will taint the body of the eaters as well. Because of that, traditionally animal slaughter and meat are kept to a bare minimal, and the process of slaughter being watched over and blessed by Kamist priests. However, in modern times where such rituals are considered impractical for mass-produced food, it is generally reckoned that as long as the eaters recognise the sacrifice and pay its reverence before meal, the impurity will be kept minimal. In more traditional and especially noble houses, the purification of food is still strictly required. Dead water is also considered to be full of impurity, and they are considered not suitable for drinking and cleaning of spiritually important circumstances.
In Kamism, shrines are constructions and locations dedicated to the reverence and worship of a specific kami, or in some cases, a specific part of the kami. Because of the vast differences between the nature of the spirits, shrines in Kamism also manifest in various forms. Although the most common shrines are special wooden buildings built for said spirit, with its own priests and ritual grounds for various rites, smaller and bigger shrines also exist, from an entire mountain dedicated to the natural spirit, to a high shelf with a few ritual objects inside a common home. Some even argue that the human body itself is a natural shrine dedicated to the spirit of that individual, as it is required to be cleaned in ways not very different from an usual shrine.
Shrines are also the ground for religious and secular ceremonies, including wedding, entry into university or important career, funeral, along with annual worships for earthly benefits like offspring, promotion, blessing and so on. It is believed that the revered spirits of the shrine will protect and bless the individual and, if one is pure enough and with good intention, assist them to complete their wishes. Obviously, some spirits are considered "better" for a specific type of wish and blessing.
Sacred prostitution is believed to be one of the oldest Kamist institution, with its history dating back of pre-historical times, and its significance in Kamism and Gao-Showan cultures in general. Although originated as part of the fertility rite of the proto-religion to ensure the survival of the newborn offspring, the role of sacred prostitution in Kamism has changed dramatically since the introduction of western cultures to Dovani.
Nowadays, most sacred prostitutions, many of them being priests themselves, usually do not offer sexual intercourse, especially in places where prostitution in illegal. While they do offer them time to time to specific visitors, this is not considered part of the usual work, as their main role today is to provide spiritual guidance and suggestions for all sorts of questions, sexual or otherwise.
Because of the religious nature of it, sacred prostitution service is supposedly free of charge, although very limited for people without previous documentation. However, a more secular version of it exist as the courtesan, of which it has been a fairly important aspects of Gao-Showan culture ever since its conceive in early days of the Empire of Gao-Soto, as high-class advisor for rulers and the rich for information, suggestion, and knowledge regarding the underlying running of the society, many of which cannot be obtained easily or accurately otherwise.
Because of the lack of a central church or a detailed tenet beyond the most basic world view that is widely-accepted upon, there are numerous denominations within Kamism. Some even argue that because of the difference between kami that a particular shrine reveres, there are as many Kamist denominations as there are Kamist shrines and spirits, which are limitless. Because of that, this list only incorporates larger denominations that have a notable affect on a region or a country, and has enough difference in tenets when compared with other denominations to warrant its own entry.
- See also: Takanashi Clan
Kiyomism (清めの道 kiyome-no-miti) is a denomination that claimed to be originated in the 7th century, before the foundation of the Empire of Gao-Soto, but have not gained mainstream attention until 2986 in Bailon of Beluzia, in which the religion started to spread again after its withdrawal from the secular world to avoid prosecution. Led and possibly founded by the Takanashi Clan, a Kunihito clan migrated from modern Greater Hulstria through Dovani and finally reaching Bailon, it has been noticeably influenced by numerous western cultures and ideology, and have been reformed to resemble more of a church in Qedarite religions.
Kiyomism is headed by the leader of the Takanashi Clan, who is called the high water priestess (天の水分りの姫 ame no mikumari no hime, often translated as "princess of divine water"), while members of the clan holds most posts in the denomination. As Takanashi Clan is believed to be founded by generations of marriage between Kunihito water priestesses to consolidate their secular authority, such structure makes Kiyomism noticeably more aristocratic than a majority of the Kamist denominations.
Kiyomism acknowledges the existence of kami within every being, but is mostly devoted to the worship of the heavenly water that bought the creation of life into the world. It believes in the existence of all four common tama within the spirit of every being, but consider sakitama and kusitama to be something given by the heavenly water. The worship of umetatu (plum dragon) as the manifestation of the natural law of change, which also includes death, is also common in Kiyomism, for it believes the lore of it gives the ruling Takanashi Clan a variation of mandate of heaven that enable them to rule over their followers.
Geosga'leu'chyeo (Kyo: 것가르쳐), more often known as Singyo (신교) or Sindo (신도), is a major denomination of Kamism in Dranland. Traditionally practised by the Kyo people native to the region, its number of followers has been decreasing since the foundation of Thetanist religions, especially the Universal Church of Terra. Today, out of 19 million Kyo people, less than 7 million of them claim to be a follower of Geosga'leu'chyeo, most of them concentrated in an enclave in Valdor.
The main difference between Singyo and other Kamist beliefs is that Singyo have next to no shrines and sacred grounds for worship. They believe that spirits of the world either inhabit in the bodies of living beings, such as human and animals, or is boundless and can appear in wherever they wish, or are summoned. Because of that, the concept of sacred grounds and shrines for spirits to dwell in is meaningless for the Singyo denomination. Instead, worship of spirits are done in wherever their blessings and protection are required, such as specific farmland and houses. It is believed that such difference might be a result of shorter history of settlement of the Kyo people.
Kami nu Michi
Kami nu Michi (Sekowan: 神ぬ道) or Sekowan Kamism is the form of Kamism as practiced in Sekowo by the Sekowan people. Kami nu Michi places a strong emphasis on ancestor worship and on respecting of relationships between the living, the dead, and the gods and spirits of the natural world. One major feature distinguishing it from mainstream Kamism is the belief in the spiritual superiority of women, which led to the development of a priestess cult and a significant following for female mediums.
The Sekowan Kamist clergy is known as Kaminchu (神人, "god people") and is led by a Chifijin (or Kikoegimi in Kunikata), the national priestess of Sekowo. The most important group of Kaminchu is the noro or nūru priestesses (the equivalent of the miko in mainstream Kamism), who play a central role in ancestor worship and channeling the spirits of ancestors, local gods, or more powerful divinities. Sekowan Kamism also has a class of shamans, known as yuta, the vast majority of whom are women. The yuta's main role is communicating with the dead. Additionally, a common belief in Sekowo is that in the "priesthood of all women", and all women are expected to receive initiation rites every twelve years. The household worship of the kami is in fact conducted by the female household members.
|Peoples||Central: Kunihito • Sekowans • Kyo | Northern: Utari • Welang | Southern: Indralans • Đinh • Phra | Western: Tukarese • Mu-Tze • Bianjie|
|Languages||Gao-Indralan: Kunikata • Sekowan • Kyo • Indralan • Đinh • Phra • Utari | Jelbo-Tukaric: Panmuan • Bianjie|
|Regions||Dovani • Seleya • Gao-Soto • Sekowo • Dankuk • Indrala • Tukarali • Jinlian • Dalibor • Great North Dovani Plain • Kalistan • Bianjie|
|History||Empire of Gao-Soto • Kingdom of Sekowo • History of Sekowo • History of Indrala • History of Dranland • History of Tukarali • Great Sekowian War • Southern Hemisphere War|
|Religion||Gao-Showan Religions • Daenism • Mazdâyanâ • Zenshō • Kamism • Guidao • Jienism • Kanzo|