T H E   W A Y   O F   S O T H A A L 
P U J A R I   I N   G E N E R A L 

Those dedicated to Sothaal are called Pujari and act as extensions of Sothaal’s values and teachings. They often adorn themselves in the sacred colours of blue and gold to catch the approval and favour of their god, though naturally, Pujari do not shy away from any colour at all.

 

During Rites and Ceremonies, they decorate themselves with as much colour and jewellery as possible, even resorting to elaborate body painting made from floral and mineral pigments to create contrast and drama, and take much inspiration from natural flora and fauna, especially insect life.

They embody the will and whims of their patron, understanding human nature as the sea, emotions embodied as the tides, flowing and ebbing. They see souls as kaleidoscopic and ever changing, but always in a state of perfection.

 

A golden sash always marks a Pujari in a crowd. It can be worn in many ways – over the head, over the shoulder or around the waist. It is often pinned in place with a golden brooch of some kind. Often, graduating Pujari inherit the broaches of their teacher.  The elder Pujari may wear many broaches, sometimes one for every year of their service.

 

Pujari are never really chosen but volunteer themselves for the role. Many Pujari start as young adolescent artists, craving the guidance of Sothaal’s creative muses and dedicate themselves to Sothaal’s teachings.  Pujari not only follow Sothaal but take inspiration from his Muses, each which personify not only some creative disciplines but also qualities the muses have epitomised within their lifetime.

V E N E R A T I N G   M U S E S

Muses are regarded as venerated teachers and ascended masters whom the Pujari and indeed all people can call on to aid them with their own journeys to enlightenment and guidance with their own creative projects. They can be included in prayers, rites and ceremonies to help the Pujari. Symbols can be carved, or offering left at effigies of the Muses in order to praise, give thanks and beseech. 

Lady Orissa ~ Tenacity ~ Design and Engineering

Lady Orissa, the first of all the muses, is most famously known for the construction of the city of Orissa, formally known as Medija, over and around the river Jaita. Orissa is invoked for Tenacity or for design and engineering problems. 

Saheb Mahabir ~ Patience ~ Textiles

Saheb is known for his incredible manufacture of exquisite bolts of spider silk. He is called upon for matters of patience, meditation and all manner of textiles. Saheb can be invoked with offerings of spider silk, usually burnt ceremonially.

Piera Regimo ~ Compassion ~ Architecture

Piera is acknowledged as a muse for her architectural restoration of Vendi. She is called upon for matters of compassion, restoring and rebuilding.

Abil and Mireil ~ Synergy ~ Horticulture

Abil and Mireil are best known for the construction of Udyana, and the great gardens surrounding it.  They are called upon for their incredible horticultural skills as well as their incredible co-operative synergy.

Ranai Magar ~ Innovation ~ Botany

Ranai is hailed for the cute of the Blighting which ravaged Olvany for 10 years. He is called upon for his incredible innovative mind and problem solving abilities, as well as his incredible medicinal knowledge.

S O T H A A L I A N   R I T E S

Rites are the general rituals of life, like marriages and funerals. They change from culture to culture, but have long kept and treasured traditions which are always honoured, despite the fluid nature of rites in itself.

M A R R I A G E   R I T E S

Marriage ceremonies are flexible, but do contain some important elements listed here which must be included in the ceremony.

To symbolise the two merging families into one, the gathered family weave together strips of coloured fabric to make some form of textile. 
Normally, blessings of Saheb Mahabir are also invoked to help them manifest patience even through the most trying of times. The textile can be small or large, depending on what is available.



Pujari are also responsible for anointing the couple with White Sunana and to hear the vows of the couple as rings are exchanged.
White Sunana has a specific recipe and is prepared before hand. The anointing can be blessed and often attributed to Lady Orissa, so that the pair may have tenacity throughout their married life.

After guests have doused the pair in bright pigments, it is the job of the Pujari to pour water over, or dunk the couple. Piera Regimo can be called upon during this rite to teach the pair compassion for each other through hard times - it is very lucky for colours to be remaining on either of the pair and they can be used to divine what blessings will be most prominent, or colours are lacking can indicate what must be focused and improved upon with the pair. 

Weaving
Annointing
Showering
F U N E R A L   R I T E S

There are two popular sets of funeral rites in Olvany: being burnt upon a floating pyre on water or being burnt and buried inside the grounds of the Marble Towers. Each is presided over by Pujari if the deceased’s family did not want a Nasnian burial. Funeral rites are far more rigid than that of Marriage. Prior to the Blighting of 1590c, bodies were buried or burnt - these days, however, everyone is burnt.
Pujari ask for not just Sothaal's blessing but also, Nasni's. They may ask for the blessings of any gods that the deceased would've worshipped.

Floating Pyre

  • The body is laid out under a white cloth on the pyre.

  • Family and friends gather around and a address and tribute is given to the decease detailing life events.

  • The Pyre is covered with herbs and flowers, sometimes some personal items of the deceased.

  • The Pyre is lead to the water, closets family members leading.

  • The closest family play drums, bells and other small percussion instruments. 

  • As they reach the water, there is a commendation to Nasni and Sothaal. The pyre is lit.

  • A committal then silently takes place, the whole gathering silence as the pyre is pushed out on to water.

Garden Ash Box

  • The body is laid out under a white cloth on the pyre.

  • Family and friends gather around and a address and tribute is given to the decease detailing life events.

  • The Pyre is covered with herbs and flowers, sometimes some personal items of the deceased.

  • The Pyre is doused in fragrant herb salts during a committal before being burnt.

  • After the ashes are cool, they are ritually placed into a paper box and anointed with Sunana before being interred into the earth.

  • If inside a Marble tower, the Pujari would also be responsible for marking the wall of remembrance with the name of the dead.

No matter which type of burial is made, a Mukhauta (mask) is made by those suffering the loss though sometimes it is created by the dying themselves. The Mukhauta are brightly coloured and must represent the individual in life and in death. The mask is worn to the funeral of the departed in order to 'collect' the soul of the deceased. After the funeral, it is given to the Pujari for the next Maut-Mukhauta.

M A U T - M U K H A U T A

Pujari may be called upon to perform Maut-Mukhauta, a festival of soul collecting unconfined to a specific date. 

Maut-Mukhauta is the collection of souls ready for the pilgrimage to Thulm and the internment to Nasni. Special anonymous performers wear the masks over great elaborate head-to-toe veils - reminiscent of Nasni's white veil.

 

They dance through the streets, ringing bells and banging drums, visiting the graveyards; walls of remembrance, pyre sights and crematoriums, allowing the spirits to possess them and the masks they wear. They are followed closely by the relatives of the deceased, tugging on the veil to beg for some form of message from the in-between-lands of Yaatana - the fabled  overlapping land that holds souls till they are delivered to Nasni.
 

After the festival, the masks are given to a pilgrim who travels with the masks carefully wrapped and packaged. They are given to a Weiha, expecting the masks so they can properly return the souls to Nasni.

Once created, Mukhauta must not be destroyed or broken in anyway until the end of Maut-Mukhauta and the following pilgrimage. Even then, if it is broken by anyone other than a Weiha, it is a serious issue and a ritual must be made to re-capture the soul from Yaatana.

Y A A T A N A

Yaatana is the holy spirit layer which holds the spirits of the dead before Nasni collects them to their rest. Yaatana lies over the physical realm as water lies over a river bed. It's ever flowing and fluid and like all bodies of water, can be tumultuous or calm. It has been romanticised as an astral plane free of constraints - inciting interpretations of freedom, hope and unlimited fluidity. This unconstrained plane of wonder can often turn into an unbridled storm of soul matter and, because of this, souls must be carefully moved through and collected, else they turn into Djinn.  

The ceramony to collect souls from Yaatana will always contain a Mukhauta mask made to represent the soul they're collecting.

Djinn

Djinn are out of control spirits of Yaatana, they are mischievous and playful beings with very little regard for those other than themselves.  Djinn are blamed for many things in the home going wrong from objects going missing to fires being started. They are said to manifest as smoke like beings and hang around the hearth fires or on pools of water. If you manage to get one to do your bidding, expect a heavy price.

S O T H A A L I A N    C E R A M O N I E S 

Beyond the rites of daily life are ceremonies for special and honoured occasions. There are several a Pujari may be called upon to perform.

P U R I S A D I

Purisadi is the rite of ‘Marriage’ to Sothaal to all who offer themselves to him. It is a spiritual marriage which does not affect their other relationships but rather is a metaphor for combining divine inspiration with that of human ingenuity and craft. The ritual is full of dancing, song and music and can be very individual and personal to those seeking Purisadi. 

The brides and grooms are dressed in flowers and painted in bright pigments such as yellows and blues, often staining their skin weeks afterwards. Purisadi takes place by running water, either the sea or rivers. Many people travel, specifically for Purisadi, to the edges of the country or to the river Jaita for the ceremony.

The ceremony widely varies but always involves the crafting of a work of art, offerings to Sothaal and personalised purification.