Otherfaith

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The Otherfaith is a modern polytheist religion created in 2010. The religious tradition focuses on the worship of new gods called the Four Gods. It is an outgrowth of the modern Pagan and polytheist movements. (It is not, however, part of the Polytheism movement.) The religion focuses on animism, technology, and the intersection of gods with modern life.

The Otherfaith has influences of pop culture, sci-fi and fantasy (SFF), and fandom culture. It is also influenced by past spirit workers in relation to direct spirit communication and relationship. The polytheism in the Otherfaith is best understood as relational or relationship-based. Due to its influences from pop and fandom culture, the Otherfaith focuses on storytelling and story interpretation as useful practices.

The religion lacks larger, universalized creation or apocalyptic myths and instead focuses on cycles or more localized myths.

Members of the religion call themselves Other People or, individually, an Other Person. They may also call themselves a follower of the Otherfaith.

History

The Otherfaith was created in 2010 through an online forum called the Forest of the White Stag. The religious tradition went through a few names and modifications before settling into the polytheistic tradition it now is. This included going by the name 'Abach' and 'Daoine Eile'. It originated as a new polytheistic Witchcraft tradition before becoming polytheist and religion focused.

'Abach' and 'Daoine Eile' both reflect the original influences of Celtic readings and mythology on the Otherfaith. This remains in part with the Other People's perception of their spirits as fairies.

Membership

Membership and participation in the Otherfaith is divided into three categories at present. Due to the small membership of the religion, most members take on roles of all three categories. Among the first two groups (laity and clergy) the Otherfaith may be a secondary or tertiary religion in that member's life; mystics are required to place the Otherfaith first and foremost while serving as a mystic.

The gods can interact with anyone regardless of where they fall in these categories. Every member of the faith can put forth ideas and revelations and stories, whether they are mystic or clergy or laity.

Laity are members who worship the gods and attend Otherfaith events but are not expected to run activities. They may focus more on a specific god of the Four Gods, but they do not take initiation with them. They may submit poetry and prayers and stories to the Otherfaith, but they are not expected too. Laity who lead rituals and help build the faith through contributions can be called lay leaders.

Clergy are members who lead rituals, keep the holy calendar, plan events, and help contribute to the religion through writing (either on practices or through stories). Organizing the community would be the main focus of a clergyperson. They may be focused on a specific god out of the Four Gods. If an individual takes initiation with a specific god, they would likely be expected to serve as a clergyperson for a specified amount of time. Clergy would be expected to work for a certain amount of time (a few years at most) and then take a break, though if desired a clergyperson could work as such as long as they found feasible. Being clergy is not expected to be a lifetime commitment, however.

Mystics are charged with sacred storytelling, initiation, and spirit and energy work. They are initiated into a god's Order, learn and can teach a god's mysteries and lessons, and become competent in that god's magic and energy manipulation. They utilize the Otherfaith spirit body in magic and ritual. They may become competent in possession, though that is up to each individual mystic. Like clergy, they serve for a certain amount of time in the position, though during that time they are expected to put the Otherfaith foremost as their religious practice.

Social Justice

Due to influences from modern paganism and polytheism, the Otherfaith emphasizes social justice as an important part of religion. This involves advocating and/or supporting the expanding of equal rights, environmental justice and security, ending white supremacy, etc. Each individual Other Person decides how to enact their ideals of social justice. Though the community may come together to support or work on an issue, there is not an enforcement of the 'most important' or 'proper' way to advocate for societal change and equality.

Deities

The Other People revere the Four Gods. These deities are noted for being ahistorical and modern. The Otherfaith deities can be described as queer, with many of them displaying bi- or pansexuality, gender queerness, and crossing of gender norms. Asexuality is also present in some Otherfaith gods. Personal relationship and devotion with the Four Gods is encouraged and advocated within the Otherfaith.

Concept of Deity

The Otherfaith has multiple theological influences. The most present is polytheism. A variety of distinct gods and beings are revered within the religion. Polytheism in the Otherfaith is focused on relation and called Relational Polytheism.

Dystheism, the belief that the gods are not always good, is also present within the religion. The gods are not viewed as infallible or omnibenevolent. They may take on hostile or destructive relations with other spirits or humans. This ties in with the emphasis on individual relationships with gods and spirits . Otherfaith dystheism is also influenced by the concept of godhood as a duty, in which a god may take on certain unpleasant but necessary obligations as part of their divinity.

Apotheosis, the deification of spirits or humans or objects, is a overarching theme in the religion's theology. The gods Ophelia, Laetha, and Dierne are all deified by the Clarene. Apotheosis in the Otherfaith occurs after heroic actions or death. It is tied heavily to the acceptance of duty and divine roles. Likewise, a god may be stripped of their divinity or have it co-opted by another spirit.

Part of what separates deities from other spirits in the religion is their role. Deities have larger functions and domains than other spirits. They are seen as great movers of energy and emotion, essentially elevated spirits.

The Otherfaith has a concept of continuous revelation, which allows for the introduction of new religious ideas, stories, and spirits. Other People are encouraged to create new stories and understand the gods on their own terms, cooperatively creating the religion with the gods, themselves, and the community.

Spirits

There are a variety of categories of spirits in the Otherfaith. All of them can loosely be called fairies, as they are liminal spirits. The land they inhabit is characterized by odd time shifts and lays sideways or alongside our own and is mythically said to lie between fairyland and the human world.

The first group of categories in the Otherfaith relate to a spirit's power and influence. These are Greater Spirits, Younger Spirits, and Smaller Spirits. Greater Spirits are next to gods and sometimes referred to as semi- or demi-divine. Younger Spirits are characterized by their solitary nature and associated with processes of decay, waste, or destruction. Smaller Spirits are child-like spirits who embody certain elements or energies, such as electricity or fire.

Each god has a Court of spirits they operate which embody the god's values and lessons within the religion. These Courts are associated with a god's color. A spirit's Court affects how they interact with other spirit's and what influence they may have over a person's life. Gods also have Orders in which spirits (and people) are initiated into the god's mysteries. For the spirits, Orders are tied to their Court.

There are also Holy Houses run by the gods and their trusted spirits. A spirit's residency in a House reflects their alliances and preferences in which spirits they associate with, as well as what spirits they are hostile to.

There are a variety of groups that a spirit may belong to based on how they were created or what path they pursue. These include the Aletheia Androids, Alice Androids, Rabbit Troupe, and Book Keepers among others.

Spirits are further divided by their elemental associations, body and energy types, and job/function. More in-depth information can be found on the spirit category page.