This article belongs to the lore of Esquarium.

Kamism

Kamism is a blanket term for the diverse continuum of indigenous belief systems believed to be originated on Lahudica. Traditionally considered a polytheistic or animistic faith, the core tenet of Kamist beliefs is the notion that everything in the world, animate or otherwise, possesses its own essence or soul, which requires respect and sometimes worship to maintain its balance.

Kamism is most commonly practised in the Lahudic countries of Tuthina and Senria, although adherents beyond the indigenous population of the archipelago also exist, usually caused by spread of faith through trade with Tuthina during its Palingenetic period, as well as migration and formation of overseas Lahudican communities.

Due to its blanket nature, Kamism itself is not considered an organised religion due to its decentralised nature. However, individual sects of Kamism, including the Imperial Cult of Tuthina and Tenkyou of Senria have undergone centralisation, with the former gaining state religion status. Religious syncretism is common in Kamism, with most but the strictest sects practising henotheism where existence of other gods outside the main deity is recognised. Similarly, many Kamists worship multiple gods from different sects simultaneously depending on circumstance.

Etymology

The term Kamism is an exonym for the similar belief system most commonly practised by Lahudicans, with the word itself coming from kam, a root word used in Lahudic languages, Pongpathic languages and Encu language for metaphysical nature of beings, whose existence is considered the fundamental tenet shared across Kamist sects.

The root kam itself is of unknown etymology. It is most commonly believed that the root ultimately is of Monic origin, likely stemming from ancient pronunciation of "bear" (reconstructed as */ɢʷlɯm/), the worship of which was common among ancient Lahudicans. Similarity between kam and "bear" in Lahudic (Classical Vernacular Tuthinan: kamu and kuma) and Pongpathic languages (Ama: kem and kom) is seen as evidence for the hypothesis.

Beliefs

Despite its unorganised and polytheistic nature, most, if not all Kamist sects share a common or very similar set of core tenets owing to their shared heritage.

Kam

A two-fold comma swirl. The comma symbol is commonly used to visualise the thinking components of kam called hwën in Literary Tuthinan.

The defining tenet of Kamism is its belief in the existence of supernatural entity known as kam (Syodongmun: 𥛠, Ventzi: 神, Literary Tuthinan: zin, Vernacular Tuthinan: kamu, Senrian: kami, Ama: kem, Encu: kamuy). Commonly translated as "god" in foreign languages, it is often disputed by religious scholars and theologians as a mistranslation, as Kamism believes that everything possesses its own kam, from mortal beings to inanimate object and even abstract concepts. In some branches of Kamism, kam of gods and mortals are fundamentally the same, with the latter being able to ascend to godhood in some circumstances, while gods can descend by concentrating their essence to assume mortal form.

Apart from discrete individuals, most Kamists believe that natural phenomena and abstract concepts, including collective, possesses their own kam as well, some of them, often called tutelary deities, are kam of collective individuals sharing similar characteristics such as species, nationality and ideology. Inanimate objects such as water and stars also have their own patron deities overlooking them, in addition of having their own individual kam.

Kamism observes polyphysitism, or a distinction between individual components comprising kam. The first category of components forms the sentient and sapient part of consciousness. Called hwën (Literary Tuthinan, 魂) or kon (Senrian), these components complement each other to form a balanced, complete spiritual essence, sometimes translates as "soul". As such, excessive or inadequate of one or more of them for whatever reason will disturb the balance, resulting in an incomplete soul that is seen in extremely negative light.

Each hwën contributes to the different temperaments of the individual, and was used to describe mental disorder in traditional medicine in Tuthina in the past. The precise number of hwën differs between sects, with most being in the range between two and four. All Kamist sects recognise the existence of two hwën: yong'hwën (恿魂, "hwën of courage", Senrian: youkon) and hweyhwën (㥣魂, "hwën of harmony", Senrian: keikon). The former embodies courage, motivation, endurance and the like when in balance, but also ruthlessness and cruelty when out of balance; the latter embodies temperance and gentleness when in balance, but also feebleness and pliability when out of balance.

Apart from them, many other sects also teach the existence of different hwën that are either equal to yong'hwën and hweyhwën, or as subdivision of them. Common examples include tyehwën (𢜔魂, "hwën of knowledge", Senrian: tikon), embodying curiosity, wisdom and logic when in balance, and morbid curiosity without regards to morality when out of balance; and oyhwën (𢟪魂, "hwën of love", Senrian: aikon), embodying love and sympathy when in balance, and lust and obsession when out of balance.

For living beings, hwën resides within the body with its integrity supported by it. However, either by corruption while alive or death, the completeness of kam may be compromised. Depending on circumstance, different results might occur, but they are almost always considered bad in Kamism. In some cases, individual hwën might break from the kam, resulting in major imbalance that leads to kam expressing negative attributes of the remaining hwën. In some other cases, phëk might contaminate hwën after death, causing the kam to retain or even empower primal instincts for the spirit that often lead to harm to others.

The second category, one that is less universally agreed upon among Kamist sects, contributes to the primal and innate part of consciousness. Called phëk (魄) in Literary Tuthinan, it is distinct from hwën in that phëk is usually inherent in the physical body of a being, and thus does not exist in all kam: kam of intangible entities do not possess phëk, while kam of tangible beings usually, but not always lost their phëk when they die or lost their body. The number of phëk varies greatly between sects and being individuals, and the concept is not canonised by either Senrian Tenkyou or Tuthinan Imperial Cult, although the latter contains canon where its existence is implied.

Purity

An archetypal Kamist place of worship and cleansing. Many natural grounds are seen by Kamists to be dwelling places of kam of natural phenomena and objects, where their protection and blessing could be gained through rituals.

In Kamist religious cosmology, good and evil is not an innate part of nature, but merely a result of balance or imbalance of individual kam. A balanced kam results in expression of positive attributes by individuals possessing them, while an unbalanced kam results in expression of negative attributes. While different Kamist sects disagree on whether kam is born balanced or it has to be achieved afterwards, most holds that kam can and often will be corrupted by accumulation of spiritual impurity, while purity will be able to ward against corruption. There are multiple ways to maintain spiritual cleanliness, generally divided into the following two categories: extrinsic purity and intrinsic purity.

Extrinsic purity

In it simplest form, extrinsic purity refers to the cleanliness, both the residing place of kam itself and those that it interacts with. This includes both ordinary and ritual-specific ones, from the smallest objects like tableware to bigger ones like entire households, as well as animate entities such as human body. Accumulation of dirt and dust is generally considered one of the most common sources of impurity, both extrinsically due to accumulation itself, and intrinsically from its reflection of sloth in those who are supposed to maintain cleanliness.

Intrinsic purity

Intrinsic purity, on the other hand, focuses on the purification and enrichment of kam itself. Like its extrinsic counterpart, the simplest way to maintain intrinsic purity is to perform regular cleaning of surroundings and objects that see frequent use, as it not only removes extrinsic sources of corruption from them, but the action itself reflects the diligence and mindfulness of the cleaner in the process.

Apart from literal cleaning, different Kamist sects also teach various other means to maintain internal purity of kam, often featuring participation in religious rituals, especially in Kamist sacred grounds, doing or not doing particular actions in specific days, meditation, controlled satisfaction of instincts and desires, and so on. For example, Tuthinan Kamism tend to condone regular, controlled release of desires, as Tuthinan philosophy sees human nature to be a crucial part in unlocking True Will of one's kam through fulfilment of phëk drive.

Sacred grounds

A lengmwën marking a Kamist shrine and tomb near Mïlnanho, Tuthina.

Kamism preaches that ideally, every single location should be cleansed of impunity, as everything contains its own kam that is susceptible to corruption, and would lead to harm to others if left unchecked. However, as maintaining cleanliness everywhere is generally seen as impractical, if not impossible, in practice most Kamist sects agree to a certain degree of compromise, where maintaining purity in selected locations where spiritual power are considered strongest, so that cleansing of impurity would be more efficient. Generally considered to be free of impurity when properly maintained, these sacred grounds tend to house professional clergy members responsible for both regular maintenance, as well as performance of rituals for kam of tangible and intangible beings alike.

Kamist sacred grounds are usually enclosed by fence, with its entrances marked by freestanding gateway called khwët (闕) or lengmwën (櫺門) in Tuthina, and torii in Senria. While the gate itself marks the limit of the sacred ground alongside the fences, many of them tend to receive additional blessing to prevent foreign impurities and corruption from entering the enclosure. As such, it is not uncommon for bigger or more important sacred grounds to feature multiple gates in the same entrance, up to several dozens in extreme cases.

Some of the larger or more frequently-visited sacred grounds also tend to house shrines for religious functions. Both because of its spiritual power and secular function as gathering grounds for inhabitants, courtyard of shrines tend to be venue for festivals and celebrations regardless of religious relevancy.

True Will

In Kamism, every sapient and sentient kam is said to have its own True Will (Syodongmun: 楍𩕾, Ventzi: 本願, Literary Tuthinan: pwon'wën, Senrian: bungon) that fundamentally connected to its nature. Sometimes also translated as destiny or fate, True Will nonetheless differs from their usual connotation in that it is not inevitable. Instead, one must actively seek out and fulfil True Will in order for it to happen. It is generally believed that fulfilling True Will, or trying to do so is necessary and essential for one to achieve enlightenment and true happiness in the form of perfectly balanced kam.

There are multiple ways to identify and fulfil True Will, with different Kamist sects teaching one or some of them, or recognising all of them as valid. Means of fulfilling True Will can be divided into two main categories: extrinsic enlightenment and intrinsic enlightenment, although it is not uncommon for their means to involve elements across the two categories. Regardless of means, most Kamists believe that fulfilment of True Will can cleanse all corruption and damage to kam, as well as restoring it to perfect balance. Because of that, some Kamist sects, especially those preferring intrinsic enlightenment, usually preaches that "one who have achieved True Will in at dawn will and should be content dying at dusk", as there are nothing else for the owner of a perfect kam to stay in mortal form but risking future corruption.

Extrinsic enlightenment

Extrinsic enlightenment (Syodongmun: 佗𠠲楍𩕾, Ventzi: 他力本願, Literary Tuthinan: thalïk pwon'wën, Senrian: tariki bungon), literally "achieving True Will by the power of others", is defined by the idea of discovering and fulfilling one's True Will through guidance and help by other entities. Most adherents of extrinsic enlightenment sees that due to the intertwined nature of True Will and kam, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for kam to decipher its own True Will through introspection alone. Within extrinsic enlightenment, multiple ways have been proposed to resolve this problem.

Adherents of lïhëk (理斆), collectively known as myutkak faction, argues that as all kam are fundamentally the same, careful observation and analysis of the physical world is essential to understanding the nature of kam and True Will, which then can be applied to the condition of oneself to derive True Will of individuals.

Commonly associated with myutkak faction, followers of Kunghëk (功斆) believes that apart from passive observation, active actions like experimentation are necessary for unlocking the inner workings of kam, as well as spreading what is known through them to others to allow faster and more common distribution of knowledge critical for fulfilling True Will.

Dawhëk (衟斆), on the other hand, states that for humans, the most effective way to understand one's own kam is to study or learn from other fellow humans, especially those who are learnt in religion and philosophy due to their knowledge on the topic. Endorsed by the Imperial Cult, it states that the Emperor of the Most Serene Empire, being the intercessor between mortal humans and the First Emperor, should serve as the model for all humans to learn from in order to understand their True Will.

Intrinsic enlightenment

Intrinsic enlightenment (Syodongmun: 𢀒𠠲楍𩕾, Ventzi: 己力本願, Literary Tuthinan: kïlïk pwon'wën, Senrian: kiriki bungon), meaning "achieving True Will by the power of oneself", contrast from its extrinsic counterpart in its belief that an individual's True Will is unique from others like kam, and thus can only be discovered and fulfilled by oneself. Outsider helps are seen as non-essential assistance at best, and hindrance and distraction at worst, as their different kam and True Will can lead one astray if copied without careful modification to suit one's own condition.

The most dominant school of thought pertaining to intrinsic enlightenment is simhëk (心斆). Deriving its name from heart, traditionally seen as the residing place of phëk, followers of simhëk state that just like heart is vital to function of brain, phëk is vital to function and development of hwën, where the core of kam and True Will is embedded in. As such, controlled gratification of instincts can not only placate phëk from becoming disruptive, but can also nurture kam as a whole and ultimately reveals one's True Will.

Major sects

As an animist-polytheistic belief system, Kamism is both more decentralised and syncretic than monotheistic religions in Esquarium like Islam, Rodnéwiary and Costeny. Many Kamist sects do not have a formally-defined hierarchy within the clergy, and generally tolerate, if not outright condone syncretism with other belief systems. As a result, it is common for Kamists to simultaneously worship multiple deities and beings across belief systems.

Imperial Cult

Imperial Cult is the official religion of the Most Serene Empire, where membership of the sect is a prerequisite of citizenship. As such, all Tuthinans are considered member of the Imperial Cult by definition, even if they do not actively participate in ecclesial activities.

Since tits foundation, the Empire has been incorporating religion into its structure. A kathenotheist sect, the Imperial Cult focuses its worship on two particular members of the Kamist pantheon: Sakitili, the tutelary goddess of "all earthly delicate life" and the Empire itself, and First Emperor, tutelary god of "all humanity".

According to Imperial Cult, the First Emperor, upon seeing the quarreling people, assumed mortal form as the ruler of Tanyang more than three millennia ago. Through diplomacy and conquest, he managed to unite the surrounding tribes and established the Most Serene Empire. Upon the death of his mortal form, he gifted his patrilineal lineage the ability to continue communicate with him in order to further his work of uniting all humanity.

His younger son, now known as Emperor Dyunghwan, assumed the throne and became the first Emperor of Tuthina, which bears the religious role as intercessor between humanity and the First Emperor, as well as high priest of Sakitili. As a result, in practice the reigning Emperor received the worship dedicated to the First Emperor, who also lead important religious rituals dedicated to Sakitili.

As a theocracy, the Imperial Cult plays a significant role in the government of the Most Serene Empire. Apart from the monarchy deriving its political legitimacy through its divine status within Imperial Cult theology, the Imperial Cult is also tasked with multiple government roles, including compulsory primary education to the population, as well as organisation of law enforcement in rural area. In Tuthinan legal system, jury comprises of Imperial Cult clergy specialised in interpretation of religious laws and customs, which serves as the basis for Imperial laws.

Tenkyou

Tenkyou
Nikko Futarasan Jinja M3292.jpg
The Hakusan-zinza shrine in Keisi, Senria.
OriginAntiquity
Number of followers117 million

Tenkyou (Goimon: 떤꾜우, Syodongmun: 天教, literally "way of heaven") is the traditional religion of Senria and is generally classified as a sub-branch of Kamism by religious scholars. It was the state religion of Senria until the Senrian Revolution, when the Empire of Senria was deposed by republican revolutionaries who created a secular republic. It remains by far the largest religion in Senria, however, and is presently practiced by roughly ninety percent of the Senrian population.

Tenkyou is based upon the same concepts as other branches of Kamism, but uses Senrian variations on terminology and venerates a different set of deities than the Imperial Cult and Serpent Cult. The two most prominent deities in Tenkyou are Tenryuu and Zuihou, a pair of kami venerated as the Emperor and Empress of Heaven. Tenryuu is generally credited with creating the world and Zuihou with creating humanity. Also prominent are Kan'in and Iyo, the first humans; Pairyuu, the son of Tenryuu and Zuihou, kami of rain and storms, and progenitor of the Senrian people; Kamadou, kami of fire and the hearth; Ouyamatumi, kami of mountains and volcanoes; Ougetuhime, kami of food and the harvest; Mikabosi, kami of the sky and stars; and Kanke, kami of knowledge and scholars.

As with other branches of Kamism, Tenkyou recognizes the existence of the kons and exhibits a strong sacred-profane dichotomy. Tenkyou's terms are generally of the same Literary Tuthinan origin as the terms used by the Imperial Cult, but there are some that are different and they are generally given in Senrian. Many rituals present in the Imperial Cult also exist in similar formats in Tenkyou, though divergence between the two has resulted in differences in ritual between the groups. Tenkyou is also considered less open to religious syncretism than its Tuthinan counterpart.