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Senit (Kayig: ԹՆՇ, Şenit ) is a dualistic panentheist religion originating in what is now Kadaria and historically practiced by much of Rahelia, revolving around the recognition of Kretes, the creator of the universe and all of human existence, the worship of Mei, the personification of order, justice, truth, balance, and harmony, and the shunning of Asefya, the personification of disorder, injustice, chaos, violence, and evil. Followers of Senit, known as Senites, believe humanity must uphold the values laid out by Mei in order to prevent the perceived entropic destruction of the material universe by Asefya. In modern times, Kadaria remains the only Senite-majority nation in the world, although Senitene minorities exist across the world. The Hierophatic School estimates that there are around 100 million Senites worldwide of which 90% reside in Kadaria, who claims all of its 90 million citizens as being Senites.
Senit is one of the world's oldest religions with its history spanning an estimated 2,900 years back to the 9th century BCE, with possible roots all the way back to the 17th century BCE. Upon the reunification of Kadaria by the 15th dynasty in the 600s BCE, the religion was quickly adopted by the ruling pharaohs and subsequently became the state religion of the New Kingdom. Senit remained geographically constrained while under the patronage of the 15th and 16th dynasties. It was not until the 3rd century BCE that religious conquests to spread Senit emerged under the Seeress Merima of Çudemat, who'd later be hailed as an Avatar. These conquests rapidly expanded both the Kadarian state and the Senitene world, and modern historiographers sometimes refer to Merima's conquests as the Senitene Empire. While the Senitene Empire fractured following the death of [person], its cultural legacy remained through the rapid conversation and eradication of polytheistic faiths native to Rahelia. While under Imperial tutelage, many of the rituals and practices of Senit were codified and centralized.
The religion remained dominant in Rahelia until the Irfanic conquests in the 7th and 8th centuries. As a result of the conquests, Senit was driven out of mainstream society as its institutions and states collapsed or were demolished, within the territory controlled by the Second Heavenly Dominion. The conquests led to a split in Senit, transforming the religion from being heavily centralized into being composed of theoretically equal Schools that acknowledge the Hierophatic School in Kadaria as the primus inter pares. This "Post-Irfan" period was short-lived, as following the Tagamic conquest of Kadaria saw the spontaneous conversion of Tagamic Khan Anushtegin, and reaffirmed the Hierophatic School's primacy in the Senitene world. Modern Senit is accepted to have arisen out of the Tagamic conquest, as Tagamic patronage saw a resurgence in Senitene literature and theological works, in what would later be termed as Senitene Revivalism. It was also during this time period where the three modern sects of Senit would emerge in response to the apparent destruction of the Senitene world. The 19th and 20th centuries saw an increase in both puritanical and radical theological schools as a result of Euclean colonization of Rahelia. The Meçir Revolution in Kadaria led to serious division and tension within the Senitic world, as the revolutionaries imposed a puritanical theology on White Light Senit through the Hierophatic School.
In the modern age, Senit is practiced by an estimated 100 million people; 90 million of which are located within Kadaria, the only Senite majority country in the world. Senite minorities exist in neighboring Ihram, Nise, and Tsabara. The Hierophatic School, led by the "First Servant of the Lady of the Day," has historically been considered the ultimate authority on Senit, however its current status is a contested topic within the Senitene world. Aside from White Light, two other mainline sects are exist within Senit: Dengeken, which focuses on seeking a balance between order and chaos, and Black Light, which worships Asefya over Mei due to the nature of free will. White Light is the largest of the three sects with over 90 million practitioners, followed by Dengeken, and lastly Black Light.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 Beliefs
- 3 Practices
- 4 Organization
- 5 Social views
The name "Senit" is a direct borrowing of the religion's name in Kayig, Şenit (ԹՆՇ). The Kayig name is itself an adaptation of the Cushitic ⲉⲁⲓϭⲛϩⲏⲧ (eaicnhaat). In a religious context, cnhaat is interpreted as meaning Knowledge, an esoteric term used within the context of Senit to describe a spiritual understanding of oneself and the universe at large. Thus, the religion's name can be translated as "obtaining Knowledge" or "to obtain Knowledge." This is reflected in the Middle Cushitic nj snht, where snht can mean knowledge, wisdom, or understanding depending on the context of its use.
A follower of Senit is referred to as a "Senite" (ՇՏԹՆՇ - Şenitdaş), and the adjective form for the religion is "Senitene" (ՆԹՆՇ - Şenitane)
Modern Senitene beliefs revolving around creation involve a singular creator deity known as Kretes (ՍԹՐԳ; Cushitic: Kⲣⲏⲧⲏⲥ, Krêtês), also referred to as the "Divine Judge" in some Illuminations, who is responsible for the creation of the material cosmos know as Kitis, Haybeş, and spiritual cosmos known as Pa. In addition to these three planes of existance, Kretes is responsible for the creation of all creatures and spirits that inhabit them. The act of creation itself, known simply as The Creation in Senitene theology, was the first action undertaken by Kretes. Formal Senitene theology, as propagated by the Hierophatic School, holds that The Creation cannot be comprehended and the scientific concepts of time and space simply cannot be applied to it (rather The Creation itself exists in a state outside of time and space). Despite this, Folk Senit treat The Creation as a singularity for time and space, and thus have a linear narrative of the event as an ultimate origin for human existence, prior which none had existed. The material plane can then be seen as an extension of Kretes through the residual magic and energy imbued throughout it from The Creation. Thus, Senit holds a panentheistic view of the world.
In addition to creating the three planes, Kretes is responsible for the creation of the soul and spirit, and his daughters: Mei, who is responsible for order, balance, and harmony of the material universe, and Asefya who is diametrically opposed to Mei. While Mei and Asefya are viewed as being the daughters of Kretes, they are both viewed as being aspects of him rather than as separate entities entirely. Through both of His children, Kretes is able to indirectly affect and alter the material cosmos and the human soul and spirit.
Mei and Asefya
Mei (Kayig: ԹՄ, Mat; Cushitic: Ⲙⲉⲓ, Məi) is the elder daughter of Kretes, and acts as a deification of the concepts of truth, order, harmony, and justice. In Senitene theology, Mei oversees the continual existence of the material cosmos through Her control over the concept of order and balance. On philosophical level, Mei is seen as representing the ethical and moral principles that all Senites are expected to follow throughout their daily lives. This significance led to the view of Mei being responsible for all aspects of existence: the basic equilibrium of the material cosmos, the cycle of seasons, the movement of planets and stars, and honesty and truthfulness in social interactions. Through this lens, Mei is seen as a surrogate mother of sorts for humankind, and in a way superceding the importance of Kretes, leading to Mei being referred to by such monikers as "the Lady of Day," "Lady of Light," and "Infinite Architect."
Through constantly keeping the universal order, Mei is considered to be in a state of near-exhaustion due to the immense energy and magical expense required. This originates from not only general maintenance of the material cosmos, but also through the assaults and undermining by Asefya. Because of this, Mei also acts as the sole juror in the Cosmic Court, a purgatory that holds a person's soul and spirit to be judged by Kretes. Alongside Her father, Mei judges the souls of the deceased persons based on their accruement of Knowledge. The soul is weighed against a piece of silk cloth, symbolically expressing the fabric of the universe, and if the soul weighs less than or equal to the cloth, then it is interpreted as the individual contributed to maintaining order and harmony during their life, and the soul is allowed to transcend to Pa. Should the soul weigh more than the cloth, then it's seen that the individual contributed to the destruction of the natural order through committing injust, dishonest, or general chaotic acts while alive, and a part of the energy of the soul is taken by Kretes and used to repair Mei.
Asefya (Kayig: ՅՖՍԱ, Asefya; Cushitic: Ⲁⲥⲱϥⲉ, Asôfə) is the cosmological opposite and eternal enemy of Mei. Asefya is the younger daughter of Kretes and acts as a representation of the philosophical concepts of injustice, disorder, chaos, violence, and other acts and concepts considered to be evil. Euclean theologists and anthropologists have made the comparisons between Asefya and the Satrian concept of Adharma, however these comparisons are analogous at best and erroneous at worst. Unlike Adharma, Asefya is not seen as being innately evil through her disharmonious and chaotic actions. Rather, She is seen as merely acting on her nature. Her appearance after Mei (interpreted as Asefya being the younger sister and daughter) signifies the belief of disorder and chaos being a consequence of the individual's struggle against order through the gift of free will. Because of Her association with chaos and opposition to Mei, Asefya is often titled and referred to as the "Lady of Night" or "Lady of Dark."
Together, Mei and Asefya form a seemingly paradoxical duality as both are co-dependent on the other for their continued existence (i.e: order cannot exist without disorder and vice versa). The two are interpreted as being locked in a constant battle, with Mei seeking to preserve the natural order, and by extension the continued existence of the material cosmos, and Asefya to usurp the natural order through entropy, consequently causing the destruction of the material cosmos as perceived and understood by humanity. Mainstream Senitene theology interprets mankind's role in this cosmic battle as assisting Mei through maintaining order through all aspects of life.
Due to the existence of the Cosmic Court – the cosmic space where the souls of the deceased are judged by Kretes and Mei – Senit believes that death of the Disorderly leads to reincarnation. Souls belonging to people who had contributed more to Asefya than Mei are subjected to reincarnation, known as shattering. Through shattering, Kretes transposes soul energy (referred to simply as Soulfire to reflect its association with Mei) from the judged soul to Mei, so that Mei can be repaired in a way that is proportional to the perceived damage caused to Mei by the acts and transgressions of the person being judged. This act also cleanses the soul of sin. Once the soul is cleansed, Kretes selectively wipes the memory of the soul so that it doesn't remember its passed transgressions, but the soul still remembers its accumulated Knowledge. The soul is then placed into a new body which allows the soul to be reborn into the material cosmos. Should a soul go through shattering too many times, then the soul will cease to exist, as it will run out of the Soulfire necessary to sustain itself. Once this happens, the person's spirit (believed to be separate from a soul) will exist in a state of nothingness. This nothingness is interpreted as being outside human perception of space and time, and exists in neither the material or spiritual planes of existence. Some scholars have made the connection of the "nothingness" to the Sotirian concept of purgatory.
When a human soul is judged favorably by Kretes and Mei, then it undergoes and act known as transcension. Through transcension, the soul enters the a higher plane of existence known as Pe (Բ, Cushitic: Ⲡⲉ, Pə). Pe is characterized as a plane of existence where the soul can truly exist, interpreted as not being subject to the trials and tribulations of Asefya within the material cosmos (i.e: being alive). Because of this, Pa has been compared to a paradise seen in similar religions, such as Irfan and Sotirianity.
Transcension is the primary pursuit of Senit, the primary process of the human soul reaching an enlightened state and able to exist in the same plane of existence as Kretes and Mei. By transcending, the collective Soulfire of humanity will be able to reach a state apotheosis and take the place of Kretes as the new creator which has always been the Senitene interpretation for humanity's existence. Thus, in a way, Transcension acts as a sort of divine filial piety. Contemporary Senit broadly rejects the idea that other religions can undergo transcension, with some Banners even labelling other religions as dangerous.
Senit maintains that any practicing Senite is able to transcend, so long as they uphold Mei and acquire Knowledge. By doing both of these, Senites believe that they are able to replenish the Soulfire lost to repair Mei through the act of reincarnation and shattering. By replenishing Soulfire and accumulating more Knowledge, the human soul will be able to gain favorable judgement from Kretes, and thus transcend to Pe.
Unlike in other mainstream religions, the concept of Sin is not interpreted as being inherently evil or bad, but rather as a perversity of the human soul. It is seen as a lapse in one's judgement and giving into the animalistic cravings of free will, which is seen to naturally stray towards Asefya. Sin is in effect going against the natural order or causing disharmony in one's life; the natural order commonly being interpreted as good deeds, good thoughts, and good words. Through the act of shattering, the human soul is cleansed of past sins, and is thus able to be reborn under the auspices of a "fresh start."
Knowledge is an abstract, and esoteric concept that acts as a sort of "cosmic currency" within Senit. It is both the "primordial constitution" of human existence and an "true understanding of oneself and the world around them." Senit upholds that it is through Knowledge that humans are able to achieve the logical and cognitive functions that make humans inherently superior to other animals, but also acts as the link between humanity and Mei. The latter interpretation thus implies a duty, a relationship stipulated by Mei, to undergo the act of transcension.
Senit treats Knowledge as a substantive thing, something that can be manipulated, purified, concentrated, manifested, and polluted. It is intentionally very broad and purposefully does not refer to the abstract understanding of isolated statements or theological positions (such as piety). Rather, Knowledge is something that is all encompassing, involving correct understanding, correct behavior, and correct character. Consequently, only humans are able to possess Knowledge, as it is a by product of free will. Senit believes that Knowledge was bestowed upon humanity after the creation of Asefya. Knowledge provides meaning to human existence, since without Knowledge, humans are enslaved to dark forces that manifest in primal urges and naturalistic instincts.
By its very nature, Knowledge is something only privy to Senites, and it is maintained that Senit itself represents the gross accumulation of all correct human Knowledge.
Channeling rites specifically seek to actively manipulate Knowledge and the spirits associated with Knowledge. Channeling rituals take multiple forms with the most common being oneiromancy, astrology, hydromancy, and pyromancy. Each of these can be further broken down into their own subcategories, although there is no definite categorization of the rituals themselves by any Banner nor the Hierophatic School, and it is not uncommon for some localized practices of Senit to include things as a carry over of Pre-Senitene practices. Such practices often include an increased focus on heka – the practice of ritual magic – and often straddles the line between orthodoxy and heresy. Despite this, heka itself is seen as an essential force and offers a direct connection for humanity to Mei.
Oneiromancy (ՏՅՐՍ, Seruyide) is considered to be the stereotypical channeling rite for non-Senites due to its prevalence within Senitene practice and the emphasis put on dreams in Senitene theology. Dreams hold an important status within Senit, and practicioners believe that dreaming allows the human soul and spirit to temporarily enter into Pe or Haybeş. Interactions within the dream is thus seen as the dreamer coming into contact with a part of their shattered soul or friendly spirits giving advice to the person so that they may better acquire Knowledge. Oneiromancers (ՇՏՅՐՍ Seriyudaş) are clergy specifically trained in the interpretation of such dreams and assisting the person having their dreams read in acting out the message given them through the dreams.
Outside of oneiromancy, numerous other divination rituals exist within the context of Senit. These divination methodologies are collectively referred to as Kahenet (ԹՆՀԳ; Cushitic: ⲙⲛⲧⲣⲉϥϫⲓⲙⲁⲉⲓⲛ, mntrəhjimaəin). The three major and most common methodologies are astrology, hydromancy, and pyromancy. Oneiromancy and Cahatiy are considered to be separate from kahenet for historical reasons, as the three are currently believed to be cultural imports rather than "native inventions."
Astrology (Kayig: ՆՀԳՐՆՄ, menrikhanı Cushitic: ⲙⲛⲧⲣⲉϥⲕⲁⲟⲩⲛⲟⲩ, mntrehkaounou) was brought over through trade with Anniser. Senitene astrology is the interpretation of the movement of heavenly bodies, principally stars, planets, and moons, across the material cosmos. The movement of the heavenly bodies is controlled by Mei as their movement is cyclical, orderly, and predictable. Mei communicates to humanity through the movement of the planets, moon, and stars and divinely intervenes in the day-to-day lives of Senites. These movements are observed in space through time and relate their movement to social, political, or environmental events in everyday lives. In contemporary Senit, this has been expanded upon to a personal level rather than national, and modern Senitene Astrology is inherently horoscopic. There are no restrictions on who can interpret astrological omens, and it is something commonly practiced by everyday people, however, for special occasions or important life events (such as a union expecting a child, obtaining a new job, etc), it is not uncommon to request an astrological reading from the head priest at a School.
Hydromancy (Kayig: ԼՂՄՆՇ, şenimeğli; Cushitic: ⲥⲓⲛⲉⲙⲟⲟⲩ, sinəmoou) is a School-exclusive divination methodology due to not only the need of hydromancy to be done with a clean, pure water source, but also because of the way water is believed to function in Senit theology. Senit believes that water acts as a "Knowledge bank" and naturally attracts friendly spiritual energies and forces that inhabit Haybeş. Thus, through the act of hydromancy, one is interacting with these spirits and energies and directly accessing their Knowledge. Two methods of conducting the act of hydromancy exist in Senit. The first method involves throwing three small objects into a pool of still water, and the ripples produced after each object strikes the water is interpreted by the attending priest. The second method involves dropping liquid-soluble dyes into the pool of still water and observing the pattern that forms. There is no set amount of dyes required, but the amount used ranges from three to five. Warm colors are used almost exclusively, as they are associated with the Sun, and by extension, Mei.
Pyromancy is debatably the second most important divination ritual within Senit, often times being on par with (although also occasionally superseding) oneiromantic rituals. Fire is the holiest symbol within Senit, and is believed to be the physical manifestation of Mei within the material cosmos, leading to her epithet of "the Lady of the Day" and "the Lady of Light." Man's control and mastery of fire is treated as the first Knowledge acquired by the collective of humanity, and is a key component in what separates mankind from the other creations of Kretes.
Within this context, pyromancy is an important daily ritual for many Senites. Three methodologies are used, one being exclusively by priests, and the other two being used by both priests and lay people. The two practiced by both priests and lay people are halomancy and "simple pyromancy." Halomancy involves the throwing salt into a fire. Salt has always been intertwined with luck in Kadarian culture, thus this pyromantic practice can be interpreted as wishing to Mei grant the diviner favor for an upcoming challenge. During Halomancy, salt crystals are thrown into the fire, and the proceeding chemical reaction (the combustion of the crystals) is interpreted. In "simple pyromancy," the fire itself is merely observed and interpreted. Fires produced purely for the intent of simple pyromancy are constructed using sweet smelling woods, such as Alder, Apple, or Cherry, because of the Senit belief that sweet smells being associated with positive energies. The methodology used exclusively by priests is osteomancy. For osteomancy, a flat, wide animal bone (traditionally a crocodile skull, but the shoulder blades of oxen and cattle are also used) is heated over a fire, causing cracks, scorch marks, and other "damage." The bone is then placed over a source of artificial light so that light shines through any cracks created by the heating. Together with the scorch marks and other damage, they are interpreted by the attending priest.
Cihatiy (ՅԹՀՃ; Cushitic: ϫⲓϩⲙⲟⲧ-ⲃⲁⲓ, jihmot-bai – "to obtain grace/favor from the spirits") is the name of esoteric and occult systems that encompass Senitene geomancy. The aim of cihatiy is to manipulate the material cosmos in such a way so as to maximize the effect of ambient Knowledge and beneficial spirits within Haybeş, and to actively harm the forces of chaos and disorder. Thanks to the existence of Haybeş, Senit believes that spiritual beings are able to be contacted and manipulated from the material cosmos. It is considered to be an immensely esoteric field of study within Senit, but it is contrarily widely practiced and observed in nearly all aspects of everyday life. Because of this, Euclean scholars have often linked Cihatiy to the practice of feng shui seen in South Coius.
An evolution of Cihatiy is known as Cihatiy Engineering, which seeks to further apply Cihatiy in everyday life on a national scale. Cihatiy engineering focuses on the proper use of geometry to enhance the "life energy" of a nationstate and its inhabitants. Alongside this, it applies to the development and production of everyday items. For example, some household items (such as a chair or sofa) maybe be specifically designed and manufactured in such a way as to enhance, passively or actively, the effects of manipulating the natural Knowledge of a building. Numerous objects have been developed and produced as a product of Cihatiy Engineering, such as furniture, Schools and other buildings, automobiles, personal electronic devices, and even military equipment.
With the advent of the 20th century and industrialization, Cihatiy has been interpreted in various terms as "maintaining the balance of the world," and has thus been linked to a respect for nature and the environment.
Living rites encompass numerous ceremonial rites that are used to celebrate and consecrate important milestones in a person's life. The most important of these rites are the Naming ritual, Initiation ritual, and Marriage ritual. These rituals could be interpreted by non-Senites (particularly Eucleans) as being analogous to sacrements and similar rituals in Abrahamic religions like Atudism and Sotirianity.
Birth and Childhood
Two weeks after the birth of a child to Senite parents, the child undergoes an initial and naming ritual known as Çiyomz (ԶՄՅՉ; Cushitic: ϭⲓⲱⲙⲥ, cioms – "the one who receives"). The child is presented to the local School and is named by the head clergy (typically whatever the parents have already picked). The newly named child is then lightly burned by a sacrificial candle and immediately afterwards dunked into a pool of water. The ripples of the water after the child is dunked and pulled out are read by the attending priest. At the request of the parents, the priest may always read the burn mark on the child. The purpose of the flame-cleansing is pre-Senitene but has been interpreted as allowing Mei to re enter one’s soul. Water is believed to be a “knowledge bank” as good spirits are innately attracted to it and thus the dunking of the child is seen as a bestowment of knowledge for which the child may begin their journey in Senit.
At an indeterminate age between 16 and 19, the practitioner will undergo another ritual called Dişak (ԳՇՏ; Cushitic: ϯϣⲡϩⲟ, tišpho – "I am accepted"). In this ritual, the teenager adopts a second name of their own choosing and then recite a number of special prayers and incantations in order to demonstrate their amount of accrued Knowledge. The name that they have chosen will be what they will be referred to within Senit for the remainder of their lives, and it is seen as an important milestone. Following this ritual, the person is then symbolically bathed while the head priest recites prayers that are meant to cleanse the soul and spirit of chaotic energy. Afterwards, their finger is pricked and a few drops of their blood are dissolved in the School's pool to form a connection between the pool and their spirit so that the person’s spirit may contribute to the Knowledge of future generations. At the completion of this ritual, the teenager is considered to be an adult member of the religious community.
All marriage ceremonies are conducted in a School by the senior priest. The senior priest will ask the betrothed questions, receive the correct answers, and recite incantations calling on friendly spirits to safeguard the marriage. Likewise, sacrificial offerings are made by the husband and wife to the spirits for the same reason. After the ritual, there is a celebration with both the newly weds' families, friends, and acquaintances in attendance.
There are no set rules on monogamy or polygamy, as there is no regulations regarding the married couple, and Senitene laws and texts merely refer to a familial unit known as the "union." Thus, the institution of marriage is a complex topic and is often broadly described as the "union." This union can range between one to three males and an arbitrary number of women. Polygyny and polyandry have been practiced historically (with polyandry being introduced later by the Tagames), however, since the colonial period, monogamy had become the cultural norm. Following independence, there has been a steady increase in both polygyny and polyandry unions. Arranged marriages are common and are arranged by the senior members of a union.
Funerary rites are the second most important life ritual for a Senite, after dişak. Traditional funerals involve cremation either through a traditional funerary pyre or in a modern medical facility (with the permission of the deceased's family). Because of the veneration and religious importance of fire, cremation is seen as a final purification of the body by Mei. Through the existence of the Cosmic Court, family, friends, and acquittances of the deceased recall instances where the deceased taught them something or otherwise expressed profound Knowledge. In the event that a medical facility is cremating the body, then these instances are written down and burned along side the body. The purpose of this is to act as witnesses to the deceased within the context of the Cosmic Court and to testify their grasp of Knowledge on their behalf, in the hopes that the deceased is able to transcend and reach Pe.
The Hierophatic School is the apex of a universal Senitene faith and acts as the governing body for the broader Senitene faith as a whole, although following Euclean colonial efforts in North Coius and the Meçir Revolution the Hierophatic School is seen as the supreme body for only White Light. In this capacity, the Hierophatic School has often been incorrectly compared to the Holy See by Sotirians. In reality. the Hierophatic School does not have a direct analogy to the Sotirian hierarchy, but shares several commonalities with ecumenical councils and Buddhist councils. Unlike the latter, the Hierophatic School is a permanent, "living" institution that is constantly making rulings and adjustment to Senitene orthopraxy.
The head of the Hierophatic School is the Tahtın Vasiyi (ՅՍՎ ՆԹՀԹ) or "Keeper of the Throne" and is an appointed position held for life. The office is awarded to a Senitene clergy member on the basis of merit in accordance with the existing hierarchy of Senit. The appointment is automatic once the vote has been held by heads of the Banners. During the ceremony, the physical Banners of the national schools (also Banners) and debased in front of the newly appointed Tahtın Vasiyi and the physical banner of the Hierophatic School to symbolize their submission to the supreme authority of the Tahtın Vasiyi and the Hierophatic School.
Beneath the Hierophatic School are Banners, known as Alemler (ՐԼՄԼԱ, sing. ՄԼԱ alem), which act as the highest Senitene executive body for each nation, themselves known as Banner-States within the Senitene vernacular. The traditional grouping of banners derives from the days of the Senitene Empire when "Merima's Flag" was flown during the battles. Following her death and the subsequent disintegration of the Senitene Empire, the Banner became conflated with the organization of Senit as a whole, and each breakaway realm adopted its own banner based largely on that of Senitene Imperial flag.
The head of a Banner is known as a Signifer (ՉԹՐՍ Işaretçi), who by definition as office holder, possesses the most Knowledge and holds sovereignty over the Senites living within their banner. The Signifer is elected to the position though a variety of means, and the title is sometimes conferred upon an existing political office, such as in Kadaria where the Signifer is the Supreme Leader.
The physical Banner of a banner-state itself is given a sort of cultic reverence as the flag symbolizes the very state itself. Physical banners are kept in the Banner School (Alem Türbe), the highest and often most prestigious school within a Banner-State. Banners are meant to be rich in symbolic significance, portraying both the Senitene faith and the national character of the Banner-State itself. Defacement of the physical banner is considered to be an extremely grievous insult, and in the past, was used as a means to insultingly declare war upon an enemy state.
The school (ՍՐՏՄ, medrese) is the basic unit of the Senitene organizational hierarchy. The jurisdiction of a medrese can range from a small village to several neighborhoods in a city. Regardless of their size, the medrese is headed by a High Priest/High Priestess, known as a âlim, with several subordinate priests and initiates ranking below them that assist in the day-to-day function of the medrese. All clergy of Senit are by definition âlim, however not all of them use it as a title. The High Priest/Priestess is responsible for the maintenance of rituals, teaching Knowledge to lay people, and for the spiritual care of the constituents of the medrese. It is not uncommon for more remote medrese to be subordinate to a larger one and to share an âlim due to costs. These smaller, poorer medrese are often visited weekly by their external High Priest/Priestess, who gives orders for suceeding week, thus leaving the day-to-day running of the medrese in the hands of Initiates.
Despite this, it is common for most medreses to have a permanent âlim , particularly in regions that are more rural where travel to and from the medrese would be difficult to achieve in a timely manner. These High Priests/Priestesses are not considered to be subpar, however, and it is not uncommon for âlim to request to be stationed at such medrese when they are ready to retire from an active Senitene life at a Great School or for those who do not wish to pursue a career further at a Great School.
Historically in the Senitene world, High Priests/Priestesses performed a variety of duties aside from spiritual, including administrative and judicial obligations for the jurisdiction of the medrese. This practiced declined as Euclean colonization became more widespread throughout North Coius and Rahelia. The practice has seen a resurgence in Kadaria following the Meçir Revolution, where the medrese is seen as the basic unit of the Kadarian social structure. Under the Kadarian system, High Priests/Priestesses share some of the administrative responsibilities as the mayor or city council, and is allowed to make judicial rulings in low-level court cases (within reason) that are binding.
Unlike the traditional Abrahamic religions of Sotirianity and Atudism, as well as Irfan, Senit has held relatively "liberal" views on sexuality, more specifically homosexuality, and other aspects of human sexuality. Sex in general is viewed by Senites as one of the many avenues for the human soul to exchange and acquire Knowledge, and there is no social stigma with seeking pleasurable sexual experiences so long as one eventually conceives children. Historically, this gave rise to the association of Senites with promiscuity in foreign cultures, although in reality, this was not always the case.
One key difference in the views between Euclean and contemporary Coian religions and Senit is the latter's refutement of the celibacy and monastism as a means of dedicating oneself to their respective higher powers. The Senitene worldview shuns the concept of celibacy as it's perceived as going against the natural order (i.e: the biological imperative to self-propagate), and therefore by extension, to go against Mei. Consequently, celibacy is seen as being unnatural and disrupts the natural condition of the human soul and spirit, thereby giving power to the chaotic forces of the universe.
In a similar vein, so-called "fruitless relationships," commonly referring to exclusive same-sex relationships, are likewise seen as somewhat negatively due to their negligence of the perceived biological imperative to self-propagate. There is some nuance in the application of these views with male-exclusive homosexuals being viewed better than female-exclusive homosexuals. In the case of male homosexuality, there is no societal pressure for men to conceive children since it is not possible for men to bear children making it socially acceptable for male-exclusivity. Conversely, women are expected to always engage in "fruitful" sexual relations, that is relations that have the possibility of resulting in the conception of a child, because of the woman's role in the conception and bearing of children. This results in female-exclusive homosexuality to being viewed as a subversive activity and is completely rejected by Senit. Bisexuality is tolerated to varying degrees because it still carries the possibility of reproduction.
Gender and the Household
Senit views both genders as equals, and as such, both partners in a union are considered to be equal. This is reflected in their terminology, with Senites not using the word "husband" or "wife," and instead opting to use "brother" and "sister" to emphasize their equality. In a polygynous union, the primary wife/husband may be referred to "Mistress/Master of the House" by themselves, partners, and peers.
In the framework of the religious household, women are ascribed a far larger role within it and are perceived to be the de facto head of the household. This perception is a result from the biological function of women through bearing and raising children, spiritual role, and other cultural reasons. The spiritual role of women derives from their biological function. Senit believes women are able to serve as a diffuser of Knowledge while they are pregnant and all Knowledge they have accumulated (and also gain while pregnant) is imparted onto the soul of the unborn child over the course of the pregnancy. Cultural reasons vary and are largely related to Pre-Senitene Kadarian society that had things such as matrilineal inheritance and other features.
Both parties in a union are able to request a divorce and there are no restrictions in dealing with divorce. The ultimate deciding factor for a divorce is whether or not both parties are in agreement for divorcing. Likewise, there is no negative societal stigma attached to divorcees. Divorce is seen as preventing the growth in strength of chaotic forces through the disorder and chaos of an inharmonious marriage, and is thus considered to be a moral and spiritual duty of Senites to divorce if a marriage is inharmonious for any reason.
Abortion and contraceptives
There is no negative stigma associated with abortion and contraceptives as both are seen from a socioreligious point of view as a means to prevent chaotic and disorderly forces within the universe from growing in strength as a result of unwanted pregnancies and children.
In the case of contraceptives, the emphasis of cosmic order over cosmic disorder makes contraceptives accepted because of the perception that unwanted pregnancies and children strengthen chaotic forces and wreak havoc on Mei. Given how intentionally causing chaos is considered "sinful," it is considered acceptable for people to delay procreation until the conditions, be they societal or familial, are "harmonious enough" and there would be no chaos or discord from the conception and birth of the child.
Likewise, abortion is viewed in a similar light by Senit, although things like abortion on demand are not seen as positively and carry some stigma. Senit believes that the soul does not enter a fetus until the mother can feel it moving in her womb, typically between 24-27 weeks, and is thus considered acceptable to perform an abortion prior to the 24th week because of the perceived lack of a soul in the embryo. Abortion after the 24th week is considered to be immoral, although in the case of the mother's health being at risk, can still be performed with permission.
Over the course of the 20th century, the Hierophatic School has made further rulings on abortion as theological debates over the use of it. Aside from risk of the mother's health, it has been ruled that abortion is acceptable in cases of severe fetal defects and rape.
In contemporary era, most Senite countries have abortion on demand in some form, albeit with several layers of control. In Kadaria, for instance, women seeking abortions need to first gain approval from a medical professional and permission from a Senitene clergy member after undergoing several guidance rituals to determine if abortion is in the best interest of the woman. Generally, abortion is seen as a last resort that shouldn't be abused, and carries the stigma that the woman is too chaotic and disorganized in her life to use contraception, even emergency contraceptions, which are both seen as preferable to abortion itself. Societal views on abortion have been growing more favorable as safer methods for performing them have been developed.