This article belongs to the lore of Esquarium.

Upperisaat

A stylized rendition of Qilak, the chief god of the Upperisaat pantheon.

Upperisaat is a shamanistic and polytheistic religion originating in modern day Nunalik. It is based around the works of fourteenth century Aalaaniaq theologian Kanguq, who unified traditional Aalaaniaq shamanism following claimed divine inspiration in 547 CE.

In its simplest form, Upperisaat focuses on the appeasement of several powerful gods, each of which is embodied by an animal which shares its character traits. Unlike other faiths Upperisaat does not have a codified holy book or strict lifestyle given to its followers, instead encouraging a personal connection with one's chosen god. The religion also teaches that all people have an energy called Uummat, which they gain through deeds beloved by their patron gods such as hunting or poetry. This uummat is passed down through one's family, as long as the spirits of one's ancestors are venerated. The head of the pantheon is Qilak, the great snow goose, who according to Upperisaatic theology gave birth to our universe in an egg, which will eventually hatch into another god once he dies and so the universe will be reborn.

Due to its status as a primarily ethnic religion, Upperisaat does not have a wide following outside of Nunalik. It is practiced by the majority of the Aalaaniaq diaspora in Tuthina, though with syncretic elements from the imperial cult.

History

Beliefs

Gods

As a polytheistic religion, Upperisaat recognises many gods. It is speculated that there are thousands of gods recognised, as every species is believed to represent a god. In addition, many geographical locations are believed to have protective spirits which receive veneration in the same manner that gods do. Each god is the patron of an animal, but also represents the traits of this animal. Hunters, therefore, pray to patron gods of carnivorous animals and mothers to avian gods who represent birth. Trades also have patron gods, so the god Qimmeq who is represented by the Aalaaniaq hound is the patron of soldiers as dogs in Aalaaniaq society protect the camp while the hunters are away. Unlike in other religions, where these animalistic representations are purely metaphorical, Upperisaat theology holds that these gods are physically the animals they represent but are able to change their size and appear and disappear at will.

The Upperisaat pantheon is hierarchical. At the top is Qilak, the Great Snow Goose. As the creator god in Upperisaat mythology, Qilak is worshipped by all followers of the faith. She is not the patron of any one trade or action and is instead seen to be more or less Omnipotent. Worship of Qilak usually takes place at dusk and dawn, as it is believed that it is Qilak's wing which covers the light at night and brings darkness.

Uumaat

Reincarnation

Cosmology

Upperisaat cosmology is highly unique, with roots in the natural world. Existence is divided into two distinct realities, that of Iluk, the knowable and material world and that of Nalusaq, the unknown and sublime world beyond it. Iluk, our own physical universe, is believed to be encased within a mystical egg, the Serramannik, laid by Qilak at the beginning of time. All of physical existence is encased within it and cannot escape from Iluk. Nalusaq however is only described in the vaguest of terms, as according to Upperisaat theology there is no way to visualise it. It is described as the domain of the Gods and is said to be composed of pure Uummaat. Nalusaq is the source of all mystical power in Iluk. Serramanannik Qalipaa, the shell of the egg, is described as a metaphysical barrier because material beings have no way of viewing outside of or leaving Iluk. The exception to this is through dreams, which are believed to allow one's immaterial life force to leave its body and enter communion with the gods. However, as the gods and energy of Nasulaq are purely immaterial they are able to pass through into Iluk as they please. As Uumaat is immaterial, when sacrifices are made to the gods it is able to pass through Serramannik Qalipaa to them. It is believed that Qilak herself sits upon the egg, maintaining it with the necessary Uumaat and life force that sustains existence.

Cyclical existence

Upperisaat theology is based on the idea that all existence is cyclical, taking place within periods, based upon the idea of Serramannik. It states that one day Qilak will die, having given all of her power to sustaining Serramannik. On this day, Serramannik will hatch and a new Qilak shall be born. This new deity shall be created from all of the Nalusaqi immaterial power that was contained within Serramannik at the time of Qilak's death, meaning that reincarnations shall end. The only beings who shall survive this process are those who, throughout their enlightenments, have attained the Uumaat of a god themselves. These beings, called Usit, will escape as Serramannik hatches and will reside in Nalusaq for eternity as powerful beings. Qilak shall then lay a new Serramannik and begin sustaining it through her Uumaat, until the process is repeated. This cycle is said to have had no beginning or end, rejecting arguments such as the Kalam cosmological argument which hold that there must have been a finite first cause.

Practice

Sacrifices

Cannibalism

An aspect of Uppersaat which attracts much controversy is the practice of cannibalism. This practice is rooted within the concept of Uumaat, the spiritual power that Upperisaat holds to be present in all life, as well as in Upperisaat cosmology surrounding Qilak's consumption of the old universe.

WIP

Celebrations