Thursday, July 27, 2017

On the Holies and Half-Holies of Yishel.

(A little something I was inspired to write after I noticed a surprising amount of interest in Yishel.
Click here for the first post about our aggravating little knowledge deity.)

"You saw the symbol of the white-dotted globe of Yeeschu as plain as day when you walked through my threshold- you should have known by that alone that the good news would be only half so!"

- Kari'tal, one of the half-holies of Yishel based in the Addas Bazaar, on his strict "no refunds" policy.

As with the worshipers and collective observers of any god, the devotees of Yishel in all of its many forms, names, and guises, are no less diverse in nature and outlook. To account for them all would be as grueling and pointless an effort as it is to try and tidy the upper left wing of the Ivory Tower's Donated Collections Library during final exams month. But, there are a few major groups which might be enumerated.

The first (and perhaps most obvious) of the groups is that which looks for the whole truth of the matter. While many do not possess the ability to call upon their god for knowledge and augury, being mostly scholars and cynical lay-people, they acknowledge as a part of their philosophical identity that all outcomes have a good and bad. When their clerics and high-priests do make predictions, they speak them uninhibited, and great care is taken in each pronouncement, lest anything be made imprecise by the human hand or tongue.

Opposite this camp, and sometimes diametrically opposed to the above, are those who may be referred to by the slang term "half-holy". These folk are far fewer in number, but have a much larger proportion of fortune-tellers among them. When a half-holy peers into the unconscious splendor of Yishel's mind, they see exactly the same as any other augur would. But what they express of it beyond that point is quite different. They will often only give one side of the prediction, most frequently the positive or desirable end. More rarely, the negative is accentuated, most often if the fortune-teller has a vested interest in seeing the individual unharmed, or unsuccessful. Countless fairy-tale tropes about the unpredictability of the future and "being careful of what you wish for" have originated from the technically true but misleading statements of Yishel's half-holies. And, because of the extremely lax or nonexistent attitude of Yishel toward the physical world--as with many gods--such behavior goes almost unpunished, at least within the context of the astral sphere.

But this duplicity was eventually recognized by various governments and collectives across the south-west areas of Ersuun cultural region, in which the cults of Yishel are most prevalent. After a few centuries of witch-burning and imprisonment proved unsuccessful in deterring both the elite and the common folk from seeking out what they want to hear, a legal balance was struck: Yishel's acting faithful may continue any practice reliant upon their auguries uninhibited, but they must both walk and work with the appropriate branding. The workplace of the truther and the half-holy alike must be marked plainly and visibly with one of the recognizable symbols of Yishel, and common knowledge of these and other icons is disseminated by a municipal government as part of its work toward public service. They must also wear the symbol somewhere upon their bodies, either in the form of clothing or a tattoo, if they are to make predictions outside of the fortune-teller's hut.

While this has undoubtedly lent a great deal of mystique and superstitious sensationalism to the public appearance of the faithful, it has not significantly deterred many from the cult. Those who give two answers are listened to with reverent caution, and those who give one are taken with a chunk of salt approximately the size of one's fist.

As always, people crave knowledge and self-delusion in equal measure.

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