sehanine_moonbow_symbol.jpg
Daughter of the Night Skies, The Luminous Cloud, Lady of Dreams
Pantheon Elven
Realm Arvandor
Portfolio Mysticism, dreams, death, journeys, transcendence, the moon, the stars, the heavens, moon elves
Worshippers Diviners, elves, half-elves, illusionists, opponents of the undead
Domains Chaos, Elf, Good, Illusion, Knowledge, Moon, Travel
Favored Weapon Moonshaft (quarterstaff)

Sehanine Moonbow

Sehanine Moonbow rarely concerns herself directly with events in Faerun aside from weaving illusions around secret elven retreats, and guiding elves coming into those lands. Her power waxes and wanes with the phases of the moon, growing strongest when the moon is full. As befits the elven goddess of mysteries, Sehanine is cloaked in secrets and illusions and rarely speaks her mind directly, preferring to communicate through a process of dreams, visions, and other mystic experiences. Sehanine is truly a spiritual and ephemeral being who evades any attempt to define her and whose serenity surrounds her like a mantle of moondust. She is also an aspect of Angharradh, the Tribune Goddess.

As the Daughter of the Night Skies, Sehanine watches over the dreams of the elves, keeping them from harm while in reverie and sending omens to protect them from future dangers. She watches over the passage of elven spirits from the world, and is protectress of the elven dead. Sehanine is also a guardian and guide to those elves whose days in the mundane world of mortals are done and who seek to travel from the lands they know and love to distant refuges such as Ever-meet. She also watches over such refuges and ensures they are kept safe from intrusion.

Although Sehanine is venerated by all the Fair Folk (including half-elves and a handful of gnome illusionists), she is particularly revered by moon elves, who view her as their protector, and gold elves, who are the most withdrawn from the world of all the elven subraces. Tel'Quessir seeking to explore transcendental mysteries, awaiting passage to Evermeet or Arvandor, or undergoing physical or spiritual journeys pray to the Goddess of Moonlight, as do mystics, seers, diviners, and weavers of illusions.

Life is a series of mysteries, whose secrets are veiled by the Luminous Cloud. As the spirit transcends its normal bounds, and new mysteries are uncovered, a higher form is achieved and the cycle of life continues. Through contemplation, and meditation, communication with the Lady of Dreams is achieved. Through dreams, visions, and omens revealed in sleep or in the reverie, The Daughter of the Night Sky unveils the next step along the path and the next destination on the endless journey of mystic wonder that is life and death.

Alternately called the wife and daughter of Corellon, Sehanine is the mightiest of the female powers in the elven pantheon.

Identified with the mystic power of the moon, Sehanine's tears are said to have mingled with Corellon's blood and given life to the elven race. The elves do not forget this. Sehanine is both the primary aspect of Angharradh and one of the three elven goddesses-the other two being Aerdrie Faenya and Hanali Celanil-who collectively form the Triune Goddess.

This duality tightly binds Sehanine with the two other senior elven goddesses, and the three collectively serve alongside Corellon in leading the Seldarine, just as the Goddess of Moonlight is said to do in other myths. Sehanine has excellent relations with all of the Seldarine, and it is her kind-heartedness that soothes the anger of Shevarash in his darkest fury and her welcoming nature that brings Fenmarel back to Arvandor on occasion.

The church of Sehanine is generally perceived as removed from the daily concerns and outward expression of everyday life. As such, little is known of the Lady of Dreams and her clergy members by the N'Tel'Quess. Among elves, Sehanine's faith is closely held and deeply cherished, for the Luminous Cloud envelops and binds together all the Tel'Quessir. For the Fair Folk, Sehanine embodies the joy at the heart of the elven spirit, and her priests serve as guides to the next world or life that one may achieve through transcendence.

Sehanine's temples are soaring monuments open only to elves and a few pious half-elves. Most such temples are constructed of white stone (often marble) and shaped so as to suggest imminent flight. Symmetry and circles are highly prized by the faith, reflected in the architecture of Sehanine's houses of worship.

The central chapel is always perfectly circular and is usually open to the night sky or covered by a retractable or transparent dome. Great gardens and hedgerow mazes often encircle the main structure, their formations imitating the paths of the heavenly bodies in the night sky above. Near long-standing temples, megaliths form great stone circles for use in tracking the position of the moon, fixed stars, and wandering stars by elven astrologers.

Orders

The Knights of the Seven Sacred Mysteries are well known for their service in defense of elven homelands from N'Tel'Quess invaders as well as their ongoing efforts to retrieve tomes of long-lost elvish lore and items of elven artistry from the ruins of fallen realms. The order is composed of elves and a few half-elves, most of whom are of moon elven or gold elven ancestry, and it includes many crusaders, as well as a handful of clerics, fighters, and rangers, in its ranks. The order's entrance requirements are kept secret from nonmembers, but it is generally known that there are seven tiers in the order's hierarchy and that it can take a century or more of faithful service to Sehanine before the next mystery is revealed. Knights of the First Mystery are the lowest ranking members of the order, while Knights of the Seventh Mystery are some of the most powerful agents of Sehanine in the Realms. No half-elf has ever risen higher than the rank of Knight of the Fourth Mystery.

The Sentinels of the Moonbow are a small fellowship of rangers pledged to the service of the Goddess of Moonlight. Sentinels watch over animals that may hold the reincarnated spirits of elves of ages past and that may once again assume elven form. These rangers in the service of Sehanine are also pledged to the tracking and destruction of undead creatures whose existence is a blight upon the land.

The Veiled Choir is a mysterious sisterhood of elven mystics whose very existence is obscured by a veil of legend, mystery, and rumor. Sisters of the Veiled Choir are renowned for their prophetic ability, and their visions are revealed in an unending chorus of song. Only a handful of these ancient elven seers are believed to exist.

Priests

Sehanine's clerics and seers are the mystics of elven society. They serve as spiritual counselors to elves and half-elves who embark on journeys in search of enlightenment so as to transcend their current state of being. As shepherds and protectors of the dead, Sehanine's priests organize and administer funeral rights and guard the remains of the fallen. They seek out and destroy undead creatures, with the exception of the baelnorn (undead elves who prolong their existence voluntarily to serve their people). As protectors of the elven homelands, Sehanine's clergy is responsible for weaving illusions that guard the remaining elven sanctuaries and for divining potential threats to The People's continued existence. The prime task of adventuring priests is the retrieval of lost arcane and magical knowledge, especially if it pertains to illusions and/or divinations. Other seek out isolated elven enclaves, bringing them news of the Retreat and practical assistance in preparing for such a journey if they so choose. (Sehanine's priests do not provide any guidance along the journey itself, as this is done through direct intuitive revelation by the Lady of Dreams herself.)

Novices of Sehanine are known as the Mooncalled. Full priests of the Daughter of the Night Skies are known as the Heavenly.In ascending order of rank, the titles used by Sehanite priests are Stargazer, Moondancer, Sky Seer, Vision Seeker, Omen Teller, Dream Walker, Transcendentalist and Reverent Dreamer. All clerics of Sehanine pray for their spells whenever the moon is fullest during the day.

Priestly Vestments

Members of Sehanine's clergy favor silvery white diaphanous gowns (for the priestesses) and togas (for the priests). A silver diadem is worn on the head, oftentimes with a moonstone pendant dangling above the brow. Simple sandals are worn on the feet, and a silver lace sash is worn around the waist. The holy symbol of the faith is a moonbar crystal carved in the shape of a small flat disk (approximately three inches in diameter), and such devices are often worn around the neck on a delicate-looking silver or mithral chain.

Priests of the Daughter of the Night Skies favor mail over leather armor, and most carry round shields whose unadorned, reflective fronts are polished mirror bright. Such armor is typically fancifully adorned, emphasizing the grace and bearing of the wearer. Senior priests are well known for the elaborate suits of elven chain mail or elven plate mail they favor, although many such suits were lost with the fall of Myth Drannor. Sehanine's clergy favor missile weapons, particularly short and longbows, and staves. Staffs of the moonlight and rings of shooting stars are particularly prized.

Ritual

Sehanine's faithful celebrate a wide variety of holy days, all of which are tied to the position of various heavenly bodies, particularly the phase of the moon and various types of eclipses. Many of these celebrations occur once per decade, once per century, or even once per millennium.

The most frequent celebrations of Sehanine's faithful are held monthly beneath the light of the full moon. Lunar Hallowings, as such holy days are known, are marked with personal meditation and collective entrance into a communal trance. On occasion, Sehanine manifests through her assembled worshipers, knitting together their spirits in a true sharing of minds. Such holy days are concluded with a joyous freeform dance beneath the most visible manifestation of the Goddess of Moonlight (the moon) that lasts until the first rays of dawn.

Once per year, Sehanine's faithful gather on the night of the Feast of the Moon for the Mystic Rites of the Luminous Cloud.

Similar in many ways to the monthly Lunar Hallowings, the Mystic Rites of the Luminous Cloud are notable for the visible manifestation of the Lady of Dreams whereby the assembled worshipers are enveloped in a mantle of shimmering, silvery light that then rises up and darts across the heavens. During such mystical flights across the sky, the sacred mysteries of Sehanine are revealed to the participants, with each participant learning secrets appropriate to his current level of spiritual development. The ceremony concludes when the nimbus of light returns to the earth and the forms of Sehanine's worshipers coalesce.

When the time comes for an elf to leave the ordinary lands of mortals and pass on to Arvanaith, it is common for the individual elf to spend several days in vivid daydreams and waking reverie. Exactly when this happens is unknown to any elf, even to Sehanine's own priests. It is usually obvious to other elves when one of the Tel'Quessir is undergoing this change, but two marker events are definitive indicating that the Transcendence has begun. First, Sehanine sends the elf a vision where she or he must go to begin this journey from the world. Second, within the lens of the elf's eye appears a telltale opaque milky crescent, the moonbow of Sehanine's honorific name. When the time comes for an elf great in wisdom and accomplishment to depart, an accompanying full moon may display the moonbow as an event in nature. On rare occasions at such a rime, other elves join with the one about to depart in a shared trance state, sharing memories and knowledge in a direct telepathic communion known as the Circle of Transcendence. In some elven cultures this departure is a physical one, that is the elf walks off alone into the wilderness and his or her body is never found. In other societies, the elf's spirit departs its material body, leaving behind a lifeless husk.

In cases of violent or accidental death where the spirit is not utterly destroyed, Sehanine's priests serve in the stead of the departed spirit in the ritual of Transcendence. A Ceremony of Recovery involves one or more days of meditation and mystic communion with the natural and spiritual worlds. If successful, the priest channels the lost spirit through his or her own link with Sehanine, enabling the spirit to transcend to Arvanaith.

During such ceremonies, after contacting the lost spirit, Sehanine's priests display the characteristic moonbow within the lens of their eyes, but such manifestations of the Lady of Dreams vanish immediately upon the ritual's conclusion.

Elven funeral rites vary widely from community to community and from individual to individual, reflecting the nature of the departed spirit. If the elf has simply answered Sehanine's call, as opposed to death by accident or violence, death rituals are more often a celebration that the elf has achieved the joys of Arvanaith than a time of mourning. In either case, if the body remains, the method of disposal varies as well. In some communities, the assembled mourners gather with great pomp to watch the body be interred in the ground, with examples of the late elf's artistry and passions displayed and speakers expounding on the merits of the deceased. Other elven societies bury the body immediately, regarding it as a mere husk from which the life force has departed. After disposing of the shell, they celebrate the spirit of the elf who once resided there. Still other elves believe that burning is the only way to truly rid the spirit of its earthly ties. Not only does it free the spirit for Arvanaith, it also prevents anyone from using the body for nefarious purposes.

The Luminous Cloud has few strong relationships outside of the Seldarine, for her otherworldliness is beyond even most other deities. Sehanine works closely with Selune, for the two share similar concerns, and the Goddess of Moonlight is a strong ally of Eilistraee, whom she considers an adopted daughter of sorts. Sehanine has also forged alliances with some of the other human and demihuman powers who oversee death, but she has no tolerance for those who practice in the black arts of necromancy. (Sehanine does tolerate careful experimentation in white necromancy, and it is said that she vigilantly oversees the creation of baelnorn as a necessary, if undesirable, practice.) Sehanine's antipathy for Lolth has existed since the latter was Araushnee, consort of Corellon and the mastermind who nearly engineered the death of the Protector and the defeat of the Seldarine. The Lady of Dreams actively opposes the nefarious schemes of the Spider Queen and the other drow powers. With the rise of humanity and its rapacious expansion into traditional elven homelands, Sehanine has found her energies increasingly occupied by thwarting the destructive ravages of gods such as Auril, Cyric, Malar, Talos, and Umberlee.

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  • Last modified: 2018/01/13 06:46
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