Ernalda’s Holy Days

Sea Season. Voriaravand (Voria’s Holy Day)

Harmony week, Water day

start of Spring. also called Shearing Day, Flower Day

The first Flower Day was at the start of the Golden Age when the Bright Emperor commanded that members of all the gods’ tribes must go to him, and live within his palace in the center of the world. This need for change distressed many, whose tranquility had been undisturbed during the Green Age ever since creation. “How can we possibly survive in something new? We will die,” they said.

“There is always another way,” said Ernalda. “Let me show you the flower of life.” Then she showed to the goddesses of her tribe the secret of the commanded change. She turned herself from the tight bud of life to the open blossom, an explosion of life like the effusion of sweet scent. The others were not only comforted with this, but were excited to flower too. Ernalda told them to wait. She gathered together all those who were going to go to the Emperor’s Palace and therein they planted the beautiful flower gardens which pleased the emperor and his family.

The first Flower Day Celebration among humans was at the Dawn. Ernalda gathered together the spirits of life which had been freed in the Lifebringers’ Quest and brought them back to the world. First came young Voria, the flower girl, who gave the signal for the surviving humans to rejoice. When Voria’s footprints bloomed the waiting people came out of their hiding places. She taught to them the dance for new life, and promised the dancers that she would come again every time they danced when her flowers bloomed.

This Sea Season celebration is also called the Shearing Celebration. In the blessed and wonderful Storm Age our goddess Ernalda first sheared the sheep of Nelat to relieve them of their uncomfortable wool. When she came forth from the underworld at the Dawn she again sheared Nelat of his shaggy wool. This caused the overcast sky to clear, and the stars and sky to become visible.

Fire Season. Mahomravand (Mahome’s Holy Day)

Fertility week, Clay day

start of Summer, also called Spindle Day, Fire Celebration

The first Fire Day celebration was held by Ernalda to bring peace to the households of womankind.

It began in the Golden Age, when she and her women were handmaidens of the Emperor. The goddesses complained all the time that their husbands were reckless and thoughtless, sometimes brutal so that the goddesses’ petals had fallen off, and they felt ugly and deformed. They complained, “Surely we will be burned up this way.” To help them, Ernalda called together all the goddesses, who were still feeling out of place at the Emperor’s court.

Ernalda said, “There is always another way.” She called Mahome, and prepared for the celebration. When everyone had come Mahome showed to them the secrets of controlling the fire to make it a safe hearth fire, good for cooking and keeping children warm [and for seducing men’s desire towards domestic obedience.] The red breasted swan fanned the fire with her wings. [The red breasted swan is sacred to Ernalda.]

“When you do this, then your wild husbands will calm down.”

Everyone was very pleased with this, and so they decided that they would make a monument to mark their accomplishment. They made a house, which they call the womens’ house. Now women still meet at this time, and they determine what the community will build that summer. After the building was made, the women went into it and there they spun their wool on spindles to make into thread. Thus it is called the spindle day.

After the dawn, on this day, Ernalda came among her worshippers and when the grains were standing quietly in the field they again celebrated this rite, which they called Mahome’s birthday. Ernalda showed her people how to worship Mahome’s sacred fire, so that her brothers could also come when they were called, and be calm fires rather than wild. Her brothers are Aralnala, who can heal sick livestock; Naranala, who purifies profaned items; Tylendenar, who tests the words of women and men; Faladan, to bear sacrifice to the gods; Pananala, to make pottery; Gustbran, to make bronze; and Torabran, who burns the dead to set our breath free. Only Oakfed was not calmed, because he had no wife.

That is why the celebration at the start of summer is called Mahomravand, or the Fire Celebration; and sometimes also Spindle Celebration.

Earth Season. Esrolaravand (Esrola’s Holy Day)

Movement week, Clay day

start of Autumn. also called Harvest Rites, Flax Day, Goose Day

This celebration commemorates one of the greatest deeds of all time, which was the feeding of humanity.

The Green Age was the best time, because no one was hungry. Everybody then was content, and every day people sang and danced for the play of it [with Ernalda], shared the abundant food [with Esrola], created the landscape [with Marangor] and made love.

One day a stranger came among them, and in a very loud voice he made demands and commanded the people to perform. The people had never been told what to do before, and so they naturally resisted, and then laughed at the funny man with the stick who yelled until his face was red. He went away. [We know now that these were the orders of existence for the Golden Age, but that time — the first time — no one knew.]

Without warning, Esrola disappeared. She used to give everyone whatever they needed to eat, but no one could find her at her hearth any more. Instead, the desiccated god called Angdartha was there. He gave out plenty, but all the food had Kakaz stain, which we not call the death taint. Everyone was horrified to see this, and no one could eat anything anymore. People grew thinner and thinner, and because death had never been invented yet, they suffered without relief so that crowds whimpered out thin, reedy whines.

Ernalda saw the solution to this. She called all the people and goddesses together, to celebrate a holy day for her sister, Esrola. Ernalda told them to bring all of their tainted goods. Some people were too frightened to go, and they just withered away to be the mournful sounds which we still can hear in lost places, or coming from certain cracks in the ground, or as the evil echoes which hunt men. The other people all came because they trusted Ernalda.

When the people were assembled, she taught them some songs which eased their hunger, and then she showed to them the Flax Dance. They danced until the flax fell apart. They were tired then, and while they took a break Ernalda showed them how to prepare flax and to make it into fibers. Thus they learned that one thing cam become another thing.

Then Ernalda taught them some songs which eased their fears, and then she showed them the Goose Dance. [Geese are sacred to Esrola]. They danced until the goose fell apart. The people were tired again, and while they took a break Ernalda showed them how to prepare all the parts of a goose — which parts made tools, costumes, and charms; and how to make it into portions.

Then Ernalda showed them how to prepare a sacrifice, and then she showed them the Sacrifice Dance. They danced until the crowd fell apart. The people got tired again, and while they took a break Ernalda showed one part of them how to burn one portion of the goose to appease the messenger with the stick, and another part of the crowd how to cook the other parts into food. In this way the people learned that one thing is very often many other things in hiding.

Angdartha was brought forth, and all of the crowd began to sing and dance. They were fed and happy now, singing joyful songs and laughing throughout the celebration. At last Angdartha began to dance too, and before he was done he fell apart too. The people laughed and put him back together, but he was gone and instead Esrola was there. They looked at all their tainted food and they saw that it was now good, blessed by Esrola again. Everyone ate until they could not eat any more. They performed these rites afterwards whenever they wanted to eat.

Later, towards the end of the Storm Age, Ernalda went among the her peoples (the Vingkotlings) and taught them these rites again. She fell asleep afterwards, and no one could find her. This caused the Great Darkness. But at least the miserable people who survived could still eat.

Ernalda came a third time to teach these rites. After the Dawn, when the weather turned again towards winter, people grew worried. On the first Earth Season, Movement week, Clay day Ernalda came once again among all the people who revered her, and she showed to everyone the ceremony again.

Dark Season. Tekravand (Shroud Holy Day)

Illusion week, Freeze day

start of Winter. also called Loom Day

Ty Kora Tek is the title, not a name, of the Shrouded Good Elder Goddess. No one dares to speak her name aloud, except in the midst of her sacred ceremonies, for to do so invites the wrath of her wretched, avenging daughters.

Ty Kora Tek first made herself known when Asrelia, her sister, went from their common home to begin her own life. She stood in the doorway, covered in a shawl pulled over her head, and mourned her sister’s departure. “Come back, I beg you.”

“Not Yet,” said Asrelia.

When Asrelia was kept from marrying her natural husband, Ty Kora Tek appeared in the doorway of the Judgement Room, mourning and asking Asrelia to return. “Come back, I invite you.”

“Not yet,” said Asrelia.

Asrelia had many children later, but most important are her triplet daughters, who were called Esrola the Most, Marangor the Great, and Ernalda the Least. When the daughters of Asrelia went to the Emperor’s Palace, Ty Kora Tek appeared once again at the doorway, shrouded and wailing. “Come back,” she invited to the young goddesses.

Marangor stood still, Esrola turned away in horror and hid beside her sister, and Ernalda stepped forward.

“Not yet,” said Asrelia, their mother. So the sisters went to the “I will never be easy again,” said Ty Kora Tek, and went away. She was never seen again, until Death came to the world. When Death proliferated it sometimes took shape to be creatures which came out of hidden places.

One day a shrouded shadow came to Esrola, who was hiding in her favorite temple in Alkana [at the mouth of the Lysos River, where it meets the Choralinthor Bay. Modern Nochet City.] Esrola was terrified, and a host of creatures swarmed from the shadow and began to drag her away. All that was left behind her the drops of her tears and blood that fell to the ground, and became the blood millet and hard corn which the Heortlings harvested in the Darkness Era. At first everyone was simply terrified, but Ernalda first began to mourn and keen, and soon many others were too, even though they didn’t know what they were doing.

The creatures had to be summoned against Marangor. She had a foe, a god made of rock who hated her movement. He is called Tekakos, but every attempt he made to overcome her failed until he gave away his own spirit, a thing he didn’t need, to Ty Kora Tek who in her turn sent out the creatures again. They hauled Marangor away, who did not fight much, and the earth stopped moving and grew weak, and the mountains no longer grew. When she was gone the goddesses felt exposed and more frightened, and Ernalda again led them in the mourning and keening.

Ernalda had an enemy named Nontraya whose love had been spurned, and who had sworn everlasting vengeance on Ernalda for it. He spawned the race of the Talokans to execute his revenge. He got Asrelia to help, and with her horde came to the house of Ernalda to take her away. While they were on their way they met a funeral procession which bore the covered body of Ernalda on a bier. The crowd was all in shrouds and mourning and keening with a terrible racket of cymbals and horns too. Nontraya suspected a trick, and he called forth all his Talokans to witness for him. When he pulled back her shroud to inspect the evidence he saw Ernalda was truly a corpse. The bier was then taken to Ty Kora Tek, who received the corpse and bore it across the threshold, and then lifted her own shroud to look upon Ernalda.

Now this is reenacted every Darkness Season, when the deadly cold comes and the good life runs from everything. The worshippers of Ernalda all cover their heads and mourn, weeping pitifully for their lost goddess. In this way they participate, and they learn the secrets of this ceremony, which lets them all say “She sleeps, she is not dead.” Such is the secret power of Ernalda — that the deities of death accept her as one of their own, yet she really only sleeps.

She proved this when she woke again. Orlanth found her, whose absence had sent him upon the Lifebringers Quest, inside the hidden places of Ty Kora Tek’s unknown realm. When Orlanth an Ernalda were reunited she woke. She sat at her loom and wove a new cloth in which she showed all of nature — plants and animals and people, mountains and valleys and seas. From this she made herself a new cloak, and once dressed, went into the world again. She gave Life again to all which had mourned and been mourned from the old world.

Storm Season. Ernaldaravandi (Ernalda Holy Day)

Movement week, Wind day

also called Orlanthharvandar (Orlanth High Holy Day)

Ernalda’s most important day in the Storm Season is as the wife of Orlanth, and is on her husband’s most important day of the year. She presents herself in the larger public ceremonies in a supporting and subservient role, praising Orlanth as protector, husband, and source of justice and hospitality. She presents him with clothing and blankets of wool and linen, and at the feast serves him bread and meat and other foods, water and beer and other drinks. She asks him ritual questions, listens patiently to his answers, and leads many paeans of praise to the worthy god. In return, she receives pledges of protection and honor, and also an array of compliments which narrate her importance to the god. She is revered as the Mother of the Tribe, and at one point stops her husband with the story of “How Peace Was Made.” Thus, although she plays a secondary role on her husband’s day, it is not submissive or demeaning to her at all.

Babeestervandi (Babeester’s Holy Day)

Disorder Week, Wild Day

Babeester Gor is the Goddess of Revenge and Terror, worshipped wherever Ernalda is worshipped.

Babeester Gor was born from Ernalda’s dead body, and with her great axe she killed everything which had harmed her mother, especially the Talokans who were exterminated, man, woman, child, and deity, and whose blood Babeester Gor brewed to be her deadly food. This drink, or perhaps another made from Babeester’s own blood, once fortified Orlanth when he was in the Underworld. She stood vigilantly over Ernalda’s corpse until the Dawn, when life began again and Ernalda rose from her deepest slumber and took her dear daughter into her loving arms. Since then devotees of Babeester Gor have stood guard in Ernalda’s temples, and avenged her wrongs.