Latest revision: 6 Jul 2000 Greg Stafford
Here are the generalities that are usually true about spirit interactions in the Praxian traditions.
The tradition includes the proper way to interact with any of the spirits that are in Prax and the Wastes. In general, all the spirits in the regions respond to the same forms of prayer, offering and percussion that is used throughout the Waha Tradition.
There are 4 Great Spirits:
- Waha is the Men’s Spirit and saved the peoples from destruction with his leadership in the Great Darkness, after Storm Bull defeated Wakboth.
- Eiritha is the Women’s Spirit and provides the requirements to survive amidst the harsh Wastes.
- Storm Bull is the Great Defender who destroyed the foe and saved the world to be the Wastelands.
- Daka Fal is the Great Ancestor, the first human being of the people who opened the way to the Spirit World, and also taught the way to return to life as a newborn child within the tribe.
There is 1 Great Spirit enemy: Wakboth.
Most of these spirits have some specific geographic location, but some tend to appear far and wide. Some, still revered in clan and tribal rites, taught customs or ways of life.
Here are some of the other spirits commonly met in the tradition:
Oakfed and his family
Spirit Plane Landmarks
Landmarks are those places that a shaman can go within the realm of the Tradition, a sort of territory of power. It has no substance but can take form when people are within their own tradition. Thus the spirit world is a sort of ghostly image of the material world.
Landmarks are not always geographic, as shown below.
The Wide Plains
The larger territory of the Waha Tradition is contained in a vast wide plain. It is covered with rich grass and herd food, cut with streams and with occasional hills, a mountain to the distant south, and a vast green garden to the north. At or near is center is the Great Herd, the safest place for most Praxians. Around its edges are Stormway (which goes to the Eternal Battle), Daka’s Cave (which goes to the Underworld), the Greener (to Genert’s Garden/Green Age), Outland Passage (which goes southward through hostile spirit regions towards the distant Spike) and the eternally burning Fireground (an entranceway to the Sky World, a hostile place).
The Great Herd
When a normal man or woman enters the spirit world of their own safe circles, they visiit the Great herd. There is Eiritha herself, a huge cow of whatever herd the visitors are members. She is surrounded by others less spectacular in size, but each with her own splendor. They are cows of the other great herds, as well as a variety of the visitors’ kinship animal. So a bison tribesperson would see a huge splendid Bison, who is Eiritha, and around her a black bison, a long horn bison, an ordinary bison, the star bison and even a white bison, as well as a high llama, an impala, etc.
Surrounding those are thousands of the favorite herd beast, all contented and healthy, milling about with calves and bulls among them.
Home Camp is always amidst that Great Herd someplace, hidden by the animals themselves. At its center sits the Ancestress of the visitors’ kin beast. Nearby are other female ancestresses. They are making things, nursing children, healing the ill and so on. There are many people about. These are the ancestors of the visitors. Most are anonymous, some are recognized at times.
Waha rides with the Guard Herd. This is the men’s band, all mounted upon great beasts who are their kin. These are the ancestors of the living visitors. The Guard Herd moves among the Great Herd, sometimes slowly and sometimes quickly to confront dangers that try to penetrate among them.
Bulldry is a region where the storm bull wind blows constantly, a volume of area full of the spirit winds of the desert storm. Here too is the Storm Bull and his crew, supplied with fermented milk right from the udders of their cows. It is halfway between the Great Herd and Stormway. Although pleasant, worshippers get no spells from their drunken master here, who is lethargic and peaceful.
Stormway is at the edge of traditional Praxian territory. This is the direction of the Eternal Battle. The direction changes in relation to the herd and camp, moving around and about. When it gets too close then the herd moves and everyone else with it.
Always, in the near distance from the Great Herd is the Eternal Battle. This is a fracture in the cosmos,a place where entropy and annihilation are present. It’s a hole in the spirit world that can suck the very spirits themselves into it. Storm Bull alone can go into it and survive, and inside it is where Storm Bull is always to be found. He may be elsewhere of course, but he is always there. He can be found moving around in its acid storms, and especially at the Last Briefing Camp.
Last Briefing Camp
This is within the Eternal Battle, and is a sacred spot of Storm Bull where he gives away anything that is desired by the combatants who are going with him to face Wakboth. It is a place of great and easy gifting, but the consequences are often more dire than the gift was good.
This is a gateway to the Underworld, a place from which come darkness spirits, enemy spirits, and chaos, but not the dead (who are in the Great Herd). The tradition has methods for shamans to go to the mouth here and get spirits to cause or cure diseases, to blind people or animals, and to give animals boils. Further Landmarks are known within the Underworld by shamans, but most folk avoid it.
Waha is here, waiting to fight the Great Serpent. It rises form the ground as a huge water serpent, and Waha and his minions fight against it.
Daka Fal’s Fire
A dead campfire marks this place. It is half way between Daka’s Cave and the Great Herd. Daka Fal meets his descendants here and takes them to the campfire of their appropriate ancestors. He sometimes send evil folks to Daka’s Cave, unescorted.
Praxian Clans have a campfire, tent, pack beast or other appropriate center for themselves. Here one is most likely to meet the spirit of someone known. However, the nature of the spirit world is such that without a shaman’s guidance visitors and the dead appear the same, and commonly look right at each other and do not recognize each other, though one was the parent or child or dearest lover of the other in life.
This is a region where live the Challenger Folk. These are entities which are particular to the area and work to stop anyone who comes in. They sometimes riddle, fight or simply confuse those who are weaker than they are. The Challenger are shape changers and take whatever form they need for the task.
Adjacent to, but outside of the Waha area is Genert’s Garden, which is the living Green Age. It is a virgin and pleasant place. No one is dead, a variety of unique beings live there and it contains other fabulous landmarks. But it is also an incredibly dangerous place. Anything that a visitor does there that is new or different will generate an event, and that event will create an enemy for the visitor in their everyday life. Even shamans are extra careful when they go into this area and usually refuse to take visitors there.
Sometimes Tada, an ancient hero, can be found camping on the outskirts of the Wide Plain. His tent looks like it is the shape of a huge tumulus, but upon its sides are painted scenes and symbols of the Green Age wonders.
A large dead tree, with a single branch jutting off of it, sits far outside of the Great Herd. Visitors here will find one of the Three Feathered Rivals here, though no one can foretell which one it will be. To see the Sun Hawk or the Thunder Bird is considered good, for if they get the proper offering then they might lend one of their brood to the visitor. However, each bird has utterly different requirement and is angry when a visitor offers them the wrong food and will commonly attack, with their entire brood. The third possible resident there, the tricky Raven, is considered unlucky because it always gives the visitors some kind of curse.
Du is the woman from whose camp both Storm Bulls and Eirithans must depart if they wish to undertake the Mating Quest. After a perilous passage (which passes in part through Greener) it ends at the Mating Ground, where Storm Bull and Eiritha consummate their relationship, each acquiring magic form the other.