Divine Masks

Deep in the Umbral Rim, aliens practice their strange ecstasy cults which predate the rise of humanity by millennia, and psionic sorcerers study the secrets of bygone alien civilization and use their exotic language and potent psychic imagery to empower their own psionics. When the Ranathim tyranny first rose to power, the Tyrant-Emperor sought to weld the wild and scattered cults of his people with the beliefs and practices of newly conquered species, claiming that everyone worshiped different aspects, or "masks" of the same gods, called the Divine Masks, or Annifem Lithe in the native tongue of the Ranathim.

The Divine Masks provided not only a tenuous web of interconnection to the otherwise incompatible cult, it created an occult context above and around these cults and provided a receptacle into which students of occult psionics could place their wisdom. The Ranathim Tyranny fell, but its cults and the philosophies of the Divine Masks remain in place. They serve as the cultural basis for many aliens of the Umbral Rim, and its psychic secrets remain potent.

(Lithian, the native language of the Ranathim and the lingua franca of the Umbral Rim, is the standard language of the Divine Masks. No practioner of the philosophy, except perhaps human scholars, refer to it as "the Divine Masks" nor to its cults as "cults," but as "Annifem Lithe" or "Anala," and to its "domen." As such, the terms below use Lithian terms, but are always translated into English for your convenience)

The Principles of the Divine Masks (Annifem Lithe)

  1. The world emanated from divine source (“Litheja”)
  2. The world consists of four, possibly five layers: The divine (“Litheja”), the Dreaming or Communion (“Falineku”), the Astral or the world of the Mind/Psionics (“Akaleku”) and the physical world (“Jenteku”). There may exist a fifth layer “beneath” the physical, where the dead reside (“Hell” or “Tarvagant”)
  3. All religions and cults are just “masks”, Annifem, worn by one of the nine paths of Communion, and thus inherently compatible with one another.
  4. All mystical thought provide insight into the greater mysteries of the magical nature of the world; no mystical thought is so sacred or alien that it cannot be folded into the Divine Masks.
  5. There is no “good” or “evil,” only that which makes you stronger and better ("good" or "fortunate") and that which makes you weaker and worse ("bad" or "unfortunate"). All people naturally seek to maximize their pleasure and fortune.
  6. Death is terrible and people naturally seek to avoid it or transcend it. The secrets to both can be found in the Divine Masks, if one looks deep enough.

Divine Mask Cultural Context

Aliens ruled the galaxy long before humanity ever set foot on another planet. The race that ruled he galaxy in the epoch before the rise of man were the Ranathim, a race of beautiful psychic vampires driven by their insatiable appetites. They fought off foreign empires and conquered the Umbral Rim and then the galactic core and created a long era of ruthless, though surprisingly tolerant, rule.

The Ranathim, being innately psionic, have a tradition of psionic cults, and many of the most devout had already begun to touch upon the power of Communion (though, being psychic vampires, the Ranathim were limited to Dark and Broken Communion). Each cult had their own beliefs, and as the Empire conquered other cultures, those cultures tossed their psionic insights and morals into the vast melting pot of the Ranathim Tyranny, including True Communion, which wielded powers alien to the Ranathim. Rather than crush all dissent, the Ranathim Tyrant created an “umbrella” philosophy, called the Annifem Lithe or more simply Anala, sometimes termed “the Nifemnic Mysteries,” the Divine Masks, or the Practices, which put forward that all people worshiped the same Gods, but the apparent differences could be explained by the fact that the gods of all cultures were but masks over the true and unknowable divinity beneath. Those who worshiped the brutal and terrifying Ithin-Kor worshipped the same god as those who worshiped the ferocious vengeage-god Thamet Sonostra. At the head of these many cults stood the Domen Meret, the imperial cult, which was the mask worn by the Mystic Tyrant.

The collapse of the Ranathim home star into a blackhole by some unknown means shattered their empire, leaving its people scattered and unprotected. New powers rose up, enslaving many Ranathim, or forcing them to flee or fight to keep what scraps of power they had left. Even so, their metaphysical system, Annifem Lithe, remained in place, as many non-Ranathim had adopted it and adapted their belief systems to its conceits.

While the Divine Masks faded in importance as a religious system, the powerful symbolism and the effective occult imagery remained in place, and people, Ranathim or otherwise, began to study it for greater facility with psionic powers and, perhaps, to gain some measure of access to and control over Communion. This created a split in Anala between Anala Izathan (or Zathare), or “magical practices”, and Anala Ichiva (or Chivare), or “religious practices”, but while the latter tends to be antagonistic towards the former’s wholesale appropriation of their sacred traditions, the metaphysics of both systems more-or-less agree.

Today, Annifem Lithe is mostly a curiosity. Aliens who practice strange, old cults or weird alien warlocks and witches who harrow their enemies with strange psionic “spells” both get accused, rightly or wrongly, of practicing Anala. Anala tend to frustrate imperials who try to impose their Neo-Rationalism on the inherently irrational and mystical values of Anala.

The Divine Masks and the Galaxy

Annifem Lithe once dominated the galaxy, but that was thousands of years ago, and today, most races largely considered a curiosity throughout most of the galaxy. It lacks the state sanction of Neo-Rationalism or the Akashic Mysteries and the wide-spread popularity of True Communion. It does inform the basic implicit cultural assumptions of many aliens in the galactic core and into the dark arm of the galaxy, and forms the basis for many existing cults, cabals and religions. It also contains legitimately powerful psionic secrets, which intrigue imperial archaeologists, who often study Anala to better understand the artifacts they dig up.

Divine Mask Cults, or domen, remain popular in the dark arm of the galaxy, in the part of the galaxy where the Ranathim originated, and where their power was strongest. Aliens continue to worship as they did for centuries, and where their cults come under fire (which they often do, as outsiders tend to see them as subversive, bloody and frightening), they’re quick to go underground and take up arms. Anala Izathan, or “Sorcery,” by contrast, is found in many places throughout the galaxy, often in spooky old shops in the underbelly of space stations or in creepy clubs set up by wealthy imperials who enjoy exploring the “occult” ideas of Anala. Anala Izathan has the most non-Ranathim practitioners, as it demands no rigorous worship, just a willingness to explore mystical ideas, and thus even psionically-talented humans might have a few Nazathan, warlocks, working in their libraries.

Divine Mask Schisms and Cults

The Divine Masks can be broken broadly into two groups: "Zathare," or occult practice, and "Chivare," or cultic worship.

Zathare Sorcery

Zathare sorcery hews closely to the metaphysics that purport to underly all cults, and they study the practices of various cults and seek to integrate them into their own personal use of psychic powers. They see the Divine Masks not so much as a religion, like True Communion, but a philosophy, like Neo-Rationalism, that describes how the world actually works. Followers of this approach tend to collect endless libraries describing specific cults and great collections of relics and amulets. Each practioner is different, with unique secrets and tricks they've picked up from their explorations. Zathare sorecery is remarkably popular along the Imperial edge of the Umbral Rim and is sometimes practiced by humans or Slavers.

Chivare Cults

Chivare cults are the oldest manifestation of the Divine Masks. These are the original cults that served as the foundation for the Divine Masks. Each worships their own divinity and in their own way. Each cult tends to be unique, and there are too many cults to explore, but the most common are:

  • Domen Sefelina, the Cult of the Beautiful Fool, the Sacred Whores
  • Domen Sonostrum, the Cult of the Rebellious Beast, the Knights of Rage
  • Domen Venalina, the Cult of the Bound Princess, the Sin-Eaters
  • Domen Khemet, the Cult of Death, the Dark Priesthood

A practice, Navare, sometimes called "Healers" or "the Many Masked" straddle the line between Zathare Sorcery and the Chivare cults. Like the sorcerers, they study many cults at once and profess allegiance to none and largely believe in the overarching philosophy of the Divine Masks, but like the cults, they believe in the divine and do not treat them as mere symbols or sources of power. Navare healers learn to "shift" from divine path to divine path, switching masks (figuratively and literally) depending on the need of the moment. They also craft amulets to various divinities. Most such Navare healers act as low-rent priests and priestesses or peddlers of charms and cures. They tend to be found in Ranathim enclaves, far outside the Umbral Rim where Ranathim culture holds little sway. In the rest of the Galaxy, without great temples or chanting cults, outsider Ranathim communities turn to their Navare healers for their spiritual and supernatural needs.

The Beliefs of the Divine Masks

Annifem Lithe is less a coherent philosophy and more an accumulation of religions, cultural works and metaphysical assumptions mostly (but not exclusively) revolving around Ranathim thought. Thus, while each specific cult, or each specific practitioner might view Nifemna slightly differently, they tend to share basic assumptions about the nature of the world.

The first, core assumption is that the divine cannot be truly known, only experienced. Annifemnic cults worship the avatar state, in which the chiva, or priestess, experiences the divine directly. Anala worships such individuals as having greater understanding of the nature of the world. That experience is fundamentally unspeakable. Practitioners of Anala do not attempt to describe it directly, only allude to it with symbolism and metaphor, both to keep it fundamentally sacred (if it could be thoroughly described, then it wouldn’t truly be divine!) and to reflect the impossibility of the task. Thus, Annifemnists tend to describe the divine and the psionic in symbols, and knowledge of it as “a veil spread over the shape of its truth,” which gives form to the formless: a useful tool to help acolytes better understand the shape of the divine, but not a true reflection of its nature.

Annifem Lithe describes the world as emanating from the divine. The only true truth is “Litheja,” or the divine. The physical world, Jinteku (sometimes Nadum), is the “shadow” cast by the “light” of Litheja. As such, the physical world tends to be dark, mean, base and full of misfortune. The world of the mind, or Akaleku, is the world that contains our thoughts, abstract ideas such as numbers; psionic power is the manifestation of the world of the mind and the physical world. Between the world of the mind and the divine is Falineku, or “the dreaming” or Communion, which serves as an intermediary between the two. This is the realm where divine manifests in a way that mere mortals can experience it, and they often do in their dreams.

The Divine Masks and Good vs Evil

Ranathim culture suffuses Anala, and they struggle with the concept of “evil,” preferring to see the world in hedonistic ideals of “good” and “bad.” Something is “good” or "fortunate" when it makes you stronger, helps you achieve your ends, makes you more attractive or more desirable or gives you acclaim across your culture. “Good” empowers one. “Bad”, or "misfortune," makes you weaker, puts you in bondage to others, strips you of your valuables or your loved ones and makes you a mockery across your culture. “Bad” disempowers one. At its core, Anala seeks to maximize one’s pleasure. Power, strength, intelligence and fame give one the tools necessary to fulfill one’s desires, while weakness, timidity and stupidity tend to bring one into situations where one can no longer achieve one’s desires.

Thus, the Ranathim tend to view their “gods” as tools to self-empowerment. Why do you worship a god, join a cult or learn “magic?” To gain greater power. What happens if you violate the Will of the Divine? Their divine wrath will fall upon you. Anala will let you achieve your greatest aims, and failing to follow it will curse you and blind you and cast you in chains. Ranathim culture is extraordinarily grounded in the present, in the material, and thus do not easily accept arguments about how one will reap rewards “in the afterlife,” or that they’ll gain some sort of immaterial reward. They expect to see miracles from their divinities, and miracles that help them. This defines what is “good” for them.

The Divine Masks on the State and War

Annifem Lithe, as a religious or metaphysical system, has a complex relationship with the state. On the one hand, the Cult of the Mystic Tyrant (Thamara Meret) began as an imperial cult. On the other hand, most of the other cults under the blanket of Anala had nothing to do with the state. As the Ranathim lost their empire and more aliens began to control their destiny, Anala became increasingly hostile towards the new powers that oppressed them, and often acted to deliberately undermine them.

Modern Anala is at best agnostic towards the law and control by the state and at worst, actively hostile. If left alone, various cults will simply worship, and cabals will study the principles of Anala in peace. If antagonized, Anala cults shift quickly into underground resistance, worshiping in secret and using their powers to gather support and attack their oppressor.

Despite this, Annifem Lithe, comes from a strong political theory. The Ranathim created Annifem Lithe as a means to twist religion in such a way that it served the state. It also explicitly chose not to oppress dissenting thought, but to absorb it and adapt to it. Thus, the underlying assumptions of Annifem Lithe are those of tolerance and obedience to a long-dead empire. So, while an Anala practitioner might not believe in an alien’s gods, if someone tries to bulldoze their idols or temples, the Annifemist might object as he sees all religion and magical thought as worth pursuing (“You have no idea what amazing secrets you could be burying!”). Annifemists also believe that people should be swapping cultures, and they often make a point of learning the languages and customs of other cultures, if for no other reason than to scour their books for interesting traditions they can steal.

The Divine Masks on Time and Destiny

For Annifem Lithe, Destiny has a different meaning than for most other cultures. Rather than meaning one’s ultimate destination, the course one will inevitably follow, it represents the mark of the divine on one’s life. For them, the influence of the divine is like gravity, drawing lives into the influence of a god. One can fight this, in which case their life will almost certainly have suffering, but if one embraces the path (or Nala) a divinity has laid out for them, they’ll reap great benefits. Being chosen by the divine, thus, is a great blessing. While other philosophies might find it odd to encourage people to “follow their destiny,” the Divine Masks often do this, by which they mean to accept the intrusion of the divine into your life, and to follow its dictates, rather than resisting the greatness that has been thrust upon you.

Destiny can be acquired by chance, or it can be grasped willfully by the ambitious. Those who seek to understand the secrets of the divine and manipulate them into granting the practitioner power tread a dangerous path, and Annifemnists is divided as to how this precisely works. Nazathan sorcerers argue that “the divine” is more a force that pervades the universe and that it follows the rules laid out in Anala. Just as one can manipulate psionic energy, one can manipulate the greater “divine” energy. Nachiva priests and priestesses argue that this is pure hubris. Sometimes, the divine is sufficiently impressed by the pure arrogance of a zathan warlock and grant him a path, but paths are meant to be walked, not controlled.

The Divine Masks on Psionic Powers and Communion

Annifem Lithe absolutely accepts the reality of psionic powers and communion, which they call Falineku or “the Dreaming,” but also the physical world, and describe psionic powers and Communion as interactions between the “shadow” or the physical world, and the higher realms of thought and existence, which powerful Nazathan sorcerers and Nachiva priests can pull down to the mortal plane.

Anala focuses most intently on Paths and Archetypes. The Nachiva priestess follow paths and attempt to embody the divine, gaining access to an avatar state for prophecy and power, while the Nazathan sorcerer use the rituals and symbols associated with paths to empower their psionic abilities. Neither really has total understanding of Communion: they believe Communion to be, on some level, unknowable, and true oneness with Communion is rare and mysterious; some practitioners of Anala achieve it, but not with the regularity or facility of practitioners of the Cult of the Mystical Tyrant or True Communion. Anala practitioners who become more aware of this tend to see these philosophies as closer to the divine than Anala, and attempt to understand what they do to gain such a powerful connection with Falineku.

Because Annifem Lithe argues that one cannot possibly “know the mind of God,” or truly understand Communion or psionic phenomenon, the best one can do is catalog what one comes across. Anala practitioners excel at recognizing occult patterns and lumping them together with similar phenomenon. They do not seek understand, only to act on their observations. This makes those who believe in Annifem Lithe seem very superstitious. They use rituals or avoid taboos for no stated reason other than “that’s just how it works.” Every Annifem Lithe cult has their own collection of superstitions, and those who accept the entire system have a veritable menu of superstitions to cling to.

The Divine Masks sees all religions and cults as reflections or facets (“masks”) of the nine paths of Communion. To them, most people have either a flawed understanding of the God they worship, or they’re seeing a path from a unique perspective, offering new insights that can be applied to other, “related” cults. This makes most Anala practitioners seem both highly respectful of foreign faiths, and condescending at the same time.

The Divine Masks on Death, the Afterlife and the Purpose of Life

Divine Masks practitioners believe in life after death and in ghosts, though it does not see the afterlife as a particularly nice place. The dead either go to the astral, or the Akaleku, as minds who no longer have bodies (and thus unable to fulfill their desires), or possibly (Annifemists disagree on this) to a realm “below” or “farther from the divine” than the physical world, which they call Tarvagant, or hell.

They believe the dead crave the pleasures of life, and often offer it to them in a manner of speaking. Some cults might “channel the dead” and then eat and drink and make merry to give the dead a chance to experience that again, or they make offerings of food or music to the dead to entertain them. They also fear ghosts and the dead, and if the dead become too aggressive, Anala contains numerous “exorcism” rituals that can cast out the dead.

Annifemists dread death. They see death not as oblivion, but an endless experience of nothingness and misery. Annifemists often fixate on a way to avoid death. They might seek to gain a form of immortality, or they might seek sufficient mastery of psionic powers, or Communion, that if they die, they can either return in some manner, or they can transcend the limitations of death and gain unity with the divine. Those who seek immortality often find the Cult of the Mystic Tyrant compelling, while those who seek oneness with the divine find True Communion very interesting.

The Divine Masks and other Philosophies

Annifem Lithe is a magpie philosophy, stealing ideas from one another and from other philosophical traditions. It views True Communion and the Cult of the Mystic Tyrant with awe, seeking to uncover the secrets of how they do what they do, without actually giving up their old beliefs. As such, they tend to frustrate the more ascetic True Communionists as Annifemists just want to know how True Communionists “pull off their tricks” and want nothing to do with a monastic lifestyle, while the Cult of the Mystic Tyrant tends to happily turn Nazathana warlocks and Nachivana priestesses into minions, promising them secrets in return for service.

The Divine Masks and the Akashic Mysteries tend to be seperated by a gulf of time, culture and space, but when bridged, the practitioners of the Divine Masks finds the Akashic Mysteries fascinating. Some speculate that the Akashic Mysteries have found a new route to the divine, and that their Akashic Record is like “reading the mind of God,” and that their mastery of time and precognition is certainly worth folding into Anala, and some copy-cat cults have sprung up, which some people call “the Nifemnic Mysteries.” Even so, Anala finds the Akashic Mysteries monomaniacal focus on the Coming Storm and the safety of humanity to be tedious and uninteresting. They’ll happily pilfer it for the secrets of Deep Time, and to try to make their way through the Akashic Labyrinth to witness the Akashic mysteries, but they set aside the rest.

Only Neo-Rationalism earns Anala’s derision. To deny the divine strikes all practitioners of Anala as supremely arrogant. Worse, they seem obsessed with the physical world at the expense of the astral and divine realms, and their practice of anti-psi might actively damage the astral. Neo-Rationalism’s oppression of “irrational” faiths tends to hit ANala particularly hard, as it’s an alien religion that’s deeply mystical and thus “irrational,” and when the Empire seeks a strawman to hold up as a boogie-man, they usually pick Anala cults.

Symoblism of the Divine Masks

The Divine Masks pretends to be a cohesive system, but it might be better described as a cataloging of various systems with a rough attempt at creating a grand unified theory that underlies them. As such, it necessarily encompasses many systems that have few similarities in symbolism or ceremonies. Thus, one cannot completely describe all possible symbols or ceremonies for Annifem Lithe. Instead, this documents some of the most common symbols.

The Lithian Language

The word “Ranathim” refers to those who speak the language of God. That is to say, the Ranathim hold their language in high regard! Most texts detailing Annifem Lithe are written in Lithian, and almost all ceremonies are spoken in Lithian. A sure sign one faces a Zathan warlock is that he begins chanting in Lithian as he hurls his psionic powers at you. When Lithian is used in Annifem Lithe, it’s practitioners use it repetitively, in mantras spoken over and over again to gain a trance-like state, in which they can better channel the divine.

One can learn Annifem Lithe without learning Lithian, but so much of the structure of philosophy is buried in the Lithian language that most instructors consider it necessary to learn.

Masks and Idols

The term Annifem Lithe translates as “the Divine Masks,” and the Ranathim do not mean this metaphorically. Many nachiva priests channel the power of their chosen archetype directly, entering an avatar state. When they do so, they are said to have “Donned the mask of the divine,” and they usually wear a literal mask bearing the symbolism and imagery of that archetype (as seen by that particular domen, or “cult.”) Some of the most powerful relics that arise from Annifem Lithe are these masks, infused with centuries of worship and contact with Communion.

The practitioners of Annifem Lithe like to manifest their gods in more than just masks. The masks often derive from larger idols, sometimes as small as a statue on can carry in hand, but sometimes huge statues large enough to dominate a vast temple complex. The ruins of such idols can be found sprinkled across the expanse once ruled by the Ranathim. The Ranathim believe these statues act as vessels for their gods and as such, centuries of worship have turned many into powerful relics. (Un)holy sites spring up around them, most often, but some have even reported idols coming alive when their temples come under attack, to destroy the interlopers with their divine wrath.
Most believers in Annifem Lithe will keep at least one such small idol in a niche in their home, so that they may pray to it in times of need.

Communion Symoblism

The ideology of the Divine Masks may argue that Communion is fundamentally unknowable, but the Ranathim have been cataloging what works and what doesn’t for centuries. Annifem Lithe extensively documents Path symbolism, and all forms of Anala make use of that symbolism in one form or another throughout it occult practices or its worship of the divine. Sometimes, that symbolism is obscure, but where they can use it, they do! They’ll even suggest modifications to native religions based on their understanding of the connection between their Gods and those of the natives, allowing them to empower their own ceremonies with Communion imagery, with surprising succes!

Oaths, Superstition and Divine Wrath

While the Divine Masks encourages all sorts of hedonism and decadence, it does believe in "sin." Sin is not “doing evil” but, rather, violating the will of the divine. Practitioners of Annifem Lithe believe that one can create a pact between god and mortal via a cakhin, or “solemn oath” or a covenant. Each divinity has its own particular laws and oaths that His followers can swear. Those who swear become His chiva or “cultists.” This grants them greater access to His favor and power, but subject them to His divine wrath.

The Divine Masks doesn’t generally believe in the universal applicability of divine wrath. That is, they do not see the need to “convert people to save them.” Divine wrath only falls upon those who violate their sacred oaths, or who profane the sanctuaries of the divine, or those the divine have sworn to protect.

That said, Annifem Lithe does subscribe to idea that one should not displease the Gods. Displeased Gods might not lash out against the common man with as much ferocity as they do against oathbreakers, but why risk it? As such, many Annifem Lithe believers take up small rituals or odd beliefs that derive from their fear of divine wrath. These superstitions manifest as low level Delusions.

Stars

Lithe, “divine” and Litha, “star” have very close roots because, at the dawn of their religion, the Ranathim conflated the two. For them, the stars were gods. As a star-faring civilization, this no longer holds true. Nonetheless, the Ranathim enjoy the poetry of finding a star they once worshiped, settling it, and building a temple to that particular God on a planet circling that world.

Ceremonies of the Divine Masks

As with symbolism, Annifem Lithe has too many ceremonies to count, but the following ceremonies represent common ceremonies found throughout Anala that many cults, or even nazathan sorcerer might practice.

Prayer

The Divine Masks argues that the divine do intercede in the lives of others, but only if asked. Thus, many believers and practitioners pray to the divine. To pray, one must first placate the divinity with a posture of humility: going to one’s knees is a minimum, but most will kowtow before an idol (most believers keep a small idol in a niche in their house for this purpose; those who seek to suppress Anala usually start by gathering up all Annifem Lithe idols and destroying them). Then, they repeat a simple prayer over and over again, like a mantra. The preferred mantra and purpose of prayer varies from cult to cult, but the specific practice is remarkable consistent across all cults.
Prayers have no special mechanics, other than the usual +1 for calling upon Communion.

Sacrifice

The Ranathim tend to focus their worship most intently on the archetypes of Dark Communion, which means their Gods are as hungry as the Ranathim! Annifem Lithe practitioners often offer sacrifices to show the depth of their commitment. The most common sacrifice is personal: they personally cut themselves to spill blood, usually at least one HP worth. The Ranathim themselves can infuse their blood with their own psionic power, losing a point of energy reserve along with their HP. Some darker cults sacrifice animals or even fellow sapients.

Cults that practice sacrifice often have perks that allow the sacrifice bonus from Thaumatology page 246 to be added to either psionic skill rolls, or Communion rolls.

Swearing an Oath

Those who wish to become chiva, a priest or priestess, or if a zathan, a warlock, wishes to broker a deal with one of the divinities, they swear an oath. This must be done at an appropriate sacred space, before an idol of the archetype, in the presence of other nachiva. The oath-taker kneels before the idol, with the high priestess standing in for the God (often wearing an appropriate mask) and other nachiva, cultists, surrounding them both, acting as a chorus for the high priestess and witnesses for the oath-taker. The high priestess will ask the oath-taker who she is, why she thinks she is worthy to approach this God, and if she is willing to swear an oath of service to her new God, and the nachiva repeat each question. The oath-taker answers each question; if her answers are satisfactory, she is given the oath, which she must repeat, and then most cults require a blood sacrifice to seal the oath, offered from the oath-takers hand, and accepted by the high preistess. Then the high priestess pronounces the oath made, and the nachiva celebrate (shout, sing, wail, dance, etc).

The Ecstatic Trance

Channeling the Divine is key to the entire exercise of Annifem Lithe. Most Anala worship turns on placing the worshiper in a higher state of consciousness, so that they may experience the divine directly. This is a deep trance, generally gained via body discipline (dance is most common) with some sort of intoxicant and a repetitive mantra to assist achieving the trance state. An example of such a ceremony might be a swirling, wild dance before the idol of the god worshiped while the air fills with some hallucinogenic incense and the dancers constantly repeat the same Lithian words over and over again until they begin to collapse in a state of writhing ecstasy and achieve Dark Communion while the high priestess presides over them.

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