Religion in Bishel Dragon Society
The majority of Bishel dragons do not take part in any organized religion, although small splinter groups can adopt or create religious sects. Dragons in general are very respectful of nature and the natural order of things. Because of their connection to magic, they are more in tune to the spirit of the land and all the creatures that live in it. The dragons can be described as more spiritual than religious.
Bishel dragons do have a small collection of ancient deities that are considered part of life and are featured in old stories and art. In addition to the traditional deities, some dragons adopt the religions of other cultures, just as any traveler or scholar might.
The Bishel deities are ancient in origin and exist in one form or another in every clan of dragons. While various clans may differ in their creation myths, it is always the earth and the heavens that created the Bishel deities. The earth created two daughters, Gratira and Col d'Tirra, while the heavens created two sons, Aritarg and Kynadtuli. The two sets of siblings are not considered to be related. The powers of the four balance one another and create a web of relationships that bind them together.
The deities, against the wishes of the earth and heavens, created dragons. There were various failed attempts before the deities, all working together, created Bishel dragons. Legends featuring the deities are some of the first stories a young dragon will learn. The stories vary in exact content, but the themes are similar in all cultures. In the legends, the Bishel deities will sometimes become involved in the events of the mortal world. They take less glorious forms and walk among Bishel dragons to experience life and spread their gifts. Other times, the deities are meddlesome and quarrel amongst themselves. They bless the faithful and curse the unworthy. The deities are powerful but never perfect.
The level of belief in their patron deities varies between clans and even individual families. For the most part, the role of the deities in daily life is limited. Dragons use their names in expressions or offer a quick and silent prayer to one or another now and then. Small areas of devotion are often set up, usually centered around a piece of art or sculpture featuring one or more of the deities. Dragons will visit these sacred spaces to pray for help or guidance. Small offerings may be left in thanks for some recent happy event in their lives. These devotional areas are most often set up in gardens, but some families may have small alters in their homes.
Some small sects of dragons take worship of the deities more seriously. These groups build temples and create their own rules and regulations. The prevalence of these religious groups differs between clans. The Machesri, for example, have no organized religious sects, although many dragons do offer prayers to various deities. The Hirgyae, in contrast, have several sects, both well recognized and secret, that worship deities in their own fashion.
Gratira is the major Bishel goddess, also known as the Mighty Gratira or Gratira the Good. She represents honor, day, reason, and life. In most cultures, such as the Machesri, she also represents the power of good, although the Hirgyae see her more as the adversary of their patron, Aritarg. Gratira's form is that of a Golden Celestial Terran-Arboreal with six wings and four legs. Her first set of wings is golden and feathered, the next is draconic, and the last is feathered again. Her horns, back spines, and claws glow with the light of the stars. The goddess is known to prefer working via messengers, visions, and dreams, and she is usually depicted as reluctant to take action. Gratira was the first deity created, the earth's first daughter.
Aritarg, the major Bishel god, is known as Aritarg the Terrible, although the Hirgyae consider him their patron god, so "Terrible" is more interpreted as "Powerful" in their language. He represents cunning, night, war, and death and is said to be evil in most cultures or, at the very least, wrathful. He takes the form of a Silver Celestial Terran-Arboreal with six wings and four legs. His first set of wings is draconic, the next is feathered, and the final set is draconic. He is often depicted with armor and weaponry and red eyes filled with fire, and his spines and talons glow with starlight. In legends, he is usually the one raining punishment upon ungrateful dragons and causing natural disasters. He has a reputation for meddling in mortal affairs more often than Gratira. Aritarg was the third deity created, the first god created by the heavens, after the earth had already created the two Bishel goddesses.
The Bishel goddess Col d'Tirra is the younger sister of Gratira and represents love, nature, joy, emotion, and determination. Her form is a Copper Crystalline Terran-Arboreal with four wings and four legs. Her first set of wings is draconic, and the second set is feathered. She has claws, but she is usually shown as having no back spines. Instead, she has a flowing mane running the length of her spine. Her eyes are bright and sparkling. Col d'Tirra was the second deity created, the second daughter of the earth.
The Bishel god Kynadtuli is the younger brother of Aritarg and represents wisdom, magic, composure, peace, and intelligence. He manifests as a Platinum Terran-Arboreal-Marine with four wings and four legs. His wings are all draconic, and his legs are short with webbed talons. He is often shown as serpentine and long, with glowing back scales and metallic eyes. Kynadtuli was the fourth and final deity created, the second son of the heavens.