Atruozan spiritualism, also refered to as Atruozan spiritual beliefs, is the general umbrella term for the spiritualist belief system that nearly all Atruozans adhere to. Disregarding minor regional differences in certain stories or aspects of it, it is mostly the same wherever you go in Atruozan cultures that adhere to it, which is nearly all. It is centered around the idea that all things have spirits and thus are in a way alive. As such, respect to nature and using every possible thing of a killed animal, with as limited waste as possible is a cornerstone of the culture and belief system, as waste is seen as disrespect towards the spirit of the killed. Listening to the spirits of nature and respecting them is a large part of the spiritualism. It has 10 to 11 million followers.
Prebirth and Afterlife
The Great Spirits
The Creation of the World
The Creation of Winter
The story of the creation of, and thus first, winter is an important one in Atruozan Spiritualism as it is also the story of the birth of the Great (Snowy) Owl Spirit. It was traditionally described as having happened "Some six thousand years ago..." as a way of showing that it happened a very long time ago, however, in the second millenium (as per the Gregorian Calendar, so 1000-1999AD), a scholarly chief took it quite seriously, and using it as well as all the theocratic research he could do, he determined that it happened in 5163-5164BC (Gregorian years) and upon the agreeing to it by most of the Grönic-Dräklõ chiefs as a year to set for when the story took place, the latter (when the warmth finally returned on the summer solstice), being then set as year 1 of the Atruozan calendar.
The story is as follows:
[Six thousand years ago,] Before the Great Owl Spirit came to watch over the land there was no winter, and it never snowed or froze. However, the chief of a Grönic tribe, came down to the edge of where "the trees disappeared, opening up into a field of neverending flowers". There, he saw a massive snowy owl, and hungry from not eating that day, he decided to hunt it for himself and his wife and young child.
However, upon cocking his bow, he heard a sound without body, or direction, as if it were coming from the cool southern wind itself. It was telling him, straight into the depths of his very heart, not to shoot, for that owl too had a family it was trying to feed, with several young ones recently borne. However, he didn't listen and took aim at it's heart, hoping to make for a quick kill. He then heard the voice a second time, only this time, it was also coming from the forest, and sounded as if a massive drum was beating at him to not shoot the owl, beckoning him to take the rats and foxes running him by instead.
But he did not stop, and so, drowning out the sounds of the spirits of the world, for his own desire, he let his arrow fly, killing the owl instantly. The world went silent on that day that the sun had never risen, so much so that even the scurrying of rats could be heard far beneath the soil. You see, the spirits would not let him eat so easily, and so in a flash of great light, as if the sun had appeared before him, the owl's body disappeared, and in it's place, floating there, was its spirit, strong, majestic, powerful, beautiful.
It looked at him with its eyes of pure white, sending a shiver down his spine, and said, "For your greed and uncaringness towards the voices of nature that has just killed many others, for that arrow that painted by body in red, you will too face loss. Until you can finally hear and listen to the voices of the world, beauty will know you no more, and you will suffer." Then, in a massive whirwind, the sky further darkened, covered in clouds of black night, and the flowers all wilted and died, the water in the very air freezing, and the ground being covered in a prison of cold, hard death. He looked up only to see the Spirit flying over him, white blood falling from his wings, drowning the world of colour in the emptiness of nothing.
The cold persisted for nearly 6 months, during which most of his tribe, and his precious family, had died of starvation and freezing. Finally, he sat down, defeated, alone, scared, and saying nothing, prepared himself to die. Then, he heard from the small rock upon which he sat "Take me with you, please. It is so cold here." So he picked it up, and upon asking him why, it answered "Because your heart is warm." So he took that small rock with him, and for the next nine months, protected it, and all the other rocks that asked him to, from the cold, living only for the comfort of others, watching all but one of his remaining tribe members die off.
He then heard the warmer northerly wind, on the day without night, saying to him, "If you use those rocks, you may yet be able to hunt some food to eat" as he lay there on the brink of death. Yet, he answered back, "No. I can't, for they asked me to help them, and so I do." Suddenly, the sky cleared, the rivers ran yet again, and the world blossomed with life. The south wind then, at long last, spoke again, and told him to never forget those voices of nature, and that from now on he would protect him for half the year, yet when the day without sun comes once again, the owl would then regain control, and keep freezing the world over, so as to never let him forget the greed he once bore.Thus the world entered a never-ending cycle of warm and cold, and that owl was named the Great (Snowy) Owl Spirit, creator and controller of winter.
As previously mentioned, "six thousand years ago" is a euphemistic way of saying "a really long time ago".