feel it is important for me to disclose my religious beliefs, a sort of preemptive strike on any theories that may seek to discredit this, my research and, thus, my life’s work.
Before I begin, let me say that none of these beliefs are chased because of mere whim, nor they were, in any way, planted in me during my childhood by no strangers, academics or kin. Like most Galdor, I was educated into Circlism. I am a very spiritual individual, and I took it upon myself, beyond any social or racial obligation, to pay tribute to the beings that reign above us. Paying tribute to the unseen was not something as much ritualistic, for me, as it was pragmatic. Indeed, it was a way to hone my own life, to improve it, to take a hold of its reigns so that I alone become the master of my destiny. This can be awakened by religion.
Take, for instance, a sacrifice in the name of your favorite God. You burn a premium slab of meat for the sake of Hurte, and you utter a prayer on your knees. Do you expect something in return? Most people would say yes, but then again, most people are liars. They expect something in return. They expect their acne to recede or their hairline to remain where it is. It’s very hard to disconnect sacrifice with reward, and I’m not, in any way, saying there’s a way to do so. However, take the act of sacrifice itself. You let go of something, and you train yourself to do so. Maybe you wanted that piece of meat. Maybe you could’ve fed it to one of your servants or your hounds whose genetics had won hundreds of awards. It takes an effort, but eventually, it loses its meaning.
The question now becomes; if you keep burning that piece of meat, over and over again, but it no longer pains you economically, emotionally or morally (taking into account the piece of meat is a mere example)... Is the sacrifice still a sacrifice? There are two definition for the verb sacrifice. The first states the following; offer or kill as a religious sacrifice. The second one, and the one I most commonly attribute to the act says; give up something valued for the sake of other considerations. Is that piece of meat, which once set you back a week of wages to pay, and which now you can afford by the dozens, still considered a sacrifice? I don’t think so. It has no value to you. Why would it have value to your God? You might aswell offer your spit to them; that’s the extent of your willingness to bargain with them.
In social circles in which education in theology is rampant, a common doubt it usually thought but never voiced. I know this, because for years, I struggled to give it voice. It wasn’t until I was forty and one of my closest friends and I had a few drinks that I dared voice it. My college, who has a curriculum far more impressive than most Brunnhold teachers, looked at me dead in the eye, nodded and said he had been wondering that same thing all throughout his life. That question is; how come we worship a circle of Gods when we all know, deep inside, that there is only one God?
Think about it; life is a hierarchy. It’s a constant competition. We compete with our brothers to be the most adored ones in our homes. We compete in class to have the highest grades. We compete in social circles to raise our on status. Life is competition. This is undeniably true. It is present not only for us, but also in the lives of the lesser species, as well as the animal ones. One queen bee rules thousands of workers. One chimp rules the whole colony. One dominant male leads the pack. One King rules over all Kingdoms. The question then becomes; are the Gods not competing? In Circlism, we believe the Circle Gods collaborate to form a whole. Imagine the cycle of life. You’re born, you grow, you reproduce, and you die. You come from the earth and you return to it. Most abstractions take the form of a circle - a cycle - because it implies something that repeats throughout a large span of time.
But the Gods are not meant to be a circle. Far from it. It is meant to be a pyramid, because the Gods are not any abstraction. They are Power. Take a few dozen years to think about this idea. Let it simmer. We praise the Gods because of their Power. They are Rulers of All, and any Ruler is so because they have more power than anything around them. The question then becomes; which God is the most powerful? Now you see the competition. And now you see why I decided to stop following the Circle Gods. We simply lack the answers, and proclaiming that the new God of the lower races, Vita, is the sovereign, is simply a half-hearted response to this. It it, however, far more satisfactory than circlism.
After I realized this, I lost all faith in the Circle Gods. In my research into the Specimen, focus of this book, I came across many Wick tribes and Clans, Most had similar beliefs, but I found one that had answers I felt, deep inside me, were as close to truth as we creatures can get. I won’t disclose any information about this Clan, mostly for their own protection, as I’m certain zealous circlists won’t hesitate to cause them harm. Mostly because of this book. Then again, I also feel, deep inside me, that I must tell you this, even if will most likely make my work be forgotten forever.
What this group of Wicks believed was that the Gods were never there. They’re not rulers. They are, as most Gods, outside of space and time, but their nature is different. They can be found. They can be experienced. How many times have you experienced the Circle Gods in your life? You may have felt something and attributed it to them, or thanked them, taking it as a sign. But its not the same. Even if you’re deeply invested in your spirituality, you lack the emotional impact of ‘being’ with God, or the Gods. This tribe, however, thought otherwise.
Let me tell you about Magnhawe, the first God they taught me about. Magnhawe is not an entity, but instead, an emotion, or a series of emotions. It is associated with lies. You can experience Magnhawe in different degrees; for example, a while lie, like your loved one saying you’re having roasted ham but you find out the ham is actually steamed is Magnhawe experienced very slightly. You find out, on the other hand, that your lover has had a long term affair, and Magnhawe himself is making you consider a noose. These strange deities are not causal, but instead reactionary. We give them life through our own. And, if you’ve studied anything regarding consciousness, you’ll know it makes sense.
Consciousness is a mystery. Don’t let any Brunnhold galdor tell you otherwise, because they’re lying. Some mages claim they can manipulate consciousness, but they know nothing about it. The extent of their powers is to implant a subliminal message, which is simply a more subtle (and dangerous) way to cause stimuli on a muscle or a tendon. Take, for example, the now extinct Ghul’hasnta family, which spent 2000 years training the finest mages, all working towards a spell designed to manifest an individual’s conciousness in our world. When they died and the documents were added to our database, all they had was the basic frame, which you could create with a couple of years or research. The truth is, we know nothing about it. We don’t know how to create it, we don’t know how to control it, and we most certainly don’t know what it is. For all we know, the fact that we’re consciousness , that we know we’re here, now, and we’ll die sometime in the future, makes us unique. We know more about the afterlife than about how our own brains work. Consciousness could be a cataclysmic event in the universe, and I’m very much in the opinion that that is the case.
We’re all connected by our consciousness. Humans and Wicks, too, despite the protests of some. We’re all connected. We may have very different lives, but we all know what its like to experience pain. We all know what its like to experience betrayal, death, beauty, joy or sorrow. We look into our eyes and we can see what we feel, because we know what its like. That is why I believe we have free will; capacity to choose and to shape our lives, and to move past misery and joy, to move past the Gods that we summon, because from them we learn, and that is their only goal; to teach us, and then remain in our memories, so that we may remember what they feel like.
I do not know what the Specimen would’ve thought of this, as I never asked him, but I’m certain his answer would’ve been far more profound than this mere introduction to the subject of theology.