Emetism

Overview

”’Emetism”’ (originally from the Lakhzov: ”emeyt” “truth”) is the religion of the Lakhzov and Axicz peoples. It is an ancient, monotheistic religion with the Takhmud as its foundational text. It encompasses the religion, philosophy, and culture of the Lakhzov people. Emetism is considered by religious Emetists to be the expression of the special relationship that God established with the Lakhzov people.

Within Emetism there are a variety of movements, most of which emerged from Medaberic Emetism, which holds that God revealed his laws and commandments to the prophet Naqim in the form of both the Written and Oral Takhmud. Historically, this assertion was challenged by various groups such as Axicz Emetists and Kerenists.

Today, the largest Emetist religious movements are Orthodox Lakhzov Emetism, Axicz Emetism and Reform Emetism with Kerenism being considered a separate, heretical, religion. Major sources of difference between these groups are their approaches to Emetist law, the authority of the Medaberic tradition, and the place of non-Emetist communities in Lakhzovia. Orthodox Lakhzov & Axicz Emetism maintains that the Takhmud and Emetist law are divine in origin, eternal and unalterable, and that they should be strictly followed. Reform Emetism is more liberal, with a typical Reform position being that Emetist law should be viewed as a set of general guidelines rather than as a set of restrictions and obligations whose observance is required of all Emetists. Historically, special courts enforced Emetist law; today, these courts still exist but the practice of Emetism is mostly voluntary. Authority on theological and legal matters is not vested in any one person or organization, but in the sacred texts and the Medaberim and scholars who interpret them.

History

The history of Emetism spans more than 1700 years. Emetism has its roots as an organized religion in the Lakhzov region during the post-city state era. Emetism is considered one of the oldest monotheistic religions and was founded by the prophet Naqim in approximately 330CE after which it quickly grew in influence culminating in the formation of the Lakhzov Amphictyonic League in the year 359CE. Despite the league disintegrating in 587CE Emetism had become firmly rooted as the supreme religious tradition in the region.

Following the disintegration of the amphictyony a movement of scholars, teachers and interpreters of Emetist law began to assume greater religious authority leading to the establishment of Medaberic Emetism. The formation of Medaberic authority led to an increasing standardisation of religious doctrine which resulted in increasing tensions between the medaberim and more esoteric streams of the religion. This tension culminated in the Kerenist Schism of 980CE.

Kerenism was subsequently adopted as the state religion of the Utman Empire which came to dominate the region, resulting in a period of sustained persecution of Medaberic institutions and the dispersal of many prominent Medbaric dynasties to the newly formed Lakhzov diasporic communities that sought to escape persecution by settling in more tolerant lands.

Emetists today form two separate ethnoreligious groups, the Lakhzov and the Axicz. Membership of these groups include those born Emetist, in addition to converts to the religion though the latter category remains small. In 2018, the world Emetist population was estimated at about 17.9 million, about 94% of all Emetists reside in Lakhzovia with the remaining 6% spread out in communities located in various countries along the Cotf Aranyean and Ardian coasts.

Theology

Monotheism

Emetism affirms monotheism, the belief in one God. The basic tenets, drawn from ancient sources like the Takhmud as well as later sages, include the attributes of God as one and indivisible, preceding all creation which he alone brought into being, eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, absolutely incorporeal, and beyond human reason.

Revelation

The defining doctrine of Emetism is the belief that the Law, both Written and Oral, was revealed by God to Naqim, and that the Law was transmitted faithfully from him in an unbroken chain ever since. One of the foundational texts of Medaberic tradition is the list opening the Ethics of the Fathers, enumerating the sages who received and passed on the Takhmud, from Naqim through Sachim Ben Natal, the Elders and latter Prophets and then onward until Kamsin the Elder.

The basic philosophy of Emetism is that the body of revelation is total and complete; its interpretation under new circumstances, required of scholars in every generation, is conceived as an act of inferring and elaborating based on already prescribed methods, not of innovation or addition.

Particularism vs Universalism

Emetism is viewed as being a body of law and practices intended solely for the Lakhzov and Axicz peoples. However the teachings of the religion are seen as containing a message regarding the nature of reality, principles of ethical conduct and the destiny of all mankind which is considered to be a universal one.

This contradiction is most often resolved through the explanation that Emetists through their dedicated practice of the religion act to reveal the hand of God in the world, and as a beacon of righteous conduct to the non-Emetist world.

Despite this conceptual division between the historical roles of Emetists and non-Emetists most modern branches of the religion accept sincere converts.

Festivals

The Emetist festival cycle is highly structured reflecting the journey of creation and mankind from its origins through to its eschatological end. While there are a number of minor festivals and commemorations of Medaberic origin held at various points of the year, the major holidays listed below find their origin in the Takhmud itself.

B’rit Olam

“And so it was that in Emet the world was made to be, and with creation was made a covenant of truth as testimony that all that exists should turn in thanks for their blessings.” Takhmud, Olamim 2:1

‘Covenant of Creation’ marks the day of creation by God, this festival marks the start of the Emetist year and the festival cycle. It is typically celebrated with large festive meals, gifts to the poor, the feeding of wild animals and the lighting of bonfires. Other customs include the ritual sowing of the first seeds of the new growing season and the buying of new clothes.

The festival falls in the autumn around the time of the harvest in line with the belief that God created a fruitful world bursting with life. The theme of the festival focuses heavily on the ideas of the enjoyment of plenty and the birth of the new. As such children born on this festival are considered a particular blessing and it is said that on B’rit Olam not a single stomach in all of Lakhzovia remains empty.

Natan Or

“When man was young and had never yet seen the long night, dusk seized upon his heart with terror. Seeing man’s trembling Emet spoke saying ‘Fear not the darkness that closes in, for it too shall pass and never overtake you. Behold I have put my lamps in the heavens so that when you look into the void you shall know that I am with you.” Takhmud, Olamim 10:3

‘Giving of Light’ is a 7 day festival beginning on the winter solstice during which people decorate their homes and environment with lights. Traditionally lamps are lit with the number of lamps increasing each night to represent the desire that the light of Emet be reflected on Mundus as it is in the heavens and that the light be increased until night is banished for good.

Many classic Medaberic commentaries suggest that the darkness referred to in the Takhmud is in fact a metaphor for death; From this draw the belief in the immortality of the soul as well as the idea that in the end of days death will be abolished. As a result it is common for people to visit and tend the graves of loved ones where they will light lamps and read Olamim 10:3 to comfort the soul of the dead that they will be restored.

Natan Emet

“I selected Naqim from among all the peoples to bring to you the knowledge of my nature, laws and statutes in order that you may be corrected. This truth I give to you so that you may walk straight and upright, counted righteous among the nations. Do not be bowed down with the ways of the wicked nations that surround you, for this [Takhmud] is a well of life, a spring of sweet water; drink deep of it lest you succumb to death.” Takhmud Naqim 5:1

‘Giving of Truth’ is the festival that marks beginning of the transmission of the Takhmud through the Prophet Naqim. On this day people gather to hear the reading of the scroll of Naqim in full following which people dance in jubilation around Takhmud which is placed on a symbolic throne and adorned with a crown, silks and jewellery.

Sweets are commonly given out to children and a festive meal followed by sweet delicacies and honey sweetened tea are enjoyed as symbols of the sweetness of truth.

Many devout believers will travel on pilgrimage to Khalin where the Takhmud was first revealed to Naqim in order to participate in festivities there.

Hi’Ason

“There will come a day when my statutes have fallen from the minds of men, when my laws are seen as a burden and every man turns his heart towards the wickedness of his hand. On that day I will no longer encircle you and your walls will be as dust. I will hand the good land I have given you over to another people who do not know me, they shall take your vineyard and field, your house and stable and make you a despicable sight to the nations. On that day there shall come a great lament from the throats of the people, who will have no shelter, nor food nor rest from one day to the next.” Takhmud Ra’ot 1:1

‘The Disaster’ is a peculiar festival in that while it is considered to have been divinely ordained, it was not until the events of the Utman imperial conquests that its observance began. Medaberic tradition states that until the time of the disaster itself, to observe the festival would have been inappropriate as it would in effect be mourning a tragedy that had not yet happened. While some ancient commentators have suggested that the festival should have been observed prior to the events of the disaster, in mourning for the fates of their descendants, others have pointed out that this would be like mourning the death of a relative while they are still alive.

On this festival people will leave their homes and reside in temporary shacks erected outside. There they sit on the ground and fast while chanting songs recounting the wicked things that have been done, and that have befallen the people. In doing so the soul is believed to be chastised and arrogance eradicated, this renewed humility allowing the people to recognise their own corruption, the first step necessary for repentance and healing.

This festival begins in the morning of the first day and ends at sunrise of the next in order to fulfil the Takhmudic prophecy that “there shall come a great lament from the throats of the people, who will have no shelter, nor food nor rest from one day to the next.”

Rakhaman

“When it shall have come to pass that the people have been trampled and humbled my ear shall hear their cry and my heart shall be made tender. Their cries shall be like those of babes to me, and I shall be moved to deal compassionately with them. Takhmud Ra’ot 1:2

Following on immediately from the conclusion of Hi’Ason the festival of Rakhaman (Compassion or Mercy) celebrates the kindness of God to the unworthy and marks the point at which, having humbled themselves through Hi’Ason, the people were granted the opportunity to repent at the festival of Teshuva’ot.

The commentators ask why mercy came before repentance, the majority answer to which is that without the initial act of mercy on the part of God, there could be no opportunity for repentance. The granting of the ability for man to return to a relationship with Emet is the ultimate act of compassion.

Once Hi’Ason concludes, worshippers will return to their homes and bathe following which a breakfast of fruits and cake are eaten. People will dress in white and gather for a large family meal at midday. Following this it is common for children to go door to door collecting for charity, while adults will do good deeds. The festival closes with a communal meal emphasising the responsibility of everyone for maintaining a just society.

Teshuva’ot

“They shall release their transgressions, and I shall release them from their sin. Then all the congregation of the people shall say ‘Behold the statutes and laws of the living Emet from which I have strayed. To these I shall return and hold tight.’ To these they must surely return, for these are the ways of life.” Takhmud Ra’ot 1:3

‘The Festival of Returnings’ falls ten days after Rakhaman and marks the day on which people request, and receive, forgiveness for their sins. This is the culmination of a process of spiritual rectification that began with Hi’Ason and closes the yearly festival cycle.

On this day people wear white and fast, spending their time in houses of prayer singing songs of redemption and making petitions for clemency. during the day long religious service there are two rituals in which a caged animal is released to freedom, the first a dove represents the release of the individual from their personal sins. The next, an Ibex represents the redemption of the nation from its collective sins. The service concludes with the congregation reciting the Takhmudic sentence¬†‘Behold the statutes and laws of the living Emet from which I have strayed. To these I shall return and hold tight.’¬†while prostrating on the ground before the Takhmud.

The day is ended with a large meal of fresh fruits and delicacies that are only made on the festival. It is customary for a new fruit that has not been eaten previously in the year to be consumed to represent a fresh start.