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Beory

(pronounced bay-OH-ree)
Oerth Mother
Pantheon
Greyhawk
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Beory is the personification of nature and, as such, holds an important place in the beliefs of all the peoples of Oerth. She is usually regarded a manifestation of Oerth itself — the earth is her flesh, the rivers her veins, the wind and fog her breath, and the rain her tears. She inspires every living thing to grow, nurtures them with blessed rain, and calls them to herself when it is time to die. Disasters that cause widespread destruction are agony to her.

According to her followers, all living creatures and plants are her children and she cherishes them without distinction of race or morality. Alternatively, the actions of individuals are of no consequence unless they threaten Oerth.

Beory is a distant goddess, even from her clergy, and little concerns her except the fate and prosperity of the entire world. She is also distant from other deities, even those who share a similar interest, and it is possible her connection to the Oerth consumes her attention.

Worshipers, Clergy & Temples

The worshipers of Beory are essentially human, especially of Flanaess origin. Some elves and little people also pray to her, but they are quite rare. Although Ehlonna of the Forests is often preferred by creatures of the woods, Beory is also worshiped there as well. Her faith is prevalent among tribespeople of Flan descent, such as the Rovers of the Barrens and the Flan tribes of the Bright Lands.

The vast majority of the worshipers of Beory are peasants. They pray to her especially to ask her for good harvests and abundant rain. In the most civilized regions, the worship of Beory is more reminiscent of folklore than a true religion. On the other hand, in places of strong druidic influence, Beory is a major goddess respected by everyone, from the city dweller to the mountain dweller, the rich as well as the poor.

Despite this, people that pray to Oerth Mother for what she really is are almost as rare as her druids. These discerning worshipers are hermits, sages, and philosophers. They are found everywhere in Flanaess where they work discreetly to defend Oerth and the established order of her life cycles.

Beory's followers teach that the world is made up of many different aspects, each important to the whole. Nature can be beautiful and compassionate, or ugly and destructive. Newborn deer and rabbits can live peacefully in quiet forests, or they can be burned by forest fires or drowned in a floods. They use metaphors such as these to show how matters of good and evil are frequently less important than ensuring that the natural balance itself remains intact. The actions of individual persons and nations are of less concern than the long-term health of the world as a whole.

Even if many druids revere Beory, in particular those of the Circle of the Earth and the Circle of Water, the clergy of Beory have very few priests. Their powers are so similar to those of the druids, that they are very often (wrongly) called the druids of Beory. However, they do not belong to any druidic circle and never officially obtain the title of "Druid".

Priest may work with settlers and farmers, teaching them how they can live off the land in a respectful way. On rare occasions, especially during periods of scarcity, they will even help farmers during sowing. They will also mediate disputes between communities, who can be linked to one another by the Old Faith (even more than by national identity). They may also mediate disputes between humans and other races, working with the clergies of similar porfolios. In dealing with elves, for instance, the followers of Beory will work with the clergy of Rillifane Rallathil (or with gnomes: Segojan Oerthcaller or Baravan Wildwanderer).

Priests also engage in many standard priestly duties for followers like sanctifying places, perform marriages, blessings, etc. They also take care of plants and dress wounded animals. We also know that on certain occasions they even protect humanoids to prevent a tribe from being totally exterminated by revengeful humans.

The sins of Beory's faith include disrespecting nature (by overfarming or overhunting, polluting water sources, etc.), thoughtlessly acting without considering one's impact on the world around, and ignoring one's responsibilities to the community in favor of purely selfish gain.

Priests are very careful and decide to act only when the situation requires direct intervention on their part, such as when the natural balance of a place is in danger. By dint of scrutinizing the world, they tend to react with a delay, but then get straight to the point. Priests are often suspicious of outsiders and new arrivals to a community, and the communities they serve frequently share these feelings.

Vestments

Priest of Beory wear somber robes of brown, green or gray color with little adornment.

Hierarchy

The small clergy of Beory are organized into congregations, each one attached to a sacred circle of menhirs. Most of these congregations have only a few priests but some can have up to 20 individuals. There is no hierarchy within a congregation. Each is seen as the equal of the other. However, the oldest priest is always listened to, because his age reflects his wisdom. It is not uncommon for priests of Beory to live in isolation away from organized congregations. Priests can be found alone in the wild areas of Flanaess, avoiding any contact with the outside world.

Temples

Most of Beory's followers are in rural areas rather than urban ones, and her temples tend to be modest places. Far more common are the small shrines and sacred circles dedicated to her worship in rural communities across the states where she is revered.

The stone circles, as they are commonly called, are built in places where the beneficent magic radiating from Beory's body is intense. The stone circle is designed to channel this energy. The more intense the magic of the place, the more the place has important significance.

More than temples, the circles are rallying, celebrating and meeting points. Each circle gives its name to the congregation attached to it, if it exists. The circles with a sacrificial altar are the most important. They are found mainly in rural areas but also in very wild places, away from any civilization. Typically, 1 to 4 priests are attached to them. This does not mean, however, that they remain there permanently.

Rituals

Beory demands nothing from his priests. In fact, some sages even wonder if she cares about their existence, as they enjoy great freedom of action. Priests spend most of their time communing with nature.

Tattoos: At his initiation, every priest of Beory is tattooed according to an ancestral rite (whose primary meaning is lost). The tattoo is made of scrolls nested inside each other and reminiscent of clouds or fog. Traditionally, the initiation tattoo is done on the fingers. As the priest ages, new tattoos are added in the following order: arms, shoulders, back, feet, legs, stomach, torso, skull and face. The shape of the tattoos can vary from one individual to another but they never represent anything specific. The oldest priests are tattooed from head to toe.

Picking mistletoe: According to the oral tradition of the Old Faith, mistletoe is able to capture the essence of the two moons of Oerth in the form of magic energy, which can be used for healing purposes. It is therefore not surprising that this plant still serves as a material element for many druid spells. The mistletoe picking takes place preferably when the two moons are full. It is a very solemn ceremony which takes place in a group.

Departure: The passage into the afterlife is called the Departure by priests of Beory. When a follower dies, their body is first washed with spring water to purify it, then exposed to the open air for a whole day, and then burned at a pyre. The ashes of the deceased are finally buried in the circle on which they depended (or elsewhere if they were a devout worshiper). The priests claim that this ceremony allows the soul of the dead to merge with Beory.

Holy Days

The four festivals of Froidenoce, Regain, Chaudenoce, and Brassine are important religious holidays for those of Beory's faith. On these occasions, druids gather in stone circles to celebrate nature for a week. The ceremonies consist of collective prayers accompanied by sacrifices of food, seeds and sometimes an animal. Priests also take advantage of these opportunities to keep abreast and exchange views. Of the four festivals, Regain is the most important. Indeed, it is at this moment that the initiations are carried out under the auspices of the priest of higher rank present.

Dogma

Balance is the key, both in oneself and in nature. It is important to consider how one's personal growth will impact the world around them, and how other developments will impact them, and to react accordingly. Rivers change course over time, flames consume forests, mountains are reshaped by the wind, earthquakes reform the very land that life stands on. All these things are part of the cycle of nature, as are compassion and love, and violence and death. Beory constantly weighs all of these factors to determine how nature grows, and mortal beings must do much the same in ensuring the development and growth of their own lives.

Show respect for nature. Take from nature only what is needed to survive. Contributing to the community in a responsible and thoughtful way, and considering the larger impact your actions may have on the world and the greater whole.

Relationships & History

Beory is well-disposed to Ehlonna and Ulaa. Berei is thought to be a more anthropomorphic aspect of the Oerth Mother.
The Symbol of Beory - A rotund woman figurine
Symbol: A rotund woman figurine
God Alignment: N
Worshipers Alignment
LG NG CG
LN N CN
LE NE CE
Domain:
Animal, Creation, Earth, Plant, Water, Weather
Portfolio:
Nature, rain
Worshipers:
Druids, rangers, elves, fairy-folk
Plane: Prime Material Plane (Oerth)
Weapon: Club