The Faith of the Sun is a monotheistic religion with Taiia at its front. She is a sun deity with two aspects: she is the Creator and the Destroyer of the universe, The sun's rising every morning is a reminder of her favor and life-giving and sustaining properties. The sun's setting and absence through the night is a taste of her wrath, promised to those who do not follow her.
Worshipers, Clergy & Temples
The church of Taiia is made up of a number of different sects, falling generally into the categories of Creator-focused and Destroyer-focused. The church has no central authority to establish certain sects as "orthodox" and others as "heretical," so the sects manage to coexist—sometimes cooperating and sometimes warring upon each other.
Clergy of any sect are easily recognized by their shaved heads and the holy symbols they wear prominently. While each sect has its own symbol, all incorporate the image of the three-eyed solar disk. The Blind Mendicants' symbol shows the disk with two of its eyes closed, while the Purifying Flame sect's disk also has four arms, wielding Taiia's favored weapons. The roles and mission of clergy varies depending on their sect.
Clerics in a Creator-focused sect have access to the domains of Taiia's Creator aspect and must be of Good or Neutral alignment (LG, NG, CG, LN, N, CN). Likewise, clerics of a Destroyer-focused sect access the domains of the Destroyer aspect and must be Evil or Neutral (LE, NE, CE, LN, N, CN).
The Faith of the Sun includes a number of smaller sects.
Blind Mendicants: This Creator-focused sect is highly mystical, emphasizing ascetic practice (including wearing a blindfold or even self-blinding, poverty, and fasting) and long hours of contemplative prayer. Through these practices, the Blind Mendicants (both clerics and laity) hope to achieve a state of heightened awareness of Taiia's presence and power, experiencing the purifying power of her flames and the bliss of her favor.
Purifying Flame: "The purifying power of her flames" means something rather different to this Destroyer-focused sect. Its members share a twin focus: prophecy and judgment. Members of the Purifying Flame cultivate an oracular gift, believing that Taiia grants them visions and insight into her will and her favor. Emphasizing her dark aspect, however, these prophecies usually involve her judgment on a world that does not follow her adequately. They carry out her judgments among mortals—through systems of justice when possible or by extraordinary means including assassination and war.
Sun's Path: This Creator-focused sect is characterized by devotional worship, cultivating not the mystical experience of Taiia's presence, but the believer's love of the deity and devotion to her faith. No extraordinary acts of asceticism or prayer are demanded, but members of the Sun's Path sect meet regularly to worship through joyful singing and whirling dances that symbolize the sun's arc through the sky (hence the sect's name).
Darkened Penitents: This Destroyer-focused sect resembles the Purifying Flame in that it emphasizes Taiia's judgment on a sinful world. Rather than carrying out her punishments on the rest of the world, the sect's members carry the weight of sin themselves. By voluntarily accepting Taiia's rejection—often meeting in rooms swathed in magical darkness—the Darkened Penitents believe they can avert Taiia's wrath upon the rest of the world, while finding their own salvation through their selfless acts.
Taiia gives and she takes. We live and we die according to her will. The crops grow or wither under the frost if she speaks a word. Does she care? I don't know. But I know she hears the prayers I offer in the temple, and sometimes she grants what I ask. She is life. And in the end, she is death as well, and she will eat my soul and let me be part of her if it pleases her.
Taiia is a humanoid of indeterminate race, with red skin, golden hair, three eyes, and four arms. She is surrounded with a nimbus of bright light, and no darkness can tolerate her presence.
Taiia is fickle and passionate, giving and withholding her favors without evident regard for alignment or fairness. Her worshipers represent the whole range of mortal life: adoring devotees who seek mystical union with her light, fanatic assassins who believe they are carrying out her sentence of condemnation, and humble peasants who plead for bountiful harvests and mild winters. Different people and different sects emphasize one of her aspects over the other. A balanced view of them both is difficult to find, but it may be expressed best in her dogma below.
The religion of Taiia denies not only the potency but even the existence of other gods, and therefore it prohibits the worship of any other deity. Taiia's followers hope to be joined with her after death, their souls consumed to feed her eternal flames. Those she does not favor, for whatever reason, are condemned to remain in darkness, apart from her, for eternity.
Relationships & History
With no other gods in this monotheistic religion, there are no other gods in the Faith of the Sun with which to have a relationship with.
With regard to other faiths, the religion of Taiia denies the existence of other gods. All other faiths are viewed as heathen religions based on folklore and superstition. Their worshipers are encouraged to join the Faith of the Sun, and bask in her glory.
Taiia appears as a humanoid of indeterminate race, with red skin, golden hair, three eyes, and four arms. She is surrounded with a nimbus of bright light.
Taiia's temple is a large white stone cathedral with tall arched stained-glass windows, flying buttresses and intricately carved masonry. The large double doors lead to a beautiful 3-story tall chancel with rows of white wooden benches and a central aisle leading up to a white stone altar, with a beautifully back-lit rose window behind it. Braziers line the walls, and ample sunlight flows through the large windows. White banners with Taiia's symbol hang from the ceiling, stretching all the way down to the floor.
Taiia's cleric is an older man with dark hair and a graying beard. He is wearing a white robe with gold trim, and a gold belt. (Taiia's faith is split into three sects, and vestments differ between each)