Selûne is the goddess of the moon in the Faerûnian pantheon. She holds the portfolios of the moon, stars, navigation, navigators, wanderers, questers, seekers, and non-evil lycanthropes. Most Faerûnian humans believe the moon to be the goddess herself watching over the world and the lights that trail behind it to be her tears, from both joy and sorrow.
She is also known as Bright Nydra in the Farsea Marshes; as Elah among the Bedine of Anauroch; and as Lucha, called She Who Guides, in the Shining Lands, where she is part of the faith of the Adama. Her name is shared by the moon of Toril, Selûne.
Like the cycles of the moon, Selûne has many changing moods and natures. Her faithful, coming from many walks of life, view her in countless different ways, and she reflects this. Sometimes she is enthusiastic, vivacious, joyous, and majestic, given to action and dance. At other times, she is subdued, motherly, and almost poetic or tranquil and embracing. Then she is remote and weighed down by sadness at defeats and tragedies, even those that happened long, long ago. Finally, she can be aggressive and fierce, but cold, and with little mercy for her enemies. These shifting personalities make her versatile. Nevertheless, she is viewed as a calm power circa 1489 DR.
Nevertheless, at all times, Selûne is caring and accepting of most beings, and forgiving of most of her followers' faults. She is both ageless and ancient. She is quietly mystical and, as a being of chaos, well used to change. She has a serene and peaceful nature and is slow to anger; she will not fight if she can help it, but nor does she hold back if she must. She is fiercely protective when confronted by evil. The one constant is her eternal conflict with Shar.
She is generous and freely bestows gifts and blessings on mortals. She also makes few demands of her followers. When beseeched by her clergy, she always responds.
Worshipers, Clergy & Temples
Many of Faerun's residents live according to the dictates of the night sky, and hence Selûne boasts a highly diverse body of worshipers: navigators, sailors, women, female spellcasters (especially those born under a full moon or interested in divination), good and neutral-aligned lycanthropes, those who work honestly at night, those seeking protection from Shar, the lost, the questing, and those curious about the future. Seafarers turn to the star-speckled canopy above their nocturnal voyages to navigate the seaways, often offering prayers to the Moonmaiden to protect them from Umberlee's attentions. Non-evil lycantrhopes honor Selûne as the master of their fate, as do astrologers and fortune tellers, albeit for different reasons. The common folk know servants of Selûne as mysterious agents of good, enemies of evil were beasts and undead, and caretakers of lunatics and the infirm. Couples look to Selûne to bless them with children when they are ready, and women look to her for courage, strength, and guidance. The demands she places on her followers are few, and the goddess is reputed to be free with her gifts and boons to mortals. Though few understand the intricacies of her ancient religion, most good-hearted Faerunians respect her clergy and pay homage to her when the moon is full. Selûne's clerics often multiclass as bards, silverstars, or sorcerers.
Selûne's priesthood is as diverse as her worshipers; with hers being truly a faith that promotes equal access and understanding. Reflecting the chaotic and scattered nature of the church of Selûne, its hierarchy is a hodgepodge of clerics, specialty priests, crusaders, mystics, informed or blessed lay individuals, and a smattering of good-aligned lycanthropes (both natural and infected). All cooperate in relative—if rollicking—peace under the symbol of Our Lady of Silver. Members of this diverse group all worship the goddess in their own styles. Her churches vary, as do the phases of the moon, from opulent temples in Waterdeep to simple shrines in the Dalelands, from hermitages and hilltop dancing circles to ornate mansion temples.
The Moonmaiden's clergy believe that "anywhere the full moon shines is the place for Selûne." Her worshipers tend to be patient, accepting all with an understanding ear and a healing hand. Selûne's lessons of compassion and guidance through observation of the heavens resonate strongest with sailors, nonevil lycanthropes, and especially female casters.
The Moonmaiden's clergy are encouraged to be self-reliant, humble, and yet make as much of a success as they can in the world while always remaining as helpful and friendly to the lonely and to decent folk as possible. By this long-sighted policy Selûne allows her clergy to become happy, fulfilled, important people, and sees her faith steadily gain power thereby. Our Lady of Silver is inclined to be lenient in matters of alignment and religious observance. Self-reliance and finding one's own, practical path are more important than fussy detail in her faith, and so Selûne is also gaining favor among eccentrics, adventurers, and mavericks of all sorts, including outcasts. Many sages expect Selûne to rise again to great might among the powers, perhaps within their lifetimes.
Itinerant clerics wander Faerun in search of potential worshipers, always keeping an eye out for those afflicted by lycanthropy or madness. Those with the capability to heal sufferers do so; others accompany them to the nearest temple of Selûne, where they are cared for by senior clerics. Wanderers of the church also subtly spread an ideology of female empowerment entwined with Selûnite homilies, which is growing popular among alewives, laundresses, seamstresses, and servants. Those clerics who remain bound to temples (usually but not always due to age) dispense healing, earn coin for the church by telling fortunes from star charts, and minister to residents of the sanitariums and asylums that frequently abut Selûnite temples. Both types of clerics unite when evil lycanthropes threaten the community, doing everything within their power to root out the magical affliction and cure or destroy it.
The ceremonial garb of Selûnites varies from place to place. Selûnite clergy members wear everything from plain brown robes to only a little moonstone jewelry as an accent to normal clothing to rich bejeweled gowns of the finest make and haughtiest fashion with enchanted, animate trains and capes and accompanying moonstone crowns. The finest can be found at the House of the Moon in Waterdeep, where high priestess Naneatha Suaril presides over rituals in a wide-bottomed hooped skirt with a large fanlike collar rising at the back of its neck. Both skirt and collar are stiffened with whalebone and set with clusters of pearls and other gemstones.
The ceremonial dress of priests of Lucha consists of a circlet woven of vines or flowers and white robes. No shoes are worn at ceremonies. The only other symbol of office is a staff wound about with vines and flowers.
In the field (and when adventuring), clergy members of the church dress practically for the task they are undertaking. They tend dress fashionably, but not gaudily, in day-to-day life. Clerics frequently arm themselves with a special kind of mace known as the Moon's Hand, which replaces the standard head of the weapon with a representation of the moon (those of different temples prefer different phases). Moon's Hands come in heavy and light varieties, and are in all other ways identical to maces.
Her church possesses a very chaotic hierarchy, which occasionally shifts with the phase of the moon or other less predictable heavenly phenomena. Selûnite priests use a wide variety of titles, but novices (not yet fully priests) are always known as the Called, and human females tend to dominate the ranks of the more powerful clergy. Typical Selûnite titles (in ascending order) include: Touched, Enstarred, Moonbathed, Silverbrow, Lunar, Initiate, and High Initiate. All of these titles are followed by "Priestess/Priest." Those titles that follow these in rank tend to begin with "Priestess/Priest of the" and end in some form traditional to the individual temple or shrine the priest is affiliated with. It must be stressed that outside of Waterdeep and other larger city temples, many departures from these forms of titles will be found. The elite specialty priests of the goddess are known as Silverstars.
The appearance of Selûne's temples vary as much as her clerics. Some are small shrines in the wilderness, others are hermitages and hilltop dancing circles, and there are even huge open-air or skylit ornate temples or mansions. Reflecting ponds, small gardens, and feminine zymology dominate Selûnite architecture.
Clerics of Selûne pray for their spells at night, always facing in the direction of the moon when visible. Selûnite clergy embroider their rituals into quite individual, unique observances. Since women heavily outnumber men in the clergy, many of the church's rituals honor the woman's role as a teacher and role model in the home and in society at large. Selûne's doctrine suggests that the moon exerts a subtle influence upon the natural cycles of a woman's body. A female cleric of Selûne believes she is closest to her deity during the full moon, and during that period, she conducts morning ceremonies to open herself to special visions, insights, and intuitions. Milk, as a symbol of motherhood and the sustaining power of the feminine, plays an important role in most Selûnite ceremonies.
All clerics observe two annual holidays, the Conjuring of the Second Moon and the Mystery of the Night. The Conjuring of the Second Moonis performed only during Shieldmeet. This confluence of devotional energy summons the Shards, a cadre of blue-haired female planetars, to do the bidding of Selûne's terrestrial clergy for a single night—usually battling the forces of Shar. On the following dawn, the Shards elevate one moral cleric to their order.
The Mystery of the Night must be performed at least once a year by every priest. During the Mystery ritual, Selûnite priests cast certain secret spells and lie before the Moonmaiden's altar, from whence they fly upward and spiral around the moon in a trance while they speak personally with Selûne via mental visions. This ritual causes a mortal ld12 points of damage as it is so draining, but this damage heals normally through rest or the use of healing magic.
When the goddess is pleased, she causes moonlight to bathe the wine or milk poured out on her altar, which transforms it into moonfire: an opalescent, glowing, soft-as-silk, ambulatory fluid mass the consistency of custard. The moonfire flows down from the altar to touch or envelop beings and items. Its touch destroys undead, enchants objects to make them magical items for the use of Selûnite clergy, and confers special powers on creatures. Moonfire vanishes when Selûne wills and bestows power as she wills. Those who steal it gain nothing, and there is no known means of forcing it to yield up a specific power.
One order of fanatic Selûnites is known as the Swords of the Lady, who are often referred to colloquially as the Lunatics. Its members are led by a few Selûnite crusaders, specialty priests, and mystics. They tend to act rapidly in response to threats from Shar and her priesthood, although the public often views their behavior as bizarre at large. Among other groups, the church of Selûne is also affiliated with the Harpers and a group of female diviners who worship the Night White Lady who call themselves the Oracles of the Moon.
Let all on whom Selune's light falls be welcome if they desire. As the silver moon waxes and wanes, so too does life. Trust in Selune's radiance, and know that all love alive under her light shall know her blessing. Turn to the moon, and she will be your true guide. Promote acceptance and tolerance. See all other beings as equals. Aid fellow Selûnites as if they were your dearest friends.
In both her avatars and her religious artwork, Selûne appears in many forms, just like the phases of the moon. One is a dusky-skinned human woman with long limbs; perfect and exquisite beauty; wide, radiant, lime-green eyes; and long, ivory-hued hair that falls to her knees. Another is an ethereal young girl of slender frame, dark eyes, and dark hair, wearing diaphanous robes colored white or resembling dappled moonlight, which trails her "moondust" or "moon motes". A third is a matronly middle-aged woman, plump yet fair and aging gracefully, with gray-streaked dark hair. This one sometimes lives among mortals; the most notable such avatar is the innkeeper Luna. A simple depiction of the goddess is of a woman's face on the disc of the moon.
She is also ever changing, ageing but ageless. If watched over time, her appearance seems to grow to full radiance or to age and fade away, in keeping with the waxing or waning of the moon. Such changes only affect her external appearance and does not reflect any change in might, at least to mortal eyes. But, over time, she does indeed wax and wane in power and prominence.
In any form or state, whenever she is in darkness, Selûne's avatar continually emanates a faint blue-white glow like moonlight.
Relationships & History
According to the oldest myths, Lord Ao created the universe that now holds the world of Toril. Through this act of creation, protoplasmic raw existence took the form of twin deities, one representing light and one representing darkness. These deities, Selune and Shar, birthed the heavenly bodies, in the process creating Chauntea as the animating spirit of the world of Toril. Chauntea begged the sisters to grant her world warmth and light that life might flourish upon it. Selune relented, igniting the sun with elemental fire. Shar, who treasured the primordial darkness and resented Chauntea's concept of life, lashed out at her sister, initiating a conflict that has endured to the present day. Enraged, the Lady of Loss snuffed out the lights of Selune, greatly weakening her in magical battle. Finally, the Moonmaiden tore a piece of her magical essence from herself and flung it at Shar. When the blast hit the Dark Deity, it ripped away some of her essence as well. From the meld of light and dark energies came Mystryl, a being of pure magic who went on to shepherd the Weave blanketing all Toril. Mystryl more closely identified with Selune, granting the Moon maiden a powerful ally--at terrible cost. Selunes magical onslaught cast Shar into the darkness for centuries and allowed warmth and light to grace Toril, but the assault wounded her to the core. Since then her power has waxed and waned with the passing of epochs, while Shar, ever waiting to strike from the shadows, retains much of her ancient strength.
Selune's power seems to be on the rise. Prior to the Time of Troubles, her potency had ebbed to the point that she was a servitor to Sune Firehair. In the last decade, however, she has once again branched out on her own, forging new alliances in her eternal battle against her dark sister. Among her strongest allies in this cause is Mystra (the second deity to follow her ancient, long-dead friend as protector of the Weave), especially since Shar created the mysterious Shadow Weave, a force antithetical to Mystran doctrine. Lliira and Eilistraee share Selune's love of moonlit frolics. She respects Lathander's passion and hopes that by working together the two can cast destroying light upon Shar's ever-present darkness. Selune struggles with Umberlee over the fate of ships at sea, and with Mask over the evil he commits in the moonlight's dark shadows.
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Selune is a beautiful, dusky-skinned human woman with long limbs. She has wide, radiant, lime-green eyes and long, ivory-hued hair that falls to her knees. She is wearing a diaphanous white robes, trailing with "moondust".
Selûne's temple is a grand temple built of large marble blocks. The building is surrounded by columns, with a triangular blue-tiled roof. Statues to the goddess flank the tall entrance doors, made of wood with silver inlays. The interior is a large roofless area, allowing for sun and moonlight to bask the area. Fountains and plants line the walls. Against the far wall is an ornate white altar, flanked by two large braziers. Doors near the back lead to other areas of the temple.
The priestess of Selûne is a middle-age human, with long, flowing black hair with thin streaks of white. She is barefoot and wearing a long white robe with a silver cloth belt. A circlet woven with vines and flowers rest on her brow. Around her neck is a thin silver chain with a single moonstone hanging down the front. She is carrying a staff wound about with vines and flowers.