|Domain:||Fertility and Druidism|
|Symbol:||A bull framed by shafts of wheat or mistletoe|
|Deity Alignment:||True Neutral/Neutral Good|
Though Wajen can take the form of any animal of the world, she is generally portrayed as a handsome woman of middle years, with long dark hair and green eyes. Her skin is milky white, and her hands delicate. Her expression varies depending on the scene, from loving to fierce, but she is always seen as proud and strong. In honor of the natural world she both protects and reveres, Wajen is always depicted in a natural setting, often surrounded by woodland creatures, and with garlands of mistletoe or ivy in her lustrous tresses.
Wajen is a mercurial deity, of varying temperaments. Most of the time she is seen as calm and strong-willed, a peacemaker among the pantheon and the gentle nurturer of the world and its creatures. But her temper is legendary and feared by even the greatest of the gods, for Wajen angered is more volatile than a mother bear protecting her cubs. Wajen is renowned for her great wisdom -- in the myths she is often asked for advice from the other deities, yet she herself keeps her own counsel, and seldom asks for aid from others. Though loyal to Estereal and the gods of good, Wajen is pragmatic and long-sighted, and quite capable of working with the evil gods when it suits her purpose. Stories tell of her centuries-long affair with the god Othniel, whom some believe she loves and others insist she merely uses as suits her purposes. Still others claim that there is a dark side to the Great Mother, an aspect that has been corrupted by long association with the Soultaker.
Though her flock may be more difficult to count as the faithful of Estereal (and there are those who would say they matter less), Wajen is the most commonly worshiped deity in the world. Her most devoted worshipers are rangers, woodsmen, farmers, and all who make their living from animals and growing things. Wajen is also revered by those who love children, especially parents and would-be parents. In many ways, Estereal is seen as the god of kings, and Wajen the goddess of the people.
Though Wajen is far from anti-social, she often prefers the solitude of her sacred grove to the company of other immortals. The other gods seek her out frequently for the benefit of her wisdom, and Wajen seems quite content to act as friend and counselor. Almost all of the gods seek her wisdom on ocassion, especially Estereal, whom Wajen serves as his greatest advisor.
Wajen seems to relate well to almost all of the other gods, though they are all wary of her famous temper. In some ways, her nickname of The Great Mother is earned by her numerous children born to the other gods. Wajen is a lusty goddess; while she does not object to marriage, she herself has enjoyed the company of many of the male gods, especially her brothers. She has one child with Estereal prior to the god´s wedding, and legends tell of numerous liaisons with Azkal and Torodin. Jvelto is a particular favorite of hers, and the two share many children.
As her only sister, Wajen seems to share a special bond with Soltana. The two are often shown socializing for the mere joy of it, something Wajen rarely does with the other deities. Soltana is also the only immortal who has never felt the force of Wajen´s wrath. The Great Mother seems to adore her gentle sister, and the two share a strong sisterly bond that has helped them both to weather many sorrows. As the two women among the elder gods, the two also share a common feminine bond, and have been known to enjoy teasing their brothers. Wajen also seems to look out for Soltana, who perhaps does not share her great wisdom.
Athelstan is the only one of the elder gods that Wajen seems to have no use for. Many believe it is not his evil nature that annoys the Great Mother so, but that the wise goddess simply has little patience for his insane outbursts, lack of intelligence and general instability. Wajen prefers to deal with problems rationally, and this tack tends to be wasted on The Torturer.
Wajen tends to mother and advise most of the younger deities, and often shares more intimate moments with many of the young gods. She seems to bear equal regard for all the children, and does not grant special privileges to her own offspring -- Amber, Dagon, Chesmu, Mojag, Zelig, Elsu, Abebi, Chlaili, Maralah, Tse, Siwili, Enyeto, Ehlonna, Declan, Bittor, and Ootheca.
The Church of Wajen is divided into three sects: (1) The Druids, who serve Mother Nature by looking after the forests and the creatures of the world. (2) The Harvestmasters, men and woman who live in or near communities of men (though never in big cities) and spread the blessings of The Provider. These individuals tend to be patient and helpful folk who work side by side with the farmers and game keepers, even pitching in to help with hard work when needed, watch over their neighbors, and offer their wisdom and counsel to any who ask. (3) The Nurturers, who serve The Great Mother by guarding and teaching the young, and encouraging able adults to bear children. Among the few to live in cities, these women spend most of their time among people, offering their wisdom and healing, and acting as mid-wives.
The Church of Wajen has very little patience with formality. They do appreciate respect, and many priests like to be addressed by their titles (Brother or Sister for the Harvestmasters, Mother for the Nurturers, and Forestkeeper for the Druids. ) There are no High Priests of Wajen. After receiving the call from the Great Mother all are considered equal, and they work together in harmony. Older priests do tend to counsel the younger, and The Church itself believes in respect for elders. If a priest is believed to be straying, two or more priests will seek them out to offer prayer and advise. Discipline and punishment, if needed, are reserved for the Great Mother herself.
The Church of Wajen seldom builds large temples -- they consider grandiose structures to be a waste of natural resources. They usually keep small shrines made of wood and thatch, which are often staffed by only a handful, or even just one priest. For ceremonies requiring larger structures, the Church of Wajen often requests space from the temples of the other major deities.
The Church of Wajen seeks to guard the natural world and its creatures, and disapproves of those who would waste or needlessly destroy natural treasures. They work to frustrate those who hunt for sport or practice cruelty to animals. However, the Church does not believe that man exists apart from nature, but is part of it. Those who make wise use of natural resources, who hunt for food and cultivate the land are much loved by the Great Mother.
In honor of their divine patron´s great wisdom, The Church of Wajen strives to see the total picture, to take into account the cycle and the sacred balance in all things. They prefer careful watching and subtle manipulation to more obvious action, and believe that individuals must be allowed to grow as they are meant to and to make their own mistakes. A priest of Wajen will give advice freely, but seldom orders others about.
Agricultural sayings and farming parables are woven into much of the teachings of the priesthood. They seek to teach others to use Wajen´s bounty to provide for themselves. They encourage large families, and take great pleasure in teaching the young. Though priests are not required to marry, they are encouraged to have children of their own, thus bringing them closer to the Great Mother herself.
The church of Wajen dislikes fire because of its destructive nature, and its priests do much to educate people in its responsible use.
As the church itself is loosely organized, the duties of its priests are not strictly regimented. The Church believes that any priest should be open to the call of his or her god -- how can this be done if the priest is obsessed with keeping to a schedule? Daily prayer is important to the priests, of course, and holy days. But even these may be interrupted in answer to Wajen´s call. Priests are expected to use their own wisdom in structuring their time in accordance with their needs and duties.
Every priest of Wajen is taught that they must always stay in touch with the natural world by tending to animals and growing things, and all strive to spend at least a small part of each day in this endeavor. The Forestwatchers spend a great deal of their time tending to the illnesses and injuries of the wild creatures, and they often replant trees when a forest is heavily damaged by fire, disease, or storm. Priests living in civilized areas tend gardens, and sometimes raise livestock. Traveling priests and those on missions carry seeds to plant, often to replenish a species recently damaged by weather or disease.
The Church of Wajen teaches that much of the Great Mother´s wisdom and confidence arises from her self-sufficiency. The myths of the canon rarely show Wajen asking for help from another immortal, and her disciples are very proud of Her independent spirit. To honor this and cultivate these traits in themselves, each priest is taught how to provide for his or her own basic needs by wise use of Wajen´s bounty. All priests do their best to grow, gather and/or hunt for their own food, and they are taught to make their own clothing. Even the temples are usually hand-built by the priests, with little or no magical aid. To facilitate this independent and generally simple life style, most of the priests learn to excel at domestic arts, such as cooking, sewing, weaving, pottery, and carpentry. Priests typically spend a portion of each day or night in pursuit of these activities, often along side the common folk who make up their flock.
A teaching of the faith is for priests to never take more than they give. Nature should always be replenished, and favors repaid. In light of these, only a small portion of donations given to the Church of Wajen are used to supplement the needs of the priests. Most is put aside, to be used to aid worshipers in times of need. Most priests of Wajen seem to feel that they are amply gifted by the goddess with their powers and their faith. Rather than seeing worshipers as subjects who owe them tithe and fealty, the priests tend to their subjects as a shepherd does his sheep. The Forestwatchers keep a close eye on all who travel through their domain, often forming special relationships with rangers, sylvan folk, and responsible hunters. Nurturers look after the children, serve as mid-wives, and visit with new and expectant mothers. Harvestmasters regularly visit the farmers, checking the health of their crop and live-stock, and offering aid as needed. Priests of Wajen tend to take great pleasure in caring for the faithful, and often form close and easy relationship with the common folk. Every priest is expected to spend a portion of their time caring for others. Those temples near cities and towns strive to be an important part of the community, and often build granaries to put aside food for times of famine.
In honor of the Great Mother´s wisdom, priests of Wajen are taught the value of patience, meditation and philosophy. They are expected to share their wisdom with others by offering advice to any who come seeking guidance. In honor of Wajen´s position as the counselor of the pantheon, her priests are especially pleased when asked for advice by priests of the other gods. However, as patience is a virtue prized by the church, priests are cautioned not to meddle unless asked, even when they see others making mistakes. People, as well as creatures, must grow in their own fashion. A wise nurturer holds fast to the hand that reaches out to them for help, but never chases after those who are not ready for true wisdom.
Except for their holy days, priests of Wajen do not schedule worship services. Wherever people enjoy nature´s bounty, where streams flow and trees grow tall -- these are all places for prayer and praise of The Great Mother. Holy Days are joyously celebrated, but the only calendar that truly matters to the Church is the changing of the seasons. A priest who fails to attend a ceremony is assumed to have answered an urgent call elsewhere. Priests do strive to meet with one another to exchange word and especially to pass on news of unusual natural events, as only a shared world view will allow them to see the whole picture. But these meetings owe more to chance and to Wajen´s guidance than to formality. Priests of Wajen seldom plan anything. Many do exchange written correspondence, but their communications tend to be brief and pragmatic. A show of affection for one´s companions is best done with hugs and kisses, not pen and paper.
The largest temple of Wajen is the Stead of Tall Pines in Reggis, and this structure is unique in its grandiose nature. Built centuries ago, it is made from the trunks of giant pine trees, and is considered an engineering marvel. It also contains a very large granary and a smokehouse. Most others are smaller shrines sprinkled throughout small towns and villages. The other large cities that boast a temple to Wajen are Ft. Kalohar, Geston, and Palk. Tonn is host to a small shrine.
Priests of Wajen always dress simply. They may wear most any style of robes or clothing, but these must be of forest colors, particularly browns and greens. Priests are encouraged to make their own clothing whenever possible. All priests must make their holy symbol by hand. Most of these are made of wood, though some priests have fashioned theirs from stone, ivory, ceramic, embroidered cloth, or other materials.