Katia: Prayers and Holy Days

From The World of Layonara
Jump to navigation Jump to search

"Dear Mother Nature, we open our prayer to you for your life blood. Let the skies join in unison to cleanse the evil and put out the fires of the pit dwellers who seek to destroy. Let the bounty of the farmers flourish in the rivers of your magnificence and feed all of your hungry children. Take away the thirst of all of your creatures with your blessed divine water'your tears of replenishment." -Plenarius Ashaley, Bird Lord of Katia

Clerics of She Who Watches pray for their spells at sunrise. Prayers to Katia usually involve terminology referencing nature like plants, animals, or weather.

Holy Days

There are four holy days on the Katian calender. They are the first days of spring, summer, autumn, and winter. In keeping with the balance of the cycle, none of the holy days is more important than the other. Each is celebrated for the unique contribution that is played in what it represents.

The first day of spring, called Tending, is as much a day of work as celebration for Katians. It is the job of the elder of the clan or group to watch for the evening of the winter nights into spring days watching for the new beginning to make sure all is ready upon the arrival of the day. It is largely spent tallying and assessing the damage done by the winter to the groves, which serve as Katia's temples. From dawn till dusk, time is spent mending and planting trees and other landscaping activities. The day is also spent in rekindling of bonds of the clan to one another as they work and shake off the effects of the winter's isolation. The day ends with a communal meal within the temple or grove where the last of the food stored before the winter is eaten. At midnight, prayers are given to Katia's constellation.

"As the cold recedes, Mother Nature, we toil.
As the sun reveals, Mother Nature, we watch.
As the ice melts, Mother Nature, we heal.
As the warmth spreads, Mother Nature, we smile."
-Sing-song chant taught to children as the clan works on Tending

The first day of summer, called Longest Day, is a celebration of youth and life. The morning hours are spent in meditation; alone in nature, reflecting on one's personal connection to the cycle. As the day shifts to afternoon, followers gather at the temple. An inaugural prayer is offered and the games begin. Mental and physical games are played, varying by clan or interpretation. Each game is a teaching tool for the very young and a reminder for the olders of their part in the great cycle and how each unique contribution plays a part in the glory that is nature. As night draws in on this longest day of the year, each engage in song and dance and share what they have grown and gathered so far in the season. Well into the night, as Katia's constellation glows its brightest, the clan prays together, celebrating one more step in the cycle.

"Light dances at our children's laughter. Sky watch as the future plays. Time draws forward. Lessons learned of the way. We learn our parts, the great cycle continues. Celebrated youth, celebrated age, celebrated parting ways. Mother Nature guide the path before us, continue the cycle's path." -An opening prayer before the games begin

The first day of autumn, called Augra's Day, is a harvest festival. It is also in celebration of family and clan specifically. The only gathering of food is meant for the festival the week prior, and other preparations are within the clan home and temples or groves. The day itself is spent in cooking, cleaning, and family activities. The evening sees each family arriving at the clan center or temple, each providing a portion of the meal. During this meal, it is customary to share the legend of Katia's ascension. Her blessings are asked for the coming season's work to see the clan through safely through the winter. At this time, the days get shorter and the nights grow colder and longer steadily over the season. It is seen as the last true celebration of the year. It is not uncommon to have weddings on this day or the same week of Augra's Day. Many children receive corn dolls made in the forms of animals or children on this day. They are crafted from the corn shuck and corn silk remains.

"Blessed Mother, we offer up this bountiful feast and give thanks to you. In your ways, we have found balance and a path within the great cycle. In our lives, you have shown us the way to live in harmony with nature, leaving it better in our deaths than when we arrived within this world. Each small tree we have nurtured, each forest we have kept safe, we have saved thousands of lives in your name. In return, we have found our family strong and healthy, living in your way." -Family elder offering prayer over the Augra's Day feast

The first day of winter, called Longest Night, is a celebration of the return of the sun. For three days prior to the celebration day, Katians fast. They consume only water during this time, with the exception of the ill and the recently delivered babies and their mothers. Fasting symbolizes the connection to the land, as the sun is seen for shorter and shorter times during these days. On the night of celebration, a grand feast is prepared of light foods and is meatless. Bonfires are lit to keep spirits raised until dawn.

When day breaks, it signals the new year and the return of the sun. Many activities are common on this holiday, including the remembrance of loved ones passed on from this life and storytelling. Tales usually are clan or group legends of Katia and her lessons. The Bonfire Vigil is sometimes held in clan cemeteries or held within the temple or grove depending on location. This holiday is the only time during the winter when the clan joins as a group officially until the celebration of spring. The prayers to She Who Watches are often given at dawn, following the long night's end.

"And raised up from the form of a lowly human to the grand form of a goddess, Katia stood before all that she loved and held dear in glowing radiance. Her form slowly taking the likeness of every blessed part of nature. Her voice a crescendo of song in the joy for the gift bestowed upon her being. The land itself absorbed what remained of her so that Katia would know and feel what needed healing, what celebrated in health, and what was just newly being born." -An excerpt from a telling of Katia's ascension, shared over the Bonfire Vigil for the sun to grace nature's children once more.

It is important to note that each of these holidays are celebrated with the changing seasons and not celebrated on a particular calendar day. The latitude and longitude of a particular location will also cause the actual dates of celebration to vary from place to place.