Religion in Vajhoros, iv

Pentarshasproagmă – the kingdom of incarnation

Theory

During vrtaikă, a great pain of tsaien is experienced. It is therefore rational to seek to reduce the duration of vrtaikă, by increasing one’s ability to reincarnate. Parents, meanwhile, wish to have their children inhabited by superior spirits. From both sides of the equation, then, there is a demand for more control over the incarnation process.

Incarnation is an unclear affair. There appear to be four key elements: calling a spirit to a body (sokurmas); an affinity (vrbultas) between a new body and a spirit; expertise (inshagamtô); and the intervention of a tulmăn.

Sokurmas rests on the ability of spirits to hear without physical bounds – one spirit can hear everything on the planet. They are, however, assailed by a great many sounds, and so sokurmas depends upon finding distinctive sounds.

Vrbultas is mostly a matter of genetics, but also involves ideas of sympathy between mother and child – by shaping her body and mind (which is considered part of the body), she can shape her child into an appropriate shape for a particular spirit. Moreover, the egg is altered directly in the womb by the father, who in the moment of orgasm temporarily distorts his provukă, becoming a momentary shojkă, changing the physical nature of the woman’s eggs. He, she, or a third participant may interfere in this process to call a better spirit to the new body.

Inshagamtô is simply knowledge possessed by the spirit seeking to be incarnated. However, the nature of this knowledge is problematic, as it can depend neither on the mind nor on the body, both of which are material and hence absent in the incorporeal spirit. That this knowledge is not retained after death is evident from the fact that children must learn it all again. What is known to the spirit, therefore, is what can be known to a child without learning, which is broadly what we might call ‘instinct’. As instinct is a practical faculty, it must have originated in previous lives. Hence it can be seen that experience in one life can translate into instinctive knowledge in the next – a child flinches from fire or is afraid of large growling dogs or repulsed by unclean food because in previous lives it has learnt that these things are dangerous. This is considered to operate through a ‘shaping’ or ‘mirroring’ principle – the body’s actions shape the spirit. This likewise accounts for why some children are particularly talented in certain areas – they have learned the skills before, and simply have to learn how to apply them with their new body and mind.

In the case of incarnation inshagamtô, however, the body cannot shape the spirit directly, because the body cannot incarnate. Nor, for that matter, can the mind. However, it is observed that certain mental things, such as words, may stand in place of other mental things, such as thoughts, and some believe that certain mental actions may likewise act as analogues to spiritual actions, such as incarnation. This process is known as vrmainas, ‘mirroring’.

Tokônivôas, ‘intervention’, is the process by which a tulmăn exerts pakvas over the spirits fighting for a particular incarnation to favour one spirit over another. It cannot be controlled, but may be besought of a particular tulmăn through devotions.

Practice

The practice of pentarshasproagmă varies exceedingly widely between groups. There are in general three types of groups involved: ordinary religious institutions; Shahal cults; and lineage cults.

Lineage cults are repositories of inshagamtô – when a master dies, they are swiftly reincarnated in a new body, often of a direct descendent born soon after their death, sometimes instead the child of a disciple. Through esoteric mantras, inshagamtô is transferred from master to disciple, and from disciple to novice – novitiate is an institution for those not born with considerable inshagamtô, and exists to prepare them for disciplehood in a future life. These cults often teach mothers practices to shape their babies into a form that can receive a dead master: if the master had a limp, mothers are encouraged to limp, if the master was tall, mothers wear high shoes; if the master liked morning walks, mothers take morning walks.

For many lineage cults, procreation is particularly significant. Various medicines are often given to fathers to encourage anorgasmic ejaculation, so that the father is unable to shape the eggs of the mother, as that would encourage his ancestors to incarnate in his child, rather than a master of the lineage. Instead, a living master may observe the procreation and himself reach orgasm in order to shape the woman’s eggs. In some cases, semen is given particular reverence, as a material receptacle for a fragment of spirit, and it may be used for ingestion or anointing – not only to warp eggs but also because as a receptacle of spirit it may be a receptacle for inshagamtô: by imbuing his semen with his inshagamtô, a master may transfer it to a disciple without mantras. Furthermore, some cults consider the egg-warping act of male orgasm as essentially similar to the act of incarnation itself, and hence impart inshagamtô through encouraging tantric sex practices.

Both lineage cults and the mainstream church may practice sokurmas, with two purposes: to bring about the incarnation of beloved dead into new bodies, and for parents to bring a powerful and admirable spirit into a newborn. The process essentially involves the chanting or reciting of words and mantras that have particular significance for the spirit being called, such as their name, the names of loved ones, the names of places significant to them, or recitations of their deeds. These things are often accompanied with the chiming of bells, tuned esoterically to represent the name of the spirit.

Mainstream church groups also beseech tokônivôas from the tulmnam through devotions. Other groups, called Shahal cults, teach that certain tulmnam are willing to transform the eggs of a woman into their own image, so that their relatives may incarnate in the newborn. When those tulmnam were powerful kings of ancient lineages, this is greatly desirable to the parents. Moreover, such incarnations often carry the supposition of freedom from political control – no modern ruler has any authority over these heroic monarchs and their families.

Status

Sokurmas and tokônivôas are mainstream practices, incorporated into the rituals of death and birth. Inshagamtô lineages are in general deprecated as a waste of time, and often as obscurantist or manipulative – but they are powerful in remote rural areas, and growing in popularity in the cities. Shahal groups are forbidden under pain of death, due to their historically divisive nature, having encouraged several rebellions; nonetheless, they continue to exist in secret.

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