While the bulk of this article is fanon by Everen, the relevant authors and leaders of particular subsects should feel free and very welcome to add or edit content relating to their sect, branch or cult.
Gilnean Paganism is a family of small religions found almost entirely in the Gilnean Peninsula, the bulk of which identify with the quasi-mythical 'Old Ways' and share elements of a common framework of mythology, spiritual belief, and quasi-Druidic or Shamanic magical rituals. While the bulk of the sects of Gilnean paganism can be traced back over the centuries, either as an unbroken line or as a presumed and plausible renewal, an increasing number belong to the subfamily of 'Gilnean Neopaganism' or 'Reconstructed Paganism' - a cluster of recently created cults and sects that claim to restore old practices, often syncretizing practices from several 'authentic' pagan sects and Kaldorei teachings.
While Gilneas is a predominantly Orthodox Light nation, a number of old and syncretized pagan practices remain common among both the commoners and the aristocracy of the increasingly industrialized nation. Thus, even in its much diminished modern form, Gilnean paganism remains a significant factor in the politics and society of the isolated and largely ruined nation.
Votive Offerings and Sacrificial OfferingsEdit
One of the most common, and enduring, practices of the Gilnean pagan faiths was that of making offerings to their deities or to the elemental spirits themselves. Historical records and folklore indicate that many of these offerings took the form of animal or human sacrifices, usually only offered in part and largely consumed by the offerers or the priests conducting the ceremonies. Less common options for animal sacrifices included the practice of the holocaust or of ritual drowning in the sea, while the usual practice for votive offerings was to leave the goods in sacred places or to cast them into a well.
Such sacrifices could be made for many purposes - to attain a blessing, to end a curse or invoke one on an enemy, to make amends for a sin or misdeed, to show respect in hope of maintaining good will, to prove a claim, or to propitiate angry spirits and ghosts. Many such practices continued after the near-eradication of the Pagan faiths, both among the rural people who retained faint memories in the form of the Harvest Witches and among the Light-worshipping upper classes. The most prominent recent example of votive offerings took place during the Gilnean Exodus, where Genn Greymane, King of Gilneas, made an offering at the tomb of Aderic. While conducted in the name of the Light, this votive offering was carried out to appease the spirits of the ancestors.
The festival of Hallow's End, though practiced broadly across Azeroth (and hypothesized, consequently, to be a true remnant of the 'old ways'), holds special resonance in Gilnean paganism. With the Day of the Dead following immediately in its wake, the last half of October is considered a crucial time for ritual and for shedding burdens. With the boundary between the world of the living and that of the dead diminishing daily, most sects practice some form of celebratory fire - often involving a human effigy - and the symbolic destruction of painful memories in order to shed themselves of unfortunate resonances that might draw negative spirits, rather than those of their ancestors or beloved departed. Rumour speaks of a number of older and obscure sects forgoing the burning of a straw effigy in favour of a genuine human sacrifice, a scapegoat whose blood protects them from spiritual harm when worn - a practice unnervingly similar to the Forsaken practice of daubing the face with the ashes of the Wickerman.
Notable Sects and ReligionsEdit
The Wickers are a group of anarchical pagans that make their home within the hidden city of Wickenden, located somewhere in The Ashen Coast. Though initially a large and sprawling movement that at one point almost took over Gilneas by force, the Wickers in modern times are more akin to a bandit like group that maintain very little of the goals of their ancestors. While they still preserve most of their traditions and ways of life, the modern Wickers seem to have little ambition for retaking their "rightful lands" and are more interested on surviving through raids or taking what they want from the populace they can find. The Wickers claim to be the purest group that still keeps to the traditions of the Old Ways, and though this claim is dubious and its validity can be questioned, the various rituals and traditions they practice do seem to have root in older times.
The Wolfcult of Alpha Prime, or just simpy the Wolfcult, was a group that fervently supported and worshiped Alpha Prime, the original worgen. Alpha Prime, originally Rellar Fangfire, was a night elven druid that worshiped the ancient, Goldrinn alongside his other Druids of the Pack. After having turned into a worgen by way of the Scythe of Elune, Alpha Prime plotted against those that had exiled his fellow druids, namely Malfurion Stormrage. The wolfcult's practices are largely unknown and the organization disbanded when Alpha Prime was slain during the Invasion of Gilneas.