TheoriOn the Founding and Traditions of the Starseers, the Clergy of Esshar
#1
A History in Brief

In 320 AC, Astronomy in Esshar was just beginning to develop. It was considered a revolutionary event at the time, the herald of a new era of understanding. Leading this charge was Nile Pelleaux, a cousin of the Head of House Pelleaux of the time. Nile’s research led to a new understanding of the nature of stars: they were both vessels and punishers of souls, burning away their mortal sins to prepare them for reincarnation.
The ramifications of this breakthrough were felt throughout Esshar. For a people disillusioned with the Angels -although Malziel’s Intervention was viewed with significant gratitude- due to the still fresh memory of the Second Divine War’s devastation, the stars offered a more stable personification of Kraus’ design. With this in mind, Nile Pelleaux assembled a council of the greatest philosophical minds in Esshar to draft an amended theology. Asserting that the stars were the greatest manifestation of Kraus’ will in Eternia, Nile suggested that they should be venerated as such. Several months of discussion ensued, with many of those great minds arguing the merits of abandoning the tradition method of Krausite theology, but eventually they came to a consensus. The seven greatest Astronomers of the time -including Nile himself- declared themselves the ‘Starseers’ and set about researching the comparative age of the stars themselves. The Constellation of Leonaus was determined to be the oldest after several years of intense study due to its close connection to the Divine Spirit of the Stars, and thus as the earliest expressions of Kraus’ design were to be especially venerated. This theology was formalized and endorsed by the Petrakis bloodline as the new State Religion of Esshar, and it remains thus to this day.
Throughout the early existence of the church, several heresies rose and fell. The most notable ones are as follows:
·        The Heralds of the Stellar Truth: This heresy -first appearing in the late 340s- asserted that the stars were not purifying, but instead consuming and destroying the souls of the dead, and thus claimed that they should be despised and feared instead of venerated. An early Church inquisition reduced the upstart cult to a sidenote of history.
·        The Acolytes of the Eclipse: Originating in the late 830s, this cult claimed that the power of the stars was nothing compared to that of a shadowy entity that also resided in the cosmos, and held a particular affinity with the event of an Eclipse. The cult gained a significant following due to resentment of the common population after the death of countless innocents in the Witch Hunts earlier in the century, but it was regardless stamped out quite quickly.

The holy book of the faith is the Codex Cosmos and is essentially a version of the Book of Kraus that elevates the role of the stars above the Angels in regards to the protection and perpetuation of Creation.

Traditions

·        Initiates into the clergy of the Faith go through a ritual where -regardless of any cosmic magic- they are 'chosen' by a star. This is similar to having a horoscope done, with the star they are 'chosen' by being meant to reflect their future. Depending on the star they are cast under, an Initiate is assigned to a branch of the faith, whether that be Astronomy (Yellow), Historical Preservation (Blue), or service as a member of the Faith Militant (Red). Even so, all members still perform general theological duties, such as leading prayer.
·        Members of the Clergy are expected to spend at least three days a year performing charity. This usually involves the poor being offered food or small amounts of money, although many Initiates into the Church are recruited through this manner.
·        The Clergy give up all claims on titles or land, and often -but not always- surrender their surname.
·        It is not uncommon for higher ranking members of the church to have the Constellation of Leonaus tattooed on their bodies.

Note: This is not meant as an exhaustive list or replacement of pre-existing lore, but rather additional elaboration to pre-existing information.
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#2
These are all proposed ideas, and are subject to change!

Zodiac Signs are given at birth, and are used for determining branch and ran.

Zodiac Sign - Name of Zodiac - Body of Astrology - Branch - Fluff

Yellow Branches -
☉ - Major Star Leo - The Sun - House of Leadership - Yellow Branch - Likely to promote leadership
♄ - Minor Star Alph - The First Constellation - House of Firsts - Yellow Branch - Likely to promote invention
⚶ - Minor Star Geist - The Brightest Star - House of Vision - Yellow Branch - Likely promote visions

Blue Branches - 
Δ - Major Moon Hiero - The Moon - House of Revision - Blue Branch - Likely to improve interpretation
☊ - Minor Moons Iberl - The Poles - House of Judgement - Blue Branch - Likely to improve translation
☌ - Minor Moon Uner - The Comet - House of Testimony - Blue Branch - Likely to improve transcription

Red Branches -
♆ - Major Planet Sro - The Three Mooned Planet - House of Force - Red Branch - Likely to master offensive capacity
♊︎ - Minor Planet Machae - The Grand Planet - House of Guardians - Red Branch - Likely to master defensive capacity
♅ - Minor Planet Misha - The Swift Planet - House of Scouts - Red Branch - Likely to master intellectual capacity

Null -
♒︎ - Emptiness of Space - The Void of Space - House of Freedom - Rejection - Likely to do nothing

Alignments are used for promotion within the ranks.

Alignment Sign - Name - Alignments - Branches and Effect - Fluff

♓︎ - Prophecy Alignment - The Alignment of Alph-Geist - Yellow Branch Promotion - Demonstrates Astrological Mastery
♎︎ - Scripture Alignment - The Alignment of Iberl-Uner - Blue Branch Promotion - Demonstrates Historical Mastery
♐︎ - Power Alignment - The Alignment of Machae-Misha - Red Branch Promotion - Demonstrates Prowess Mastery
♈︎ - Minor Alignment - The Alignment of Geist-Uner-Misha - Swap Branch - Demonstrates Confusion
Ξ - Major Alignment - The Alignment of Leo-Hiero-Sro - Automatic Promotion - Demonstrates Absolute Mastery
Θ - Null Alignment - Alignment of None - Rejection - Demonstrates No Mastery
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#3
Approved with some minor changes/additions: https://chronicles-of-esshar.com/lore/in.../The_Faith
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