It seems appropriate that during what is a religious holiday for some (for others a chance to eat so many eggs that physically they start to resemble one) to write about one of the religions in WoW. Some of you will have read my early scholarly post on the Cult of the Forgotten shadow – which can be found here if you missed it & think you might have joined the cult by mistake (hint: if you’re murdering people daily and cackling in your sleep there’s a good chance you have). Today I want to write about the Church of the Holy Light. I think it’s very important for us visitors to the world of Azeroth to understand the history, beliefs and practices of the religions we encounter – it is the only way to achieve the same true tolerance and understanding we see around us in the real world.
The first thing to note is that the word Holy was a late addition to the Church’s identity. It was initially called the Church of the Light and this was because of its very strict weight restrictions. Basically you had to be able to play a tune (a hymn preferably although some light rock and roll was allowed) on your ribs before you could join. However, as cooking skills improved and food became more plentiful so the light adherents became -well -less light. Happily one day one of the bishops had a vision (while eating some chicken skin as it happens) which told him they had been taking the word light too literally, that it was meant to mean a Holy (i.e. very special and sparkly) light and that meant it was ok to eat chocolate six times a day and finish off that chicken skin. There was much rejoicing.
The Church became known not just for its message of the light – the holy light I mean (go on- have a cake) but also hope. Members of the Church would frequently stand in village squares shouting things like, “Cheer up, might be sunny tomorrow” (bizarrely preached most often in Stranglethorn Vale during the drought that killed thousands), or to individuals passing by, “Look on the bright side, your wife’s so pig ugly at least you ‘ll never have to worry about her having an affair.” Their words brought comfort to millions.
In essence the philosophy of the Holy Light boils down to the Three Virtues — respect, tenacity and compassion.
Respect quite simply involves saluting anyone with an ilevel over 379. They are awesome, you are crap, so salute.
Tenacity can be shown by grinding rep with insignificant factions with annoying daily quests. This is why Seashell- still bombing eggs- is almost at sainthood level in regards to her tenacity (although this is undermined by the murderous rage she now feels every time she sees someone from the Shatari Skyguard).
Compassion involves undercutting others on the auction house to enable new players to buy stuff cheaply and to annoy the sellers who price too high (I mean teach them an important lesson about greed). It also helps shift large amounts of crap quickly which is no bad thing.
One of the earliest leaders of the church was Archbishop Alonsus Faol. It is important to know however that his last name was not actually Faol but Fool- Alonsus the Fool. This was because he could not work out how to play Tic Tac Toe and was continually beaten by his apprentice Uther. Eventually even Uther tired of trying to teach him how to draw a cross (he insisted on drawing spirals instead and calling them Mother) and instead formed a new order, the Knights of the Silver Hand (originally Silver and Gold – they were going to sell jewellery as a sideline ).
It was these Knights that led to success in the Third War. In fact the Third War was a good war for the Church (as opposed to the Second which was a tad boring and the First which was a frightful nuisance). But after the war division hit the church – there were those who thought it was time for a total revamp (curtains, carpets & an accent wall was suggested) & others who felt that there was wisdom to be found in the words of squirrels.
Guidance was looked for in the texts but most of these were lost or too ridiculous for words (they suggested things like morality and good behaviour – the knights used to read them out in funny voices to each other to make each other laugh). Eventually each group decided to write their own. They used these texts as a way to dismiss the beliefs of the others. We see this in several harsh statements that are found in these texts such as, “Red curtains hide a jealous mind and probably an unwashed floor if I’m not mistaken” and “If a squirrel shows you his nuts do not /love him as this sends him entirely the wrong message.” Of course Azerothians today take these verses literally with many spitting on houses with so much as a hint of pink in the curtain (god help those whose colours run in the wash) and others ostracised if seen out drinking with a squirrel (as so many are wont to do).
The one thing that united – and still unites – the Church however were two key beliefs – that the Scourge are evil and that certain stains can only be removed with a scouring cloth. Because of this it is customary on one day of the year for different factions of the Church to greet each other by doing a robust scouring action in the air (try it- good for the shoulder as well as the spirit) to indicate that beyond the divisions they are all still fighting the same thing- grease, grime and the undead (and if they can kill a greasy, grimy undead at the same time they earn maximum holy kudos points)
So that’s it – a brief guide to the Church of the Holy Light. They’re always looking for newcomers of course. If you’re interested pop along to your local store, buy a scouring pad and a “I hate the Scourge” t-shirt and you’re away to go. You’ll need to choose between soft furnishings and squirrels of course – but to me there’s no choice – there’s not much about the world a squirrel doesn’t know and don’t let the racoons tell you any different.