Tag: Religion in Wow

Voodoo Hoodoo Remind me of the Babe

 

You remind me of the babe
What babe? The babe with the power
What power? Power of voodoo
Who do? You do
Do what? Remind me of the babe

David Bowie, Labyrinth- lyrics so profound, thought provoking, challenging. Such a deft use of the question mark. So sad he was totally out acted in the film by a bunch of muppets – but it happened to Michael Caine in the Muppets Christmas Carol as well so it happens to the best of them. But David leads us nicely into my third study of the religions in WoW (and can’t you just tell I’m a Theology graduate – the weight of all those years of research shines through every word of my blog – my supervisor would be so proud). We have covered The Cult of the Forgotten Shadow and The Church of the Holy Light and now … well it just has to be Voodoo – if only because I’ve got that bloody David Bowie song dancing around my head & I’m forced to take it as a sign from the gods (the Voodoo gods – they are very supportive of us bloggers) that I need to get this down.Ok so Voodoo in Azeroth- what is it, where did it come from and is a shrunken head soon to be the height of fashion on the Paris catwalk. There is only one answer to all that – it’s the Trolls mon, look to the Trolls.

It’s best to think of the Trolls and their Voodoo religion as a slightly darker version of the shamanistic beliefs of the cuddly Orcs and the “only one evolutionary step away from cattle” Tauren. The Trolls don’t need all that “harnessing the power of the elements” nonsense. They harness the power of beings who use the elements as cheap home help and pay them less than minimum wage. Yes Trolls and their spirits are that hard.

It is said by some that the spirits Trolls worship are malign – I would rather call them “darkly cranky” which to be fair is no different to how I get everytime I see the milk left out on the counter. Yes there is some sacrifice and cannibalism – but jeez the milk will go off if left out for too long. But I digress. For the trolls it is important to get the spirits they worship on side and to do this they need to give them a bit of what they fancy –  unfortunately this tends not to be a glass of juice and a cupcake. Troll spirits like some death, blood and burnt offerings. But this just means in fact they would not feel out of place at any UK summer BBQ.

The spirits are often dead ancestors who are rather jealous of the living. So remember how cranky Gran used to get when she was alive & her bunions were hurting & she couldn’t quite hear the TV & she thought you were silly for going out without a jumper. Well give her sharper teeth and a real taste for blood sacrifice and you have your classic Troll spirit. Aww isn’t it nice to see Gran again (will be your last thought from on top of the burning pyre).

The Darkspear Trolls did try to mend their sacrificial & cannibalistic ways ways in front of Thrall because they knew he didn’t like that sort of thing (“Troll guy what’s in your mouth?” “It’s a stick Thrall, I’m chewing on it, thought it would be all cool & Clint Eastwood-like”,  “It’s got a finger nail… Troll, are you sure that’s a stick”, “Jeez yes Thrall it’s a stick, you’re in the wild here mon, our trees have nails and stuff, and …and what’s that…(spits) ..um …wedding rings…..”). To placate Thrall they tried to switch to animal sacrifices (because of course animals like being killed so much more …don’t get me started on Thrall’s double standards), corpse eye removal (what?) and head shrinking (double what?!!).

Yes headshrinking – it is the ultimate Troll calling card except instead of being out to the shops when they call you’re dead and decapitated. What they do to your head after death does not bear thinking about. Suffice to say that even if you managed to come back from the dead and reattach your head  your  hats would no longer fit & you’d look rather ridiculous in a turtleneck. Which of course is their dastardly plan. I think I’d rather be eaten.

Senior Troll leaders are the priests and the witch doctors.

First the priests  –  these are closely associated with the Loa they worship – powerful and scary primal gods. Indeed priests can take on the shape of their personal Loa – becoming its avatar. This tends to mean taking on the appearance of  things like snakes, bears, felines and birds  – although there are some rather cuter Troll priests who prefer to become avatars of the bunny, puppy and kitten primal gods. These priests tend to be rather mocked in most Troll circles but they don’t half have some fun with a ball of string, a discarded slipper and a carrot.

Then there’s the Witch doctors – PhDs in hexes, head resizing and boils, but absolutely useless at dealing with colds, flus or fevers (they always suggest fluids, paracetemols and bed rest – where do they learn that stuff?). There are some female witch doctors but they tend to only be allowed to deal with “Troll women troubles” and  family planning (which for contraception usually involves a variant of the head shrinking hex directed at another part of the anatomy. It’s also employed as a playful mood improver during periods of “women trouble” too – you’re in discomfort so why shouldn’t he suffer being the general philosophy.)

Witch doctors are also well respected for their fortune telling abilities & will be consulted before any battle. They will carefully interpret the signs around them (enemies in the village, troll warriors dead at their feet, buildings burning) and usually cautiously offer the view that victory is assured. They are a glass half full race after all.

And that’s about it on the Troll Voodoo religion. I just  bet after all that you’re keen to meet some Voodoo practising Trolls. I mean who wouldn’t be? Well get yourself along to Zul’Gurub and Zul’Aman then and say howdy. Don’t bother taking a hat though.

In the Psychiatrist’s Chair: Elune

It’s clear to most of us that many of Azeroth most famous inhabitants could benefit from some psychiatric treatment to work out some of their issues. Today we sit in on Elune the Moon Goddess’s session with her psychiatrist. It will be illuminating (pardon the  crap pun) to say the least. Even the oldest of Azeroth’s deities can hit a crisis point in their lives.

Psychiatrist: Elune, welcome. I would like you to try and relax during this session. This is a safe place for you to speak openly and without fearing censure or judgement.

Elune: Good. Because I’ve got helluva lot to get off my chest and I can’t do it out there (gestures to the door). Oh  no- out there I’ve got to be all peaceful and light and all “Oh no please don’t fight, pretty please, I hate it when we argue” blah blah blah. When really deep down I’m all “Get stuck in, rip his bloody eyeballs out!” But I’m not allowed to say that. It’s frowned upon.

Psychiatrist: Frowned upon. It’s interesting you say that. Who frowns upon you expressing your feelings?

Elune: Well Malorne for one. He doesn’t like it. He says “It’s not becoming a Moon Goddess.” He’s always very dignified and serious as you probably know. He’s a stag after all. Father of the forest and all that. I respect it but geez sometimes it’s so boring. I just want to kick back and live a little.  You know what I mean? Malorne always covers my eyes  if there’s anyone around fighting – even if it’s just those newbies duelling in Goldshire. It really irritates me.  And Cenarius – well you know what  children are like – no matter how old they get. They’re always embarrassed by their mothers.

Psychiatrist: Tell me more about your relationship with your son?

Elune: These days it’s not so good. I let Ysera bring him up and that was a huge mistake.  But I had my career to think of at the time. It’s long hours being a Moon Goddess – lots of night shifts. He says I interfere now – but it’s just me trying to get involved. Probably too little too late but there you go. I was only saying to him the other day “You need to trim your hooves, they’re trekking dirt into my temple.” If I did – the look he gave me. Ysera would have taken his eyebrows off with her fiery breath (bad breath I call it- but don’t tell her) if he’d said that to her, but no – it’s only with me he’s like that. He thinks he can get away with it. But I don’t think I was being unreasonable. His hooves are mucky. I need to have a good hour on them with a nail file. I get embarrassed when my devotees see him. He doesn’t really take after me physically…..

Psychiatrist: Tell me about your devotees?

Elune: Well it’s the  Night elves mainly – although some of them haven’t got a clue these days to be honest and are starting to be all starry eyed for Ysera saying she and I are actually one and the same. Are they kidding?  I’d never let my back get all scaley like that. I exfoliate every day.  But my Sentinels are loyal at least. They’ve not let me down like the Kaldorei did way back when.

Psychiatrist: The Kaldorei let you down?

Elune: Yes – you must have heard – it was the talk of the land. In fact it ravaged the land. They got a taste for power. The bad kind. Then their queen Azshara got totally swept away by Sargeras. Weak minded that one – but surprisingly very kind to puppies. Most people don’t know that about her. When she retires she plans to set up an animal sanctuary and I’ve promised to help out volunteering on weekends. Anyway… her shenanigans with Sargeras led to the Burning Legion  descending on Azeroth and as you know total disaster.

Psychiatrist: Did you tell the Kaldorei and Azshara how you felt about it all?

Elune: (Sighing) Well I sent Azshara a rather terse note but not sure if she read it.  She’d gone a bit doolallytap by then (wiggles finger at head). Plus as I said I’m not really  allowed to express myself like that. Malorne likes me to be all calm and dignified – except in the bedroom of course where it’s all “Discipline me mistress, discipline me,  I’ve been a very bad stag.”  The only thing I can do if there’s ever any trouble going on – and you won’t believe this – is sing a song. It calms people down for some reason- although Malorne says I’m usually a fraction off key and can’t hold a candle to Barbra Streisand, whoever she is.

Psychiatrist: So what do you want to do to change all this? What would you like to be different?

Elune: Well as a starter I’d like to be able to actually say how I feel and not revert to song as if I’m in some bloody Gilbert & Sullivan production. And I know it sounds trivial but I’d also like to start wearing darker clothes. All this luminescence totally washes me out. It makes me look 10 years older and I’m old enough as it is. And I want laser eye surgery. My eyes are orbs of pure moonlight. Pure moonlight! There’s not one working optic nerve between them. It’s the reason why I ended up hooking up with a stag of all things – I thought he was a Titan in fancy dress. And I’m constantly bumping into things.

Psychiatrist: Well could you set some SMART goals for yourself to achieve these three things?  For example commit to booking an appointment for a laser surgery consultation in the next two weeks? Perhaps agree with yourself that you will buy yourself a black item of clothing when you’re next out shopping? And consider fixing a time to sit your son and partner down and talk to them about how you really feel.

Elune: Yes I think I could do that.

Psychiatrist: Ok … think about the future now – say five years on. What is Elune like then? What would you like to be doing five years from now?

Elune: Hmmm…interesting. Ok well I’ll have definitely specced as a warrior. It’s a little unusual for a goddess to spec in anything really but I want to start breaking the mould here. And it’s  melee all the way baby. None of this standing off afar and singing a little tune. I want to feel the cut and thrust of it  – the heat of the battle.  All this nonsense about me hating violence – I’ve always said to Malorne “Sometimes you’ve just got to have a good smackdown, it’s the only way to sort things out.”  Finally I’ll be able to be open about it all – maybe even show off some of the old martial arts I’ve secretly picked up over the years. I once dressed up as a ninja and attacked Azshara with a flying monkey kick. It was awesome – gave her a concussion for a week. I was just gutted I couldn’t tell anyone that I’d done it … for some reason she thought it was a disgruntled puppy. So yes finally  everyone will know who and what I am and how I really feel. It will come as a shock to some. For example truth be told I’m not all that keen on the moon – gives me the creeps. At heart I’m a sun worshipper. And I tell you this – Cenarius will have clean hooves.

Psychiatrist: Ok we’ll leave it there Elune.  Good luck with your goals. May Elune …ummm …you … light your path.

END OF SESSION

Bravetank’s Guide to…the Church of the Holy Light

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.

Bravetank’s Guide to…the Cult of the Forgotten Shadow

So many people are confused by the Cult of the Forgotten Shadow that I thought it would be useful to have a mini guide. The first thing that confuses people is how there can be a cult of a shadow that is actually forgotten. But this is simply a classic religious paradox – the sort that Augustine and Aquinas wrestled with in their day (while still putting out impressive DPS it should be noted). Actually at least one part of the name comes from a passive aggressive attack on the Church of the Holy Light. The cult wanted a word that was the opposite of Light and opted for “Shadow” because Aelthalyste (their banshee cult leader) forbade the use of the word “Dark” (it was a bitter reminder of her favourite treat when pre-menstrual-  dark chocolate – which she now refused to eat because Illius, one of the other leaders, once implied it was making her put on weight (his actual words to her were, “Do you want me to buy you another bar or have you had enough? – but she knew exactly what he meant).

Before we talk about the religion in more detail it’s worth pointing out that we  are talking here about the religion of the Forsaken- a faction of the Undead. This is a group of people who find it socially acceptable (indeed it is praised in their best-selling etiquette guide entitled “Don’t Forsake your Manners”) the act of falling to their hands and knees to chew up the remains of the dead without the use of a napkin. So it’s not going to be pretty.

This is a religion that was formed out of anger. Previously priests of the cult had been adherents of the Holy Light. They had believed that dead was dead – at least as far as the body was concerned – and only the soul lived on. To look in the mirror and see a shambling mass of muscle and sinew was to at first get excited and squeal “oooh look Madonna” and then to realise with a bitter blow that it was in fact yourself without even the compensation of her millions. Depression and anger soon followed.

There are three central tenets in the cult – Respect, Tenacity and Power  –  RTP – easily remembered by the saying Roll The Penguin- a past-time many Forsaken enjoy on a Bank Holiday (but against which the Penguin Society “We get Dizzy when we Roll” was formed).

“Respect” in Forsaken terms does not mean what one would normally think of as respect – honour to one’s parents (even when they’re talking loudly through your favourite programme),  humility before those of greater power (being nice to the boss even though he is so dense he thinks standard deviation is what you do when taking a longer route to avoid roadworks). No “respect” in cult terms is merely a greeting – one that shows the other to be a cult member (although the robes and badges are normally a dead giveaway). Any member of the Cult of the Forgotten Shadow must greet each other by saying “Respect” preferably with a “yo” prefacing it and nearly always ending with a cult member debate about which is the funniest – Ali G, Borat or Bruno and with at least one person informing the group that Sacha Baron Cohen “is married to Isla Fisher did you know” – a tedious statement that all greet with rolling eyes.

“Tenacity” again has a somewhat different meaning in the cult – it is a reference to Tenacious D which sums up everything that is abhorrent and vacuous in the world. By remembering this tenet cult members are prevented from bemoaning their fate and instead rejoice that they are no longer compelled to watch Jack Black repeatedly live out his delusions of being a rock star.

“Power” is the final tenet – this is quite simply a reference to The Power of Love – a moving Frankie Goes to Hollywood song that – despite their anger, hated and bitterness, still brings a tear to every Forsaken eye when they hold hands and sway and sing along to it (every Tuesday morning before torturing captive dwarves). Most are convinced Holly Johnson is simply a rather well fed member of the Undead.

The cult believes in Divine Humanism- i.e. that they themselves shape the universe. However, it is important to note that by universe they mean “The Universe” – a Forsaken comic book that they all work on every day. Indeed you will not find a member of the cult without a coloured pencil in his or her hand. They are incredible artists given the fact their fingers are hanging on by a mere thread.

There are Shadow Ascendants and Lightslayers in the cult. Shadow Ascendants are those that have mastered the art of casting their own shadow on a wall and then running up it – Donald O’Connor style. Lightslayers are simply those who have the responsibility of turning the lights out at bed time – an important role given the current price of electricity.

The goal of the cult is to conquer and transcend death . Or learn how to make the perfect hot chocolate. With marshmallows. It varies depending on the mood they are in.

The best way to join the cult is to first look undead (i.e. follow faithfully Madonna’s workout and diet plan), second publically destroy a copy of any Jack Black film (interestingly for Boy Scouts this is also the way to earn the highest public service award) and then thirdly perform the extended version of Frankie’s Relax complete with any actions you deem appropriate to illustrate the lyrics. Finally go along and and reassure Aelthalyste she could never be fat and that you like your banshees loud and cuddly. You’ll be promoted to priest before you know it.