Religion and Magic
Note: The religions in Alicrow are, for the most part, equivalent to their real-world counterparts. Religions mentioned here are either vastly different, made up for this story, or are fairly esoteric and not known by most people.
History: Originally, there was just Protestant and Catholic, and all the Catholic priests were angels. That worked for a while, but then people started demanding that non-angels be allowed to serve as priests, too. After the true divinity of the angels was questioned enough, people got pissed enough to create a new Catholic Church that didn’t place so much emphasis on the divinity of angels, and maintained that God loves all creatures equally. The old Church became known as the Angelic Catholic Church.
Basic beliefs: Angels are descended directly from the Christian God, and are meant to dedicate their lives to serving Him. All other species needs to accept that they are inferior.
Believe it or not, this is a real religion. Commonly known as “Wicca”, it’s the most popular form of Neo-Paganism. The Wikipedia article has some good information on it. One thing to keep in mind is that unlike Christianity, Wicca does not have a central authority structure. This means that beliefs and practices will vary widely between practitioners.
Deities: The Great Goddess and the Horned God, which represent the female and male aspects of the world.
Holidays: Solstices and equinoxes, along with each full moon and new moon.
Basic beliefs: nature is sacred, magic is all around us.
Differences from real-world Wicca/Witchcraft: For one, it makes WAY more sense in a world with actual magic. It’s worth noting, however, that the magic of Witchcraft is NOT like fantasy magic: rather, it’s basically positive thinking, determination, and working towards your goals. WAY less interesting.
Example of Follower: Alex.
Popularity: Decent. Much higher than in the real world, because people aren’t thrown off by the idea of magic.
Another real-world religion. This one quite esoteric. Thelema was started by Alister Crowley a long time ago, and has served as inspiration for a lot of occult religions (including some emphasis on Wicca/Witchcraft). Of note, because… Alister + Crowley = Alicrow. Yes, the world is named after him. Because he’s awesome.
Deities: None. (You can supply your own if you so wish).
Views on magic: “Magick is the Science and Art of creating Change through Confirmity with Will”. Magick, in a Thelematic definition, can be “mundane” things like writing something inspiring that changes the way people think. Spelled “Magick” to distinguish it from stage magic.
Example of Follower: Has not appeared yet, but he will.
Popularity: very low. Only slightly more popular than it is in the real world.
Not a religion. But it’s awesome. All glory to GNU! May the Source be with you!
Light magic is magic that relies heavily upon an external power source. A good example is a simple prayer, where one asks a deity to do the magic for them. Note that “Light” does NOT mean the same thing as “good”, and “light magic” is not necessarily equivalent to the real-world concept of “white magic”. As an example, selling your soul the devil in exchange for him killing your wife is entirely light magic, despite the evilness of the act and intent to harm.
Dark magic is magic that relies mainly (or entirely) on the caster’s own ability, knowledge, and resources. The defining characteristic of dark magic is that the caster does their spells without outside help. They may pray to a deity to help restore their power, but when they sit down to do a spell, they must work the magic themselves, and use the power inside them.
Typically, dark magic is WAY harder than light magic, and most dark magicians can’t store enough power for massive spells, but it is commonly preferred by those not wishing to align themselves to a deity. Dark magic is commonly feared because it’s not as easily regulated.