|By Lovelyb0nes||Part of thecontinuity.|
The state of spirituality in the world of A:TLAR has been in dire straits since the inception of a seemingly never-ending war and the supposed breaking of the Avatar Host cycle at the hands of the Fire Nation military. On a global level, spirituality is on the verge of extinction, with the vast majority of the population having utterly forgotten or renounced the principles of the Avatar philosophy. The possibility of faith returning to the people is alive however, since Ain's reemergence as a source of hope. However, there is no possible manner through which he can revive spirituality to the highest level, as there are no more Air Nomads to produce a new generation of airbenders, and he has sworn eternal celibacy as part of the Monks' principles. There are three societies within the Revised world that served as the spiritual leaders within each nation.
The most prominent of the three spiritual societies are naturally the original followers of the Avatar Spirit's philosophy, those who spread its principles to the other nations during the first cultural integration. In the first age, the Avatar Spirit taught the principles that it felt the humans should follow through its host. The first students of the Host were the Air Nomads, that swiftly became an entire society hinged on the Spirit's philosophy. Three sites of worship were built in honor of the spirit. These places would become the focal point of the global populace's spirituality, where the Avatar Monks resided and trained any Air Nomad that had inherited the ability to airbend.
Each of these sites were led by a Grand Monk that had been prepared over the course of their entire life for becoming Grand Monk. The Avatar Monks were considered the most zealous of the Spirit's followers, primarily because they were responsible for spreading these principles to the Sun Warriors, the Earth Confederation, and the numerous Water Tribes. The Monks were utterly devoted to ensuring that the Avatar Spirit's teachings are embraced by every man and woman in the world, and remain long after they themselves had passed on. These were their two sites of worship:
The Northern Avatar Pagoda - Followers: None, ATLA equivalent: Northern Air Temple
Spiritual Leader: Grand Monk. Carriers of this title: Gyansi.
The Divine Avatar Monastery of the Lotus (and its final leader, Pathik, was directly allied with the Southern Temple.)
Fire SagesAfter centuries of complete cultural isolation, approximately a dozen monks from each of the three Avatar Monk sites set out on pilgrimages to ensure that the Spirit's philosophy would spread to every corner of the world. Monks from the Northern Pagoda were the first foreigners to enter the Fire Nation. Soon enough, they established a following within the Nation's populace. Upon the monks' departure, these men and women became the spiritual leaders of the Fire Nation. They became known as the Fire Sages.
In 74 ASF, Azulon forcibly enacted several decrees that led to the abolishment of the Avatar philosophy in the Fire Nation and the colonies in the EK. However, he permitted the temples to stand as ruins, in respect of the still devout. To 'sever the nation from its ties to the expired and obsolete Avatar philosophy,' Aizo's first act as Firelord (in the year 89 ASF) was to order the tearing down of all Sage temples, as a continuation of the work started by Azulon. This served as a catalyst, kindling a conflict between devout civilians and the nobility/military. A guerrilla war erupted in one of the western island of the nation. The last existing Fire Sage temple, located off the southwestern coast of the Earth Kingdom, in which the Dragon of the West resided, was torn down by Fire Nation soldiers in the winter of 99 ASF.
Spiritual Leader: Blaze Prophet.
The White Lotus (Earth and Water)
The Avatar Monks of the Southern Temple and Western Monastery quickly came into contact with the people of the Earth Kingdom, and the residents of the Water Tribes' villages and islands. While not violently eradicated like the spirituality of the Fire Nation, the vast majority of Water Tribes' citizens and Earth Kingdom citizens have abandoned their faiths, as they have lost hope in overcoming the Fire Nation, believe that the Avatar Spirit has abandoned them or that the cycle was truly broken by Sozin's actions those many years ago. Members of the White Lotus have been highly persecuted by their EK or tribal brothers, considered to be naively optimistic. The White Lotus' existence was the only sign of real unity between nations, and since its official disbanding, the relationship between the kingdom and the tribes has only worsened.
Followers: Bol, Pakku, Pathik.
The Western Divine Avatar Monastery - Followers: Pathik, ATLA equivalent: Eastern Air Temple (This site is inspired by The Tiger's Nest, a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan that is built on the side of a cliff.)
Spiritual Leader: Lotus Grandmaster. Carriers of this title: Pathik.
The Avatar Spirit
Known only as The Avatar amongst its comrades in the Spirit Realm, this ancient and wildly powerful being was the first in existence that aspired to create something in order to fill the void of the expansive void that lied beyond the Spirit Realm's boundaries, to forge another form of life itself. It created three celestial bodies: the earth, on which the organisms, that it would create, would reside; the sun, with which it could provide light and warmth for life to develop on earth; and the moon, which was placed as a satellite orbiting around earth in order to create a force to control the ocean tides on earth. Its official role within the Spirit Realm is in fact Crafter of Worlds.
It also constructed numerous stars and scattered them throughout the universe, with the intent of finally lighting up the darkness of the void. And then it allowed earth to flourish and teem with life, firstly creating hominids, which adapted to their environment as time passed and eventually became the dominant species after the spread of Homo sapiens, otherwise known as humans, the creation of which the Avatar was most proud.
The Avatar chose to bless humanity with a gift, to utilize the energy within their bodies in order to manipulate the elements. The inexhaustible fuel source for their energy is the solar rays that consistently bathe the earth. The ability to utilize solar energy in this way is genetically inherited by a child from their parent. The primary element that one can utilize with their energy was to be denoted by a birth mark; there are four marks for each of the elements.
[[The specifics about the abilities and limitations related to bending can be found under "The Elemental Order," a section on Gyansi's page.]]
Geographical barriers led to the development of four separate civilizations within this world: the Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom, both of which eventually developed into monarchies, the Water Tribes, and lastly the Air Nomads.
Seeking to relay the principles, that it had deemed necessary for human development, to humanity, the Avatar selected a prominent airbender known as Tyan as its first host. Through this host's teachings, humanity first learned of the existence of both the Spirit Realm and its inhabitants, leading to the formation of the Avatar Monks. Once the host had died, the Avatar chose to continue the practice of selecting a human host, in order to retain a direct connection between the Spirit Realm and the physical world. It created a cycle by inhabiting the body of a water tribal, then an earth-land denizen and finally a fire-land citizen; the repeating cycle of air, water, earth, fire has continued for millennia since those days.
After the cycle was completed for the first time, the Avatar recognized the necessity of allowing its role to be inherited by a member of the next spiritual generation, just as the other spirits did. It entrusted this responsibility to the spirit of the original host, who proceeded to form a cycle within the host cycle. At the resolution of the second host cycle, the power of the Avatar was passed down to the spirit of the second water host, he passed the power to the third earth host, etcetera.
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