The Elder Scrolls – ALMSIVI

This is the first in a series of posts based on the deities and religious beliefs of The Elder Scrolls series by Bethesda that includes information about how pagans might want to incorporate them into their own practices.  I welcome your feedback – if there’s something you’d like to see that I’m not covering, do let me know!

****************************************************************************

There exists some question about whether ALMSIVI, also known as the Tribunal, were ever truly gods.  Almalexia (ALM), Sotha Sil (SI), and Vivec (VI) were worshiped as such,  before the Red Year of 4E 5…but afterward, when the Dunmer returned to worship of their ancestors and the Daedra, ALMSIVI were relegated to the role of saints if they are mentioned at all.  In addition, there are those that believe ALMSIVI to have been a “False” Tribunal and that Boethiah, Azura, and Mephala are the “True” Tribunal of Morrowind.

I don’t find this debate as troubling as some do since ALMSIVI were mortal before the use of Kagrenac’s tools made them something more…and whether achieving immortality is the same as apotheosis is a line of thought that has occupied my mind for some time.  Nor do I believe that worship of one Tribunal necessitates forsaking the other – while Azura was certainly angry when ALMSIVI broke their pledge to her by declaring themselves gods, and the entirety of the Chimer (now Dunmer) race suffered, the role of ALMSIVI in history is important.  Regardless of what they became, they should not be forgotten…and there is a place for them even now.

****************************************************************************

Almalexia, wife of Indoril Nerevar, took her rise to divinity very seriously, and became both the god-queen of the Dunmer people and the enforcer of the doctrines of what became the Tribunal Temple.  As noted in Fellowship of the Temple:

“Your fourfold duties are to: Faith, Family, Masters, and all that is good. Perform holy quests and bring luster to the Temple. Never transgress against your brothers or sisters, and never dishonor your house or your ancestors. Serve and protect the poor and weak, and honor your elders and clan.”

Almalexia (ALM), while promoting adherence to these duties, used both the Ordinators and the Hands of Almalexia to keep people in the Temple, sometimes using violence to bring those who strayed (or appeared to have strayed) back into the fold.  In addition, she developed the belief among both groups that the weakness of the Tribunal during the 3rd Era was due to a lack of faith and religious fervor among the people.

Those who worship Almalexia today (despite her falling out of favor) see her as the Healing Mother and Lady of Mercy.  She is associated with compassion and sympathy, and is a protector of the poor and the weak.

Sotha Sil (SI), a master wizard and adviser to Indoril Nerevar during his mortal life, is the god-king of the Tribunal who discovered how Kagrenac’s tools could be used on the Heart of Lorkhan, and he convinced Almalexia and Vivec to join him in immortality.

Interestingly, Sotha Sil was once a member of the Psijic Order and taught magic to new mages.  He also presided over a meeting of the eight most prominent Daedric princes at which an agreement was reached that the Daedra would not answer any summons other than by established wizards/sorcerers.  While the agreement eventually failed, resulting in the sacking of Mournhold by Mehrunes Dagon, Sotha Sil is held up as an example of the power of diplomacy.

As the Tribunal grew weaker after their access to the Heart was disrupted, Sotha Sil retreated to his Clockwork City and there reshaped life into something more pleasing to him.  During this time, his only interactions with the Dunmer were through conversations with Divayth Fyr, himself a wizard beyond compare.  Sotha Sil was eventually slain by Almalexia, who descended into insanity after the Heart of Lorkhan was released by the Nerevarine.

Modern worshipers of Sotha Sil, some of which believe he may still be alive, focus on his prowess with magic and his diplomatic skills, as well as his thirst for mystery and the unknown.  He is called upon for assistance with magical workings, and to aid his worshipers with tasks that require delicate negotiation.  Sotha Sil is also said to be a powerful ally to call upon during mystery or ordeal work.

Vivec (VI) is (still) known as the most popular god-king of the Tribunal, and he was very public prior to losing the bulk of his power with the rise of Dagoth Ur and the loss of his connection to the Heart of Lorkhan.  He was an adviser to Indoril Nerevar and known as both poet and warrior during his mortal life, and there are more writings about Vivec than any other of ALMSIVI.

Believing as he did that the Tribunal Temple was beneficial for the Dunmer people, Vivec spent the last of his power in reorganizing the Temple to remove the issues between the Temple Priests and the Dissident Priests, and to helping the Dunmer people.  He recommended that worship return to the Reclamations of Boethiah, Azura, and Mephala, and told his priests that ALMSIVI should be recognized as saints and heroes rather than gods.  Vivec also declared that once the Temple was reorganized, he would withdraw from the world.

Vivec is known for many heroic deeds in service to the Dunmer people, including the halting of the meteor Baar Dau that Sheogorath sent to destroy the city of Vivec, the defeat of the Ruddy Man, an incarnation of Molag Bal, and the defeat of Mehrunes Dagon at the city of Maar Gan.

Seen as a symbol of “mastery” and duality, those looking to hone their skills in a particular craft often become worshipers of Vivec.  In addition, Vivec oversees writers, especially of poetry, and other artists, along with those who seek to excel in battle.  He offers invaluable assistance to anyone undergoing self-exploration, including monster work.

Appropriate offerings to ALMSIVI are based on the Temple doctrines, and may include traditional alms as well as provision of food and clothing for those less fortunate, and other forms of charity work.  Pilgrimage is also appropriate, although few of their sacred sites remain accessible outside virtual space and, therefore, computer/console access is required.

Advertisements

2 responses to “The Elder Scrolls – ALMSIVI

  1. Very good stuff, it is always interesting to read about how people are working with deities from games or books. I love Elder Scrolls! They really did an excellent job of making sure their world is complete and whole, and this includes historical figures and deities.

    I have seen some beautiful in-game shrines and altars. But I definitely think that you could work with these deities.

  2. Pingback: The Elder Scrolls – Mephala | Fluid Morality

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s