One of the very first things I did as I was creating my World was develop a fairly simple belief system for my main characters. As inspiration I looked at several different religions, including Buddhism and Christianity, and Greek mythology.
The religion is called the Path. The simplest way to describe it is that it is a religion of balance. The major belief is that there are two parts of the world, light and dark, with shadow in between. What keeps balance is Oneness, the sense of all being connected and dependent on everything else. There are seven High Gods (called the Collective) of the Path: Father Simea, Mother Anja, Grandfather Mena, Grandmother Leda, Sister Teyra, Brother Fioda and Child Hahma. The male-female duality of the gods and the sexless child express the light, dark, and shadow of balance. It is believed that the gods have an active role in lives of mortals.
Two major aspects of the Path are prayer and meditation. In meditation and meditative prayer, incense plays an important focusing role, as well as a practical role. For example, the first time my main character (Lacey) is in meditative prayer, she is stressed out and picks a scent of incense that has calming effects. Practitioners may pray to specific gods or the Collective as a whole, depending on their purpose.
The places of “worship” (I put it in quotes because there are not any formal services or any real worshiping) are called Sanctuaries. These Sanctuaries vary from place to place, but they all have a meditation hall and a dormitory for Walkers (somewhat like monks). The Sanctuary in the capital city is a single building, but the Sanctuary in the holy city is a monastery-size estate.
The scriptures of the Path are called the Stones of the Path. They detail the history of the gods in the mortal world, as they brought humanity into sentience. The Stones are, in large part, the accepted history of the Ibvailyn Empire and the recorded histories begin while the gods still dwelt among the people.
The Walkers and their acolytes are the backbone of the Path. Many of them travel throughout the Empire and to small villages or single farms that don’t have access to a Sanctuary. The most important task that Walkers perform for these people is healing (literally – see the post about magic, specifically the Touch).
I am still developing the Path as I go, and no doubt someday I will write a story that actually centers on it. But for now this is what I have and what I am working with.
Take care, fellow travelers.