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߷ This article is about Vekllei
߷ This article is undergoing changes and should not be considered canon.
Upen is the animistic, nondenominational dominant and historical religion of Vekllei. Practiced commonly throughout the Home Islands and Vekllei’s possessions, it is a core component of Vekllei culture and heritage, and has existed in various forms for thousands of years. Because Upen is fundamentally provincial and decentralised, its scripture and practice vary significantly between boroughs. Most forms emphasise object animism, impermanence, petite materialism, land dependence, existentialism and fear of nature.
Upen can be practiced at natural shrines, usually designated by a cairn, at running or still water, or the seaside. Maritime living and seafood are important aspects of Vekllei life, and fishing and ocean myths are key elements in Upen. Within its spiritualism, traditional folk-tales and scripture are called sagas, which have also archived much of Vekllei’s early history.
Although traditionally atheist, Upen is commonly adopted by immigrant populations that include Catholic, Jewish and Buddhist faiths. In these contexts, Upen’s animism and dependence on landscape is held alongside traditional beliefs, which are so common postwar that both Jewish and Catholic metaphysics have appeared in mainstream Upen doctrine in some cities, where large immigrant populations reside.
You can find Upen all around you in Vekllei since, by its own spiritual metaphysics, animism is not human. It exists independently of human understanding or spirit, and Upen is merely the practice by which humans are cognisant and interact with the spirit of things. Wherever people and material existence collide, including man-made objects, you find Upen.
In this sense, Upen can be understood as having two distinct forms, practiced differently depending on the occasion:
- Public Upen, which involves priests, communities, ceremony and cultural artefacts (like Upotenne and Rapotenne). Public Upen manifests similarly to other faiths, in which sites of worship, historical texts and sacred spaces inform practice and understanding.
- Private Upen, which involves personal understanding and direct physicality with the aspects of material being Upen holds sacred, namely the spirit of all things and the human form.
Although Upen does retain priests informally, it lacks a hierarchical structure and is largely agnostic towards organised religion, lived and practiced instead through traditions, folklore, lifestyle and metaphysics.
As atheistic and animistic, Upen shelters landscape from becoming ‘simply nature’, as it does when viewed as a product of a monotheistic creator god. Within Vekllei’s ’landscape’ agnosticism, nature is not ‘simply nature’; it is a spiritual vessel in itself, inalienable and inextricably linked to human purpose and satisfaction. Industry is divorced from the whole concept; it is a country of forest commons, collective stewardship, and volcanic unrest.
Upen as a word has its origins lost to time, but its linguistic characteristics can be found throughout modern Vekllei language. U (pronounced ‘oo’) is a prefix applied to matters of consciousness considered sacred or special, as replicated in the spirit-language of Upotenne. Upen likely has origins in a proto-Islandi language called Kala, which later was absorbed into Topyas, the predecessor to Vekllei.
In modern usage, Upen refers to both the faith and metaphysic of Vekllei’s local animism, as well as a general indicator for Vekllei faith, myth and traditional folklore.
This article is currently under construction, and will soon feature more information about Vekllei’s spiritualism.