Fanghur Rahl

How do the Shards relate to the various religions of the Cosmere?

29 posts in this topic

This may well qualify as a 'no duh!' type of a question, but I was just wondering if we have any information on precisely how the Shards relate to the various religions of the Shardworlds? I mean, obviously a few of them are pretty much unambiguously just the Shards by different names, like Jaddeth for Dominion, Domi for Devotion, Austre for Endowment, and of course 'Almighty' for Honor. But what about all the other ones? In Hero of Ages it's implied that most of the Scadrian religions contain common elements related to Ruin and Preservation, so there seems to at least have been influence by the Shards if not actual deification (by the humans at least), but it's a little difficult to tell whether this was deliberate influence on the Shards' part or whether it just sort of happened. Do we have any information relating to this issue?

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I always associated ‘Domi’ with Dominion, which made me think that Dominion is less of a malevolent shard than we believe

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Just now, imriel452 said:

I always associated ‘Domi’ with Dominion, which made me think that Dominion is less of a malevolent shard than we believe

No, in the context of how 'Domi' is always talked about, namely as clearly implied as a loving, compassionate, merciful being specifically revered by the Elantrians, one of whom outright prays to Devotion in 'Secret History', I don't think there can be any real doubt that 'Domi' is Devotion. At least in as much as the Almighty "is" Honor.

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Domi comes from Aon Omi, which means love. It's definitely Devotion based, and we have a WoB that, though all the cultures are mixed, Jaddeth is heavily Dominion influenced (I blame the Skaze).

Spoilered for length of the Omi WoB. Seriously, interesting but long. 

 

Spoiler
Quote

BrandonColevander

Are [Jaddeth] & [Domi] the Shards Dominion & Devotion?

Peter Ahlstrom

Domi is more Devotion and Jaddeth is more Dominion. But there is some mixing. The shard holders were Aona and Skai.

source
Quote

Questioner

[Does] the expansion of Jaddeth’s empire have more to do with greed and hunger for power, or the innate nature of Dominion?

Brandon Sanderson

Both. I would say both. The innate nature of Dominion probably caused the greed and hunger for power.

Questioner

What would you say percentage-wise?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, one caused the other. It definitely started with Dominion. The Skaze are pretty thirsty for power.

source  
Quote

Brandon Sanderson

Meaning

In its most basic form, Omi is used to represent love and benevolence. It is a common root Aon for a wide variety of words, including affection, care, passion, piety, zeal, and some synonyms of loyalty.

A complex Aon with strong symmetry, the Aon has often been used as an example of balance, and even perfection. The great AonDor scholar Enelan of the fourth century called it “The most perfect of Aons, fully incorporating the base of Aon Aon and spinning it into a complex icon that is artful and complicated, yet somehow basically simple at the same time.”

In later centuries, the symbol has come to mean not only love, but divinity as well, an association created by the Korathi Church’s appropriation of the Aon. Many Korathi devout also regard the symbol as representing the potential unification of all mankind through peace, temperance, and love.

History and Use

Aon Omi is best known as the official symbol of the Korathi church in Arelon. It was chosen by Korath (known as KoWho in JinDo) himself to represent the church and God. Scholars of the time say that Korath made the decision late in his life, after decades spent preaching his interpretations of the tenets of Shu-Keseg (which eventually became the Korathi religion) in Arelon and Elantris itself.

The choice was shocking to many, as the young Korathi devout saw the Elantrians and their worship as a competing religion. Their Aons, the basis for Elantrian magic an power, were then regarded as heathen symbols. Korath was always bothered by this competitive streak in his believers, and it is widely accepted that he picked an Aon to represent God and his religion as an attempt to show that all people were acceptable beneath the blanket of the Korathi doctrines. He himself called the Aon a “Thing of Beauty” and asked an Elantrian smith of his acquaintance to craft a silver pendant for him bearing the symbol.

That event, and the subsequent adoption of Aon Omi by the Korathi church, led to the odd relationship between the Elantrians and the Korathi religion which found root in their homeland. (Though, following Korath’s death, his right hand man and follower ShanVen moved the religion’s center of operations to Teod instead, where the young monarchy there had embraced Shu-Korath as its official religion.)

Over the years, many other Aons have been adopted by the Korathi religion, but this one–Aon Omi–has remained their most powerful and important symbol. It is used extensively in Korathi religious services, and pendants bearing Aon Omi are commonly worn by the devout. (Many simply call them Korathi pendants, or Korathi religious pendants.) Such pendants are commonly exchanged during Korathi wedding services. (See the end of ELANTRIS the novel for an example.)

Many Korathi priests now look at the use of Aons by their religion as symbol of the potential unity of all mankind, when different beliefs, sects, and cultures will be drawn together through sincere affection for one another.

Naming and Usage in ELANTRIS

As can be expected from its meanings, Aon Omi is a common root Aon for names in Arelon, particularly among those who follow the Korathi religion.

The most obvious word using Omi as a root is the name Domi itself, the Korathi word for God. This usage did not become common until the seventh century; before then, the Jindoeese name Dashu was used by the Korathi, and the Elantrians preferred a word using Aon Daa as its root. In an interesting exchange, the Aonic word ‘Domi’ eventually became a loan word back to Jindoeese, where the word DoMin eventually came to mean ‘god.’

The head priest of the Korathi chapel in Kae, Father Omin, also uses this Aon in his name. (As a side note, like many Korathi priests, Omin chose a new name for himself once he joined the priesthood. In his youth, he went by the name of Elenan.) Father Omin wears a jade pendant of Aon Omi.

Eondel wears a pendant of Aon Omi, his sky blue. Sarene wears one of green and gold, while Raoden wears one of black.

AonDor

Aon Omi is a powerful Aon, and before the fall of Elantris could perform powerful magics. When drawn it puts out a powerful and pure white light; any who are touched by this light find their negative emotions wiped away, replaced by a sense of serenity and peace. It is difficult indeed to maintain a sense of hatred while Aon Omi is in force.

So powerful is this Aon, however, that using it requires much of the Elantrian who draws it. The Aon will be weak unless the one drawing it feels a sincere affection for those around him, making this Aon very difficult to use in tense situations. This strange requirement has fascinated AonDor practitioners for centuries, as it is one of the few Aons which requires something other than skill in drawing from its Elantrian.

Aon Omi is also used in other places in AonDor equations. It can be used to tie other Aon chains together, and is also a weaker power modifier, if used in the correct way.

source

 

As far as the lines on most planets go, I don't think it's ever clear cut. Religions obviously pertain to the Shards... But then there are mundane religions as well, and also Bavadins meddling. It's really open to a lot of interpretation without more info. 

But like Austre? 

Quote

Blaze1616

Austre: Is also also- is that Endowment? You referenced him as male, but Endowment's female. So I'm dying to know.

Brandon Sanderson

No, Austre is not. So who do you think Austre is?

Blaze1616

Since it's not Endowment I personally think it's a Returned from long ago.

Brandon Sanderson

That's a very good conclusion.

source

These things are not clear cut. 

Edited by Calderis
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Well he certainly could have fooled me, since Austre is known as the ‘God of Colours’ who bestows gifts/skills/etc. upon the worthy (or at least that’s how Vivenna described it in her internal monologues and Siri to Susebron), and Endowment’s magic system is based on colours and she does literally that exact thing more or less. So I have a very hard time imagining the concept of Austre not at the very least being strongly influenced by Endowment even if they aren’t technically one and the same.

But yeah, from what little we’ve seen of Dominion, I think it’s probably pretty safe to assume he probably wasn’t a paragon of moral virtues. He is basically the god of subjugation after all.

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It feels like Skai might have been pretty badchull though. He took the Shard of Dominion, and was pretty high up on Odiums hit-list. I want to know more about the guy.

As for your question, I think that the Shards have inspired many religions in the Cosmere. The Terris religion is obviously Ruin and Preservation for example, the Almighty is Honor, the Listener god is Odium, etc. Aside from the obvious ones, we also have Bavadin, who is supposedly involved in most things. 

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Well Brandon has implied that Dominion managed to take a part of Odium down with him before getting splintered, so I think that description is probably pretty accurate.

As for Autonomy... well, let’s just say part of me thinks she must have somehow acquired a piece of Dominion’s Shard, because her behaviour makes absolutely no sense to me otherwise given her Shardic intent; she sounds exactly like what I would expect someone holding both Dominion and Autonomy to do.

Edited by Fanghur Rahl
Expounding my thoughts further.
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I would say all the gods of each planet were based off of the Shards, some more direct than others. Taking Austre and Endowment into consideration from @Fanghur Rahl I'd say the color thing was inspired by her but everything else was made up to explain her influence, so it's not as clear-cut as "this god is obviously this Shard" and more the natives interpreting what they see of the Shard's influence since some are less involved than others.

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I'm actually curious if there's any truth in this. 

Quote

Herald (paraphrased)

Have we see [Bavadin's] influence on other worlds till now – like Austre in Nalthis or other religions which Sazed studied on Scadrial for example.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes you have seen her influence in other worlds other than Taldain. He wouldn't confirm if it is Nalthis or Scadrial or any other planet.

source

Cause Bavadin. 

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17 minutes ago, Draginon said:

I would say all the gods of each planet were based off of the Shards, some more direct than others. Taking Austre and Endowment into consideration from @Fanghur Rahl I'd say the color thing was inspired by her but everything else was made up to explain her influence, so it's not as clear-cut as "this god is obviously this Shard" and more the natives interpreting what they see of the Shard's influence since some are less involved than others.

Well yeah, I mean some are a lot more clear-cut than others. Like Jaddeth is clearly for all intents and purposes Dominion and Merciful Domi is Devotion. Honestly, I’m quite shocked that Austre isn’t just another name for Endowment considering how similar they are.

Quote

I'm actually curious if there's any truth in this. 

  Quote

Herald (paraphrased)

Have we see [Bavadin's] influence on other worlds till now – like Austre in Nalthis or other religions which Sazed studied on Scadrial for example.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes you have seen her influence in other worlds other than Taldain. He wouldn't confirm if it is Nalthis or Scadrial or any other planet.

source

Cause Bavadin. 

Like I said, I don't know exactly what it is, but Brandon clearly has something really weird planned for Bavadin.

Edited by Fanghur Rahl
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17 minutes ago, Fanghur Rahl said:

Well yeah, I mean some are a lot more clear-cut than others. Like Jaddeth is clearly for all intents and purposes Dominion and Merciful Domi is Devotion. Honestly, I’m quite shocked that Austre isn’t just another name for Endowment considering how similar they are.

Who knows maybe Austre was at one point but after many generations things changed to the point that the Austre at the time of Warbreaker technically isn't Endowment (sort of like how Buddha the man and the religious Buddha aren't the same)

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10 hours ago, Draginon said:

Who knows maybe Austre was at one point but after many generations things changed to the point that the Austre at the time of Warbreaker technically isn't Endowment (sort of like how Buddha the man and the religious Buddha aren't the same)

The thing is though that the descriptions we get of Austre in Warbreaker by people like Vivenna and Siri (spelling?) perfectly match Endowment with the sole exception of the gender, even more so in my opinion than the descriptions we get of the Almighty match Honour. 

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5 hours ago, Fanghur Rahl said:

The thing is though that the descriptions we get of Austre in Warbreaker by people like Vivenna and Siri (spelling?) perfectly match Endowment with the sole exception of the gender, even more so in my opinion than the descriptions we get of the Almighty match Honour. 

Wel Austre is most likely fictional but could've been based off of Endowment herself, the founders just getting her gender wrong or purposely changing it because of how in the real world women weren't highly regarded so maybe the same happened on Nalthis as well. As for Almighty vs Honor from what I remember in WOK and WOR he doesn't seem to care how the Rosharan's interpreted him, just as long as they honored him in their own way, so he probably encouraged them to make their own mythology about him.

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I always thought trell was a shard as we see the story come up on Scadrial and Taladin I think but it also bears a resembalance to Vun Makak and Nu Ralik of the purelake, I'm not sure which shard although I always thought Bavadin was a top contender.

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Just now, Nothing-Ridiculous said:

I always thought trell was a shard as we see the story come up on Scadrial and Taladin I think but it also bears a resembalance to Vun Makak and Nu Ralik of the purelake, I'm not sure which shard although I always thought Bavadin was a top contender.

That’s the weird thing about it, namely that Brandon has said that it’s a Shard we know of (I think), but I don’t see how it can be a full Shard, since they’re all accounted for. The most common theory that I know of is that it’s one of the avatars of Autonomy, though how the hell one of those could even begin to pose any real threat to Harmony is a complete mystery to me.

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1 minute ago, Fanghur Rahl said:

That’s the weird thing about it, namely that Brandon has said that it’s a Shard we know of (I think), but I don’t see how it can be a full Shard, since they’re all accounted for. The most common theory that I know of is that it’s one of the avatars of Autonomy, though how the hell one of those could even begin to pose any real threat to Harmony is a complete mystery to me.

Which is why I think that Avatars are not Splinters. I think they are multiple Cognitive aspects of a single Spiritual, making themall the Shard. If I'm right then Trell is Autonomy. Not just a chunk of her power. 

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Just now, Calderis said:

Which is why I think that Avatars are not Splinters. I think they are multiple Cognitive aspects of a single Spiritual, making themall the Shard. If I'm right then Trell is Autonomy. Not just a chunk of her power. 

Well, I personally hope that’s not the case. Because quite frankly I think that that would make Autonomy ridiculously overpowered. That and it still really rubs me the wrong way because Investiture is supposed to be conserved and having the ability to spit out many duplicates of equal power to the original Shard strikes me as not at all in line with this.

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Just now, Fanghur Rahl said:

Well, I personally hope that’s not the case. Because quite frankly I think that that would make Autonomy ridiculously overpowered. That and it still really rubs me the wrong way because Investiture is supposed to be conserved and having the ability to spit out many duplicates of equal power to the original Shard strikes me as not at all in line with this.

I definitely think there's a massive drawback, both in power and in mental stability. 

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6 minutes ago, Calderis said:

I definitely think there's a massive drawback, both in power and in mental stability. 

There is plenty of precedent for something like that in other works of fiction, of an AI being able to make copies of itself, but always imprecisely resulting in the copies never being as good as the original for example. Of course the obvious drawback to that is the potential that it could effectively result in the intent ‘mutating’ across the different avatars. Then again, I guess that if Brandon is setting Autonomy up to be a kind of a virus-like Shard, then that would be consistent with that.

Edited by Fanghur Rahl
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@Fanghur Rahl yeah, I see it as in splitting her mind to make these avatars, she is diminishing the amount of power available to each individually, but they are greater when considered in aggregate.

The larger problem is their ability to have their own agendas, to actively work at cross purposes, as well as just no functioning at quite the same level as a Shard "normal" shard. 

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That still doesn’t explain how a single avatar would be able to pose any kind of threat to Harmony though. Especially if not all of her (does that term even apply anymore?) ‘parts’ agree with Trell’s actions, and presumably they wouldn’t. Even with Harmony’s limitations, he should still be able to banish or ward against him/her/it with little effort, and it certainly shouldn’t take ‘a huge fraction of his power’ to do so. 

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Eh, he's extremely limited by his intents, and then there's this. 

Quote

Questioner

Does Odium actually present a real threat to Harmony, because he-- *interrupted*

Brandon Sanderson

So Harmony is vastly more powerful than Odium.

Questioner

Yeah. 

Brandon Sanderson

Elend was vastly more powerful than Vin. Who would win in a fight?

Questioner

Vin.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, there's your answer.

source

Harmony is a noob on top of his other problems. 

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Clearly not so limited as to be unable to hold Trell off. Either way, I'm pretty sure that the relative power difference between Harmony and Trell would be at least an order of magnitude greater than the difference between Vin and Elend; Elend wasn't that much stronger than Vin after all.

Edited by Fanghur Rahl
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Please excuse any ignorance in this post I’m still figuring this stuff out but what’s say Autonomy can only send one avatar after Harmony or that or that avatars are permanent if they are splinters could Autonomy recover the power from one like picking up a shard?

Edited by Nothing-Ridiculous
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@Calderis This one’s all yours. You know way more about this than I do.

Edited by Fanghur Rahl
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