The Omphal is the single most powerful religious organisation in human space and by all accounts a quasi-state in terms of power, capability and reach. This is not the first time in post-industrial history that religious societies have reached such a stage; among other examples, there is the notable precedent of the Outer Church, which pioneered early space flight in the Low Age. The Omphal, however, doesn't have a religion, or if it does it's in the loosest sense of the word.
The ideology of the Omphal is absolute inclusivism. In the eyes of the Omphal, there is no absolute religious truth. All religions and beliefs are correct, all at once, even in their contradictions. Divine revelation is a continuous and progressive process, with the teachings of every single religion in the world just being an aspect of this truth. Crucially, the Omphal also believes that divine truth is incomplete and as such, there is no way to determine which religion is more correct than others. This incompleteness is radical. It is radically impossible to access the divine truth. The only elements humans can deduce are the shattered aspects of unfathomable concepts which the various beliefs of humankind translate in their own way. The diversity of religion actually reinforces the understanding of this divine truth, as each of them casts a different light on it. Each religion has to be nurtured, understood and protected. In fact, even atheism is integrated in this ideology, as the undying faith in a world without the divine. Faith is the most fundamental aspect of human experience and the Omphal will protect and sublime it.
The Omphal was founded out of the ruins of the Outer Church and currently takes the shape of a religious cooperative not unlike the Marxist Outer Conclave but with radically different means and ends. The Omphal exists alongside human religions as an umbrella organisation that tasks itself with furthering the understanding, establishment and coherence of human faiths. The Omphal is always remarkably open about its goals and, probably inspired by the ultimate fate of the Outer Church at the hands of the USRE, always tries to work with or alongside planetary communes.
The Omphal itself is divided into orders, or Lodges, which are first and foremost styles. The organisation has a very peculiar relationship to rituals, symbols, chants and writings. Religion is illusion and the Omphal will never argue against this. It simply considers that, with the absence of absolute divine truth, this illusion is what constitutes the heart of religion. Omphal buildings are vast cathedral-like structures that display a staggering syncretism of almost every faith in human history, filled with incense, colourful symbols and golden jewels...or sometimes simple, austere chambers reminiscent of the simplicity of ancient cults. Members of the Omphal, when in service of the organisation, often refer to their Omphal persona using xe/xem pronouns, regardless of their usual pronouns.
Based on Cathedral Station and Mundis, the Omphal currently has five main orders.
- Order of the Moon: a surviving order from the Outer Church which acts as the Omphal's diplomatic and cooperative branch. Its members wear simple black and white apparel and often use feminine pronouns regardless of their gender. The order of the Moon entertains its own sub-religion dedicated to its mythical founder, Saint Jyothi. Many of its members are former or active Solar Envoys.
- Order of the Path: this order wears red and white/gold. It is often considered as the most flamboyant order, maintaining a small fleet of ships that take design clues from Hindu temples and gothic cathedrals alike. Behind their cowls and veils, the members of the Path are skilled spacers and navigators, offering their services to pilgrims and priestesses alike.
- Order of the Pillar: wearing simple white tunics, the members of the Pillar are engineers, architects and land planners who are dedicated to cataloguing, maintaining and in some cases building places of worship, regardless of religion or belief. The Pillar is mostly active on Earth due to the sheer density of historical buildings on the planet.
- Order of the Lodge: the Lodge is an order of librarians, theologists and historians that keep and maintain records of the complex history of human religions with the end goal of creating a universal encyclopedia of spirituality, a massive undertaking which they refer to as their "paper cathedral". The members of the Lodge are almost as flamboyant as the followers of the Path, adorned in gold and white, followed by the scent of incense and the sight of candles floating in zero-g.
- Order of the Shattered Star: members of the Shattered Star never show their faces, hidden behind veils, ritual masks and shifting q-augs. They are the most secretive Omphal order, invested in the strange art of xenotheology, the study and occasional worship of non-human deities. In public, they wear long black robes covered in silver ornaments. During digs and expeditions, they like to use voidsuits equipped with biomechanical tendrils, anti-radiation robes, additional artificial eyes and drones shaped like human skulls. It is uncertain if the Shattered Star is putting an act for unknowable alien deities or if its members genuinely enjoy their well-defined aesthetic.
All content in the Starmoth Blog is © Isilanka
Written content on Starmoth is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike 4.0 license