Shadowrun: Dark Ages
Highland Metahuman Tribes’ Religion
The beliefs of the different Highlander tribes of metahumans aren’t exactly uniform and change depending on where you are exactly. However, they all stem mainly from Celtic religion as well as certain Christian and a few Norse beliefs, and so are based on the same premises:
The world itself is a “mother nature” figure that provides for the existence of every other being. Her body is the land, her hair is the sea, the sun and moon are her eyes. There are Greater Spirits that represent concepts of things such as forests (Cairnunnagh (Cernunnos)), fire, mountains, etc. Then come the Great Spirits, that inhabit a specific forest, mountain, star, or river. Finally, all creatures, and other natural objects such as rocks or a fire, have an individual soul or spirit. Highland metahuman tribespeople believe that they can achieve great things by tapping into their souls, and even become significant Spirits after death. This accounts for the large proportion of adepts among them.
They also believe that the figure Christians venerate as “God” was a lesser-known Greater Spirit, the Trickster, that gave in to greed and decided to absorb the powers of other powerful spirits. He did so by inviting them to a feast, stealing tokens of their power, and locking them up. In doing so, he supressed magic, the existence of metahumans, and reduced the connection between the physical world and the spirit realm, which sit one upon the other. However, he didn’t invite the often-forgotten wanderer spirit known as the Nameless One, simply because he could not address the invitation to him. Centuries after the event, the Nameless One found “Heaven”, the dwelling the Trickster, or God, had made for himself. He discovered the reason for the weakening of magic was the Trickster, and so stole the tokens while he slept and gave them back to the imprisoned Greater Spirits, freeing them. A great fight ensued, which resulted in the Trickster being killed. The comet was his spilt blood. Upon dying, the spirit shattered, releasing magic back into world, but also producing demons, which are despised by the Highland tribes. In fact, some tribes believe that upon absorbing the power of the other Greater Spirits and becoming God, the Trickster became the first demon. The Nameless One disappeared after this, it is believed he carries on wandering, unnoticed. Nonetheless he is considered to be the one who brought back the “power to the people”.
The Highlander tribes beliefs arose from pre-Christian Celtic beliefs, also borrowing from the concept of Catholic sainthood and certain aspects of Norse mythology (especially by the northern Highlander tribes). After the comet, when magic and contact with spirits, etc. came back to the world, Godhood was abandoned because people now had access to powers that had been attributed to deities in the past, hence the belief in spirits instead of gods; it brings the common and the supernatural to the same ground. Anyone can become a powerful spirit upon dying if they work hard enough for it. Celtic mythological characters or Christian saints that were transmuted into this religion are believed to have achieved this status, like Cuchulainn.