Monday, May 14, 2012

Sacred Prostitutes

The Sorrowfell Plains plays host to many religions, including several temples that engage in sacred prostitution.  Sometimes, this practice is simple hierogamy, while other times, the temples simply incorporate sex into their rituals.

The temples that engage in these rites are many and varied, with some taking unforeseen forms.  Most, however, worship predictable deities.  In the places where the grim galleys of Vornheim occasionally seek port (Sorgforge has been known to receive ships from those bleak lands, and they occasionally travel upriver to Scandshar), the mystery cults of the Temples of the Ecstatic Flesh worship Corellon, Sehanine, and Tittivilla with sexual rites, in addition to magical rituals and exotic displays of body modification.  Out of deference to the goddess of mutations, the priestesses (and they are always female) who run these temples are called "Maidenmothers."

Outside of the influence of the mystery cultists of Tittivilla, some also find a similar trinity within various temples dedicated to Corellon and Sehanine.  Frequently, a third deity is venerated at these temples, typically being a local deity from the nearby culture.  Patron deities of cultures or races, such as Bahamut, Erathis, or Moradin are sometimes represented, as are minor deities such as Aaluran or Myhriss.  Some whisper of darker temples, such as those that include Vecna in the roster of deities (think of Eyes Wide Shut and you'll get the idea).

Along the trade roads, shrines may be found.  Although the stereotypical image of a small temple full of shrine maidens is firmly ingrained in the consciousness of Sorrowfell citizens, the gender ratio is roughly equal.  Temples engaging in sacred prostitution provide similar services to those provided by other temples, although the peasants typically talk more about ecstatic temples than any others.

Whether the talk helps or hinders the temples' donations is unclear.

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