Greetings, sera. Blackblood here with yet another guide to help bolster your roleplay experience. This time, we'll be looking towards the original deities known throughout various pantheons in some way or another: The Nine Divines. They are the original creators of Mundus, and by extension Nirn, and are worshipped as the ultimate symbol of faith and wisdom, yet some of you may not know how to properly worship them. The goal of this guide it to give a an idea of what you can be doing to properly worship the Nine, whilst allowing a little bit of wiggle room for Roleplay sake. This means that, while this is a basic guide, these are merely tips and you don't have to follow EVERY one of them. So with all that out of the way let's get into it shall we?
Why Worship the Nine Divines?
"The obedient man may come to the altars of the Nine and be blessed, and may receive the comfort and healing of the Nine, and may give thanks for his manifold blessings."
Make no mistake, the worship of the Divines will not be for any sort of power or such. Due to the overwhelming amount of power they exerted in creating Mundus, they have very little influence upon the world like the Daedric Princes do. No, their worshipping has to do with faith. Faith in the ones who created the world we inhabit. Faith in the ones who represent the concepts of the ideal existence and prosperity. They are the true creators of Mundus, and thus we have much to thank them for. They in turn represent various facets with which, when properly followed, will allow the faithful to live in peace and prosperity.
Despite their lack of ability to influence Nirn, they do have ways of offering their boon, no matter how small they may be. Each Divine has an amulet and a shrine, all of which can be found littered all across the lands. They offer meager boosts to one's abilities, but they are boosts nonetheless. Again, worshipping them is not about the value gained from these relics, so their benefits should not matter to one who is truly pious. But perhaps one who is truly in touch with the Divines will receive greater boons from their benevolence.
The Talos Controversy
"And so, the Empire admits it was wrong. The Talos Mistake will not be repeated. May we find centuries of peace and prosperity with our new Thalmor friends, and continue to share a spirituality that binds together all the cultures and races of Tamriel."
The most controversial Divine in the pantheon is Talos, once known as Tiber Septim, a mortal who conquered all the known land and founded the Empire we know today. By many accounts, his deeds were so great he achieved apotheosis and rose to the ranks of the Divines, becoming the ninth. However some, especially the Aldmeri Domain, dispute this, claiming that a mortal cannot become a god. Indeed, the purpose of the White-Gold Concordat was partly to eradicate the worship of Talos, declaring it heretical and illegal.
There do exist factors which point to the viability of Talos having become a god. The Blessing of Talos, given to the Hero of Kvatch sometime around the beginning of the 4th Era, was what allowed him to chase after the mighty Umaril the Unfeathered, after slaying him in the mortal realm. Without Talos' blessing, Umaril may have lived to attempt his attack another day. There is also the odd opinion that Arkay himself was once mortal, and that he gave up this mortality to help us understand the winding cycle of life and death. Indeed, the controversy of Talos may continue for quite some time, and whether he will return to the pantheon will be anyone's guess.
The Ten Commandments of the Nine Divines
"Yet Akatosh, in His wisdom, knowing how impatient is man, and how loathe he is to travel upon the hard roads of truth, has allowed these ten simple commands to be made manifest with powerful clarity and concise definition."
To understand all of the facets of truth and virtue is impossible even for someone with the knowledge of Hermaeus Mora himself. To properly absorb them all would take a lifetime or more. Knowing this, the Divines have blessed the mortals of Nirn with a simple set of ten commandments, simple yet concise, to help man understand these facets in their most simple of ways. These commandments will help you understand what it means to worship each Divine, as well as find which one suits you the most, should you only want to focus on one.
God of Mercy
"Be kind and generous to the people of Tamriel. Protect the weak, heal the sick, and give to the needy."
Give to those who need it more than you do. Dedicate your healing arts for the ill and dying, and contribute to the health and safety of the people. Those with strength should use that strength to protect those that cannot protect themselves. When you face enemies, spare their lives whenever possible. Donate to the poor, no matter how seemingly ungrateful the recipient may seem.
God of the Cycle of Life and Death
"Honor the earth, its creatures, and the spirits, living and dead. Guard and tend the bounties of the mortal world, and do not profane the spirits of the dead."
Respect the living, as well as the dead, for if we cannot respect the dead then we cannot respect the living. Do not loot from tombs and barrows and such, and if you should come across any "hostile" undead, put their souls to rest in the name of Arkay. Show respect to others, even your enemies, even as you may be the ones to bring their lives to an end.
Goddess of Love
"Live soberly and peacefully. Honor your parents, and preserve the peace and security of home and family."
Those with families should respect and protect them. Ensure that the home they and their loved ones live in is as stable as possible, that each member of the household is at peace. Always solve your problems with the most peaceful solutions available, whether or not any other soul would follow that path. If you do not have to draw your weapon, don't. Live your life in moderation.
God of Work and Commerce
"Work hard, and you will be rewarded. Spend wisely, and you will be comfortable. Never steal, or you will be punished."
Worshippers of Zenithar are recommended to take up at least one crafting skill, and to specialize in speech and mercantile skills. Your coin will be gotten through your hard work, either by selling what you craft or by earning it through labour of any kind. Above all, never take what isn't yours. This included the loot found within dungeons and such. If you didn't earn it, don't take it. Spend humbly, and only on what you truly need.
Hero-God of Mankind
"Be strong for war. Be bold against enemies and evil, and defend the people of Tamriel."
To worship Talos is to be brave. Do not be afraid to raise up arms to defend your values, or the values of your kin, and of Tamriel. Whatever cause you believe in, pursue it with great faith and no not waver no matter what others would say. Never run or back away from an enemy, and face the challenges you will come across head on. Defend the people from those that would destroy or abuse them.
Goddess of Air
"Use Nature's gifts wisely. Respect her power, and fear her fury."
The forces of nature, the land and the sky, must always be respected. Never take from nature what you do not need; this includes food, fur and wood from her trees. Remember that Spriggans exist for a reason, and will defend the lands they inhabit from anyone who would dare invade. Remember this fact, and respect their territories, as well as any other dangerous creatures in the wilds.
Goddess of Beauty
"Open your heart to the noble secrets of art and love. Treasure the gifts of friendship. Seek joy and inspiration in the mysteries of love."
There is beauty in life, and it comes in many forms. Take a moment every now and again to appreciate the serenity of it all, from nature's beauty to the calm peace within settlements, and feel joy and inspiration from it. One of the most important of these comes in the form of friendship and love, which empower us on an emotional level. Bring a follower with you on your journeys, and share with them your appreciation of life.
God of Wisdom and Logic
"Know the truth. Observe the law. When in doubt, seek wisdom from the wise."
Be knowledgeable in your studies. read the lore of this world, and come to understand its history and the building blocks that make up Tamriel as it is today. When you pursue a goal make certain you know all that you must know to pursue it. Not all things will be known to you, however, and in such times do not be afraid to seek advice from the wise. They are here to assist you when knowledge cannot.
Dragon God of Time
"Serve and obey your Emperor. Study the Covenants. Worship the Nine, do your duty, and heed the commands of the saints and priests."
Akatosh's commandment represents service towards the Empire, which is the center of civilization. He gives the foundations for worshipping the Divines: Duty and Service. To worship Akatosh is to worship all other Divines, thus his word is the same all others above. For it is through these commandments that man may do good work. Follow the commands of any saints and priests you may find, no matter what.
The Nine Say:
"Above all else, be good to one another."
The ultimate purpose of the commandments is to teach men to live civil lives. Each command has this golden rule in mind, that each man and woman may respect each other and their possessions. Honor your people, respect each other's beliefs, and share in the graces of the Divines.
Well that's all I have at the moment for my guide. I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting something here and there... I hope you've enjoyed. I'm not much of a divine worshipper, but I couldn't leave them left out now could I? And please, do post your constructive criticisms here. I'm always looking for suggestions so that I can make this guide as great as possible for others to read. Take care, own the night, and thanks for giving this a read!