There is only one religion on Ishota, called Tollaism (TAW-yah-iss-em). It is a monotheistic religion centered on a goddess named Tolla (TAW-yah). She is a benign, playful goddess who is capable of getting angry and of mistakes, much like the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece.
Tolla is represented in two forms. One, of a voluptuous, curly-headed woman with insurmountable beauty, and the other, of a powerful, but nurturing Mother Bear. The official symbol of the religion is a heart with geometric designs inside of it. The heart represents Tolla's unfailing love, while the designs inside represent the Spirit Of All Things, which connects every living thing. Read the The Story of Creation here.
Tollaism is a private religion, practiced in the home and by one’s self. Prayer and meditation are the same thing. Candles are often used to signify bringing Tolla’s light into one’s home and heart. Incense and other fragrances are used to set different moods for different prayers.
Lilac and lavender are used for calmness. Thistle is used for strength. Chamomile is used to ease one’s nerves. Eucalyptus is used for healing and protection. Hibiscus flowers and jasmine are used help to bring love into one’s heart. Rosemary is to help remove anger and other dark emotions. Sage is for wisdom. Masters of Tollaism are called monks, as opposed to priests. The goal of Tollaism is to reach Enlightenment, which is becoming one with the world, the Spirit of All Things, and Mother Tolla.
The Old Way refers to how things once were when it comes to Tollaism. It refers to another time when all races were at ease and had a mutual respect for one another. This was how Tollaism was first interpreted by the Prophets of Ghang’ai. The Prophets were a group of demons and humans alike who considered themselves the elite when it came to Tolla. Ghang’ai was the monastery on the summit below Sevdhana, the holiest of cities and the Demon Capital. They were both destroyed long ago during the Great Demon Civil War, when the world was first given sentient life. The Prophets are from a time when Tolla still made herself very apparent on Ishota, working through people actively and showing herself in dreams and other premonitions. They wrote almost all of the manuscripts that are still in circulation today. Their teachings are what are know as the Old Way. Tollaism has a few sects, which feel a vast amount of tension on a daily basis:
There are the Atheists, the non-believers, who have denounced the Old Ways and stick strictly to what their eyes and ears tell them. They find their comfort in the primitive, but quickly growing, science of the Ishotan world. A revolution, they believe, is coming soon, which will remove the shroud of mystery and magic from Ishota. They believe that the so-called “magic” that demons possess can be explained in worldly terms.
The Aurins, a super-conservative group, are the exact opposite. They refuse most of the new science that is being developed. They believe everything that has been written about Tolla, including a few manuscripts that are frowned upon by most of Ishota. These manuscripts were written by an old Zaran Emperor by the name of Xo Jen (zo-zshen, like the J sound in Elijah). He was a self-proclaimed prophet that thought Tolla had picked him out above the rest to speak for her. Every country aside from Zara does not believe Xo Jen’s manuscripts. Some think he was crazy, while others speculate that he was a mastermind by using his manuscripts to manipulate the Zaran people for his own benefits and impose his own way of thinking on them.
Most people fall in between the Aurins and the Atheists. Your average farmer in Sierra Gesh or merchant in Rahad believe in Tolla and have quiet, spiritual moments to themselves. Above all that though, are the Caian Monks. These are a people who have denounced the ways of the world to live in solitude in order to reach Enlightenment. They welcome all races and citizenships. Some have sworn to silence, while others have sworn chastity. It is all on an individual basis and whatever they think is necessary for themselves. They are mysterious, since most people do not travel so far south without staying there.