Bovinism is a pluriform monotheistic religion based around the worship of Bous, a hypostatic union of the Butter Cow, Butter Bull, Butter Spirit, and Butter Man (together known as the Holy Quadrate). It is the official religion of Natopia and Drak-Modan and has substantial numbers of followers in Shireroth, Constancia, Caputia and Drak-Modan. Bovinism heavily influenced the Siseranist religion in Sankt Ludwigshafen. Bovics believe that our planet, Micras, is the celestial heaven granted to a cow and bull who lived on Earth. The Cow, in particular was the butter cow sculpture from the Illinois State Fair. Bovinism has played a significant role in the development of Natopian culture. Bovinism can be regarded as the predominant major religion of Micras’ southern hemisphere. The religion considers the Tetrabiblios as its holy book. The religion is largely divided in two denominations, the Dozan Bovic Church and the Reorganized Church of Bous of Modern-Day Saints, with the main point of theological friction between the appropriate use of cow's or goat's butter.
Bovinism began as a small cult worshiping the Butter Cow, a strange being that transcends realities. The Butter Cow first revealed themselves to Earthly-bound counterparts of the first Apostles: Saints Nathaniel, Sherrith, and Joelle at the Illinois State Fair. Soon, the image of the Butter Cow was used as a Natopian National News anchor, or "Infobox Mascot." When the Natopian state collapsed into anarchy in 1533, the cult of the Butter Cow gained popularity in Athlon, one of two Natopian successor states that survived the Natopian Dark Age. The cult reformed and established itself as a formal religion based in Doza. Athlon, which was founded as a crusader kingdom of Emperor Nathan's personal army, soon began to worship the Butter Cow as a god and considered the Emperor Nathan Waffel-Paine, as the chief prophet and priest (followers referred to him as their father-in-law, or Pentheros in Athlonic). After the Natopian state was restored in 1536, the Bovic religion was integrated into Natopia's government and society with Nathan serving as Pentheros of the Church and Emperor of Natopia again.
Bovic theology is broadly defined, often left to personal interpretation of the Tetrabiblios or codified by officials of the Dozan Bovic Church. Bovics profess to the belief in Bous, willingly accept him into their hearts, believe in the resurrection of Nathan into a butter body, believe that Saint Nathaniel Ayreon-Kalirion's blindness was cured with butter eyeballs, hold that Elijah was crucified by Sisera and that he was resurrected and ascended to heaven, and ultimately accept that Nathan Waffel-Paine was deified as the fourth element of Bous, joining the Cow, Bull, and Spirit, thus making the Quadrate complete. Various people important to the religion are venerated or even worshiped, as saints.
The religion was unified under a single organization, the Dozan Bovic Church, until the Bovinist Schism of 1676. Various sects, rites, and orders within the Church espouse a variety of avenues to worship Bous. Dhurists, Jaiesicans, Caprics, Phallics, and Elijahns are the largest sects that enjoy official recognition from the Church. In nations that have large populations of Bovics, the character of the religion is often influenced by local customs and even native gods. The Melusine faith is a sister-faith of Bovinism that has spread in Caputia. Bous, recognizing the need to expand, created a counterpart in a woman named Melusine, making her into a beautiful mermaid, or Sea Cow. Melusine was driven away by the Bovics of Thalassa toward Caputia.
The cow and bull suffered greatly on Earth and Earth's God--known as Elohim--granted the righteous cow and bull their own celestial heaven which is the planet Micras. All creation is the child of God. And among the most righteous children of our Lord the Father was two cattle, a cow and a bull. They suffered horribly on Earth. They were the most righteous, pure creatures and they ascended to godship and got their own planet, Micras But they hate humans. Because humans are awful. Humans slaughter cows. Humans keep cows in factories, slaughter them, milk them to oblivion... So Bous – the power of the Bull and the Cow together – hates humans. But loves the devotion the humans give... so there's a hate/love relationship So all of us on Micras are children of Bous and Bous can't hate us too much, because we are his spawn anyway so it's very difficult for him to interact with us because there is hate, and there is love... but if we, as Micrans, stay pure, live righteously, and truly... we too can ascend to the heavens after we die Elijah did it. Nathaniel too. Even Atheisticus. and as gods in our own names, we can too have our planets and create more spawn... and have all souls in the universe one day acend to godship and everything will be good but so many trillions of trillions of souls are waiting to live... waiting to be born... the Bovic bible, called the Tetrabiblios, is largely a collection of weird parables that we can't understand and some prophesies but we have a living prophet to interpret the will of Bous, who Bous communicates most with that is the Pentheros (our pope, ish) but Bous can communicate directly to the faitfhul (and the unfaithful too) usually to the unfaithful when he's bored there are souls, though, who want to destroy Bous's creation and the souls' path to ascension they are the evil ones led by the demon queen Sisera the sign of the faithful is the true and unsoiled butter but Sisera's sign is the evil margarine but she and her followers can also be identified by the grapefruit that is their fruit grapefruit and margarine are evil margarine is a corrupted form of the symbol of life (butter) and grapefruit is a corrupted form too. You take something sweet and wonderful (a citrus) and you remove all good from it, so it's just alkaline and sour at the same time and it's horrible and that leaves you the grapefruit so in Earth, man was created from dust... because that is the symbol of the earthly god, Yahwe, the wind-god of the Middle east who blew life into people but on Micras, man was made from churned butter sculpted into the perfect lifeform so all life stems from butter, from the milk of Bous...
Bous is the hypostatic union of four parts that exist separately and together. Bovinism seeks balance. Bous' four states are composed of two sets of opposing pairs. When referred together as Bous, they are considered to be ideal and perfect. Governments and people can emulate Bovinist tenets by adopting systems that allow for these four perspectives to cooperate. Certain people and nations are led to follow one of the four states of Bous when they are called to. For example, when the current Natopian emperor, Nathan II, began his reign, he chose the Butter Cow as his emblem to symbolize a new era of growth, industry, creation, and expansion. In some records, references to Burlina, the Consort of the Butter Cow, are made. Her position in the hypostatic union is unclear. She may simply be an extension of the Butter Cow and Butter Bull when they need to use a female form.
- The Butter Cow: benevolence, creation, nurturing, growth, passive
- The Butter Bull: malevolence, destruction, neglect, decay, assertive
- The Butter Spirit: omnipresence, unknowableness of god, immortal perspective
- The Butter Man: physical presence, knowing god, mortal understanding
- Burlina, the Holy Mistress
- Melusine, sister
The Bovic Church maintains a list of individuals who are worthy of reverence. They may be prayed to under specific circumstances as praying to the correct saint in the correct situation proves to Bous that a Bovic is faithful, devout, and paid attention in Sunday school. Bous is not jealous as long as the prayers are said in Bous' name.
The Disciples of Butter Cow
- St. Tony-called-Toni, transportation
- St. Ringo, non-slip footwear
- St. Sherrith, elephants and cold weather
- St. Joelle, authority and government
- St. Nathaniel the Disciple, sarcasm and stating the obvious
- St. Branflake, intolerance
- St. Biffor, confidants
- St. Bessie, places of worship
- St. Bartholoma, natural wonder
- St. Taznim the Lawgiver, turtles and laws
- The Foolish Martyrs, war and surrender
- St. Andre, trade and commerce
- St. Asara the Cursebreaker, matters of the relationship between the household, the state, and the church
- St. Elijah, Our Beloved, romantic love
- St. Nathaniel the Returned, foresight
- St. Nett Opaegh, holy founder of nation that spreads Bovinism
- St. Bruno, locker rooms
- The Winged Phallus, anti-Vanicism
- St. Jaies Timberpine, patron of hazkisi magicks
- St. Guinevere the Great Mother Tree, the moon
- St. Gustav, regicide
Bovic Rites within the Dozan Church
There are several rites recognized by the Dozan Church as being acceptable routes to praise and worship Bous that do not follow the exact liturgy of the Dozan Bovic Church.
The Dhurist rite is geographically focused in Tas Neemia and elevates Saint Taznim, known as The Dhury, above other Bovic saints. Taznim is mentioned in the Tetrabiblios as a lawgiver, and she is the one who gave the 7 Laws that form the basis of Bovic morality. Dhurists also believe that Saint Taznim has been reincarnated every generation. The soul of Saint Taznim would pass from mother to daughter at the moment of birth, leaving the mother dead, but the daughter alive and filled with the wisdom of accumulated lifetimes. Most incarnations of Taznim lived long and storied lives, and had a preternatural gift to remain fertile until well into their 60s or 70s, at which time they would select an honored man who pledged to raise and protect the daughter when the mother died. This cycle ended in the birth of Empress Saint Asara Sisu the Pious, who broke the reincarnation cycle by marrying and conceiving a child at a very young age of 20. Dhurists scholars believe that, without decades of life-experience, the soul of Saint Taznim was unable to mature within Asara properly, was not passed on into the firstborn. Asara thus lived through childbirth and also gave birth to a daughter, Clara Sundara. Dhurists blame Asara's father, Naian Waffel-Paine and her foster years in Stormark for her willingness to marry and conceive young. He removal from the Dhurist community in Tas Neemia prevented her from learning her true nature and expectations to live a long life before conceiving a child to pass on Taznim's soul.
Some Dhurists believe the soul of St Taznim lives on, but is split between Asara's children and choose to worship both Nathan and Clara as "Trancendences of the Dhury." Others recognize that the soul of Saint Taznim is lost to this world, and instead pray for the destruction of Stormark, whose Vanic Taint on Asara ended the cycle of reincarnation.
The Jaiesican Rite, named after Saint Jaies Timberpine, is a syncretic religion practiced by most Hazel people. It combines the ancestor worship of the Tree Spirits, the associated practice of hazkisi magick, with other Bovic beliefs. During the Reign of the Butter Bull on Micras, the Butter Bull first appeared to the Hazel people. The Bovic Church could not reconcile why the physical manifestation of Bous would appear first to a group of reclusive druids. The Hazel who witnessed the Butter Bull, recognized his divinity, but maintained their ancestor worship and hazkisi magicks. The afterlife of the Hazel people is a physical transformation into a Tree, the Trees can then communicate with their living descendants and specially-attuned druids.
Naian Loneoak, who was half-Hazel promoted the Jaiesican rite and the rite rose to prominence and acceptance when Naian became Emperor and a metrobosarch in the Bovic Church. Naian, his daughter Asara, and his mother Guinevere, and his grand children Nathan II and Clara Sundara have special significance in this rite and are worshiped above other Bovic figures.
The Jaiesican Rite is focused in the Guinevere Dome on Tarsica and in the regrown Hazelfire Forest in Flaventia. After the Sacred Glade Great Fire and destruction of the Great Hazel Woods, Naian's mother Guinevere, was able to save the spirits of the Trees by condensing them into a Seed, which Naian was able to plant on Tarsica. Jaiesicans therefore worship Guinevere as the Great Mother Tree, a sort of demi-goddess, which therefore gives her descendants a worshipful lineage for Jaiesicans.
The Capric Rite was established for Bovics living in Modan & Malarboria who refused to use cow milk for their sacramental butter, and preferred goat's milk. The goat milk requirement was a stipulation of Kizzy Drakland, who on a stubborn whim, only allowed Bovic missionaries to proselytize in her state on this condition, which she expected to be abhorrent to the Bovic Church, whose leadership were mostly Natopians and honored goats. The Dozan Church, in a calculated move, allowed the Bovic missionaries to use goats milk, and the Pentheros gave special dispensation for goat's milk to be used only in certain Herds. Some Caprics under the reign of Kizzy, who was in fact a demon-queen, sometimes worshiped or venerated her. After the fall of Malarboria, these Caprics who did not renounce her, were branded as demonists and expelled.
About 95% of Capric Rite Bovics are now affiliated with the Benacian Bovic Church following the Bovic Schism and enforced conversions in Drak-Modan. The remaining Capric Bovics are scattered throughout the former territory of the Duchy of Modan and Malarboria which includes Sanama and the UGB.
The Cult of the Phallus was established in 1573 AN by Pentheros Theodores Athanatos. It is widely regarded as a mystery cult. Its public existence is limited to references to a Phallic pantheon of Bruno, Priapus, Saint Elijah, and the Winged Phallus that are worshiped on a tier below the Buttery Quadrate, similarly to saints and venerated historical figures. Many of Natopia's rulers and elite were likely to be members of the cult, which may be less focused on actually worshiping these deities, and more about networking. The degree to which Phallic cultists and the Dozan Church actually believe in the true divinity of the Phallic pantheon is likely low. The only Tetrabiblical reference to the pantheon is a Revelation on the Apotheosis of Elijah.
The Elijahn Rite, Cult of Elijah, or Elijahn Order is primarily focused on the worship of Saint Elijah Ayreon. It is primarily based in Elijah's Rest, Normark, Two Martyrs, Elwynn, as well as strong Ayreonist pockets throughout the former greater Shirerithian empire. Elijah, who was the husband of Nathan the Once-Living God, was given special consideration and worship even during his short life. Upon his crucifixion in Walstadt (present-day Asara Eliana) he was deified by his grieving widower, Nathan. The Elijahn Rite is a popular brand of Bovinism in lands ruled under the House of Ayreon-Kalirion.
The primary divisions of Bovinism are the Dozan Bovic Church, the Church of Caputia, and the Benacian Bovic Church. The Dozan Bovic Church and Church of Caputia experienced an early schism when Bovics rejected the divinity of Melusine and chased her followers out of Tapfer and to Caputia. A series of councils between leaders of each church eventually agreed that Melusine was a sister of Bous, created by Bous to attract a wider base of converts. The two churches are now in full communion and consider each other sibling churches. The Benacian Bovic Church began as a special national church for Drak-Modan within the Dozan Bovic Church. However, increasing disagreements between the use of goat or cow butter lead to an insurmountable division.
Bovic attitudes towards the LGBT community
In the story, Vices of Mount Vice, within the Book of Doctrine in the Tetrabiblios, the Butter Cow is questioned by a follower about the debauchery on Mount Vice. The follower mentions specific acts considered as sins by other world religions such as homosexual acts and eating shellfish, and eating shellfish during homosexual acts. The Butter Cow notably replies "Well, that's just fine," which is considered a Bovic axiom for allowing others to do as they please as long as no one is hurt and everyone is consenting adults. The story concludes with the implication that the Butter Cow then participates in these activities. The implicit acceptance and implied experimentation with homosexuality by the Butter Cow has impacted the religion's extremely welcoming attitude towards LGBT people and greatly affected LGBT rights in Natopia.