Gallente religious practices
Gallente religious practices are many and varied, especially considering the melting pot nature of the Federation, and the fact that there was never any universal religion or culture on the Luminaire homeworld of Gallente Prime to begin with. Though still secular at the national level, many citizens in the Federation have adopted the religious beliefs of non-Luminaire cultures (such as the Amarr, Intaki, Sisters of EVE, or even the Sani Sabik) but there are several indigenous beliefs that date back to the Age of the Ancients, before the rise of the Garoun Empire. These practices have changed in countless different ways over the years, with several subsets and branches, fusing with one another or with that of foreign cultures in seemingly endless combinations. Modern practices can roughly be grouped into several overarching categories, but this list is not exhaustive, and nor is each category mutually exclusive from one another.
Gallente polytheism has several different roots and origins. Some pantheons were established according to the natural elements, not unlike in other cultures. Others were inspired by the seventeen moons of Gallente Prime, each representing a specific god or goddess. However, what each moon would represent differed to each culture, sometimes representing an element or force of nature, or simply being the patron goddess of something relatively mundane, such as smithing. It was not uncommon for religious wars to break out over such interpretations. Often, the flow and exchange of cultures and ideas during this period meant that the same deities began to share different names and purposes between opposing peoples, which became another source of conflict and tension.
Constellations or stars were another point of inspiration for the pre-modern Gallente, where shapes of tools and objects were drawn out in the night sky, interpreted as divine patronage. Alternatively, beloved heroes, kings and queens could ascend to godhood through poetry and epic literature. The influence of the Garoun Empire worldwide made the human personification of deities very popular across Gallente Prime, with several pre-industrial buildings, particularly palaces and courthouses, having statues of titans and heroes built into the architecture. While the Garoun Empire had their own pantheon and divine hierarchy, the liberal and progressive nature of the Rouvenor dynasty meant that it was never forced onto other states (though it was often exported indirectly).
Modern Gallente vary in their religious beliefs, but it is quite common to hear one invoke the name of a god or goddess (or all of them collectively), whether in surprise, consternation or frustration, or over a particular subject matter. This does not necessary imply religious faith, and is merely a facet of several contemporary lexicons in the Federation. Some religious orders in the current day have sought to streamline and unify the hundreds of god and goddesses from the many different Gallente Prime cultures into a more consolidated list, especially where there is overlap. These orders have experienced notable success, and are popular amongst the youth of the Federation, while some deities are now the patrons of anything from asteroid mining to wormhole exploration, acting as a source of recourse for many space adventurers. The legacy of Gallente polytheism can be seen in the naming styles of modern starships and other items of technology, as well as the city of Caille's largest landmark, the Sanctuary of the Seventh Goddess.
Historically, and especially since the Age of Rouvenor, the Gallente cultures have had strong concepts of masculinity and femininity in the areas of aesthetic. This has manifested itself in the form of dualist religions, where a true believer was encouraged (though not expressly ordered) to worship a god or goddess depending on one’s gender. Each deity would be the patron of their respective gender, championing divine virtues of what was expected of each sex, such as physical strength and bravery for men, or beauty and compassion for the women. In other cases, the two deities represented masculine and feminine aspects of the wider world. The male god could be the patron of war, politics or natural disasters, while the female goddess could be the patron of love or beauty in the environment. In more structured societies, each deity would champion the expected roles and occupations of either gender.
The dualistic nature of these religions meant that they were easily absorbed into more polytheistic sects over time, fitting in with the wider pantheon. However, dualist beliefs continue to exist, mostly orders that take the esoteric approach of gender-based virtues, or deities that represent the interplay between gendered concepts on an international scale. Sexuality can sometimes play a greater part in these sects than in others.
Although both current practitioners and religious scholars maintain that dualist faith systems aren't overtly sexist, the systems have often come under fire by gender equality proponents and have seen their member counts drop drastically in modern times.
Environmentalism in the Federation sometimes traces its roots back to the nature-minded cultures of Gallente Prime, who sought to live in harmony and peace with their surroundings. Small tribal groups believe how the soul, essence or life energy flows through every living thing, be it a rock or animal, with no separation between the the spiritual or material worlds. Rituals are commonly performed to connect with one’s own “life force” (or whatever the sect in particular may call it), or connect it with the souls of others. Elemental magic was practiced, using the many flower species of the Gallente homeworld. Though this was distinctly non-threatening in its nature, the practice of ‘magic’ was nonetheless interpreted as witchcraft by religious crusaders of other beliefs. Ancestor worship (alternatively, precursor or ancient worship) was also sometimes viewed with great superstition, with those who dwell amongst nature seen as attempting to haunt villagers and townsfolk with ghosts of the dead. As a result, members of animistic faiths often had to suffer religious persecution by other members of society until secularization settled in across the Gallente homeworld.
Once freedom of religion was common amongst the Gallente, animistic sects and other nature worship groups became immensely popular, going a long way to influence environmentalist thought. Traditional icons of animistic faiths such as gemstones have proven extremely attractive to the youth of the Federation, who casually practice such belief systems, often as a fad. This is commonly to the annoyance of more dedicated believers, often dismissing such members from their orders (who eventually move on after a while anyway). Caldari and Minmatar animistic belief systems often suffer from a similar problem with the youth.
More universally-minded Gallente have attempted to fuse traditional Luminaire practices with Caldari and/or Minmatar beliefs, as has been done with several other religions in the Federation. Many of these fusion religions have had a great amount of success across the nation. Nowadays, stellar phenomena, such as the Lutins, are often the primary focus for several animistic orders in the Federation.
Common amongst the Gallente who are not atheistic is the belief in a single god or other spiritual being. This deity is not tied to any one culture or religious dogma, and is designed to be universal in nature, incorporating all other belief systems. Some Gallente who have knowledge of polytheistic or dualistic religions often state how the many deities are actually representations of the same god. Many who follow this route are not necessarily religious, and only share the thought when asked. There were several cultures on Gallente Prime that took a monotheistic belief system. Some bordered on extremism, waging holy wars on neighbouring states. However, the combined influence of the progressive Garoun Empire and the secularization of modern Gallente politics in their industrial era meant that such ideologies were grounded out as anachronistic and dated.
For those who prefer a more structured and organized religious system, many Gallente have subscribed to the Amarr faith, and there are countless denominations that exist in the Federation that do not need to worry about persecution by the higher authorities. Many of these denominations have a very liberal interpretation of the Amarr Scriptures, to the point that some Imperial citizens would struggle to call it Amarr at all. Others sects can be as militant as the orthodox Amarr faith itself, though these often become marginalized by the wider society.
By far the most frequently occurring philosophy from Gallente citizens who profess religious belief has a more universal outlook. For the most part, the Gallente do not see the values espoused by the Federation as bound to national borders. In similar fashion, concepts regarding gods or other spiritual beings are not believed to be confined to any one ethnicity or culture. Instead, these Gallente take a pantheistic approach, with all of creation being divine, and all religions and belief systems being equally valid in their approach. This approach is extremely common and well-accepted for its inclusive nature, with many feeling that its open nature fits in with the rest of the Gallente Federation.
Such a belief system traces back to the globalization of Gallente Prime, where the different nations and peoples began to interact with one another on a more frequent basis. They acknowledged and accepted one another’s cultural habits, which went a long way towards the political unification of the homeworld. Naturally, this only works if both cultures are receptive to the idea of acceptance. Religious universalists in the Federation have often clashed with dogmatic Amarr believers, or the closed systems of Minmatar and Caldari spiritual belief.
Religion across the modern Federation
The Gallente Federation is home to many different cultures and peoples, as well as their respective religions. It is unsurprising, then, that the Federation government guarantees religious rights and freedoms in its constitution, acting as the shelter for many immigrants who may have suffered persecution based on faith in other empires. In many places in the nation, and often at the Federal level, religion stands up as just a significant demographical consideration as ethnicity or socioeconomic background. Just as racial violence can take place in major cities, religious sectarianism becomes a problem in several communities in the Federation, especially underdeveloped areas that are far from Gallente core territories. Entire planetside villages and deadspace colonies, distant from security or military authorities, have been massacred by extremists, while Gallente citizens of Amarr descent and/or religious preference have been target of discrimination and violence, especially from those of Minmatar ethnicity. Federation authorities at all levels, in seeking to maintain its reputation as the bastion of individual and social freedoms (faith-based or not), takes the issue of religious violence and discrimination very seriously. That said, secularist voices in the lobbying community are immensely influential, who believe that the Federation has no place in catering for those of religious persuasion, which is perceived as irrational and outdated by these particular activists. Indeed, the influence of certain religions in choice Gallente communities has resulted in questionable practices that are seen as immoral by the wider society, such as gender discrimination, child labor, or even slavery. Though sectarianism in the Federation is nowhere near as problematic as it is in places such as the Minmatar Republic, the battle for protecting religious freedoms versus not protecting the right for these beliefs to possibly oppress others at the same time is an endless one in Gallente politics.
However, for the most part, the Federation is unrivalled in its religious diversity, with the laid-back and easygoing culture meaning that one's choice of religion is just as acceptable as one's choice of fashion or political ideology. It is not clear how many citizens in the nation are of a religious persuasion, with many complications as to why a set figure has never come to fruition (such as the changing belief of the individual Gallente). Simple apathy sometimes comes up in polls with a slim majority, but so does pantheistic universalism in other reviews. Religious belief is also estimated to be higher in rural communities planetside, many of which are unrecorded and disconnected from the wider Federation, making them difficult areas to recover statistics from and decreasing the reliability of potential figures on the subject further. At any rate, many Gallente societies are very catering to religion, with public buildings such as temples, churches, shrines and sanctuaries often playing their role in a community to the same level as any other civic institution. The Sisters of EVE are one of the more prominent religious orders that serve such a role, particularly in spaceside communities.
As noted above, the actual religions in question (outside of more mainstream, interstellar systems) varies a great deal from place to place. Outside of Gallente Prime beliefs, religions have evolved on former colonies that have developed into fully-franchised worlds, over periods that, on some planets, often date hundreds of years back before the Federation was actually founded. In addition, there are plenty of ancient practices of many minor bloodlines that were discovered during exploration, having long since faded into obscurity. These particular faiths tend to be based around the local history and folklore, as well as the natural environment and climate. Even a space elevator can have generations of lore centered around it by the populace, with those who have no hopes of ever reaching space believing that paradise rests atop of the technological tower. In addition, it is often the case that individual worlds possess their own assortment of gods and/or spirits to them, unique to that particular planet. On top of this, a settlement or province on the other side of the world will then have their own interpretation on the metaphysical environment, increasing the number of beliefs further. Suffice to say, such outlooks get diluted should urbanization take place, which often involves the integration of that society with the interstellar one. In space, a similar trend applies, with local beliefs from deadspace colonists building up around the stellar phenomena that exists in that particular solar system. All of these habits contribute a great deal to local culture and subculture in the Federation, making it the great showcase of human nature that it has become renowned for in the eyes of many.