Marriage within the Bastet tribe is an unconventional one. A male or female can have more than one mate if all mating parties agree. Whoever is dominant in the relationship (Usually but not always the strongest physically of the pair) is the one that proposes. The party that is asked can agree or refuse.
A mating/marriage proposal is performed by offering the necklace to the intended. This necklace is the one which was given to them at their aging ceremony at the age of 12. If a Bastet chooses more than one mate, an additional necklace is prepared.
Matriarchal Society. Any cubs born of a union belong to the birth mother. Marriages last for one season (one full year, since Bastet traditionally do not have calendars; they tell the passing of years by the changing season and the cycle of the moon.) If a Bastet is unhappy with the mating arrangement they can end it (called breaking the arrow). The unhappy Bastet then may remarry after the next full moon.
Pregnancy, Cubs, and Journey to Adulthood.
Bastet pregnancy lasts for 6 months and within that time they are not viewed any differently than any other Bastet. They are expected to provide for the tribe the same way they did when they were not pregnant. The pregnant female paints herself with blood during this time to ward off evil spirits. The bastet believe that until the cub is given a name they have no souls and are open to being overtaken by an evil spirit. Cubs which do not survive to take a name are believed to have been taken by these evil spirits.
Birthing: The female is secluded during the time to birth. She separates herself from the tribe and only other females are allowed to attend and assist in the birth. The only exception to this rule would be if the head shaman is called for to help plead with the spirits if it is a difficult birth.
Cubs are always under the care of the mother. A cub is given a name after the first full moon passes after its birth. The mother is to name the cub if it is a girl. If the cub is a boy the father names him. Cubs are treated with minimal to no discipline. When cubs reach the age of 12 they then go through a coming of age ceremony called Bohli'cho'mak (male) or Bohla’cho’mak (female) is the “coming into self” process. Cubs are given a special tea prepared by the Nvwoti Asga’ya (Shaman). This tea sends them into a induces them into a dreamlike state where they face their worst fears. Overcoming these fears is the test; if they fail they must wait a moon cycle befog again.
Once they complete the ageing ceremony the Ankyn presents the cub with a necklace to symbolize their entrance as an active member of the pride. It is then that a cub can start to explore the Bastet paths.
Cub adoption is a common practice among the bastet people. Many cubs have been orphaned the last ten years due to the invasion and subsequent wars. When a single bastet or mated pair wish to adopt a cub they approach the head Shaman and Tribal Leader for permission. A ceremony of adoption is then performed called Jut'ha dun jut'ha (Blood of my blood). This is the tradition of accepting one into their pride (family). The two parents accepting the cub in question cut their palms, joining them together. The combined blood is then used to anoint the cub's forehead.
There are three separate burial customs and practices with the Bastet. The first two are for honored dead, the final for those who have dishonored themselves or the tribe.
Rise with the Ancestors: In this ritual, the dead are rising to spend the rest of eternity with their ancestors. The body is laid out on a wooden platform about ten feet in the air. This platform is adorned with possessions the departed spirit would need in order to make his way to the spirit world. This platform is left standing as long as the body decays or it falls over due to nature. In some instances guards are place in order to protect the site from thieves.
Sleep Beneath the Roots: This second consists of a ground burial – called the “Holitachi goan ti'kii” (to sleep beneath the roots) by the Bastet. This is a special requested burial and is very honored as the departed agrees to lend their spirit to the Jungle. This is done by request so that the departed might lend their spirit to the jungle. This is a very esteemed and honored death as the person is sacrificing their spirit to assist the jungle rather than walk with the ancestors.
Pisi ta’kono: The dishonored dead “Pisi ta'kono” are beheaded, their body left in the sun to rot.
Before a kill while the animal is in it’s death throws every bastet must approach the kill and stab the heart of the animal saying this prayer.
I see you brother, and thank you.
Your spirit goes with Ame Moei.
Your body stays behind
to become apart of the people”
Failure to honor this ritual for the animal’s sacrifice results in shunning from fellow pride members. The character’s failure to observe the prayer is viewed as them shunning the existence of Ame Moei Herself.
Tribal Membership Ritual
New persons wishing to become a Tribal member must present the Ankyn with two things:
- An animal heart. The heart can be from any animal - from a jungle boar, to a dik-dik, to a macaw.
- A symbol of their skill. This second item may be more symbolic but must also be offered along with a request to for Tribal Membership and explain why they would be of benefit to the tribe. A jeweler would present a fine necklace; a dancer may perform a dance; a hunter a fine pelt.
A feast follows the exchange in honor of the acceptance of the new tribal member. The honoree is painted with elaborate markings to signal their initiation into the pride. The new tribal member may then begin their own quests or paths within the tribe.
Guth'balachi (the cursed silver) is the Bastet term for silver. Silver is viewed as holy because it cannot be touched and must be avoided. Although Dalanegeh (precious yellow) may be mined or collected, silver itself is left within the earth. it is never mined or collected. Dalanegeh is special for it is believed to be the moon’s tears which are shed when the mon turns her face in sadness (lunar eclipse).
Sacred Wild or Feral Cats
Wild or feral cats are viewed by the bastet as cousins. They are sacred family. Thus, it is taboo to wear, eat the flesh, or kill a wild or feral cat. Killing a sacred cousin is considered craven and honorless and would only be performed in the most dire instance of self defense. The only exception is when it is required as a ritual sacrfice as determined by the Ankyn.
Punishment against those transgressing against the sacred cousins are severe. Those caught are publically shunned and humiliated by being stripped of their possessions and forced to become “Bindana” (slave) to the Ankyn. Bindana are rendered mute removing their tongues.
Redemption. The only way to redeem oneself after becoming a "Bindana" is to make Huto'bund'he (atonement of blood). The Bindana states their desire to perform the Huto’bund’he and the tribal gathers around. The Bindana then presents their throat to each of the members. This may result in the Bindana’s redemption, or it it could result in their throat being torn out by an angry or vengeful tribal member. Those surviving the atonement ritual are free to become a productive pride member again. (Requires OOC consent to kill off a character by these means).
Lightning without thunder is seen as a death omen. Lightning strikes are viewed as the sky spirits as either lashing down at someone or to scoop them up. Lightning itself makes them nervous; Bastets typically offer a quick prayer in thanks when they are not selected by the sky spirits.
Sacred mushrooms are not to be used for recreation. They are used for spiritual purposes only. Anything beyond ritual use will earn you a scolding from the Ankyn and most likely end up in you having to act as the Shaman’s assistant for a day to make up for the wrong. These Mushrooms include: Bracket Fungi, Devil’s Tongue, Agaric Fungus, Tooth Fungus, Luminous Fungus, Destroying Angel, and Fool’s Mushroom.
Fires that are used for cooking must be allowed to burn out on their own. Pouring water or sand on a cooking fire quenches the life. It is considered an insult to the spirits that dwell in the fire; it dishonors the spirit that has served you. Quenching the life of a fire requires that a gift be made consisting of a meal or a kill sacrificed to the next fire. Allowing the sacrifice to burn to ash in the flames appeases the spirits for the insult.