|NG, LN, N, CN, NE|
|Air, Animal, Plant, Water, Weather|
Gozreh is one of Pathfinder deities.
Background[edit | edit source]
Gozreh is timeless. Born when the first breeze caressed the ocean, she is ever changing, tempestuous, and unpredictable, yet also prone to periods of constancy, stillness, and routine. He is the storm cloud chased by clear skies, the spring warmth that follows winter, and the fair winds that carry seagoing ships. She is the great wave that capsizes those ships, the gentle current that deposits sailors on safe shores, and the rising and falling tides. Those who ply the waters or rely upon the rains know this better than most, and are sure to placate Gozreh and honor him when the wind and waves are favorable.
Gozreh has two aspects, equally depicted in art and sculpture. When at sea or over water, Gozreh is a woman with wild, flowing green hair, whose body transforms into endless waves. In the sky and over land, Gozreh appears as an aged man with a long white beard, emerging from a mighty storm cloud. Gozreh is moody and brooding, able to spend weeks in a glowering quiet only to explode in a fury of water, wind, and lightning. He is an elemental force, not fettered by the work of mortals; he may turn aside his wrath when appeased with gifts and flattering words, or he may ignore mortal cries entirely. Many cargo ships throw a crate or two overboard in the deep ocean to satisfy her, so that she does not take more by force. He is the amoral side of nature, that which brings life and takes it unexpectedly. Gozreh represents both female and male facets of life, unconstrained by civilization's notions of masculinity and femininity. Grandmother, grandfather, brother, sister, eternal and ever changing, the Wind and the Waves echo and shape the countless living things on Golarion.
Gozreh refers to himself or herself as "I" or "We" interchangeably. He loves to race the wind, tearing clouds in two with his passing, or sculpting them into islands and palaces for his pleasure. She hides under the waves and plummets to the crushing depths of the ocean, chasing whales and building grottoes visible only by the light of the glowing creatures that live there. He hates those who defile the sky with smoke, taint the waters with mortal filth, or abuse the bounties of land and sea. Her official church is small, but her lay worshipers are countless. He particularly likes seabirds, flying fish, and frogs, both as living specimens and as sacrificial offerings. He is known to watch the world through the eyes of beasts, whether on the wing or under the sea, flitting from the body of a solitary bear to the countless beating hearts of a flock of starlings. He senses the day and night through green plants and pale fungi, drinking deeply through the roots of the mighty oak or clinging to a stone as the tiniest moss or lichen.
Gozreh's interests lie entirely in the realm of weather and living things. He has little interest in earth except in the form of soil or as a foundation for living works. She cares naught for fire save for how flame and ash provide opportunities for new life to grow in their wake. These materials are not taboo to her faithful, just inconsequential. Likewise, he accepts that some creatures must die so that others may survive and still others be born, but the mystical aspects of death and its cycles do not concern him — he leaves these things to entities such as Pharasma. Like nature itself, Gozreh can be cruel and indifferent, allowing a storm to ravage the land or sink a dozen ships, or a plague to wipe out an entire herd of animals or even whole settlements. Yet she also pushes trading ships across the world, multiplies animals in springtime, and brings gentle rain to thirsty fields. His way is a way beyond morals and ethics — as long as life survives in some form, and water and weather support it and keep the world itself dynamic, Gozreh is satisfied. Though her priests and priestesses may have personal ideas about which creatures should live and which should not, or visions of what Gozreh wants protected or destroyed, they accept that their beliefs are just one facet of their deity's infinite perceptions.
The Wind and the Waves may be intractable one moment and sympathetic the next. He does not do this to be deliberately contrary or mischievous, or in the interest of chaos; it is simply because he perceives everything — every living organism, every drop of water, every gust of wind — at all times. Events distant and unrelated may draw her attention, and the outcome of those events may change her mood, whether because a potential tornado disperses too soon or a rare breed of fox births a dozen healthy kits. He is a great monarch, constantly beseeched by courtiers and commoners, listening to each argument simultaneously and shifting his attention and response to each in turn. To one unaware of the cacophony, she may appear flighty or distracted, but the truth is far more complicated, in a way that mortal cannot hope to perceive.
Gozreh is usually depicted as a colossal humanoid whose lower half trails away into a mass of roiling elemental matter. In male form, he appears as a storm cloud and always remains flying — according to one old legend, he can stretch from one horizon to the other, darkening the entire sky with his fury. In female form, Gozreh's body is usually shown blending with the water of a lake or sea. She has been known to rise from a waterspout, but sometimes gathers all the nearby water into a great wave, emerging from the top as a nymph-like shape, a crone, or a vaguely humanoid construct of pure water.
Statues of Gozreh are usually made of driftwood or lightning-scorched trees either tied together into a humanoid shapes or carved to resemble one or both incarnations; a few are chiseled from ice and either magically preserved or allowed to melt to be recreated as needed. Stone is rarely used for religious imagery, and never brick or pottery, as such things are signs of civilization's encroachment. Holy symbols and small idols may be made of coral, polished shell, lacquered wood, whalebone, and other materials that represent life in the sea and the sky that have naturally fallen.
Signs of Gozreh's favor include a sudden gentle breeze that carries the scent of flowers, the appearance of large numbers of animals, the unexplained sound of waves crashing on a distant beach, and dreams of a specific, recognizable animal (such as a white wolf, a frilled lizard with glowing blue eyes, or a ghostly raven). Omens of his displeasure include being watched and shrieked at by wild birds or beasts, sudden rainstorms localized over a specific building or individual, or an unending taste of blood in the mouth. She may foul fresh water, or afflict offenders with terrible smells or excruciating joint pain as the weather changes.
It's not unusual for zealous priests of Gozreh to remain celibate, devoting all their energy to their deity; these priests have been known to worship their deity naked in high places or shallow waters — a process referred to as becoming "sky-clad" or "sea-clad." Priests have a habit of finding discarded things washed up or left on the shore, including infants orphaned by shipwrecks or abandoned to die from exposure; in most lands, such children are traditionally raised by the church and trained for the priesthood, which offsets the low number of children born to priests because of their high celibacy rate.
Gozreh's holy symbol is a green leaf with a drop of water pouring from the lower end. Most of Gozreh's priests are clerics, but about a tenth are druids, with a few rangers ("weather-hunters") and adepts taking active roles in the priesthood. Inquisitors are rare; those who embrace this a path seek out folk who pollute water, clear-cut forests, and abuse the natural creatures of the world.