NEHTOR, SANTHARIAN GOD OF HEALING

Names - Appearance - Mythology - Lore - Importance - Symbols
 Celebrations - Temple Design - Temple Locations
- PRAYERS

Nehtor is the Santharian God of the Healing, Renewal and Rebirth. He is one of the Twelve Gods or High Spirits (Styrásh Aeolía, Aeolía) who sprang from the Dream of Avá the Beautiful according to the elven myth as related in the Cárpa'dosía. Together with Grothar (God of Weather) and Eyasha (Goddess of Peace), Nehtor is one of the three Gods dedicated to the Element of Wind. The second month of the Santharian Calendar, the Month of the Molten Ice (Styrásh smól'evathón or smól'evathón) is dedicated to Nehtor.

While having helped Eyasha and Urtengor in the melding of Caelereth, by dancing and singing in sheer delight at the creation around him, he was the most affected by the destruction by Queprur (his antagonist) and Etherus as part of what he had helped to create. He disassociated himself from the other Gods and as such ancient texts also refer to him as the God of Concern, Mourning and Sorrow, as he grieves for what has been destroyed and the pain that is inflicted upon the world that he cares so deeply for. Elves often identify very closely to Nehtor, as they too are linked to the land and its health, and experience the greatest joys and the greatest sorrow.

Nehtor, God of Healing
View picture in full size Image description. An more recent interpretation of an artist depicting Nehtor, the Santharian God of Healing. Picture drawn by Bard Judith.

Names. Nehtor, the Santharian God of the Healing, Renewal and Rebirth, is often also known as "The Dancer" or the "Lone God", the Advocate of Pity and Endurance. Ancient texts also refer to him as the God of Concern, Mourning and Sorrow. Return to the top

Appearance. The best known depictions of Nehtor are the great iconic painting on the east wall of the temple at New-Santhala and - quite unusual - two elven images, one of which is found in the State Building of Elving, and the other which was saved from the Great Library of Ranndar in the Bolder forest and is attached to one of the oldest fragments of the Cárpa'dosían text in Santharia.

The ancient image, now also housed in New-Santhala, has Nehtor depicted a muscular, much tattooed, blue, strange figure (unlike any of the races) dancing wildly. There is much speculation, but the reason for the tattoos is unknown as the appropriate text did not survive the great blaze in the forest set alight by the orcs. It does suggest that the image of Nehtor has changed over time, as the far later Quaelhoirhim image to be found in a text of prophecy (which may well in fact be Ylfferhim in origin) in Elving's State building shows Nehtor in a much more familiar fashion: the muscular, androgynous, and somehow strangely delicate God, still blue skinned, in mourning for the world's pain and carrying a flute.

The human depiction of Nehtor is rather different, due to the rather different understanding of Nehtor's role. Most human images are very similar to the great iconic painting in New-Santhala's temple. While this image is relatively new, painted in 400 a.S. on the completion of the new city after its destruction, it shares common elements with paintings all over the Southern Continent. Nehtor, here, is depicted at the height of masculine beauty: muscular, bearded and wise, at work as a healer caring for a small child. He is shown here as a dark haired man in blue robes, accompanied by his symbolistic animals, who look on.
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Mythology. To the elves Nethor was among the first three Gods who sprang from the Thoughts of Avá and is of the Element of Wind. As a result He is one of the closest in thought to the High Goddess. He represented and still represents the infinite ability of Caelereth to repair itself given the presence of peace and understanding. At the beginning of time Nehtor taught pity and endurance to the Children of Avá and later, after Queprur and Etherus destroyed what he had helped to create, He taught the Children healing - both for themselves and for the world they lived in.

In the beginning Nehtor was the most joyful and carefree of the Gods, honoring Avá's Dream by finding delight in its existence, much more than any other God ever did. And so He was diligent in helping Urtengor to shape the lands and to create the seasons, reflecting the circle of life. It is said that Nehtor broke the first cold of winter when He was dancing: The once destroyed flora rose again during His performance which brought back the once lost spirit of nature - joy and new life were again making Caelereth thrive, reminding of the Tree of Life, the Eú'reóll. And there, in the Gardens of Bliss where Eú'reóll stood, Nehtor wouldn't cease to dance and sing while
Eyasha and Urtengor worked on the reality of the Dream. But again and again the other Gods, mainly Etherus and Queprur, joined their powers in order to corrupt these achievements. Then Nehtor danced even harder than before, teaching everything that existed how to counter the threats of death and how to find pleasure in the circle of life, undoing or repairing the destruction caused by others. And through this dance he did restore hope to the world, created new life, beasts and plants, that would assist the Children and nature itself to heal body and soul.

But then, when the Tree of Life caught fire, Nehtor felt a misery and a pain unlike any other and since this time Nehtor has severed his relations with the other Gods, only intervening to frustrate Queprur against whom he holds a considerable grudge.

He left the Children in that time. But Nehtor still lives in the Caelereth world: It is said that he settled in the far east, where the sun can be seen rising first and brings new life with the new day. Grief, concern and mourning are his providence, he no longer sings but weeps and plays tunes of great mourning for the suffering of Caelereth on a flute or a panpipe of his own making. It is said that his tears helped to repair some of that which had been undone. Only Jeyriall (Goddess of the Harvest) ventures into that far place once a year, to ask him to dance once again to melt the ice so that She might plant a strong harvest. Often Nehtor agrees to the Goddess' request and in that dance he is as happy as he was at the beginning of the world. Thus, despite being the God of Mourning, Nehtor still is the main force which brings new joy, birth and inspiration into the world.

Nehtor's intentions, like those of Eyasha, are to undo the deeds of his two opponents. Though gentle in nature, He is, unlike the Goddess known to be confrontational in anger, often stealing souls from Queprur's grip. He enjoys nothing better than to frustrate the Goddess of Death. It is even said that His tears can save a soul from death itself - His dance brings spring to the world, while his music is balm to the soul and can mend even the most broken of hearts.
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Lore. Nehtor is known for having created the Eastern Cross, a beautiful constellation made up of four bright stars, said to mark that far spot in which he now resides in his grief, the place where the sun rises and the new day brings a new start and new life. It matches Grothar's Western Cross, which the two Gods designed at the same time after seeing Eyasha’s Diadem constellation and hearing Baveras’ appeal for sky marks to aid Her sailors and navigators. Its brightness varies with the position of the Injérà in the sky. The story of its creation is recounted in recovered fragments of the
Cárpa'dosía:
 

"And as Baveras saw that the people who loved the sea and draw their living out of the element She was connected with were lost in the vast sea at night and had no orientation and were lost therefore very often, losing their lives and screaming to her in despair, she felt pity for them and decided to change the given situation to their advantage.

So she went to three other High Spirits to help her in this quest, to the Gods of the Winds: to Eyasha, the Goddess of Peace, to Grothar, the God of the Weather and to Nehtor, the God of Healing, hoping that they would be able to fulfill this task at best. {V/1)

[...] After Eyasha had fulfilled her task so brilliantly, Eyasha and Nehtor didn‘t want to stay behind and tried to do the same, and though they weren‘t as successful as Eyasha, they each forced four stars to form a constellation as well. And Nehtor, the god of Healing, chose the east, where the Injèrá can be seen rising first in the morning and brings not seldom relief to the painstaking and ill, and he formed a constellation out of four stars called the Eastern Cross. [...] But while the light of the star constellation Eyasha had formed is always the same, though the stars can be seen as small discs getting slightly bigger as you approach the far north, the two constellations formed by Nehtor and Grothar vary in their brilliance due to the Injèrá which enlightens them during its way around Aér'aí'chán [Caelereth]. So when the Injèrá is setting and vanishing under the horizon in the west it still gives some of its light to the constellation in the west, while it is rising and coming near sunrise it is giving its light to the constellation in the east making it more brilliant. In the middle of the night all three constellations have about the same brilliance. {V/5}"

Nehtor is very much the Lone God. While Urtengor, Foiros and Grothar have close ties to one another, Nehtor is unusual in that he no longer wishes anything to do with his contemporaries. While once his relations with other Gods, especially the other two Wind Gods, Eyasha and Grothar, were joyous and good natured, any rare contact with his contemporaries said to be cool, controlled and removed.

The only God who arouses passion from Nehtor is Queprur. There is no doubt that a considerable grudge is held on Nehtor's side toward the Goddess and that there is a perpetual animosity on both sides. However, while life on Caelereth may seem to be a perpetual struggle between the snatching fist of Queprur and the healing hands of Nehtor, their antagonism is constructive in a way that relations between Jeyriall and Baveras are not. In the Right of Renewal, that elven belief in reincarnation, their roles find a common point. Without Queprur's taking of souls, their could be no rebirth. Without Nehtor's ability to understand and soothe the souls of those who have suffered bereavement and encouragement to go on living, surely life would long ago have given up and ceased to be. The two deities, while they indulge in a continual tit for tat pettiness, rather than out and out confrontation, produce a balance that is in accordance with that between the Dreamer and Coór. Of course in human eyes, this subtly becomes a little diluted. Queprur is often presented together with allies of Coór, and Nehtor seen as representation of the elven Avá, this somehow becomes a battle of good and evil, while in elven eyes at least the subtleties of the Dream are never quite this simple.

There are few stories of Nehtor interacting in mortal affairs, preferring instead to conduct his business from afar, usually through his mediators: his clerics - of whom their are several denominations. Clerics of Nehtor are claimed that they are divinely inspired with his knowledge, as much of what he taught in the beginning of time has been lost. It is said, however, that after each of the Sarvonian Wars he returned at night to dance over the battlefields, an act of defiance against the bloodletting and to give healing to the broken lands, destroyed forests and wounded souls of those left behind in the hope the Eyasha would perhaps regain control.
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Importance. Nehtor is a well known God throughout Santharia, but His connections to grief and mourning as well as healing and rebirth mean that He is worshipped most at somber occasions and times of great need. He is worshipped by the elves as well as the humans but to these races his role is slightly different. To the elves Nehtor is the God of Renewal and Rebirth, and such it is to Him that prayers during the Rite of Renewal are made. He is principally the God of Healing, and while elves, who are linked to the land, see this role as a cosmological one to restore order, humans more often see it at a personal level. As such humans see him as the patron of doctors and healers.

Nehtor also teaches endurance and pity, and soothes the minds of those who are grieving. As such He is of greater importance to the elves, who feel the greatest responsibility to Caelereth, and the greatest sorrow at its ills. He is also the God of the Dance, Music and the artists of Santharia. He is also often depicted with an agelom (a musical instrument distantly related to the lute) or more often a simple flute.

Like Eyasha, but unlike Grothar, there is no druidic order that worships Nehtor specifically, though inevitably the herb lore of healing is an essential aspect to several of these orders. Nehtor does have a clerical order. The Nehtorians are in fact made up of several denominations who have slightly different takes on Nehtor's cosmological roles and mythology. They can be split roughly in half by the different perception of the God held by humans and elves. Human Nehtorians can detect injured or diseased creatures and address their illnesses or ailments with remedies and cures not known by the common house-wife or ranger. Some of these sects determine their members lead a solitary, nomadic existence - rather like that of a ranger, others, and in fact the main Nehtorian sect, encourage their members to be professional healers and doctors resident, but separate from, human settlements and build large grandiose temples to their God. This particular sect, the Etheronian Nehtorians, now often known as the Santhalan Nehtorians since unification are well known for providing counseling and help to those who are bereaved, as well as being a patron of performing arts. The Etheronian Nehtorians provide accommodation for traveling bards and dancers, as well as financial support in most major cities.

One particularly odd sect of Nehtorians are the White Nehtorians, whose name refers to their unusual white clothing (all the other sects wear either blue or purple). These clerics travel in a sociable, rather rough grouping which often splits into smaller groups. They are regarded by many other sects and lay residents to be interfering, cantankerous and old fashioned. They are hard-line Nehtorians, who regard the killing of any living creature as a movement against their God.

There is only a single elven sect. Elven Nehtorians are able to tap their target's life-force (cár'áll); they can drain it from the target or augment it with their own.

The Nehtorians' ultimate goal is always the same, however, to touch the creation of Avá while staying separate from it. They provide counseling to those who have been bereaved. Nehtorians are known for separating themselves from society and at least keeping a professional distance from all others; while some prefer it, some live a life of aching loneliness. Central to all Nehtorian doctrine, a common document to all Nehtorians, is the Nehtorian oath, never to endanger the life of another sentient being, to do all that is within your power to save sentient life and prevent suffering. This Nehtorian oath has in itself, however, several different interpretations especially on issues such as euthanasia, where the oath seems almost to contradict itself. This of course is less of a problem to the elves, who would never even imagine to end their lives prematurely on their own, only if they see it as a gift from the Gods. To human Nehtorians this is a controversial and divisive issue!
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Symbols. Nehtor is often seen in the company of the banded ricau, a white solitary seabird, mirroring Nehtor's way of life, and that of his clerics. Sometimes he is depicted alongside a horse (occasionally a winged one) to signify endurance, pity and patience. He is seldom seen without a musical instrument, usually he's wearing a flute or a panpipe. The silhouette of a dancing man is also inexorably linked with the God and the many denominations of his clerics. His colors are blues and purples for sorrow, but also healing.

The God is also closely associated with the constellation of the Dancer.

His typical plants are the yahrle and the arv. Both are healing herbs, and yet both seem particularly odd choices, with yahrle, while being used for healing and dispelling melancholy, is linked to Coór and arv is a particularly hazardous herb, which, if not used very carefully, results in addiction and death. These symbols perhaps reiterate that while Nehtor can chase death away, he more often acts to prevent Queprur destroying life's most delicate balances.
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Celebrations. [...] Return to the top

Temple Design. Temples vary in design as much as the sects who worship Nehtor. The largest temple to Nehtor currently lies at New-Santhala, though previous to the capital's re-construction, the largest temple was in Voldar. This grand stone building has painted walls, ceilings and glass windows, and is a wealthy establishment that will often provide shelter for those with none. By contrast there is also the enormous Tree Cathedral, planted by the Quaelhoirhim and Ylfferhim elves in the western part of the Zeiphyr, not far from Elving. Return to the top

Temple Locations. The most prominent Nehtorian temples were already mentioned above, which are the New-Santhalian temple and the Voldarian one (see Temple Design). Elves more commonly, however, worship Nehtor in unmarked places - sometimes there maybe a clump of healing herbs - but to the elves worship of Nehtor is by practice of his arts and virtues rather than in any words or building. Certain human sects, especially those who live solitary wandering existences believe that as Nehtor interceded in the world through his followers, that there must be a place for his presence to dwell on the person. This is usually a hollow metal amulet worn around the neck. This practice has also made its way into the mainstream Nehtorian sects, thought it may also be used to hold a yahrle leaf, or something of that nature. Return to the top

Prayers. Among the prayers worshipping Nehtor, God of Healing, the following is very common:

O AZURE GOD
by Rayne Avalotus

O Azure God of Mourn and Despair,
And mercy so great and true,
Hear a softly uttered prayer
From a heart of sorrowed hue.

Each morn greeteth me in tears
Each night in restless dream:
A light that comes and disappears.
This heartache reigns supreme.

Such woe and rue hath led me
To where I pray to thee and thine
Set me free, I begeth thee
On my knees within this shrine.

Singeth to the stars, great one
To where the greatest eagles soar
And to Allian mountains, to the sun
To every sea-sought shore.

Dance across the fertile plains
Across the Ráhaz’Dáth sands
For in such dance I forget the pain
So move thine feet and hands.

And when the shadows become long
And westward thou hast crept,
I will follow the echo of thine song
And follow thine dancing step.
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