Reido (Japanese: 霊道) is a indigenous religion in Akitsu, and also the most commonly practiced religion in Akitsu. It is also a philosophical and ethical tradition in Akitsu. It emphasizes living in harmony with the Rei, which according to Reido's beliefs is form of life that exists on a different layer of the world than the one humans live in but can nonetheless influence the world.
Reido has it's roots in ancient Akitian religion, as it emerged from a merging of traditional Akitian beliefs. This merging happened shortly after the rise of the first Akitian dynasty. However, Reido has been characterized by numerous changes in it's time, mostly due to the way that some of it's core beliefs are.
Reido has since had a profound impact on Akitian culture. It's effects can still be seen in some aspects of Akitian society today. For example, the Reishi are still around and fairly well respected in Akitsu.
Reido stated out as a disorganized set of local beliefs in Akitsu. The modern religion known as Reido didn't start to appear until during the Rokkoku Period of Akitian history. Even then Reido was highly decentralized and not uniform. All forms believed that there were being called "Rei" (霊) that exist in this world and that there is an equilibrium between humans and Rei that when disrupted causes various negative effects ranging from bad luck to huge natural disasters. However the regions differed on what they viewed the Rei as, some viewed the Rei as gods and goddesses while others viewed them as another form of life that just was different from what we are used to.
When the Kingdom of Shoku emerged in Akitsu, King Haku of Shoku ordered that the various differing local belief systems of Akitsu be unified and created a panel of Daisaishi and Oomiko who were given this task. These Daisaishi and Oomiko analyzed the various local belief systems and published the Reiki, the first known document of Reido and the document upon which almost all current practices of Reido are based on. There were many debates when creating the Reiki.
Two questions were hotly debated during the discussions before writing the Reiki. These questions were the question of the existance of gods and goddesses, and the question of the existance of an afterlife (eg, heaven and hell). In the end the Daisaishi and Oomiko decided that there were no gods or goddesses, that the Rei were simply another form of life, and that there was no afterlife per say but that there was a possibility for reincarnation for those that did good.
These Daisaishi and Oomiko then formed the Reishu in order to ensure that the various Shrines of Reido maintained similar teachings, though they did allow for small regional variations on the religion. The Reishu then established Kobara no Miya and started managing the many different scriptures of Reido in order to ensure that the religion stayed uniform.
The Reishu also formally recognized the Reishi, humans who had dedicated their lives to maintaining the equilibrium between humans and Rei, as an important part of Reido. There was an effort to give the Reishi the additional task of maintaining the unity of Reido, but this effort was abandon after facing stern resistance from the Reishi.
The Kingdom of Shoku then made Reido the official state religion and began the process of getting the various regional variants of Reido to adopt these new tenets. It took nearly the entire period of the Kingdom's reign, but they managed to do it to an extent that they found satisfactory.
Periodically Reido has undergone many changes as the Reishu have consistently been willing to change the teacings of Reido as the Reishi learn more about the natural world and the world of the Rei. One of the most significant changes in the history of Reido was the change of the view on homosexuality. Until this time it was common belief in Reido that homosexuality was unnatural and would therefore disrupt the balance between Rei and humans. However, around 1700 Reishi began reporting instances of animals engaging in homosexual acts, and asked the Reishu if homosexuality was truly unnatural. Initially the Reishu dismissed these reports as mere speculation, but as the reports piled up the Reishu began to take it more seriously. The reports kept piling up until in 1713, the Reishu made the "Declaration of the Acceptance of Homosexuality" (同性愛受入宣言). This was particularly major because it involved an amending of the Reiki.
Reido has had it's own organizational structure since it became a first unified religion. The organization is headed by Kobara no Miya, which is the main shrine of Reido.
- Male heirarchy:
- Reishu (霊主) - Reishu form the highest rank in Reido. Their job is to maintain order between the many different Shrines there are and make sure that information on Rei is uniform. They are chosen from amongst the ranks of the Daisaishi and/or Oomiko by the other Reishu. They also are the head of Kobara no Miya (小薔薇の宮), the main Shrine of Reido. There are only 10 Reishu (5 of whom are male) at any given time.
- Daisaishi (大祭司) - High Priests in Reido. Usually they head major Shrines with several Saishi working underthem, though they sometimes work under the Reishu in Kobara no Miya.
- Saishi (祭司) - Priests in Reido. They either work in major Shrines under Daisaishi, or head smaller regional Shrines with Shosaishi working under them.
- Shosaishi (小祭司) - Priests in training in Reido. They work under Saishi in minor shrines.
- Female heirarchy:
- Reishu (霊主) - Identical to the male Reishu. There are only 10 Reishu (5 of whom are female) at any given time.
- Oomiko (大巫女) - High Priestesses in Reido. The female equivalent to the Daisaishi.
- Miko (巫女) - Priestesses in Reido. The female equivalent to the Saishi.
- Itako (巫子) - Priestesses in training. The female equivalent to the Shosaishi.
The core beliefs of Reido are layed out in the Reiki (Japanese: 霊記, literal translation: "Records of the Rei"). One of the first things it teaches is that there are no gods.
Reido holds the world is composed of many layers, and that we live on merely one of those many layers. The deepest later is believed to be practically a void, consisting of nothing more than two types of energy. These layers interact with each other.
At the deepest layer flows kouki (光酒), which is believed to be the essence of life itself. Without this, it is believed that no life can exist as all life is believed to have been formed from kouki. It is believed that the average person won't be able to see kouki, as it exists on a different layer of the world than the one humans live in. The kouki flows in rivers called koumyaku (光脈), and occasionally gather in lakes known as koumyakusuji (光脈筋). Koumyakusuji generally tend to be overflowing with life.
Reido believes in maintaining harmony with Rei. The Rei are believed to be just another form of life and not supernatural in nature. Generally they are believed to be the closest a form of life can get without actually becoming kouki (at which point they are no longer life themselves, but merely the essence of life). Normally they don't interact with humanity for they live on another layer of the world. Occasionally though they interact with the world. It is the Reishi's job to make sure that these interactions don't end in disaster for all sides involved. Disharmony between humans and Rei are believed to cause a wide range of negative consequences including bad fortune, disease, crop failures, natural disasters, and even death (sometimes on a widespread scale).