Death Notice: The Rise of Thay
Cult of Selune
In the worship of Selune, there is no central church authority. There is no head priest or cardinal or bishop. Each church operates fairly independently, with communication happening informally and without hierarchy. There are brothers/sisters who are the main face and fathers/mothers who supervise (and rarely, an Abbott or Abbess for extremely large churches or the occasional monastery) for large churches a Head Mother (never a Head Father) may be elected by the fathers/mothers to be an arbiter of disputes between fathers and mothers as well as the face of the church for the community.
The word “church” usually refers to a local body of priests and followers, a congregation, parish, ward or branch. The religion is generally known as The Cult of Selune, with no negative connotations for the word “cult”. The name of a place where worship is conducted is a “temple” if a building, or a “desmense” if a holy place in the wilderness.
The Cult of Selune doesn’t exist to provide knowledge of the mysteries of the universe as Selune herself is considered largely disinterested in either knowing them, telling them, or both. The Cult’s central belief is in the struggle between dark and light, monster and man, rage and temperance. Selune teaches that one must overcome the inner beast present in all of us and use that to turn back the darkness in others.
The concept of sin is different for a the Cult than in other places. Nearly nothing is forbidden or held as completely taboo. While the Cult has a large emphasis on temperance, sex, alcohol and even many drugs are considered fine for even priests to partake in. The “sin” comes from over-indulgence and especially an inability to control oneself. Therefore, “drinking is delightful, drunkenness is shameful”. Anger issues, rage, over-bearing lust, obsession, and gluttony are therefore also “sins”. To sin is called “feeding the beast”, a reference to a parable about self-control. Thus, the battle against darkness takes stage on a personal level.
Sometimes this battling of darkness takes a more literal bend and crusades of holy warriors of the Moon have been called against perceived enemies of Light and good. It is from this belief that causes Selune to take a particular interest in werebeings, as they are a literal manifestation of her teachings. Their emphasis on overcoming existing problems and their outreach programs mean that most Selunites are fairly accepting of coarse manners, rough people, and what many would call sinful behaviors. Judgement against others for their past is one thing you will almost never see a Selunite ever engage in.
Apart from the occasional Lunargent Crusade, most know the Selunite Priests for their public outreach programs. Selunite recovery clinics are common in most large cities, and it is common knowledge that struggling alcoholics or drug addicts are welcome at the Selunite Temple to work off temptation. A century ago some enterprising dealers thought that selling drugs to those in temptation at the temple would be a good idea. The cartel that did so was so ruthlessly murdered that it took two weeks for the city guard to confirm who the dead were. That practice has almost completely died out since then. While the church doesn’t proselytize, it gains adherents usually through conversion via rehabilitation of some sort or another. Somewhat secretly, the Selunite churches also consist of recovery homes for struggling lycanthropes, particularly werewolves. The Cult’s doctrine is a great boon to those wishing to suppress what they see as a curse, and to remain human and non-feral.
The Reverend Mother
The Reverend Mother guides the Cult of Selûne with her guidance and wisdom. Only the foolish would turn away the wisdom of one so wise in the ways of Our Lady of Silver.
-Brother Tychus of Neverwinter
The Cult of Selûne has no single leader, no single unifying structure. However, there is the Reverend Mother. Typically, the Reverend Mother is an extremely elderly and wise Priestess of Selûne. She has no true authority to dictate doctrine of the Cult, but her words and insights are often held in high regard by brothers and sisters across Faerun.
No brother or sister is bound to abide by the words of the Reverend Mother. However, dissonance with her insight is not looked upon favorably by a majority of the church. Many centuries ago, a number of temples refused to abide by the wisdom of the Reverend Mother concerning the Dark Moon Heresy, a disagreement that eventually lead to open conflict that ended in the elimination of the dissenters.