Kinda befitting that I'm writing this on Beltane (the Gaelic May Day festival), particularly since this month I'm writing about the Celtic inspirations for the Commonwealth's culture and society in Frozen Skies. Been thinking about religion with regards to the Commonwealth and I've had some ideas kicking around in my head. It draws on Celtic polyteism but it incorporates some ideas I've had about how it could've evolved.
Gods by the Bushel! Gods by the Pound!
The religion of the Commonwealth I'm basing heavily upon the Irish gods and goddesses, I'll go into more details on the Frozen Skies versions in a future post.
Just like with the real life Celtic deities, the Commonwealth counts a fair number of different deities who tend to be invoked for specific things. For example one deity may commonly get invoked by doctors and those seeking good health whilst another may get invoked by farmers. Whilst these deities have strong associations with certain matters, there remains a degree of overlaps between them.
Whilst tradesman and the like may lean towards specific deities (like the examples above), on the whole people tend to invoke a number of different deities depending on the situation and their needs. During a typical day any number of deities could get invoked depending on what the person is doing, it may be for good fortune with regards to business or a game of chance. Or it could be an aviator hoping for good weather and a safe flight.
Worship has changed over the centuries, changing and adapting as society has evolved. Originally, worship revolved round rituals at stone circles or druidic groves. With urbanisation and industrialization, things have changed. Chapels have been adopted, mainly out of convenience, and people even have shrines in their homes or places of work. Whilst shrines could be devoted to a specific deity, chapels tend to lean towards being multi-purpose. Groves haven't gone completely out of fashion, they'd been retained for special events and most towns and cities boast at least one in a major park.
There is a priesthood of a sort known as the Keepers of the Faith (Gaelic: Coimeádaithe an Chreidimh). These Keepers effectively act like priests, though they generally lead services rituals to all of the Commonwealth's deities. The exact number and which ones depends heavily on the occasion, it could be a single deity or a dozen. The Keepers tend to the chapels and groves, ensuring their upkeep and being on hand for when a member of the public requires it. Though some Keepers do specialize; those with an inclination towards a deity of healing go in for medical training and help out in hospitals, whereas those who lean towards a war deity serve as chaplains/padres in the military.
That's the basic idea, hopefully it helps fleshes out the Commonwealth more as well as the overall setting.