Canon is a body of information about the religious structure, metamystics, gods, and spirits of the Otherfaith to which Other People adhere. Otherfaith canon is produced through continuous revelation, which may involve personal canon and in turn produce divergence. Canon regarding the first six gods of the Otherfaith, such as their names and associations, was presented as canonical information by Aine Llewellyn early in the Otherfaith without having gone through any communal process.
The Otherfaith has an open canon, meaning it can be added to, subtracted from, or otherwise changed and challenged. The longer that information is established as canon may make it more difficult to challenge, however. Challenges that alter one part of canon but would have ripple effects through the rest of the Otherfaith (for example, a challenge to the Laetha being multi-faced and multi-selved deity) are also more difficult to enact. Challenges to fundamental underpinnings of the religion - such as polytheist theology, incorporation of modernity and technology - are necessarily more difficult to bring. Challenges to information about currently vague ritual structure, specific spirits, and our calendar of holy days are more easily discussed and canon altered.
Ideally, all conflicts in canon are resolved so than an authoritative canon is found. If resolution is not found, one canon may become a Divergence.
Genres of Canon Applicability
Canon information regarding the structure of the Otherfaith involves issues such as who can worship the gods, prayer and ritual structure, holy days, dedications and initiations, etc. Anything falling under the actual practice of the Otherfaith is structural canon. The theoretical division of the Other People into three groups of laity, clergy, and mystics is structural canon.
This canon deals with gods, spirits, the otherworld, and souls. It encompasses the names and epithets of gods, as well as their related spirits, teachings, and values. Information about spirits, such as their roles in our lives, ways to contact them, their associations, and other matters of mysticism are part of this canon. It may also be called spiritual canon. The layout of the otherworld and the People's understanding of it are part of this as well. The soul body and the manipulation of energy falls under this canon. This genre is distinct from, but may overlap or influence, canon concerning myths, stories, and fanfiction of the gods and spirits.
This deals with the myths, stories, and fanfiction relating to the gods and spirits in the Otherfaith. Canon of this kind does not need to be resolved as different stories often exist in conflict with each other. Differing stories are seen as deepening our multifaceted understanding of the gods. These stories make up the literary canon of the faith. This is distinct from, but may have overlap with or influence over, canon concerning the otherworld, energy work, and the spirit body.
Other People may develop their own personal canon regarding gods and spirits. This is called headcanon. Headcanons may be presented to the Other People to be made into canon. If an Other Person's personal canon falls into conflict with established canon in certain ways it may be considered a Divergence.
An Other Person who works with spirits may encounter personal spirits, such as guides or companions, that they consider part of the Otherfaith. These spirits may not be relevant to other members of the religion but still considered to be one of the myriad spirits in the Otherfaith.
Information is established as canon through its acceptance by the Other People. This may involve active declaration by the People that something is canon, or it may involve implicit acceptance of information. Implicit acceptance involves repeating the information or sharing it as accurate, and silence in itself is not taken as acceptance of information as canonical.
When possible canon is offered to the People it becomes available for critique and challenge. If the People accept the information they can begin utilizing it in various ways. An example of this is the use of silent prayer in the Otherfaith; original structural canon held that prayer must be said aloud to be received. This was challenged and eventually changed. Silent prayer is now used within the Otherfaith along with spoken prayer.
Because the Otherfaith uses the concept of continuous revelation, canon may always be challenged. Challenges may involve questions concerning the accuracy of information, direct contradictions to information, or expressed desires for information to be repealed or disregarded.
Challenges to information may come when it is established as canon or when it is under consideration for canonical inclusion. Challenges must always be phrased as challenges to information rather than the individual presenting it. While in the consideration stage, dissent may be as simple as stating discomfort with the information or as elaborate as citing conflicting information in stories and conflicting revelations.
When canon is challenged, the canon and challenge should be presented to the People. Discussion among the participants in the faith would occur, with the goal to find the most accurate information that also represents the gods' and People's realities and interests. Canon may be changed if a majority of the People find the canon to no longer be accurate.
Divergences are characterized by adherence to belief or practice that has been established as non-canonical. It is not headcanon but rather information that has been declared as non-canon. A theoretical example of this would be considering the Laetha to be a single entity rather than the multitude of divine figures they are considered in Otherfaith canon.