The Oralian Way is a Cardassian religion dating back to the early Hebitian people of Cardassia. Followers of the Way worship the deity Oralius and have a holy scripture called the Hebitian Records, "where everything is written". (DS9 novel: A Stitch in Time)
The worshipping of Oralius dates back to the first civilization on Cardassia, the Hebitians. In the days of the later Cardassian Union worship was forbidden and followers of the Way were forced into underground movements meeting at night in out of the way locations.
In the early 24th century, many Oralians fled to Bajor to both escape their persecution, and learn from the Bajoran religion with which they shared many similarities. As the Cardassians' power on Bajor increased, they once again found themselves under threat, and those still publicly following Oralius were killed. (ST - Terok Nor novel: Day of the Vipers)
Following the end of the Dominion War and the subsequent rise of the democratic Alon Ghemor government restrictions on religious freedom were lifted and the Oralian Way saw a growth in popularity but a stigma still remained with many Cardassians finding it difficult to accept the new freedom of speech, words and beliefs. (DS9 novel: A Stitch in Time, DS9 - Mission Gamma novel: Cathedral, DS9 - Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novel: Cardassia: The Lotus Flower)
Worship rituals and practices
Worship generally begins with leaders donning recitation masks, which symbolically transform the wearer into Oralius. One will chant:
- The power that moves through me, Animates my life, Animates the mask of Oralius, To speak her words with my voice, To think her thoughts with my mind, To feel her love with my heart, It is the song of morning, Opening up to life, Bringing truth of her wisdom, To those who live in the shadow of the night.
To which the second will reply:
- It is this selfsame power, Turned against creation, Turned against my friend, That can destroy his body with my hand, Reduce his spirit with my hate, Separate his presence from my home: To live without Oralius, Lighting our way to the source, Connecting us to the mystery, Is to live without the tendrils of love.
Following the opening the meetings are filled with humming, chanting, recitations and readings from the Hebitian Records and finally meditation.
The Oralian Way also existed in Cardassian culture in the mirror universe. Iliana Ghemor called on Corat Damar, who had been raised in the religion secretly by his mother, to reveal to the Cardassian people that the Oralian Way still existed and offered a better future for all Cardassians. (ST - Mirror Universe novel: Rise Like Lions, ST - Section 31 novel: Disavowed)
Star Trek: Online
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