Sacred waters are water that have been declared sanctified by the Amarr church and are used in a number of religious rituals. The bodies of water can be of any size, from simple springs to large lakes, though the water can be removed from its source and transported to areas without a local supply.
Sacred water has been important in Amarr rituals since ancient times. The original source of sacred water was a hot springs on Amarr Island, reputed to have healing powers. These springs remain the source of the most coveted sacred water, typically only used in rituals for the Emperor, Heirs, and the most influential and powerful Holders.
As the Empire expanded, sacred water from the hot springs proved insufficient for the church's needs. In response, the Council of Apostles determined several other sites across Amarr Island, and beyond, that were appropriate sources of the sacred waters. These were typically small ponds and springs that had connections with powerful church officials or Holders.
When the Empire began colonizing space, it saw the need to delegate sacred waters on other planets. Rather than establish a source on every planet, it instead focused only on those important planets, such as those heavily populated or owned by influential members of the Council of Apostles and, later, the Privy Council and Theology Council.
Today, there are thousands of individual sources throughout the Empire. The largest are the size of lakes, while the smallest are little more than permanently bubbling puddles. The most prestigious sources are from Amarr Prime.
The most common usage of sacred waters is in an initiation ritual, where the water represents God's acceptance and an entry into the Amarr religion. It is said no man shall ascend unless he has bathed in them. It is most commonly administered to Amarr infants, though all new converts into the religion are bathed in them as well. A similar ritual is administered to new initiates into the priesthood, and some older Amarr may choose to undergo the ritual additional times for a variety of reasons.
The waters are also used in several other rituals, many of them connected with the absolution of sins. The waters themselves are not considered to have any redemptive prowess in and of themselves, but they do represent the final step in forgiveness.
Other rituals are more obscure in nature, but nonetheless are important parts of the Amarr religion.
Sani Sabik Connection
There are many similarities in the rituals of the Sani Sabik that utilize blood and those Amarr rituals that involve sacred waters. It is mostly believed that the Amarr rituals are the originals, with the Sani Sabik co-opting the important rituals used in the church to give their own practices legitimacy.
However, some controversial outside theologians have posited that at least some Amarr rituals were developed independently by the Sani Sabik and eventually filtered back into Amarr customs. This view is considered heretical by the Amarr, but there is at least one recorded instance of the Theology Council purging a regionally popular ritual because it was found to be derived from a Sani Sabik practice.
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