Please note that Qi'ism is not, and differs quite a bit from "Qi'anism," a faith community out of Western Europe. Unfortunately, the "Qi'an" adjective is shared. For the purposes of this article, the word "Qi'an" will refer solely to behaviors, ideals, and constructs of Qi'ism.
Vaguely defined as the entertainment of the idea that the tangible, observable universe within which we live is comprised of the bodies of primordial existences. From these bodies emanate respective varieties of energy (Qi) that, through whatever processes- be they scientifically measurable mechanisms, innate earthly behaviors, or some sort of magic carried on by unseen hands- the world continues to make change, or to be changed by the utilization or simple presence thereof.
Qi'ism is essentially free of definitive creed or dogma, as per the open-source nature of the collective. Theological beliefs are not necessarily fully aligned with Qian Philosophical beliefs, and neither are inherently transposed upon Cosmological beliefs. The disparity between these sets of ideas is not viewed as discord or religious fallacies, but more often than not, different paths to understanding our relationships with The Gods and The Otherworldly, with ourselves and with others, and our place and impact in and on the Universe at large, respectively.
Qi'ism is an open source, ever changing, (and not particularly all that organized) shamanic way that has been a crucial participant in the formations of religions (or lack thereof) across the world, and over the course of humanity's relationship with The Divine. It is not to be said that Qi'ism necessarily had great influence in the foundation of any particular faith, but rather, that just about every last school of thought has come to, with knowledge or intention of or not, Qi'an conclusions about one thing or another. With that in mind, a very Qi'an practice is to educate oneself as best as is necessary of the teachings of Prophets and Wisewomen and men from around the world and from throughout the ages. Wisdom and profundity are to be found in every book. Even the poorly written ones.
Heavy importance is placed on acts of contribution to the ever-changing world, and also being changed by it. Virtue and Sin are defined as behaviors that contribute to the growth of the world, and those that directly inhibit it. Community and shared experience are the backbone of human evolution, and so the relationships we have, not just with our peers, but also our own selves, and as well the Gods, should be nurtured and invested heavily in. Ultimately, we are all existing in the same general area (The universe) and must learn to get along.
Chiefly among the beliefs presented by Qi'ism is the Obedience to (willingly or not) The laws set forth by the plight of consciousness. Much of Qi'an philosophy deals rather harshly with the understanding of perception and experience, and the uncertainty of truth and objective, impersonal, unquestionable statement. We, as sentient creatures, can only truly know the universe by perceiving and observing it, and experiencing the events played out herein. However, the nature of perception is painfully subjective, as it is at it's core the narrowest and ultimately, the only channel through which we CAN experience. It is well accepted that the most terrifying concept proposed, is that we may not truly exist, at all.
However- evidence weighs much heavier in favor of existence actually being a thing, so the good majority of the world (save those few nihilistic scholars) is better off conducting their lives with that assumption. The responsibility of maturing Qi'an peoples are to experience the expansion of consciousness, through processes of meditation, education, and the use of psychoactive substances as spiritual tools. Yep.
Theological Constructions and Identities:
The aforementioned bodies that build the world may -or may not- be viewed literally -or metaphorically- as the corporeal remains of Primordial Existences (entities that may -or may not- have existed since the "Dawn of Time".) These identities neither claim to be gods, nor demand worship. They just happen to be here, and "God" happens to be the convenient word. Hereafter, the word "God" will be used to address them individually, collectively, and/or in abstraction.
They are neither the Creators of this universe, nor do they hold immense power over it, but rather, they are the substance that the universe is comprised of. These identities are social, interpersonal, and through means that remain unclear, fully sentient.
Hua- God of Flower
Body of the prairies and of the living plains.
Patron God of The Garden, Love and Marriage, Child rearing, and Beauty.
Depicted as a thin man of Han features, in lavish, but disheveled clothing, with a sword buried in the layers of fine silks. His message is that of treasuring beauty in all forms, be they grand works, or something as simple as the scent of a fresh blossom.
Huo- God of Fire
Body of the core and the living mountains.
Patron God of The Hearth, Feasts and Festivals, and War.
Depicted as a broad man of Polynesian features, wearing tinder, bones, and tied cloth., with a pair of daggers on his legs. His teachings are to nurture ones own self, so that one may nurture their sisters and brothers, and to defend health and happiness in the face of opposition.
Tu- God of Earth
Body of the stones and the living soils.
Patron Goddess of The Yard, Harvests, and Monuments.
Depicted as a healthy woman of Indo-Aryan features, wearing embroidered silks, and ornate jewelry, and carrying a spear. Hers are lessons about making good impressions, and making one's mark on the world- setting your name in stone.
Guang- God of Light
Body of the Sun and of the living stars
Patron Goddess of The Forum, education, and ceremonies
Depicted as soft woman of Nubian features, wearing draping linens, with a quiver over her shoulder and a bow at her side. She teaches us pride in good work, humility in fault, and moving forward in intellectual pursuits.
Dian- God of Thunder
Body of lightning and of the living storms.
Patron God of The Mill, music, and performances
Depicted as a strong man of Asiatic features, bare chested with a drum on his back, and holding a hammer. He is the teacher of freedom and being purposeful and active in the goings-on-about of the world.
Jin- God of Metal
Body of the mines and of the living plates
Patron Goddess of The Court, law and order, and economic endeavors.
Depicted as a petite young woman of Celtic features, wearing plate armor and countless piercings, with her hands in cestus. She is responsible for overseeing justice, and teaching us to be tempered in all of our decisions.
Mu- God of Wood
Body of the trees and of the living forests.
Patron Goddess of The Wild, the hunt, and crafting.
Depicted as a tall woman of Indigenous American features, wearing tanned skins, with an axe. The guidance she offers is to cherish the community, and to respect solitude.
Yun- God of Cloud
Body of the vapors and of the living skies.
Patron God of The Post, meditation, and communication
Depicted as a weathered man of Inca features, wearing woolen capes and gold piercings, with a shield on his back. He teaches the importance of a still mind, and when to let it free.
Shui- God of Water
Body of the rivers and of the Living Seas.
Patron God of The Bath, travel and exploration, and competition.
Depicted as a 'nude' man of Grecco-Roman features, swaddled in nets, and presenting a trident. His lesson is to do all things with clean hands, and to constantly strive for improvement.
Xue- God of Snow
Body of the Poles, and of the Living Glaciers.
Patron God of The Wall, of records, and preservation.
Depicted as a gaunt man of Mongol features, donned in suedes and furs leaning on a wide scythe. He represents death, and teaches us that every intricate snowflake eventually becomes part of the pure white mass.
An- God of Darkness
Body of the Moon and the living shadow
Patron Goddess of The Den, passing time, and rest.
Depicted as a young woman of Arabid features, wearing fine skirts and a sheer veil, clutching a tall glaive. She is the night, and she is rest. She teaches the meaning of home, hospitality, and clean bed for our traveling brothers and sisters.
Feng- God of Wind
Body of the Atmosphere and the Living Air
Patron goddess of The Gate, change, and fate.
Depicted as a buxom girl of Antillean (mesti-zambo) features, wearing loose linens and her hair is dreads, with fans in her belt. She teaches us to let the world change us, and to be a force for change in it.
After some rather arduous conversations, it has been proposed that, in their perceptions limited by laws of consciousness, the beginnings of the universe, life, and also consciousness were (as far as we know) unobserved events. This is not to say the search for answers is wasted effort, but not even the gods know what happened. Go right ahead.
Art and craftwork are valued above all, because bringing forth an idea into existence is, by any process, constructive and destructive, how we as creatures of limited universal affect can contribute to the ongoing creation of the universe. Chance, the uncertainty of fate, and reverence for the grand randomness and unpredictability of the universe encourage all people to strive for personal growth and developement. Qi'an peoples are those who understand that not all things are truly understandable, and that the only control we have is what we make from the lemons life hands us. Love, interpersonal interaction and society (large and small) are tools through which we can learn the perceptions of others, and to connect more fully with ourselves and the personal truths we have come to.
The only true laws of Qi'ism are the laws that govern our ability to perceive the universe and the event we may or may not be a part of. Consciousness is limited to perception, and sentient beings can only hold true what they can observe to be true. That being said, morality, truth, and all the philosophical mess in between is wholly subjective. People are encouraged to share that subjectivity so to come to mass conclusions and act according to them.
The more common rituals are those involving the use of the "God bodies," e.i. natural elements. Tending a garden, or preparing.medicines are rituals in which the body of flowers is being used. Cooking a meal, or tending the hearth are rituals in which the body of fire is being used. Thanks should be given for the use of their bodies, and in doing so, acts of creation are done, and a stronger, more personal relationships with the gods and ourselves are formed.
Days when grand festivals could be held are days of passing seasons, gathering of harvests, celebrations of accomplishments, days of historical significance, birthdays, and laments of tragedies. Thanks are given for any number of reasons to the gods.
The downside to reverence of the laws of consciousness is the absence of any sort of concrete, written in stone guidebook. The lemonade, however, is the opportunity to scribe ones own holy book. These journals should include observations of truth, musings of value, offerings of wisdom, or just about anything that we are inspired to write. Forums can be held to share these findings, and to encourage our peers to adress in their own lives the subjects discussed.