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Throughout the world in the past (and even today in some parts) there were certain things which, in the eyes of humans, must have seemed immensely powerful and even terrifying and thus deserving of (or perhaps demanding in order to avoid their wrath) a priviledged place in their various faiths. These things often became known as creator deities, or the rulers of all other gods. These include, mainly, lightning, the flood waters, the moon, and especially, the sun.


But what would become central in the venerations of blind sentient alien squids?

These are the same squids than in this question, so I'm just going to copy and paste the same details I provided about them there:

These aliens are completely blind, as they branched off from a species that lived primarily in caves and the water they live in is actually a murky water-based solution making vision less useful then here on earth.

They can however very effectively echolocate, sense nearby electromagnetic disturbances and feel the basic chemical composition of certain objects by touch.

Other than the difference mentioned above the bodies of water they live in are essentially the same as our own seas and oceans.


Now, taking into account that they cannot see their sun, the stars or in fact space at all (because, well... they can't see), what would these squids instead recognize as the form of the mightiest gods?

I am, of course, looking for multiple likely possibilities as these squids do not have a monoculture as in star trek.

Note: I want to make it clear that I am not asking how their gods or their religions would be. Simply what would be the "inspiration" (what natural object or phenomena) for their primary god (since like most human religions, most of theirs are also polytheistic).

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    $\begingroup$ i'm gonna flag this for primarily opinion based, there is no sensible answer here and no possible research, only pure theorising $\endgroup$ – Alex Robinson Apr 1 '17 at 21:56
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    $\begingroup$ Cursed1701, I grant AngelPray's question is pretty open-ended, but I don't see an awful lot of "opinions" in it. It mostly seems to be just a hypothetical situation concerning the religious development of an alien culture, which, if we're using human religion as a backdrop for, offers a lot of opportunity for research and possible answers. The question's fine by me. $\endgroup$ – C. S. Wright Apr 1 '17 at 22:26
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    $\begingroup$ Any answer besides Cthulhu is opinion based, and wrong! Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn! $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Apr 2 '17 at 0:32
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    $\begingroup$ @CortAmmon Agreed, brother. 𝔓𝔥'𝔫𝔤𝔩𝔲𝔦 𝔪𝔤𝔩𝔴'𝔫𝔣𝔞𝔥 ℭ𝔱𝔥𝔲𝔩𝔥𝔲 ℜ'𝔩𝔶𝔢𝔥 𝔴𝔤𝔞𝔥'𝔫𝔞𝔤𝔩 𝔣𝔥𝔱𝔞𝔤𝔫! $\endgroup$ – AngelPray Apr 2 '17 at 1:01
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    $\begingroup$ @Cursed1701 I am going to vote to leave it open. Restated more objectively: There are objects in the ocean. Which ones are most analogous to the things that land-creatures find inspriational for worship? Native human tribes got excited about lightning, volcanoes, the seasons. Volcanoes are underwater, so check those off. But no lightning. Seasons maybe, but not so much at deep depths. What would be the apotheosis of blind squid existence? I think it is a fairly objective question. $\endgroup$ – SRM - Reinstate Monica Apr 9 '17 at 15:29
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Historically, humans have created ritual around natural recurring phenomena: the seasons of the year, the appearance of constellations, the changing of the moon from new to full and back. I'd bet that blind squid-like aliens would find analogous underwater forces to explain through religion and ritual. Some possible forces to incorporate into your mythos:

  • Tidal patterns

  • Small current patterns

  • Global current patterns

  • Auspicious events

  • Malevolent events

Tidal patterns from gravitational forces are a good analogue for daily rhythms on land. According to Wikipedia, the three main types of short cycle tides are diurnal (one regular rotation), semi-diurnal (two high two low, with one of the two cycles being higher than the other), and mixed (noisy but repeating). In places where each prevailed, the culture around repeating cycles might be different.

Another pattern, long period tides, follows the slight shifts in orbit the moon and Earth experience due to passing planets (Jupiter). This might be a good analogue for constellation shifts.

I'm no oceanographer, but the movement of hot and cold currents around the Earth could be the experiential equivalent of seasons, with one significant distinction: moving currents could impact travel. The blind aliens would experience these as immense forces impacting their habits and habitat. How similarly the aliens approximate squid behavior here is probably dependent on diet and alien powers.

Religious explanation of natural forces follows strong human biases about good and bad events. According to squid jigging (like fishing) guides, squids like high tide and will follow light at night. Blind aliens wouldn't follow pier lights, but might be influenced by tides in squid-like ways.

There's also the motivation of squids' natural enemies to consider, since no religion is complete without embedding survival strategies in its narrative. Fishing vessels catch squids on the full moon when fishing is bad, and there may be similar predator patterns for the aliens. Consider cautionary tales around the natural phenomena that impact the aliens' natural enemies.

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There are thing that underwater being would necessarily feel like the other being:

Seisms

Maybe seen as made by angry earth gods.

Underwater volcanic eruptions

Same as both above.

Underwater CO2 pools

Pools where high pressure makes liquid and toxic CO2, which by primitive species might be seen as magic.

Abyssal trenches

If these creature live by the bottom of the seas and therefore do not float naturally, these will look like bottomless pits, and may even be a place for sacrifices.

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  • $\begingroup$ Underwater volcanic vents was my first thought. All of these suggestions are top notch! I could certainly have a field day applying mythological metaphors to your choices. $\endgroup$ – DukeZhou Jul 20 '17 at 20:16
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Another option would be to utilize there ability to detect electromagnetic disturbances.

These creatures would very rarely feel strong electromagnetic pulses so, a strong one would be unbelievable to them. This would in effect be an unexplainable phenomenon and therefore be a good starting point for a deity. These creatures that would emit the pulses could be Electric Rays or something alike to that. electric ray

Electric ray

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It's worth noting, seeing as how you're interested in constructing a polyculture (good for you, by the way), that there are fundamental differences between various attempts at explaining the natural world and it's various phenomena, as well as various similarities.

Possibly the most important thing to note, though, is the difference between the worship of a supposed deity or deities as an attempt to explain various physical or phycological phenomena and the worship of a supposed deity or deities as an attempt to explain the existence of the physical and phycological world in the first place. It's also worth tracking the myths of your polyculture back to their origins so as to establish from whence those myths came in the first place (i. e., are they simply stories fabricated over a lengthy period of the aliens not possessing a better scientific explanation or are they actually founded in some kind of fact, such as some other higher or alien intelligence that visited this culture in the past).

For example, just as humans have worshiped deities representing various everyday elements such as fire, water, the wind, and earth, or even more specific things like food/cooking, reproduction, and war, so would basically any culture that interacted with these things on a regular basis. They might also have deities for various emotions or phycological conditions they experience, such as love, fear, and wisdom. So as long as your aliens need to eat, sleep, struggle, reproduce, feel, think, and otherwise interact with their material and phycological environment, I see no reason they should not have deities for these things, just like humans. This might, in short, lead to a kind of polytheism or pantheism, thus creating the first of many possible religious factions in your alien polyculture.

On the other hand, you would also find certain mythologies and traditions that attempted to explain the very existence of fire, water, the wind, earth, food, life, reproduction, etc. in the first place. This might lead to either a sort of pseudo-polytheism, in which various gods existed, but where one major God or Goddess existed above all the others (such as in the case of the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten, who glorified the Sun-god Aten over all the others). Since your aliens don't have the visual sense, and would thus have no reason to admire light (though I don't know about heat), they may, in fact, worship some great sound-deity, as their reliance on echolocation is, in fact, their stand-in for sight.

To take this whole pseudo-polytheism thing a step further, you would probably have some religious faction that practiced outright monotheism (the worship of only one, all-powerful and all-controlling God or Goddess), as a means of explaining the existence of the entire cosmos as a whole, not just one element or part of it. Depending on what stage of history your polyculture is in, this monotheistic tradition may or may not be the dominant worldview of the time (many experts think, while it's unclear what the "first religion" was, that animism and polytheism were the dominant human religions in our ancient past, whereas the dominant religions of modern times are monotheistic, i.e., Abrahamic religions).

Either way, it all depends on what the particular factions of your polyculture value and rely on, and, most importantly, what their basic worldview is.

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This is brief, but probably the same as humans: the sun, or the moon. Just because they are blind doesn't keep them from being aware of the heat of the sun or the tides caused by the moon

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    $\begingroup$ How would they be aware that it is their moon that causes the tides? And how would they be aware that the heat comes from a giant ball in the sky? $\endgroup$ – AngelPray Apr 2 '17 at 0:58
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    $\begingroup$ The same way we would; by what senses are available to them, and by the research done when their understanding of science grows. It just depends on how attuned their sense of hearing, touch, etc. are. $\endgroup$ – C. S. Wright Apr 2 '17 at 19:36
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    $\begingroup$ @AngelPray - would they need to? They could worship the heat-giver and the tide-maker for the effects they cause, based on what these people feel/know/assume. They don't need to know accurate underlying causes anymore than we ever needed them to make myths about the same phenomenon - even if their stories may not match up with our visual assumptions, our myths had plenty of inaccurate shenanigans and lots of room for them to be more accurate to the strengths of their senses. $\endgroup$ – Megha Apr 3 '17 at 1:07
  • $\begingroup$ They would worship heat giver and tide maker, of course. But no way they'll associate them with actual sun or moon that are invisible to them. Moreover, if some scientific research of theirs will eventually discover the sun and the moon and the effects of those on the sea water, it will create a great controversy between science and religion. Early sun/moon believers will be persecuted. The atheists will insist on the existence of sun and moon, and the believers will spread doubt about it, claim that they belittle sentience, don't explain life properly, etc. $\endgroup$ – avek Apr 3 '17 at 4:40
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    $\begingroup$ @Konchog: AFAIK no human religion worships a giant ball of plasma running fusion reactions. Sun was never worshiped as what it really is, but as some mythological concept rooted not in reality, but in the magical thinking. Also, nobody worships inertia, energy transfer, quantum fields or other things that actually rule the reality; we only worship what we actually see. So when our blind squids worship the heat giver, they are quite likely to put him at the ocean bottom, where the volcanoes and hydrothermal vents are. Placing him in the hellish deadly air would be a blasphemy. $\endgroup$ – avek Apr 4 '17 at 11:06
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I'd consider carefully the suggestions presented by @LudovicZenohateLagouardette and look for ways to turn them into metaphors for gods. The ideas there are very consistent with early mythology in general. I'd look at places like Egypt and the Ancient Near East, which have more fundamental representations than later, Classical mythology. (If you want more info, I can elaborate. For instance, The concept of unfathomable trenches brings to mind Ginnungagap, which can be embodied in the spirit of the Greek Χάος)

In terms of direct suggestions, off the top of my head:

  • Tiamat is worth looking at, particularly in relation to liminality.

Liminality is perhaps the most important aspect of mythology, as nearly all cycles are concerned with binaries such as life/death, winter/summer, etc. (i.e. Pagan religions tend to be focused on the cycles of generation.) The concept is doubly resonant here in that important definitions of "liman" are maritime and fluvial.

  • A figure like Typhon would probably be resonant a foe of the gods.

    Doesn't have to be a serpent--any type of levithian-esque creature would do. (Think the Manderly whale vs. the Greyjoy kraken;)

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