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Ursun is the Father of Bears and the patron god of Kislev. The ancient Gospodar held Bears as sacred creatures. He is, unsurprisingly, most usually depicted as a massive cave bear, with a crown, teeth and claws of glistening gold. It is said that Ursun can take human form, and will appear as a burly, bearded man with an age-worn face, with thick hairy arms and a great mop of hair, wearing nothing but a loincloth.
Symbol: Depictions of a bear or a bear’s face are most common, although worshippers of Ursun might well also wear a medallion of gold, shaped like a bear’s claw. Devout followers of Ursun wear bearskin cloaks, or wear a bear’s paw as a talisman. Amongst the northern tribes, it is not uncommon for Ursun cultists to wear a bear’s skull over their helmets, or fixed to the front of their shields.
Temples: Ursun has no temples as such, but rough cairns and standing stones in the depths of forests have been raised over the centuries to honour him. Sometimes a cave once inhabited by a particularly large or fearsome bear will be turned into a shrine to Ursun, filled with rough lamps and offerings of fish and berries. In the cities, wooded areas are allowed to grow wild in certain parks and within the grounds of large buildings, and these are treated as areas sacred to Ursun.
It is not uncommon for someone wishing to entreat aid from Ursun to nail a fish or hunk of meat to their door to attract his spirit.
Friends and enemies: There is much friction between the followers of Ulric and Ursun. This is more a matter of pride than genuine animosity, as worshippers of Ursun and Ulric have much in common, but contests of strength-at-arms and other physical rivalry is commonplace. There is much goodwill between the cult of Ursun and that of Taal, and they share a common border at the River Talabec on the edge of Talabecland. Ursun worshippers think it a bit daft to worship all animals in equal measure, since bears are obviously the lords of the wild, while Taal cultists think it a bit strange to revere one animal over any other. However, on the whole they share many similar rituals and beliefs. Generally, followers of Ursun are unconcerned with other religions, and many of the southern gods are seen by them as a bit soft and unworthy of praise.
Holy Days: There are only two true holy days of Ursun: the spring equinox, when cultists gather to rouse Ursun from his winter sleep with loud rituals, setting huge bonfires, roasting deer, drinking alcohol and generally making as much racket as possible; and the autumn equinox when the first harvest is offered up to Ursun so that he might gorge himself and prepare for his winter’s rest.
Strictures: Never hunt a bear in the winter – let him sleep. Bears must always be killed by hand or arrow – no dogs or traps. Only wear the skin, claw or skull of a bear you have killed yourself. Eat fish at least once per week, but never eat fish and other meat on the same day. Never perform your ablutions indoors.
|The Gods and Religions of the Old World|
|Dazh • The Lady • Manann • Morr • Myrmidia • The Old Faith • Ranald • Rhya • Shallya • Sigmar • Taal • Tor • Ulric • Ursun • Verena|