Arceism is the foremost religion for nations located in the Organisation of Sinnohese-speaking Nations, with the notable exception of Galataeus, and is based around the belief that Arceus is the primary deity and creator of the universe. It is polytheistic, venerating the so-called Legendary Pokémon above all others as deities, not merely powerful Pokémon. There are many branches of Arceism, some of which number in the hundreds of worshipers, others in the hundreds of thousands. The most numerous of these is Traditional Arceism, which is has approximately four million followers, followed by Reform Arceism, with approximately one and a half million. Other notable branches are Quarkian Arceism and the School of the Third Coming.
Arceism is very similar to the religion called Arceusism.
Defining the pantheon of Arceism is very difficult as, dependent upon the branch, various Pokémon may or may not be considered deities. For example, the Ancient Kantonese School of Lady Arceus venerates, amongst others, Arcanine and Chansey, neither of which are traditionally considered to be gods/goddesses. As such, the pantheon listed below is that of Traditional Arceism, which has the largest thanks to its almost-manic desire to absorb as many possible deities as possible. Usually, to, they have what might be considered 'sub-dominions,' for example Registeel is also the god of mining and Regirock was previously the god of jewels and gems until Diancie was admitted to the pantheon half a century ago.
|Arceus||Creator-goddess and pre-eminent among all|
|Xerneas||Goddess of life|
|Yveltal||God of death|
|Dialga||God of time|
|Palkia||Goddess of space|
|Cresselia||Goddess of the moon, the sun and of light|
|Darkrai||God of the night and of darkness|
|Manaphy||God of water|
|Heatran||God of fire|
|Celebi||Goddess of nature and of forests|
|Groudon||God of the land|
|Kyogre||Goddess of the sea|
|Rayquaza||God of the air|
|Mew||Goddess of living creatures, daughter of Arceus|
|Regigigas||God of power and of strength|
|Articuno||God of winter|
|Zapdos||God of spring|
|Moltres||God of summer|
|Mewtwo||God of humans and endeavour|
|Entei||God of clouds|
|Raikou||God of lightning|
|Suicune||Goddess of rain|
|Ho-oh||God of purity|
|Lugia||God of destiny|
|Regice||God of snow|
|Regirock||God of stones|
|Registeel||God of metals|
|Latias||Goddess of love|
|Latios||God of friendship|
|Jirachi||Goddess of destiny and of wishes|
|Deoxys||God of maladies|
|Azelf||Goddess of willpower|
|Mesprit||Goddess of emotion|
|Uxie||God of knowledge|
|Giratina||God of war and fear|
|Phione||Goddess of rivers and streams|
|Shaymin||Goddess of flowers|
|Victini||God of luck and victory|
|Cobalion||God of protection|
|Terrakion||God of caves|
|Virizion||Goddess of forests|
|Keldeo||Goddess of lakes|
|Tornadus||God of wind|
|Thundurus||God of thunder|
|Landorus||God of fertility|
|Zekrom||God of balance|
|Reshiram||Goddess of spirit|
|Kyurem||God of nothingness|
|Meloetta||Goddess of music|
|Zygarde||God of order|
|Diancie||Goddess of gems|
Arceism cannot be dated exactly, however it is known to have first arisen around 4000 years ago. At the time, the Sinnoh Sea area was dominated by nomadic tribes who generally venerated nature spirits or followed earth-mother religions with matriarchal traditions. One of these combined the two, and began to venerate Arceus, which was known as a Pokémon. The first leader of Arceism was a woman named Hammanna, which eventually led to her tribe being called the Hammanni. To begin with, they were the only Arceist religion however as the nomadic tribes began to settle down, they became easier to subdue. The Hammanni, now led by a man named Medelle, founded a city in the centre, which is now known as Hearthome. Within around 400 years the religion had spread throughout Sinnoh and the tribes were beginning to unite into a nation.
The Sinnohese Empire
2500 years ago, Sinnoh became a nation as it is now understood. The pantheon of Arceism had expanded to nearly its present size, and the religion seemed complete, however the Emperor-High Priest, Pellenor, became greedy. He sought to expand his dominion, and cast his eye over the tiny tribal islands surrounding Sinnoh. First to fall was Galataeus, and it is due to this deep-seated animosity that Arceism has never gained a major hold there. Then came what are now the Browning Islands, Vivivia, Monstovia and the Xavier Islands. Last to fall was the Almian peninsula, which came under Sinnohese control on the day of Pellenor's assasination by one of his 46 children.
The Unovan Heresy
500 years later, and the Sinnohese Empire had fallen. The High Priest was now Wellebonn, and he travelled far and wide. While in Unova, he heard of new legendaries which should be added to the pantheon. When he was elected, he announced their addition. This caused uproar, and the Split occured. Traditional Arceism, which accepted the new deities, became the religion of Sinnoh, Vivivia, Monstovia, Almia and the Xavier Islands. The Arceists in Galataeus and the Browning Islands, however, refused to accept them, and became The True Church of Arceus, now known as Quarkian Arceism. Wellebonn was later deposed.
In 746, High Priest Stavan died. The vote for the next High Priest resulted in a draw between Repavie and Frodorok. Once again, the religion split, with one side of the split recognising Repavie and the other recognizing Frodorok. Each branch referred to the other High Priest as the Anti-priests. Once again, the larger school continued as Tradition Arceism, whereas the other school continued to split, the most prominent extant division being Reform Arceism.
In 1256, High Priest Palmonus da Cricci issued an edict, saying that other nations should be brought into the Arceist fold. At the time, Kanto was officially a secular state, and as such was ripe for conquest. This led to the Great Crusade, and Arceists from all over joined the attacking army. However, the Kantonese were no push over and the Arceists were repelled. The Kantonese, however, negotiated a generous peace settlement and once more peace reigned.
Controversy of the Saints
In 1522, the Bishop of Vivivia was made a saint by the High Priest. Most unusually, he declined the title, and instead broke Vivivia away from Traditional Arceism. This created an awkward position, at the Traditional Arceists were now recognizing someone who did believe in their religion as a saint of it. Needless to say, the sainthood was revoked, however Vivivia became the home of the School of the Third Coming.
Today, Arceism is spread predominantly in the Organization of Sinnohese-speaking Nations (OSSN), however significant minorities live in other regions, especially Unova and the Tojoh continent. Arceism is no longer regarded as the official religion of Sinnoh, although it is by far the most prevalent.
The Hamman is the Arceist Holy Book, and exists in several different forms. The most extensive is the Quarkian Hamman, which contains 108 books plus 12 other texts, and the shortest is the Traditionalist Hamman, with only the 22 books said to have been written by Hammanna or her early successors.
All gods and goddesses of Arceism have 'dominions,' areas of special control. Traditionally, if undertaking an activity that falls under a dominion, an Arceist should pray to the appropriate deity for success. For example, Registeel is the god of mining, as metal was extracted, so miners would pray to Registeel for success before they go to work. Sometimes, prayers to deities are difficult to judge - when should one pray to Mew, for instance, as Mew is the goddess of all living things? How does this overlap with Xerneas' dominion of life? Likewise, how does one deal with gods with such dominions as 'balance,' 'nothingness,' and 'order?' An explanation may be found in sub-dominions, as usually these conceptual dominions are paired with more practical ones, often tangentially - the terrifying Zekrom is also now regarded as the god of justice and laws, because his primary dominion is balance, and the law courts were supposed to balance up the cases. A complete list of all sub-dominions would be by its very nature dubious, as sub-dominions are nebulously defined. The reason for many of these 'concept gods' being included in the pantheon stems from the Traditionalist policy of absorption, whereby local Pokémon deities may be absorbed into the pantheon, allowing those who worshipped them before their inclusion in Arceism to maintain their own beliefs to some extent whilst still becoming Arceist.
Kanto: Johto: Hoenn: Sinnoh: Unova: Kalos: Alola: Fiore: Orre:
- Traditionalist Arceism - officially the Church of Arceus - c. 4 million followers, mostly in Sinnoh and Almia.
- Reform Arceism - officially the New Church of Arceus - c. 1.5 million followers, mostly in Sinnoh and Kanto
- Quarkian Arceism - officially the True Church of Arceus - c. 1.2 million followers, mostly in Quarkus, Galateus and the Browning Islands
- School of the Third Coming - c. 750,000 followers, mostly in Vivivia and Quarkus
- Galatean Arceism - officialy the Arceist Church of Galateus - c. 400,000 followers, mostly in Galateus
- Arceist Church of Hoenn - c. 250,000 followers, mostly in Hoenn and Fiore
- Ultra-Traditionalist Arceism - officially the Ancient Church of Arceus - c. 180,000 followers, mostly in Sinnoh and Almia.
- Mewite Church - c. 130,000 followers, mostly in Kanto
- Arceist Church of Kanto - c. 80,000 followers, mostly in Kanto
- Johtonian Arceism - c. 35,000 followers, mostly in Johto
- School of the Fourth Coming - c. 10,000 followers, mostly in Vivivia