All-Giver; Great Mother; Sophia
Symbol: A globe of Therafim
Home Plane: Therafim (merged with the planet itself)
Cleric Alignments: Any Neutral
Portfolio: Therafim, nature, all that lives
Worshipers: Druids, beastfolk, fey, intelligent beasts, all that live off the fruits of Therafim
Domains: Air, Animal, Earth, Fire, Healing (Restoration), Plant (Growth), Water (Oceans), Weather (Seasons)
Favored Weapon: Sickle
When she chooses to appear in a tangible form, Matra appears like a tall and stately middle-aged woman with earth-brown skin and bright eyes of a deep, earth-brown tint, dressed in a simple but comely homespun dress. If Matra should wish to make a more lasting impression, or have need of great strength, she can adopt a titanic form, a rough female figure shaped from the land itself.
Description of Nature, Personality, and Dogma:
It might be said, and not incorrectly, that Matra is Therafim. She is the embodiment of the planet's living essense, the source from which all life and birth springs. Because of the sheer number of her children - and she regards all of Therafim's native life as her children - Matra refuses to play favorites, and while she is a nurturing mother, and does her best to give all life a fair chance at survival, she does not intervene when the dictates of the natural world bring about the demise of an individual creature, or a species whose time has run out.
Ensure the balance of all that lives is the creed of Matra. Outsiders and undead are anathema to her, because they are not a part of Therafim, and while she may tolerate the presence of outsiders for short periods, as long as they return to their proper plane as soon as possible, she has no tolerance for undead at all, and their destruction is a holy act for Matra's worshipers. The druid code of ensuring the balance and guardianship of nature is also the guiding dogma of her religion, and living in harmony with the living world is a proper holy walk before her on the world of Therafim. Matra is a goddess of ends – as long as they are met, she does not care so much about the means.
Clergy, Places of Worship, Important Rituals, and Servitor Races:
Most of the clergy of Matra's religion are actually druids, with all the powers and abilities associated with them. However, there are a substantial number of clerics who draw their divine power from Matra, most of them acting as intermediaries between intelligent races and the world of nature. Matra chooses her clerics in much the same way that druids are chosen: by their devotion to the forces of nature, and their inherent rapor with all living things. This is a very instinctive process, and either someone has the potential to become one of Matra's followers, or one does not. Matra demonstrates her acceptance of new clerics and druids by calling them out into the wilderness, usually through an irresistable urge that tugs at their instincts until they answer the call. Once beyond the reach of any help, Matra's chosen will have a sudden, immense awakening to the natural world, a heightened sensitivity that can shake the very foundations of their sanity, and may even kill those with weak constitutions. They are also frequently visited by spirits of nature, such as elementals, the fey, some gods, and spirits of the land. Those who survive this awakening with mind and body intact will find that they retain some elements of that vision, and by making use of it are able to work miracles through divine magic.
Almost every large farming community will have at least one circle of standing stones, an altar made of unhewn rocks piled up, or a menhir or two to act as holy sites for the worship of Matra. Matra’s temples never have doors, and are always situated in places that formed naturally, such as intricate rock formations, groves of trees, pristine waterfalls, and beautiful crystal caverns never touched by a carver’s chisel.
Four times a year, Matra's worshipers gather for a great festival to mark the changing of the seasons. The exact day varies according to when the seasons themselves actually change, but the festivals themselves are fairly cheery, enjoyable times, filled with good things to eat, dances, and other celebrations of continued life.
Besides the host of fey and magical beasts and other such creatures that serve Matra, spirits of the land are also Matra's direct servants, and all of them, those that are not corrupted through some vile act, do her bidding at a moment's notice.
History and Relations:
Formed initially when Therafim itself was formed, Matra has knowledge of all things that have ever taken place anywhere on Therafim, at any time. It was not until rather late in Therafim's history, however, that she took on a life of her own, when the other gods realized the need to empower Therafim itself so as to save it and all its life from the encroachment of the menace of beings from the Outer Planes.
Matra is very protective of her world, for it is the source from which she draws her life and power. She tolerates the draconic gods, and most other gods as well, but it is a cool tolerance. Matra gets along tolerably well, actually, with titan and elemental deities, especially those that have aspects of the natural world as part of their portfolios, so long as they acknowledge her sovereignity, since it is from her that they draw their ability to influence the world of Therafim, and she can just as easily cut off that influence as she provides it. Breaking with her generally neutral stance, Matra actually likes the Small Ones, and is known to give them special favors and allows them to take liberties she would never allow to any other gods.
Favored Offerings and Justifications for Direct Intervention:
Seldom does Matra require offerings from her followers. She exults most in their lives, and wishes all her many children to live in happiness as best as they can. However, Matra does appreciate her more intelligent children, who can recognize where their bounty comes from, offering her thanks, acknowledging her hand in providing the food on their tables, clean water to drink, and air to breathe. Most intelligent creatures all over Therafim will offer up some sort of prayer of thanks to Matra before their meals.
Matra is the Great Mother; her power and influence is felt throughout all of Therafim, and her essence sustains all that lives and breathes. Because of this constant source of life and power flowing from her, and because she is more interested in the overall health of the world rather than individuals, she does not usually actively intervene, allowing her subtle, natural impulses to work upon the world, creating the steady, natural rhythms of the cycles of life, death and rebirth. The only times when she might intervene directly in the acts of her children is when those acts are going to cause significant and irreparable damage to the life essence of Therafim, or if outsiders make an attempt to forge inroads into Therafim. In both these cases, Matra may cause the land itself to rise up to do battle against the offenders of her peace, wiping them from existence.