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- Come to me, Mara, for without you, I might forget the ways of our fathers, and preening by the light of latest fashion, my words might tremble like the thin reeds of novelty in the tempest of enthusiasms — Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition
Mara, also known as "Mother Mara", "Mother Mild", and the "Divine Mother", is the Goddess of Love, Fertility, Agriculture, and Compassion. She is also acclaimed as the Mother-Goddess, and is one of the Divines.
Origins and worship
In the Merethic Era, Mara was originally worshipped simply as a fertility goddess, but the sphere of the Divine later extended to agriculture and love. Nir, the female principle of the cosmos credited as the mother of creation, is occasionally associated with Mara as a result of her role as the goddess of fertility and agriculture. Mara is considered a near universal deity as the Divine is featured in the pantheons of all the races of the continent of Tamriel save the Dunmer and Argonians.
Worship in Black Marsh
The majority of the population of the province of Black Marsh venerate the Hist, and, in the Second Era, worship among the Argonians of Black Marsh of Mara and the gods was limited to a small minority of those who had assimilated to the culture of the Empire. Imperial missionary efforts in the province in the Third Era were unsuccessful as missionaries died from local diseases, such as at Umpholo, where a Temple of Mara was constructed. The Kothringi, the indigenous humans of Black Marsh, are known to have worshipped Mara, alongside Dibella and Kynareth, who they considered their "mothers in the Around-Us",[OOG 1] and Zenithar.
Worship in Cyrodiil
The Imperials of the province of Cyrodiil venerate Mara and the Divine is considered part of the Cyrodiilic pantheon. A Benevolence of Mara, a cathedral dedicated to the Divine, was located in the Imperial City, the capital of the province, in the late First Era, under the Reman Dynasty. A Temple of Mara, and later Great Chapel of Mara, is known to have been located at Bravil in the Second and Third Eras, respectively. In the late Third Era, wayshrines dedicated to the Divine can be found throughout the countryside. At this time, the office of Archbishop of Mara is attested. A wayshrine of Mara northwest of the city of Anvil was destroyed during the Oblivion Crisis in 3E 433. In the same year, the Great Chapel of Mara at Bravil was desecrated by Aurorans, daedra in the service of Meridia, and several of its priests were killed.
Worship in Hammerfell
The worship of Mara in the province of Hammerfell is divided between the Crowns, who represent the conservatives, and Forebears, who represent the cosmopolitan Redguards. Mara is known to both Crowns and Forebears as Morwha, a fertility goddess, however, the names Morwha and Mara are used interchangeably among the Forebears. Morwha is considered the favourite wife of Akatosh or Ruptga, to the Forebears and Crowns, respectively. The goddess is always depicted with four arms so that she may "grab more husbands". Mara is worshipped throughout Hammerfell, including the Island of Stros M'Kai, and is the patron deity of the regions of Antiphyllos, Ayasofya, Ephesus and Ykalon. In the late Third Era, similarly to High Rock, the Benevolence of Mara was responsible for the administration of temples dedicated to Mara and the Maran Knights was also active in the province at this time. A Conservatorium of Morwha was located in the city of Hegathe in the late First Era.
Worship in High Rock
Mara, a member of the pantheon of the Bretons, is the patron deity of several regions of High Rock, such as Anticlere, Betony, Glenumbra Moors, and Northmoor. In the late Third Era, temples dedicated to the Divine were administered by the Benevolence of Mara, a religious organization dedicated to Mara and her teachings, and could be found in major urban centers throughout the province. The Benevolence of Mara was led by a patriarch and was allied to the Temple of Stendarr, a religious organization dedicated to Stendarr and his teachings. The Maran Knights were a controversial knightly order dedicated to Mara and the protection of her temples. Some within the priesthood of Mara called for the disbandment of the order, while others argued the order was necessary to create peace.
Worship in Morrowind
The Dunmer of Morrowind largely neglect worship of Mara and the Divines, however, in the late Third Era, worship of Mara and the Divines was practiced by a small minority of Dunmer on the Island of Vvardenfell. Worship of the Divine in Vvardenfell in the late Third Era was largely confined to its non-Dunmer population who prayed at shrines operated by the Imperial Cult, a missionary group, which combined worship of the Divines and provided services for all the Divines at shrines found at Imperial forts. A shrine to Mara and the Divines was also located in the Royal Palace of Mournhold during this time. In the Second Era, during the Three Banners War, shrines of Mara were located in the cities of Davon's Watch and Mournhold.
Worship in Skyrim
The Divine is also worshipped as a member of the Nordic pantheon. In the Second Era, Mara was associated with the Ice Wolves that inhabited the mouth of the White River in the northeast of the province. Worship of Mara in the province of Skyrim was widespread in the Fourth Era and shrines dedicated to the Divine could be found both in the wilderness and in urban centers, such as at the Temple of the Divines in Solitude, and at the Temple of Mara in Riften. A pond in the hold of Eastmarch was named after Mara. Some argued the return of the dragons in 4E 201 was a sign from Mara signalling her displeasure with the people of Skyrim.
According to the creation myth presented in the Anuad, Mara and the aedra (gods) were born from the mingled blood of Anu and Padomay, the good and evil primal forces, respectively, and therefore have a capacity for both good and evil, in contrast to the daedra, who were born from the blood of Padomay, and thus are only evil. The creation myth of the Khajiit acclaims Mara as the Mother Cat and describes the Divine as the daughter of Ahnurr (Anu) and Fadomai (Padomay). The formation of Akatosh, the Dragon God of Time, from the mingled blood of the brothers Anu and Padomay facilitated the formation of Mara and the gods as they learnt to structure themselves. Shezarr's Song, a Cyrodiilic creation myth, acclaims the creation of Mundus to the sacrifice of Mara and the gods whose sacrifices were embodied as eponymous planets. Mara and the gods were subsequently bound to the Earth Bones as a result. The moons of Masser and Secunda are claimed to be the embodiment of the lovers Mara and Shandar, respectively, as created by the Divine.
Different cultures attribute different relationships between Mara and the other gods. The Nords of Skyrim consider Mara a handmaiden of Kyne and concubine of Shor (Lorkhan). However, the Bretons, Altmer, and Bosmer consider Mara to be the wife of Akatosh or Auriel to the Elves. Other faiths acclaim Mara as the wife of Lorkhan or concubine of Akatosh, or, in some cases, concubine of both. In Ark'ay, the God of Birth and Death, Mymophonus the scribe claims that Mara deified Arkay, the God of Birth and Death, so to allow him to teach mortals the necessity of life and death. In the First Era, the Divine punished Sai, God of Luck, and deprived him of his body for his failure to uphold his pact with Ebonarm, God of War, to spread luck throughout Tamriel in the gods' absence. St. Alessia consulted Mara during her slave revolt against the Ayleids in the First Era. The Warp in the West, also known as the Miracle of Peace, in 3E 417 is acclaimed as the work of Mara, Akatosh, and Stendarr, God of Mercy. It is unknown if Mara successfully destroyed the Skull of Corruption, a daedric artifact, in 4E 201.
As Goddess of Love, Mara is the bearer of love, and shines the light of love on all mortals. Mara gave life to mortals so that they may love. The gift of love was bestowed upon mortals by the Divine so to honour Mara, and allow them to understand the true nature of the Divines. Mara teaches that love provides nourishment and life to all mortals. The Divine commands mortals to "live soberly and peacefully. Honour your parents, and preserve the peace and security of home and family". Mara's Benevolence is eternal and those who offer their love to the Divine will never be forsaken. The Warmth of Mara shapes the destiny of mortals and can be felt across Tamriel. Priests of Mara teach that the Divine is omnipresent and her love and affection can be found in the heart of all mortals, thus linking them to Mara. The holy truth declares that love creates life and therefore those who love create more life.
Mara is also the patron of marriage, and the act of union is carried out at her shrines and temples. The Divine teaches that the spark of union between two mortals comes from within and is not based on appearance. The oaths and vows of marriage create life from love and are respected in the name of Mara. The act of union is confirmed upon taking the Pledge of Mara and Mara does not place any restrictions on marriage, thus all may marry, irrespective of gender and race, and unite their souls in the holy union. Mara makes her will known to her priests through visions and commands them to aid those whose love needs guidance. The priesthood of Mara strive to unite all mortals and are intolerant of those who are intolerant of others. Worship of the Divine has been criticized by some for what they consider a "conditional interpretation of love" and her reverence of the institution of the family regardless of the moral condition of families.
During the Three Banners War in the Second Era, a Temple of Mara located in the town of Bravil, Cyrodiil, was home to several holy relics of Mara, including a chalice, phylactery, dagger, and circlet. The Chalice of Mara was alleged to have been a wedding gift from Mara to St. Alessia, founder of the Alessian Empire, at her wedding to Morihaus. In 2E 582, the Sphinxmoth Bandits, a group of bandits operating from the neighbouring Fort Sphinxmoth, looted the temple of its valuables, including the relics. The bandits were defeated by the Soulless One and the relics were subsequently returned to the temple. In 3E 427, on the Island of Vvardenfell, the Divine appeared before the Nerevarine as an apparition in the form of a Breton woman named Ama Nin and gifted the Nerevarine her blouse and skirt. Some claim the Everflow Ewer was created by Mara.
Of the Crusader's Relics, it is unknown as to whether Mara created the Cuirass or Greaves of the Crusader. The Crusader's Relics are a set of artifacts created by the Divines in the early First Era for Pelinal Whitestrake, the Divine Crusader, to allow him to defeat and banish Umaril the Unfeathered, an Ayleid Sorcerer King. Regardless, Pelinal, despite his victory over Umaril, was slain and the Crusader's Relics were scattered and lost for thousands of years. The Cuirass of the Crusader was held by the Wyrm of Elynglenn in Cyrodiil until recovered by Sir Amiel Lannus, a member of the chivalric order the Knights of the Nine, in 3E 111. The cuirass was stored in the undercroft of the Priory of the Nine, where it lay until recovered by the Champion of Cyrodiil in 3E 433. The Greaves of the Crusader were recovered by Sir Berich Vlindrel and were buried with him in the Vlindrel family tomb, but was later recovered by Sir Roderic of Wayrest and his squire Lathon, who gifted the greaves to the Champion of Cyrodiil.
- Mara lends her name to an alcoholic beverage known as a Double Bloody Mara.
- Falsehoods and Fallacies of the Eight
- Guide to Bravil — Alessia Ottus
- Artorius Ponticus Answers Your Questions — Bishop Artorius Ponticus
- Varieties of Faith: The Nords — Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College
- Loading screen in Skyrim
- Varieties of Faith in the Empire — Brother Mikhael Karkuxor
- The Talos Mistake — Leonora Venatus, Imperial Liaison to the Aldmeri Dominion
- Varieties of Faith: The Bretons — Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College
- Varieties of Faith: The Argonians — Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College
- The Argonian Account, Book Four — Waughin Jarth
- Book One of 2920, The Last Year of the First Era - Morning Star — Carlovac Townway
- Events of ESO
- Events of Oblivion
- Events of Knights of the Nine
- Varieties of Faith, Crown Redguards — Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College
- Varieties of Faith, The Forebears — Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College
- Events of Daggerfall
- Book Seven of 2920, The Last Year of the First Era - Sun's Height — Carlovac Townway
- Events of Morrowind
- Events of Tribunal
- Events of Skyrim
- Maramal's dialogue in Skyrim.
- The Anuad Paraphrased
- Words of Clan Mother Ahnissi to her Favored Daughter — Clan Mother Ahnissi
- The Monomyth
- Aedra and Daedra
- The Orrery in Oblivion
- Mara's Tear — Zhen
- Varieties of Faith in Tamriel: The Wood Elves — Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College
- Varieties of Faith in Tamriel: The High Elves — Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College
- Ark'ay, the God of Birth and Death — Mymophonus the scribe
- King Edward, Part X
- The Song of Pelinal - Volume 2: On His Coming
- The Warp in the West — Ulvius Tero
- Dinya Balu's dialogue in Skyrim.
- Briehl's dialogue in Skyrim.
- Heart's Day Mass Wedding — Loremaster Lawrence Schick
- The Ten Commands of the Nine Divines
- The Warmth of Mara
- The Heart of Love
- Artorius Ponticus Answers Your Questions — Bishop Artorius Ponticus
- Marcella Ammianus' dialogue in ESO
- An Affront to Mara quest in ESO
- The Legend of Garridan Stalrous - - Excerpt from Knightfall, Tales of Heroism and Chivalry — Jaren Aethelweald, edited by Kirellian Odrenius
- Sir Amiel's Journal — Sir Amiel
- Double Bloody Mara beverage in ESO
Note: the following references are not found in-game. They are included to provide a rounder background to this article, but may not reflect established lore.