All Etsians believe in the Goddess in their own way, but true Goddess worshippers range from the very literal to the intensely metaphoric. In northern parishes belief tends to be literal. What are “fairy tales” in the south are history in the north. Charms against evil are not just quaint; they are required. Magic isn’t a philosophy or a veil for science; it is a fact of life. Monsters, while hidden, exist, and nothing is taken for granted. In rural and northern areas, witches are prized for their superior knowledge of magic and Goddess lore and highly respected—so long as they are are pure as the Goddess herself. Nature is respected. Simplicity is valued. The Goddess is gracious and good, and the fact that she is distant and unattainable is only right and proper: she is the original Mother.
At the other end of the spectrum are Etsians, usually in the bowels of southern cities, who “chase the Lord and Lady.” In fairy tales, the Goddess comes to earth as two halves, the Lord and Lady, male and female, and create the world (and have many other adventures). When chasing the Lord and Lady, one is trying to become them, to unite with the divine spirit of the Lord and Lady, to harness the divine power of creation. This is believed to be a perversion of Catalian philosophy and sexual laxness, as the practice of “chasing” generally involves copious substance abuse and raw, often dangerous sex. For some chasing is an excuse to let go of strict Etsian ideals and mores; others have decided this is a better way to achieve salvation than trying in vain to be perfect. Chasing is illegal and punishable by public branding and castration for both males and females, though a large bribe to the appropriate official will generally cause the charges to become mislaid, destroyed, or indefinitely delayed.