The Chant of Light is a collection of chants that together comprise the religious texts of the Chantry. It is based on the tale and teachings of Andraste, bride and prophet of the Maker and was probably first created circa 1065 TE (-130 Ancient) by her disciples who collected these into hymns after her death. This original Chant of Light consisted of four Canticles, known collectively as "the Portents". The four Canticles are Threnodies, Andraste, Transfigurations, and Trials. Over time, numerous versions of the Chant have emerged, with different interpretations of what Andraste taught about the Maker being prevalent in different regions. These are referred to collectively as “the cults of the Maker.”
According to common belief, the Chant in its current form is a compilation of the Orlesian interpretation of the Chant written by the first Divine, Justinia I. However, there have been changes even to this canonical Chant, most notably the excision of the Canticle of Shartan after the Exalted March of the Dales in the early Glory Age. Verses struck from the accepted Chant are known as "Dissonant Verses".
The Chant is divided into Canticles and sub-divided into stanzas and then verses. The entire Chant of Light takes several weeks to recite, and is only sung straight through at the Grand Cathedral in Val Royeaux, the capital of Orlais. The Chant covers a wide range of subject matter such as cosmogenesis, human history, the story of Andraste, and the founding of the Chantry. Some are simply collections of hymns. Some are the specific teachings of the Chantry while others are meditations on the Maker or encouragement to the faithful. Even within a Canticle, the same story may be told more than once with different styles, as each stanza may have been composed by a different disciple.
Members of the Chantry believe that when Andraste was burned by the Magisters of the Tevinter Imperium, the Maker turned away from his creations. By spreading Andraste's teachings, they earn his forgiveness and when the Chant is sung from the four corners of the earth the Maker will return. The Chanters' faction within the Chantry even goes so far as to speak nothing but the Chant, taking as their guide the words "Speak only the Word; sing only the Chant. Then the Golden City is thine".
The Chant of Light most commonly used throughout Thedas is the Chant of Light as compiled by the Andrastian Chantry. In the Tevinter Imperium, the Imperial Chant of Light, a somewhat different composition, is used by the Imperial Chantry.
A Reader's Edition of the Chant was printed in 7:45 Storm, the result of decades of historical research and translation of Chantry archives by myriad sisters and brothers. Divine Justinia V released the New Cumberland Chant of Light, including the Dissonant Verses, in 9:38 Dragon.
Canticles of the Chant of Light
Canticle of Andraste
- See also: Verses: Canticle of Andraste
- There I saw the Black City, towers all stain'd,
- Gates once bright golden forever shut.
- Heav'n filled with silence, then did I know all
- And cross'd my heart with unbearable shame.
- -Andraste 1:11
This Canticle is based on the song sung by Andraste that so captivated the Maker that he offered her a place at his side, that she might rule all of creation. It is the most disputed Canticle in all of the Chant of Light. Some five hundred versions of the Canticle existed until Divine Amalthea II created the Conclave of Cumberland to determine the now-canon version. It was written by an Orlesian Andrastian cult in -165 Ancient, the oldest version of the Canticle that could be found.
Canticle of Apotheosis
- See also: Verses: Canticle of Apotheosis
- With neither blade nor shield, Andraste gave herself up
- To her enemies. And Maferath bound his wife's hands
- And delivered her to the Archon to be put to death.
- -Apotheosis 1:14
The Canticle of Apotheosis chronicles the betrayal and death of Andraste.
It is usually attributed to Justinia, Andraste's friend and disciple, though its authorship is much debated. There are speculations linking Apotheosis with the Song of Betrayal, an older work referenced for the first time in -165 Ancient (five years before Maferath's betrayal became publicly known), but as no verifiable copies of the song have ever been found, it is unknown how much resemblance, if any, exist between the two. The version currently used by the Chantry dates back to -100 Ancient and appeared around the time of the old Inquisition.
Since no account of the tale includes Justinia, and Havard was the only surviving witness to the betrayal, Apotheosis has spurred the legend that Justinia and Havard fled together and hid Andraste's ashes, founding the cult that would eventually become the Chantry in secret.
Canticle of Benedictions
- See also: Verses: Canticle of Benedictions
- Blessed are they who stand before
- The corrupt and the wicked and do not falter.
- Blessed are the peacekeepers, the champions of the just.
- -Benedictions 4:10
This Canticle includes the line "Blessed are the peacekeepers, the champions of the just", sometimes used by Chanters to thank those completing jobs on their boards.
Canticle of Erudition
- See also: Verses: Canticle of Erudition
- The first of the Maker's children watched across the Veil
- And grew jealous of the life
- They could not feel, could not touch.
- In blackest envy were the demons born.
- -Erudition 2:1
Canticle of Exaltations
- See also: Verses: Canticle of Exaltations
- Seven times seventy men of stone immense
- Rose up from the earth like sleepers waking at the dawn,
- Crossing the land with strides immeasurable,
- And in the hollows of their footprints
- Paradise was stamped, indelible.
- -Exaltations 1:5
The Canticle of Exaltations details Kordillus Drakon I's vision of the Maker's return.
It has the clearest history and authorship in the entire Chant. It was written in Ciriane in -12 Ancient by the then-prince Kordillus Drakon, though it is believed that he rewrote the canticle several times as Emperor before allowing Divine Justinia I to include it in the Chant. Collectors have paid exorbitant amounts for copies of his early drafts; the penultimate version is kept locked up alongside the Orlesian imperial crown jewels in Val Royeaux while the final draft is in a vault in the Grand Cathedral's archives.
Canticle of Threnodies
- See also: Verses: Canticle of Threnodies
- And so is the Golden City blackened
- With each step you take in my Hall.
- Marvel at perfection, for it is fleeting.
- You have brought Sin to Heaven
- And doom upon all the world.
- -Threnodies 8:13
Threnodies are dirges or lamentations. The canticle repeatedly tells the creation of the world and the fall of man.
The earliest recorded version of this canticle was written between -31 and -11 Ancient by Justinia I. It is now believed that it was primarily a translation of a much older oral tradition: "The Slave Dirge", which Tevinter legal documents dating as far back as -182 Ancient record as being sung during uprisings. Justinia's original text was written in Ciriane, and was likely translated from Tevene, which is the language the Imperium slaves would have spoken.
Chantry scholars believe that the multiple tales arose from local interpretations of Andraste's visions by individual cultures. Known stanzas in Threnodies deal with such topics as the creation of the Fade and the Golden City by the Maker and its later invasion by Tevinter Magisters, which the Chantry claims led to the creation of the Darkspawn and the First Blight.
The Canticle of Threnodies is the portion of the Chant that has been sung and claimed most often by the largest number of cultures across Thedas, which is why the regional differences have been preserved in Chantry canon.
Canticle of Transfigurations
- See also: Verses: Canticle of Transfigurations
- Magic exists to serve man, and never to rule over him.
- Foul and corrupt are they
- Who have taken His gift
- And turned it against His children.
- They shall be named Maleficar, accursed ones.
- They shall find no rest in this world
- Or beyond.
- -Transfigurations 1:2
The canticle is purported to be the work of Justinia, Andraste's disciple, who transcribed them word for word from the Prophet herself. The version currently used by the Chantry can be traced back to an Andrastian group in Ferelden in -130 Ancient, supposedly the closest to the version that were spread among the Alamarri who followed Andraste and Maferath north. As the Alamarri did not have a written alphabet at the time, Andraste's teachings were almost certainly spread by word of mouth.
Canticle of Trials
- See also: Verses: Canticle of Trials
- I shall not be left to wander the drifting roads of the Fade
- For there is no darkness, nor death either, in the Maker's Light
- And nothing that He has wrought shall be lost.
- -Trials 1:14
The Canticle of Trials is said to be a collection of hymns composed by Andraste in praise of the Maker. Chantry scholars believe that some verses predate the prophet by a hundred years or more, and were possibly prayers and hymns to the gods of local pantheons which were altered when the people joined Andraste's uprisings.
The verses of the Canticle of Trials are the most beloved and most often-quoted lines of the Chant of Light.
Canticle of Victoria
- Now her hand is raised,
- A sword to pierce the sun
- With iron shield she defends the faithful
- Let chaos be undone
- -Victoria 1:3
Dissonant verses are canticles which are unacknowledged from the official Chant of Light. They are unknown to most of the faithful, and reasoning for their unacknowledgment has long been a subject for study and of controversy. It has been observed to be more of a political move than one borne out of faith. In 9:38, Divine Justinia V released the New Cumberland Chant of Light, which contains the Dissonant Verses. Known dissonant verses include the Canticle of Silence, the Canticle of Shartan and the Canticle of Maferath.
Canticle of Silence
- The Old Gods will call to you,
- From their Ancient Prisons they will sing.
- Dragons with wicked eyes and wicked hearts,
- On blacken'd wings does deceit take flight,
- The First of My children, lost to night.
- -Canticle of Silence 3:6
The canticle tells the story of the seven Magisters who entered the Golden City and corrupted it, supposedly creating the Blight.
The original text of Silence was written (most likely in Tevene) by Archon Hessarian himself, with the earliest version dating back to -160 Ancient. As it was written almost two hundred years after the events it describes, it cannot have been based on firsthand knowledge though as Archon, Hessarian would have had access to the Magisterium's historical records and the intelligence gathered by his predecessors. As a result, it is unknown how much of the Canticle is based on historical fact.
It has historically been divided into three stanzas: the corruption of the Magisters composing the first, the assault on the Golden City the second and the consequences of their fall the third. It is believed by the Chantry that the verses were written to ascribe blame for the Blight on the priesthood of the Old Gods and incite the anger of the Imperium against the Altus mages targeted by Hessarian's alternate Canticle of Transfigurations.
A Conclave established by Divine Amara I in 3:41 Towers declared it to be too reminiscent of propaganda supporting Hessarian's actions, and was not sacred enough to remain a part of the official Chant. Though it has been struck from the Chant, many scholars still study it for its Tevinter perspective on the Second Sin.
Canticle of Shartan
- See also: Verses: Canticle of Shartan
- At Shartan's word, the sky
- Grew black with arrows.
- At Our Lady's, ten thousand swords
- Rang from their sheaths,
- A great hymn rose over Valarian Fields gladly proclaiming
- Those who had been slaves were now free.
- -Canticle of Shartan 10:1
The canticle tells the story of Shartan, an elven slave from Tevinter who leads his fellow elven slaves in a revolt and joins Andraste, becoming her champion.
Authorship of the Canticle has never been determined. Its earliest versions appeared in the Dales around -140 Ancient, and are very similar to ancient elven folktales about a rebellion against tyrants led by a trickster warrior. Though slave rebellions across the central Imperium are well-documented, Shartan's role in them could not be verified. Some scholars suggest that Shartan might have been a title or an ideal rather than a single person. As few elves could write Tevene, and much of their own language was lost, the canticle was preserved by oral tradition until clerics transcribed it at the behest of Divine Justinia I in 1:8 Divine. There is speculation that several verses, if not an entire stanza, are missing between the ninth and tenth stanzas.
The Canticle of Shartan was struck from the Chant by Divine Renata I during the Exalted March of the Dales in the Glory Age. She also ordered all Chantry references and artwork including elves to be destroyed and Shartan’s ears on Henri de Lydes’ mural to be docked. This Dissonant Verse is the most closely studied by Chantry scholars and historians.
Canticle of Maferath
- See also: Codex entry: The Canticle of Maferath
- Spite ate away all that was good, kind, and loving till nothing was left but the spite itself, coiled 'round my heart like a great worm.
- And in my darkest hour, I turned from Her and vowed that I would destroy Her.
- At the moment of Her death I knew what I had done, and I wept.
- I shall bring the lands of my fathers to Her Word. Therein lies their salvation and mine.
- And She came to me in a vision and laid Her hand on my heart.
- Her touch was like fire that did not burn. And by Her touch, I was made pure again.
- Despair not, said She, for your betrayal was Maker-blessed and returned me to His side.
- I am forgiven.
The canticle tells the story of Maferath's betrayal of Andraste. It is part of the Dissonant Verses.
- A part of the legend about the Tears of Andraste is included in the Chant of Light.
- There are references to a Canticle of Penance written by Archon Hessarian, though no verses are known.
- The verse that states that the Maker will return when the chant reaches the four corners of the world could refer to the Andrastrian Chantry becoming the dominant form of worship in all four civilized races; Humans, Elves, Dwarves, and Qunari or Vashoth. However, the Chantry teachings emphasize on racial differences, particularly favoring humanity.