Freecyclopedianism (also simply "cyclopedianism") consists of fraternal organizations that trace their origins to local fraternities of cartographers and cyclopedists in the late medieval period in Northwest Uletha. These local fraternities regulated the practices of cyclopedia-making (almanacking), land surveying and mapmapking, and established standards for interactions between these organizations and authorities and clients. The various degrees of modern Freecyclopedianism reflect but expand on the original medieval categories of Land Surveyor, Cartographer and Cyclopedist. Members of these organizations are commonly refered to as Cartographers or Cyclopedians.
Ritual and Symbolism
Freecyclopedianism desribes itself as a "sublime rendition of human morality and creativity, understood through allegory and symbolism." The symbolism is mainly, but not exclusively, rooted in the concrete tools and work of surveyors, mapmakers, and cyclopedists (reference text makers and almanackers). Frequent metaphors, both verbal and visual, include those of the map, the compass, the rule, measure-chains and plumb-lines, the sextant, the activities of book-bindery and printing, chart-making and trigonometric calculations on a sphere.
Ideals and Philanthropy
Modern freecyclopedianism developed first as means of mutual aid and support among the medieval guilds of mapmakers and almanackers. However, these activities are only tangentially related to the modern groups' activities, which focus on education and philanthropy. There has always been a secularist and humanist ideal at root, but cyclopediansim has never taken a confrontational stance with respect to traditional systems of belief and religion, despite antagonsim from the latter (see below).
Most Loggia and Temples, these days, make efforts to organize philanthropic efforts and maintain libraries and meeting halls. Every town seems to have its "Cyclopedists' Aid Society" or "Cartographers' Hospital." Foremost, the Loggia tend to function as social clubs for members, and are frequently associated with the leading figures from business and government in particular communities.
In the early years, there were issues with Loggia that denied membership to women (or to men, in e.g. Wiwaxia), or that denied membership on the basis of ethnicity or non-cyclopedic doctrinal questions (such as religion). However, the "toleration" movements of the early 19th century mostly resolved these problems. Very conservative Loggia and Temples still exist, however. As has been mentioned, all the Loggia are doctrinally independent.
Anti-cyclopedianism and Conspiracy Theories
From its earliest manifestations, many conservative and especially religious figures have condemned freecyclopedianism. Today, there are some public figures who insist that there exists a freecyclopedian plot seeking world domination. In the political discourse of some countries, accusing someone of being a cyclopedianism or cartographer can mean branding them as being anything from an anarchist to an elitist.
Notably, in some countries with conservative or explicitly religious forms of government (e.g. Mahhal), freecyclopedianism is deemed subversive, and being a member of a cyclopedian organization is illegal or is persecuted.
One prevalent conspiracy theory about cyclopedians is that non-cyclopedians believe that cyclopedians believe in - or are actively working toward - what is often called Tlönianism (or the "Tlönian Fallacy," among detractors). This idea, with origins in ancient Tlönic cosmology, is the idea that the world is a fiction or a "dream of the demiurges."
It is undeniable that doctrinally, there are cyclopedians who believe this. However, the idea that this implies some effort to deceive the rest of humanity, or to somehow control the levers of world power, seems unjustified by existing evidence. The cyclopedians seem, historically, far too disorganized and too prone to petty doctrinal arguments among themselves to have ever undertaken this kind of global conspiracy.
Organization and Hierarchy
The basic organizational unit of Freecyclopedianism is the Loggia. Loggia are supervised and governed regionally by Temples, and within nations by one or more Grand Septentriont. There is no international, worldwide Grand Septentriont that guides all of the movement. Instead, the movement is fragmented both on doctrinal and geographical lines. Most modern Grand Septentrionts will recognize each other, although they differ in particulars, but this is not always the case, and in the past conflicts between Loggia, Temples and Grand Septentrionts have become quite intense to the point of violence.
Modern Freecyclopedianism broadly consists of at least three main doctrinal groups. "Common" cyclopedianism (or Commonian Rite), whose members prefer the denomination "cartographers," arose first in northern Commonia among Ulethan colonial groups in the late 18th century. "Cryptic" cyclopedianism (or Gwynian Rite), whose members prefer the denomination "cyclopedians," arose among Ulethan colonists in the Gwynian subcontinent, notebly among the Ingerish colonists at El Cabo, Ardisphere. Finally, "tropic" cyclopedianism (or Island Rite), whose members are indifferent to denomination, arose among Ulethan colonists is southwestern Commonia, in modern West Commonia. All three rites are distributed globally in modern times, each with about equal numbers of active members.
Although most cyclopedian Loggia and Temples are avowedly apolitical in the modern era, this has not always been the case. There have been cases where governments and political movements have aligned with one or another Loggia, Temple or Septentriont. This has often meant that cyclopedian doctrinal disputes erupted into the broader political discourse of a region or country.
There have been some examples of political movements explicitly linked to cyclopedianism, such as the Cartographic Anarchy movement in Commonia (and still referenced explicitly in that country's official name and current constitution), or the Cyclopedian Sovereigntists who were a major component of the broader Autonomist front in the Ardispherian Civil War.
List of Septentrionts World-Wide
Most septentrionts are country-specific or span a select number of countries unified by history or culture, but there are exceptions where memberships cross international boundaries, for example there various loggia in Shadze-Ma that are aligned with the two main Ardispherian septentrionts. This is often true for loggia in smaller countries that find it easier to align with larger or more influential overseas septentrionts than to form their own.
|Country||Head Loggia Location||Official Name||Rite||Note|
|Ardisphere||Faro, DS||Gran Setentrionte del Faro Ardesférico del Rito Comuniano (Faro Grand Septentriont)||Common (Commonian)|
|Ardisphere||El Cabo, DS||Gran Setentrionte de El Cabo Caroliano del Rito Blanquiano (Cape Grand Septentriont)||Cryptic (Gwynian)||Recognized global "head" (historical, non-binding) of all Gwynian Rite Septentrionts|
|Commonia||Thompson||Watamak Grand Septentriont||Common (Commonian)||Recognized global (historical, non-binding) "head" of all Commonian Rite Septentrionts|
|Drull||Drull||Groot Septentriont van Aroog Delta (Delta Grand Septentriont)||Cryptic (Gwynian)|
|West Commonia||Hamabaurgs||South Island Septentriont||Tropic (Island)||Recognized global (historical, non-binding) "head" of all Island Rite Septentrionts|
|This list is incomplete. It will be expanded in the future.|
- Articles about freecyclopedianism in individual countries, including:
- Cartographic Anarchy
- Commonian Rite (Freecyclopedianism)
- Cyclopedian Sovereignty
- Gwynian Rite (Freecyclopedianism)
- Island Rite (Freecyclopedianism)