Nacirema Celestial-Deer Worship

Of the many curious habits of the Nacirema, none is more intriguing than their dedication to a curious goddess and her temple of beverage. The confused symbols it is associated with, and the large, dedicated following it commands, lead one to believe that the religion is old, with many centuries separating the iconography from the ideology upon which it was based. However, material remains indicate that it may have been a religion formed in reaction to newer ideals in a world whose environmental and social state has been reportedly in decline. The nomenclature of the goddess possibly represents the ambiguous and complex motives of her followers. While represented as a green female, its name--Starbucks--evokes both celestial imagery, as well as the term for the male members of a four-legged forest species called deer. The color green, the male deer, and human females are all symbols associated with the earth, and the Nacirema hold in great esteem various legends related to the stars and the sky, including a widespread belief in horo-scopes, which are a way of predicting or directing one’s life based on star formations. The earth-sky duality is as important as the male-female duality among the members of this culture.

Worshipers of the goddess Starbucks, who is represented only in two dimensions, gather at its temples to perform regular oral ablutions-cum-ingestions in her name. This religion is practiced both alone and in groups. When practicing alone, many worshipers arrive at the temple and will seek out a private table at which to reflect while they partake of their holy solutions. They will then approach the altar, where priests and priestesses in green garb will take requests for their drink, and worshipers will offer monetary donations, which are designated to correspond to the value of each particular brew. Some worshipers often elect to take in the common brew, made of water that has passed over the roasted and ground seeds of the coffee berry. Other worshipers may choose to offer greater donations and receive elaborate, frothy concoctions in an effort to win favor with the goddess, who grants stamina and mindfulness. It is possible that this belief stems from the fact that the roasted coffee berry contains caffeine, a compound which acts as a stimulant in many of the organic life-forms on earth. Many potions which are granted in exchange for the donations at the temple contain this compound, although some of the more elaborate (and caffeine-free) beverages may be an attempt to make up for deviation from the traditional coffee berry brew after it was discovered that the caffeine compound has potentially negative health effects when consumed in excess.

If worshiping solitarily, a follower of Starbucks might bring other things to the temple, with the notion that activities performed in the goddess’ sight will be more fruitful. Many of the worshipers will read or write, while some listen to devotional music (which can also be obtained, through exchange of further donations, at the altar, in forms variously accessible through wired bottle-tops inserted in the ear canals). There is the option to take one’s sacramental drink and leave the temple to worship in private; however, many followers remain, sometimes for a very long time, in order to prove their devotion and demonstrate by the rites they are performing that are being fully blessed by the goddess Starbucks.

Social worship is also acceptable, with many people going to bond with friends or family among the sights and smells of the temple. It is not uncommon to meet new friends for the first time at a Starbucks temple, since it is a safe, calming environment. Many temples use the same designs, and the sight of a green-aproned priest or priestess makes one feel secure. It is unlikely that the sanctity of the temple will be violated with untowardness, making it a haven for bonding with new people.

Unlike some other Nacirema religions, in which one regularly worships at a particular ‘home church’ and feels uncomfortable in the church of another region, even within the same sect, followers of Starbucks are welcome and freely frequent any temple marked by their goddess' symbols, wherever they may be. In fact, given the Nacirema propensity for travel, this is an important feature of the cult, facilitating worship. Many temples offer their services via a “drive-thru” window, so that worshipers may take their blessings on the road with them, and temples are numerous and conveniently located so that one is never too far from one.

The followers of Starbucks represent a wide cross-section of the Nacirema people, and in spite of their differences, it is gratifying to see them come together and unite under the common green and white emblem of their goddess, who seems to pacify and strengthen their character.

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