Iron and Leaves
Elven orthodoxy is a recent movement within elven religion. Some of its most prominent features (especially to outsiders) is that it views elves as apart from other races and further considers the three subraces of elves to each have proper roles and places in elven society. It also encourages avoiding entanglements with most non-elves. Another salient feature is that it is strongly opposed to allowing elven gods and religion to be suborned into the The High Priestess’ Cathedral. Elven gods are considered separate from other gods in the same way that elves are considered set apart from other races.
In the classical elven religion, each group had it’s own cults and traditions, but they were part of a unified whole. For example, the dark elves buried all elven dead and performed the funeral rites. Yhera the Mother Goddess began in the heavens, came to earth, and finally retreated to the world below. So each race had their place. But the orthodox movement has pushed the Three Sisters into the dominant role, claiming (based on interpretation of several sacred poems) that when Yhera retreated, she left them in charge. The Three Sisters are star goddesses, particularly sacred to the high elves. Accordingly, the orthodox high elves claim that all religious authority resides in them. The wood elves and dark elves have their place, but it is not in religion, except as worshipers.
View of the Other Elves
Wood elves traditionally had their own cults, focusing (not surprisingly) around the elven nature gods and spirits. Rangers were more than just a military and police organization—they were sacred warriors and shepherds. Now that the official trappings of religion have been stripped away or belittled, most wood elves continue to practice their old ways, but they’ve been toned down to a more personal and familial scale. Many wood elves effectively worship minor household nature spirits and practice their “pagan” ways.
However, there are a couple notable exceptions. More and more wood elves, especially young wood elves, are turning to the High Druid. Druidism. is not particularly an elven worldview, nor is it condoned by the Elf Queen. But it’s focus on the Wild resonates with most wood elves respect for nature. The other exception is that the Rangers did not truly become a secular organization. They still maintain the old rites, they’ve just moved them into secrecy.
The dark elves are much more openly disdainful of orthodoxy, partly because they have less interaction with high elves than the wood elves who are literally caught in the middle. The dark elves had their sacred rites denied more thoroughly than the wood elves. Rather than being condescendingly dismissed and discouraged, the dark elves rites have been actively banned. However, unlike the wood elves, the dark elves continue to practice their rites. After all, their rites have always been performed underground, out of site of the spiral towers of the high elves. One significant difference, though, is that dark elves now perform funeral rites almost exclusively for other dark elves. There are places where the old ways are still honored, but they are increasingly rare.
Most dark elves continue on as they did before, except that (in an ironic echo of orthodoxy) they are increasingly insular about it and grow increasingly disdainful of the other elves.
One troubling rumor is that the cult of Llolth is growing (mostly among the dark elves, but even among other elves). The Elf Queen has forbidden any mention of Llolth’s name in her presence.