Hylia Worship, does it still exist?

  • Devised and Written by: Spiritual Mask Salesman (I'm from Zelda Dungeon's forum), and Linkle (From Zelda Universe's Forum)
    Special thanks to: JC-Hurin (a friend of mine from ZD)



    Religion is considered to be pivitol in reality, it gives us insight on how our ancestors in the past lived, how they thought, and what myths and laws were commonplace in the past. When analysing ancient religions we usually find that simple religions, such as monothestic ones, tend to last longer than complex Polythestic religions. Keeping that in mind, Linkle and I wonder why Hylia worship would have died out in Hyrule, it seems more likely that Hylia worship would stay strong in the land due to how simple it is. Why would polythestic based worship become dominant over a monothestic one?


    There have been various dieties amoung the many canon Zelda games, one which always stood out to us, in particular, is Hylia — she seemed like a very important religious figure during her time, and even thousands of years afterward on Skyloft. We know she obviously was very important, in fact the Hylians derived the name of their race (after Skyward Sword) from her name. Although in later games it seems worship for Hylia has faded from Hyrule, what could have happened? She was such an important diety, why would worship for her stop? Together Linkle and myself have devised a theory which we believe will explain what happened to monothesthic worship for Hylia, and if it even could still exist in Hyrule, but foremost we will cover how the three goddesses tie in.


    Note: All of our theorizing will be done from an in-universe point of view, meaning that we are looking at this theory as if Hyrule was real; therefore, developer intent does not matter. This is extremely important, as doing it any other way would open up the argument that most games that take place after Skyward Sword in the timeline were actually created before it, and thus Hylia could not have been mentioned in them. We thank you for joining us today and hope you will enjoy our theory!


    We will begin around the time of Skyward Sword, the status of the three goddesses at this point is important and worth noting; they are often refered to as “old gods” which indicates that their popularity was fading.


    “Her second plan...was to abandon her divine form and transfer her soul to the body of a mortal. ...She made this sacrifice, as you have likely guessed, so that the supreme power created by the old gods could one day be used. For while the supreme power of the Triforce was created by gods, all of its power can never be wielded by one." — Zelda (Skyward Sword)


    “Handed down by gods of old, this power gave its holder the means to make any desire a reality. Such was the might of the ultimate power that the old ones placed it in the care of the goddess.” — Fi (Skyward Sword, intro text)


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    We do know that there is undocumented history predating even the creation of skyloft, which is atleast thousands of years old itself.


    “Allow me tell you about the history of Skyloft! Skyloft is an island that has floated here for ages... Thousands of years. Our ancestors have always lived on this island, as well as the surrounding islands in the sky." — Owlan (Skyward Sword)


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    We aren't even sure how far back history might go in this case, considering the great advancements in technology the ancient people achieved (harnessing timeshift stones as energy) they would have atleast been around a considerable amount of time to reach such a level, a level which their descendants in the future would never match again. Maybe mutiple centuries had passed and during the time of Hylia, worship for the goddesses, and possibly a whole epoch unknown to us, was coming to an end. the people may have even began worshipping other dieties. To prevent the people they had created from straying from them, maybe even forgetting about them, the goddesses set Hylia as a diety not only to protect the Triforce, but maybe also to maintain an indirect link to the goddesses for the people?


    Now we shift foward in time after Skyward Sword; Hylia worship has faded, the goddesses are popular again; why? Skyward Sword was heavily centered around the Triforce. Searching for it, finding it, and using it was crucial in order to destroy Demise. Afterward the surface was repopulated, legends of the Triforce never faded, and in mutiple games wars are menetioned to have broke out for the Triforce.


    "But soon, word of the Sacred Realm spread through Hyrule, and a great battle ensued..." — Lanayru (Twlight Princess)


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    The Triforce allures almost everyone. Linkle and I believe that through the Triforce the three goddesses grew in popularity again. Credited as the makers of the Triforce this would make them well renowned in a land were Triforce lore captivates all. Consequently to believe in the Triforce requires one to also believe that the three goddesses are real, in the Wind Waker we see an example of this.


    "Gods of the Triforce! Hear that which I desire! Hope! I desire hope for these children! Give them a future! Wash away this ancient land of Hyrule! Let a ray of hope shine on the future of the world!!!" — King Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule (Wind Waker)


    The King acknowledges the goddesses before making his wish, even Ganondorf does it in the game proir to the King making a wish. We have no doubt that the Triforce is what revived worship for the three goddesses in Hyrule. How exactly does this all play out in terms of Hylia worship?


    We know for a fact that Hylia worship must have faded because there are there no shrines or temples dedicated to Hylia in games after Skyward Sword. This suggests that either her followers no longer exist, they are few, or they were converted and any temples for Hylia were re-purposed.


    Our intial thoughts are that Hylia Worship could have eventually become more or less political leadership via the Royal Family, and less of a religion that is worshipped. Afterall Zelda is Hylia reborn as a mortal, and that bloodline is maintained within the Royal Family. The Royal Family basically performs most of the same duties Hylia did. They keep order in the land, and hide the Triforce along with any ancient relics or knowledge that can lead to it. Hylia Worship may have evolved into that, more or less leadership, a monarchy, rather than being a religion. In ways the Royal Family is worshipped, but not like dieties or anything. That is likely what happened to Hylia worship, but there is still a possibility it lived on as a religion.


    Digging into the idea of the religion changing, there are only two dieties in games after Skyward Sword we know nothing about who could be Hylia. There is a snake diety we see in the Gerudo Colossus, and in Majora's Mask there are references to a “Goddess of Time”. The snake diety we don't even know the name of, it's likely it is just a random diety they created overtime. Still it isn't uncommon to see the appearence and depiction of a diety change in reality — maybe this is what happened with Hylia? The “Goddess of Time” diety seems like it could be Hylia, the title certainly does sound like it could fit her. The only issue is the reference is so vague, ontop of that the diety is never menetioned outside of Majora's Mask. We do know that Zelda did reference the diety, as this quote will show.


    "The Goddess of Time is protecting you. If you play the Song of Time, she will aid you..." — Princess Zelda (Majora's Mask)


    At the same time it seems that the people of Termina also know about the same diety, making her non-exclusive to the land of Hyrule like Hylia should be.


    "Somebody! Anybody!!! Goddess of Time, help us please! We need more time!" — Tatl (Majora's Mask)


    "Only a little more than two days left...Oh, Goddess of Time, please save me..." — Man in Oceanside Spider House (Majora's Mask)


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    Hylia could be associated with time; she not only created the two Gates of Time, but her human reincarnation, Zelda, could activate and open them by singing and playing her song, the Ballad of the Goddess, on the Goddess' Harp. One of the Gates resided within the Sealed Temple, A.K.A. the Temple of Hylia, which would one day become the Temple of Time — if there is a temple dedicated to this Goddess of Time in Hyrule it'd be likely that the Temple of Time would be it. Furthermore, in Ocarina of Time Zelda was the one to teach Link the Song of Time, the Ocarina of Time looks like it is made of Timeshift Stones,Hyrule Historia even hints toward it, and also was the Seventh Sage, whom many believe to be a “Sage of Time”. She also possesses the Triforce of Wisdom, which connects her to the Goddess of Wisdom, Nayru. Now whether Hylia is this “Goddess of Time” we can't be certain, we can assume that she is but we still can't explain how the people of Termina might now of her.


    There really is no conclusive evidence to back that any of these random dieties — who we know nothing about — could be Hylia, although this same lack of evidence still keeps the debate open. Linkle and I agree that Hylia worship may still exhist in Hyrule and has either took on a different form as leadership through the Royal Family, or just lost popularity eventually fading to have very few followers left.

  • A pretty cool topic to theorise about. I really enjoyed reading how you guys try to put things together.


    I absolutely agree that the rise of the veneration towards the Triforce helped immensely to bring the creators to people's knowledge. Another reason the Triforce is important is because it ties the idea of how the world is created, by the time of the Hero of Time, the myths passed to Link completely neglect any mention of Hylia or being part of a city in the sky. I can only recall a reference to a belief of Hylian ears being elongated so they can hear the calling of the Goddesses.


    Linkle and I agree that Hylia worship may still exhist in Hyrule and has either took on a different form as leadership through the Royal Family, or just lost popularity eventually fading to have very few followers left.

    Maybe it is a bit of both: I think Hylia is now mostly known as one of the legends told by the Royal Family and if they are followers around, probably they don't know that Zelda is the reincarnation.


    The reason for Hylia fading from fame in Hyrulean legends, might had to do with her being incarnated in Zelda. I would even suggest the same Royal Family tried to hush this fact. As it stands having people drooling greed over the TriForce was dangerous enough like to have people targeting the Princess as an attempt to destroy the cycle in hopes to weaken divine intervention. I think the Kingdom tried to switch the adoration into the three Goddesses instead and just passed among them the real origin story. Even though, probably other versions were also taught orally from the same residents they probably lose credence or were blended into the Golden Goddesses as the time went by.


    Regarding the identity of the Goddesses of Time, in the Oracle of ages, Nayru controls time, which subtly suggest it might just be another name for her, while another game, I think Phantom Hourglass, instead describes Farore as the Goddess of Time and Courage. This is somethinG I wanted to say from when I started reading about the possible connection but as I kept on reading, you guys really make sense. I never thought much of Zelda being the Sage of "Time" in Ocarina of Time. Let's say the knowledge of Hylia is only another Royal Family legend passed down by generations, it would make sense Zelda used her in her prayers to keep Link safe. I don't know why I never really stopped to think about that connection.


    Anyway, during SS a lot of crazy things happens and then we have wars in Hyrule, it is not crazy to think that some portals or stuff, made some of the Hylians separate into a parallel world (or outside the kingdom) and they didn't lose all of their knowledge. If Hylia was known as the Goddesses of Time and this split came before she vanished from memory in Hyrule (between before and just after SS) then it would make sense that the believe in a Goddess of Time was maintained even if her name in itself was forgotten. We know they're parallel to Hylians but they never call themselves that, which implies they don't share the Hylia knowledge or at the very least, said knowledge is fragmented and missing important details.

  • Awesome theory. I've a few thoughts to chuck into the blender.


    The link between Hylia and the goddesses is very vague in SS - Hylia could be the spirit of Nayru or Farore (according to OoA and PH, as @Kaynil said), who remained behind to 'oversee' the progress of life. She could be a completely separate being who gained a connection to Nayru by being the wisest person around when the Triforce was split and adopting the triforce of wisdom, or she could be the combined essence of all three goddesses, who decided to put a bit of each of them into one goddess so that they could continue being involved in the land on the ground. Perhaps she is a little more Nayru than she is Farore or Din. So, given all these possibilities, Hylia's connection to the goddesses is anyone's guess. Although personally, I like the idea that Hylia is a little of all three deieties, for reasons I'll explain later.


    I would agree that the triforce is probably the reason that worship for the goddesses continues. It would seem also that the three goddesses ARE in fact the ultimate deities, according to the creation myth told by the Great Deku Tree in OoT. And the continuing cycle of Link, Zelda and Ganon would tie into a tritheistic view of the world, as though everything in Hyrule were an interaction between the three powers (like Yin and Yang in eastern mysticism, except with three elements instead of two). In OoT and in a lesser sense TP, Link, Ganon and Zelda even come from three symmetrically different directions on the map. So, in this way, belief in the three goddesses is actually logical, as everything points to their influence.


    One thing that supports the idea that Hylia might have been the combined essence of all three goddesses is the timeline split. Assuming a connection between Hylia/Zelda and a Goddess of Time, maybe Link's messing around with time travel caused the unity of Hylia's power to split, to refract if you will, into three separate powers - the threefold timeline split. This is especially poignant considering the two ages in OoT exist in close proximity to the breaking of the triforce into three - one age before, one after.


    The royal family are, in a way, worshipped. Given their authority over the magic of time and the powers of their servants the Sheikah, they are the gateway between the mortal and the divine. Given that Hylia (aka Zelda) was the link between the observable, physical world and the three deieties in SS, this makes perfect sense.


    Two things I don't buy:


    1) Recognition of the three goddesses ever went out of fashion. When people refer to them as 'old', I take that to be a literal truth: they did come before Hylia, and they ARE old. The special adoration the people of Skyloft have for Hylia is probably because of the direct connection she had with the people there - she is a local deiety, if you will - but I don't think the three deieties ever stopped being recognised as the original creators and supreme source of everything.


    2) The Temple of Time is the Temple of Hylia. Well, yes and no. I think the Temple of Hylia did become the Temple of Time, but at some point it must have been relocated across the country. Either that or the Temple of Time is a separate building and the royal family had all the artefacts from the Temple of Hylia transferred to it, maybe during the Unification War or some other time of trouble. I actually believe the original location of the Temple of Hylia is Lake Hylia.
    Reason 1: It's called Lake Hylia.
    Reason 2: The Sealed Grounds is a great big hole in the ground. You know, like what you'd expect to be liable to flooding.
    Reason 3: The Sky Temple in TP (Skyloft?) is located above Lake Hylia.
    Reason 4: Compare these two maps of SS and OoT.
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    Given the power of the royal family over the magic of time, they could completely build a Temple of Time from scratch if they wanted to. I also believe Zelda doesn't know she's a goddess (except in SS). I'm not going to go into Majora's Mask - as it happens in a mirror universe, all the rules of reality are messed up and who knows what parallels there would be. That's a mind-bender, tbh.


    And that's all I got.

  • It is quite interesting that idea on Hylia having some of the other Goddesses essence in her... would explain why she was more than a guardian and needed to relinquish her Goddess status in order to be able to use the Triforce.



    1) Recognition of the three goddesses ever went out of fashion. When people refer to them as 'old', I take that to be a literal truth: they did come before Hylia, and they ARE old. The special adoration the people of Skyloft have for Hylia is probably because of the direct connection she had with the people there - she is a local deity, if you will - but I don't think the three deities ever stopped being recognised as the original creators and supreme source of everything.

    I think it is a very good point. It could be that they are actually being talking with reverence. However, I also take it that it is not so much that they say "old" but that they lump them together. There is no sign of their names, recalling of them being three or something that indicates they aren't just vaguely in people's minds now, hence the losing popularity conclusion.


    I really like this:

    I actually believe the original location of the Temple of Hylia is Lake Hylia.
    Reason 1: It's called Lake Hylia.
    Reason 2: The Sealed Grounds is a great big hole in the ground. You know, like what you'd expect to be liable to flooding.
    Reason 3: The Sky Temple in TP (Skyloft?) is located above Lake Hylia.

    I never even thought of tying those games together by location like that. It really makes sense.


    I still have no idea about the ToT. My Fanon has been that there are at least two Temples of Time. I am not sure how the Temple of Hylia will play out in my Fanon, as I have yet to reach taht part in SS.