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Bajoran religious symbol

"That's the thing about faith... if you don't have it, you can't understand it. If you do, no explanation is necessary."
"For over fifty years, the one thing that allowed the Bajorans to survive the Cardassian occupation was their faith. The Prophets were their only source of hope and courage."

The Bajoran religion was centered around the Prophets, the Bajoran name for the aliens residing inside the Bajoran wormhole, which the Bajorans believed was the Celestial Temple. Bajorans thought of these aliens as gods and often prayed to them for guidance. (DS9: "Emissary", "The Homecoming", "Prophet Motive", "Rapture", "Tears of the Prophets") They also believed that everything happened for a reason and that starships were guided by the hands of the Prophets while passing through the Bajoran wormhole. (DS9: "In the Hands of the Prophets")

The word of the Prophets guided Bajor for tens of thousands of years, and over the years, ten orbs, or "tears of the Prophets", had emerged from the wormhole. Their religion was so important - and so vital - to them that, during the horrors of Cardassian occupation, it was a powerful inspiration that helped them endure and resist. (DS9: "Emissary", "In the Hands of the Prophets")

The spiritual leader of Bajor was called the Kai. (DS9: "Emissary", "Resurrection" VOY: "State of Flux", "Flesh and Blood")

Commander Benjamin Sisko was the first man to fly through the newly-opened wormhole. While flying through, he encountered the wormhole aliens which the Bajorans believed to be the Prophets. They spoke to him in enigmatic ways that seemed strangely wise and even prophetic. When the Bajorans learned about Sisko's experience, they identified him with their religion's Emissary. (DS9: "Emissary") For a long time, Sisko remained skeptical of who the aliens were. (DS9: "Accession", "Rapture", "The Reckoning")

The Prophets continued to talk to Sisko and guided him through the Dominion War. They were able to reach him even when he was outside of the wormhole. (DS9: "Sacrifice of Angels", "Tears of the Prophets", "Penumbra", "'Til Death Do Us Part", "What You Leave Behind") Eventually, Sisko learned that his mother was a Prophet. Sisko later joined the Prophets in the Celestial Temple after defeating Dukat in Bajor's Fire Caves. (DS9: "Image in the Sand", "What You Leave Behind")

In 2369, Vedek Winn Adami accused Keiko O'Brien of blasphemy because of her scientific way of teaching knowledge to her students at her school aboard the space station Deep Space 9. (DS9: "In the Hands of the Prophets")

Deep Space 9 also had a place in the Bajoran religion as the "gateway" to the Celestial Temple. (DS9: "The Reckoning")

Charity, humility, and faith were seen as the keys to enlightenment in the Bajoran faith. (DS9: "Covenant")

The Bajoran wormhole was unknown in the mirror universe and the Orbs were never sent to Bajor, so there was no worship of the Prophets. The Bajorans of the Mirror Universe did believe in a pantheon of gods and had some form of an organized religion, but the faith was not central to their daily lives. (DS9: "Resurrection")


Over the centuries, a stratified system had developed by which the Bajoran faith was organized. (DS9: "Accession", "The Reckoning") Although the Emissary took precedence above all others, the Kai was the spiritual leader of Bajor, elected from and by the vedeks in the Vedek Assembly. (DS9: "The Circle", "The Collaborator") There were a number of orders that made up the Bajoran religious landscape, some with more influence than others in the Assembly. Some orders and Vedeks were more orthodox than others. Vedek Winn, for example, belonged to a small, orthodox, order of little influence in the Assembly, but which was perhaps more popular among regular Bajorans. Vedek Bareil, on the other hand, popular in the Assembly, was more unorthodox in his interpretation of the prophecies. (DS9: "In the Hands of the Prophets", "Shadowplay", "The Circle") The Assembly ruled alongside the Chamber of Ministers in the Bajoran Republic. (DS9: "The Circle", "The Siege", "Shakaar")

Rank structure

Important figures

Religious traditions and celebrations

Related topics


Background information

Michael Piller was happy with how Bajoran religion was established on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. "I think that the idea of the Prophets, the prophecies and the Orbs takes Star Trek into the metaphysical world for the first time," he commented. "I think this is something that Gene [Roddenberry] would have loved, had he lived to see it [....] We had a very, very good time exploring that, and I think that we were one of the very few television shows that ventured into spiritual, religious areas. But of course, as long as time has existed, stories about spiritual pursuits, Bible stories, have been great storytelling. And it gave us great themes to explore." (Hidden File 10, DS9 Season 2 DVD special features) Even though the Bajoran religion was a contrast to Roddenberry's beliefs (as he was an atheistic, secular humanist), Piller not only expected Roddenberry wouldn't be opposed to the invention of Bajoran religion, he also noted, "He's still with us [mentally] [...] as we think about these conceptual issues." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 6, p. 20)

Ira Steven Behr appreciated how Bajoran religion was depicted as unusual, compared to the majority of the Federation, in DS9 Season 1 installment "The Storyteller". (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, Nos. 3/4, p. 102) Bajoran spirituality was further explored in first season finale "In the Hands of the Prophets". "I think it enables us, as a specific television series, to explore the Bajoran spiritual life, which we haven't done too much of," opined Behr. Regarding how Bajoran religion was developed in "In the Hands of the Prophets", Michael Piller said, "You start to deal with religion in school, school prayer, the Scopes Monkey Trial, and fundamentalism, and it's very thought provoking." Behr expected the Bajoran religion could be written as clashing with the scientific Federation outlook in subsequent episodes "for quite some time." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 56) Indeed, the DS9 writing staff intended to explore the religious aspect of Bajoran culture more in the show's second season. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, Nos. 3/4, p. 108)

Avery Brooks commented: "I will say that wherever African people are on the planet, there is a connection with the divine. I mean, that happens to be sold. That's fact in our history, in our lineage. So therefore, it is not a stretch in any way for me to understand what was happening with Bajor. And even the - being uncomfortable that is to say Sisko with being a part of being called a prophet, if you will, of the emissary actually. So that it - the spiritual aspect of it - I have my birthright, you see, in understanding that. So therefore, that and all other things, I am the sum of everything that has gone before. And so everything therefore affects what I do". [1]

The intellectual and philosophical subject matters in Bajoran religion were generally not embraced by viewers of DS9. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 158)) Writing about Bajoran religious issues was therefore a struggle, as Ronald D. Moore explained; "Anything having to do with Bajoran religion is always kind of difficult to make interesting and exciting for the audience." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 115)

A DS9 episode which deals with Bajoran religion was Season 3's "Destiny". René Echevarria commented, "It's really interesting regarding the Bajoran religion [...] [and Kira's] beliefs." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 92)

The producers again explored Bajoran religious and spiritual issues in "Accession", an installment of DS9 Season 4. "Every once in a while we've got to revisit that Bajoran religion and make sure that everyone knows that we still care. This was our episode for that purpose," recalled Robert Hewitt Wolfe. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 116) Ira Steven Behr noted, "Because of the Bajoran religion, it was a heady show." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 320)) The staff writers were able to write "Accession" because they ignored Paramount having advised them that such issues were not what the DS9 audience wanted to see episodes about, though the creative team received no complaints about the installment. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 55) Still, writing the Bajoran religious and spiritual matters into the episode was considerably difficult. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 115)

By midway through the fourth season, Kira actress Nana Visitor was aware of the Bajoran religion undergoing upheaval. "There's no question that there's some sort of corruption in the Bajoran religion right now," she said. "It's a big political mess, which makes sense considering that Bajor is still coming out of having been under the Occupation." (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 16, p. 45)

When DS9: "The Assignment" was in early development, a Bajoran religious holiday was to have been established, celebrated with a party. This idea later became a birthday party, however. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 389))

Much to the surprise of Ira Steven Behr, Bajoran religious aspects of DS9 Season 5 outing "Rapture" proved popular with fans. "They really seemed to take to this, to the spirituality, the faith," Behr related. "There's such a lack of faith in today's society. We're all so desperate to find something to believe in. This is the episode that made me realize just what we had created, in terms of the Bajoran faith and the Emissary. I knew that it was going to become a more and more important part of the show, and that a part of the audience was going to love it." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 405))

By having a member of the Cult of the Pah-wraiths stab Sisko in "Image in the Sand", the DS9 writing staff intended to say something about Bajoran religion in general. Explained Ira Behr, "We wanted to show that, like war, religion can be a dangerous thing. We'd spent six years portraying the Bajoran religion, celebrating it, in a way, and establishing that there is something greater than technology. And that's good. But [faith] can be subverted very easily." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 597)) Winn actress Louise Fletcher agreed, "The definition of their religion was handed down by mortals to the Bajorans [....] In the hands of a ruthless leader, the will or the words of the Prophets can be perverted or twisted. The people don't have a bible. There's no written word; everything is very hi-tech." (Star Trek Monthly issue 34, p. 50)


In the hypothetical Season 8, Section 31 determined that the Bajoran religion stood in the way of Bajor's entry into the Federation and set out to destroy it.

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