The divine (aka divine magic) are forms of magic on faith in gods or spirits. Most of the divine beings of Azeroth (known as Eternals) are distant entities. They exist to assist those caught in the conflicts of a cruel, violent world. Never directly intervening in the affairs of the world, they use divine magic as a proxy. With their many healing and protective spells, practitioners of divine magic are at the vanguard of the gods' efforts to ensure their peoples' survival.
Divine magic is not wholly the province of the gods; it draws on a wide variety of sources depending on the faith of the practitioner. Priests whisper prayers to evoke power from beings such as Elune. Healers bask in the good will provided by the religion of the Holy Light. Under the awesome sky, shamans call upon the natural order to empower their spells and heighten their understanding of the world. Witch doctors summon ancestral spirits and tribal protectors. Shadow hunters invoke the names of dark gods, ancient powers whose legends are stained in cruelty and bloodshed, but who are also capable of benevolence when appeased. Druids of the wild bond with plants and animals and draw on the magic power inherent in the natural world.
Though the sources of divine power are varied, its use has one constant: faith. Effectively wielding divine power requires tremendous conviction; the dedication required to achieve such perfect faith is a lifelong pursuit. Unlike arcane spellcasters who believe that power exists to be taken, divine spellcasters must constantly affirm that they are worthy of their gifts. They must be certain that they are properly honoring their gods, philosophies, ancestors or convictions. Perfect faith requires intense training and constant testing, which continues throughout the practitioner's lifetime. Of the many tests that a practitioner must face, two of the most common are ordeals and trials of faith.
When a divine spellcaster needs to test his convictions, he arranges to face a special personal challenge in which he affirms his faith by enduring torment.
The specific challenge depends on the practitioner's background. A druid of the wild or a shaman might journey into the wilderness and survive storms of preternatural intensity without magical aid. A healer might lock himself in an enclosed area with plague victims and share their meat and water. A shadow hunter might venture onto grounds consecrated to the Old Gods and spill his own blood to entice the forces of primeval cruelty to come and visit their worst afflictions upon him.
A member of the priest class has particularly bizarre ordeals. Submission to public stoning or burning is common, but the most noteworthy - and sadistic - ordeal is the ritual of shaming. In this rite, which is held in the priest's home community among family and friends, the priest is locked in shackles and stocks and subjected to a full day of mockery and physical torture. By enduring the cruelest human impulses, the priest demonstrates the unwavering power of his faith, and (by continuing to serve the community after enduring its torture) the virtue of forgiveness. Thereafter, the priest symbolically bears the burden of the people's transgressions. Wounds inflicted during this ordeal - and it's almost certain there will be wounds - must heal naturally. The scars inflicted during this trial will be left untouched as a reminder of the sustaining power of faith.
A practitioner doesn't endure an ordeal for rewards, but to affirm his faith. However, the renewed confidence in his ability to serve as his faith's champion does impart one tangible benefit, known as the benefit of grace: after surviving an ordeal, the ability to be saved from attacks. This benefit may seem like an insultingly small reward for enduring such great pain, the benefit of grace has been know to save the practitioners lives.
Ordeals are initiated by a practitioner of the divine when he feels he needs to demonstrate his faith. They are rare events - most reasonable people think that an adventurer's career holds more than enough ordeals to demonstrate faith - and those who submit to them more than a few times in a decade (and more than once per year) are considered showy and gauche (and may no longer receive the benefit of grace).
Tests of Faith
The people of Azeroth believe that faith is one of the noblest qualities that a person can possess, but anyone who puts their faith into practice is required to prove it. Periodically, a situation may occur in which a practitioner of divine magic must choose between their own personal safety (and their friends' and comrades') and the principles of her religion. A healer might be forced to choose between healing someone who's threatened to kill them or leaving the villain to die. A druid of the wild may be asked to protect a seemingly insignificant grove of trees - and take up arms against their friends who have been driven from their homes and are trying to fell the grove to build a new town. A human priest may be compelled to offer hospitality to the first visitor who asks, only to discover that their visitors are wild orcs, whose revels tear their home apart even as they're obliged to serve their every whim.
The practitioner will not be aware that they are being tested until after the test is completed. The test can be illusory (an illusion sent by the divine) or real, although the more dangerous tests are likely to be illusory. If the divine spellcaster fails the test, they receive a penalty to their casting for the next month and will be forced to acknowledge publicly their failure and make penance before others of the faith. They may also receive a stigma scar to mark the test's failure, the need to perform an atonement quest, or exclusion from the faith's most sacred rituals and benefits). A test of faith is a major event in a divine spellcaster's life.