In my worldbuilding post, I really could have spent thousands of words talking about religion and the process I went through in my current book, Goddess Born, but I didn’t. I instead gave a brief overview. What I am going to do over the next two posts is talk about the evolution of religion in my story. Also I want to talk about pantheons and creating your own – basically my journey of getting gods that work for my system.
I may actually do more additional posts in more detail of the evolution I followed for the different categories I talked about in that post. Hopefully it isn’t too redundant for all of you.
This first post is going to be about the evolution of religion in the Tespion world, as well as the actual religion in more detail. I think I’ll also get a little personal and talk about my own, or lack-there-of, religious beliefs and how it has affected my creation of this religion in this story.
I’ve talked about it before, but I’ll mention it again for readers who may be new and may not have read backwards in this wonderful little blog of mine. I am atheist. I was raised by a set of parents who educated me about religion but did not force it down my throat. They taught me it is a personal choice to believe what I wish to believe, but they made sure I was well aware of morals and values. They also made sure that if I showed interest in religion, they would help me learn what I needed to learn to make an informed decision.
With that, I’ve learned that I have no interest in shoving my beliefs down other people’s throats, and I hope that others won’t do it to me. I am informed in my decision, and it has been one that has been unchanged for more years than I can count. I will not discount your beliefs. I am not the atheist that really goes out of my way to “prove you wrong”. I expect the same courtesy. I don’t want to be told I’m immoral or get in long discussions of why and how I am wrong. I have friends that are Christian, I have friends that are Jewish.
But, I don’t want to make this a soapbox about my beliefs versus yours. I wanted to talk about it because I think that when it comes to religion especially, what we believe can effect what reflects in our writing.
When I first started writing Goddess Born, religion was a background. Something not very developed and only a small aspect of the story. There was mention of gods, but nothing to show the structure of religion because it really wasn’t a big thing at first. When I went through the revamping – or plotting – of the story so that I could get things more uniform and actually finish the novel, religion became a bigger player.
In the worldbuilding entry, I talked about it a little but let’s go into more depth.
The Dallian religion is a very … pagan I guess is a good word. It is full of ritual and is very pantheistic. Dallian itself is the umbrella of the religion, beneath that are different sects and strings. Similar to the Greeks and Romans, as well as a majority of the other ancient religions, the practitioners either worship the gods in general, or some even worship a specific god or goddess.
Outside of who they pray to, just like religions in our world, there are different interpretations of the rules of the gods. So we get different sects from that as well.
There are temples spread all over Tespion and these temples are run by priests and priestesses. Though I do hint at there being sermons held by the priestesses and priests, I don’t view it like your standard sermon. The priests and priestesses talk to the people about the gods and their rules, they educate.
The main task of the priests and priestesses to those that practice the Dallian religion is to perform the marking rituals for their members upon reaching a milestone in their lives. The milestones aren’t even set in stone, markings are done when the practitioner wants that reconnection to their god. The markings are done under the influence of hallucinogens that act as pain killers and provide a way for the practitioner to communicate with the God they are honoring.
In Goddess Born, religion ends up playing a big part of the story. Both of the antagonists touch on the religion of this world. First we have Calypsa, a scorned goddess seeking revenge. Then we have Brayden, a religious fanatic who believes he is a messenger of the gods out to deal out the gods’ judgment.
Brayden is a member of a sect of Dallian that believes all magic is against the rules and will of the gods. He uses his beliefs to strike out against those he believes have magic even if they don’t. Think the Inquisition.
Like other fanatics, Brayden’s group – known as the Old Ones – they strike out haphazardly and have no real way to understand the magic of the world. These fanatics cause a big rift during the story and Brayden is one of the major forces that Lynn is fighting in Goddess Born.
Magic – as an aspect of religion – is handled two-fold. Though magic is really only known to those that have magic, the priests and priestesses don’t talk against it. It is actually hinted at through the story that the priests and priestesses of the main temples actually have magic themselves. Or at least understand that there is magic out there. But since one of the main rules of the gods is that magic not be verified to those that are not initiated into that world.
I’ll go over magic later, though, I just wanted to say that even though magic is not largely discussed it is still definitely mixed in with the religion of Tespion.
I think that kind of gives you the overview of religion of Tespion, so I think we’ll stop this discussion here.