So, now that we have talked about the religious system of Tespion, as well as the actual gods of Calypto, I wanted to go through my actual process of creating said religion.
Like I said, when this story was first started, religion wasn’t a main part of the story. It wasn’t developed in any which way or form other than saying that the Felidae worshipped the gods with their shifts.
When I decided to plot out my outline so that I could get my story finished, I relized that religion really was an important aspect of Tespion and these people. Because this story is not in our world, I didn’t want to go and use an example from our world. This world, even though modern like our own world, the religious system is a little more … barbaric. But it works from them.
I’ve always been a history buff, and I really loved the ancient world. So when I started coming up with Dallian, I used what I loved and went from there. One of the reasons I chose pantheism rather than monotheism is because it works better for the system. This world and the Dallian religion, at least as I imagined it, couldn’t work with a singular god or goddess.
With knowing how the structure of the gods works, I began to create the structure of the religion. I knew that I didn’t want to leave it as a “we have multiple gods” idea, I wanted the religion to be structured because when I plotted, religion became a pretty large part of the story. It needed to be as developed as any other character in the story was.
Like we discussed in the first religion post, a big aspect of the religion itself if that the practitioners get markings. The markings of these people have been an aspect of the story since the beginning, but it wasn’t a religious thing. Originally the characters that were marked were actually cut into and scarred by these markings. It wasn’t as common a thing as I was going to be making it be as a religious thing. Cutting people is not a good thing, and since I had a main character that was going through an extensive marking, I didn’t want to explain how this person could be getting these markings and survive as she was being cut up. So instead of cutting, we switched to tattooing. Not tattooing as we know it today, it is a more barbaric form and uses a dye filled needle and mallet. It’s not supposed to be an easy process. They’re given under the influence of drugs that cause the practitioners to hallucinate so they can commune with the gods.
These markings also represented the status of the practitioner. The more tattoos/markings they have, the more involved they are in the Dallian religion, or they find they’ve reached more milestones worth getting marked for. The darker and more vibrant the blue dye is, shows they were able to go to a temple that have the best supplies, usually in a city with greater riches.
So after understanding my pantheon and these markings that the practitioners get, I needed to move on from there. Where do those that practice go to worship?
With that question in mind, I thought about it. I didn’t want there really to be a “sermon” aspect of the religion. That wasn’t the point I was trying to make with this religion. I wanted it to be a “free” religion, one where the practitioners could practice as they want, when they wanted to and where they wanted to. Obviously there would be locations where the leaders of the religion did the markings, but they wouldn’t go on a weekly/daily/holiday basis.
Basically the temples where the priests and priestesses and live and practice their own devotion to the gods. They are there to talk to the practitioners that wish to come and find sanctuary or need their markings. I do hint that the high priestess give sermons, but they aren’t something that are common or necessary.
After I came up with the place, I needed to know more about the leaders themselves. I decided there would be a combination of priests and priestesses all working together to make sure everything goes smoothly. There is either a high priest or priestess that runs the whole system and is based out of the main temple in Lolia, similar to the Pope in Vatican City. In Goddess Born, it is a high priestess name Aileen. The high priestess is someone that makes decisions for the religion, someone that makes changes within the system. It is a nominated field, the current high priest or priestess is chosen and molded by the previous high priest or priestess. It is a station for life.
So how long did it take for me to come up with the religious system? Honestly a few hours of really sitting down and looking into how I wanted it to be. There are changes that happen based on what is good for the world and the story. Like the number of gods and who the gods are or represent changes periodically. But the main structure of the religion took a few hours.
This rounds up our religion discussion. Hope it was informative for you! See you next time!