The Religion of Hexborn
Yesterday we talked about the more political side of religion in my new fantasy novel, Hexborn, currently live for nominations on Kindle Scout. Today, we take a look at the more personal and spiritual side of religion in the world of Hexborn.
She fingered the bronze medal around her neck, the talisman of the Mother. She reached into her pocket to touch Brother Edmun’s prayer beads, its semi-precious stones worn smooth from his years of use. The familiar words moved on her lips as she silently repeated an old prayer.
Blessed Mother, keep me in your arms. Bid the Elder to cover me in wisdom. Bid the Father to protect me. Bid the Maiden to walk with me. Bid the Youth to cheer me. Bid the Babe to smile upon me. Most of all, dear Mother, fill me with your courage, that brings forth life into this wicked world, that I may walk in the way of the Holy Family, all of my days.
Devising an imaginary religion was one of the most enjoyable parts of writing Hexborn. I’d like to share a little with you about the beliefs and practices of my characters, and how I developed the imaginary religion that permeates their world.
I’m a big fan of ritual. I’m also a regular churchgoer and with an interest in European history. I grew up Catholic, became a Presbyterian, and married into a Hindu family. A lot of diverse influences came into play as I began to play around with defining the faith and the church that are such important parts of main character Shiloh’s life.
I decided I wanted a pantheon but one with a manageable number of gods. Rather than having them associated with natural phenomena like many ancient gods, I wanted them to cover the various aspects of the human experience. I was struck by the pagan idea about maiden, mother, and crone and built on that. That’s how I wound up with a Holy Family whose members range from old age to infancy: the Elder, the Mother, the Father, the Maiden, the Youth, and the Babe.
The church in Hexborn has a celibate priesthood consisting of both male and female wizards of middling ability. The priests not only govern the religious life of the common people, but they also help to enforce secular laws, especially in the more remote rural villages. Most people are particularly devoted to one of the Gods and are dedicated to one of them in infancy. There are scripture stories and festivals dedicated to each of the Gods.
My protagonist, Shiloh, is especially devout. She takes great comfort in the rituals and stories of her faith. They help her to carry the burdens of her painful medical condition and her ostracism. She is in favor of King Rischar’s recent religious Reforms because they eliminated the Cleanliness Laws that deemed her Unclean due to her congenital ailment. Her relationship with the Gods is strong, but her relationship with the church is complicated. I suppose that is true of many people in real life.
Have you ever been struck by the role religion plays in a fictional world? Please tell us about it in the comments. And please do head over to Kindle Scout and nominate Hexborn for publication. If it is chosen, you’ll receive a free copy! Thanks much, and happy reading.
A.M. Manay is an award-winning fantasy author in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is also a former inner-city chemistry teacher, a wife and mother in a multi-racial family, a lover of comic book movies, a Lupus warrior, a Clerk of Session, and a 9Round enthusiast. She loves to write page-turning stories with complex, diverse characters who inhabit interesting worlds.
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