Why include fantasy religion?

It's easier to explore the intricacies of faith and religious behavior when one isn't using real-life belief systems.

Okay, you’re probably wondering how this random image connects with the title and theme. Let me show you a few more pictures, and then I’ll explain.

I love these images from one of my son’s LEGO builds, because it is a representation of our family, capturing one of his favorite vacation spots in spirit, but not in accurate detail. I don’t normally stand on the beach in a renaissance fair style dress grilling hot dogs on a stick, nor does my bald husband have a disturbing bump on his head. My daughter doesn’t actually climb trees to chat with her friends on her cell phone, not does my son eat his dinner while half buried in the sand. However, the adorable details like the magically non-melting ice cream, sand castles, swim gear, fireworks, and family time capture the atmosphere of spending a week at the lake.

Here’s a more recent LEGO representation of our family by my younger son, in the interest of fair representation. He’s not quite done with it, but I stole a few cell phone pics while he was getting ready this morning.

As you can see, the image quality on the cell phone isn’t up to my usual standard, but they will do for now. This one included a lot more accurate details (the masks and Amazon boxes are some of my favorites!), but there are still a lot of approximations and outright changes to reality.

Okay, so you’re probably getting the connection. When we look at a LEGO build, we don’t expect a perfect representation of reality. It’s an adorable attempt to capture the essence without getting the details correct. And in a LEGO build, a child can do things that aren’t realistic.

The same holds true for fantasy fiction. If I attempted to demonstrate religions of the world we live in, they wouldn’t make sense. A pagan priestess who has made vows of chastity until bonding can be seen as the equivalent of one of us committing to abstinence until marriage due to religious beliefs. That same priestess, while worshipping or praying to her god, can be seen as an approximation, a made up version, of what we see and understand here.

In writing prayers to Poseidon, I am not advocating worshipping Poseidon here in our world. That would be nonsense. Try not to be confused by unfamiliar religion, remembering that just as our world isn’t submerged in water, we aren’t ruled by Poseidon.

In the interest of introducing this religion as you make a decision to follow my work, or not, here is an exerpt from chapter one demonstrating our protagonist, Stella, having her morning prayers after a night of making a some poor choices and over imbibing on Icturian rumbeer.

The next cycle, Stella woke with a pounding headache.  Vague memories of returning to her quarters with someone’s assistance led Stella to complete a quick survey of the room to make sure she was alone and uncompromised.  Once satisfied that she had not participated in any forbidden activity, Stella slid to her knees beside her bed, opening the door to her altar hidden beneath the cot.  She placed her hands on the trident and began to cry. 

            “Guardians of Atlantia, please forgive your child for her transgressions.  I made foolish decisions last cycle and may have done great harm to our future.  I allowed myself to lose control and have lost memories of what I may have said.  I beseech you for protection against the potential consequences of my indiscretion.  Please cleanse my soul of the darkness I have allowed entrance and help me walk today in your path.  May my Atlantian blood stay pure and untainted.”  As she spoke, she rose from her position kneeling on the floor and stretched her arms overhead.  “May Poseidon bless this cycle and grant his people good fortune.”  She passed the trident across her chest in a ritual gesture. 

Kneeling again, she reached into the altar cupboard, behind the velvet platform, and pulled out a small, beaded clip.  She tapped it twice with the trident and slid it into her hair behind her left ear.  “May your presence rest in your Priestess’s soul this cycle, transferred through this holy relic.”  Then she placed the trident back on its velvet base and closed the altar door. 

She rose to her feet and began her day as if the previous evening hadn’t happened. The clip behind her ear, however, reminded her that her restitution was not complete. She spent the day in a combination of prayer, fasting, and detective work to verify that both the captain and the commander reported no recollections of the content of conversations had last cycle.