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Re: OT: Corpses, etc. (was: Re: Gender in conlangs (was: Re: Umlauts (was Re: Elves and Ill Bethisad)))

From:Costentin Cornomorus <elemtilas@...>
Date:Thursday, November 6, 2003, 2:02
--- Isidora Zamora <isidora@...> wrote:
> >Daine do go to the ossuaries (or other grave > >sites), in spite of their belief that the > >departed soul has move on. It's like with us: > >many of us believe in some kind of migration > of > >the soul, whether it be into a heaven or into > >another life; yet we still visit and even > bother > >with cemeteries. There is a psychological > >attachment or connection with the dead that > the > >living can't easily shake. > > In the case of Christians, it is more than just > a psychological attatchment > that causes us to bother with cemetaries.
Of course. Some anyway believe that souls go to a purgatory and must be prayed for. And as you say, Christians believe in bodily ressurection and need a U-Stor-It sort of place until such time as all those bodies become needed once again.
> But you are right that even people who do not > have the reasons that I do > for having cemetaries have a psycological > attatchment that causes them to > care about graves. > > > So, even if the spirit > >her dear departed grandmother is currently > >abiding in the body of her young son, a Daine > >woman might still mourn and wish to > commemorate > >the bond she shared with the older woman. > > So do the Daine believe in some form of > reincarnation?
Yes. As I say, it's not quite as simple as being born into another body on this Earth. Totally apart from being born into one of the other inhabitable worlds (which they don't know about anyway); they believe that there are Other places, kind of like our world, but different and apart. One could end up there. One could also end up a disembodied spirit wandering around the world, or even between worlds for a time. The latter two are not seen as bad; I guess it might be something of a vacation. I'm not certain how a spirit chooses (or if it chooses) which way to go upon the body's death. I guess that's something that a spirit must figure out at that time. Or perhaps it's living in a body that clouds the spirit's perception, and dying is like stepping out of a sensory deprivation tank back into the World of the Living; maybe we simply bury all our spirit's knowledge and experience when we're born into this life. The Sianadaine commemorate this cycle by doing rituals in ceremonial wombs. A person enters a dark cave, then travels through a very narrow tunnel at last arriving in a womb chamber. A further narrow tunnel leads to the birth chamber and thence outside again.
> >A useful distinction for the Cw. While Daine > >don't fear remains, neither do they see it as > >defilement to make a flute out of a relative's > >arm. ;) > > The only people in any of my concultures who > would ever do anything like > *that* would be the Trehelish Death priests, > and they wouldn't do it to > their relatives. They would burn their > relatives, because it is much more > comfortable for a dead person's spirit to > wander in the "dark land under a > starless sky" where the dead properly belong > than to remain stranded in this world.
Yeah. That would put a kink in yer afterlife.
> (And that is saying something, > because the "dark land" is not > a particularly nice place. I think it's sort > of like being stuck nowhere forever.)
> The Trehelish punish criminals by > first executing them and then > burying them so that their spirits are stranded > in this world.
Hm. Wouldn't that be sort of liberating? I mean, is it better to be stuck here, where at least you can torment the living, or be stuck nowhere forever? Daine would be horrified at the depression of these beliefs!
> (And this is not incompatible with my other > post where I said that the spirits of the > dead are dangerous to the living, because the > priests can perform special > "bounding" rituals which will keep the ghosts > within the bounds set on the > graveyard.)
Ah. But they can wander the graveyard, yes?
> The priest of the Trehelish Death cult do make > musical instruments out of > the bones of their sacrificial victims - and I > am not talking about the > animal ones. <grim smile> Yes, they do *that*.
> (You know, I started out > with the Trehelish being my first conculture. > They were the only one for a > long time, and this about Death being their > most powerful diety is > something that I only came up with a few months > ago. It really changes how > I view them - they're really not as nice as > they used to be -,
I think it must be true that as we explore our cultures deeper, they become less nice. It just means they're taking a more real dimension. Just like when you get serious with someone, you start finding out that they burp or scratch at inopportune moments and are not the perfect ideal you placed on a pedestal at first!
> but it also explains some things about their > culture that I've known about for a long > time, such as the general level of brutality by > our standards - and by > Cwendaso standards.) Anyhow, yes, they do > *that*, but nowadays they are > generally confined it to doing it only twice a > year in each temple, and > they are no longer allowed to select victims by > lottery.
> Victims can now > be obtained only from the Trehelish government > from the ranks of condemned > criminals; anything else is strictly illegal. > Four hundred years ago, they > were performing such sacrifices *much* more > often, and the victims were > never criminals. And even though Death is the > most powereful deity in > their pantheon, he is not the most worshipped > one today. These days, his > worship has been falling out of favor, and > there is a small minority of > Trehels who absolutely refuse to worship him.
Hm. Never thou worry! He will have his own in the End! ;)
> And, Padraic, you have yourself to thank/blame > that my Trehelish Death cult > makes musical instruments from human bones.
> For the Tovláug/Cwendaso, nearly anything would > constitute defilement of a > body: you can't let the birds and beasts get at > it; you can't burn it; and > for the last four hundred years you can't even > undress it to put new clothes on; you get the >
idea. Yeah. Weird! ;))) All of those are things a Daine would / could do to a dead body as a matter of course!
> They are very conservative in that > department. And Tovlm instructs that the > bodies of enemies are not to be > allowed to be defiled. So...let the Cwendaso > get into a minor war with the > Trehelish...when the Cwendaso win a battle, > they are *required* not to > allow the bodies of their fallen enemies to > become defiled. (They are > allowed to despoil the bodies as long as they > don't strip them.) So they > stand guard over them, waiting for a party of > Trehelish soldiers to come > and claim the bodies and give them > funerals...but the Trehelish don't know > that they're expected to do that or that they > would be allowed to. So when > the Cwendaso can't stand the smell any longer, > they bury the bodies. To > them, this prevents them from becoming defiled, > since the birds and beasts > can't get at them underground.
But what about worms and bugs and similar? Not to mention a whole host of burrowing critters that would consider such an all you can eat bonanza?
> But we know how the Trehelish feel about > burying bodies (or you do if you've read my > other post on this thread > today), and they became quite offended...Nasty > mess.
Yep. Daine warfare (inter se) is a highly ritualised affair, and there are practically no deaths. [Injuries, sure, but not much actual death.] Any warriors that die in a battle would be taken by their relatives or fellows to be prepared. War with Men is another matter, as they never quite got the message. That is a bloody affair and results in many deaths on all sides.
> Anyhow, there is a sister people to the > Cwendaso, and they probably still > worship their ancestors. Who knows, they might > be like your Daine as far > as making musical instruments out of human > bone. I know very little about > them, other than that they have probably still > not come out of the Sone Age.
Oh? You'll have to work on them!...
> My conworld does have other peoples, such as > the Telekesto, who are related > to the Trehelish, but I don't know much about > them at all, except that > Telekest is a kingdom, not a representative > democracy.
Apart from the peoples living fairly close to the Great Road, I know little about the World's peoples.
> Another little thing that I am now wondering > about is how Trehelish medical > science managed to reach the ralatively > advanced level that it has if they > can't study human anatomy by disecting corpses.
Oo, medicine. Don't get me started there! I can't think of any Daine that really practice "medicine" as we would understand it. Most of their healers' time would be taken by wound and poison treatment - healing what's broken (as they don't succumb to microbes and are v. resistant to DNA drift, though can be poisoned). Now, the Men about dó practice Medicine as we know it, and are extremely fond of dissections and especially vivisections. [Of course, the Christian religion prohibits abusing Persons in this way, but in general do not consider Daine to be persons. But that's another matter!] Medical science has long understood what we think of as totally basic physiological and anatomical concepts. They've long understood that blood travels through veins and is moved by the heart (they divvy up the circulatory system a little differently, because they don't understand that the blood is oxygenated, so don't understand our concept of artery/vein); they know that the lungs take in air and that stopping them up will cause death (but don't understand why); they are aware of the function of nerves; they are aware of the extent and function of the gut, the kidneys and the female reproductive system. Mind you, what they know best is the _Daine_ organ systems and responses! But some comparissons have been made by slicing into human criminals. Most Daine's internals are similar enough. This line of inquiry has led to a very advanced surgical practice, considering the low technology level. They don't know about microbes (I don't think anyone's ever thought of reversing the _telespeculon_ into a _parviopticon_), but do know that hand washing is dreadfully important. They have some rudimentary understanding of anaesthesia, presurgical preparation, postoperative recovery, sterile technique and the dreadful importance of haemostasis. They're not afraid of going after bowel obstructions, hernias, cataracts, and all the lump-n-bumps of minor surgery. They're pretty handy in the orthopaedics department as well, and have experimented some with fixing complex fractures with strips of metal; they even go into the brain and eyes with little fear (though a _parviopticon_ would be very handy for the latter!). On the other hand, internal medicince still largely relies on a doctor pulling the handiest bottle of green goo off the shelf, informing the patient that This Will Work, and charging half a crown for the service. Probably the most disgusting thing human doctors do is capture a hapless Daine, yank some of his teeth out and sell them to poorly dentated human customers. [A Daine will eventually regrow the teeth.] This is one of the first actual "operations" a young surgeon will do. Now, the Daine practice a kind of transplant process, but it is almost entirely magical in nature. Often it involves parts from an animal.
> There may be things that > can be done to a corpse by the priests that > will render it temporarily safe > to handle. On the other hand, the Trehelish > may have the Nidirino, a > people whom they subjugated and who are now > partially integrated into > Trehelish society and culture, to thank for > medical advances.
Some of those would be...?
> >"safe". But then, how do they know if a bone > >they've picked up is nòt human? [Most times > it's > >obvious, but there are some that are more > >difficult to tell...] > > And if they're not sure, believe me, they will > toss it into a fire, pronto.
> > > This is all interesting information. It's > > > always interesting when the two > > > of us end up talking about Daine and > > > Cwendaso/Tovláugad. > > > >Well, there seems to be some common ground; > >though there are clear enough differences! > > I started taking a look at your Daine pages. > There are some similarities, > but plenty of differences. > > I'll have to redo portions of the Cwendaso > religion webpage, because I now > know more than I did when I wrote it, and I > have also realized that there > may be a better way of organizing the first > portion of that page to give a > better general feeling for their religion. > They are not atheists in the > least, but they have been accused of it. They > neither build temples nor > offer sacrifices, and that makes them > incomprehensible to everyone else.
The Daine are almost always accused of either atheism or polytheism (the latter being no horrible charge, as even the Oriental Christians are, by in large, polytheistic). But when I think about it, they are pretty much atheistic in that they don't have "Gods". They do have saints, monks, and a sort of numinous idea of something like Karma or the Force. They call it Teç. And of course, they understand that this force inhabits and imbues all of creation; they just don't personalise or anthropomorphise it. They do often construct sacred places - but of course, there are no Gods to worship there! Some have been known to sacrifice (always another Daine, never an animal), though I'm not entirely certain what for. Padraic. ===== To him that seeks, if he knock, the door will be opened; if he seeks, he shall find his way; if he searches for a way, he shall find his path. For though the Way is narrow, it's wisdom is written in the hearts of all: if ye would seek and find Rest, look first within! [The Petricon] -- Ill Bethisad -- <> Come visit The World! -- <> .


Isidora Zamora <isidora@...>
Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>
Isidora Zamora <isidora@...>