Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Religion -- The Iversdotter Revelation

Welcome back, and welcome to the next religion on our list, the Iversdotter Revelation. The Iversdotters are the City of Lives' resident "Proud Warrior Race," and were, early in my thinking, going to be mostly worshipers of the Light. Then I thought about it, and something struck me as wrong -- this is a race of clones, essentially, and descendants of a woman so enamored of her own form that she made a whole race of herself. Logically, a form of very specific ancestor worship would arise in the Iversdotter community -- honoring the original Iver as a deity, or at least intercessory to the divine. In fact, perhaps that's it -- the Iversdotter Revelation/Iversdotter Heresy is to the Church of the Blinding Light as Christianity is to Judaism: they worship the same God, but see a particular individual as the only true path to that God. There you go, gentle readers -- a genuine idea formed and radical shift in how I look at the Iversdotter religion, that came to me as I wrote those words. Can't get much more into a writer's head, can you?

But I digress. With our new revelation in mind, let's ARTT this out.

Archetype: The model here is the pseudo-religious "warrior's code" seen in countless fantasy and sci-fi worlds -- Star Trek's Klingons, Stargate SG-1's Jaffa, The Lord of the Rings' Rohirrim. Whatever else the Iversdotter Revelation may be, it is the set of guiding principles behind the most disciplined, organized, and warlike people in the City. There will be moral principles governing duels, and how to handle prisoners-of-war, and the duties of a soldier to her commander. Many "warrior's codes" (such as the Klingons) seem to emphasize the individual, but the Iversdotters are all about the clan: others before yourself, acting for the good of the gang, etc. Even -- or perhaps especially -- the leaders, must keep in mind the good of the whole.

Real-Life Inspiration: Well, this is pretty easy. The Iversdotters are very, very Scandinavian (with shades of Sparta and inner-city LA), so their religion should take a page from the old Norse faiths and their modern descendants, heathenism and Asatru. The Norse had a zest for life, even as they struggled through the long, hard winters, and their faith valued both working hard and playing hard. The Norse gods were/are big on sacrifice -- animal and symbolic -- the most glorious death is to die in battle. What would be the most important thing to sacrifice for Iver? Logically, her own flesh -- and the Iversdotters have plenty of that. Ritual scarification will be common in the Iversdotter Revelation, perhaps even grievous wounding (to then be healed by their talented Bloodshifters) -- perhaps Iver herself will take away the souls of those fallen in battle to a Valhalla-like afterlife filled with fighting and boozing. Full human sacrifice isn't something I see them doing -- it fits with the idea of community above individual, but killing one of the Iversdotter flesh would be a waste and killing another bloodline would be unappreciated.

Theme: One of the major themes of the Iversdotter bloodline is community, working together. Another is the perfection of their form -- so a religion supporting those thoughts would have a theme like "Perfection working together builds a perfect community." Supporting that theme, the Iversdotter Revelation holds religious precepts like "hold tight to your family, and hold them above yourself."

Twist: Well, let's see. How are we going to twist this? A warrior's code, Norse influence -- well, the biggest twist I see is a simple factor of life in the City... it's in the City. Iversdotters are, by-and-large, a street gang, and have been since the beginning. It makes sense that their religion would address those issues. There will be no rules about farming or what foods to safely eat, instead laying down how to ethically rule, how to conduct criminal transactions without violating the Iversdotters' ethical laws, how much expansion is necessary to please Iver. And, as a side note -- the "normal" taboos against homosexuality and incest won't exist in Iversdotter society, given that they are all genetically identical women. In fact, perhaps breeding "conventionally" with a male outside the Iversdotters would be frowned upon, if not actually forbidden. Interesting...

Next time, we'll explore the strange synthesis of science and religion that is Practical Theosophy.