Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Re: Which Religions believe in an Afterlife?

Subject: Re: [GREYTALK] Which Religions believe in an Afterlife?
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 1999 02:08:25 EST
From: "Rip Van Wormer"
Reply-To: The GREYtalk Discussion List

They all believe in an afterlife.
Here's why:

1. Market pressures. If Trithereon isn't offering some kind of reward, everyone but the most determinately vengeful will go over to Cuthbert.

2. That's the way it is. There is an afterlife. From undead spirits to speak with dead spells, many people know that there's a form of life after death. Denying this fact would be like denying the sky or digestion: it can be done, but who's going to buy it? (See the Shaman accessory for an example of an alternate theory).

Specific afterworlds:

Beory -- The Oerthmother's Womb. Souls return to the oerth to be reborn. Watcher better elaborated on this. However, I decided that the Flan, following the Akan people of Ghana in our world, see the soul as containing several parts: Mother-blood. This is the life-blood of all existence, inherited through the maternal line. This is the force that sustains all that is, the very blood of Beory. When a mortal dies, it flows on.
Soul: A spark of Beory's lifeforce. This is reincarnated. Near the Crystalmists, Joramy takes the place of Beory as mother of the soul.
Personality-soul: This goes to the realm of the appropriate god. It is inherited from the father and is corruptable and thus can be judged. Normally Allitur, god of propriety, is judge of the dead. The Flan constantly worry about this part of the soul escaping and terrorizing the living. Sometimes it does.

Boccob -- a number of options:

A. From magic we come, to magic we return.
B. Petitioners in the eternal Library of Lore, tending to the Books that represent the universe and all its secrets. This seems to be the official, "On Hallowed Ground," explanation.
C. Return to the world of pure Form. See the writings of Plato. Also: souls could take the form of runes and sigils written in the fabric of the cosmos.
D. Paradox. Some sort of zen koan thing. "A soul is the shout that cannot be heard."
E. A complex, incomprehensible metaphor, like "Souls are the fires in the river of Mind. They travel down the Flow of Reality in successive, eternally collapsing fiery Waves."
F. There is no F. It would be a strictly rationalistic view of Nature like in that wizard country in Runequest's Glorantha, but Boccob's a true neutral god, as comfortable with Chaos as with Order and Mystery as with Revelation. Rather than being a unicorn-hating, god-demonizing power, Boccob encompasses all things in moderation.

Incabulos: How in Hades could Incabulites not believe in an afterlife!? He's the god of hags and hordlings: his souls obviously become larvae. Granted, this isn't a very appealing destination, so they are probably promised some exhalted position in the court of Nightmare. Since wishes are nightmares for beggers to ride, the important ones probably do ultimately become impressive- looking hordlings, the chattel becoming food for Incabulos' handmaidens and steeds.
Servants of Incabulos would also become disease-bearing undead, like mummies.

Istus: I don't know. Istus' loom isn't an outer plane; it's more of a cosmic control center. Probably her people would end up on the plane appropriate to their alignment (often the Friendly Opposition), just as the Celestial Bureaucracy handles their petitioners.

Kord: Yes, a Valhalla.

Lendor: The souls of the Suel traditionally end up on the Outer Planes, there to climb as high as their wills allow them. Potentially, they can become gods. Wee Jas in her aspect of Protector of the Dead is actually responsible for the afterlife, and all rituals concern her. Tombs contain detailed instructions and spells for helping a soul survive and flourish on the other shore.
Lendor, as god of time, may control lifespans.

Nerull: The underworld, or Crypt of Souls. Nerull uses the souls of his victims as fuel for his own wicked plans. Favored worshippers generally become undead, so that they can continue to Reap for their master.

Pelor: A sunny heaven, filled with bountiful fields. Sun worshippers are agriculturists, don't forget.

Procan: They become fish in the sea of the afterworld. Ideally, they become merfolk, who may be mistaken for spirits of the departed. Insofar as I (following Samwise) interpret him as a god of chaos, Procanite souls might not have much individual consciousness.

Rao: Rao can be thought of as the Mind or intellectual part of the being of Beory (or Joramy). He represents, in regions where he is worshipped, the intellectual, individual portion of the soul that travels to the outer planes, the child of Wisdom. Practically, Rao's worshippers would become Lantern Archons in his realm. Symbolically, they become one with Sweet Reason.

Tharizdun: Okay, here's a cult that would expect oblivion. It might be a selling point.

Ulaa: She isn't a power of the Prime Material, so instead of becoming one with the heart of the hill or mountain on which they live, Ulaa's faithful ("Ulaa's Gold") would join the heart of the Celestial Mountain (The Iron Hills/Dwarvish Mountain/Erackinor) which represents them all. Dwarves and gnomes might have theologies very different from humans, believing themselves to be sparks on the anvil of life, or molten metal waiting to be reforged.

Gnomic theology:
The Prime Plane-- created by the goddess Ulaa and her lesser sisters Beory and Beltar.
The Shadow Plane-- the source of gnomish magic
The Shadow Heaven-- a probationary heaven where all the delights that will await gnomish souls in the hereafter are witnessed in illusionary form.
The Jeweled Heaven-- the heaven of Garl; made of a cosmic faceted gemstone, constantly reflecting what the gnomes who have earned this reward desire most, in real form.
The Shadow Abyss: opposite the Shadow Heaven. Within this place of dark caverns images of dark horrors creep until the soul has earned its way free.
Gnome Hell: the real thing. Dark horrors creep and overwhelm the hapless gnomic souls, and Urdlen himself is said to crawl about, rendering all he comes across.
Koboldhomme: the destination of all kobold spirits. Garl was trapped here for a while before he made his way out through wit and skill. There is also a humanhomme, dwarfhomme, elfhomme, goblinhomme, etc., but none of these figure largely in gnomic mythology.

Wee Jas: The default guardian of the dead for all the Suel gods (except Fortubo, and the chaotic gods), those without the intellect, the magic, or the will might expect to be imprisoned by her. She hoards all the dead's knowledge. She also guards against the terrors Beyond her realm, the demons and elder things. Those who follow her hard-won path into the underworld with respect and skill can expect to prosper. Most feel that they're better off with Wee Jas' help then attempting to navigate the trackless reaches of Beyond without a guide.

Zilchus: He would have a minor role as protector of gravewealth. Devout Zilchians might expect to continue searching for power, influence, and prestige in the afterlife as in the world of flesh, possibly through some sorts of otherworldly business transactions.

Cyndor: Depends entirely on other cultural influence. Individual Cyndorians might look to Wee Jas, Allitur, Chitza-Atlan, or Celestian to guide them into Infinity. Cyndor, like Istus, is beyond such things.

Allitur: Judge of the dead. Oerthly judges might expect to continue in that role in the afterworld as subordinates to their god.

Velnius, Altroa, Sotillion, Telchur, Wenta,: My soul is wind
The first Word, the first breath of existence flows through me.
It will flow on.

>From this principle follows all of primal Oeridian religion. The dead are cremated or fed to the carrion birds. The wind carries them into the heavens, where they become proud sky warriors, wind dukes, and starchiefs, or birds. In modern times Oeridian religion is very contaminated by other faiths. Today, only isolated druids and barbarians follow the old ways. Most expect to go to the divine palace of their god, in the stars.

Beltar: A Pit of Malice, where the dead writhe as snakes. Beltarai can expect no succor from Wee Jas, and don't desire it. They're told they have the opportunity to devour the souls of their dead enemies.

Berei: A handmaiden of Beory. Berei has nothing to do with the afterlife.

Bleredd: See Ulaa, above. Bleredd probably isn't worshipped much by demihumans, though he is honored and helps them sympathize with humans because of his symbolic marriage to the Goddess.

Bralm: Her followers believe it is she who brings new souls to the Oerth from where they are generated in the realm of the moons. Bralm's realm is very near Wee Jas' in the outer planes, and also somewhat near Baalzebul's.
Bralmai death rites are a variation of Wee Jas' from a more communal perspective. Bralmai serve in the Hive for the rest of eternity. The normal Suel selfishness doesn't exist here, so Bralm's faithful don't expect great personal power.

Celestian: As god of the Astral Plane, wanderers, and navigators, Celestian guides souls across the gulf to their destinations. Rites to Celestian are common at funerals. His faithful are transformed into Astral guides like their god, and are sometimes prayed to as minor saints overseeing specific Oerthly destinations.

Delleb: Worshippers of Delleb have an almost Flan conception of the afterlife, due to the influence of the cult of Allitur. Souls are of two parts: the universal life stuff seen as Beory's blood (chu'el) and the individual portion (sunsum) capable of sin.
As with all those of all Oeridian-influenced faiths, the individual souls are guided to the Outer Planes by Celestian, the star-guide.

Ehlonna: Heavily influenced by the Elven concept of Arvanaith, the far shore.
Ehlonna's faithful become heavenly animals, or trackers and wardens there.

Erythnul: Primarily influenced by the mythology of CE humanoids. Erythnul's people believe they go to a good place where they can fight as much as they want. Actually, many places.

Fharlanghn: The souls of Fharlanghn's faithful are given into the capable hands of his brother Celestian. Fharlanghn's guardianship begins and ends on Oerth.

Fortubo: Heavily influenced by dwarf/gnome theology.

Geshtai: See Istus. Geshtai's guardianship ends on Oerth. Note that Geshtai's faithful see Fate in a more fluid, watery sense, allowing both more freedom on the journey and more inevitability at the destination.

Heironeous: Warriors of Heaven.

Hextor: Warriors of Hell.

Jascar: See Wee Jas. The afterlife is a hilly and mountainous place.

Joramy: Source of the Flame of Spirit, mercurial power of the mountain's maw. She replaces Beory in some areas.

Kurell: Kuellians are on their own, expected to take what they can. They are aware that they can expect help from any of the other jealous powers. This is what being a thief is about.

Lirr: The Land of Stories, where every tale spoken, sang, portrayed or written exists. Welcome to heaven.

Llerg: A wild version of Kord's Valhalla.

Lydia: Lydia's faithful make their way, with Wee Jas' help, to a land of song and truth.

Myhriss: The Realm of Perfect Beauty.

Norebo: Despite their god's "relationship," his faithful can expect no help from Wee Jas. Instead, they make their way through the afterlife with their own luck and wits. Ultimately, they hope to gain as much power there as anyone could hope for.

Obad-hai: See Beory. The individual parts of Obad-haic souls become otherworldly beasts and spirits.

Olidammara: This might be something like the Eleusian mysteries of rebirth, where
secret ceremonies and orgies are undertaken, libations of sacred wine are ingested, and everyone experiences the Infinite and the journey into the underworld and back again.

Osprem: See Wee Jas. The afterworld is a watery place, but intrepid souls travel it in boats.

Phaulkon: See Wee Jas. The afterworld is seen as an airy place, and souls are
imagined as winged.

Pholtus: The faith of the Pale is surprisingly influenced by Flannae mythology. Instead of Oerthblood, the original force that sustains all of existence is the Blinding Light, the sacred flame. The Eternal soul is a fragment of this sacred all-pervading Light. The Temptation soul must be purged by this Light, and the way to the Light is the way of Pholtus. All who are not purged by the Light are corrupted manifestations of Chaos. It was Pholtus, the One Faithful Power, who tamed the Wild Powers, defeated Chaos, and brought Order. If one wishes to benefit from his gifts, one must follow the perfectly straight path he created to the Light. The windy nature of the Temptation soul is the only vestige of Oeridian myth.
Pholtusian churches unaffiliated with the Pale preach the conventional dogma involving Celestian and the houses in the stars, although they retain the concept of the Light and the One Way.
Pholtusian saints include the Tamed Powers and especially holy worshippers (devas, solars, etc.)

Phyton: Phyton's worshippers look to Wee Jas, though Wee Jas doesn't look to them. The afterlife is a beautiful place.

Pyremius: See Wee Jas. The afterlife is a fiery, poisonous place which one must prosper through stealth and villainy.

Raxivort: Raxivort's worshippers are terrified of Graz'zt, and most funeral rites involve trying to hide the soul from this vengeful deity, in the holes and crannies of the afterworld. Also: they hope to gather hoards in their spectral nests.

Syrul: See Wee Jas. The afterlife is an uncertain place, where nothing is real.

Vatun: A Valhalla, currently unoccupied.

Xan Yae: See Istus. Fate is a stealthy thing that tends to sneak up on you
out of the shadows. Fate rewards discipline.

Xerbo: See Osprem, but slightly wilder.

Zodal: See Beory. Zodal's realm in the Outer Planes is called the Cradle of Hope, but only great heroes go there. Most expect to be fully reincarnated.

Al'Akbar: See Istus. Fate rewards faithfullness.

Iuz: Shades in Dorokaa and the Abyss, or undead minions. People worship Iuz because they admire him, because he offers an alternative to poverty, or in gratitude for making their pathetic little bandit kingdom an empire. Yes, he's evil.

Mayaheine: See Pelor.

Rudd: See Celestian, Procan, and Istus. Rudd is a quicksilver child of Chaos; considered to be Zilchus' bride by which Chaos' treaty with humanity is assured. Rudd acts as a bridge between the human soul and Chaos Outside, the vast unpredictabilitly of existence she helps make manageable to the tender human ego. For that, she is loved.

They say she serves Istus, holding up her own uncertain side of Destiny on behalf of the greater goddess. Others say she serves nothing but the pact. Still others believe that Istus is the pact. Rudd's realm in the godplanes is a permenant spiralling gate to the Outlands; it is often used as a navigational tool for those seeking to travel through the ever-changing substance of Liimbo.

Vecna: See Nerull, but Vecna's cultists hope to escape Nerull's grasp with the dark secret's Vecna promises.

Wastri: Souls are flies, which are caught by Wastri's long tongue.

Ye'Cind: As an elven faith, Ye'Cind's faithful expect to travel physically to the High Forest of Arvanaith.

Zagyg: See Boccob, but add something silly like the Great Sneeze and the Match in the Cosmic Little Toe.

Zuoken: See Istus. Fate rewards discipline.

Murlynd: Heaven is a wild place, with horseback riding buckaroos and wild injuns. The faithful help Murlynd work on his devices.

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