Week 20 | Tell us about… religion in your book

Part of the Acres of Ink 52 Week Writing Challenge >>

Week 20

There is no One True Religion in The Elder Throne. In fact, the opposite is true. The Fae, as a race, accept all religions as equally viable because, as Myrtle Yarrow (Madam of the Binding Circle) explains, “they are all just different ways of seeing the world.”

Of course, individual faeries don’t believe all religions at once, so there is some separation. Typically, the faeries of the Seelie Court – being largely from the British Isles – worship two main deities: the Dagda and the Morrigan.

The Dagda is an old Celtic god, known as “The Good God” and is associated with fertility, agriculture, manliness and strength, as well as magic, druidry and wisdom. Those who follow the Dagda are called Dagdites and they are typically faeries belonging to the Grower Circle, the Knowledge Circle and the Law Circle, although some Seelie Warriors pay homage to him too.

The Morrigan, who is a triple goddess, comprising of Badb, Macha and the Phantom Queen, is both more complicated and slightly more controversial. The faeries who follow her, named Morrignas, believe she is the guardian of territory, the protector of land and its people, as well as of livestock, crops and prosperity. However, the ‘flip-side’ of the Morrigan is warcraft. Being a ‘guardian of territory’, she is also known as a war goddess.

Both Dagdites and Morrignas are peaceful by nature. They are more about worshipping and protecting the ways of nature instead of following any specific dogma. However, as mentioned in The Elder Throne, there is an extreme faction of Morrignas called ‘Red Manes’, who specifically celebrate the more violent side of the Morrigan and delight in warfare and bloodshed. They do not feature heavily in The Elder Throne but may crop up again in later books (**gasp** spoilers!).

The Fae also accept and accommodate for what they deem ‘human’ religions, as some faeries also believe in these deities. Priya Dhawan, who is a Changeling, is Hindu, and Mrs. Cobb, who takes care of her, is careful to make sure she is free and able to observe any religious festivals, habits and teachings.

My protagonist, Anna, however, is an agnostic, meaning that she doesn’t follow a particular religion, but she isn’t 100% sure gods don’t exist either.

In other regions of the Seelie World, there are other religions. For instance, a Wild Huntress, nicknamed “Bones”, celebrates the old Norse gods, and observes related customs. The naiads who live near Delphi worship Circe as their creator and the dryads who live in the forests in New Zealand pay homage to Rangi and Papatuanuku, the same as their human Maori counterparts do.

The most important thing about how religion is viewed in the Seelie world is that all belief is sacred and not to be dismissed or ridiculed. The only prevailing rule that crosses all religions, no matter what they are, comes from the last paragraph of the Seelie Rede:

These nine words of power you fulfil; if it will harm none, act as you will.

The UnSeelie, it is important to note, do not follow this one rule. But that’s a story for another time.

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