fantasy · Writing

On Making up a Religion (or Two)

I am not sure what the religion or religions there are in the novel in progress. Part of it takes place in the real world, so all the real world religions are present. But I am pretty sure my main character doesn’t subscribe to any of them.

I am not even sure if he has anything I would recognize as a religion. That is, complete with a god(s) and someway to pray. When I started the novel in progress, I had some vague idea about ancestor worship. I’ve solidified that some and Halloween (no, that’s not what I call it!) is a major festival. But though are ceremonies, there are no prayers or a deity of any sort, and it seems to me all religions involve a deity at some level. I don’t think they have a religion of their very own. But they are also a conquered people  (though they don’t know it!) and many of them follow the religion(s) of their conquerors.

They make up many of my minor characters, and I’ve no clear idea of their religion. Besides, the MC was raised by them and religion would have been a part of his young life. Their beliefs would have left some mark on him.

There are two different ones, either two different religions or two versions of the same religion, I am not sure which. Stone is important to one, trees are important to the other. All I know is there is a priesthood. They play a role in the story, and right now I am pretty sure they don’t enter the book until the end.

I don’t know how to go about figuring out what the religion(s) is. I am not sure how important it is to the story (only a little probably!) but not knowing is driving me crazy.


4 thoughts on “On Making up a Religion (or Two)

  1. Inventing religions should be a rather easy task. After all, mankind has been doing this for a couple of thousand years now. Granted, the variations are minor, but if our (almost) stoneage ancestors could invent deities and religions so can you ; )
    If the religion(s) you are going for are not supposed to be too heavy on the deity side, I would suggest something like Day of the Dead tradition (although a Halloweenish tradition would probably have elements of that) as the fascination with and fear of death is a strong element in many religious beliefs.

  2. I wouldn’t worry about it and see what develops. There are folks with religious views that aren’t that delineated. They just are. (Heck, many a modern pagan claims a belief in the “Lord” and “Lady” and give them no further name. And since you said the religion doesn’t play that major of a role in your novel, then it shouldn’t matter all that much. Just relax and let it happen in its own time.

    (Thanks for visiting my site, by the way. 🙂

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