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At 04:59 PM 11/5/03 -0800, you wrote:
>--- Isidora Zamora <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> > I also do not know whether they believe that
> > the dead need anything.  If the dead are in
> > need of anything, then I know
> > that it must be sent to them by burning it.
> > However, my image of what the
> > Trehelish "dark land under a starless sky" is
> > like is that it is a very
> > empty place; its not the sort of place where
> > you would really need
> > anything, so I expect that they do not burn
> > funerary offerings.
>
>On the other hand, is it possible they might
>think that the dead need everything? I mean, if
>you end up in this dark land with no stars, you
>might like something warm to wear and perhaps a
>bit of a nibble.

I've considered that.  One thing that works both for and against that idea
is that, in Trehelish mythology, Death eventually conquers all.  Not only
men and animals and plants, but even the sun, moon, stars, and earth, which
were each created by other gods and goddeses, will, in the end, belong to
Death.  He is the devourer and stronger than all other gods.  (And that is
why they worship him: because he is strong, not because they have any love
for him.)  The world will end in the darkness and coldness of Death.  There
is no hope.

So, maybe you send things to the dead while men still live on earth and can
give things to those dead before them.  But a day will come when this will
no longer be possible because there will be no more living men to burn
offerings for the dead, nor will there be anything to burn as an offering,
even if men still lived to burn it.

On the other hand, since you know that the day will come when everyone will
be dead and there will be no funerary offerings, it follows that the
spirits of the dead will not need funerary offerings at that time,
therefore they do not need them now.  It's hard to know which path to take
with this.

Cwendaso cosmology (to the extent that they have a cosmology; it's very
sketchy, and that's not because it's still underdeveloped - they will
always have a skechy cosmology) is quite different from Trehelish.  The
TovlŠugad believe that "in time, a certain one of the great gods [will]
come and men [will] cease to die from that time on" (Tovlm).  This, of
course, is a nod to my own Christian religion.  The TovlŠugad, though, have
no concept that those who have died will ever live again, although Tovlm
does actually leave itself open that interpretation if one choses to see
things in a certain way.  So for the TovlŠugad, there is, or will be, a god
stronger than Death, and no Cwendaso would ever worship Death; they believe
that Death is one of the evil gods.  In fact, from the period in their
history when there was interaction between themselves and the Trehelish,
the Cwendaso are still quite familiar with Trehelish beliefs about Death,
and have their own epithet for the Trehelish Death god: Adh KoyemyŠpn -
'the great non-existence,' referring both to the Trehelish idea that Death
will consume all in the end, and to their own belief that death will cease
to exist in the end.  (adh inanimate singular demonstrative pronoun; koi-
emphatic prefix + emi- negative prefix + ap 'to be' + -m nominalizing
suffix.  The -m is realized here as -n to dissimilate it from the
preceeding labial.)  If they are speaking of the Trehelish Death god, they
will call him ('it' to their minds, reflected in the inanimate
demonstrative) Adh KoyemyŠpn, in derision, otherwise they will use ķmam,
from ķma 'to die', to mean 'death'.

The Nidirino are Sun, Moon, and planet worshippers, and the Sun is their
main diety.  It doesn't take much to realize that the sun is a symbol of
life, and so the Nidirino also find their cosmology diametrically opposed
to Trehelish cosmology.  They refuse to worship Death, and this is a
touchier matter, because when the Trehelish conquered Trehelan, the
TovlŠugad fled north into the mountains, but the Nidirino retreated into
enclaves and were absorbed into the Trehelish state.  This left certain
regions of Trehelan with a predominately, or even entirely, Nidirino
population.  There are regions of Trehelan where Trehelish is not spoken at
all, even four hundred years after the Conquest.  This arrangement has
given the Nidirino a certain amount of political power, and they have been
able to get members elected to the National Assembly.  Rioting also proved
effective in getting religious freedom laws enacted and in getting the
Death temples removed from Nidirino areas.  The religious freedom laws also
led to the eventual abolishing of the lotteries, and that has proved
advantageous to Trehels as well.

>Of course, if burning will send something to this
>otherworld, the dead might very well be living
>like kings, what with all the houses that burn
>down and all the food that accidently falls in
>the cooking pit!

No, I think it has to be *offered*, with special rituals, to ensure that it
will reach its intended recipient :)

Isidora