I haven’t talked about it much on Ayslyn’s Corner, but I’m writing a fantasy trilogy. It’s a story that’s been in my heart since my pre-teens, though it’s changed drastically as I’ve matured, so is somewhat autobiographical in nature. But more fun. 😉 Actually, working on this story as a teen is how I discovered Wicca.
Having been raised in a rather closed in Christian household (and being homeschooled as well, so not have much interaction with anyone outside of the immediate family) I was unaware that there were religions in the world other than Christianity and Islam. I knew about Islam because my parents sponsored a child in another country that was predominantly Islamic, and about this religion I was only taught that those who follow it are misguided, though the children shouldn’t be blamed for that (until they were about 11, then they were expected to have heard a Christian missionary and “seen the light”). Of course, a lot of people who come to Wicca will tell you a similar story: they felt disconnected from the mainstream religion they were raised with or that everyone else seemed to be practicing. I was the same. I didn’t like this male god; he seemed fickle, judgemental, and, considering that he’d supposedly made me in his image, especially spiteful about what was between my legs.
So I started writing my own religion – a radical thing that I was careful not to let my parents see. I wrote about a Mother Goddess in a rather one dimensional way, just testing the waters, and decided that my protagonist (a fictional reflection of self) would be a young priestess in training in this Goddess’ name. Opposing her as she grew and became an influential person in her world was her birth father, a stalwart defender of a faith that was Christian in all but name (I called them Worshippers). It was to be an epic conflict of spirituality, ideals, and for control of the masses’ hearts and minds, with the Goddess holding the North and the god of the Worshippers gaining ground in the South, where the people generally farmed and traded for a living and lacked any kind of formal education. (Sounds familiar, right?)
One day, while alternating between writing and working on class work at my mother’s desktop, which just happened to have a dialup internet connection, I decided to Google “goddess based religion.” And that’s when it happened.
Obviously since that discovery I’ve continued to go through a lot of transformations. But one thing that hasn’t really changed is that one thread of my fantasy novels. It’s no longer the main component, but it’s still there, and while my main girl Xoe isn’t going to be raised in the Priestess House per se, she’s going to do some training there and her closest companion is going to be a full blown priestess. Which means that I have an entire priestesshood to develop.
After working on it for many months, I’ve realized that the overall structure comes down to four relatively simple questions:
- Who are their deities that they either teach the young girls about or actually worship?
- What’s the structure of progression and placement within the order look like?
- How are the labors and devotions (like the elements) divided, and how is each girl’s place determined?
- How much overall influence does the order have on the outside world?
I’m going to stop here for now because I’d like to gauge reaction; doing “how to” writing pieces here isn’t something I’d normally do. Have you ever written about a devotee of a goddess? What was she like? Did she travel across worlds, was she fallen from her order, was she supposed to be a summer queen, a child of a Beltane ritual?