Vel Tuturi Funeral Rites
Written by NatfromGameFire and bufiogarugi
The Vel Tuturi believe that, when an Actreine member of the Vel Tuturi dies, their spirit joins with a collective consciousness of spirits that is constantly under the protection of the Vel Ghiti. They call this death Enlightenment, believing that the spirits' knowledge joins together with the knowledge of the Vel Ghiti himself, allowing the dead to know everything about everything and everyone.
However, they believe that heretics' spirits are not as fortunate, disappearing forever and never being able to reach Enlightenment.
According to the Vel Tuturi History Tomes, this tradition has been in place since the days of the Vel To'ori.
Its origins are not known, as the original scrolls only had the simplest of references to the process itself. However, some speculate that perhaps it was meant to be a symbolic gesture. The Vel Tuturi creation myth states that the Actreines were created from a shard of ice and a tree. Perhaps this tradition was sparked by the realization that naturally-occurring forest fires will clear the forest of the trees that were not fit to survive, with their ashes helping to nourish the trees that survived the forest.
When a member of the Vel Tuturi dies, their body is brought to the nearest Vel Tuturi Church. After some brief prayer to the Vel Ghiti, the body is placed into a basin suspended from the ceiling. This basin has a small hole at the bottom with a grate on it. Underneath this hole is placed a large jar.
The body is then burnt by one of the church's mages. The ashes from the body fall through the grated hole and into the jar, which is moved back into storage with the other jars once the process is complete.
After this, the deceased's friends and family are free to mourn as they please. Many will often hold a memorial service at the deceased's home, where they will share the joyful memories they have of the person.
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Every Vel Tuturi church has a large jar containing all of the ashes of its deceased members. This jar symbolizes the collective consciousness that is under the protection of the Vel Ghiti, and the wish of the mortals for the recently deceased to join the collective consciousness.
For the actual burning, only the clergy attend. Most commonly, it's a group of two or three priests/priestesses alongside a mage.
The memorial service, however, is usually attended by anyone the friends or family of the deceased invites. Sometimes the memorial services are entirely open to the public.
AfterwardsAfter the rites have been completed and the memorial service is over, it is common practice for the family and friends to carve the deceased's name into a tree nearby the house they'd lived in. This practice is extremely common in places where the same family has lived in the same town or village for several generations.
Of course, this is not the only way that the deceased continue to be remembered after death. Some families will write letters to the deceased on the anniversary of their death, burning the letters in an annual gathering in the hopes that the deceased will be able to receive the message. Others keep a large book, writing the stories of the family members' lives in them page by page, including when and how they died. Still others simply tell the stories to the next generation of family members, imploring them to tell the stories to their descendants.
Vel Ghiti: Pure Savior (The god of the Vel Tuturi)
Vel To'ori: Pure Ancients (The predecessors to the Vel Tuturi)
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