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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.

History

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.

Execution

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.

Components and tools

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.

Participants

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.

Afterwards

After 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.
Translations Vel Tuturi: Pure Followers (The official religion of Actrein)
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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Comments

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11 Jul, 2018 22:33

Cool! I like the afterwards part (though it's showing up really dim on my screen for some reason?) and how the beliefs about the afterlife tie into the ritual itself

12 Jul, 2018 00:47

That's weird, the Afterwards section shows up fine on my screen.
But yeah, I figured it only makes sense that their after-death rituals tie into the beliefs they have about the world and about what happens after death.
Glad you liked the article!
(Re-commented because silly website decided to put my reply as its own comment.)

12 Jul, 2018 00:49

...Annnnd now it's working.   Apparently complaining about a problem magically fixes things :P

12 Jul, 2018 01:17

Apparently. Percussive maintenance?

12 Jul, 2018 02:26

This is a very compelling read. I love how they memorialize their dead, in particular. The concept of their afterlife kind of reminds me of one of the branches of Buddhism that I studied in my World Religions class. Unfortunately, I can't quite remember which one at this time.

12 Jul, 2018 07:10

Thanks!
Almost entirely a coincidence, really. After I wrote it I realized "wait a minute, this sounds familiar..."

12 Jul, 2018 03:17

Very intriguing! I enjoy how you tied it into nature, and the nurishment concept of returning to the ground to replish the trees.

12 Jul, 2018 07:11

Yeah, I'm thinking it might lead into some people viewing their deceased friends/family as maybe guardian angels or protective spirits. Nowhere near the level of the Vel Ghiti, they wouldn't be deities. But friendly protective spirits.

12 Jul, 2018 04:22

I enjoyed reading this, it reminds me that funerals are a sombre occasion but not ones without grace and purpose. Fantastic work, Nat!

12 Jul, 2018 07:14

Thanks!
And yeah, it's a time of mourning the loss of a loved one, but also a time of remembering why they were a loved one, the happy memories you had with them. And in a lot of religions, there's the hope for one day reuniting with them in the afterlife.