Last Voyage

From water we came, to water we will return.
— ancient Hui proverb
  Last Voyage is the name of a funeral ritual for a burial at sea by the Hui people. As a nation refusing to live on land, this is the ideal and therefore most common funeral rite among them. Alternatively, burning the corpse is an option for those, who do not have an access to a body of water where a traditional burial would be possible.   The moment the ritual starts, all participants cease speaking. The only sound accompanying all of the activities is a soft humming, the melody changing instinctively by the person in charge of the funeral, usually the closest relative or the chief of the boat. First, the body of the deceased is washed in salt water and thoroughly cleaned. Second, a small trinket is placed into their mouth (something tied to their life or name: it can be jewellery, a seashell, a small piece of cloth, coins, etc.). Third, the body is tightly wrapped in a big peace of cloth. Fourth, the second wrapping begins, starting from the feet and finishing around the head. The space between the two cloths is stuffed with sand and stones and other material that is heavy and will help the body stay at the bottom of the sea. Everything is tightened with ropes. Then, the body is dumped into the water and the moment it sinks, all humming stops. After a brief period of silence and staring down into the water, the person in charge says some final words about the deceased and the funeral is finished.   According to the mythology of the Hui nation, the goddess Saphiros resides in the heart of the ocean. She has send the Hui on the surface for a reason and when their life's work is finished, they are allowed to return into her embrace. Such a return is not that simple: the body must be heavy enough to be able to sink through the darkest depths of the sea inhabited by various monsters and beasts. When the body reaches the bottom, the spirit can then travel on, no longer needing their mortal vessel. They need to pass through the Hall of Mirrors, finding the right path among the illusions - which is what the trinket is for. They need to be able to remember who they are and not be swayed from the right path by the demons, their false reflections, who do not know about the trinket as it was hidden in the spirit's mouth. Only when the spirits are reunited with their godly mother, they can rest in peace or until she sends them back to the world to help out with something again. If they fail, they haunt the depths of the world ocean with all the other monsters until someone helps them find the right way again or right their wrongs they did thorough their life.   If the body has been burnt, their journey into the undersea home will be more difficult, but not impossible. The spirit can travel on its own to reach Saphiros either if someone scatters some of their ashes into the sea or cries enough tears to call Saphiros herself to the surface (as salt water is her most important symbol), or one of her messengers, to guide the spirit back home safely.


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