Wednesday, 8 March 2017


Stories exist in different versions. We are used to the difference between the book and the film or the TV series. The same principle applies to Biblical stories and the Greek and Hindu myths. Usually, there is no such distinction within the canon of a single author although there can be earlier and later versions of a text as with some Poul Anderson stories. Also, Anderson's Kith future history exists in two versions. See here.

Ideas of a hereafter also come in different versions. In SM Stirling's Emberverse series, when an elderly couple dies, Juniper Mackenzie makes sure that they receive Mormon rites, Also, however, the clan inherits their farm and stores and some residents make offerings. Thus, the couple have effectively become Wiccan tutelary spirits. I think: dulce et decorum est... It is fitting and proper. In Neil Gaiman's Sandman scenario, there would now be two versions of the couple. One version is in the Mormon Heaven. The other presides at their former farm.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Of course it was right of Juniper MacKenzie to make sure her recently deceased Mormon neighbors were buried as they would have preferred. But I have to disagree with the neo-pagans then treating the Mormons like tutelary spirits because I don't think these Mormons would have approved or liked that. For that matter, neither would I! Because I don't believe such Wiccan tutelary spirits even exist. Nor would I prefer to come close to being worshiped like a god!


    1. Sean,
      Many years ago, my mother was unsure whether to have Mass said for her deceased mother-in-law, a Congregationalist. In my relative ignorance, I suggested asking for prayers to be said for her in the church that she had attended. My mother replied that they didn't believe in praying for the dead. I should then have said we should respect their beliefs. These must be two different ways of relating to God. Another possible answer would be to have Mass said for some group like "residents of Whitehaven, Cumberland." This would include my grandmother without naming her.

    2. Kaor, Paul!

      Yes, I have heard of how many Protestants deny the validity, rightness, or efficacy of prayers for the dead. I, being a Catholic, believe in the opposite and would argue that prayers for the dead goes back to how Judas Maccabeus had prayers and sacrifices offered for the well being of his dead soldiers in
      2 Maccabees 12.38-46.

      It seems so strange and unnatural for Catholics like me to be told we should not pray for the eternal well being of deceased friends and relatives! But I like the solution you suggested, about a Mass being offered for the residents of X, Y, or Z.