Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Snow And Evening

While new snow lies in Poul Anderson's "Star of the Sea" here, SM Stirling's characters shelter from a snowstorm in The Sunrise Lands.

The two Wiccans say their evening prayers so Ingolf says a rosary. Poul and Karen Anderson's Gratillonius must remember his daily Mithraic devotions before his conversion to Christianity.

Personally, I try to meditate once a day, neither first thing in the morning nor too late in the evening. I repeat a Vedic verse in the morning and an adapted Upanishadic verse in the evening. The morning verse refers to a solar deity whom I regard as a personification. There isn't really a guy called Savitri inside the sun, is there? But, without the light of the sun, there would be neither life nor consciousness.


S.M. Stirling said...

Rituals help give structure to life and bind communities. At the school I attended we had daily chapel (except for Jewish students, who had their own ceremony) and though I was a nonbeliever then, I never minded. It's comforting to do the same thing that you have before, and that others did before you, and to do it together at a set time and place.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Dear Mr. Stirling,

I agree, what you said about ritual and how they give structure to communities. And it's my hope contemplation of the meaning of the words used in those chapel service were also of some service even to non believers.


Paul Shackley said...

Mr Stirling,
Sounds like you're a believer now? It is not necessary to know an author's beliefs but it is interesting. Most writers reflect our experience by presenting characters who subscribe to different particular beliefs. A few writers, like CS Lewis, present texts that assume the truth of their own beliefs. Fortunately, Lewis does it well.

Sean M. Brooks said...


I was reminded of this bit from Chapter VIII of Anderson's THE REBEL WORLDS: "She handed him the prayer book. "Me?" he thought. "But I never believed--" She was watching. They all were. His fingers stained the pages as he read aloud the majestic words. A fine drizzle began." As Ksthryn had said a little earlier to Flandry, "Give him his honor." Showing honor to one's dead, even if someone like Flandry didn't believe in God, was to still give structure to life.


S.M. Stirling said...

No, I'm still an unbeliever. But I'm not dogmatic about it.