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    Profile photo of Sam Warren


    TALK 03 – Life and Death

    How we each treat life and death whether it be by religious ideology or by a nation’s practice can be both varied but is always seen as a sign of respect.  From the state funerals of the Nazi Regime to the births of Viking babes on the Field of Battle, what one culture considers beautiful can be seen as a play or acting to another. 

    For this COM TALK we will be taking a slightly different approach to the topics of Life and Death, in that not only do we want you to tell us about your nation/cultures birth and death practices but pose a question to other authors to prompt thoughts and creativity among them. 

    For this topic of life and death; delve into the practices of childbirth and early childhood development, are home births more common or is it unheard of to give birth outside of a hospital? How does your culture deal with an infant or maternal death as apart of the procedure? Then jump to death, are funerals displayed for all as a spectacle or are they extremely private affairs? Is their a constructed record of all those that pass? What happens to the bodies of the departed and how are they treated? 

    The Baseline: 

    While many populations exist on planets that have been occupied by humans for centuries there have been many periods of time in which the same populations have spent in confined or dangerous spaces; often space. As such often dealing with Life and ultimately Death will almost always have changed. Even today there are few disparaging cultures that deal with both in the same way, with discussions about vaccinations and location of birth to cremation or burial. These decisions are often coming down to Cultural or religious practices for the population. 

    While only a few cultures have almost the same ritual there are some that hold the beginning of life as either birth or even some considering Death, but another step in the circle of life. 

    For birth the modern concessions have changed, while most babies in the western world are born in hospitals most are born out of wedlock, something was seen as taboo many years ago, but today commonplace due to the cultural change. 

    Death in eastern cultures is often seen as simply the transition to the next plane of life, often denoted by service or work during the person’s life, and culminating in a ceremony to commemorate the life they have lived and their life going into the future.


    Think about the practices that your nation undertakes and what services might be or are provided by the Government. Does the same practice apply to people of different social standing or does a lower class of citizen “get thrown in a ditch”, and an Emperor have a month of mourning? And are there any eccentricities to these practices of these ceremonies.

    *New Section* Prompt 

    To help those that either struggle or can’t quite phrase right this new section gives you a place to start from or a place to think from. If you’re looking to be a writer of a novel or story, you may wish to write this as a point-of-view Writing Prompt, as if your text were the prose of a story.

    Prompt #1: My Sibling/Parent or Relative has had a Baby, what kind of gift or service am I going to get them to support them?”

    OR  Prompt #2: “I have been invited to a funeral for a person from your nation what kinds of things could I expect to find or see at the service, will I be expected to take part or simply Watch?”

    Profile photo of Sam Warren

    For the Astraus Imperium; Life and Death are treated as both a special and horrible time for the people affected. Firstly, Birth is revered by the people with immediate family expected to take time off of work to assist the new family; more so for firstborns. All newborns of the Imperium are supplied three things upon leaving a hospital; one week’s worth of clothes and formula, one VI support core and finally a portable cot, designed as a backpack-cot combo, it can be easily transported and used almost anywhere, making it both a practical and helpful tool to young families. 

    Death is also revered; with almost all members of the extended family of the deceased to be allowed time to grieve, often one working week from the date of death. Along with a physical marker of death at a cemetery, each of the departed has their names etched on to the Pillar of their hometown. A Pillar is often an obelisk shape stand roughly 40cm square at the base and growing higher as is needed, with cities often having them as living monuments at city centres. Starships of the Imperium often house a Pillar in the Atrium; etched with all those that serve aboard that die in service to the Imperium. Naval Ships have the only disparity with the names of those that fall in service to the ship and the Imperium being placed aboard the Pillar and transferred to any ship that shares its name for all time. 

    As Such Funerals are often held in two services, a Civilian service to allow family and friends to attend, and a Citizens; a chance for brothers and sisters in arms to reminisce and remember their brother or sister.

    Profile photo of Pharthan

    In the Threshold, death is held sacred as a testament to the works a person has achieved. As the Threshold is a works-based technocracy, the more one has achieved in life, the higher their status in death. Those who achieve great works may be selected to have their remains interred in the national Ivory Tribute, where lesser achievements may warrant burial in a more localized Ivory Tribute, though individual planetary tributes are banned, as one’s allegiance is to the nation, not the planet. Each of the Tributes is a tower constructed entirely from the remains of the dead, which are broken down into base materials as necessary and printed into the requisite components. No Ivory Tribute is ever considered complete Some consider this protect grotesque, but Thresholders consider it to be very symbolic; even in death, a Thresholder may raise their nation ever so slightly higher; even the laziest citizen is still a Thresholder, and can still do at least something to make their nation better and stronger, raising it a little more towards the Heavens. 

    Most funeral rites for Thresholders come from Christian descent and include practices such as wakes. It is common place to list off the accomplishments of the individual, often by family members.

    Birth rites for Thresholders are often very much based upon personal choice and religion of the parents involved. Babies are almost universally born in or near medical-centers to ensure safety of the baby. Most women consider natural-birth methods an achievement, and do not opt for medical-assistance unless it is firmly insisted upon by the doctors. 

    Profile photo of Cambrius

    Birth and death rituals in the Star Kingdom have not changed much since colonisation, nor indeed very much since humanity existed solely on Mother Terra; the ancient religions maintain their time-honoured traditions. There are, however, a few notable exceptions, particularly where the Druidic and Runic faiths are concerned.

    Once pregnancy is confirmed, Druidic women choose their hodii, their midwife. Under the law, hoden (plural) are required to meet certain educational criteria in addition to being intimately familiar with Druidic traditions and rituals. The hodii acts as both OB-GYN and spiritual guide, culminating in the delivery of the child. Some of the more esoteric customs persisting through the duration of the pregnancy include ensuring there are no knots or belts or ties present in the home, visitors and witnesses avoid crossing arms or legs while in the presence of the expectant mother; doors and windows are often unlocked, though this is less strictly imposed in certain safety circumstances or environments; mirrors are covered up; and certain berry jellies feature prominently in the expectant mother’s diet. Delivery most frequently occurs in hospitals, in specialised rooms. When labour has sufficiently progressed and delivery is imminent, the mother enters a circular birthing pool (typically constructed of real wood) and is partially immersed in water that is salted and consecrated by the hodii. The mother is attended by her own mother, female family members, and female friends as desired. In an adjacent room, the father witnesses the birth with his own father, male family members, and male friends as desired. When the child is born, the men drink to the baby’s health and fortune and the father announces the child’s name (agreed upon with the mother beforehand). The child is cleaned and presented to the mother, who then invites the men to join the women. The mother presents the child to the father, who presses a silver coin into the child’s hand. Gripping the coin for a few seconds or more is considered good luck.

    For women of the Runic faith, a pregnancy proceeds in typical fashion with regular visits to an OB-GYN at a medical facility, dietary supplements and exclusions, and genetic screens for common defects and conditions that are corrected as needed. Traditionally, in the twenty-fourth week of pregnancy – the third of five aetts in the Runic birth cycle structure, the expectant mother pricks her finger and, with her blood, writes the child’s name in runes upon a plaque of wood which is displayed in the home or child’s room. The practice has been modernised in the last century or so: the wood plaque has been replaced by hard copy made of actual paper or vellum, usually with decorative designs; and while the writing is still “inked” in the mother’s blood, it is extracted by a specially designed stylus or pen. The page is often framed and displayed, or simply kept as a memento.

    Death rituals for the ancient faiths continue to include funerals with eulogies and prayers followed by procession and terrestrial burial. More recently, cremation has proven a popular alternative to burial due to its cost-effectiveness as cremation does not require prior embalming, a full casket, nor a terrestrial burial plot. Among the noble Houses, interment in elaborate tombs on family property continues to be the common practice. Other popular alternative funerary methods available to Persicans include cryogenic storage, burial at sea, and interment in a self-propelled sarcophagus programmed with a trajectory into the system primary.

    There are two main Druidic funerary practices, similar to cremation and terrestrial burial, though more closely resembling the ancient manner. For cremation, the deceased is transported to a privately owned and operated mortuary that specialises in Druidic rituals. These are typically located in pastoral settings: coastlines, hilly meadows, or forest clearings. The deceased is placed on a pyre, the design and construction of which is chosen by the family of the departed. Family and attendees may stand or be seated as the pyre is lit and witness the return of the mortal vessel to the Powers and Elements. Terrestrial burial involves entombing within a small earthen mound, called a barrow. A selection of possessions and mementos are entombed with the deceased. On the first anniversary of the burial, a sapling of one of the Great Trees is planted atop the barrow. This funeral option is rather expensive and generally chosen only by wealthy Druidics.

    Runic adherents also have two main options: burial at sea or in space. Naturally, both involve fire. Burial at sea facilitated by specialised mortuaries; the deceased is transported to a chosen location at least six kilometers from shore. A small decorative water craft called a longboat, containing the deceased and selected possessions, runestones, and mementos, and rigged with an ignition device, is lowered onto the water and allowed to drift for a short distance while ritual prayers and eulogies are read. The ritual is concluded when the attendant mortuary agent triggers the ignition device. Family and attendees witness as the longboat is consumed in flames and sinks beneath the waves. Burial in space is similar; instead of a longboat, the deceased is contained in a self-propelled, decorative sarcophagus. Instead of an ignition and flames, the sarcophagus is rigged with a high-explosive device of sufficient yield to vapourise the sarcophagus and its contents. This is done at a much greater distance, but has the benefit of briefly turning the departed into a tiny star.

    For the soldiers, sailors, marines, and guardsmen of CrownForce who have died in battle; CrownForce veterans; and prominent military figures, a military funeral is provided by the Crown and Government. Individual honours vary but all military funerals include a guard of honour, a flag-draped coffin, a three-volley salute, and interment in the Royal Ravencrown Cemetery in the Royal CrownForce Park in the Ravencrown district of Vanovar on Persica Prime. Further, the names of all military dead are inscribed on the Brightstone Wall by year of death and in alphabetical order. The Brightstone Wall, also located within the Park, is constructed of brightstone panels two meters square above ground – the wall panels are sunk a meter into the ground – by a half meter thick. Currently there are six hundred thirty-four panels, running for nearly 1.3 kilometers, inscribed with the name of every service member to have died in service to the Crown since 2953. For specific conflicts memorial cenotaphs are erected, to honour the participant dead en masse. 

    Royal and state funerals for monarchs, nobles, and peers include elaborate processions and ceremony, followed by a period of lying in state and then interment in House tombs. For those most prominent Persicans, monuments are often erected.

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