I’m back with culture building, a subset of world building this week. I am sticking with my cat morality and religion. Today I will talk about cat religion. What would a cat religion be like? It must encompass the Code I wrote about before. Otherwise, why would I bother to create the Code in the first place? The religion is an organized one, but loosely around each individual cat’s method of meditation and prayer.
First, we must consider the goddess, Bastet, herself. The Egyptians saw her as a woman with the head of a cat. I think cats would see her as a cat, rather as we see God as human. Our religious teachings say that He made us in His image, so wouldn’t a cat’s goddess make them in hers? I think so. Of course, all I know about Bastet or Bast, is what I read in Wikipedia after searching for Bastet. I’m sure that there are other websites with more information on the goddess, but since she is not going to be a character in the story or even integral to the story, a little knowledge will do. The ancient Egyptians saw Bast or Bastet as a protector, so perhaps I can use that in my cat religion.
In times of trouble, humans call on God to save us. Cats could do the same with Bast protect us. God go with you could be, to a cat, Bastet protect you, and so on. The worst thing a cat could say to another would be something like, “Bast abandon you!” this would be equivalent to God damn you. Epithets say a lot about characters.
The ritual nap is another thing. Do cats really nap that much or are they just meditating or praying? I know what a cat would say. They are praying and/or meditating. The Code bonds them to do that several times a day so that is why they appear to be sleeping so much. Pride in a cat is a very real and important thing.
I think there should be some ritual to the hunt. Perhaps how they wriggle their backsides as they prepare to stalk their prey or pounce would be a ritual asking Bast to grant them their chosen prey. It could be what they do, you never know. I have a cat that cries and rubs against me every morning as I put food in her dish. That’s a ritual. She does it to ensure that I put food in the dish. That I would put the food into the dish, whether she cried and rubbed against me as I do so, is immaterial. She clearly believes that she has to do so in order to get food. That is how rituals start. They start as coincidence, become habit and then passed on as ritual. Ok that’s a bit simplistic and probably not true for every ritual, but it is the case with the cat food.
Religion is a complex subject and I refuse to go into it here. It has no place in my blog, even a cat’s religion. I’m merely working out ideas to form the background of my story about the Feline Investigative Service. It’s part of the culture building process. World building isn’t enough; you need to create cultures for your characters. Even though none of this will enter the story in any way, I still need to have it written down somewhere. It will make the character’s behavior consistent and therefore more believable.