Sand and Bone 8, and traditional verses contemporary worship

This is a quiet chapter. In Dwight V. Swain's excellent Techniques of a Selling Writer, it would be called a “sequel” because it has to do with the introspection, regathering of thoughts, and contemplating the events of the previous chapter.

It also highlights some of the disconnection that comes when I learned about contemporary services verses traditional ones. A friend of mine had spent the last few years becoming a Lutheran pastor. She's a good one, from what I hear, but the most interesting part is talking about different congregations view and struggle with the concept of traditional or contemporary sermons. Some of them focus on things like the music or videos while others focus on the hymns or praises. Some congregations try to “inch” into a contemporary one by putting the traditional elements they think are critical into a contemporary one. Those partial steps create an interesting disagreement because other people in the same congregation might think they are ruining the entire point of a contemporary sermon by those tiny steps; naturally they would like to ease into a contemporary one with different elements pulled through. At the same time, there are folks who remain steadfastly in either side and don't like change or don't like mixing the two.

Hearing these stories drew my attention and obviously influenced my writing. Tradition is a powerful thing. I still remember the sermons that I attended as a child and they come up whenever I visit a church. They are far different than the ones I spy when visiting friends these days. There is a language and an art to both that is subtly different by still similiar to one who is no longer involved with organized religions.

This chapter is part of that. Rutejìmo learned how to be kojinōmi through his own struggles with the religion and only a few hints from the Book of Ash. Sand and Ash is basically that story. Now, he is firmly in the “traditional” version of the religion because he learned how most kojinōmi were taught, by example and social pressure.

The area around Kobosyo City is more modern. Not just the mechanical spiders used as cars, the open city plan, or even the more elegant outfits, but also socially. They've drifted from the traditional approaches to the dead into a more refined—maybe—of doing it. More ceremonial and independent, to say the least.

This is also why Rutejìmo was called. The night clans have been all but eradicated in the region. The local kojinōmi won't tend to them as a group and have decided that their souls could be damned to oblivion for all they care. So when a little night clan girl dies and needs to be guided into death, he is the only one in the region who would sit next to her.

Now, what Rutejìmo doesn't know is that kojinōmi have always chosen day or night. The day kojinōmi only treat the day and the night kojinōmi only tend to the night clans. It is a rare individual who is willing to see beyond the war of the great spirits to treat each side equally. In that way, he is an “old school” kojinōmi which doesn't walk the sands anymore. The old lady from Sand and Ash is the only other one. There will be a third but that won't be until much later.

The entire fight of day and night clans came from the great spirit's fight over Mifúno, the Desert Mother. Both Tachìra, the sun, and Chobìre, the moon, have been fighting over her for centuries. Since every clan gets their power from either the sun or moon, they have been pulled into the fight.

What isn't really told is that this is a result of Fedran's resonance. Basically, magic responds violently with magic of a different frequency (for a lack of better word). You can bring two mage's resonance together to avoid feedback but that doesn't protect you against other feedback. It is an entire spectrum which is why Chimípu can't remain in Wamifuko City despite both of them being sun clans. However, the feedback is strongest between Tachìra and Chobìre and, therefore, between all the clans that gain magic from them. Society and culture has formed around this feedback, creating a gulf that represents the fight between day and night clans.

Sand and Bone 8: Alone

In Sand and Bone, Rutejìmo struggles with the differing traditions of being a kojinōmi. Before this, he didn't realize there were different types or what he considered a critical part of tending to the dead, the draining purification ritual, wasn't as important as he thought.

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