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September 25, 2012

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September 25, 2012

The santos cults do not typically have strong opinions on the afterlife, aside from a general sense that it would be a bad idea to offend too many saints before you get there. There are, however, two or three takes on the life-after-death question within the scope of the santos beliefs.

One are the Universalists, who think that all souls come from the great Well of Life, untouched and 'colorless'; gain various traits and become shaped by the world; and then return to add themselves to the great Universal Tree that grows from the Well in an ever more complex and beautiful shapes. Within this belief, the saints are souls who managed to collect more 'shape', as it were, in their lives. They form the branches of the tree and gather to themselves, as smaller branches, souls that have become like them in their lives. In practice, the Universalists are one of the more organized santos practitioners, building actual churches, staffing them, and holding regular services and festivals for a wide variety of saints; they are a popular choice for, among other things, funerals, where they wisely distill their complex theology down to comforting talk of the departed being with the saints now. Jamon's funeral is being held in a Universalist church.

'Jobbing' priests, by contrast, tend to dedicate themselves to one or a handful of saints; they have simple shrines, often as extensions of their houses, usually suppliment their income with a variety of other mystical services (like fortune-telling and machination), and mostly subscribe to the simpler philosophy of reincarnation. The ceremonies for Corinne and Faden are being carried out by jobbing priests, most likely both representing the 'three Marys' -- Mary Mother, Mary Mercy, Mary Grace -- who, as saints of healing, violent death, and birth, respectively, are seen as appropriate for funerals.

None of the dead will be buried -- cremation is the standard for most of the Empire of Earth.