Explain the influence of religion and mythology in the novels.
Wingéd built on the amalgamation of religions, because religion of any kind is so intertwined with the dead and the human spirit. Every religion has lore about the afterlife, funeral rites, and various ritual and forms of worship. I have yet to find a religion where they say when you die, that’s it. So, I borrowed from everywhere I could. In Wingéd there are about five or six different religions that play a dominant role specifically through the use of ritual. Catholicism, Wicca, Buddhism, Hinduism, traditional Greek mythology, Hawaiian mythology, Shamanism and more all make an appearance in some form. The Leap resembles a Catholic mass. The celebration following resembles some Wiccan celebrations of the changing of the seasons. In Dragon Wingéd and the current novel, Wingless, I have continued to add aspects of other religions as I go into more detail about individual Wingéd types. We get to see how the Moths use Buddhist meditation and the character of Emmy utilizes the Shaolin arts. Some Old Norse and Druidism also feature strongly, which I’m very excited about.
There are things that I’ve made sure to tiptoe around.
1) I have alluded to a Wingéd specific religion in the living. Friedel’s mother is the one who calls the Wingéd to her daughter’s body, but other than a few “stories”, it’s not something that I’ve completely explored. I’m looking forward to doing it, but I’ve purposefully left it open for further exploration.
2) I also made sure not to confirm nor deny the existence of a God or gods. I do, however, confirm the existence of heaven and hell (in Foiche Dé) as well as there being other religions outside the realm and reach of the Wingéd (in Dragon Wingéd). And I did these things for a number of reasons. I didn’t want to offer an “answer”. I didn’t want to be like L. Ron Hubbard. This is what happens when we die. No, in my heart, I believe that these things are deeply personal. I didn’t want to advocate or force a certain view, and I wanted to leave the Wingéd in a space where all of these things could coexist together.
From time to time, I do have to work backwards. There are times when I have to find religion/lore to fit something that I’ve already written. It’s not always required, but I like putting in that extra care. For example, it was only for Dragon Wingéd that I decided to embellish on the Demon Wingéd. In order to create the demonic equivalent of the Butterfly Wingéd, I had to delve deep. I searched for days to find an evil butterfly, but it seemed that cultures of the world agreed that butterflies could only be pretty and good. That was until I looked into the Aztec religion to find the Itzpapalotl, also known as the Obsidian Butterfly. She is an Aztec goddess who seduces young men and while she’s sleeping with one, she rips open his chest and devours him. Evil butterfly! Honestly, it’s probably one of my greatest triumphs to fit an existing religion to what I’d already written.