I’m careful with religion. I’ve gone through various phases of belief and zealotry, various degrees of faithfulness, but what I’ve ultimately settled into is a state of deep thoughtfulness about religion. In my books I approach it very seriously. I want my readers to think about religion. But at the same time, I don’t want to make it seem like I want my readers to think about religion. I have no message I’m trying to push, other than a desire that we think about belief.
Thinking about religion is how Tenebros got started. I wanted to explore the idea of an evil god, but one that’s worthy of both our love and our worship. That was the seed idea for the Celestial Church. But I didn’t want to do something so simple as one good god and one evil, so I drew on what I know of mesoamerican religion, the concepts of duality that seem so strange to monotheists, and I created a couple of interesting gods.
The basic creation story of the Celestial Church is that there were once two suns. They circled the earth day and night, only there was no night, just one endless, burning day. The people hid beneath the ground, tore up the roots of blighted trees for food, and drank silt-thick water from the earth’s heart to survive. One of these suns looked down and saw the destruction he was causing, and had pity on the earth. So he fell, dropping from the sky to dip into one of the wounds in the earth, where harsh water boiled up out of the ground. He quenched himself in that water, extinguishing his flames, and rose back to the sky with skin as cold and hard as silver. He became the moon, and always after that there was a day and a night, and a summer and a winter. So while summer is the season of joy, it is also the season of war and fury, and while winter is the season of harrowing, it is also the season of mercy and reason.