Mouseguard Religion

I was wondering the other day what sort of religion the mice of The Territories would have.
I thought that Nature Spirits would be appropriate but then again why would they ‘worship’ something that has the potential to destroy them in a blink of an eye! :wink: [Maybe ‘worship’ is too strong a word, how about a slight nod of recognition, or something similar]
Then I thought, do they actually have the time, energy, and resources to dedicate to a deity.
Any thoughts?

Here’s some previous discussions on religion in MG:

Another thread on this topic

I’ll re-post my thoughts.
"[i]I would think that mice have to be really pragmatic.

If a higher power did not have an immediate effect while they ran from an owl or a weasel or a fox, they’d just stop praying and concentrate on running. Their world is too damned dangerous and hungry for their meat for anything else to really make sense.[/i]"

Part of Mouse Guard is the absolute terror that everything in the damned world is higher on the food chain than you and everything looks at you and/or your young as tasty snacks. Higher powers that help the mice out would water that down, I’d think.

Both the mice and the bats so far have made comments about souls. The bats “carry their fallen brother’s soul to the stars,” and at Clenawe’s funeral they talk about his soul making “the journey past the peninsula of ashen trees to Seyan where he will join the guardians who have fallen before him.”

After that, in the song Kenzie sings, it seems like he’s describing a special heaven for guards where just get to hang out and talk about the good old days.

I thought I remembered a comment somewhere in the fall where it seemed as though the mice might venerate old guard mice as saints, but I don’t remember where it was.

Without some kind of belief in the supernatural/an afterlife there would be no burial. This from my anthropology background. They are based on Europe in the Middle Ages and although it does not make complete sense that they would have monks and nuns etc. I assume they do. Remember in reality a mouse smith would not be able to swing a tiny mouse hammer hard enough to work even tiny metal objects. Also they have defined hierarchies that would be unlikely to evolve without a belief in a divine order. I do not want to start a discussion about religion vs. aetheism but if they were truly stricly just pragmatists then the most able would always be the one doing the job and this is not always the case.

I think there probably is some kind of belief in the supernatural but that doesn’t necessarily mean a big ole organized religion.

Also, wouldn’t they dispose of bodies just to keep carrion eaters away?

I wasn’t saying they were strict pragmatists, just saying that they were more pragmatic than the religions that were being put forth in that thread.

There are a few lines in the ‘Winter 1152’ graphic novel where Gwendolyn is saying a preyer over a funeral pyre… it give hints a religion that is kinda Valhalla like or maybe the Roman Elysium, a hall or heroes type thing.

I also came to this conclusion as well of a parallel, yet subtle mix of Nordic and Roman. Then I break out the Led Zepplin and crank The Immigrant Song as my group of Mouse Guard bound through the snow on snowshoe hares. :stuck_out_tongue:

Being very interested in ancient mediterranean Europe I definitely get vibes of roman/greek afterlife and if the mice ‘‘worship’’ anything I think it would definitely be some kind of forefather worship like the romans. Maybe they believe that the dead mice can help the living indirectely or make it hard for the living. The romans honored their forefather to keep their liking and support from the other side and also believed that an angered forefather could affect your life in a negative way, maybe even someone you had some unsolved dealings with when they died might come back to haunt you. Also there might be ghosts like the roman lemurs that’s for some reason has been twisted by time, maybe from persuing something for a long time, too long time (yes the spooky small ape is named after the roman ghosts :slight_smile:

But I do have a hard time seeing any belief in god, godess, gods ors godesses but some forefather worship fits well I think.

I’m reminded of El-ahrairah from Watership Down: not so much a higher power that you could look to, but perhaps an example to look to in such a scary world.

In my game, we totally ran with Fuseboy’s suggestion about “the Unseen”.

Yeah, I remember that from Anth 101, but that idea hasn’t held up particularly well. Particularly not if you define an afterlife as an inherently supernatural thing–as in, “he lives on in the trees and the grass” doesn’t count.

Historically, hierarchies seem to predate beliefs in a corresponding divine order. The earliest evidence of hierarchical societies go back 10,000 years; but religions worshipping gods in the kind of divine order that would inspire hierarchies date back only half as long, to about 5,000 years ago.

Also they have defined hierarchies that would be unlikely to evolve without a belief in a divine order.

Yes! As I said, in my campaign, we really ran with “the Unseen,” and that blended well with ancestor worship. In very real ways, the ancestors shaped the world you live in today. Celanwe points out how he has shaped parts of the very landscape. In smaller ways, all mice do: by walking this trail and not that, by harvesting grain here and not there, they form the pattern of trails and growth that the mice inhabit today. My game also takes a more Anglo-Saxon spin, including the concept of wyrd, which defies linear causality by suggesting that one’s actions have consequences both in the future and the past.

Besides–how do you know they’re really dead?