Amber: Dynasty

Not quite the Wars of the Roses…

Claddu Môr – Death & Burial in Rebma

excerpt from “Rebmanic Funerary Practices – A Dissertation” by Illtyd ap Gwawr, Ph.B.

Claddu Môr (Rebmanic: সাগর দাফনের; Thari: Sea Burial; Old Rebmanic: সাগর ফিরে (dychwelyd at y môr) lit. “returned to the sea”) is the predominant funeral practice in Modern Rebma. It’s origins can be traced back to the The Dying Throes after 340DE. The corpse is placed in an open ground, or high place to decompose while exposing it to the elements or to be eaten by scavenging animals, especially creatures of prey. It is a specific type practice of excarnation.

The majority of Rebman peoples adhere to Polytheistic Trinity, worship of The Three; which teaches the transmigration of spirits. There is no need to preserve the body, as it is now an empty vessel. Fish may eat it or nature may cause it to decompose. The function of the claddu môr is to dispose of the remains in as generous a way as possible (the source of the practice’s Old Rebmanic name). The concept of internment and physical burial in the ground is alien to Rebma, as such practice would be considered wasteful both in a agrarian sense, and a spiritual one.

During the Lion Era, claddu tân (fire burial) was practiced for high ranking members of society in the magma fields in Southern Rebma; this habitude, however, waned towards the latter half of the Era when fetishisation of the bone remains of important figures became fashionable with the introduction of reliquaries and bone caches. For most,  claddu môr was a typically more practical and affordable practice.

Claddu môr appears to have evolved from ancient practices of defleshing corpses as discovered in Periolithic archaeological sites beyond the veil. These practices most likely came out of practical considerations, but they could also be related to more ceremonial customs similar to the suspected claddu môr evidence found at Brarll Cylli (6200BP) and Ceangli Cairn (6800BP).

The specifics of the practice are first recorded in an incomplete 359DE religious treatise, which is colloquially known as the Sgript Marwolaeth (Scripture of the Dead), rooted in Ceirwic Tantricism. The body is cut up according to instructions given by an adept.

For Rebman Trinicists, claddu môr and claddu tân are templates of instructional teaching on the impermanence of life. Claddu môr is considered an act of generosity on the part of the deceased, since the deceased and her/his surviving relatives are providing food to sustain living beings. Such generosity and compassion are considered important virtues.

Although some observers have suggested that claddu môr  is also meant to unite the deceased person with the sea or sacred realm, this does not seem consistent with most of the knowledgeable commentary, which indicate that Rebmans generally believe that at this point life has completely left the body and the body contains nothing more than simple flesh.

The tradition and custom of the claddu môr afforded early practitioners of medicine with a particular insight into the interior workings of the Rebman body. Pieces of the skeleton seem to have been employed in ritual tools such as the skullcup, thigh-bone trumpet in several early religious sects. The ‘symbolic bone ornaments’, are also known as “Caeo” – which means to ‘shut, fasten or heal’

A traditional claddu môr  is performed in specified locations in Rebma. The procedure takes place on a large flat rock long used for the purpose, and is always higher than its surroundings. It may be very simple, consisting only of the flat rock, or it may be more elaborate, incorporating temples or palaces. Relatives may remain nearby during the claddu môr , possibly in a place where they cannot see it directly. The claddu môr usually takes place at dawn.

The full claddu môr procedure (as described below) is elaborate and expensive. Those who cannot afford it simply place their deceased on a high rock where the body decomposes or is eaten by animals.

Prior to the procedure, the family may chant around the body and – although ceremonial activities often take place on the preceding day. The work of disassembling of the body is done by a consecrated Arbenigwr, often a lay sister of the Temple. Arbenigwrs do not perform their task with gravity or ceremony, but rather talk and laugh as during any other type of physical labor. According to Temple teaching, this makes it easier for the soul of the deceased to move on from the uncertain plane between life and death onto the next life.

According to practice, sea creatures are given the whole body. Then, when only the bones remain, these are broken up with mallets, ground to a powder and expelled beyond the veil. Sometimes the internal organs are removed and processed separately, but they too are consumed by animals. In places where there are several claddu môr  offerings each day, the animals sometimes have to be coaxed to eat. It is considered a bad omen if the animals will not eat, or if even a small portion of the body is left after the animals leave. In places where fewer bodies are offered, the carrion are more eager, and sometimes have to be fended off during the initial preparations.

Since the mid Lion Age, the bones of high ranking Rebmans and those considered important or valuable to society, have been gathered together and interred in mausoleums, or distributed amongst the family as reliquaries or bone caches. For these individuals, the term “lying in state” is frequently used in polite society to refer to the time between death and collection of the bones. It is considered very bad form to attempt to purchase, or to sell the bones of corpses treated in this manner.

Those of the middle and lower classes who can afford the traditional claddu môr frequently do the same. This has become a more prevalent practice in modern times.

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