One of my least favorite parts about studying medieval history thus far has been the Roman Catholic Church. I am, myself, a nondenominational Christian who believes in the Sacred Names, Yahweh and Yahshua. All the liturgy and focus on a patriarchal structure, myriad Latin terms, gives me great distress.
The hardest part of writing Historical Fantasy during the Middle Ages, is the need to incorporate the Roman Catholic Church into the landscape. It was a huge part of their lives, rightly or wrongly.
While my parents had been Catholic when I was a child, they left and became Lutheran. I never developed any concept of what Mass and the dogma of the Church is really like. It is mind-blowing. I personally don’t understand how people live this way. While I believe in the supernatural, in Spirits, in a world beyond, it seems much of their focus is on superstition rather than faith. Now, I’m not trying to be judgmental and I have no desire to offend. I am trying to put it in a context I can work with in the sphere of my writings.
It may sound crazy to some but even as a Christian, I believe in the existence of supernatural phenomena. I believe in the possibility of unicorns, griffins and dragons. Yahweh said in Isaiah 55:9, ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’ In Ezekiel, we get the emergence of four living creatures with four faces from a whirlwind of fire. And there is, of course, the dragon, the old serpent, the devil.
To me, it’s not that preposterous to inject mythological creatures into a story of good and evil. Even today, we hear people speak of angels when good things happen. We hear people speak of ghosts and disembodied voices when speaking of evil things. There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the supernatural which alone, I believe, makes it plausible.
All things are possible and that to me, is what writing Historical Fantasy is. It is all things being possible employed to tell a tale.
While I delved into some of the nuances of the Roman Catholic Church, and have to include it in the foundation of the story because of its overwhelming presence in all things Medieval, I did my best to keep their priests and liturgy out of the story because most of it simply bores me. I prefer to have realistic characters dealing with their grip on faith while going through what seems at times, overwhelming odds. It is the story of our own lives. We may not wear collars or be trained in seminaries but we are all holy and separate because every single day, we are making dozens of decisions that affect our loved ones. What we decide is all about our own principles. And there is no accounting for where these principles come from. It is supernatural. The gift of selfless love residing in our hearts is unimaginable. Why care? Why, when everything is going wrong for us, do we still care? Despite all the death, violence, creatures and magic woven into The Crystal Crux, I hope the readers come away with a deeper knowledge of themselves.
Yahweh declared that we are, indeed, gods. We have the power to create so much good in this world. But mankind seems hellbent to constantly do evil, betray one another, take advantage of one another.
I believe we are gods. We are creators. We can do all things – all things but live forever. We will die. And it is, I believe, this fear of our own mortality that fuels our principles and decisions we make every day.
All the liturgy and dogma and denial of supernatural existences, of angels and demons, gods and devils, can’t help you. You alone, hold your fate in your hand when it comes to deciding for yourself what is right and wrong, good and evil. The myths of the past were merely people just like us, making decisions to get them through their days – and some have been handed down to us in fascinating, creative ways. I think we all need a healthy dose of fantasy in our lives to give the realm of possibilities and hope, fresh air. Breath it in.
Artwork: Sara Werner