Entry 5 - Spirits
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So, setting up home.

When my tribe found a place to stop, we’d set up our homes. Sticks, straw, and woven cloth, the Earth equivalent would be similar to a Sioux tipi. Ours were triangular, like a human camping tent. Not a bad place to start, and I still remember how to set one up.

There’s a small hill next to the spring, with a mostly flat top, a good place to work from. But first I have to claim it.

My people believed in a pantheon of spirits, as most tribes do. Ucello was the spirit of home and safety. When we stopped at a comfortable place, the first thing we did was set up his shrine, it had to be done first thing, as anything set up before wouldn’t be under his protection. Often times if the shrine fell over or had to be remade, we’d take our houses and structures down first, then re-erect them once the shrine had been fixed. I thought it was a pointless hassle, even back then.

I went back to the spring and pulled out a big lump of clay. Shaping it as well as I could into an image of Ucello. I’d helped the Elders with this before, so I got most of the details right, including the hole in the bottom to keep it propped up.

As it cooked in the pit, I went and found an acceptable spot. Someplace out of the way. I stuck a large stick into the ground. For the next few hours I searched for rocks, slowly adding them to the pile around the stick until it was a good sized mound.

When the baking was done, I took the clay figure back to the spot and, through the hole I’d made, shoved it on the stick poking from the top of the mound. Like all figures of Ucello, he had his hand raised out, a spirit can't protect without a weapon after all. I placed one of my sharpened rocks in it. Now he can protect home.

Next, you normally give him your thanks and prayers. I didn’t do that.

I only sat down in front of him, and just thought for a bit.

Why’d I do it? I stopped believing in spirits long ago. Ucello’s not real. Everything my tribe did for him, for all the spirits, wasn't real. We prayed to nothing, we gave our offerings to nothing. It’s just a clay statue on top of some stones…

But it's also an idea. One that was made by my ancestors, who thought the stars were sprits flying overhead. They never knew their idea would be on another world around another star, impossibly far away. A place they couldn't even comprehend.

It was a figurine on a pile on of stones, but it made everyone feel a little safer at night. Made things feel like home.

And here, on an alien planet, surrounded by things no sentient creature has ever known. I might need a little home.

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