Drabble 29 – Astrolatry


Orion Constellation by Miska Saarikko

There are few things more fascinating to me than religion. I’m not religious, personally, but not following a religion myself doesn’t mean that I can’t be interested in the things other people believe. Religion brings a lot of comfort to a lot of people and hearing people talk about their beliefs is them sharing a bit of their worldview with you–it’s informative and fascinating and wonderful.

That means that I have quite a few words on my enormous vocabulary list that end with –latry, meaning “worship of” the preceding noun. One of them is here, and at some point I’ll have a bunch more too. The only words on my list that approach the number of -latry words are those ending in -phobia (which has shown up once) and -philia, which means “an abnormal liking for or tendency toward,” and if you’re familiar with the suffix, you might have guessed why I haven’t posted any of those yet. Someday, someday.

Words are interesting. We construct our whole world, including our belief systems, out of them. Words are very, very powerful, and not just when they end with -latry.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.


(Noun: from Greek astron, meaning “star” and lairs “worshipper”)

The worship of stars and heavenly bodies.

When the invaders came, they destroyed the temples first. What better way to crush their resistance than destroying their gods? “If your gods were real,” they snarled, teeth bared beneath gold helmets, “they should have stopped us.”

The fires burn long into the night, and the smell of incense and cedar fill the air. Broken bits of gold-painted ceramic crack under their feet as they move throughout the remains of their village.

The clouds part like a veil pulled back from the moon’s face. They look upward, watching the stars in their long, slow dance. The gods are there.


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