Rummanah Aasi
  Today, I would like to welcome author Marilyn Yu to talk about her new paranormal book called Relations Suck: The Story of Eva and Dries. In the book Marilyn explores the concept of a creating a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) religion. I was intriguied by the concept and asked if Marilyn would discuss her thought process behind her concept and tells us about her book. Thanks to Marilyn for stopping by!

Creating a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) religion

First I'll start with my very, brief definition of religion. I see religions as shared belief systems that provide guidance for living and tools to keep one's values and actions aligned. Historically religions evolved as all other parts of life evolved –  whether due to people migrating to new places, learning new things, incorporating new technology, etc. Our current dominant religions seem to have stopped evolving. Many no longer constructively direct our cultural evolution. Some, I would even go so far as to say, are quite divisive and destructive. I would like to promote constructive cultural evolution, so I want to encourage people to apply their critical thinking and creativity to religion. I have found that most people understand things better if they have an example. So I am creating a religion as an example, hoping that it will inspire and empower others to rethink tradition and adapt religion to our times.

We live in a time when advances in technology are opening up traditional boundaries and we need our belief systems to help us learn to live cooperatively. The character I've created is named Eva. She is an update of the femme fatale archetype.  Her story is one of personal exploration and a struggle for self-determination. Her journey leads her to find compassion – compassion for those around her, the world, and eventually for herself. The idea for Eva's character started with me, but there are many people involved in creating her mythology. This is important because religions are shared dreams, so in order to create one, it needs to be relevant to more people than just me.

Eva is Coptic and born in Cairo in the early 14th century. Her life changes drastically when Eva gets the plague. In an effort to save her, her parents allow Eva to be turned into a vampire. For her protection, Eva is sent to a live in a convent in the desert. Here Eva learns a new way of life and finds a new family. Eventually both her biological and surrogate families die and Eva is cast out of the convent. From here Eva's path takes her to Europe and the Americas. Her way is fraught with pestilence, betrayal, violence, and greed mixed with tenderness, friendship, and appreciation. Through a life that spans many lifetimes, Eva learns acceptance and compassion. She transforms fear and awe into serenity and love.

Now, creating a religion can be a bit involved and may not be for everyone, but everyone can at least customize one. I have a few ideas to get you started:
  1. Reflect on what you value and believe in. How did you come to those things? How have your values and beliefs evolved over time?
  2. Examine how your values and beliefs are manifest in your life. How do they inform what you do?
  3. Identify the tools or practices you use to keep your values and actions aligned.
  4. Analyze your tools and practices. What works and what doesn't. How can you make them more effective?
  5. Keep an open mind. Life is a work in progress and provides us with constant feedback. Remember to take the feedback just as feedback and move forward.

Discover a fable about the friendship and destiny of two timeless characters: Eva, a creative vampire who likes people, and Dries, a traveling spider who disdains web-spinning. “Relations that Suck” is a piece of art in book form that bridges the worlds of fine art, fashion, and writing. It portrays the tragedies of denial and guilt in thirty-five dramatic photographs accompanied by a poetically heartbreaking narrative. 

Thanks again Marilyn for stopping by. What do you think? Have you ever heard of DIY religion before? Readers, if you like to learn more about Marilyn and preview the first two chapters of Relations that Suck, please visit her website.
3 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    I haven't heard anything about a DIY religion before, but granted I tend to stay away from anything religion based at all. It's a super interesting concept:) I do love her definition of religion!

  2. Nat Says:

    I have never heard of DIY religion. To be honest, the first thing that comes to mind is the DIY network. But the traveling spider idea is intriguing.

  3. LoriStrongin Says:

    Wow, sounds like Marilyn really puts Eva through the paces.

    While I've never heard the term "DIY" in terms of religion before, I am familiar with the concept of taking parts of other religions or belief structures and weaving them together to make a spirituality that works for you. I've never seen it in book format though, so this should be an interesting read.


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