"Any organism capable of religious faith is capable of superstition. The only difference between a religious belief and a superstition is the number of people who believe it." — Arinn Dembo
Hiver religion, like certain other aspects of Hiver society, has been relatively stable over thousands of years. Hiver practice a certain amount of ancestor worship, for obvious reasons. It is difficult for Hiver to change their conception of the divine when it so perfectly echoes what they know about life, death and Creation.
A Hiver temple is a stylized and richly elaborated version of a Queen's laying chamber. The Goddess is generally depicted as an enormous Hiver Queen, many times the size of any real Hiver. Depending on the sect and time period, other Hiver demi–gods and avatars may also be depicted — a divine Prince, a noble coterie of divine warriors etc. Hiver priests are almost always workers and it is said that the warrior caste retains a few shrines and sacred places which are known only to them.
Due to quirks of Hiver physiology, death is not necessarily the end of any given Hiver's life. A great deal of short and long–term memory is stored in crystalline form in a Hiver's brain case, and these chemicals can be extracted intact for up to 72 hours after death. A Hiver's crystalline brain case can even survive the effects of vacuum for a time. With the help of the Princess — who passes these chemicals through her own digestive tract — the memory of the fallen Hiver can be injected into the thorax of a freshly laid egg. The result is a new–born Hiver which has many of the memories, skills and experiences of the Hiver who died.
This form of limited reincarnation is central to the spiritual beliefs of the Hiver population who conceive of the Divine as a female Hiver constantly devouring and renewing the universe. It is also very useful in preserving valuable skills and giving Hiver access to information which would otherwise be lost.
Technically there is no limit to the number of times a Hiver could be reincarnated in this fashion, and a strong Queen can reincarnate a favored son or daughter many times. Nonetheless, something is lost with every passage, and Hiver tend to sacralize multiples of three and six. It is considered profane to rebirth any Hiver more than eleven times — the final feast belongs to their Goddess, as it is She who swallows those who die final death, bringing them forth as pure new life without memory of pain or sorrow.
These religious ideas and taboos, arbitrary as they seem, may reflect a limitation to Hiver biology and a certain amount of anxiety over the loss of identity and memory in the reincarnation process.
Regardless, Hiver believe that when they die the Final Death they are reincarnated by the Goddess, who does a much better job than any mortal Queen — the Goddess rebirths them with a new soul free of pain.
Barring some specific desire to respect another being's dying wish or funeral practice, Hiver ALWAYS prefer to cremate the dead — their own or anyone else's. They are extremely sensitive to pathogenic odors and rot.
This being said, some Hiver cannot be cremated because their chitin is genetically altered to be flame retardant. There are other methods of de–fleshing available for such cases, including burial if necessary.
Hiver have many myths and legends.
Their analogous being to Prometheus the fire bringer was a divine Prince, not a warrior, and he is said to have brought a good deal of divine knowledge and technology with him when he betrayed the Goddess and descended to Toto'pre to become the consort of the first Hiver Queen.
According to these ancient stories, it was through this marriage between mortal and divine that the Hiver learned the secrets of fire (which was a gift given by the Father to the first Worker son), sword (a gift to the first Warrior son), calligraphy (given to the first Prince son) and the magical ability to produce female offspring (given to the first Princess).
The Black Queen Edit
Although not commonly spoken of in public, many Hiver believe that there is an anti–Goddess as well as a Goddess of the universe, and that this "Black Queen" and Her children are the authors of all misery, entropy, pain and destruction.
The Human equivalent would be the Norse Hel or pre–Hellenic Persephone, but with a far more negative connotation. The Black Queen is the Queen of Hell, for the Hiver, and She is the author of all beings which are evil.
The Hiver also have their tales of terror, just as any other sentient might — of Hiver devoured by a terrible enemy and returning as members of the enemy to devour more living Hiver. It is essentially a variation on the vampire legend. Such creatures are conceived to be only one soldier–type from a whole hive of monsters.
"Children of the Black Queen" is a general term for all such demonic entities — the damned sons and daughters of pure entropy and darkness.