The only Gorean caste which, as far as I know, officially believes in an afterlife is that of the Initiates
The only Gorean caste which, as far as I know, officially believes in an afterlife is that of the Initiates, and they believe in it, it seems, only for themselves, and seem to believe it is connected with such things as the performance of secret rites, the acquisition of secret knowledges, mostly mathematical, and the avoidance of certain foods.
Initiates commonly wear white and have their heads shaved. They also, supposedly, and perhaps actually, on the whole, abstain from alcohol and women.
They count as one of the five high castes, the others being the Physicians, Scribes, Builders and Warriors. In some cities they are quite powerful, in others it seems they are largely peripheral to the life of the community. I have never been in one of these temples.
Slaves, like other animals, are not allowed within. It is felt they would defile such places.
They may wait, however, in special, small, walled areas outside the temples, usually at the back or sides, where their presence will not prove distractive or offensive to free persons. I have looked within some of these temples, from the street, through great opened doors, or through the open colonnades, such temples being roofed, but not walled, upon occasion. Some are lavishly decorated, even ornately; others seem very austere. It depends on the city, I suppose, or the tastes of the community of Initiates, those who care for the temples, in a given place.
The Chief Initiate of Ar claims to be chief of all the Initiates of all the cities, but the other Chief Initiates, in the other cities, do not, it seems, at least on the whole, acknowledge this claim. I have gathered that in these temples there are no chairs or pews, or such, unless for Initiates near the altars. Goreans perform their rites, recite their prayers, and such, standing.
The Gorean tends to regard Priest-Kings not so much as his masters as his potential allies, who might, if he is lucky, be flattered, wooed with gifts, and such.
On the high altar in each temple there is supposedly a large golden circle, the symbol of Priest-Kings, a symbol of eternity, of a thing without beginning or end. The “sign of the Priest-Kings,” similarly, is made with a closed, circular motion. The teachings of the Initiates, their recommendations, exhortations, and such, seem to be taken most seriously by the lower castes.
Dancer of Gor, p. 447-448