Re: [Glorantha] Heortling initiation

From: Donald R. Oddy <>
Date: Sun, 23 May 2004 14:43:15 GMT

In message <> Jennifer Geard writes:
>Hi All,
>Could someone please point me to the sources of information on

>initiation in Heortling society? (Also, is there an overall index for

>the Gloranthan literature? Are there supplementary indexes available
>for the books or boxed sets that don't have their own indices? Is this
>a niche waiting for someone to claim it?)

The only publications which didn't have indexes included were the Hero Wars books and "Glorantha: ITTHW". An index for those was available on the web site at one time. An overall index would be a great idea, but might be difficult to achieve especially as so much is fan produced. There is of course Lokarnos to index web pages.

>I'm particularly interested in when initiation happens and how the
>initiands' lives change from before to after.
>From his timeline of life events, Minaryth Purple seems to have been

>initiated at about 14. Was this early, or just part of a "16 +- 2yrs"

Personally I think the 16+-2 is a bit late, most RW cultures had approx 12 for women and 14 for men until very recently. Certainly heros such as Minaryth are likely to be selected by the gods when it suits them.

>I've seen some comments about second initiation -- as in Bryan's
>response to one of our questions on the Heroquest-RPG list about the
>education of women -- but I haven't managed to track down any more
>information about first and second initiations. If there are two,
>what's the difference between them and what's the status of people
>between first and second initiation?

The only thing I can think this refers to is pantheon initiation as opposed to cult initiation. With societies like the Heortlings which practice initiation into the pantheon for just about everyone that's what turns children into adults. This is the everyone worships Orlanth or Ernalda bit. There are then separate initiations if and when people join particular subcults and other cults. Of course some go directly to the other cults.

>I also remember a comment somewhere -- maybe in John Hughes' writings --
>about the wrongness of boys who hadn't been iniitated bearing weapons.
>If I extrapolate this to women I find myself with either a conundrum or
>a cultural difference. I find it difficult to imagine that a normal
>Heortling 8-year-old girl can't use a drop-spindle or help her aunts
>weave the starting bands for warping the loom. Is weaving instead a
>"woman's mystery", not taught until after initiation? Do children under
>the protection of Voria and Voriof have distinct gender roles? Children
>in this society are likely to be economically useful from an early age,
>and they won't all be shepherding or picking flowers: what restrictions
>do you think there should be on what they can do?

I would interpret that as children not being allowed to do some things without supervision. Not bearing weapons doesn't mean that boys don't learn how to use and care for weapons, just they aren't allowed to carry them around the tula. In the same way I can see girls not being allowed in the weaving shed unsupervised. Initiation involves accepting responsibility for your actions, prior to that an adult is responsible for the child's mistakes, errors and consequences. Of course actual ability to do something is different again, a twelve year old may be quite capable of weaving by herself while an adult may make a mess of the same job. The difference is that the adult knows to leave well alone and the child will probably be left to it with some grandma sitting nearby.

Donald Oddy

Received on Mon 24 May 2004 - 06:25:45 EEST

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