[Glorantha]Orlanthi initiation

From: Peter Metcalfe <metcalph_at_quicksilver.net.nz>
Date: Mon, 24 May 2004 19:12:22 +1200

Jennifer Geard:

>Could someone please point me to the sources of information on=20
>initiation in Heortling society?

King of Sartar (p239+) and Thunder Rebels (p58+) are the most thorough.

>(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?)

>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"

         Children become adults after a formal initiation ceremony, [...].
         The adulthood initiation rites are offered to not-adults between the
         ages of 15 and 19, depending on the local custom, the 
         of initiators, and other on-going circumstances.  On the average,
         initiations occur every five years.
                 KoS p239-242

So it seems that Minaryth's initiation was exceptional for a reason that he doesn't explain (it could just be local custom). The earliest that I know of is Harsaltar the Terrible that became a Humakti in the Household of Death at the tender age of eight.

Thunder Rebels (p58) however says the five yearly initiations are for boys only and that girls are initiated as soon as they menstruate and that the girls rites are carried out every year.

>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.

I'm not too sure what this is meant to be about either. There is a not-adult membership which children and adopted foreigners have.

         Mature foreigners who wish to become members [of the clan]
         must undergo a First Rite, a period of instruction of at least
         six months, and a birthday rite which makes them not-adult
         members of the clan.
                 KoS p239

Since the First Rite is begun when children are still in the womb and completed seven days after birth, to describe this as an initiation is a bit of a stretch.

However Thunder Rebels (p58-60) describes a two year period after initiation in which a Heortling is a New Adult. This is the process of discovering which God has chosen them. Usually it's one year studying your favourite god and then one year studying what your elders think your favourite god should be. At the end of that period, the god's identity normally becomes clear.

>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?

I'm not too sure about this either. I do think that Orlanthi boys, like little boys everywhere, would play around with toy weapons long before they are initiated.

>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 restriction
>do you think there should be on what they can do?

The only restrictions that I can find are sex and learning divine magic. Learning common magic or having innate magical abilities is fine.

--Peter Metcalfe


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End of Glorantha Digest Received on Mon 24 May 2004 - 06:25:45 EEST

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