Re: [Glorantha] Heortling initiation

From: Donald R. Oddy <>
Date: Mon, 24 May 2004 19:10:55 GMT

In message <> Jennifer Geard writes:

>Now for the next question. The New Adult goes through two year-long
>stints of learning about the worship of a particular deity, usually
>focusing on a particular subcult. The first year the deity/subcult is
>chosen by the New Adult and is "the deity that they think (or hope) has
>chosen them". The second year the deity/subcult is assigned by the
>Do you think you need to spend a year in preparation before being
>accepted into a subcult? If you realise your calling part-way through
>your first year, but the elders think you should try something
>different for your second year, do you become one of the people who has
>to spend a third year learning about the deity you will actually follow
>before you can become an initiate?

I think it's best to look at this in the context of Orlanthi and Ernaldan subcults rather than the minority cults. They are pretty much all tied to occupation so what that year teaches them is the basic skills of that occupation. The two separate years are a typically Orlanthi way of resolving the parent/child conflict about what the child wants to do. So the young lad who wants to follow Destor (don't they all) agrees to spend his second year following Orolmarn. Equally if parents and child agree then the child will spend two years with the one subcult. In practice there are other issues, a child may have want to follow Orlanthcarl but unless there is someone prepared to teach them it's not going to be an option and if they live half way up a mountain finding someone isn't going to be easy.

Bear in mind that an clear sign from a god that they have chosen a child will mean that the parents and community accepts that choice and other arrangements are scrapped. This I think is where the minority cults come in although no doubt there are plenty of tomboys who spend a year learning to fight and then decide that a family is what they really want.

As far as time goes I would think that after the two years they can initiate into either of the subcults they have spent a year in and it's only if they want to try something else that they have to spend a further year in that subcult. After that the clan will get annoyed with them being unable to make their minds up and it will be difficult for them to find someone to teach them.

>Is there a recognised theory about how fostering fits into Heortling
>society? At what age might a child be fostered, and what sort of
>relationship does fostering form between the fostered child and the
>[I've heard only little bits about fostering among Heortlings, and not
>as many references to foster-kin as I'd expect if fostering were a
>major part of the social fabric. This one's mainly curiosity.]

Possibly because Heortlings aren't too fussy about describing relationships except when they're introducing themselves. So when someone describes someone as a brother they may actually be a half-brother or foster-brother but everyone[1] knows the true relationship.

AIUI fostering is a solution to practical or political problems. So a tribe could have the practice of fostering clan chief's children with the tribal king to reinforce the tribal links. Equally a cotter's child could be fostered with another cotter because they could then learn skills unavailable in the parents stead. Or a mother might decide it was best for a child of her first marriage to be fostered with a neighbour when she remarried because her new husband and the child didn't get along. I don't see fostering being common before about eight but anytime after that if it seems the best decision.

[1] everyone who matters, that is.

Donald Oddy


To unsubscribe from the Glorantha Digest, send an "unsubscribe"
command to, or visit Glorantha is a
Trademark of Issaries Inc. With the exception of previously
copyrighted material, unless specified otherwise all text in this
digest is copyright by the author or authors, with rights granted to
copy for personal use, to excerpt in reviews and replies, and to
archive unchanged for electronic retrieval.
Official WWW at
Archives at

End of Glorantha Digest
Received on Mon 24 May 2004 - 17:33:02 EEST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0 : Sun 04 Feb 2007 - 19:57:50 EET