From: John Hughes (
Date: Mon 12 Feb 1996 - 19:46:42 EET


(Rated N - suitable for Nick. Contains no mention of the 'e' word! :-) )

Howdy folks

Kudos to Martin for good, thoughtful grist-for-the-mill criticism,
encouraging me to try a little harder. Which is exactly what I was after.

I think the first lesson is that every quote should have a context. By
themselves the Odaylan sayings I ve presented are bare -in some cases more
properly principles behind sayings than sayings themselves.

On reflection, I agree with Martin about the excessive new-age or detached
feel for about half the quotes. The quotes come from a multiform I've
written that dealt almost solely with emotional and (unpleasant) inner
truths, and they were written for character sheets with that in mind. The
aim, rather than to portray life in the forest, was to set the scene for
what was to be a spontaneous descent/dismemberment heroquest (Musik of the
Spears). (If you can't live the myth, the myth will sometimes live you. And

if you live in hell, hell is where the myth will take you). I should have
worked on them a little before putting them out for general comment, or at
least put them in context.

Things that work in a 3 hour ritual theatre piece don't necessarily
automatically translate to a wider purpose. My mistake.

That feel also partially reflects some major sources - the Jo Campbell
canon (of course), and a simultaneously fascinating/horrendous book I've
been reading called 'Native Wisdom For White Minds', by Anne Wilson Schaef
(working subtitle - 'Death to Anthropologists' :-) ). Not Castenada though

- - haven't read any of Carlos' fiction for ten or fifteen years.

Of course, if you work with Campbellian models with any degree of
seriousness, there is always this danger. (And I have been again, of late.
I keep going back to the old blighter and his myths about myth.) I think
you're right in that most of these bald truths would be softened and/or
padded through a richer context of metaphor, myth or paradox. As I said,
some of them more properly are the principles behind the sayings.

Though if by 'new age' you mean dealing with emotion in an open way, then I
disagree, and will happily defend my pov. Different cultures will deal with
emotional truths and there expression in a variety of different ways. And
if Glorantha/Runequest has been a twenty year meditation on what it is to
be a hero, then the emotional side of heroquesting/mythic spirituality is a
valid topic for exploration.

Your concrete example was wonderful. Got any more?

* I don't think the Odaylans would have a view of the Oneness of the Divine and
* its corrollary of Love with a capital L. ("All the tribes are one." "in the
* gors, you must love one another or die." "Survival is the second law. /The
* first is that we are all one.") Rather, I'd think they'd be immersed in Its
* multiplicity (not to say multifariousness). A belief in Oneness, in
* Glorantha, is the province of the Malkioni and their offshoots, who are
* pretty far (geographically and religiously) from the Far Point Odaylans. For
* this reason, I much prefer sayings like "The mountains circle their sacred
* arms around me. ... The Four Winds provide." and ""The plants, rocks, fire
* and water all are alive. ..."

Hmmm. The quest for unity is a profound spiritual truth in my FP Orlanthi
campaign, simply because it is so elusive. The Lunars rave about Healing
the Cosmos, all the Orlanthi want to do is heal the tribe. ANY tribe.
(Musik of he Spears was set in a place where kinstrife had LITERALLY
destroyed nearly half the tribe in the last two generations). Such sayings
are confronting and elicit denial, simply because they get to the root of
the problem. This has very little to do with Love with a capital L. Unity
and compassion are a large part of what survival is all about. (and I
believe, herodom).

Now as I understand it, Malkioni Oneness is a monotheistic construct that
posits a Divine Unity SEPARATE and ABOVE creation. That right? - do any
sects believe the Invisible God IS glorantha?) Thats a profound difference,
in Terran religion, perhaps THE crucial difference, between tribal and
monotheistic traditions (Yeah, yeah, I'm generalising :-)), and their
resulting world views. In tribal traditions, divinity and the sacred spring
from the land itself. Meaning is immanent. Good and evil (bizzarre,
abstract concepts!) are less important than identification with the land
and its values.

A concrete and expansive sense of unity with the land (with the Divine
perhaps as a metaphoric justification) is a very common aspect of first
world consciousness right across this planet. It goes to the heart of the
hunter/gatherer mentality (of which spirituality is a an integral and
undifferentiated part).

The second aspect, a related one, is identification with animal powers.
Hunter-gatherer mythology is alive with animal transformation/ sex with
animals mythology. Animal transformations are the result of special power,
and from them come new powers. Hunter-gatherers' understanding of their
environment and the powers they need to thrive in it are built on an
association between themselves, the animals, and the land, for which
stories about connection and transformation constitute the underpinnings
and necessary system of belief.

Enough of the quibbling. Martin, thank you. Your post contains some
essential advice about building up saying collections like the one I've
started. Im going back to work on them, and to scour my notebooks for
spontaneous campaign wisdom.

The issues raised are essentially practical. What DO cults (any cults)
actually teach in terms of coming to terms with the universe/human
nature/daily survival? In what form do they teach or disseminate such
wisdom? How much of it is common to a given society or culture? (I don't
mean the meta-cant about healing the universe etc. (though that has its
place). I mean more mundane stuff about well, surviving till next Godsday.)

I've given a few possibilities. I'd love to hear from others. Share your
campaign sayings! Lets work on some examples!

And if you want to wax theoretical, consider this: What IS a hero? (Without
mentioning infinity runes or heroquests - I don't want to make it too

Riddles, Martin? Yeah maybe. But first, can I have some of those toasted


In view of recent discussions, I just HAD to share this, from Gita Mehta's
wonderful 'Karma Cola'.

'Hindu thought is without dogma, and dogged by Dharma.

Dharma means no distinction between chaos and order, accepting good and
evil as indivisible, witnessing continuity as the moral order, being as a
process of endless becoming. And yet to act. It means you cannot follow the
Law. You are the Law.'



    ... a flying arrow, a crashing wave, night old ice, a coiled snake,
    a bride's bed talk, a broken sword, the play of bears, a king's son.
                                                             Havamal 86.


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