Rawking Ravens, Coyote?, Name that Uz Trickster

From: James Frusetta (gerakkag@wam.umd.edu)
Date: Sun 12 Jan 1997 - 20:58:39 EET


Simon Phipp writes (in Digest #62):

> Raven is a Darkness Spirit hich takes the form of a raven. It is not
> necessarily Vrimak's child, the God of Ravens.
> Any argument which assumes that raven is the god of ravens is flawed,

Could you expand on why you argue this? It was my understanding that, at
least in Native Alaskan stories, that the behavior of Raven was based on
the actions of raven the bird: since the animal is, well, tricky, the god
was "created" along these lines. Other powers (e.g., Raven the
Creator) were added on later. So the RW model sure doesn't fit
what you're saying, as I understand it. Arguing that Raven /= the god of
ravens seems to imply that either the birds aren't tricky (or perhaps that
Raven the Darkness spirit came along later and corrupted them). You might
prefer the latter; I prefer that they're inherently disorderly, rude and
tricky, and Raven is their leader. <g>

And interestingly enough, if he's a primarily a Darkness spirit, why no
association with the Darkness rune? (Tales #14) And if he's not associated

with ravens, why the Beast rune?

IMO: Raven was the God of Ravens who said phooey on the dignity and proper
ettiquete of Yelm's domain (read: bor-ing), and went off and had a fine
time indeed. The Darkness powers were the result of God-time activities,

etc. (which helps explain why he never got the Darkness rune -- maybe
Ratslaff slipped in the Disorder rune when he was born, explaining the
behavior of all ravens since. Rrrawk.) Because of this rank naughtiness,
Yelm stripped him of his "title" as God of the Ravens, which might be why

he's no longer associated with the title (also raising the interesting
question of who Yelm would have given the title to... there's a good
myth there, too. "Congratulations! You're now in charge of millions of
these annoying, squawking, thieving, crapping and destructive birds. What
are you going to do?" "Hide my gold armor.")

<Shrug> I doubt the Praxians really think about it, myself. They're more
interested in keeping the ravens from stealing or destroying stuff (the
clever little monsters).

>Orlanth, Raven already existed. There is no reason why any of these
>are connected to Vrimak, unless you take the Western schema as

Yah, but I _like_ to think of Vrimak as Yelm's feathery little fascist
henchmen, and blame him for all sorts of crimes. <g> I could well be off,
though, and I'd agree with you that it would be a _better_ myth to say
that Yelm burned ravens black directly, rather than use Vrimak &/or Sun
Hawk as intermediaries. Too complicated, and you rightly point out the
flaws. But I disagree about Raven not being the God of Ravens: I think
he is, I just think the Praxians no longer see him that way.
- ---
Unkindnesses, Murders & Parliaments:
Just a question: good ol' corvus corax, the raven, seems to have made
Glorantha his home (I'm assuming you can find him just about anywhere in
Genertela, based on the RW habitat). But are there crows & rooks, too?
And are these seen as "small ravens" or are they considered to be seperate
birds? They are fairly easy to tell apart, after all. Just curious -- I
don't think I've seen a reference for either, although crows seem to be
depicted in some of the art.

And, BTW, any suggestions for alternate names for plural groupings? Can't
see the Orlanthi saying "parliament of rooks." A Moot of Rooks?
- ---
And a stupid question:
This is probably idiotic, but are there coyotes in Glorantha? I hadn't
seen this come up in the Trickster thread, which I would have suspected,
leading me to wonder if there are none (or if the RW example is so strong
it's consciously been avoided). Likely, I've just missed something. :(
- ---
Stephen Martin suggests Trolls needed a trickster to keep them entertained
in Wonderhome:
But it was _so_ wonderful they didn't need one. They had Trollball. <g>
- ---
And here's that damn Troll Trickster again.

I like Simon Phipp and Tim Ellis' suggestions that there are a number of
"tricksters" in Uz society, but no unified Trickster. (And Tim: it was XU,
I tell ya. All along. She just has better PR than ZZ).

Which actually suggests something on the Name that Troll Trickster thread:
maybe there are a number of different names for Trickster(s) in
Darktongue, all beginning with a common Romo- or Roko- prefix. So you
might have _dozens_ of different names. Zorak Zoran isn't RomoZoZo* any
more because he "broke away" and became a War god. Once the influence of

Eurmal came along (from human refugees to the Darkness) the trolls sort of
loosely grouped all their tricksters together (thus, the Romo-/Roko-
prefix) but never unified them. 'd be a nice trick, and would allow for
local variation on Trickster's name between stories.

James

* -- I like this so much, I'll have to remember to annoy Death Lords with
it in the future. "Look kids: it's RomoZoZo the Clown!" <honk!>

==========================================================================
James Frusetta gerakkag@wam.umd.edu
Department of History University of Maryland, College Park
                        http://www.wam.umd.edu/~gerakkag
==========================================================================

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