A few questions about Divine Magic and such...

From: Ramos-Tavener, Doyle Wayne (st670@Jetson.UH.EDU)
Date: Wed 15 Jan 1997 - 01:21:26 EET

OK, let me see if I have this straight...

What we used to call Divine Magic in RQ in is described in "Literary
Glorantha" as follows:

Rituals are the acting out, by human beings, of the acts and relationships
of Godtime (or if you prefer, Otherworld) entities. When you act as an
Otherworld entity in one of these rituals, you are simultaneously in both
the "real world" (or Time, if you prefer) and the Otherworld (or Godtime, if
you prefer). You experience both the Mythic reality and the reality of the
situation that you are participating in.

When you use "Divine Magic" you are adapting elements of a specific ritual
to whatever situation you find yourself in (presumably combat, or some other
"Adventure" situation) in order to evoke an effect that you see as
beneficial to you. You must have participated in the ritual in order to
evoke the effect, by using elements of the ritual such as speech, state of
mind, stance and other "ritual" actions.


Presumably, "Spells" are not taught, as nearly any part of a ritual could be
used to evoke an effect. Correct?

There are presumably social conventions about which elements of a ritual are
practically useful for "spell casting", but otherwise, as long as you are
adapting elements that you directly mimicked in a ritual, there are few
restrictions about which part of the ritual can be used for an effect. Correct?

(This seems a little vague, even to me. What I am specifically wondering is
if there are really standard sets of spells or rather if there are "effects"
that have been generated in the past that are part of the oral and written
tradition of the theist culture involved. Also, if some one figured out how
to use a ritual in a different way, could that person then produce an effect
not previously known to the culture?)

Only those who participate in the ritual can invoke the effect, because only
they have seen the mythic reality that underlies the ritual. Correct?

Also, is it this the specific experienced knowledge that Greg Stafford
refers to as Gnosis?

Presumably, Initiation rituals are extremely important, because before
initiation, one is unable to perceive the Otherworld even when observing
such rituals, much less participating in them. So that when Biturian Varosh
(the Issaries priest from CoP) acts as an enemy during the Yelmalio ritual,
he does not perceive the mythic reality, as only those initiated in the
Yelmalian religion would. Correct?


When you use "Divine Magic", you are essentially re-imposing a Mythic
relationship upon Time.

The POW/MP Vs POW/MP conflict is essentially a competition between two world
views. Which reality is the one that will dominate?

The idea that "Magic", considered as a social institution, derives from
religion, is an old one (see "Stolen Lightning: the Social Theory of Magic"
by Daniel Lawrence O'Keefe).

Those who make this sort of assertion also make a linked assertion: That
religion (and thus ritual and myth) is a projection of society.

Since ritual seems to be a Gloranthan's way of checking on whether or not a
myth is true (i.e. whether or not you experience Mythic reality when you
enact the ritual) this would seem to indicate that myth or stories come
first, which then imposes on the Otherworld a pattern, which then can be
experienced in ritual.

So now somebody explain to me how the other magic systems of the other three
great cultures work, without resorting to system mechanics. (BTW, I like

System mechanics, don't get me wrong, but I would like to have a clear
picture of how magic works in literary Glorantha before I decide which rules
to use, and how much I feel like adapting them.)

Doyle Wayne Ramos-Tavener


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