godly speculation

From: Peter Metcalfe (P.Metcalfe@student.canterbury.ac.nz)
Date: Sat 10 May 1997 - 07:39:19 EEST

Sandy Petersen:

Me>>Likewise that book claims that the Pentan nomads also worship Yelm.
>>This too is known to be false as they apparently worship the Sun by
>>the name of Kargzant.

>This is NOT false. Yelm is the Sun. So is Kargzant. How does the use of a
>different name & cult structure make the Pentans not worship Yelm?

Because on the level where one can say Kargzant is Yelm and vice
versa, one can IMO also say that Yelm is Yelmalio or Storm Bull
is Orlanth or Cronisper is Dayzatar. It makes things a great deal
easier IMO if one uses the tag 'Yelm' to describe practices and
customs arising from the Pelorian Sun Worship rather than using
it as a generic tag for Gloranthan Sun Worship. By using Yelm
to describe Solar worship elsewhere is like describing Roman Solar
Worship in terms of Ra, a sure recipe for headhurting confusion

>>This is not merely a question of the Pentans worshipping Orlanth
>>by another name - many of the Orlanthi practices and doctrines
>>are totally foreign to Storm Pentans.

>You are exactly wrong here, the Pentans DO worship Orlanth by another
>name. [...] The (cultural) Orlanthi practices & doctrines have nothing
>to do with the god, only with the way he is perceived.

I am not "exactly wrong" as your response has exactly nothing to
do with what I said. I am merely pointing out here that as well
as the name, the customs and doctrines will also vary from culture
to culture. This is to forestall arguments like because the Dragon
Pass Orlanthi detest Slavery, the Storm Pentans must necessarily
do so too.

Trent Di Renna:

>Can a God manifest physically in the Material World? According to the
>Great Compromise, they can't, except as abstract phenomena, but in River
>of Cradles, Waha is mentioned as walking around as a physical being.

Of course they can.

The Pelorians know not the Great Compromise so Gods are able to
walk freely there. The Red Emperor is believed by his Dara
Happan Subjects to be Antirius Incarnate *and* Son of the Moon.
Beneath him are the City Gods of the Tripolis, who randomly
incarnate among their descendants.

In Carmania, they worship the Gods in the form of statues who
can at times become animate. The Carmanians also know rituals
to call their gods to Glorantha. The last major summoning
of this sort was the battle of the Four Arrows of Light, whence
Humakt, Carmanos and many other gods were defeated. In the
West, at particularly dramatic battles, the Saints themselves
are said to come down from Solace...

Even among the Orlanthi, the Gods are known to manifest. Orlanth
came down to fight against Zistor the Machine God. To preserve
their fragile myth of the Great Compromise, the Orlanthi claim
that the Great Compromise was broken (by Somebody Else) which
necessitated Orlanth's appearance to fix it.

The God Learners speculated that the power of the God so manifested
was dependant upon the size of his worshippers. In addition, the
appearance and attitudes of this manifestation was shaped by the
beliefs of the god's worshippers. To some extent, two manifestations
of the same god could end up fighting one another.

>Similarly, some gods have been described as being powerful spirits,
>rather than actual "gods". Spirit cults come to mind, but there are also
>beings such as ancestor spirits, who aren't gods, but provide many more
>powers than a spirit. What would you say the dividing line between a
>"spirit" (reachable by a shaman) and a "god" (reachable only by worship or
>HeroQuesting) is?

The distinction between a spirit and a god is merely an effect of
the manner in which he is worshipped. 'Spirits' that are worshipped
in theistic cultures are known as Hero Cults.

Carl Fink:

>This sounds a bit extreme. If the worshippers are *completely* free
>to ignore the deity's preferences and attributes, then the deity can't
>be said to exist except as a construct of the worshippers, which
>does not seem to be what you mean.

Think of the customs and worship creating a 'Door' between the
God and his worshippers (There are things that are known...).
The effectiveness of this 'Door' determines how well the god's
worshippers can do his magic. The main feedback the god provides
is that magic works. If it doesn't or works at reduced effectiveness,
the worshippers know that they have screwed up or have been screwed
somewhere along the line.

Now the 'Door' *can* be turned so that it points towards another
god IMO. It's not something that happens everyday and is usually
*consciously* done. Some changes to the customs and worship will
have to be made so that the 'Door' points to the new god. An
example would be the Storm Pentans discovering the Four Winds of
Pent using their pentan lore.

Now although I've said 'worship' above, one can use other means
to communicate with the god such as shamanism, mysticism and even

>It's an interesting question, now that it has ocurred to me. Does
>anyone worship the Sun as a rebel or trickster on the lozenge? I
>can't think of anyone, which would rather support my point.

Well the Darsen Women do know of the wicked Brightface who upsurped
the rule of Women.

- --Peter Metcalfe


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