Re: Glorantha Digest V4 #395

Date: Mon 12 May 1997 - 09:48:04 EEST

> From: Peter Metcalfe <>
> Date: Sat, 10 May 1997 16:39:19 +1200
> Subject: godly speculation
> 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
> methinks.

This brings up a sticky point... Is the GodTime, and the Gods,
subjective, or objective?

If we take the view that the events of the GodTime were merely the
interactions of impersonal forces, and that what the Theists of
Central Genertela are simply impersonal forces (definitely a
Malkioni/God-Learnerish point of view), then we can correctly assume
that the teachings of the major cults of Central Genertela are a lie,
and that the LBQ, for example, is simply a projection of cultural
moires and creation stories onto the impersonal forces of the
creation of the universe... effectively, a grand exercise in
anthromorphization. While perhaps more appealing to logic,
this takes some of the personality and mystery out of Glorantha's
Deities, which makes Glorantha not as fun for me. I for one
dig Orlanth for his personality and his ways, as for much his function
in Theyalan culture.

The second view is that the Gods are seperate, discrete entities, and
within the infinite and contradictory nature of GodTime, all of the
Myths across Glorantha are true. While this satisfies the Mythic
conundrums caused by the existence of multiple gods, this can make the
real world situaton confusing, in much the same way as when members of
other cultures, with differing cultural and religious paradigms meet.

The third way is perhaps that the Gods are such vast entities that they
have the capability for showing one face to their followers, and one
of these faces and the explanations for the myths of the creation of the
world are true and correct, but can be contardictory due to the vastness
of that God's nature. Thus, when the God Learners were performing their
experiments, they weren't exchanging gods per se, but they were moving
where different faces of that god was manifesting. For example, in the
'two earth goddesses' experiment, they weren't exchanging the differing
Goddesses, but were simply moving the expression of the Goddess of Grain
(an ideal that stays the same, but changes form somewhat depending on
cultural millieu and local grains available on Glorantha.) This is why
God Learners' experiments were so easy, in this regard.

Thus, Orlanth and King West Wind are both the Primal Lord of Storm,
showing differing faces to differing peoples, as Kargzant and Yelm are
aspects of the same primal power. As the God's Devolved in GodTime,
they weren't birthing new gods at all, but simply learning new
of themselves. Thus, Umath is an old, no-longer-necessary mask for
Air, as he/she wears a number of different masks to express his/her vast
personality, such as those or Orlanth, Storm Bull/Bumerok, King West
Kolat and Molanni. Expressing themselves in different forms could be
the Celestial Court survived the Greater Darkness. The mask of Primal
Truth, Oreonar, did not survive the Darkness, but she still lives on
in the expressions known as Lhankor Mhy, Dayzatar, Daliath, and perhaps
even in bizarre of lesser manifestations as Yelmalio and Humakt! Gods
can still suffer the God-Death of Chaos, though, since many masks and
manifestations were destroyed. These are potentials that were destroyed
Chaos, potentials that can never be realised again... Witness Yamsur and
Genert the Land God.

So, I hopefully strike a middle ground between Pete and Sandy's points.

> ===============
> >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.
IMO, I don't feel that God's manifesting violates the Compromise.
It's important to realize that in Glorantha, one interacts with the
Gods every day, they make up the fabric of the world. The sunshine
on your face *is* the radiance of Yelm, the wind at your back *is*
Orlanth, the group of Chieftains in council in Prax *is* Waha, as your
herd is Eiritha. It's important to know that the Gods in Gorantha
simply beings who reside in some distant GodTime, they *are* the stuff
that makes up the world, and they are allowed to directly manifest
if they are *called by their worsphippers, according to strict,
pre-determined terms*. This would include the proper sacrifices and
to defend the plains in the case of when Waha fought Pavis's Giant in
Too Tall battle, or when Orlanth fought the Machine God Zisor...(in that
case, one God taking action against another God's worhsippers directly,
as opposed to through magics, or lesser manifestations such as Cult
seems to give that God fiat to fufill their terms of the Compromise and
protect their mortal worshippers.)

Another point about Orlanth against Zisor and Pavis' Giant vs Waha...
Waha and Orlanth may well have been not the full blown versions of those
Gods, but in essence gigantic, super-sized versions of Cult Spirits,
to directly intervene against threats to their worhsippers. I would
massive amounts of worshippers, MP's and POW were involved to call those

> 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.

This supports my 'masks and expressions' arguement quite nicely,
especially since doors can be 'moved' to other deities, who are
of a similar nature.

> From: <>
> Date: Sat, 10 May 1997 05:15:41 -0400 (EDT)
> Subject: Orlanth Bridegroom?
> In an RQ campaign which recently ended, I had intended to have the
> Sartarite PCs find out about a Lunar inspired cult of "Orlanth Bridegroom".
> The idea was that Orlanthis who were friendly to the Empire and the Goddess
> would attempt to "marry" Orlanth to the Red Goddess by rituals (Orlanth Wind
> Lords and Storm Voices marrying Lunar priestesses, maybe) and heroquests.
> How absurd an idea is that?

        Not absurd at all. In fact, it's a frighteningly real possibility.
I assume that Orlanth himself has no wish to marry the Red Goddess, and
Red Moon is attacking Orlanth at his most vulnerable point - His
I've always been of the belief that a God or Goddess is as much affected
his or her worshippers, as he or she affects them.

> Most extreme version: The PCs are put in some kind of stasis or
> otherwise out of the universe. When they return, Orlanth is part of the Lunar
> pantheon and the Empire rules almost the whole of Genertela.



End of Glorantha Digest V4 #396

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