Re: God Learners and Illumination

From: Nick Brooke (
Date: Fri 06 Feb 1998 - 22:30:25 EET

Dave Cake, he say:

> [God Learners] almost certainly knew of [Illumination] (they plundered
> the inner secrets of the Arkat cult)...
Peter Metcalfe, he qualify:

> They plundered _some_ of the secrets of the Arkati cult.
Nick Brooke, he chip in:

How's about: "The God Learners plundered *some* of the *inner* secrets of=

the Arkat Cult"? They got some important stuff; they didn't get everythin=

Discussion follows:

It is, to me, inconceivable and absurd to suggest that the God Learners d=
not know that Illumination existed. The history of Malkionism and the Wes=

before and throughout the period of the Chaos Wars, was tied up in the
of the Cult of Nysalor, which offered Illumination. The existence of
nation would have been widespread knowledge in the West afterwards; and t=
God Learners were, if nothing else, extremely well informed, not least

their own history and philosophical background.

What I find dubious is that the God Learners knew that actual Illuminatio=
was one of the secrets of the Arkat Cult -- that, contrary to all their
public statements, the Arkati were Illuminates. The reason is simple: we
(in 1620's Glorantha) know that it's still something of a "secret" that t=
Arkati -- and Arkat himself -- are Illuminated. (Cf. Cults of Terror p.89=

"Arkat the Destroyer"; Dorastor p.127, "The Underside").

Now, surely, given the party line coming from Arkat and (presumably) his
Dark Empire -- that Nysalor's followers "were unable to tell the differen=
between good and evil, and ... were *inevitably* corrupted by their power=
and beliefs" -- one can easily imagine the maniacal crowing that would

when the (anti-Illuminate) God Learners "uncovered the truth". The Arkat
cult's "teachings about the evil, corrupt nature of Nysalor and
Illumination remain fundamental to almost all Third Age Genertelan
cultures" (references
are from "Dorastor", p.127). The "knowledge" that Arkat (and the Arkati)
and are Illuminates is a matter for speculation among philosophers (Numid=

the Skeptic and various others), and not "common knowledge" at all. Given=

that the God Learners were remarkably efficacious at spreading the "facts=
they wanted to be known, one would assume that the Arkati today would be
widely reviled as hypocritical secret Illuminates, had the God Learners

learnt *that* particular incriminating secret.

If one wanted to posit that the God Learners were Illuminates themselves,=

of course, things take a rather different turn. Learning that the Great
Secret of their enemies was something they were using themselves -- now,
*that* could make it seem less worthwhile "exposing" the "crimes" of the
other side. I leave this possibility open for those who prefer that *all*=

the Great Empires of Gloranthan History were run by Illuminates, a camp
in which I myself do not stand.

Since, however, IMG the God Learner Secret is *not* Illumination, nor wer=
the God Learners themselves routinely Illuminated (though some may have
I find myself concluding that one "Inner Secret of the Arkat Cult" that t=
God Learners did *not* wrest from them was the secret that Arkat himself,=

and his followers in the cult that ran the Dark Empire, were Illuminates.=

("This secret was known only to the highest of the Arkat cult's leaders"
- -- Cults of Terror p.89). The Great Fire of Clarity (Elder Secrets, insid=
back cover) managed -- IMG at least -- to do away with this snippet of
Secret Lore. The God Learners were then in the same position as other
philosophers before and since: presented with the obvious conundrum of
Arkat's behaviour, but without the overwhelming proof of Illumination the=
could have wrested from among the inner secrets of his followers.

If Arkat was Illuminated, that is... :-)



This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.7 : Fri 13 Jun 2003 - 23:06:55 EEST