Pol Joni - Waha And Other Worship

From: Nick Hollingsworth (NickH@compans.com)
Date: Fri 20 Aug 1999 - 15:56:49 EEST


Cris Bell:
> "These cattle people offered proper sacrifice to
> the deities of the Paps ..."(ROC, Page 14)
> ... implies knowledge of the Waha religion and
> worship in the Waha manner. Therefore ... the
> Pol Joni must have ... Waha Khans and Priestesses
> of Eiritha.

Having Waha Kahns _and_ Wind Lords does seems socially
complicated to me. To fit with the above quote it would
be enough to say that they have priestesses of Eiritha
instead of or as well as priestesses of Uralda.

Pol Joni Sans Waha
- ------------------

I don't think they worship the rest of the local gods.
For a start if Waha is necessary for every day survival
you cant have Waha clans and Orlanth clans or even
Waha families and Orlanth families else the Orlanth
families, spending all day pushing dead cattle round
the plains, would have died out by now.

Nor do I think they basically follow the Prax pantheon
with Orlanth etc treated as if they were spirit cults or
extra cults. They are foreigners absorbing enough of the
local way to survive, not locals absorbing some foreign
ways. So they are basically Orlanthi but with a some
local stuff absorbed and some wacky mutation of standard
Orlanthi ways (as if there were such a standard).

Uralda's Little Sister Eiritha
- ------------------------------

Where was I, oh yes:
> "These cattle people offered proper sacrifice to
> the deities of the Paps ..."(ROC, Page 14)
etc

Possibly they have
successfully identified Uralda with Eritha and merged
the goddesses to the extent that their priestesses can
perform the rites of both well enough for the herds
to prosper on the edges of Prax. More likely they

consider one a sub cult or sister cult of the other.
Thus the deities retain their separate identities but
the priestess has access to the most important myths
and magic of both.

If they have a cult of Uralda Herd Mother who gains some
magic through Eiritha her _lesser_ sister, then that would
satisfy the quote and give then the ability to survive in
Prax in some manner. At the same time it would help explain
why the major tribes are so p****d of with them since they
don't worship any of the local gods except Eiritha who they
insultingly call a little sister and treat as an adjunct to
the goddess of cattle.

I imagine the level of hostility this
generates is only made worse by the fact that the priestesses
of Uralda can 'prove' the rightness of their claims by
having some success at the Paps. Though the level of success
should be different in some minor way to allow room for
denial by the locals.

The main 'proof' is that the cattle can survive on the
chaparral. They don't thrive as well as the local beasts
though.
 
I assume both the secrets of Waha and Eiritha are important
to survival in Prax. If the Pol Joni have gained much of
what Eiritha offers but have a weaker hold on it and know
nothing of the Waha secrets then they should be able to
survive in most of Prax though they struggle in the harshest
parts. The true desert of Vultures country will be beyond
their ability to survive in. When the tribe is under pressure
it retreats west not east as the others do, though this must
cause considerable tension with the border tribes of Sartar.

The Horses
- ----------

Do people think that whatever the Pol Joni did to get the
cattle to live in the chaparral also means the horses can?
Another way of having a partial success for the them is if
the cattle can survive but the horses graze rather ineffectively
and have to have food provided to them.

The Pol Joni can argue that this is proof that they have a
place since the land has 'agreed' to feed their cattle, while
the other tribes can argue that its proof that the don't since
the land 'refuses' to feed their horses.

If this is the case the cattle may be fully suportable on the
chaparral but the tribe is limited by having to be able to
feed the horses or carry enough food to supliment their diet
and this could be the reason they can not roam as freely as
the other tribes.

The Paps
- --------

Peter Metcalf:
> Moreover Drastic: Prax states that the Pol Joni do not
> respect the sanctity of the Paps.

I don't have D:P so forgive me if I am pre-contradicted.

Perhaps they simply violate normal praxian cultural taboos
about the Paps despite trying their best, rather than raiding
the place or otherwise abusing it.

Assuming the above Uralda And Her Lesser Sister cult ...
With only some of the rites of Eiritha gained by the Uralda
priestesses the locals don't believe they perform the entering
rituals properly. Plus the men can't pull off any of the Waha
ceremonies that show they come in peace.

It just makes the responses that they do get to sacrifices
there all the more irritating to the genuine tribes.

This is similar to them performing Peaceful Cut in the Uraldan
manner. To the local tribes who practice the Eiritha cut the Pol
Joni obviously don't care for their cattle since they slaughter
them in a bizarre and inhumane way that leaves its spirit lost.
They know that the Pol Joni claim to respect their cattle but
they visibly do not do so else they would do Peaceful Cut the
'proper' way. They also know that the Pol Joni claim that their
Peaceful Cut works and that the spirits of the cattle return
to the herd to make it flourish. But their culture tells them
this must be bollocks, the Pol Joni clearly disrespect their herd,
and no amount of herd-flourishing is going to convince anyone
otherwise.

Wacky Orlanthi Variant
- ----------------------

The Pol Joni have also revised their manner of dealing with
the storm pantheon to fit in with their new needs. Quite
what form this takes I don't know. But here goes anyway :)

Does anyone think that living in what is a rather dry country for
much of the year has altered the way they relate to the Orlanthi
god of drought. (Is that Daga?). They may try to placate him with
offerings. Or perhaps he has been boosted in importance to become a
major opponent of Orlanth RainBringer, becoming an evil emperor
with whom a cycle of rain/dryness is established in true Great
Compromise style.

IIRC (which is rare), the Orlanthi have a goddess called Dew
Maiden or some such, but she is a rather unimportant goddess
is Sartar. I suggest she has leapt up the mythological pecking
order and is now one of the deities plugging the Pol Joni
survival skill shortage. Every night the tribespeople
lay out blankets and pray to her, and every morning thanks
are given as the sodden blankets are carefully emptied out.

Barntar is relegated to a member of the pantheon but with
negligible direct worship. Instead of the Sartar model of
Orlanthi pantheon initiation with Bartar as main 'lifestyle'
deity for men, the Pol Joni go for Orlanthi Pantheon
initiation with Orlanth Adventurous as the main cult
that the men specialise in. This explains why Cults of Prax
gave such space to Orlanth Adventurous despite the fact that
he did not seem much of a role model for the majority of the
Orlanthi we have discussed since, who have been farmers. Orlanth
Adventurous is a minor aspect in most Orlanthi cultures
but the main aspect among the Pol Joni were he fills the sort
of role Waha fills for the other tribes.

Ernalda is still worshipped but might not be the main women's cult,
being overtaken by the
Uralda-and-younger-sister-eiritha-without-a-capital-e cult.

Wasn't one of Orlanth's bad brothers the cold/north wind. He
might be rather more popular than he was in Sartar. At least
in the hot months. Perhaps he is viewed as having a good side
and an evil side, trickster style.

Elmal might be considered helpful in interceding with fiery
Yelm when the later is burning up the place, but I doubt it.
Instead I think Yelm is disliked more seriously than in Sartar.
The Pol Joni, less able to deal with the problems of finding
water that the locals, consider Yelm an evil hatefull enemy
god. They probably don't see him as defeated by Orlanth in the
way the other Orlanthi do, since he still rages round killing
their cattle and making their lives painful. Elmal, by
association with his father, is less revered. He probably drops
down to a named but little worshipped member of the pantheon.
If Elmal does retain an active place in day to day life then he
is the one charged with protecting the herds and women when the
men are raiding. Since those eager to prove themselves are off
raiding he must have loser written all over him, or perhaps he's
a youth / old mans cult.

Yelmalio is not worshipped since the Far Point
religio-political pressure to replace the subservient Elmal
with the dominant Yelmalio was not an issue for the Pol Joni.
I note that the Dundealos tribe of Sartar, from whom the Pol
Joni descend, were allies of Tarsh against Prax and other
Orlanthi, but this was well before the (re)discovery of Yelmalio
and during the hundreds of years in Prax the Elmal worshipping
families and clans should have pretty much disappeared so that
by the time of the (re)discovery its a non-issue for the tribe.

Who is the Orlanthi horse god? This chap must be vary important.
Do most of the Pol Joni ride horses, or are there a lot of
followers on foot or in wagons? Lots of wagons might be fun if

only because you get to put them in a circle when the indians, er
no - I mean praxians, attack. Then you can hold out while you
wait for your tribal cavalry to arrive!

Storm Stallion
- --------------

The one local deity that _is_ worshipped is Storm Bull, Orlanth's
brother, since he gets some worship even in Sartar proper.

The other tribes represent him as having the head of a bull of
their beast, but the Pol Joni have two to choose from. If you
were a proud, headstrong, wild storm bull - would you choose
to see your god as bearing the noble head of the willful
powerful horses you ride or the (relatively) placid enslaved
cattle you eat. I can't see it being the cattle.

And if the Pol Joni represent him as having the head of what
everyone else in Prax thinks is the most dirty hateful un-natural
vile animal ever ... well that's yet another thing that really
sticks in the locals throats. And the most angry of all are the other
Stormbulls!

OH 'ECK!
- --------
I just remembered.. all my speculation can be swept away
in a moment by someone checking the cult breakdown table in
the back of Cults Of Prax, or did that not list the Pol Joni?

Promised Land
- -------------

Getting even more fanciful...

When Derik Pol Joni of the Dundealos led his people into the
desert were they expecting to become a tribe of herding
nomads? Or were they looking for a new land to settle in the
manner of the place they had left - that is to farm?

After several hundred years stories of a promised land may
not be on the tip of every tongue anymore, however there
may still be echoes of it in their ceremonies. The Barntar
holy days may still be important to them, having no actual
relevance to the way they live, but being a strange anachronistic
enactment of farming rituals which also contain references
to the promised land to come. Though seemingly pointless they
could be keeping alive the farming lore and involve such deeply
secret treasures as a grain horde and assorted farm spirits with
which the new land is to be started. The Barntar rituals and
the sacrifices would be keeping all this alive in suspended
animation until the new land is found. The rituals would involve
some of the largest sacrifices of power that the tribe makes and
yet for seemingly no reason.

Do the Pol Joni know where to find the Hidden Greens?
Don't these fertile lands move around and have to be found magically?
It may be Waha magic thats needed to find them, and hence something
the Pol Joni can't do.
Perhaps this could be the land they are/were searching for?

------------------------------

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