Initiation.

From: alex@dcs.gla.ac.uk
Date: Fri 08 Apr 1994 - 21:19:04 EEST


> Alex "Sometimes Mails Twice" Ferguson in X-RQ-ID: 3526 and 3527 <g>

My very own epithet! Joy! ;-) Now, if only I could persuade it into my mail header...

[Sorry about that, all: that's what I get for `correcting' my mistake of  sending it to RQ-Request in the first instance...]

> > I note that the annotations to Argrath's Saga say there are "several
> > initiations to qualify as adults" (annot. 10). This leaves open the
> > question of whether cult initiation is one of these steps, and if so,
> > whether it precedes or succeeds the tribal/clan initiation.

> I'd interpret this so that at reaching various age groups, the boys
> (and girls) undergo rites of passage

I'd agree this is what it means, broadly, the point being that there isn't really a single `adulthood initiation', in any strict sense. Once you've done all the initiations, together or not, you're a Full Adult(TM).

> > Certainly, however, it seems clear being an Adult Non-Initiate would
> > not be a common, and much less an approved of, state, even if it is
> > possible.

> People stressing the (IMHO tenuous) landbound Viking parallel for the
> Orlanthi might use the "Men without Gods" section from RQ Vikings for
> non-initiates

No, I'm not suggesting this. However, I think it would not be unknown for people to have undergone the `tribal'/`cultural' initiation, a la Apple Lane, Adulthood Initiation of _KoS_, whatever, without yet having joined a cult, for the simple reason not everyone due to be thusly initiated will be able to qualify for their intended cult. Such people would be Adults and full members of the clan for most purposes, but may not be allowed to marry, or perhaps not to vote, and will certainly have their parents telling them to get a Life/Cult at regular intervals.

The other likely alternative is that Adulthood Initiation is postponed in these cases.

> > But note that if you're a 15 year old, trying to join a religion
> > other than that of your parents', your chances aren't great. A back-of-an-
> > envelope calculation for a boringly-average Sartarite of this age trying
> > to pass the Orlanth skill test, one of the easier due to high(ish) skill
> > bases, suggests he has about a 10% of success.

> In a pure farmers community (i.e. 60% of the populace) the chances to do
> something else than farming, herding or hunting are slim. Things are
> different for warriors serving in foreign lands, e.g. with the tribal king,
> or people living along trade routes.

True. But while most people will simply join their parents' cult, some won't. What if your parents are Issaries and Ernalda initiates, say, and you want to join Orlanth. Not unreasonable, but if you are forced to take clan initiation and cult initiation together, at fifteen or so, you'll almost certainly flub.

> > What happens if he fails?
> > Does he get bounced out of the clan, have to wait until the next lot of
> > clan initiations, and try the whole thing again, or simply wait a year,
> > and retry joining the cult (or even try joining another in the meantime)?

> Were it Prax, the denied candidate would have to join either the Pol Joni
> or the Gagarthi. In Sartar, she could always stick to one of the minor
> cults, like Geo.

My point is that if failure in trying to join a cult, very likely in some circumstances, means immediate expulsion for the clan or tribe, this is a much more serious consequence. Normally with cults you can try again later, and don't suffer deleterious results in the meantime in any case.

> > (Presumably initiation into Voria or Voriof `doesn't count', at least.)

> That is what the "pantheon initiation" faction means by low initiate state.

I don't think it is: their idea was that Low Initiation would qualify one for adulthood.

> > One thought that occurs is that particular bloodlines might have this
> > requirement, for their particular `family' god. This would make some
> > sense if initiation were into one's own bloodline primarily, and only
> > secondarily into clan or tribe.

> This is the Ancestor Worship most, if not all, theistic cultures include
> into their theistic worship.

I don't mean Ancestor worship, I mean `hereditary' worship. "I come from a long line of Lhankor Mhy Sages. You want to become a Sun-Domer? Never darken my door again, ex-son." One might be excluded from a particular bloodline without losing membership of the clan, and without being debarred from (the possibility of) being an Adult. I doubt this is very common, however.

> Alex again in X-RQ-ID: 3529

> > Martin:
> >>As for Urox, I believe his emergence as a separate cult is a second
> >> or third age development.

> > This is sustainable (perhaps) in Orlanthi lands, but not, one has to
> > presume, in Prax and the Wastes.

> I might agree with Martin in the sense of an independent clerical
> hierarchy (however (c)rude in this case) from one of the bulk of
> associate deities cared for by the Orlanth priesthood. (Another reason
> for pantheon initiation - or are there more than maybe five rune levels
> of Heler in Sartar?)

I've no idea how common Heler worship is in Sartar, but I'd certainly but prepared to believe most of his worshippers (adiitionally|primarily) owe allegience to other Gods. Perhaps his senior wotshippers tend to be Acolytes of Orlanth/Priests of Heler, or vice-versa. (Effectively `associate priests', to use a vaguely-defined RQ2ism.) He might actually be thought of as being a sub-cult, at least in places.

Alex.



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