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I was recently thinking about how Pentan initiation rites could look like and I've had some ideas I'd like to share and have critiqued. Three caveats: 1. My knowledge about Pent heavily relies on the Pentmaniac blog [which is based on canon stuff but includes lots of new fan material] and the Six Ages game [which describes cousins of veeery distant ancestors of one of the Pentan tribes], so I may be some ways off the canon 2. YGWV of course, so while I am interested in anybody telling me whether my ideas fit with canon, I am also interested in whether you think they feel right for Pentans, whether they are cool or lacking or whatever. 3. Pentans are of course very varied; but I guess seeing as they are united in at least a broad framework of the beings they worship (I will be talking about the Solar Pentans, I have no idea how Storm Pentans work) and a way of life. So at least some discussion can be had on general patterns and mythical ideas for Pentan initiation. Pentans seem to be heavily gender-separated, so I guess we need to have a male and female initiation. For a male one, the mythic idea that comes to my mind first is the Great Darkness and the rise of Kargzant. An initiation could start with the initiated experiencing the bliss and perfection of the Golden Age Heavens, then the fall into darkness, confusion and chaos, then finally meeting Kargzant and joining him and his retinue in the ride across the Sunpath. If we wanted Pentans to be a bit more “theistic” than they seem to be in the canon, I think an interesting idea for the initiatory secret that Kargzant reveals to his followers is that We Are All Sun. Being the Sun that conquers Darkness and Chaos is a question of proving one's worth, as Kargzant showed, but it was a joint effort in which he led a host of other powers who contributed to his victory and his status as the new Sun. Every Pentan has a Solar and Star ancestry and every Pentan has a part in renewing the Sunpath and keeping the darkness at bay – a more powerful initiate may even see himself *as* Kargzant, leading the Fire/Sky powers and becoming *the* Sun. Alternatively, for a more spiritist experience, the initiate can identify with their ancestor(s) that accompanied Kargzant and learn the secrets and bargains of the spirits of Kargzant's Sky Herd. For female initiation, I was inspired by the Six Ages myth of how Hippogriff became Gamari [Gamara]. It is a story of a Sky being wounded by her enemies, who with the help of Hyalor finds a new identity and a connection with Earth and fertility. The sequence of a state of innocence, hurt and loss and then reinventing oneself and finding new strength and purpose is perfect for an initiatory story, but what I find most interesting about it is the question of agency. In the myth as mentioned by your advisors in Six Ages and in parts of its description and ritual, it would seem as if Hyalor healed Gamari. But the crucial part of the myth as transcribed in Six Ages shows that it is Gamari who decided her new name, identity and purpose, and Hyalor, while he thought he gave them to her, only echoed what she already decided in her heart. This looks like a powerful initiatory secret: while identity always emerges in a relationship, and while the society will think it imposes your role upon you, it is you who decide who you are. It would be especially interesting if Pentans practiced inter-clan patrilocal marriage as most Dragon Pass Orlanthi do (as this seems the kind of secret that would really help women struggling to cope with the change or broadening of clan identity due to relocating to the husband's clan), but even without that there's both wisdom and magic in this secret. Using these myths as basis of initiation would highlight Pentans' Sky ancestry while also showing the Elemental divide between genders. It also marks the men as holding the secrets of survival and leadership and the women as holding the secrets of identity and change. It would suggest a society in which the men fight, lead and hunt and the women tend to the matters of clan memory and history, as well as guiding people through the changing stages of their lives (caring for the children before they become adults, burying the dead etc. - this theme goes well with the age strata Pentans organise their clans into).
So we know that the Pentans worship both gods and great spirits. But I can't seem to find nor figure out how it works in practice. Is it that some beings are treated as spirits and other as gods? Is it that some people practice spiritual and other theistic magic? Or is spirit and theistic worship mixed freely?