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Gender composition of cults

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I started thinking about this when I was wondering how many female Humakti there are.  How unusual is Nameless?

But you could ask that about other cults.  How many male Challana Arroy?  Presumably almost no male Dendara.

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I would make a case for separating elemental cults from cults only tied to Power (or Form) runes. There appears to be a gender bias in elemental orientation, with Earth hogging female roles after the loss of most male Earth deities, and Fire and Storm with a strong male bias with a few exceptions. Water and Darkness enjoy indetermination.

 

Humakti are a lot less common than their numbers among player characters would suggest, and practically all female Humakti in canon are player characters. (The tales of the Household of Death sound like a campaign log, too, possibly played with WBRM rather than an rpg.)

That said, Humakt recruits his initiates from those drawn to him by experiences of Death (personal or in close kin, and/or a deep desire to repay that in kind) which doesn't really discern between genders, as much as by the way of the blade.

To become Humakti as a fighting woman is a significantly stronger step than to join Vinga, and is rivaled by Babeester Gor (or similar axe woman cults) which may draw a good number of potential female initiees away from the sword god.

Depending on the prevalence of axe women, the cult of Humakt may have between 5 and 35% females in a given locale.

 

The cult of Chalana Arroy is a Healer's calling beyond Ernalda or similar fertility/harmony cults, and with the lack of any elemental connection, has less of a cultural selection bias against males than Ernalda the Healer. Its stict pacifism still goes contrary to the notion that all males are potential warriors, but that is little different from the taboos e.g. a shaman takes on.

The solar cults appear to have a strong selection bias against male Arroyans, and even among the Orlanthi few male Arroyans are named - possibly because of the voter's identification which demands martial gear for the males. Whether the job as a physician or surgeon of Arroin is less gender-prejudiced (or even in the opposite direction) is another question.

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6 hours ago, DrDave said:

I started thinking about this when I was wondering how many female Humakti there are.  How unusual is Nameless?

But you could ask that about other cults.  How many male Challana Arroy?  Presumably almost no male Dendara.

The numbers I've been using for Praxian cults is based on Orlanthi norms. I derived from them from Sartar - Kingdom of Heroes. The cults of Sartar section has cult numbers.

VInga Subcult (Orlanth). 1500 and Orlanth: 37,500, which gives 4% of Orlanth worshippers are women. This only applied to gender skewed cults and is reversible. If you don't want gender skewing in your glorantha, just 50/50 it. Some cults are specifically gendered Like Waha and Eiritha so are 0/100 unless PCs want to generate a good storyline for themselves. So in the Sartar region 

4% of Humakti are women: 1000x4% = 40

4% of Chalanna Arroy are men: 500x4% = 20

4% of Ernaldans are men: 40000x4% = 1600

This of course never includes PCs.

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I wouldn't generalize from Orlanth:Vinga, except perhaps to the parallel Ernalda:Nandan relationship. The Orlanth & Ernalda cults as practiced by Heortlings are how a lot of their culture's performative gender norms get exemplified and taught and are at times tied specifically to reproductive sex roles. Even among the Heortling cults with strong gender role components, they are at the extreme; compare to  Elmal:Redalda at about 1:1 (unless you count the Yelmalions in with Elmali, which I expect most Redaldans do not, but even then it lands around 4:1, not 25:1.) The more gendered cults also tend to be the ones that have/need a complementary-gender sub-cult to begin with. Others, like Issaries for example, are much less conceptually tied up with gender or sex.

As Identification with the deity is important to theistic practice, you'd expect a majority of initiate+ followers to be of the same gender as the deity, simply because it's easier to identify that way for most people. Probably again the 6/7 "All" on average, but with some being more strongly gender-skewed and others less so. It's similar in some ways to non-Uz joining cults like Argan Argar or Zorak Zoran. Sure, most of their followers are Uz, but just about anyone can join if their heart is in the right place, especially so for the former.

WRT Humakt in particular, being a Humakti pretty explicitly has nothing to do with being a father/mother/husband/wife/farmer/homemaker-etc. You sever yourself from all that. I'd expect it to be much closer to 6/7 (or even less) than 25:1

My Gloranthas also have things like an Asrelia sub-cult that's less about being a wise and kindly grandmother and instead geared towards prospectors and gamblers.

Edited by JonL
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21 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I'm not familiar with this concept/term, what is it from?

It's a peculiarity of Orlanthi/Theyalan culture. The Orlanthi All means that when they make generalizations like "All of our men follow Orlanth, and all of our women follow Ernalda." it's understood contextually that "All" really means "roughly six in seven."

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1 hour ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I'm not familiar with this concept/term, what is it from?

Good point - I know it from Greg speaking at conventions in the 90s, but I'm not sure if it has been stated in print.

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1 hour ago, PhilHibbs said:

Good point - I know it from Greg speaking at conventions in the 90s, but I'm not sure if it has been stated in print.

A quick Googling finds it in print at least as far back as Thunder Rebels. It also appeared in the Mongoose RQ books.

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AFAIK, HeroWars' old supplements Thunder Rebels and Storm Tribe were respectively focused on the "Orlanthi All" (6 in 7 people) and "the rest" (1 in 7 people... I don't think there's a term for those). As such the first book was all about Orlanthi traditions and Orlanth/Ernalda cults, while the second book gave details about the other cults (Chalana Arroy, Eurmal, Vinga, etc.). You can find PDFs in the vault, but they come with a disclaimer that they're no longer considered "canon" (for whatever that means in Glorantha :) ).

In Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes, I don't find any references to the Orlanthi All anymore. They just mention here and there the general rule of thumb of 85% for common Rune affinities, gender composition of adults available for fighting, etc., but don't formalize it the way it was previously.

Edited by lordabdul

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3 hours ago, lordabdul said:

AFAIK, HeroWars' old supplements Thunder Rebels and Storm Tribe were respectively focused on the "Orlanthi All" (6 in 7 people) and "the rest" (1 in 7 people... I don't think there's a term for those). As such the first book was all about Orlanthi traditions and Orlanth/Ernalda cults, while the second book gave details about the other cults (Chalana Arroy, Eurmal, Vinga, etc.). You can find PDFs in the vault, but they come with a disclaimer that they're no longer considered "canon" (for whatever that means in Glorantha :) ).

In Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes, I don't find any references to the Orlanthi All anymore. They just mention here and there the general rule of thumb of 85% for common Rune affinities, gender composition of adults available for fighting, etc., but don't formalize it the way it was previously.

The percentage seems to have held true for Dara Happa proper as well in regards to Sun-Fire/Earth, but the Lunar Way has, uh, adjusted that quite a bit.

On the other hand, it's interesting that while in many places Earth deities are largely limited to women cultists, there's no such formalised rune split. For example, Prax rune breakdowns show the Pol-Joni as really standing out with its overwhelming Earth-Wind split. Other peoples, settled or tribal, are weighted toward community norms (i.e. Water for the Llamas) but there's minimal gender split.

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I've been thinking that Humakti were actually split roughly evenly sex wise. Note that I say sex there, I treat the Humakti as agender, as in they have severed themselves from gender as a part of their initiation (though the Humakti aren't the whole of agender people in Orlanthi society, same goes for Helerings and their genderfluidity). They might continue to use the pronouns associated with their sex (if the Theyalan languages even have pronouns), and they might choose to act in a particularly mannish or womanish way, but the Humakti are severed from those roles and genders alongside their family, clan and tribe.

For Cults that aren't associated with a gender, I assume that the proportion of each gender is roughly in line with Orlanthi demographics with a weak lean towards the deities gender. For Chalana Arroy's unpopularity among men that's rather easy, that's the result of Orlanthi men holding high the teaching from Orlanth "Violence is always an option" which clashes quite obviously with Chalana Arroy's pacifism, I also imagine this unpopularity extends to people of the Vingan gender.

Vingan gender? Yes I treat Vingans and Nandans as their own genders, alongside Helerings and Humakti they make up the non-binary genders that the Orlanthi recognize.

Does this mean I think that there are Vingans who might not be initiated to Vinga but to a different deity? Yes, the Vingan might say that while she worships another deity, she still walks Vinga's path. A woman can still be a woman while being initiated to Issaries, the same goes for men, I see no reason to say that isn't true for other genders as well, sure the majority of a gender will still worship the god associated with their gender (save probably Humakti), but isn't that true for the binary genders as well? It's just a bit of linguistic laziness that the Orlanthi continue to refer to the Vingan, Nandan, Helering, and Humakti genders as such, it's messy and I like it when it's messy because then it feels true.

As for the non-Orlanthi, I'm gonna say that I haven't thought as much outside the Orlanthi context, and I got some more thinking to do there. It's gonna come down to each individual culture's unique thoughts on gender, I don't think that you could apply my thoughts here directly to the Malkioni for example.

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1 hour ago, Mirza said:

I've been thinking that Humakti were actually split roughly evenly sex wise.

I don't think there are any cultic hindrances to women joining (although there may be social ones in the clan as the loss of women's fertility is a much bigger deal than men's - this is brought up in Red Cow).

It's more that Humakt's recruitment base is warriors, and Orlanthi culture produces a lot more male warriors than female ones.

Chalana Arroy recruitment is probably skewed in the opposite direction for the corresponding reason.

Edited by Akhôrahil

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Okay but to be fair, a woman with the Death rune is gonna be either a Gorite or a Humakti, and the Gods choose you. Gorites don't really uhhh how is babby formed?

5 hours ago, Mirza said:

Vingan gender? Yes I treat Vingans and Nandans as their own genders, alongside Helerings and Humakti they make up the non-binary genders that the Orlanthi recognize.

This is basically canon given that Vinga had to make big sacrifices to be admitted as an outsider in order to get birth aid from the Earth goddesses, because only women give birth. So now Vingans can get birth aid.

Edited by Qizilbashwoman
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37 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Gorites don't really uhhh how is babby formed?

Now I can't stop imagining Gorites embarassedly asking Earth Priestesses about whether they might be "pergenat" :lol:

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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42 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Now I can stop imagining Gorites embarassedly asking Earth Priestesses about whether they might be "pergenat" :lol:

I'm reminded of Aristasian euphemisms here on something like earth . . .  if I recall correctly, when a brunette loves a blonde (now we would say a Xena loves a Gabrielle) they track down a special bubble and after a mysterious and tastefully opiated procedure you get a daughter.

Some primeval Gor complexes probably have relationships with someone like a Tolat so some or all of the girls would simply pass out at holy moments and wake up ready to carry the next generation forward. Others may have historically deteriorated into something like harpy or bagog reproduction, juicing captives when they want a daughter. Of course here in the terminal third age pissed-off girls are everywhere so it's easiest to just adopt.

56 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

This is basically canon given that Vinga had to make big sacrifices to be admitted as an outsider in order to get birth aid from the Earth goddesses, because only women give birth. So now Vingans can get birth aid.

This is outstanding stuff. It suggests that to the extent to which Storm produced girls they didn't know how to do all this fertility stuff until encountering a culture that had specialized in that. Makes me think of Pippi Longstocking (Långstrump), for some reason . . . another kind of red-headed woman who aligns with Orlanth in the highlands but probably associated with the moon up north. The red-headed tax on the Pentans may be a way to feed that power into imperial channels rather than let it bloom in its own destabilizing directions. When the red-headed woman comes to your town, lock up your plans because all bets are off.

I wonder what kind of hair Etyries had. Imagine if there was a lunar missionary cult that focused on Vinga instead, riding that figure like one of the mutant forms of Elmal. Red-headed woman girt with a sword, the short cut to illumination. Line up, ladies. It's the hera wars.

Edited by scott-martin
parting shot

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1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Okay but to be fair, a woman with the Death rune is gonna be either a Gorite or a Humakti, and the Gods choose you

One thing I dislike about the "Vinga is Orlanth" interpretation rather than "Vinga is Orlanth in the same sense that Barntar is also Orlanth or Muzarharm is Yelm." is the Storm Tribe era Vinga with Death affinity in lieu of Mastery. In my Gloranthas Vingans may still approach her that way, though not if they wish to have children. Mastery can still be awakened by performing Making the Storm Tribe as Orlanth.

44 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

riding that figure like one of the mutant forms of Elmal. Red-headed woman girt with a sword,

Some say that Elmal had a daughter too...

OsaraAndVerlaro.jpg

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I do like that Orlanthi society has a ton of gender outlets and they are both accurate to the ways people broke gender in traditional societies throughout the world (including Europe - Vingans are virgjineshtë of the Muslim Albanians!) and appropriate to the modern West, where like ¼ of the people I know are agender or nonbinary trans or nb women or nb men.

I wrote this ... sooo long ago Virgins for the Community

27 minutes ago, JonL said:

"Vinga is Orlanth in the same sense that Barntar is also Orlanth or Muzarharm is Yelm.

Barntar isn't Orlanth. Barntar is a different deity. Muharzam ... might have been Yelm for quite a while, because Yelm is a title. (At one point, Ourania - yes, a female deity - was Yelm when Dayzatar fled when he discovered the Earth was dirty; the myths of the people of Arir in the Entekosiad discuss this surprising event!). But that's a weird distraction. All in all, outside of the initial self-emanation from Sky God to mixed Earth-Fire god in the story of Turos (Lodril), deities and their children/emanations are generally not the same. We can't collapse them. The Lunar Way tries to string together a lot of deities - Verithurusa was Jernotix! - but most of it seems pure pageantry (Jernotix could have been Verithurusa, I suppose, although I doubt it, but they were absolutely not Nysalor!)

But Vinga is Orlanth.

Earlier on in the Glorantha fictional universe, Vinga was written as Orlanth's daughter. This was changed. Officially. Vinga is Orlanth, In Kerofinela, She is specifically Orlanth Adventurous.

There are still places where Vinga is spoken of as Orlanth's daughter, of course. That's how myths work in Glorantha! But canonically, Vinga is exactly Orlanth. Sometimes He's got a russet red beard, sometimes She's got russet red hair down to Her ass. It's not important. Both are the same deity. If you have breasts and a vagáina and during initiation it turns out you are a Wind rune, and the great god calls to you, you call that great god Vinga!

27 minutes ago, JonL said:

Some say that Elmal had a daughter too...

YAY REDALDA (and the forty other spellings of Her name)

Great part of Six Ages

Edited by Qizilbashwoman

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9 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Earlier on in the Glorantha fictional universe, Vinga was written as Orlanth's daughter. This was changed. Officially. Vinga is Orlanth, In Kerofinela, She is specifically Orlanth Adventurous.

There are still places where Vinga is spoken of as Orlanth's daughter, of course. That's how myths work in Glorantha! But canonically, Vinga is exactly Orlanth.

It may have changed, it may well change again in the future.

One thing that Glorantha has taught me is that there are no absolutes. 

It could be argued that Vinga is Orlanth in many respects. It could also be argued that Vinga is Orlanth's daughter and has inherited many of his attributes. both could be trues, both could be false.

For me, Vinga is an Aspect of Orlanth, in the same way that Orlanth Adventurous, Orlanth Thundrous and Orlanth Rex are Aspects of Orlanth. Vinga is Orlanth Adventuress, Orlanth the Avenger.

Edited by soltakss
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1 minute ago, soltakss said:

For me, Vinga is an Aspect of Orlanth, in the same way that Orlanth Adventurous, Orlanth Thundrous and Orlanth Rex are Aspects of Orlanth. Vinga is Orlanth Adventuress, Orlanth the Avenger.

I prefer Adventurer because that's what they call Her in RQG, and also I suspect the gender system of Theyalan languages is not based on body parts

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10 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

The Lunar Way tries to string together a lot of deities - Verithurusa was Jernotix! - but most of it seems pure pageantry (Jernotix could have been Verithurusa, I suppose, although I doubt it, but they were absolutely not Nysalor!)

Unless Verithurusa is Vinga.

No wait, come back.

Okay. Verithrusa is a princess of the sky, but a fickle one. (GRoY 10), who followed Umatum out of position and ended up losing their place in the world. (GSB 147) She's given a bunch of other descriptions in the sourcebook, which all paint a picture of a wild and foolish lover of life.

The book of Heortling mythology mentions Serenha, Orlanth's sister, Daughter of Umath, first of the air goddesses, who first existed when Umath was causing motion and something followed him, and he named them his daughter. (BoHM 34)

We have a celestial being, who follows in Umath's wake, the first Air Goddess (of the Middle Air you might say), a rebellious goddess. Umath and Orlanth are often treated as similar, with much of what happens to one also happening to the other. Serenha may have been an earlier/alternate name for Vinga.

As for Verithurusa's colour, I've found her described in older works as either a white or a red moon, and my guess is it's the latter. The Life of Sedenya work by Greg (found in Rule One, not sure of its status, but hey) has the goddess switch from pure white Zaytenara to vibrant red Verithurusa after following a new god.

There's enough there for me to have fun with it, and suggest that any moon-ish traits were forcefully ignored after a certain red chaotic orb started filling the sky, and any independent cult was absorbed as she became less and less relevant.

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21 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

But Vinga is Orlanth.

Earlier on in the Glorantha fictional universe, Vinga was written as Orlanth's daughter. This was changed. Officially. Vinga is Orlanth, In Kerofinela, She is specifically Orlanth Adventurous.

There are still places where Vinga is spoken of as Orlanth's daughter, of course. That's how myths work in Glorantha! But canonically, Vinga is exactly Orlanth. 

That is the current line, yes. I nonetheless find both her myths and her playable cult details more interesting as a distinct entity who could nonetheless switch-hit and participate in the Orlanth excitement. I preferred when she could do all the Orlanth things without being Orlanth in the literal sense. She could do them by being awesome in her own right, rather than because she was really Orlanth in womanly guise. (This is of course a matter of taste.)

 

28 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

YAY REDALDA (and the forty other spellings of Her name)

The picture is Osara, daughter of Elmal & Ekarna. The modern Heortling conception of Elmal's wife Redalda does have a fair bit in common with Osara though. It's a good example of how these family relationships among the gods get blurry real fast.  

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21 minutes ago, Tindalos said:

We have a celestial being, who follows in Umath's wake, the first Air Goddess (of the Middle Air you might say), a rebellious goddess.

that's... Entekos! I'm reasonably sure She's a separate deity from Vinga. She's the Calm Air, and is also gendered strangely like her brother Orlanth is. Her Pelandan name, Addi, is a phallic symbol for every single other deity that wields one, and there are a lot of deities that wield one.

She is not at all like Orlanth or Vinga, although she, too, is not a Solar fangirl.

Fun note: Rain happens when Entekos and Dendara have a feast day together in Dara Happa. I'm reasonably sure Dendara is like Heler, thus giving us the three husbands trope again: Heler, Orlanth and Elmal.

Edited by Qizilbashwoman
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I remember reading that Gorites don't have children because the Death rune (Gor) is opposed to the Fertility rune. Exceptions are just that.

Now you can be a priest of Maran without being one of Maran Gor, it's just ... rare.

1 hour ago, JonL said:

The picture is Osara, daughter of Elmal & Ekarna.

AHA but THIS is Redalda... presenting her partner, Beren, a Hyaloring, to Orlanth. A dangerous moment. "Please don't kill him, daaaaad."

IMG_1223.jpg

Edited by Qizilbashwoman

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