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Help me understand lunar theology, philosophy and ideology

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Hello there, i'm need of some help.

As the title of this thread implies, i need help understanding lunar theology, philosophy and ideology. I'm asking becuase i'm going to play a Runequest: Glorantha campaign soon, and i'm interested in playing a lunar, and thus, need help understanding their ideas, religion, motivation, etc.

I have some very basic knowledge of the theology: The red godess was dead, then brought back to life, and therefore, is in the middle of everything, and because of that, chaos is also a natural part of the world.

Correct me if i'm wrong, and help me expand my knowledge.

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The goal of the Lunar Way is to become Illuminated.

They do this by following in the seven footsteps of the Goddess - from a position of relative innocence, one descends to death, darkness and degradiation before being illuminated and rising to a position of superior enlightenment.  The acceptance of chaos is integral to their philosophy.  Other enlightened religions acknowledge that Chaos is part of this world but do not make its acceptance a part of becoming enlightened.  On the road to enlightenment, it's the difference between sipping tea and having an acid trip.  The Lunar Way is quicker and more dangerous because it uses Chaos and the Lunars willingly accept the increased spiritual carnage that their use of chaos brings.

They have special magics due to their knowledge of the Moon Rune, which could substitute for other runes.  HeroQuest Glorantha called them Glamours but I don't know how RuneQuest: Glorantha will treat them.  

Although acceptance of the Lunar Way is important, most Lunars not having the full experience of enlightenment are still fearful around chaotic creatures and peoples.  They will know intellectually that use of chaos is what makes the Empire strong (may need to revise this talking point as of 1625) but most will have little to do with it whereever possible and be somewhat in awe of those Lunars that do use it.  

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The Lunar ideology, theology and cosmology is summarized by the phrase "We Are All Us". In its ultimate form, it's the recognition that the separation between all things, beings and states is a false structure imposed on the mind and matter due to imperfection and limitation.

On a social level, it's also a slogan to legitimize Lunar proselytizing and imperial expansion. There is place for everyone in the Goddess' embrace, and within the Empire's borders. As long as you pay your taxes and acknowledge Her as the Lord of the Middle Air, of course.

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There is no such thing as a satisfying elevator pitch on the Lunar Way, the best such a short form can be is a teaser. I'm sure others will provide more of that.

The Lunar Way revolves around Sedenya, the greater Goddess of the Moon, and her incarnations/manifestations throughout Godtime and Time. Sedenya was killed in the Storm Age, and splinters of her were killed at different occasions. There are numerous names tossed into the mix, and there are other moons which don't contribute that directly to the cult of the Red Moon Goddess - primarily the Blue Moon of Annilla and Veldara, a celestial body that rose in the Storm Age and crashed down in the Storm Age, but has a remaining spiritual body that continues to rise outside of the Sky Dome, attracting the Tides to rise slowly before it reaches Pole Star and plummets down Magasta's Pool.

The Lunar Way of Sedenya (and) the Red Goddess is a mystical way, based on the principles of Illlumination first brought by Rashoran, then implemented in the Bright Empire in the Dawn Age, and promoted by numerous other teachers and examples throughout history and prehistory. It manifests things beyond reality, in a way that is both temporary and timeless.

Madness is sacred to the Lunar Way, and the Lunar Way spreads madness both as a tool towards Illumination and as a means to incapacitate foes.

Balance is another main tenet of the Lunar Way. This includes avenging aspects and the demand for sacrifices.

Reflection - both optical and philosophical - is the third of the tenets of the Lunar Way. All three are embodied by the Moon rune.

The moons are celestial bodies, and the original Sedenya is also named a "False Sun Goddess" by the Yelmites who like to rewrite Godtime that Yelm Brightface was the first and only sun in the sky. (He wasn't, but things are only vaguely remembered, as told in unlikely places in the pre-Solar myths of Entekosiad). Lesser suns, planets and moons are often the same kind of body.

 

If you want to enroll on an online course on Lunar theology, philosophy and ideology, you will have to go through some required reading.

The Cult of the Seven Mothers in RQ2 Cults of Prax (also reprinted in Cults Compendium) was the first concrete information on how the Red Goddess affects individuals. She was first presented in the boardgame White Bear and Red Moon, which was re-published as Dragon Pass (by Chaosium, and then by Avalon Hill), which also bears quite a bit of useful facts better explained elsewhere, but those are our earliest documents, and research history often demands that one reads those.

The History of the Lunar Wanes in the Sourcebook tells the story of the Goddess and the Lunar Empire and provides valuable insights. The Zero Wane history is most important for the theology as it was in those 27 years that things happened which shaped how the Red Goddess manifested in the world.

Another IMO crucial source is Greg's text "The Lives of Sedenya", published in the Online zine Rule One.

Reading up on the Red Moon and the Lunar Empire in the Guide won't hurt, either, and the Moonson entry in "The Fortunate Succession" is another important text you should have read.

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3 hours ago, Elcid321 said:

Hello there, i'm need of some help.

As the title of this thread implies, i need help understanding lunar theology, philosophy and ideology. I'm asking becuase i'm going to play a Runequest: Glorantha campaign soon, and i'm interested in playing a lunar, and thus, need help understanding their ideas, religion, motivation, etc.

I have some very basic knowledge of the theology: The red godess was dead, then brought back to life, and therefore, is in the middle of everything, and because of that, chaos is also a natural part of the world.

Correct me if i'm wrong, and help me expand my knowledge.

Some things that are immediately relevant to you as a regular Lunar, IMO-

The Lunar Way is built around a broad cycle that is reflected in everyday people's lives and the world around you. The phases of the Red Moon are meant to teach the world of this and remind the followers of the basic cycle. There is an even broader cycle, that of Sedenya's Masks. The current Mask is agreed to be Natha, the Balancing Moon. To that extent, the ruling principle of the Lunar Way in this current period is Balance. As an ordinary person, you need to seek Balance within yourself and within your life, you need to help perpetuate the Balance that Moonson and Great Sister and their servants are creating for the Empire (I assume you're not playing a dissident Lunar), etc. 

Lunar Balance is not pacifistic in outlook. Natha is the most martial aspect of the Red Moon, so it's fully accepted that violence and disruption and seeming destruction of existing Balance is necessary to create true Balance. 

Lunar ideology focuses on the notion of reconciliation of seeming opposites. Thus, even if you're faced with apparently invincible obstacles or obstinacy, don't worry. Sedenya will guide you to Balance there as well. 

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Yeah, it took a while to get to the phases and the whole emphasis on cycles, which I feel is pretty key to the Red Goddess.

In another thread there were some thoughts about how it's a bit of a shame that the Moon mythology has sort of been superimposed on the Solar pantheon. I've thought about this too and had that tact for a bit, but I actually think a focus on the Goddess' cyclical nature also allows her mythology/religion to mesh very nicely with the Solars. Faced with crazy, illuminated priestesses of the Red Goddess, who emphasize the ebbs and flows of the world, even the Solar pantheon's priests struggle to put in a counter-argument: the Sun quite clearly sets at night and rises at dawn. On a macro-mythological level perhaps Yelm itself is more of a title that has passed between divinities and this is something the priestesses will not find puzzling, instead they will see it as revealing a fundamental truth embodies by their goddess. So, together the two viewpoints can come to agree that there is one greater truth that is revealed through the many phases of the world.

And if the Red Goddess can integrate even the seemingly monolithic Solars, she can certainly integrate other pantheons. We are all Us. The differences between cultures and pantheons can often be seen through an emphasis in cycles which explain the apparent differences. An illuminated understanding of the principles that underlie various cycles and how change occurs can become a glue that binds, rather than walls that separate.

 

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A more subtle aspect of Sedenya is that her cycle is not a circle, but rather what Douglas Hofstadter calls a "strange loop"- a circle-like object that nevertheless changes slightly every time it completes a loop. (Imagine a Lunar missionary drawing the Moon Rune, and then, in a flash of crimson light, pulling it up from the ground to reveal that it's a 2-dimensional representation of a 3-dimensional barred helix.) The basic way to illustrate this is through what Rashorana tells Gerra- "to live is to suffer, but suffering is not life". 

Life = Suffering, Suffering ≠ Life. 

For the everyday Lunar follower (apart from providing an aphorism you can quote whenever things go poorly or you want to annoy people), what does this mean? I would suggest that the most exalted way to perform Lunar magic is to complete a circuit but do so in a way that produces something new. Which means that if you can do that for your everyday activities as much as possible, then you'll surely have luck and the Goddess's blessing! 

In addition, the Goddess moves in an unexpected direction (the barred helix interpretation of the Moon Rune would be spiraling towards or away from the viewer). Misdirection is a holy art for Lunars to practice. Easier than meditation to work into the adventuring life, too.

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The Red Moon Goddess is also a composite, a rebuilt whole comprised of fragments and shards from other Ages, other conflicts.

It's not entirely clear that all of Her pieces come from the same source; she may be made of very-different entities.

 

<wonders idly if El Cid is more-informed about the character concept after we've "helped" ... or more-confused>

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I must thank you all for this information, it has been very helpful, but now i must ask, if "we are all us" than why is the lunar pantheon so opposed to Orlanth, and how to i make sure that my character is not killed on sight in Sartar (i'm plannin on disguising myself, but i know that at some point i'm going to have to reveal myself to the people and my companions)

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10 hours ago, Elcid321 said:

 ... The red godess was dead, then brought back to life, and therefore, is in the middle of everything, and because of that, chaos is also a natural part of the world ...

Not quite.

In the Lesser Darkness, before Time, many gods died.  Yelm the sun, the Emperor of the Universe, was dead -- killed by Orlanth with the new thing called Death.  Gods and demigods, stars and planets, fell; as did the moon; or perhaps more than one Moon.  The Evil Trio summoned Chaos from the Primal Void into the world for the first time.

In the Greater Darkness, Chaos was rampant in the world.  Gods died, and some more-than-died; Kajabor devoured their beings, their ever-having-been; their names are unknown, their natures gone from Creation.  The world itself was being destroyed, un-made.  Great battles included Earthfall, where Genert died -- that place is still the Wastes, Chaos-riddled and with little Fertility )they say the Void itself sometimes leaks through in places, still; and Stormfall, where Chaos defeated Orlanth and Urox and Humakt in one great battle.

Finally the Gods made the Great Compromise, the Gods' Pledge.  The great goddess Arachne Solara took their Pledge, and spun a web of it, devoured Kajabor and bound him in the web as well.

That web, that compromise, is Time itself.

By that compromise, the Gods are bound to the Godtime... outside of Time, outside of the mortal world of Glorantha.  By that compromise, the Sun is in the sky for half the time.  But part of that compromise, inextricably intertwined, is Chaos itself.

Sedenya was born -- or reborn; or even assembled -- within Time, part of the world.  She was no part of the Compromise, and her relationship with it is... ambiguous.

Edited by g33k
POV

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7 minutes ago, Elcid321 said:

I must thank you all for this information, it has been very helpful, but now i must ask, if "we are all us" than why is the lunar pantheon so opposed to Orlanth, and how to i make sure that my character is not killed on sight in Sartar (i'm plannin on disguising myself, but i know that at some point i'm going to have to reveal myself to the people and my companions)

This is going to get deep into the mythological weeds very quickly. After all, does Sedenya's "struggle for control of the Middle Air" mean that after she wins people will all breathe moonbeams instead of air? Or is she trying to replace Orlanth in his metaphysical "King of the Gods" role, sort of walking up to Ernalda and telling her, "Babe, you could do so much better than this himbo" and lowering her sunglasses meaningfully? 

I have my own answer, but it's fairly deep myth and not really relevant to the lay Lunar unless they're of a mystical bent. Well, moreso than usual. 

You're using the default post-Dragonrise date for this game, right? 1625 or thereabouts? 

If you are, bear in mind that a number of tribes and clans embraced the Lunar Way. So a full-on purge of Lunars is not practical and probably doesn't happen. So if your character is just following a Lunar cult, Seven Mothers or whatever, you could be one of those, furtively worshipping in secluded services among the "collaborator" clans. Or if you're a Tarshite, the Fazzurite faction there is loosely aligned with Sartar while being strongly Lunar, which would probably force some official tolerance. 

If you're a full Heartlander (or at least from further north in the Provinces), perhaps you are a Lunar dissident. You've concluded (maybe after seeing the Dragonrise or Harrek's rampage or some similar Lunar disaster) that the Empire has it wrong, is misunderstanding Sedenya's will. Perhaps Moonson has been deluded by his wicked Carmanian/Spolite/Dara Happan/Pelandan/Orayan/Provincial counselors. Perhaps the current Moonson is a fake! You're probably not a pacifistic White Moon cultist, though. You may also have simply gone a little native and started identifying with the Sartarites. You might well be able to get away with it if you praise Orlanth loudly and publicly enough. (Perhaps you've determined that Orlanth has been healed, what with his Ring having all 11 lights in it again).

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23 minutes ago, Elcid321 said:

I must thank you all for this information, it has been very helpful, but now i must ask, if "we are all us" than why is the lunar pantheon so opposed to Orlanth, and how to i make sure that my character is not killed on sight in Sartar (i'm plannin on disguising myself, but i know that at some point i'm going to have to reveal myself to the people and my companions)

Well... She is the Moon, on her way to the Sky where She belongs.  The Middle Air -- Orlanth -- stands in her way.

Also, since we ARE all us, the whole thing where the Orlanthi are foolishly resisting the Lunar civilization is... well, foolish.  Stupid Barbarians!  Better to bring them into the fold and enlighten them, no matter how they might resist.

As to not being killed on sight... Eff (above) has a bunch of good options.

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41 minutes ago, Elcid321 said:

I must thank you all for this information, it has been very helpful, but now i must ask, if "we are all us" than why is the lunar pantheon so opposed to Orlanth,

It is about rulership in the Middle Air/Middle Sky (two names for the same region), which used to be Orlanth's Domain but was invaded by the Red Moon in 1247.

And to boot, she brought Chaos into the realm which Orlanth had successfully cleared of Chaos in the Gods War.

Orlanth cannot yield the Middle Sky to the Moon, and the Moon cannot afford to leave the Middle Air to Orlanth. (And neither has the creative power to push the sky dome even further away...)

41 minutes ago, Elcid321 said:

and how to i make sure that my character is not killed on sight in Sartar (i'm plannin on disguising myself, but i know that at some point i'm going to have to reveal myself to the people and my companions)

The "kill all Lunars on sight" craze after the Dragonrise has ebbed down, now, and Sartar has always been a thoroughfare for trade, so foreigners visiting isn't that unusual. As long as the character has no manifest Chaos traits and has pledged to an Orlanthi of sufficient rank to obey the laws of hospitality and all that, even a Lunar cultist may be able to move through Sartar without having to fear for their life every second.

A person of sufficient rank and ransom might be released for ransom. And possibly bringing/buying back kin of the captors who had been sent to the Heartlands in chains, assuming that they are still alive.

If you get someone sufficiently powerful to grant you his protection and to stand up for your actions, you should be fine. Unless that guarantor has just died in a battle...

Everybody will assume that a visiting Imperial citizen is there to spy or to assassinate someone - happened before. Coming in disguise might lend a lot more credence to this suspicion.

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1 hour ago, Eff said:

If you're a full Heartlander (or at least from further north in the Provinces), perhaps you are a Lunar dissident. You've concluded (maybe after seeing the Dragonrise or Harrek's rampage or some similar Lunar disaster) that the Empire has it wrong, is misunderstanding Sedenya's will. Perhaps Moonson has been deluded by his wicked Carmanian/Spolite/Dara Happan/Pelandan/Orayan/Provincial counselors. Perhaps the current Moonson is a fake! You're probably not a pacifistic White Moon cultist, though. You may also have simply gone a little native and started identifying with the Sartarites. You might well be able to get away with it if you praise Orlanth loudly and publicly enough. (Perhaps you've determined that Orlanth has been healed, what with his Ring having all 11 lights in it again).

Consider that stolen (if you agree). This is very good.

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7 minutes ago, Kloster said:

Consider that stolen (if you agree). This is very good.

Feel free to steal it! This becomes even easier after Argenteus dies- clearly, Moonson has turned his back on the Empire in its occlusion! (And if they make it all the way to the 1640s, they eagerly flock to Phargentes the Younger when he marches south.)

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In addition to the minor issue of being killed on sight (one of our PCs has a 90% Hate Lunars, not sure about PCs in your campaign) you are going to have a serious problem recovering Rune Points, and participating in your required worship services.

If you GM is a strict by the book rules person, I don't see any chance of this working.  If your GM will bend and work with you on this, it could be fun.

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7 minutes ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

In addition to the minor issue of being killed on sight (one of our PCs has a 90% Hate Lunars, not sure about PCs in your campaign) you are going to have a serious problem recovering Rune Points, and participating in your required worship services.

If you GM is a strict by the book rules person, I don't see any chance of this working.  If your GM will bend and work with you on this, it could be fun.

In our playtest, we had a hidden 7 mothers shrine close to Apple Lane, where some converts were going. There is no priest, but that does not forbid our lunar character to try to worship. Recovery was more difficult than for Orlanth, but possible.

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5 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

In addition to the minor issue of being killed on sight (one of our PCs has a 90% Hate Lunars, not sure about PCs in your campaign) you are going to have a serious problem recovering Rune Points, and participating in your required worship services.

If you GM is a strict by the book rules person, I don't see any chance of this working.  If your GM will bend and work with you on this, it could be fun.

There's sure to be small shrines here and there, wherever there were significant converts among the locals. Massacring foreign occupiers is one thing, but converted cousins are stil kin.

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On 11/21/2019 at 8:27 AM, Elcid321 said:

As the title of this thread implies, i need help understanding lunar theology, philosophy and ideology. I'm asking becuase i'm going to play a Runequest: Glorantha campaign soon, and i'm interested in playing a lunar, and thus, need help understanding their ideas, religion, motivation, etc.

The essence of the Lunar Way is Transformation.

The Red Goddess was Transformed in each of her Incarnations, each becoming something else. The Red Goddess herself managed to embody and awaken all of her Transformations, proving that they were just Aspects of her.

This shows in some of the Lunar deities. The Seven mothers Transformed themselves into Deities, each taking on the role of the deities they worshipped, but with a Lunar slant. Etyries did something similar, transforming herself from a Demigoddess daughter of Issaries to the Lunar Trade Goddess.

One aspect of the Transformation is the gaining of Illumination. this is not just Nysaloran Illumination, but something much deeper and connected with the Lunar Way.

One of the central parts of the Lunar Way is that chaos is not necessarily bad. Chaos is a tool, like many things. It can be used by sensible magicians and can be sorely abused. Gbaji is known to have sorely abused Chaos and is held up as an example of how not to do things. 

The Red Emperor is part of the Lunar Way and is also the Dara Happan Emperor. this is not just a pretence, he is the Emperor of Dara Happa, the living representative of Yelm on the world of Glorantha. This means that the Solar Cultists of Dara Happa follow the Red Emperor, but this doesn't make them Lunars. In fact, there is a tension between the Solar Religion and the Lunar Religion. Lunar Heroes and Heroines have tried to bridge the gap and make some of the solar Deities more Lunar in nature.

 

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On 11/22/2019 at 1:29 PM, soltakss said:

... One of the central parts of the Lunar Way is that chaos is not necessarily bad. Chaos is a tool, like many things. It can be used by sensible magicians and can be sorely abused. Gbaji is known to have sorely abused Chaos and is held up as an example of how not to do things ...

This is, of course, nothing more than foul Lunar propaganda!  Chaos can never, ever be trusted.  If it is a tool, it is an accursed one, that will do ill deeds no matter the will of the owner, and indeed lure the owner into willful ill-doing.

 

On 11/22/2019 at 1:29 PM, soltakss said:

... One aspect of the Transformation is the gaining of Illumination. this is not just Nysaloran Illumination, but something much deeper and connected with the Lunar Way...

There, d'you see?  D'you see???

They even admit it up-front, the Nysalorian link and their plan to go even further...  And as everyone knows, the next step after Nysalor is Gbaji !!!

You had Nysalor, a God smuggled inside the Compromse by sorcerors more powerful than wise; Nysalor seemed nice to many, but was unveiled eventually as Chaos incarnate.

Now you have this malformed seven-part trumped-up goddess, brought again inside Time by sorcerors more powerful than wise, using unmitigated Chaos like the Crimson Bat, and Broo in her army, and...

Can ye not SEE it, man?  Are ye so blinded by her glamour's???

[/Orlanthi Old-Timer]

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1 hour ago, Bill the barbarian said:

You sir are the epitome of tolerance. How do you bear it man?

Oh aye, that I am.  'Tis my one besetting sin!  But when the toleratin' an' the respectin' get too much fer me... Well, there's the lightning.  Violence is always an option!

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On 11/21/2019 at 6:25 PM, JonL said:

There's sure to be small shrines here and there, wherever there were significant converts among the locals. Massacring foreign occupiers is one thing, but converted cousins are stil kin.

I like your solution.  However, maybe we are misreading the material, but we are having problems enough finding accessible temples and shrines for approved cults like Storm Bull and Issaries.

 

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1 hour ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

I like your solution.  However, maybe we are misreading the material, but we are having problems enough finding accessible temples and shrines for approved cults like Storm Bull and Issaries.

Issaries is wherever there is a market. Each city (rather than clan main town) of Sartar has one with a temple. Shrines are found in Orlanth temples or at lesser markets.

Storm Bull can be a problem in Sartar if you need a temple. Other than Lunar occupators, there has been no Big Chaos nearby, so the more picturesque spots like Snake Pipe Hollow, Footprint or Block get all the tourism. Stormwalk has less Chaos but a phallic feat of power, a bit further away, or you can chase the Eternal Battle as it moves. If you move past Duck Point, you might be able to join the Minotaurs in their ancestral cult. Otherwise, go wherever the cow goddess is worshiped for a Bull shrine. Seriously, they're associated.

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