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The Sky as a Reflection of Glorantha (aka "the Sky Beyond Fire")


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Very often when we discuss the Sky, we tend to either talk about it solely as the realm of the Fire/Sky Rune (and its associated entities/deities), or alternatively as a result of the various injuries/invasions it has endured (Lorion, Darkness, Storm, Chaos, etc.). 

However, it seems to me that the Sky is actually something more than this, which I find interesting. 

We of course have Sky/Fire entities themselves represented in the constellations, but we also have Storm (Orlanth's Ring), Draconic entities, possibly Earth (depending on how one views Dendara/Entekos and the Doraddi Sky Witches), Sea (Lorion), Moon (well... the moons, obvs.) possibly Darkness (The Red Planet is... complicated) and so on.

Some of these are "invasions", yes, but I don't think all of them are ultimately the cosmic equivalent of "battle scars". Rather, I think it's an intriguing thought that the sky itself naturally reflects the cosmos for some reason or other. 

In the same way the Underworld might have certain properties beyond just being dark and cold (sleep, regeneration, hibernation, imprisonment), the Sky might have certain qualities beyond "simply" being the elemental domain of Fire (Order? Schematics? Reflection? Introspection? ) 

We have stars signifying the lost location of the Spike (Polestar?) Stars signifying the apotheosis of mortal into godhood, even if they have no explicit association with the Sky, and celestial entities associated with other things on the surface. I can't help but think that there is SOMETHING going on here beyond the Yelmic-Plentonic "the sky is all that's great and clean" and the runic-elementally reductionalist "fire lol".

I don't have any formed theory, but my my thoughts tend to coalesce into the notion that the Sky naturally or consciously reflects matters either on the surface world, or in Glorantha as a whole. Why? I have no idea. But I like that it adds a dimension to the sky that makes it more closely tied into the whole "world-machine" (to borrow a Mostali term) as opposed to just being a mono-elemental, distant realm. Controversial notion: The Sky Always Belonged To Everybody. 

Maybe I'm overthinking it. But that's why we're here, right?

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Sky is Purity and often connected to Truth, it could be displaying the "true forms" of things on the surface or their "essence" or whatever The Sun is also associated with Life and Immortality - perhaps the things in the Sky are the immortal portions of everything, while those in the Underworld are the dead portions of everything. The Middle World is the world of both life and death, where everything is stuck inbetween.

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Complete bullshit theory: there were many worlds that were a part of glorantha (this is kinda true), the glorantha we think of belonged to Uleria (thats why she is the only member of gloranthan court to survive). The world is actually life rune shaped and that is why the sky is reflection of the earth.

Edited by Borygon
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One aspect of ancient cultures, whether in the Near East, India, China or anywhere else, is that there was a belief that future events (and the will of the gods) are foretold in the sky, by the movement of the stars and planets. There was very much a belief that 'so above, so below'.

In Glorantha, however, the gods can't predict the future, and most are locked into immutable roles by the Compromise.

The Sky includes not only Sky and Solar entities, but other elements as well, and major gods who are not Solar or Sky gods.

Shameless plug, but the implications are covered in some detail in Armies and Enemies of Dragon Pass because I wanted something akin to the roles of astrologers and fortune tellers, as they played a significant role in ancient Near East warfare. You only have to examine the Assyrian and Babylonian lists of events in the sky codified to events on Earth to see this.

Events in the Sky are regular, taking a couple of centuries to cycle through; the interactions of stars and planets relive the myths of the gods, so when Orlanth's Ring encounters the Red Planet of Shargash, for example, there are implications for their worshipers below.

The Dara Happans and the Kralorelans have centuries of records detailing the effects these mythic interactions have down on the surface, and this is potentially a very great advantage in any major magical activities, including war. Of course, this cycle isn't entirely predictable as events on the surface can cause planets and stars to appear or disappear, such as the disappearance and reappearance of the Boat Planet. The rise of the Red Moon is also a major variance in the Sky, and its occupation of the Middle Age, claimed by Orlanth, ensures there must be conflict down below between their mortal followers.

So I put together a table of all the major powers in the Sky; of course creating an almanac was impractical, but the different periods of major planets, stars, and other bodies gives an indication of their influences below.

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One recent way of looking at the Gloranthan sky that I have acquired is as an isolating layer from the Ultimate, the Source of all (magic) energy that lies beyond Glorantha. In a way it is part of the Void that surrounds Glorantha, and also its polar opposite. And if you find that illuminating, welcome to the weirdness of the Far Sky realms.

Some of the stasis and conservativism of the Sky Gods may be simply a coping mechanism to deal with the insanity that may result from interaction with the Absolute. Illumination...

Other entities are drawn here, too. IMO the dragons which left their eggs in Dragon Pass and in Kralorela (and possibly elsewhere in Glorantha) came from here, and left through here. The draconic realms of soul-rendering non-experiences would be adjacent to the Upper Sky, yet further outside than the already remote philosophical realm of Dayzatar.

I'll abstain from speculation how much the Lunar way of Illumination extends in this direction. The Red Goddess attempts to maintain an equilibrium hanging low in the Sky, going as far down (and transcendent) as absolute Chaos downward. That leaves all manner of interesting options and operations in that direction, too. Stuff the White Moonies may be about, stuff absolutely lethal to the Yelmic (side of the) Empire.

I like the notion that Orlanth's Ring is soaking up these influences on their way back down to Stormgate. It may not be the Underworld, but it can be an even stranger Otherworld.

According to old Malkioni sources, Malkion the Prophet and some of his descendants like Yingar the Messenger have a celestial abode and presence, and Malkionism (though not Zzaburism) seeks to link up with this. Outside of the western Sky, there may be some place identifiable as Danmalastan, and beyond that (outward, and closer to the Source) the One World of principles may be found.

The Enmal Mountains of Pamaltela and Vithela appear to be transit areas into such an outer world of high energy principles, too. The Kralori combine this with some (rudimentary?) draconic understanding/emoting.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis


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