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7 hours ago, Darius West said:

Okay, basically a mystic is a devotee of a form of asceticism, generally linked to a religious philosophy.  They practice austerities, and seek through their denial of the flesh and their desires to transcend the limits of the merely mortal world.  Real world examples of ascetics would include religions such as Buddhism, Sikhism, some parts of the Hindu tradition (though it is mainly pantheistic).  The most commonly existing Gloranthan mystic would probably be a Kralori Martial Artist, though the Lunars are trying to mass produce illuminates.

I want troll gluttons who achieve inner mastery by eating as much as they can as fast as they can, to bring themselves closer to Gorakiki, or Ulerian mystics who exhaust themselves to try to see into the Void at the point of climax, or storm mystics who concentrate on feeling the air move around and within themselves.

4 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

The large focus on Nysalorean Illumination with its frequent outcome of "nothing is true, everything is permitted" seems like short-changing the mystical tradition as well. 

Yeah, I don't understand why everyone assumes that the only mysticism in Glorantha revolves around Illumination. They are one form of mysticism, sure, but there are others.

4 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

No-one would do Kabbalah and then suddenly realize that no divine laws apply to them any longer.

They might. It isn't the only outcome and is a rare one, but that is possible.

4 hours ago, Ladygolem said:

Nobody is saying "Kabbalah works like this, therefore Illumination must also work like this".

 

3 hours ago, Alex said:

I took the implication to be the reverse, if anything.  Perhaps I made myself obscure.

 

3 hours ago, Alex said:

No, that would be the converse, not at all what I meant either. :)

 

3 hours ago, Ladygolem said:

Right, though I think I was arguing for exactly the reverse (or is that converse? Maybe inverse? I'm lost here...)

 

I just thought that exchange was typical of discussions about mysticism in Glorantha.

Nobody really understands mysticism properly because it should be experienced, felt, achieved, known.

Gnosis and Gnosticism are related to knowing, not on an intellectual basis but really knowing deep down with all your heart. Same with Gloranthan mysticism.

 

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I apologize for the length of this reply in advance.    It's hard to take this post seriously at all. "Chaos is definitely objectively the death of the world, or else Gloranthans would rev

I would have abandoned the Tarot scheme.  The major framing device for the organization of the Arkati cults (Arkat the Destroyer etc) I would have attributed to Halwal (in order words, the cults of Ar

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31 minutes ago, soltakss said:

want troll gluttons who achieve inner mastery by eating as much as they can as fast as they can, to bring themselves closer to Gorakiki, or Ulerian mystics who exhaust themselves to try to see into the Void at the point of climax, or storm mystics who concentrate on feeling the air move around and within themselves.

In working out Pavis-area campaign materials I've come to suspect that the Zola Fel has its own tradition of illumination, and the Cleansed One is its bodhisattva, for lack of a better term.

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6 hours ago, soltakss said:

They might. It isn't the only outcome and is a rare one, but that is possible.

It's hard enough to extrapolate between different magical traditions in the same world, never mind between the real world and Glorantha...  Not least because of the risk of ending up being obnoxiously reductionistic about RW belief systems.  But kinda comes with the territory, oh well.  But suppose for the sake of argument that a Practical Kabbalist starts off with the belief that following the Law of the Torah by the letter is necessary for:-

  1. Their personal spiritual well-being;
  2. Their PK to work magically; and,
  3. The universe to operate in a morally well-ordered manner.

Then a RW analogue of Illumination might lead them to believe the first is no longer the case, to find that the second isn't, but still belief the third is true.  (Or if you prefer, flip the example around and consider a Malkioni wizard, of some comparable tradition, in an analogous situation.)

So the two aren't obviously glaringly incompatible, as such, but it's not at all clear that anything in Illumination as written is especially helpful in helping describe Kabbalah as a 'mystical' practice.

 

6 hours ago, soltakss said:

I just thought that exchange was typical of discussions about mysticism in Glorantha.

And of many discussions on t'internet generally!

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7 hours ago, soltakss said:

They might. It isn't the only outcome and is a rare one, but that is possible.

If someone declared that they'd achieved such sublime Kabbalistic insight that they can eat pork now, they'd be laughed out of any Jewish community, society, seminary or study group they stepped foot in. It's theological nonsense.

The point I was trying to make earlier is that we see that mystical practice, for the most part, functions as an extension of religious practice. They cannot exist in isolation from that religious context.

Moving on to Gloranthan mysticism, and its practical implementation...

I notice many of the mystical traditions in Glorantha seem to be centred around emulating a particular Rune*. Larnstings are all about Movement, Lunar Illuminates obviously embody the Moon rune, Kralori mystics seek the Dragon rune, etc. Perhaps Gloranthan mysticism could be described as figuring out how to embody a rune directly. Those who worship deities or deal with spirits gain access runes through the lens of the deity or spirit that possesses them. Even sorcerers manipulate runic forces externally. A mystic becomes that rune, being able to do anything that the rune can do, essentially. Lunar Illuminates can mix cults, utilize chaos etc. because that's what the Moon rune does, beyond simply the spell effects afforded to worshippers of the Red Goddess or the Seven Mothers. A Larnsting does what Movement does, performing feats that fall outside of what a Wind Lord could - because the latter is accessing Movement through emulating Orlanth Adventurous, while the former is going right to the source.

Mechanically, mysticism could maybe be implemented as working similar to Divine Intervention? Succeed on a roll (Meditate? POW? Relevant Rune rating? Some combination of these?) and the magical thing just happens. Maybe that's too close to sorcery? I have no idea.

Anyway I could go on but I've been writing and rewriting this post for like an hour and a half now so I'll just call this good enough.

 

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To add a little more substance, and maybe corroborate @Ladygolem's point, one of the more important mystical (as opposed to Illuminated) traditions in the late third age must be the Order of the Rising Sun in the East Isles.  The Order has its primary temple, the House of the Rising Sun at Luma, the so-called "Bright City" of Haragala.  Their main claim to fame is that after the Opening was revealed to Haragala by Kralorelan trade ships, members of the Order traveled to Teshnos to study its powerful solar cults.  When they returned to Luma they used insights gained from the Teshnan theists to develop the first sunscopes, devices composed of a mirror and focusing crystal capable of projecting killing beams of condensed sunlight.  The devices are the lynchpin of Haragalan naval power, and only adepts of the Order of the Rising Sun know how to operate them.

Maybe not the most enlightened use of mystical power, but if the Kralorelans can use emulation of the Dragon rune to build and maintain an empire, nothing says the Haragalans can't emulate the Fire/Sky rune to do the same.

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4 hours ago, Ladygolem said:

If someone declared that they'd achieved such sublime Kabbalistic insight that they can eat pork now, they'd be laughed out of any Jewish community, society, seminary or study group they stepped foot in. It's theological nonsense.

The similarities to Gloranthan Illumination continue!  (OK, barely begin.)  This is clearly -- I say clearly, not so clear as I didn't forget to mention it in my li'l list in my previous post, oops -- a factor for any sort of mystical revelation.  (Or more broadly still any metaphysical one -- it's the Return With The Elixir, or whatever version of that structure (if any!) one favours.)  If your community doesn't accept the validity of the 'truth' you've returned with (and you don't have the cop-on to keep quiet about it), you're going to be in a whole world of trouble.  Even it's 'magically true' in some or all of the various other senses I did think to mention.

 

4 hours ago, Ladygolem said:

The point I was trying to make earlier is that we see that mystical practice, for the most part, functions as an extension of religious practice. They cannot exist in isolation from that religious context.

Numerous Gloranthan counter-examples to this, though they're generally so drastic and disruption that it perhaps tends to powerfully argue that it at least should not.

 

4 hours ago, Ladygolem said:

I notice many of the mystical traditions in Glorantha seem to be centred around emulating a particular Rune*. Larnstings are all about Movement, Lunar Illuminates obviously embody the Moon rune, Kralori mystics seek the Dragon rune, etc. Perhaps Gloranthan mysticism could be described as figuring out how to embody a rune directly.

Hrrrrrm.  I guess it's certainly a form of mysticism, and it does capture the first of those as they themselves would see it.  And it's comparable to 'worship' of the totality of a Greater God -- by definition a 'Rune Owner', after all! -- which goes beyond common-or-garden mystery-cultic emulatory theism, of the sort we're most familiar with.  (As alluded to up-thread.)  But that's definitely not how the Lunars or the Kralori would see their practices.  They're seeking unity with the Ultimate, not with a 'mere'(!) rune.  That's a W9 vs W15 difference right there!  :D (Another obscure and cheesy Hero Wars-era  reference -- I'll apologise for that one in advance...)  OTOH, they both have a rather Augustinian approach to that in practice -- O Oneness, I seek thee:  but not just yet, I have an empire to trundle around with down here, such fun.  So arguably closer to the reality than they'd care to admit.

 

4 hours ago, Ladygolem said:

Lunar Illuminates can mix cults, utilize chaos etc. because that's what the Moon rune does, beyond simply the spell effects afforded to worshippers of the Red Goddess or the Seven Mothers.

Kinda inviting us to conclude, Arkat:  big ol' Moon Worshipper ahead of his time...  (And ahead of the time of there being any moon in the sky to speak of, slightly more awkwardly.)

 

4 hours ago, Ladygolem said:

Mechanically, mysticism could maybe be implemented as working similar to Divine Intervention? Succeed on a roll (Meditate? POW? Relevant Rune rating? Some combination of these?) and the magical thing just happens. Maybe that's too close to sorcery? I have no idea.

I kinda like that, actually.  For the self-conscious RuneQuesters -- see what I did there, huh, huh? OK, I'll get me coat -- this could be an active, wilful act.  That'd be your Larnsting example, the Old Wind goðar, Dayzatari, Great Earth mystics in the temple complexes of Nochet, and so on.  For 'pure' mystics it would be more of a passive 'side-effect' -- the ascetic remains without action, the universe turns around them according to its own workings.  Middle cases like the the Lunars and Draconics, rationalise to taste.

Certainly the 'your POW is now zero, remove character from game' case is entirely apt...

 

 

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2 hours ago, dumuzid said:

To add a little more substance, and maybe corroborate @Ladygolem's point, one of the more important mystical (as opposed to Illuminated) traditions in the late third age must be the Order of the Rising Sun in the East Isles.

I'm guessing this in the Guide, as there's so little else in print for the East?  (And because I'm too lazy to check, and there's a bulb out in that room (... that I've been too lazy to change).)

So in what sense is this mystical?  And in which (OK, bit of Wazboth's barristry here) is it clearly not Illumination?

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5 hours ago, Ladygolem said:

If someone declared that they'd achieved such sublime Kabbalistic insight that they can eat pork now, they'd be laughed out of any Jewish community, society, seminary or study group they stepped foot in. It's theological nonsense.

But it might be possible to move beyond Judaism or to use Kabbalistic mysticism in a Christian or Muslim setting. Sure, it wouldn't be Judaic Kabbalist thought but it would be part of the same thing.

7 minutes ago, Alex said:

The similarities to Gloranthan Illumination continue!  (OK, barely begin.)  This is clearly -- I say clearly, not so clear as I didn't forget to mention it in my li'l list in my previous post, oops -- a factor for any sort of mystical revelation.  (Or more broadly still any metaphysical one -- it's the Return With The Elixir, or whatever version of that structure (if any!) one favours.)  If your community doesn't accept the validity of the 'truth' you've returned with (and you don't have the cop-on to keep quiet about it), you're going to be in a whole world of trouble.  Even it's 'magically true' in some or all of the various other senses I did think to mention.

This is important.

Achieving a deeper level of understanding or enlightenment might mean bringing back a school of thought that differs so much from the original that it is not accepted by your peers and you effectively have to start a new movement.

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6 hours ago, Ladygolem said:

I notice many of the mystical traditions in Glorantha seem to be centred around emulating a particular Rune*.

Yeah. In HQ, it even works this way in the rules - you add the Infinity rune to a regular rune in order to modify it as Illuminated (in RQG, I believe the Infinity rune will be about Herodom instead?). 

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Some of the Heroquest challenges are hard to discern from the ordeals of mystics. Orlanth has to undergo the test of the Flame of Ehilm (a sun god different from Yelm Ash-liege who demands the test) and only succeeds because he underwent an earlier such trial, the Baths of Nelat.

Ingolf Dragonfriend, an EWF mystic who failed on a true mystic path unlike the majority of the Third Council members who followed short cut paths like or similar to Immanent Mastery, undergoes similar soul-searing trials on his way to dragonhood.

 

Central Genertelan mysticism is portrayed as proselytizing their nostrums, like spreading the knowledge of Auld Wyrmish, or exposing people to Nysalorean riddles.

The EWF starts as the Hunting and Waltzing Bands, hippies dancing in the wild, embracing one another and the occasional dragonewt. This may be seen as a kind of pilgrimage, or just as partying.

The Lunar mobs following demagogues and discussing illuminated theories are reminding me of people I encountered at university - true believers in the writings of Karl Marx and (name any one 20th century dictator with "socialist" on their party book) trying to make the world better and more fair, believing in the promised goal rather than looking at the obviously failed states resulting from those theories. Willing to go on protests or even riots, willing to do some symbolic protest standing outside of official buildings holding up a sign, and doing surprisingly good jobs at networking students and sharing their lecture notes/scripts. People who will make improving the world their "day job", sleeping in occupied houses or similar.

These demagogues and their followers pursue memes around the cognitive dissonance that needs to be overcome to become illuminated (or thoroughly indoctrinated, as the "improvements" of chocolate rations to ever smaller amounts announced by Orwell's Ministry of Truth).

Illumination can be a disconnect from observable reality. "Positive thinking" as Voltaire's "Candide".

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17 hours ago, soltakss said:

I want troll gluttons who achieve inner mastery by eating as much as they can as fast as they can

The Red Emperor’s parties would seem like a similar enlightenment-through-excess. Apparently the path of excess leads to the palace of wisdom at least some of the time.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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On 1/22/2021 at 2:28 AM, Alex said:

I wondered if Sikhism was maybe a slip for Jainism here (which is pretty consistently ascetic, moreso than Buddhism, or the (poly)theistic aspects of Hinduism), but apparently not as you repeat this later.  As I understand it, Sikhism is significantly influenced by the Abrahamic religions, consequently adheres to ascetic practices much less than (other) Dharmic religions, and indeed is doctrinally anti-ascetist.

I completely accept that the Jains are ascetics.  While I would also agree that Sikhism  argues against asceticism, it is nevertheless strongly influenced by it, just as it is influenced by Islamic ideas, and tries to synthesize the two influences.  Sikhism is a product of the era of its birth, which was a grossly excessively bad time in India thanks to Islam.  I think that in many ways Sikhism rejected the trappings of Hindu asceticism and the pride that ascetics often adopted.  As a monotheism, the Sikhs promote a mysticism that is god-centered.  This is not to suggest however that monotheisms cannot be ascetic, given each branch maintains renunciate traditions.  Sikhism just isn't ascetic in the primarily Hindu mode of the region.  Instead the Sikhs maintain a military asceticism, seeking to remain pure in the midst of impurity, and to live disciplined lives.  When you come to the miracles of the Sikhs however, they conform to the ascetic model I have proposed.  I would strenuously argue that the Sikhs are at their core a transcendental religion, and their miracles tend to be of an ascetic character.

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On 1/22/2021 at 4:02 AM, soltakss said:

I want troll gluttons who achieve inner mastery by eating as much as they can as fast as they can, to bring themselves closer to Gorakiki, or Ulerian mystics who exhaust themselves to try to see into the Void at the point of climax, or storm mystics who concentrate on feeling the air move around and within themselves.

Gluttony mysticism is a new one.  I love it.

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On 1/21/2021 at 9:26 PM, Akhôrahil said:

I think this definition is a little restrictive. There are Christian and Muslim mystics as well, who often don't practice ascetism (at least not a very strong one - excess should typically be avoided). There's an ecstatic aspect to it that is almost universal, though, as in Sufi whirling. The idea is to achieve direct contact with an otherwise inaccessible Ultimate, whatever that is pictured as being (God for Christians, unsurprisingly).

Good point. Sufism is fascinating in that it reinvents itself over and over again every century or so, in order to maintain the freshness of the core message.  Where other traditions have become stale, this Sufi reinvention has covered music, mathematics, poetry, weaving, dancing, begging, travelling, etc. over the centuries.  Each time Sufism creates an integrated syllabus of spiritual teaching that is relevant to the contemporary setting and its mores.  While the other pre-existing traditions are left alive, they are also left to ossify and corrupt by the core teachers, serving as perhaps a means of filtering potential recruits.  In this way Sufism overcomes the threats of institutional corruption that have come to weight down other religions.  Islamic extremists often persecute Sufism at the moment, and one of the criticisms they level is that Sufism isn't Islam, it's crypto-Buddhism.

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On 1/9/2021 at 11:33 PM, Darius West said:

I would suggest a different approach.  I think that the mainstay of surviving illumination in the West is the Arkat Cult, by which I mean the one that Mularik Ironeye belongs to, not those abortive schismatic Safelstran city state cults.  They are a small, selective crew with a join-or-die mentality and an intensely strict moral code and an Orwellian review process.

I was not intending my ideas about Irensavalism to represent the only group to incorporate some mysticism. I'm quite sure the Arkati still exist. But I think the idea that there would only be one tiny group in the entire West to have an interest in mysticism is a bit silly and a bit restrictive. 

The Arkati (like Mularik) are still basically a mystic movement in reaction to the misuse of mysticism by Nysalor. Talor was another. But I think we can't just think of Western mysticism that way any more, as if nothing has happened since the First Age - and in particular, I think the various Arkats, and the Loskalm/ New Hrestoli are different reactions to the perceived misuse of mysticism by the God Learner. Though both have some things in common - in particular, relentless examination and a strict moral code - but there are very different reactions to the complex disaster that was God Learnerism, and the role of Illumination within it. Then again, the Lunars believe in careful examination of their Red Goddess Initiates too, they just allowed the process to become utterly corrupted by political considerations, they have an Empire to run after all. Mularik's gang just decided to keep their group a tiny elite, Talor's followers decided to try to separate  mysticism from earthly concerns as much as possible. 

On 1/9/2021 at 11:33 PM, Darius West said:

Firstly, while I grant that Illumination might initially allow a view of all peoples as fundamentally trapped within their worldviews and unable to see beyond the constraints of their upbringing and preconceptions, of necessity, I debate the notion that this amounts to a philosophical neutrality towards Chaos instantly. 

You are, I think, confusing a philosophical neutrality towards Chaos, with practical unconcern with its moral consequences. I am philosophically neutral towards gamma radiation, but that does not mean I am in favour of there being much of it in my immediately vicinity or wish to visit Chernobyl, or consider nuclear warfar to have no moral consequence. And absolutely no one has ever thought that all Illuminates are in favour of Chaos without considering its moral consequences. In fact, literally the first published material about Illumination also made it clear that the Illuminated Arkati were Illuminates who believed the moral consequences of Chaos were dire and did not accept it - despite their philosophical acceptance of it within the universe. 

On 1/9/2021 at 11:33 PM, Darius West said:

The aim of Irensavalism is to attain a new gnosis of the Invisible God.  The aim of Illumination is personal liberation. 

 

And as the Invisible God of the Irensavalists is a mystic concept that fully conceivable by a normal mortal mind, it is  pretty clearly a mystic goal. Now, seeking a mystic goal doesn't have to mean using mystic methods, but, well, I think they may well for multiple reasons, including the many hints that Talor was Illuminated (as Arkat was), and their clear rejection of anything too empirical or mundane and desire to transcend the material. But even if they do use mystic methods (and it is largely speculative on my part) it's a secret inner doctrine to take on after you've already become a magus and so transcended the material - then you are ready to use mysticism to transcend the immaterial. 

The aim of Illumination is to transcend the limits of the magical constraints on us, freeing us to transcend the immaterial aspects of existence. I think we have to take it that Nysalor, the Red Goddess, are not complete fools - Nysalor may have been terrible at communicating the higher mysteries to his followers, but he knew there was more to it than just realising you'd been magically liberated, and stopping all mystic work at that point and just collecting cool powers. Nysalorism is an incomplete form of mysticism, because of what Nysalor teaches poorly (and he may well have had reasons for some of that, including trying to teach some of it in person by magical means when he was alive). But the occasional Nysaloran mystic learns a bit more themselves anyway. And modern (1620s) Nysalorism isn't First Age Nysalorism at all - not just because Nysalor isn't around, but because it's had a huge amount of interaction with the Lunar and Kralori mystics. The Red Goddess also has her own methods for further transcendance after Illumination, mostly grandiose magical ones, like creating her own Glamourous Otherworld. 

On 1/9/2021 at 11:33 PM, Darius West said:

I think Illumination is a very bad model for mysticism for a very tangible reason within the RQG rules

 

You may think that. But I think it's the model you are going to get in official products. I just think it's a very incomplete model of mysticism, though fundamentally not wrong. 

On 1/9/2021 at 11:33 PM, Darius West said:

Illumination is not a complete picture of the process, and in fact Nysalorism is not a "live tradition", but in fact a dead one, resuscitated by the Lunars in much the same way that the Medieval Church kept a bastardized form of Latin alive long after it was a dead language. 

 

I think it is a dead tradition in a rather more literal fashion - it is an incomplete model, because there are things that Nysalor did not teach well, and Arkat got in the way of him fully transferring his teachings to others, and creating a living tradition. By kind of literally murdering as many of them as possible. So what has survived is only a partial version of Nysalor's teachings. 

On 1/9/2021 at 11:33 PM, Darius West said:

In fact, Nysalorism as a dead cult in fact has not mystical practice,

 

what? A charitable interpretation is that you are assuming an incomplete tradition is therefore not mystic at all, which makes little sense to me. Or do you think the fact that they don't grant Rune magic etc somehow indicates its not capable of being mysticism? 

FWIW, I think it is clear the Red Goddess thinks Nysalorism is an incomplete mystic system, and she has all sorts of wild ideas about how to complete it (creating her own Glamourous half-material Otherworld in the sky, for example). 

On 1/9/2021 at 11:33 PM, Darius West said:

Draconic mysticism seriously doesn't care about illumination, its goal is to gain enough spiritual power, and wisdom to complete the rebirths necessary to become a True Dragon. 

Its goal is to transcend the limits of the world, both material and otherwise. They start from a different place, and a different direction and in a different order, starting with overcoming the limits of the material rather than the limits of the magical. But to truly transcend it all, you've got to do it all. 

The dragonewts, of course, are far less likely to get sidetracked by worrying about mortality. 

On 1/9/2021 at 11:33 PM, Darius West said:

The HQ rules do in fact cover Mysticism, and so does the Mongoose Second Age rules. 

Mysticism was taken out of HQ because it was believed the rules did not do a good job of covering it, in fact bad enough that it was better to remove them. I don't think there is any point in rehashing them. 

On 1/9/2021 at 11:33 PM, Darius West said:

I would also hasten to point out that we do in fact have a Cult write-up for a live mystical tradition in the forthcoming RuneQuest: Gods of Glorantha volume, that being the Cult of Dayzatar.

 

I don't think Dayzatar is mysticism either. It seems more like advanced dedicated theism. But it's an interesting case. 

On 1/9/2021 at 11:33 PM, Darius West said:

In short, Mysticism needs a separate write-up in the same way that Sorcery, Shamanism and Divine Magic have been written up, and it needs to be good.  It also should never assume that illumination is the same for every Mystical Tradition, as they each have very different aims and objectives even if they look superficially similar.

 

While I agree, I think in practice such a system should be built around the Illumination idea at the core, probably mildly expanded, and you seem to want something utterly different. Illumination is explicitly not the same for everyone in terms of game stuff like powers obtained etc.

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On 1/9/2021 at 10:05 PM, Darius West said:

In HeroQuest we are told there are 2 forms of Mysticism, transcendental and immanent. 

I think Greg changed his mind on this. Or at least, would regard every immanent mystic as failed as long as they remained mystic. 

 

On 1/9/2021 at 10:05 PM, Darius West said:

Draconic Mysticism definitely has elements of both Transcendental and Immanent philosophy to it, and that is what Immanent Mastery is seeking to emulate.  I think in fact that what they have produced is a successfully simplified form of Draconic transformation which is indeed perfectly within the purview of Immanent mysticism.

 

It's worth considering that the use of dragon powers in a practical way is always considered to be something that hinders spiritual development by dragonewts, and sometimes death is preferable. This also shows up in the EWF stories as well, the idea that dragon magic must be used sparingly for spiritual advancement. 

Now consider that the Path of Immanent Mastery has, as their goal, just to mimic exactly the sort of magic that the dragonewts and EWF say hinders spiritual development and to do it all the time

I very much stand by my opinion that mystics consider them misguided idiots. And that Greg probably thought this was funny. 

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On 1/9/2021 at 10:05 PM, Darius West said:

I would even go so far as to say that a follower of Immanent Mastery may well be able to integrate into a true Draconic Tradition if they underwent the split brain surgery and were prepared to jettison the parts of their training that were extraneous to what the Dragonewts might teach them.

 

You mean if they took an entirely different approach, essentially starting again from scratch, they could get somewhere? (bearing in mind a true Draconic tradition would likely tell them all the magic they knew retarded their spiritual development and they should avoid using it).  Well, I guess it is possible. 

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I think ascetism, or austerities in Glorantha speak, is a practical technique that can be used by any magical tradition. As is meditation, as is enchantment or summoning or ceremony. 

Geases are a form of austerity used by theism. There are shamanic uses that are more obvious - gaining shamanic powers through attribute sacrifice, for example, which seems a fairly direct attempt to show ascetism. 

They can be super practical for Illuminates in current rules - get Gifts and Geases, decide you've internalised it and don't really need to maintain the Geas when its inconvenient. Cheesy, but makes a kind of sense. But a Nysaloran understanding, not a universal mystic one. 

Even without such cheesiness, though, austerities seem to be a form of magic that is not itself mystic, but is particularly useful to, and compatible with, mystics. The more you are able to control the self, the more you are able to overcome it and its restrictions. 

On 1/21/2021 at 8:45 PM, Ladygolem said:

Thus the way I see it, a Larnsting would not gain the ability to mix and match cults and runes (since that's specifically the Lunar thing) but rather would gain powers appropriate to the Orlanthi mantra: "No-one can make you do anything"! In practice, I see them not rejecting Orlanthi practices but in fact following them to a degree as strict as the most devout Wind Lord.

 

I think a Larnsting may recognise that all Movement magic is all essentially the same, and want to deepen his knowledge by investigating other Movement traditions, and understanding other Movement magic. 

Like, say, an Issaries heroquester who suddenly starts doing things like transform people, as Sartar did. 

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It's worth pointing out that Lunar philosophy draws fairly deeply from the Arkat well. The basic principle of uncovering secret connections between seemingly-disparate myths which culminate in the development of a full-fledged path through the Otherside is not something really implicit in the fragmentary Nysalorism we have, which seems to be an extension of confrontation between Self and Other towards reconciliation without the notion of new discovery that Arkat developed from the Harmast model. 

And then the Lunar Way has developed further into notions of expanding the available space, literally through the Red Moon and entirely new areas of the Otherside, and figuratively through entities like the Young Elementals. Which may be a reflection of the Red Goddess's special relationship with Time/linear time. 

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You are, I think, confusing a philosophical neutrality towards Chaos, with practical unconcern with its moral consequences.

I don't think that Illumination creates a philosophical neutrality towards Chaos. Looking at the dialogue between Oddi and Paulis after Oddi's "success" in the Riddle he was given, and applying that to the current RQG rules, Oddi lost the ability to invoke his passion in his fight against Chaos.

 

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In fact, literally the first published material about Illumination also made it clear that the Illuminated Arkati were Illuminates who believed the moral consequences of Chaos were dire and did not accept it - despite their philosophical acceptance of it within the universe. 

I think that Arkat did "embrace" Chaos in fighting it - the duel atop the City of Miracles was one between two Chaos horrors. Three, possibly, if you subscribe to my "extenalized Gbaji" theory.

Two of the most chaotic curses in Glorantha fall back to Arkat (Dorastor) and Talor (the Telmori curse), both modifying (in a bad way) what Nysalor (or Gbaji) had wrought before. Was this just externalizing and demonizing? Or did the two rescuees of Harmast wear the mask of Gbaji uttering or solidifying these curses? And if so, were they ever able to rid themselves of it?

 

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And as the Invisible God of the Irensavalists is a mystic concept that fully conceivable by a normal mortal mind, it is  pretty clearly a mystic goal.

The concept of Irensaval was introduced by Tomastus (sp), a companion of Hrestol after he came to Loskalm. This was after Hrestol's experience of interaction with Zzabur and the Vadeli, and may explain the loathing for Makan as the evil demiurge that is pretty much at odds with the ancestor worship that defines the Malkioni religion, seeing Malkion as the devolved re-incarnation of the Creator.

It is possible to see Hrestol's experiences on Brithos (which he survived) and as judge of the Vadeli as a form of austerity, and his Death experience after murdering Ifftala certainly counts as such, too, but Hrestol was not satisfied with what he had built in Loskalm, and had started from zero again, leaving Tomastus as the spiritual leader of that new brand of Hrestolism in Loskalm.

 

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The aim of Illumination is to transcend the limits of the magical constraints on us, freeing us to transcend the immaterial aspects of existence.

The same has to be said about initiation, or acceptance as an apprentice or rune level.

 

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I think we have to take it that Nysalor, the Red Goddess, are not complete fools - Nysalor may have been terrible at communicating the higher mysteries to his followers, but he knew there was more to it than just realising you'd been magically liberated, and stopping all mystic work at that point and just collecting cool powers. Nysalorism is an incomplete form of mysticism, because of what Nysalor teaches poorly (and he may well have had reasons for some of that, including trying to teach some of it in person by magical means when he was alive). But the occasional Nysaloran mystic learns a bit more themselves anyway. And modern (1620s) Nysalorism isn't First Age Nysalorism at all - not just because Nysalor isn't around, but because it's had a huge amount of interaction with the Lunar and Kralori mystics. The Red Goddess also has her own methods for further transcendance after Illumination, mostly grandiose magical ones, like creating her own Glamourous Otherworld. 

If your teacher still is around, this teaching isn't about the Absolute, but a lesser goal. Which may be a step towards the Ultimate, but it won't take you all the way.

So, a successfully transcendent mystic leaves this world, and leaves their disciples with perhaps some idea for their intention in the last steps, but not a tested method. When these disciples took whatever they had integrated from their master's teachings, incomplete as they may have been, and experimented to arrive at the target. In this process, errors or at least risks for failure may creep into the taught methods.

If I look at Nenduren, his brand of mysticism from Stillness was an incomplete path. The Great Self Atrilith is achievable, and apparently was a laurel to rest upon indefinitely in Nenduren's time, and actually fed back into society. Nenduren had his lasting successes, like his disciple Kahar whose studies made him an acceptable partner for a True Dragon class entity, Thrunhin Da, known as Harantara in the non-draconic further east.

 

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I think it is a dead tradition in a rather more literal fashion - it is an incomplete model, because there are things that Nysalor did not teach well, and Arkat got in the way of him fully transferring his teachings to others, and creating a living tradition. By kind of literally murdering as many of them as possible. So what has survived is only a partial version of Nysalor's teachings. 

And Nysalor's teachings cannot be complete, as he did not emerge from the Sunstop as Osentalka, but part of the insight he had to impart instead went to Arkat as the Godtime conditions of the Sunstop fell apart.

But then, any teaching of mysticism is only a first step towards ultimate transcendence, and the following steps will be something that cannot be taught. Illumination is an incomplete insight.

 

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FWIW, I think it is clear the Red Goddess thinks Nysalorism is an incomplete mystic system, and she has all sorts of wild ideas about how to complete it (creating her own Glamourous half-material Otherworld in the sky, for example). 

Look at orthodox (Obduran-style) EWF mysticism. A high practitioner like Ingolf Dragonfriend stil only have an incomplete insight. And even True Dragons are still a step away from transcendent liberation like that obtained by Obduran after one day as True Dragon. Obduran is the only EWF mystic to achieve this transcendence, and the only EWF mystic combining draconic lore with Orlanth worship to achieve full dragonhood.

 

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Its goal is to transcend the limits of the world, both material and otherwise.

If I look at Nenduren, or at the disciples of Sivoli, they have a lesser goal than the Ultimate. Now how is that different from the very limited goal of Immanent Mastery to achieve a physical draconic body, or of Isgangdrang's slightly more advanced Short Cut method of the Right Left Hand Path which allowed its leader to show up in a body undistinguishable from a True Dragon, probably by combining draconic meditation with the concept of the Great Living Hero receiving worship from a vast number of people.

Attaining the Lunar mysteries is as limited a goal as attaining the Breath of the World, aka the Storm Rune. Acceptance of Chaos is the one distinguishing feature that sets the Red Goddess and her worshipers apart from the Storm worshipers and their form of mystic unity with their Greater Deity.

 

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They start from a different place, and a different direction and in a different order, starting with overcoming the limits of the material rather than the limits of the magical. But to truly transcend it all, you've got to do it all. 

Those who truly transcend it all are no longer part of the world. True Dragons still are part of the world. And yet we talk about the Dragonet as something like a Bhodisatva, a mediator sticking on yet a lower level of mystical insight, delaying its departure.

Maybe I am overly harsh with my critique of Mashunasan as a failing mystic because he is still around. He probably is the equal to True Dragons. In some aspects, he may be the equal to the High Gods like Vith - which in the God Learner Monomyth would be the original sources of a (major) rune. But consider that his meditations on the Void to achieve Durapdur or Being-NotBeing (and we know that "ap" translates as "anti-" or "not") is just another incomplete path.

Note the similarity to "Vezkarvez" in the Glorious ReAscent of Yelm - the Before. Dara Happan mysticism struggles to achieve Ezelveztay, a core of Vezkarvez.

The "Before" could also be equated with the Creator, the entity outside of the world which caused the universe.

Dara Happan numerology and the Zzabur-influenced God Learner numerology of Actions appear to agree largely. The devolution of beasts as per Anaxial's Roster shows the "dragons" Hykim and Mikyh as Second or Third Action entities. That entire scheme is a pars pro toto reflection of the general view of Creation, which (unless you are an Irensavalist) is the signature of the will of the Invisible God.

 

 

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Mysticism was taken out of HQ because it was believed the rules did not do a good job of covering it, in fact bad enough that it was better to remove them. I don't think there is any point in rehashing them. 

The Twin Phoenix Saga and the rules set up to play this out still are in the Guide. I am not yet willing to dump the baby with the bathwater that was the first drafts of mysticism in Hero Wars and HeroQuest1.

 

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I don't think Dayzatar is mysticism either. It seems more like advanced dedicated theism. But it's an interesting case. 

Dayzatar's meditations appear to be on a level similar to Nenduren's Atrilith, or Greater Self. It allows existance in the immediate neighborhood of The Source. No more than three letters in the Ouroboros poem.

 

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While I agree, I think in practice such a system should be built around the Illumination idea at the core, probably mildly expanded, and you seem to want something utterly different. Illumination is explicitly not the same for everyone in terms of game stuff like powers obtained etc.

I think that to make the approach to mysticism which birthed Sheng and the "illuminated antigod" phenomenon in the further East playable, the GM needs to be given some sort of structure or frame of reference what happens to a character when she achieves (a level of) illumination.

 

9 hours ago, davecake said:

I think Greg changed his mind on this. Or at least, would regard every immanent mystic as failed as long as they remained mystic. 

 

I had my last chat with Greg about mysticism at some incarnation of Tentacles, when HQ1 still was the current thought on mysticism. The Twin Phoenix Saga was where mysticism was the core method of leading the conflict while martial artists - perhaps with the aid of some form of magic gained during low-grade mystical experience - were doing the initial adventuring stuff while the mystics meditated for insights. A bit like the idea of having the dragonewt egg meditating while the mobile dragonewt was experiencing stuff, really. The only connection between mystic and martial artist transcended the Fourth Wall, in the person of the player bringing the experiences of both characters to the table.

Not that it was formulated like this at the time...

I wouldn't give up on tantric mysticism, yet. Unlike Mashunasan, Venforn experienced full Transcendence. His pupil Sivoli ascended during (his only) sexual cohabitation after having schooled a number of outstanding martial artists, who in turn taught others about their ways.

There appears to be some sort of Devolution in the teachings of mysticism. Mashunasan is quite similar to Zzabur as a disciple of the earlier, near ultimate source of that magic who remained behind, never achieving anything like his teacher Oorduren, failing to achieve the very thing he taught.

Looking at Revealed Mythologies, I don't see any successful ascension in the ranks of the named austerity mystics. Nenduren successfully meditated on the Great Self aka Atrilith, but not the Ultimate, and him teaching Oorsu Sara caused his annihilation.

Larn Hasamador achieved Nothing, although not necessarily with the capital N.

 

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It's worth considering that the use of dragon powers in a practical way is always considered to be something that hinders spiritual development by dragonewts, and sometimes death is preferable. This also shows up in the EWF stories as well, the idea that dragon magic must be used sparingly for spiritual advancement. 

You can use your draconic powers, but you have to make sure that doing so furthers your insight and advancement, to absolve yourself of entanglements, but Ingolf's use of his powers furthered his entanglement, and ultimately set him back to starting again from zero.

It isn't quite clear when Ingolf found his end at the encounter with that avenging dragon - it is quite possible that this is part of the 1042 mass utuma, or enforced incomplete ascension.

 

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Now consider that the Path of Immanent Mastery has, as their goal, just to mimic exactly the sort of magic that the dragonewts and EWF say hinders spiritual development and to do it all the time

Even the goal of this path is limited. But then, Isgangdrang's short cut path was an acceptable or at least tolerable way of draconic development inside the EWF, even though it failed to provide a true transcendance to the (intermediate level of transcendence in) the being of a True Dragon.

I don't know whether Labrygon/Lorenkargartan (possibly missing a syllable or two) was on a truer draconic path than Isgangdrang. It looks like that mystic survived the destruction of Isgangdrang by Alakoring, and he may have made it to the enforced Mass Utuma of 1042 before leaving his existence as a human.

 

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I very much stand by my opinion that mystics consider them misguided idiots. And that Greg probably thought this was funny. 

Much like Larn Hasamador, I suppose. "Oh, nothing."

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4 hours ago, Joerg said:

I don't think that Illumination creates a philosophical neutrality towards Chaos.

To be exactly precise (quoting from HQG here, but you'll find very similar language in the Gods book, or for that matter Cults of Terror)

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An Illuminate knows as truth that Chaos is, in and of itself, neither evil nor inimical. It makes the
person free from automatic fear of Chaos.[...]

Illumination gives this knowledge, but it is not necessary that she change her life is she has other, stronger, beliefs which intervene. Many schools of Illumination seek to provide such foundational beliefs as part of their teachings. Viewed as a curse by some, this secret knowledge is the most common power gained by Illuminates, and almost all gain it.

 

To me, that is exactly 'philosophical neutrality'. I admit that I was not noting that it was not 'every', but 'almost all' in the HQG definition, though it was every Illuminate in RQ2 and might be back to being every Illuminate in RQG, though other definitions (to what extent does that apply only to Nysaloran Illumination? unclear). Whatever, I'm sticking that that being true until there is a contradictory source. 

4 hours ago, Joerg said:

Looking at the dialogue between Oddi and Paulis after Oddi's "success" in the Riddle he was given, and applying that to the current RQG rules, Oddi lost the ability to invoke his passion in his fight against Chaos.

Oddi realises that what he should not oppose Chaos out of pure Hate, but still realises that it is his duty to oppose Ralzakark and his use of Chaos, with all the resources available. How is that not philosophical neutrality? 

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14 hours ago, davecake said:

I think ascetism, or austerities in Glorantha speak, is a practical technique that can be used by any magical tradition.

Aren't those specifically different in Gloranthaspeak?  (Depending on your particular dialect, naturally.  See usual 'language is a virus' disclaimers'.)  My recollection of the gist of Revealed Mythologies and related forms of that document is that its take was that you had-:

  • Asceticism, giving rise to "pure" mystical practices;
  • Ecstatic meditation, leading to "manifest" mysticism;, and
  • Austerities, producing "failed" mysticism.

 

14 hours ago, davecake said:

Even without such cheesiness, though, austerities seem to be a form of magic that is not itself mystic, but is particularly useful to, and compatible with, mystics. The more you are able to control the self, the more you are able to overcome it and its restrictions. 

If you wanted to be a one-club golfer (or perhaps we could count this as four clubs, to be slightly kinder), you could take that approach that all mysticism -- indeed all magic, finessing the 'but is it mysticism?' semantic question entirely can be described in one of these ways:

  • It's actually one of the Trad Three, but perhaps presented in a slightly offbeat way.  e.g. say such-and-such a Malkioni saint's path is understood to be 'esoteric wizardry', but ultimately still remains in the 'sorcery' quadrant of the Big World Diagram.
  • It manifests as a nonstandard mix of sorcery, animism, and theism, "and make good" to permit this with an Illumination-like insight (vary details to taste if the RaW aren't quite right, or if you want to keep it plausibly deniable if they're 'really' the same or not).
  • It's not a magical act on the part of the character at all, but simply a property of the game-universe.  So at that point you say "it's an NPC!", or "it's a narrative tag!", or something similar, depending on preferred style of play.
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2 hours ago, davecake said:

To be exactly precise (quoting from HQG here, but you'll find very similar language in the Gods book, or for that matter Cults of Terror)

I'll grant you that for the Nysaloran teachings. The dragons and their different perception of Time (and thereby possibly also Uncreation) may regard Chaos as irrelevant, but for some reason not exactly detailed, the Inhuman King of Dragon's Eye chose to make a stand against the moral evil of Wakboth brought in by the Unholy Trio's interpretation of Rashoranic Illumination.

 

In Prince of Sartar, Jar-eel asks an interesting and pertinent question about the Rebel Gods (including Verithurusa): Did they achieve Liberation?

One question that is absent from this and the following pages is:
Did Rashoran achieve Liberation?

And is there Rashoran in the Vithelan (and/or Kralori) mythical cycles?

 

There are just three names in the Gloranthan material that I have positive data on achieving total transcendence - Obduran the Flyer, Venforn the Immense Master, and Sivoli.

 

Oorduren being nowhere to be found when Oorsu Sara is looking for him hints at successful transcendence - the wording is quite similar to Queen Hrensenseso being unable to find Venforn.

Malkion (son of Aerlit and Warera) attempts Liberation, but is sabotaged/entanggled by Zzabur. Did he meet Rashoran before attempting the Fifth Action? Did he create Rashoran?

Arkat undergoes ascension around the year 500, but remains manifest as the hero cult and the star until suppressed and presumably shattered by the God Learners. The shards are still around, though, and five of them are bound to return. Not liberated.

Sedenya still is bound to the Cycles, and I wonder whether she actually seeks liberation from those cycles.

 

2 hours ago, davecake said:

To me, that is exactly 'philosophical neutrality'.

To me, this is a revelation of the ability to make a possibly objective assessment of everything, at least the opportunity to re-assess one's position and one's fears, hatreds, etc., possibly to recognize them as shackles. At the same time making you responsible and culpable for your actions, and distancing yourselves from the shackles of your responsibility and guilt. You can accept them and bear them - that's the process Orlanth undergoes, wherein he shackles himself to the Great Compromise because of his attachment to/entanglement with the universe, by choice. As do the other parties at the Ritual of the Net.

Are heroquesters mystics (or failed mystics)?

Is a follower of Yelmalio who returns from the Hill of Gold quest half-way with his power over Fire intact a (failed?) mystic?

Is a follower of Yelmalio who undergoes the entirety of the Hill of Gold Quest with immortality and returns to the world a (failed?) mystic?

What is the difference between these heroquests and ascetic austerities?

 

2 hours ago, davecake said:

I admit that I was not noting that it was not 'every', but 'almost all' in the HQG definition, though it was every Illuminate in RQ2 and might be back to being every Illuminate in RQG, though other definitions (to what extent does that apply only to Nysaloran Illumination? unclear). Whatever, I'm sticking that that being true until there is a contradictory source. 

 

Yes - Nysalorean illumination seems to boil down to (or at least have a very strong element of) one's relationship to Chaos as the misplaced manifestation of unlimited potential within Creation.

 

2 hours ago, davecake said:

Oddi realises that what he should not oppose Chaos out of pure Hate, but still realises that it is his duty to oppose Ralzakark and his use of Chaos, with all the resources available. How is that not philosophical neutrality? 

In my interpretation his philosophy hasn't changed, only his emotionality has. He can still be the Bull. But he has a choice that he did not have before.

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

There are just three names in the Gloranthan material that I have positive data on achieving total transcendence - Obduran the Flyer, Venforn the Immense Master, and Sivoli.

How do things work for the Kralorelan Emperors?

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