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6 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

How do things work for the Kralorelan Emperors?

And those who followed them? Good question, actually. The Godtime dragon emperors may have had a chance to ascend, but then, what about TarnGatHa (Aether/Vith), HeenMaroun (Yelm/Govmeranen) or Metsyla? What about the non-Draconic Thalurzni, and what about NiangMao?

Were these emperors defeated by the Antigods, or were the Antigods their instrument of utuma?

Did Yanoor's ascension go without a flaw? And what happened to all those souls waiting for him to ascend?

What about all those souls who had died in the Shang-Hsa interregnum? Are they still waiting for Godunya to ascend, or did they get released in the Dragon's Awakening Shudder?

How did things work out for Ingolf, for Labrygon, for the dragonspeakers in 1042?

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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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My thought is that Ingolf's failure is not in using draconic magic, but that he used his draconic magic incorrectly, externalizing it from himself, making it very obviously part of the world, and producing a monstrous Dream Dragon from his actions which then reunited with him for a long stay of purification in Kapertine. 

4 hours 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.

 

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.

Well, doesn't this depend on how we read transcendence as a concept? Most, perhaps even all of the RW religious traditions which inspire Gloranthan mysticism argue for some kind of eternal existence for the liberated mystic. The Shakyamuni Buddha is accepted to have some continuing existence despite achieving mahiparinirvana with death, etc. (There are Buddhist traditions which argue that nirvana is the discovery of true Selfhood after the blowing-out of worldly desires, even.) 

So perhaps we might say, (to fly away from Vithela for a moment and perch ourselves on the footstool in Raibanth) that if existence is primarily a series of confrontations between Self and Other, then liberation/transcendence is the recognition that the Self and Other are contiguous and not separate. And we could extend this model- of liberation/transcendence as the step where you deny the supposed dichotomous opposition and recognize a deeper truth of reconciliation- into other mystical teachings. Draconism as the slow recognition that there is no distinction between oneself and the world (why else are True Dragons part of the landscape?), etc. 

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4 hours ago, Joerg said:

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.

And it is a valid theory, and surely shared by some Gloranthans, and I just don't subscribe to it myself, definitely not in the stronger versions of it (though, for example, Arkat using Chaotic powers that one single time in his life, as a necessary means of finally defeating Nysalor, might be a possible twist - and one probably unknowable by any living Gloranthan). Arkat certainly did not seem to become a Chaos adherent or user of Chaotic powers at any point before or after that unknown confrontation, at least according to everybody but the few 'Arkat Deceiver' adherents, who trusts them?

4 hours ago, Joerg said:

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?

 

And it is a fine theory, and I think we are better off leaving it ambiguous - and noting that it is surely possible for an advanced mystic and heroic level magician to use some magic that can have power over Chaos, but does not involve embracing it, such as some form of anti-Chaos heroquest. 

 

4 hours ago, Joerg said:

 

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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.

 

I don't think this at all. Initiation (or acceptance as an apprentice, or the shamanic equivalents, etc) is trying to transcend the limits of the material by fully accepting and embracing the immaterial aspects of existence. Attaining further cult status is just further integration with, including acceptance of the limits of, that particular cults (schools/sects/traditions) pathway to interacting with the immaterial world. 

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On 1/22/2021 at 10:02 AM, 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.

Very loosely - Nysalorism, and especially the Red Goddess, are tantric traditions, including the transgressive aspects. Venfornism is tantric too. But not all mysticism is tantric, or particularly includes the taboo aspects of tantric practice (many are tantric without the taboo violating aspects). 

In game terms, not all Illumination traditions include the abilities to ignore cult restrictions or ignore spirits of retribution, or think it in the slightest desirable to do so. Many do not. 

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13 hours ago, Joerg said:

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,

Wow, a mystic practice that sought the Great Self, the infinite nature of existence perceivable only to gods, is the same as Immanent Mastery, a practice who seeks only to mimic the most superficial aspects of draconic existence without using mystic methods perceivably at all, because both are less than a conception that includes not only the infinite nature of existence, including universal awareness of consciousness, but also that which is not that? 

Yes, I see now.

No, wait a minute, that's stupid. While Nenduren may be an only *nearly* full transmission of the teaching of Oorduren, there is basically no evidence that Immanent Mastery is anything other than an almost entirely unrelated bundle of nonsense. 

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6 hours ago, Joerg said:

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.

How, then, would conceivably philosophical neutrality be demonstrated, if not by being able to neutrally consider what before you rejected? If your answer is essentially that philosophical neutrality can not be demonstrated, you haven't shown that it isn't demonstrated, just that you have defined the term in a way that is no longer useful. Define it in a way that makes a sensible useful distinction. 

 Because to me, we are straight out told that he no longer considers "that Chaos, in itself, is either evil or inimical", because that is what Illumination is explained to mean on the very next page, and that is a philosophical change, not merely an emotional one. The emotional changes stem from the Secret Knowledge, not the other way around. 

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6 hours ago, Joerg said:

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. 

My reading of Oddi's illumination is that he becomes intellectually convinced of the tenets of Illumination, but dislikes it and tries to reject it in his personal life, much like people who have been intellectually convinced of something they find unpleasant - like that we don't have free will or that life has no meaning - may still do their best to reject it and live their lives as if it exists. But at the same time, you can't go back to your old way of thinking - Oddi might be an enemy of Ralzakark and the Lunars, but he can't do it in the old, thoughtless, unconsidered way, and Illumination ought to really mess with your ability to hate and fear in the same way as you used to, because those are exactly the emotions it tries to do something about.

So Oddi wishes he had his old life back, and tries his best to work up his old feelings about Chaos and Lunars (but I repeat myself), but he can't quite do it any longer. It still doesn't stop him from pursuing and enacting a powerful plot against them.

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

 

On 1/21/2021 at 8:06 PM, 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.

Illumination and Nysaloran Illumination are distinguished in current definitions of Illumination. Taking a look at what the current definition of what Illumination is might help make some things clearer, I'll try to summarise my understanding here.

I'm going with Illumination as described in HeroQuest: Glorantha , for the moment, though it may differ in some details from what appears in the Gods Book (and does differ from what appeared in 1981, but let's just assume that some things have been learnt in the last 40ish years, shall we?). I'm deliberately not including things that had changed in the previous Gods book draft, or deny them, and assume some may change. 

So taking the deep nature of mysticism etc aside for the moment, in order to make the distinction clearer:

Illumination is an extraordinary state of mind attainable by various mystic techniques. Nysaloran Illumination is one belief system that taught how to obtain that state of mind, but there are numerous others. But every known Gloranthan magic system reliably described as mystic seems to include it - at least 'Umbarism, EWF draconic consciousness, Kralorelan draconic mystics, Vithelan mysticism, the Umathelan Cult of Silence, and even some God Learner schools all provided liberation similar to that of Nysalorean Illumination' and that list isn't intended to be exhaustive. So I think it's reasonable to assume that Illumination is associated with mysticism pretty fundamentally in Glorantha, but that Illumination does not mean Nysaloran Illumination. 

That state of mind gives benefits to the person that attains it. Almost always this includes the Secret Knowledge that Chaos is, in and of itself, neither evil nor inimical. It usually includes other abilities. Some of these abilities may be related to Chaos (such as immunity to Sense Chaos), some to cult restrictions (such as being able to ignore cult restrictions and spirits of retribution), some to Illumination itself (such as sensing Illumination in others, and teaching Illumination), and some to the inner nature of the Illuminate (such as combining incompatible Runes within themself, or power over their Passions). These abilities differ by both how Illumination was obtained, both the methods of learning it and the individuals experience, and the individuals acceptance and understanding of Illumination once it has occurred. There are probably some additional abilities that have not so far been described, but they haven't been described so we don't know what they are - we might speculate that some concepts from earlier conceptions of Illumination will turn up on the list of Illuminated abilities, but 

So from that we know that: there are forms of Illumination that are different to Nysaloran, particularly including draconic. Some of the non-Nysaloran forms do not necessarily have access to the abilities to ignore cult restrictions etc. Not all mysticism is 'nothing is true, everything is permitted'. That's Nysaloran for sure  - though maybe not even as core Nysaloran as assumed, not every Nysaloran learns them, there may be other more important abilities. Other abilities seem far more relevant to other traditions - draconic philosophy seems to think a lot about the inner passions of the Illuminate, and not very much about Chaos. 

The ability that differs most obviously between traditions is Teaching Illumination. Nysaloran has a unique way of doing this, which seems easy compared to others, and unique. The EWF seemed to have to resort to surgery, at least at first. Dragons can teach it easily in conversation, but few opportunities to chat to True Dragons come up. The Lunars have magical methods, the Sevening Rites, but they seem rather drastic, with a strong chance of madness and mental damage. Other traditions may have no effective ability to teach (it is one of the least common abilities for Illuminates other than Nysalor Riddlers), and have to resort to methods like heroquesting to the Green Age.  

We also know that some mystic philosophies have magic that they teach before Illumination is obtained (that they presumably think will be more useful after Illumination than other magical forms), and some have magic that is only teachable to Illuminates - the magic of the Red Goddess being one example. This may or may not be truly 'mystic', a lot of it may be what Greg called 'failed mysticism', but it's associated with Illumination. Some of it is known to be, while useful, obviously a bad idea for mystic purposes, given the amount the EWF (in particular) go on about it, but it' still something you can learn after Illumination. It seems to be that some of this magic requires Illumination, but is something different to it, and specific to a particular system, rather than being an Illuminated ability as such - Red Goddess magic, EWF powers, etc. In practice, Sevened Lunars, Arkati, Kralori dragon mystics, etc have different Illuminated powers, different other magic, and different mystic practices, but they are all Illuminated. 

Illumination is clearly an important step along the mystic path, but it's also obviously a long way from the end of it. Its more comparable to initiation for mystics rather than high attainment? Or shamanic initiation if you prefer?

I'm going to use Mysticism to indicate the Gloranthan form of magic for clarity. I think Greg considers that Mysticism as a magic system in Glorantha does not necessarily include everything we think of as mysticism in the world - some things that are somethings thought of as mysticism in general use might use non-mystic (generally, one of the other three forms of magic) methods to work towards mystic goals, but Mysticism is method. And I think Mysticsm as method always involve Illumination. Examples of real world traditions that have been described as mystic, but that Greg thinks are not Mysticism, include all that esoteric Taoist immortality stuff (its Sorcery), all the Tibettan Book of the Dead Red Hat Lama stuff (animism), and Mahayana Buddhism (theism). 

 

 

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A personal disclosure: when I first started exploring Glorantha, it was with the Heroquest orange book. I, innocent of the discursive struggle over mysticism in the Hero Wars book, looked at the three worlds and four magic systems, saw that there were no rules for mystic magic as such, contemplated this, and thought, "Well, mysticism must be a thing of the material world, and perhaps HQ common magic is what it manifests as."

And now, as I approach a decade of exploration, and with the limited knowledge I have gained of Glorantha and of its inspirations... I have started to come around to the idea that one of the deepest, most transcendental mystical insights is that there is no distinction between This World and Otherworld, the sacred is the profane, and the profane is the sacred, and so I have completed a full circle.

33 minutes ago, davecake said:

I'm going to use Mysticism to indicate the Gloranthan form of magic for clarity. I think Greg considers that Mysticism as a magic system in Glorantha does not necessarily include everything we think of as mysticism in the world - some things that are somethings thought of as mysticism in general use might use non-mystic (generally, one of the other three forms of magic) methods to work towards mystic goals, but Mysticism is method. And I think Mysticsm as method always involve Illumination. Examples of real world traditions that have been described as mystic, but that Greg thinks are not Mysticism, include all that esoteric Taoist immortality stuff (its Sorcery), all the Tibettan Book of the Dead Red Hat Lama stuff (animism), and Mahayana Buddhism (theism). 

 

 

I'm somewhat unreasonably proud of myself for having this insight... a year and a half ago? And then having it be confirmed independently just now.

That said, I think that perhaps a lot of the confusion here is that mystic magic is distinct from mystic aims. Mystic magic is a limited thing based around the use of ascetic practices (of different kinds, many of them not what we would normally consider asceticism) to shear away obstacles from insight, which is only properly used for the furthering of mystic aims and when used for material ends causes a halt to spiritual development.

But any of the kinds of magic can be and are used to achieve said mystic aims of transcendental understanding, and so Illumination/gateways into mystical magic are everywhere.

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16 hours ago, Eff said:

Mystic magic is a limited thing

Limited to the point of 'doesn't exist', according to one notable (and notorious!) source.

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12 minutes ago, Alex said:

Limited to the point of 'doesn't exist', according to one notable (and notorious!) source.

Well, as the Nysaloran riddle says, the difference between righteous intent and righteous action is power, because intent requires action to become will. So magic which exists in the confines of selfhood without ever showing itself to the world doesn't exist according to one mystic tradition either! This may get at the root of the dilemma.

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On 1/24/2021 at 3:31 AM, davecake said:

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. 

I suspect that Immanent Mastery wouldn't need to start from scratch when dealing with a True Draconic tradition.  I think that they have aspects of a true tradition in there, or they couldn't get the results they manage.  I mean, arguably they are a form of Dragon Hsunchen, but the whole Charismatic Wisdom element suggests that there is something of a theory behind it too.  Unequivocally they would have to change their practices substantially, but just because some of the teachings are badly wrong doesn't mean it is all necessarily worthless.  It might be more akin to driving a dodgem car and thinking you can therefore drive a truck.

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On 1/24/2021 at 3:26 AM, davecake said:

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. 

While it would take a lot of explanation, I think I understand exactly why Draconic magic harms a dragonewt's spiritual development, in depth, lore friendly.  PM me if you are interested as it is barely relevant to this thread.

On 1/24/2021 at 3:26 AM, davecake said:

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

Well... Except that the mimicry isn't exact, and it doesn't cover everything that Dragonewts can do, and Immanent Mastery can't do it all the time.  So let me run this idea past you...  Hykim and Mikyh are dragons, and the source of the Hsunchen tradition.  Immanent Mastery behaves like a well developed form of Dragon Hsunchen cult, not like Draconic mysticism, but on the other hand, it may be that Shamanism is closer to Draconic Mysticism than some might like to admit, given the Hykim/Mikyh connection.

On 1/24/2021 at 3:26 AM, davecake said:

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

So Immanent Mastery was based on something called the "10 Step Program" during the EWF for shortcutting the dragon path.  Alternatively it was based on a God-Learner attempt to understand draconic mysticism in conquered Kralorela.  The result is certainly not draconic magic as we know it.  It all seems a bit like an MLM scam selling New Age self help admittedly.  I think there needs to be some sort of core of actual knowledge in there however, or you couldn't get the effects at all.

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On 1/25/2021 at 2:09 AM, Akhôrahil said:

Also, it must be noted, by accidental experience (again, Oddi, and possibly even Argrath).

Yes. Illumination can happen involuntarily, with no indication that it is even happening, or allegedly even against the wishes of the Illuminatee. Illumination is possible by actions of an Illuminator that are not understood by the Illuminatee (the fundamental nature of Nysaloran riddling, relatively well known), by some action of an Illuminator via some indirect method (like building the Puzzle Canal, or other works of mystic art), or by extraordinary magical circumstances that are not specifically intended as Illuminating, but that are fundamentally associated with that moment of unity (such as heroquesting to incidents in the Green Age).

All of this is clearly explained in the HQG writeup. I think the GoG writeup is unlikely to change it (and it’s unclear how much other than Nysaloran/Lunar Illumination it will address).

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On 1/25/2021 at 2:47 AM, Eff said:

That said, I think that perhaps a lot of the confusion here is that mystic magic is distinct from mystic aims.

I think this is absolutely a fundamental insight, yes. And mystic aims can be sought through other methods.

And there are plenty of magics used by mystics that aren’t mystic intrinsically, just useful for mystic purposes, and also for non-mystic purposes. 

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On 1/25/2021 at 1:04 AM, Akhôrahil said:

My reading of Oddi's illumination is that he becomes intellectually convinced of the tenets of Illumination, but dislikes it and tries to reject it in his personal life, much like people who have been intellectually convinced of something they find unpleasant

I don't even find much evidence he rejects it, or at least not after his initial wrestling with the realisation ("He shook his head with chagrin, but without the black moodiness which I had known for days." - he seems ok with the fact of Illumination itself), but finds its consequences, including both the danger to the life of Paulis, and his own lack of battle-lust, pragmatically problematic. 

We don't actually know that much of what Oddi's attitude is - we know mostly what Paulis advises him, and can only presume Oddi takes his advice. Oddi afterwards seems not miserable or torn, and to have continued to behave as a pious Orlanthi and a brave Chaos fighter, but out of duty not hatred. 

I find the episode in general, with the brave fighter confessing his doubts before a dangerous battle, and Paulis' advice, to echo the Bhavagad Gita, especially in its emphasis on doing ones duty for ones position in life.

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On 1/26/2021 at 1:31 PM, Darius West said:

I suspect that Immanent Mastery wouldn't need to start from scratch when dealing with a True Draconic tradition. 

 

And I suspect so close as to starting from scratch as to make no difference. For every useful thing learnt, there may mistakes to be corrected. 

 

On 1/26/2021 at 1:31 PM, Darius West said:

I think that they have aspects of a true tradition in there, or they couldn't get the results they manage.

 
 
 
 

There is absolutely no evidence at all that the POI achieve any results that are not of a purely physical nature from what appear to be both purely theist techniques, and quite limited in nature at that. Literally, they have less magic of a spiritual or mystic nature than almost every other cult there is - not even the most common common magic. I am absolutely baffled as to what 'results' are so impressive that you think it must be mystically valid. 

On 1/26/2021 at 1:31 PM, Darius West said:

I mean, arguably they are a form of Dragon Hsunchen, but the whole Charismatic Wisdom element suggests that there is something of a theory behind it too. 

 
 
 
 

What do we know about Charismatic Wisdom? We know it is of literally no value other than seeking membership to the Inner Circle. It is not even of any further use to those IN the Inner Circle. And it is incomprehensible and uninteresting to outsiders. That does not suggest any coherent theory whatsoever. 

They literally observe the example of Godunya, and do the exact opposite. 

Or is your entire thesis that because they can purely physically and superficially resemble dragons, it must be valid? Because I draw the exact opposite conclusions. It seems to be pretty much the same sort of thing as 'Kabbalah' follower celebrities wearing red strings without  

My feeling is that they have completely misunderstood the purpose and relevance of draconic form, and so are doggedly focussed on results that Darudist magic would regard essentially as a side effect of progress that is at best a distraction. 

Its Cargo Cult magic dressed up with fancy words. 

The most charitable explanation is that they have, by using incorrect methods, learnt to mimic techniques that they then have no idea how to use correctly. But I think that is chararitable, in that it allows that would be possible to at least learn the correct use of them, and other EWF sources say therYe is essentially no correct use outside of meditation and ritual, whereas the goal of the POI is to use their powers in daily life if possible. 

On 1/26/2021 at 1:52 PM, Darius West said:

Except that the mimicry isn't exact, and it doesn't cover everything that Dragonewts can do,

 
 
 
 

Yes, but in large that is because the POI skip all the stuff that either seems to have aspects beyond the purely physical, or because they want to skip all the early stuff (like any dragonnewt stage prior to 5th, etc). 

On 1/26/2021 at 1:52 PM, Darius West said:

and Immanent Mastery can't do it all the time. 

Their  goal is to do it all the time (to have enough points in Dragon Life to stay in dragon form for the rest of their life), but obviously few succeed. 

On 1/26/2021 at 1:52 PM, Darius West said:

So let me run this idea past you...  Hykim and Mikyh are dragons, and the source of the Hsunchen tradition.  Immanent Mastery behaves like a well developed form of Dragon Hsunchen cult, not like Draconic mysticism, but on the other hand, it may be that Shamanism is closer to Draconic Mysticism than some might like to admit, given the Hykim/Mikyh connection.

 
 
 
 

And while that is an interesting idea, one that I think is quite valid, and I think very interesting when we get around to talking about the roots of Darudism (and Venfornism for that matter, and Korgatsu, and all that), and the larger relationship between shamanism and mysticism, its largely outside this thread. For purposes of the POI, it's enough to note that even if we grant that there is a deep connection between draconic mysticism and dragon hsunchen shamanism, the POI have also rejected all shamanic methods, and all spiritual and non-physical aspects of shamanism (eg most of it) in their very single minded focus on aping draconic physical form through limited theist methods. I'm sure Charismatic Wisdom includes many baffling confusing references to ancient dragon people though. 

 

On 1/26/2021 at 1:52 PM, Darius West said:

So Immanent Mastery was based on something called the "10 Step Program" during the EWF for shortcutting the dragon path.  Alternatively it was based on a God-Learner attempt to understand draconic mysticism in conquered Kralorela.  The result is certainly not draconic magic as we know it.  It all seems a bit like an MLM scam selling New Age self help admittedly.  I think there needs to be some sort of core of actual knowledge in there however, or you couldn't get the effects at all.

 
 
 
 

Exactly.

On 1/26/2021 at 1:52 PM, Darius West said:

I think there needs to be some sort of core of actual knowledge in there however, or you couldn't get the effects at all.

Well, I'm sure they use some of the same *words*, but I think almost everything written about mysticism says that the simple ability to perform valid magic is almost entirely unrelated to mystic validity. 

So you would be resting your entire argument on the idea that mysticism is intrically about being big fire-breathing lizard shaped, which seems fairly obviously a misdirect (one that the POI have fallen for, of course) to me. 

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On 1/24/2021 at 3:17 AM, davecake said:

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. 

Please don't misunderstand my point.  I am certain that there are many species of mysticism in the West.  For example St. Xemela, who couldn't have pulled off that mass healing miracle without mysticism imo. just for openers. I have no doubt in my mind that there are multiple mystical sects in the West. I was suggesting that the so-called Arkat Cults that inhabit the city states of Safelster Lake are not mystical, and are likely mainly somewhat counterfeit.  On the other hand, it may be that their odd rituals did actually cause Arkat's rebirth (Argrath), just not as they supposed it would happen.  Or maybe the Hero Wars just begin when they begin?

On 1/24/2021 at 3:17 AM, davecake said:

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. 

I agree with everything except the bit about God Learnerism being a disaster.  Considering that most players indulge in it to some degree...

On 1/24/2021 at 3:17 AM, davecake said:

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. 

I am happy that you wanted to adopt the nuclear radiation metaphor.  I actually don't take a philosophically neutral stance towards gamma radiation.  I could also argue (two-facedly) that as potentially nobody might survive a Nuclear War, how can it have moral implications?  Who would be alive to complain about the morality?  I worry that perhaps you might have this backwards. To elaborate...

Are you seriously suggesting that nobody but an illuminate can talk about Chaos in a philosophically neutral fashion?  If that is the case I must disagree.  A Lhankor Mhy dissertation on Chaos in Cosmology can do exactly that without anyone needing to necessarily be illuminated, just by sticking to the facts.  This is not what illumination is.

One of the core experiences of all mystical traditions is that of experiencing "Oneness with Everything", and in Glorantha this has been pegged to the Infinity Rune I believe.  I would also describe that experience as Immanent, not Transcendent.  It is during this experience of undifferentiated consciousness when the lives and sufferings of other creatures are experienced that the mystic comes to the realization that their enemies need not be considered capital E-evil per se.  They can look at Chaos creatures and forgive them for being the product of their harsh experience, and even feel compassion for them, but that is not the same as thinking that chaos is neither evil nor inimical, which is what the rules unequivocally say happens.  Chaos monsters are almost always evil.  Gamma Radiation is not evil as it has no intelligence to form an evil intention, but it is inimical to life.  The Chaosium (previously the fountain of the Primal Plasma) was polluted by the Unholy Trio and is now factually inimical, and cannot produce anything that will help the world, and you can't just hero quest in and install a filter.  An experience of Cosmic Oneness doesn't make you a moral imbecile, it might give you a sense of compassion towards chaos creatures, but it won't make you think chaos is okay.

On 1/24/2021 at 3:17 AM, davecake said:

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. 

Your description of using mysticism to transcend the immaterial is both eloquent and correct imo.  I would love to hear what you think a normal mortal mind is?  Perhaps one that doesn't have 22 points of boosted INT, given what sorcerers want out of life?

On 1/24/2021 at 3:17 AM, davecake said:

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. 

Firstly, there is a difference between liberty and license.  The Red Goddess crossed that line riding the Crimson Bat, and every Lunar citizen who is illuminated and accepts Chaos needs to put their soul in the bat's mouth or be declared a hypocrite.

As to whether Nysalor was a poor teacher or whether he belongs to a tradition debased by chaos, I would argue both apply.  Now clearly the death of Nysalor has removed his provision of Rune Magic, which he no doubt possessed when alive, but really, illumination lets you join any cult, so no harm done, right?  Also, is the Lunar Sphere really transcendent?  I can't see it myself.  In general terms I agree with what you have written here, but ultimately I strongly doubt that there is a Nysalori path of ultimate transcendence.  I don't think Nysalor achieved that state, and thus I don't think he could ever teach it, and basically he was a Light Rune chaos monster.

On 1/24/2021 at 3:17 AM, davecake said:

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? 

No, I meant what I said.  Nysalorism is dead.  The source of the teachings has died to this world and the next.  He didn't transcend, he died.  This is hardly surprising, given the fact that he was a created guru.  Effectively Nysalor was the Krishnamurti of Glorantha but given dictatorial power, unlike Krishnamurti in this world.  Nysalorism can only teach illumination.  That is all that is left.  When you join the Larnstings for example, you gain the power to Change.  Nysalori gain no such power; their mysticism is the hijacking of other cults like a magical cuckoo or parasite.  Sounds like a dead tradition too.  Very much a one trick pony, just a very versatile trick.  Yeah, a magical parasite that latches onto other cults, bypasses their spiritual protections, and allows the plundering of their secrets.  That's not chaotic at all... Nope.

On 1/24/2021 at 3:17 AM, davecake said:

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. 

I am interested to see what they have done.  On the other hand, Dayzatar is supposed to be mystical, but his Cult write-up certainly isn't.  I bought an advance copy of Gods of Glorantha (and proof read it), and Dayzatar is just like any other cult really, except it has "monks".  It was a bit of a let down imo, as it provided no insight into why "monks" exist and why you would ever become one other than it is a form of retirement plan. Not very satisfactory imo.

On 1/24/2021 at 3:17 AM, davecake said:

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. 

The Dragons are the ultimate mystics of Glorantha, and their children, the dragonewts, have no afterlife.  They are immanence seeking transcendence one small step at a time.  A True Dragon is both in the world and beyond the world.  Without doubt, Nysalor's system of illumination is culled from the draconic part of his heritage, but is imperfect, as Nysalor was born to be all things to all people, and wound up being nothing and nobody.  I guess that's a form of meditation on absolutes and relativity.

On 1/24/2021 at 3:17 AM, davecake said:

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. 

I am not a fan of HQ.  I respect what was attempted with HQ's take on Mysticism rules however, but I can see why the writers weren't happy also.  If it were easy it would have already been done.  Or are we just making it harder than it needs to be?

On 1/24/2021 at 3:17 AM, davecake said:

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

I 100% guarantee that is not the case.  Dayzatar is SUPPOSED to be THE Yelm Pantheon mystical tradition.  I don't want to do a literature search to prove the point, but I wouldn't raise the point if I didn't know it to be true.  Page 186 of the Gods of Glorantha preview lists him as being a master of purity and invisible wisdom, keeping himself in sacrosanct isolation, a master of ascetic purity removed from all worldly concerns.   He is also notable for having monks, but no initiates, and all his followers are taken from other cults.  Basically it looks, walks, and quacks like a duck, and elsewhere I know it lists Dayzatar as a mystic not theist tradition, though it clearly has both.

On 1/24/2021 at 3:17 AM, davecake said:

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 utterly disagree.  Illumination is a terrible model for a living mystical tradition.  Illumination is a corrupt end-point for a failed tradition that only continues to exists because it serves the ends of nasty in-world power gamers.  It is also a really disrespectful take on Zen Buddhism.  We can do better.

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1 hour ago, davecake said:

There is absolutely no evidence at all that the POI achieve any results that are not of a purely physical nature from what appear to be both purely theist techniques, and quite limited in nature at that. Literally, they have less magic of a spiritual or mystic nature than almost every other cult there is - not even the most common common magic. I am absolutely baffled as to what 'results' are so impressive that you think it must be mystically valid. 

Hang on, if it is theism, what is it worshiping?  

As to the results, well clearly you can turn into a fire breathing lizard man that strongly resembles a dragonewt/dragon.  Sounds like results to me, given that this is the outward manifestation of some of what dragonewts do with draconic magic.  I didn't say it was mystically valid, merely that while it was bad mysticism, that it wasn't entirely wrong or it would have no results to show for itself.

Clearly it is a form of immanentism, which is mystical,  and it is very body oriented, which is typical of mystic traditions.  On the other hand it has obviously garbled the teaching and only focused on physical transformation secrets which is something sensible dragonewts take pains to avoid.

1 hour ago, davecake said:

Or is your entire thesis that because they can purely physically and superficially resemble dragons, it must be valid? Because I draw the exact opposite conclusions. It seems to be pretty much the same sort of thing as 'Kabbalah' follower celebrities wearing red strings without  

So what do you say to a Celebrity Kabbalist who thinks they are getting results?  The fact is, they are probably getting some teachings that are valid parts of existing traditions.  On the other hand, they are likely getting a nice ego massage and their pocket picked as well, and could likely do better by reading a book on the subject.

In short, I am not suggesting that IM is a great, good, or even mediocre draconic tradition.  It is obviously a bad one, but it has survived since the Second Age for a reason, and while pedigree is no measure of validity, when you compare the IM to the Autarchs who criticize it while performing their own mutant form of theistic sorcery, you have to wonder who is fit to criticize.  Clearly these people are turning into fire breathing lizardmen.  How?

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4 hours ago, Darius West said:

Hang on, if it is theism, what is it worshiping?  

Arguably a dragon-totem.  Not one that's anywhere named, mind you, but hey, one thing they definitely are is a mystery cult!  To me though it sounds rather more than a strange form of animism, if you take the form and structure of their magic as indicative of anything significant.  You might add speculation to speculation and wonder whether the 'strangeness' is just incidental, arising from the peculiar social form of the cult, and it's essentially just some sort of (re)constructed dragon-hsunchenism.  Or a low-end mystical thing -- some sort of illumination-type effect that affects the nature of their magic.  Or is to do with their God Learner origins.

 

4 hours ago, Darius West said:

Clearly it is a form of immanentism, which is mystical,  and it is very body oriented, which is typical of mystic traditions.

Again, that sounds more like you're describing mainline animism, than anything in any way diagnostic of mysticism.

 

4 hours ago, Darius West said:

In short, I am not suggesting that IM is a great, good, or even mediocre draconic tradition.  It is obviously a bad one, but it has survived since the Second Age for a reason, and while pedigree is no measure of validity, when you compare the IM to the Autarchs who criticize it while performing their own mutant form of theistic sorcery, you have to wonder who is fit to criticize.  Clearly these people are turning into fire breathing lizardmen.  How?

I would personally take both the narrator-voice and Godunya-cult/imperial bureaucracy snidiness about the PoIM with a salt mine or two.  It's not the way to personal Enlightenment -- well, so what, it wasn't really ever billed as that, was it?  It's certainly seen as Skillful Means of Cosmic Dragon Realization, according to their apparent judgement in encouraging it as a popular practice.  So chalk up much of the snark to snobbery, and suspicions about the NDR connection.  (That was only a few centuries ago, so much too early to say, to borrow a line.)  For the authors of (the original) GoG, it was IMO also a rather clever device to set out a 'draconic' practice, hint at how it may or may not be a 'mystical' thing or not, but avoid being seen to set out any sort of definitive prospectus about how those might 'correctly' work as systems or not.  So on the facts in evidence, what the Archexarchs get up to could be functionally identical, just better regarded for reasons that could be any combination of the painfully obvious, or the too esoteric for any of us to care about.  Or equally, maybe wildly different.

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18 hours ago, Darius West said:

Please don't misunderstand my point.  I am certain that there are many species of mysticism in the West.  For example St. Xemela, who couldn't have pulled off that mass healing miracle without mysticism imo.

That seems a very big assumption, and one likely to mislead. I no longer really have any ideas what your ideas about mysticism in the West are in any coherent manner - you think it is used by pre-Hrestoli just because they do a big magic? 

You seem to arbitrarily decides things that we have no reason to think are mystic must be mystic for arbitrary reasons, yet doggedly defend that things we are explicitly told aren't mystically valid must be. The pattern appears to be becoming less consistent and coherent, not more. 

18 hours ago, Darius West said:

 I was suggesting that the so-called Arkat Cults that inhabit the city states of Safelster Lake are not mystical, and are likely mainly somewhat counterfeit. 

 
 
 

Many of them, surely so. I'll even grant that you might be right on 'mainly', though I suspect mystic groups hiding inside other groups. All of them, including the secret ones? It seems an odd tack to take that one of the very few known lines of mystics in the West is definitely not mystic. I mostly think of it being many secret or semi-secret societies, many of them with multiple rings of initiation, and sometimes inner rings of initiation for which the secret entrance requirement is 'being Illuminated'. 

19 hours ago, Darius West said:

I agree with everything except the bit about God Learnerism being a disaster. 

 
 
 

OK, causing the utter downfall of an Empire, utterlying eliminating entire groups of magicians, and being cursed the world over is not enough for you to give it a bad review. Whatever. 

19 hours ago, Darius West said:

I actually don't take a philosophically neutral stance towards gamma radiation. 

 
 
 

Right, so you believe it is intrinsically bad then I presume? You are opposed to it regardless of the use to which it is put? Opposed to not just fission and fusion, but any use of gamma radiation, including radiotherapy? Are you opposed to naturally occurring radioactive isotopes? To fusion in the sun having gamma radiation was a side effect? Or maybe just to all high energy physics? What do you mean by 'not philosophically neutral' towards a natural phenomenon, which has multiple uses? 

19 hours ago, Darius West said:

Are you seriously suggesting that nobody but an illuminate can talk about Chaos in a philosophically neutral fashion?  If that is the case I must disagree.  A Lhankor Mhy dissertation on Chaos in Cosmology can do exactly that without anyone needing to necessarily be illuminated, just by sticking to the facts.  This is not what illumination is.

 
 

No, I'm suggesting exactly what I said, when I quoted from the rules book. "the illuminated one will know as truth that Chaos is, in itself, neither evil nor inimical. It makes the person free from automatic fear of Chaos." is how Cults of Terror put it, recent sources put it differently. Philosophically, Chaos itself is neither good or evil. Individual expressions or uses of Chaos may be, but not Chaos itself. I call that philosphically neutral. 

Do you disagree with that? Or is this all just definitional games?

And am I saying nobody but an Illuminate can talk about Chaos in a philosophically neutral fashion? I actually have no idea why you think I even I said that, or what cause you to think that. The answer is in theory no, in practice its pretty damn unusual for most. A Lhankor Mhy disssertation on Chaos in Cosmology would still have to be treading pretty close to heresy to do so. But the point is not that only Illuminates can perceive Chaos somewhat neutrally - if in a culture that preaches it, like the Lunar Empire, many will do so. The point is that generally Illuminates WILL see Chaos in a philosophically neutral way, regardless of their cultural predispositions. 

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13 minutes ago, davecake said:

That seems a very big assumption, and one likely to mislead. I no longer really have any ideas what your ideas about mysticism in the West are in any coherent manner - you think it is used by pre-Hrestoli just because they do a big magic? 

Xemela's miracle could not be performed by an individual sorcerer or theist, and yet it is.  It was not a hero quest, but a single person performing magic beyond what a community could reasonable expect to perform.  Now consider what Sartar's magical feats, which are unequivocally from Larnsting mysticism.  On each occasion it is an individual performing magic that affects an entire community without involving a group ritual.  These feats are heroic and memorable by their communities as they are not used to large scale mystical magic.  Such events may well be less remarkable in Kralorela, but elsewhere they are a bit amazing and seem to break the rules of what is magically possible without reference to serious major practitioners like Zzabur.  As we have established elsewhere, where there is a hero, there is often mysticism involved.

Now for real world context, I fully accept that many if not most religions in our world will have a mystical sect involved in them.  In the case of Xemela we could easily draw comparisons to Christian Mysticism/Martyrdom from the early church.  This was all written at a time when the West was more Medieval Europe and less Zoroastrian in inspiration than it is now.  I am going by the evidence I see emerging versus the ascetic tradition that defines much of real world mysticism.

33 minutes ago, davecake said:

Many of them, surely so. I'll even grant that you might be right on 'mainly', though I suspect mystic groups hiding inside other groups. All of them, including the secret ones? It seems an odd tack to take that one of the very few known lines of mystics in the West is definitely not mystic. I mostly think of it being many secret or semi-secret societies, many of them with multiple rings of initiation, and sometimes inner rings of initiation for which the secret entrance requirement is 'being Illuminated'. 

We can say this of secret societies. they are secret primarily because there is something they are up to that the body in power would consider criminal.  Mostly this amounts to politics with a veneer of religion, and is more likely to represent some form of hidden insurgency, espionage ring or criminal enterprise.  Now this sort of organization would potentially benefit from the magical protections that illumination would afford them, but at the risk of losing control of their membership once they have the liberation of illumination and have to be disciplined manually rather than by spirits of retribution.  I wouldn't rule out the possibility that the various rituals conducted by the Safelstran cults to call Arkat back into the world may have liberated Arkat's spirit, mask by mask, in a somewhat Ralzakarkish kind of way, until finally enough parts of the jigsaw are combined to finally bring Argrath to fruition, but we can't really know. 

In terms of secret societies, I think that illumination would serve as a very two-edged sword.  As I have previously commented, they may be immune to detection and retribution, but they are also liberated from the control of the secret society, save that they send the boys around and bounce them off a wall, which is as likely to backfire as to intimidate and promote obedience.  You see there is an intrinsic contradiction in expecting an illuminate to stay brainwashed, and the brainwashed are more useful to a secret society.

49 minutes ago, davecake said:

OK, causing the utter downfall of an Empire, utterlying eliminating entire groups of magicians, and being cursed the world over is not enough for you to give it a bad review. Whatever. 

On the other hand the God Learners literally edited the gods for all time.  Compare that to the flimsy Bright Empire, or the pyramid scam of the EWF, or the Kralori who the Jrusteli conquered.  Yes, the God Learners were hubristic, but it was a glorious hubris that nobody has come close to matching, and they were unequivoically more right than wrong about how Glorantha was put together.  The Third Age exists entirely in their shadow.

54 minutes ago, davecake said:

Right, so you believe it is intrinsically bad then I presume? You are opposed to it regardless of the use to which it is put? Opposed to not just fission and fusion, but any use of gamma radiation, including radiotherapy? Are you opposed to naturally occurring radioactive isotopes? To fusion in the sun having gamma radiation was a side effect? Or maybe just to all high energy physics? What do you mean by 'not philosophically neutral' towards a natural phenomenon, which has multiple uses? 

Radiotherapy is goddamn awful.  It is a very blunt and inappropriate tool for treating cancer.  I also loathe chemotherapy for much the same reason.  These are 20th century treatments, and very last century.  I would far prefer that newer more successful therapies like T-cell therapy were used.  As for nuclear energy as a source of power, it has a terrible capacity for getting out of control.  Few countries employing nuclear energy haven't suffered a substantial nuclear accident.  As to high energy physics, well, studying dangerous things is one of the few ways we learn how to protect ourselves from them, so I'm fine with that.

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19 hours ago, Darius West said:

I would also describe that experience as Immanent, not Transcendent.

I find arguments based around novel use of terminology, setting yourself in opposition to both the majority of scholarship, and specifically Greg's definition, to be an essentially pointless exercise. Either, you are using language in a completely different way to everyone else to describe the same phenomenon, or you are describing a different phenomenon. 

19 hours ago, Darius West said:

Chaos monsters are almost always evil. 

 

Maybe, though the Lunars would presumably disagree, or at least claim that Illuminated Chaos beings that have embraced the Lunar way are no longer almost always evil, probably mostly not (though Chaos monsters can be Occluded like anyone. 

21 hours ago, Darius West said:

I would love to hear what you think a normal mortal mind is?  Perhaps one that doesn't have 22 points of boosted INT, given what sorcerers want out of life?

 

Unity with The One requires effectively infinite INT - by definition the One has no limits to the power of its Mind, but can hold all thoughts. Mere Illumination is not unity with the One, but a momentary glimpse of it - but it shows the possibility. 

And it's important to understand that what a sorcerer might want out of life (method) is very different to the objective of Malkioni religion (goal), in general, but especially for Irensavalism, with its rejection of the material world. Increasing INT is progress, in a way, towards union with the One, but finite progress towards an infinite goal is never going to be an enough on its own. Some Malkioni just resign themselves to knowing their goal is never achievable within this life (but maybe in the afterlife), some must ultimately resort to means other than the purely sorcerous (which may involve mystic methods, or may be rather more heroquesty or other grand magic beyond any individuals - various God Learner factions). The Brithini, of course, just think individuals should ignore it all, ignore anything that transcends the self, and just hope that someday they might be called on to help Zzabur fix everything. 

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23 hours ago, Darius West said:

Hang on, if it is theism, what is it worshiping? 

They have the spell Worship Immanent Mastery, and exactly how they conceive their worship I don't really know or think matters. POI is more or less a God Learner creation, and the God Learners proved they can theistically worship made up stuff and get useful magic from it, so maybe they  deified some dragon hsunchen spirit, or could be just an anthropomorphised (draconimorphised?) an abstract concept, who knows - exactly how they conceptualise their object of worship is no doubt explained with enough Charismatic Wisdom. Come to the Outer Circle Mastery encounter circle workshop next week, and all will be explained!

18 hours ago, Alex said:

Arguably a dragon-totem.  Not one that's anywhere named, mind you, but hey, one thing they definitely are is a mystery cult! 

 
 

It's certainly possible, or even likely, that they started with an animist dragon-totem somewhere in the mix, but it's also clear that it's a product of the best theological engineering the God Learners could achieve. And that whatever the truth is, its concealed behind many layers of, ummm... let's just say material whose veracity is hard to verify and may be entirely beside the point, without resorting to crud fecal metaphors. 

18 hours ago, Alex said:

Or a low-end mystical thing -- some sort of illumination-type effect that affects the nature of their magic.  Or is to do with their God Learner origins.

 
 

And there seems to be abundant evidence for the latter, and precious little for the former, other than their own claims, which appear quite contradictory to just about everyone. 
 

23 hours ago, Darius West said:

In short, I am not suggesting that IM is a great, good, or even mediocre draconic tradition.  It is obviously a bad one, but it has survived since the Second Age for a reason,

I would think that is fairly obvious. It turns you into a dragon. That may be mystically dubious, but from a purely mundane point of view, it is totally awesome. 

23 hours ago, Darius West said:

and while pedigree is no measure of validity, when you compare the IM to the Autarchs who criticize it while performing their own mutant form of theistic sorcery, you have to wonder who is fit to criticize. 

 

The mystic validity of the Kralori state Darudic member is a very good question - but it seems that at least some dragonewts accept it, it seems to have at least some big commonalities with other mystic traditions, and to be capable of the sort of big feats that mystics seem to do. Like every other mystic empire, it is probably a messy mix of multiple strands of mysticism of varying validity, some of which are 'failed' in ways that are terribly convenient to the maintenance of an empire. I don't think any of this means that some strands of draconic mysticism are not quite valid.

But the exciting details of the metaphysical compromises the Kralori Empire uses to balance its spiritual goals with running a vast and magical empire are probably best for another thread - I have lots of ideas, but it would be very speculative, and we barely have enough knowledge to talk about those details for the Lunars or the EWF.

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