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Uleria initiation ceremonies and myths


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I have recently been running my first Glorantha campaign and recently finished the defend Applelane adventure. One of my players decided to have join the Uleria temple as an initiate.
Now I would like to run an initiation ceremony for them in a manner similar to the level of detail of the Orlanthi or Ernalda initiation ceremony written by Andrew Logan Montgomery. But sadly I can’t seem to find any details about the initiation ceremonies of gods other than Ernalda or Orlanth. I was wondering if someone would know of a place where this information could possibly be? If not, I would be curious to know how people have run their initiation ceremonies. 

This also leads to my second question. I wanted to seed a bit more of the illumination path into my ceremony/heroquests. I was wondering what an Ulerian version of illumination would look like?

My last (I promise!) question would be relating more to the heroquests of Uleria. As far as I can tell I might be able to use the myths of Uleria and her various versions (e.g. Esrola) to turn onto heroquests. So far I have found 2 Sartarian relevant myths that have Uleria in them: First people, and Uleria and the Boggles. I was wondering if there were others written I have not found. Hopefully ones relating to all aspects of Uleria, not just sex, but stuff that emphasises how she is an all loving goddess, and the goddess of every version of love (agape, pragma, etc). 
More information on how exactly she survived chaos (I think I found a reference somewhere mentioning she hid in places where people committed acts of great love but I could be misremembering) would also be useful. I’m not sure I understand what happens to the other gods of celestial court. Furthermore, from what I can tell she is mentioned as the thing that overturned chaos, but I can’t tell if this is literal (as in she is one of the lightbringers like Chalana Arroy and her suspiciously lacking past). Or something more abstract like the power of love(kinship allowed the light ringers to work together.  
 

Hope this wasn’t too many questions at once. I’m still wrapping my head around all the lore of Glorantha :)

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3 minutes ago, Storytellers said:

But sadly I can’t seem to find any details about the initiation ceremonies of gods other than Ernalda or Orlanth. I was wondering if someone would know of a place where this information could possibly be? 

Largely those two are the only ones with more detailed ceremonies, whether for adulthood or into the cults (excluding such events as humans joining troll cults).

6 minutes ago, Storytellers said:

If not, I would be curious to know how people have run their initiation ceremonies. 

Since most characters start as initiates, generally this is just a prior event and not detailed.

One source you may find useful is the Esrolia: Land of Ten Thousand Goddesses book (part of the Stafford Library collection).

The rites of Urvarna and Demarath (p.18) might provide some useful ideas (even though this is post-Great Darkness, pre-Dawn): 

Urvarna and Demarath began this process; two people who were attracted to each other but sensed that their relationship could be deeper than it was. They were friends, even sexual partners, but they sought deeper love. Their discontent irritated their neighbors and kinfolk who were having a difficult enough time just getting by. The couple
set off, bearing the light and the dark in their pouches, and they found the Great Stone. They went into it, and they found their way past the dangers there. Tereneel, the Little Voice, promised them a gift greater than each other if they survived this. The trials separated them, but each determined to go on anyway. Urvana found Gelstarn, the Beloved; and Demarath found Serumtha, the Lover. The pair had been sleeping, but once awakened these Grandmothers brought the two together again. They returned to their people, and they taught to them the rites of Awakening.  

There is a Sleeping Beauty aspect in the above (both male and female versions) that would in my mind be appropriate to riff upon.

Also many of the Imarja tales in that work are very close to what I think of as Ulerian mysteries.  (Imarja is the Esrolian creatrix)  See p.23-24.

The other source to look at is Heortling Mythology, but particularly the stories of Orane who is something of an Earth goddess reflection of Uleria.

The Necklace of Enlivenment story (p.40) would I think be useful:

At the Feyghost River, Orane gave away her clothing so she could get the Necklace of Enlivenment, which made her the most beautiful goddess alive. Everyone came to gaze at her, and after a time she grew ashamed because they lusted for her and did not recognize who she really was. After a time, she grew ashamed of her nakedness and hid in the Nymie Valley. She was discovered, then hid underneath the Feyghost. She eventually traded the Necklace of Enlivenment away for food and a ragged dress.

This would seem a natural part of initiation where the initiate selfishly tries to take the beautiful necklace and become the most beautiful person, but is forced to hide.  From this stage they could go on to build a community (perhaps even of other little living things - frog princes, flighty pixies, stern toads, sinister snakes, etc.).  And eventually find their way to the Lover or the Beloved as above.

 

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Another myth to draw upon is the Greek myth of Paris and the Three Goddesses.  But instead of being in the role of Paris, you find in turn that you are each of the three goddesses (in this case three aspects of Uleria) and must convince the hero to choose you (use of Charm, Orate, Sing, or other Communication skills).

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57 minutes ago, Storytellers said:

Now I would like to run an initiation ceremony for them in a manner similar to the level of detail of the Orlanthi or Ernalda initiation ceremony written by Andrew Logan Montgomery.

Firstly have a read of Greg's initiation essays for Orlanth and Ernalda. These should give you a feel for what you need:

https://wellofdaliath.chaosium.com/home/gloranthan-documents/glorantha-2/cultures/ernaldan-initiation-rites/

https://wellofdaliath.chaosium.com/home/gloranthan-documents/glorantha-2/cultures/orlanthi-overview/orlanthi-initiation-rites/

look at the steps for Ernalda especially.

A Ulerian initiate should have Uleria's three aspects as part of the initiation, they are in the GM Screen adventure book, mixed in with the temple description, here they are in detail for the upcoming gods book:

Quote

 

1. Through the Body. This is courtship and carnal sex, both of which communicate the Life Forces of Love through participants.

2. Through Companionship. Social integrity comes from the Love of people for their community. Sharing and caring are routes to experience Love.

3. Through Propagation. Incarnation of the Life Force can be accomplished by everything which seeks to reproduce itself. Responsible childrearing increases the Love and lovers in the world. Aiding orphans, mothers, herds, and gardens increases the Life Force of the world.

All three methods seek the same end: to experience the Oneness of Love, the Eternal Moment of Allness which lies beyond Harmony.

 

Uleria is also the moment of reproduction. When ever a god is born (whatever that means) Uleria is there. She is in every god's story, just not always visible. 

Quote

Most stories about the goddess are sensual and erotic. Some may seem lewd and questionable, even gross and perverted, to the listener. All fall within the compass of the Goddess of Love. Her other aspects, social and fertile, receive their share of storytelling as well.

...

Bringing together is apparent in all nature. When two bubbles of quicksilver join, that is caused by Love. When leaves fall to the ground, or anything at all falls to earth, that is because the Earth Mother’s Love pulls us there. Water flows downhill to the sea because it seeks to come together with the ocean in Love. Societies exist because of Love, and everyone knows how the genders are attracted to one another. All these activities are motions of Love through the Life Force.

Reproduction can mean either propagation of the species, or the generation of something completely new.

So the initiation should encompass all three aspects, likely as a test. So the first story would be Uleria courts (who ever is available). Any player of a different cult can play the opposite role. The second could be whenever a group is made, so Uleria's presence at the group's clan making or other bonding moment. Propagation part is causing something to reproduce in the quest.

I'd have great fun with this getting player to invent the tasks.

1 hour ago, Storytellers said:

This also leads to my second question. I wanted to seed a bit more of the illumination path into my ceremony/heroquests. I was wondering what an Ulerian version of illumination would look like?

Uleria is illuminated, given that she's the cause of procreation - including chaos creatures...

I believe that most Ulerian practices are very similar to tantric Buddhism and are practiced without the knowledge that they lead to illumination.

Have a look at  A Complete Introduction To Buddhist Thought, chapter 7 as framework. Here's a brief Ulerian take on the outlines:

  • Importance of a teacher - should be an illuminated Ulerian priestess.
  • Ritual use of mandalas - we can see them being used on page 7 of the Red Book of Magic.
  • the transgressive dimension - the employment of ritual sexual intercourse as ritual offering.
  • Revaluation of the body -  a runic model of the body as the basis for generating blissful experience (yoga).
  • the practice of connection between deities, mandalas, mantras, practitioners’ bodies—and other elements or factors that they are seen to symbolise or embody. See RQG page 21.
  • Practicing Runic correspondences: directions, colours, hand-gestures, elements, etc Like the runic associations, but not mixing them. We can see Aileena on page 69 of the adventure book showing a two handed mudra (hand-gesture), each finger corresponds to an elemental rune.

 

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2 hours ago, Storytellers said:

Now I would like to run an initiation ceremony for them in a manner similar to the level of detail of the Orlanthi or Ernalda initiation ceremony written by Andrew Logan Montgomery.

I am not allowed to read that, as I might be playing in a campaign based on the supplement.

2 hours ago, Storytellers said:

But sadly I can’t seem to find any details about the initiation ceremonies of gods other than Ernalda or Orlanth. I was wondering if someone would know of a place where this information could possibly be? 

I can't think of anywhere that has such initiations.

2 hours ago, Storytellers said:

If not, I would be curious to know how people have run their initiation ceremonies. 

Generally, I pick a myth and go through it. The myth might change from temple to temple or country to country, depending on what the temple or country thinks is important.

So, the new member goes through a ceremony where they are accepted into the cult and make their binding oaths, in return the cult sears to support them.

For Uleria, the myth might be Uleria helps <someone>.

2 hours ago, Storytellers said:

My last (I promise!) question would be relating more to the heroquests of Uleria.

I might be on firmer ground here.

2 hours ago, Storytellers said:

As far as I can tell I might be able to use the myths of Uleria and her various versions (e.g. Esrola) to turn onto heroquests. So far I have found 2 Sartarian relevant myths that have Uleria in them: First people, and Uleria and the Boggles. I was wondering if there were others written I have not found.

They are the main ones.

Cult Compendium mentions how Uleria impregnated herself (p11) , how Rashoran strengthened Uleria (p11), Uleria is the mother of Shanassee (p197) and mentions a Ulerian song that calls Chaos "Mother and father of the world" (p262).

The Guide to Glorantha mentions Olarians as love nymphs and mothers of red elves (p63), the founder of Zoria as an aspect of Uleria (p222), Ulawar has the oldest temple to Uleria (p317), Uleria on the Gods Wall (p672) and claims Umatum is the son of Uleria (p318).

2 hours ago, Storytellers said:

Hopefully ones relating to all aspects of Uleria, not just sex, but stuff that emphasises how she is an all loving goddess, and the goddess of every version of love (agape, pragma, etc). 

In a soon to be published Jonstown Compendium supplement, we mention Uleria as a goddess involved in helping Humakt grieve, but that is not out yet.

2 hours ago, Storytellers said:

More information on how exactly she survived chaos (I think I found a reference somewhere mentioning she hid in places where people committed acts of great love but I could be misremembering) would also be useful. I’m not sure I understand what happens to the other gods of celestial court.

They all died.

Uleria was the only one who survived, maybe because the Boggles ripped her apart, maybe because love is all around.

2 hours ago, Storytellers said:

Furthermore, from what I can tell she is mentioned as the thing that overturned chaos, but I can’t tell if this is literal (as in she is one of the lightbringers like Chalana Arroy and her suspiciously lacking past). Or something more abstract like the power of love(kinship allowed the light ringers to work together.  

Probably the power of love.

2 hours ago, Storytellers said:

Hope this wasn’t too many questions at once. I’m still wrapping my head around all the lore of Glorantha :)

Ask away, those are interesting questions.

2 hours ago, Storytellers said:

This also leads to my second question. I wanted to seed a bit more of the illumination path into my ceremony/heroquests. I was wondering what an Ulerian version of illumination would look like?

Ulerian Illumination comes from Rashoran, because Rashoran Illuminated Uleria. It might be a cult secret, handed down in a SubCult.

Some Ulerians are normal illuminates, who are Illuminated the normal way.

Is there a difference? Probably not.

 

 

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Uleria is all about transgression. Love is eternal, undying, true? Love is something I can make with the snap of my fingers. Sex is an expression of union and intimacy? Yes, and for a donation that intimacy can be yours, and then when we're done it will no longer have any existence. And this extends further. Kinship is cosmic? Mhm. But I'm more cosmic. I can reshape family with my words. Reproduction involves a father and a mother? No. Reproduction involves a father, a mother, and me. The other things are still true. But Uleria's perspective goes deeper, and broader, to an Omega Point of all-consuming Love that dissolves the self. 

As such, some things that may well happen before and during an Uleria initiation would include elaborate roleplaying to loosen your selfhood up- giving you alternate personas to become, with different kin and different lives. All of it to prepare for the moment where you have sex with Uleria and then realize you are Uleria, having sex with yourself, and then you come down from the high with some new tattoos and a shiny new Erotocomatose Lucidity spell. 

Which is to say, the Illumination is baked right in to the worldview of the cult, and it's just a matter of PCs recognizing it at some point. 

 

Edited by Eff
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