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What do we know about the Star Witches of Prax?


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See Pavis GtA, page 54.

I have this spirit cult teaching travel to the sky to find a Shanasee as a lover or husband, who is their source of power (as a fetch, greater entity, or worshipped spirit).

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1 hour ago, Darius West said:

I just noticed this tradition, and while I can imagine a bit about what they are like, what is known about this shamanic tradition from actual written (dare I say "canon") sources ?

I imagine their favourite spirits are Pole Star, Morning Star and Evening Star.

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On 5/31/2022 at 4:38 PM, metcalph said:

imagine their favourite spirits are Pole Star, Morning Star and Evening Star.

Yeah, spirit cult versions thereof (which is all we know about for Morning Star and Evening Star anyway). I’d guess at most spirit cult versions of Polaris teaching Star Sight or Arrow of Light or Shooting Star, and not providing access to the war leader magic of Polaris (like Captain Souls, Morale or Star Walk), but I could be wrong about Captain Souls among the Star Witches - it fits quite well thematically with the area effect supportive magic of Morning Star and Evening Star, and is very useful to an Eiritha priestess who wishes to be able to heal allies in a mounted battle. 

There will likely be quite a few lesser star spirits that can be contacted by the Star Witches. Unlike the Oakfed cultists, I think they have fairly little magic dealing with actual fire. 

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3 hours ago, Darius West said:

It does raise the question of whether the (Lunar pantheon)Twin Stars are part of the tradition too.

Probably, I'd expect them to be part of the Star Witches among the Sable Riders.

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On 5/31/2022 at 6:38 PM, metcalph said:

I imagine their favourite spirits are Pole Star, Morning Star and Evening Star.

They are certainly listed as 3 Spirit Deities in the Praxian traditions in Tales of the Reaching Moon 14 &15.  If we add the Twin Stars into the mix, the tradition begins to seem quite large.  I wonder if any of the other major deities of the Constellations are part of this tradition, and wonder how organized it might be.  Clearly it is a shamanic tradition, and I would expect to see all the deities marked on Prax's Spirit Wall.  The night sky is a powerful place, especially in Prax where the Sky Dome is so often clear and visible. 

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3 hours ago, Darius West said:

They are certainly listed as 3 Spirit Deities in the Praxian traditions in Tales of the Reaching Moon 14 &15.  If we add the Twin Stars into the mix, the tradition begins to seem quite large.  

I think it's more like Spirit Cults - in one place you have a coven dedicated to the Morning Star and in another to the Evening Star.  They have common practices and magics but there is no Star Witch or coven thereof that worships all the magics of the Stars.

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1 hour ago, metcalph said:

I think it's more like Spirit Cults - in one place you have a coven dedicated to the Morning Star and in another to the Evening Star.  They have common practices and magics but there is no Star Witch or coven thereof that worships all the magics of the Stars.

I suspect that there wouldn't be such a tradition at all if there were no effective cult to it.  I suspect that you likely take a primary spirit patron, and then gain the others as associates.

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7 hours ago, g33k said:
On 5/31/2022 at 9:32 AM, David Scott said:

See Pavis GtA, page 54...

With all due respect... this is a spectacularly unhelpful answer (for most people) ...

Here is the section.

Quote

Star Witches: This is a society of powerful women who study the stars. They have great power, being the most ancient of the spirit societies, and attract disaffected wise women, shamans, and priestesses from all tribes.

 

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Here's what I was working on for HQG:

Although one of the oldest spirit societies, the Star Witches are now a hidden splinter of the Star Gazers spirit society (in RQ terms a spirit society is a collective of spirit cults that share the same rune pool, all teach Discorporation to their members, led by a charismatic shaman). Although now a separate society, they maintain hidden membership in the Star Gazers, as a Hidden Path.

The Star Gazers are a collective of sky rune spirit cults worshipped by Praxians, its most important spirit is Pole Star. The spirit cults vary by the want of the leading shaman in the society, but Evening Star, Morning Star, Bronze Treasure, Sun Hawk, Sun Daughter are some of the usual spirit cults worshiped, but other stars, planets and constellations may be present.

The Star Witches emphasise contact with the Star Captains themselves, teaching travel to the sky. Aside from Pole Star, many have journeyed to the sky and have other Star Captains/Shanasee as a lover or husband, who is their source of power (as a fetch, greater entity, or worshipped spirit). They don't teach spirit or Rune magic (except Discorporation), but the knowledge of how to reach the sky through the paths in the spirit world. They do teach Celestial Lore for free. They are enemies of the Waha cult, who forbids their Khans to travel to the sky as a friend.

Although the Star Witches and Star Gazers are inter tribal societies, most members come from the Sable and Impala tribes. They number no more than 100 members amongst the Praxians.

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On 6/2/2022 at 7:24 AM, Darius West said:

It does raise the question of whether the (Lunar pantheon)Twin Stars are part of the tradition too.

No (but see below). Although the Twin Stars have the Moon and Sky rune, The Twin Stars form an eponymous separate spirit society (see post above). The Twin Stars society is a collective of moon rune spirit cults worshipped by Praxians, its most important spirits are the Twin Stars. The Lunars (Hungry Plateau sables) brought the Twin Stars version of the Praxian Hidden Ancestor society to Prax and forever changed it, revealing to the Praxian's Jannisor's secrets. The spirit cults vary by the want of the leading shaman in the society, but Moonbroth, Redwood, Silver Deer are some of the usual spirit cults worshiped, but other Lunar spirits may be may be present, post 1610. Due to the Lunar influence, members may summon Lunes and even Selenes.

Note that there is likely one shaman who has the Twinstars as part of the Star Witches society, and another in the Star Gazers, but are not members of the Twin Stars society. There are also still members of the Seven Mothers and Jakaleel who have links or membership of this society as it spans the Praxian and Lunar Pantheons.

Although the Twin Stars are technically an inter tribal society, most members come from the Sable tribe, other tribes' Seven Mothers members gravitate towards the society They number less than 2000 members amongst the Praxians.

see this post for further info:

 

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17 hours ago, David Scott said:

No (but see below). Although the Twin Stars have the Moon and Sky rune, The Twin Stars form an eponymous separate spirit society (see post above). T

Thanks for this rather expert clarification David.  Half the reason I have raised this topic is because I am ill informed about it.  Obviously you have put serious thought and research into the Twin Stars.  I hope other interested parties read it and find it useful.

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On 6/6/2022 at 7:39 PM, David Scott said:

in RQ terms a spirit society is a collective of spirit cults that share the same rune pool, all teach Discorporation to their members, led by a charismatic shaman

This is a really interesting new mechanic that I think will make play for animists (especially non-shamans) quite a bit better. I hope we see it in print publications soon. 
I really like the idea of making shamanic religion something other than either rune cults with shaman-priests, or separate single spell spirit cults. 
It would be nice to see things like spirit cults or societies offering it just rune magic, but special access to certain unusual spirits, unique spirit magic, and new shaman abilities. Make shamanic religion as rich in detail and varied as conventional rune cults! 

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On 6/8/2022 at 5:35 AM, davecake said:

... 
It would be nice to see things like spirit cults or societies offering it just rune magic, but special access to certain unusual spirits, unique spirit magic, and new shaman abilities. Make shamanic religion as rich in detail and varied as conventional rune cults! 

Oh hell yeah!

(n.b. there is a bit of an ongoing kerfuffle over the term "shaman."  Some have noted that it's a Westernization of a Siberian word, and that the same westerners are then applying it -- possibly misapplying it -- to a bunch of other practices around the world.  This might be something Chaosium would want to explicitly address, if they were expanding shamanism as you describe.  All of which being said... I can hardly imagine a better homage to Greg Stafford than to give shamanic & similar traditions the same kind of full-volume treatment that Runic/Deity cults get!)

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Maybe it is in the so expected gods of glorantha ?

however I awlays have seen "shaman" in glorantha with two levels

1) shaman are those who have a fetch.

2) among them, shaman are those who lead a community cult

 

the 2) implies that you may find shaman who are not here to bargain spirits for the good of a clan / tribe

these shaman  could create a community (a kind of religious temple / sect / what you want, source of a spirit cult, but outside of the clan)

or could use their power for themselves, for money, for anything in fact

 

so I see shamanism organization in glorantha (I don't know what is shamanism irl, so no pollution) with the same perspective than any cult. The practice, ritual, ceremonies are different, but the goal is the same : relationship with greater entity.

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13 hours ago, scott-martin said:

Of course I love this for reasons. Do they interact much with Oakfed and other lowfire contacts (Mahome)?

No, I have a different society - The Burners headed by Oakfed. The two societies are mutually exclusive.

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On 6/11/2022 at 1:57 AM, David Scott said:

... The two societies are mutually exclusive.

I presume the usual disclaimers apply, i.e. "unless the shaman is an illuminate."

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1 hour ago, g33k said:

I presume the usual disclaimers apply, i.e. "unless the shaman is an illuminate."

These are aren't secret societies and the restriction is actually a taboo. Regardless of illumination, it would be difficult to be a member of both. You might as well just worship the spirit cults together outside of the societies, where there is no restriction (but no society benefits). Remember that that not all illuminates gain all powers, Power to Ignore Cult Restrictions and Immunity to Spirits of Reprisal are separate abilities, so not everyone has them.

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