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What do Malkioni Worship Ceremonies look like?


Frp

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Now that more aspects of Malkioni society are being explored I started wondering what a typical worship ceremony might look like. I realize they will vary greatly by sect, but will they all share some basic aspects, or be completely unrecognizable from one another?

The only things I've settled on are singing some songs from the Ice Age and a magical introduction to the divine when everyone gives up their MP's. 

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Among the Seshnegi, I think it's largely the tithing of magic points to the wizards.  In return the wizards enliven the proceedings with:

  • Warnings of supernatural events to come
  • Lectures on how to maintain rightness, with detailed reference to numerous failings observed by the Wizards
  • Contrived summonings of fearsome spirits who are then driven away by the spells of the Wizards.
  • Warnings against heretics that seek to overthrow the social order as maintained by the wizards (ie Men of All and Arkati)
  • Ostentatious blessings cast on the community for the coming week, such as Good Weather
  • Thanks and praise is offered to the Ancestors who have gone before.

Among the Loskalmi, worship ceremonies are mainly attended by the Men-of-All, Guardians and prospects.    There it's not so much as the collection of magic points but rather contact with the Hidden Mover.  The ceremony is a lengthy ritual to obtain Joy.  First comes the medispections/self-criticisms in which various attendants confess error that prevents them from joy.  A swift correction* and the real ceremony begins.  Most achieve spiritual satisfaction but sometimes one is seized to utter oracular portents. 

*If the error is serious then one probably does their correction in private before turning up to the public ceremony to avoid subsequent shame.

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I would expect the rites are caste divided, though some festivities are shared by all.

Dronal ceremonies are communal affairs, with singing, dancing, blessings and a communal dinner afterwards. In most communities there may well be a marriage and several births each week, so plenty to celebrate. Some deaths, but I expect the Dronali celebrate those too.

Horal ceremonies will remember lost comrades and focus on the martial blessings, specially of those that expect to fight the next week. In Seshnela there will be specific flavor to each society, but I expect the zzabur takes second place and comrade testimony and speeches dominate. 

Talar ceremonies are the ones focused on the spiritual well being of the worshippers and the community as a whole. Here the big community magics are cast, though depending on the sect, tha magics may be cast after the ceremony, in front of the whole community. 

Most of the magic for the community will come from the Dronali, so the Talar ceremony will be after it, to distribute the magic available to the community.

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12 minutes ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

but where are the gods then ?

The Gods have their separate worship ceremonies which are pretty much like the pagans.  I understood the question to refer to the Invisible God.

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25 minutes ago, metcalph said:

The Gods have their separate worship ceremonies which are pretty much like the pagans.  I understood the question to refer to the Invisible God.

I m not so sure about that

why should be separate ceremonies ?

I m clearly not malkionism expert (old or new version) but when I read the separate worship I imagine something like the irl "christian worship the sunday" and "pagan worship the other days". And that's still like the old version "malkionism= church" I disliked.

 

why not imagine, in the same @JRE split, that the one cast's ceremony day is a mix between gods worshipping under zzaburi "control" (if they are not the priests themselves), mundane business, and a part of philosophy and rules malkion/zzabur/hrestol  "lessons" ?

I mean they are "one people" from the beginning (or at least for a long long long time), that's not like some pagan people conquered 50 years ago by a foreign power worshipping the only one and trying to convert them to the civilized true religion.

 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

I m clearly not malkionism expert (old or new version) but when I read the separate worship I imagine something like the irl "christian worship the sunday" and "pagan worship the other days". And that's still like the old version "malkionism= church" I disliked.

I don't see what the problem is.  The Orlanthi, Kralori and Pelorians do not have a one stop "worship everything" shop so why should the Malkioni?  What's being described is worship of the Invisible God who is separate from the others.

6 minutes ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

why not imagine, in the same @JRE split, that the one cast's ceremony day is a mix between gods worshipping under zzaburi "control" (if they are not the priests themselves), mundane business, and a part of philosophy and rules malkion/zzabur/hrestol  "lessons" ?

 

Because the Gods are not under Zzaburi control (unless you are in Carmania).  The Loskalmi don't trust the Zzaburi and their rulers would think the Gods are beneath them.  In Seshnela, the Nobles would control the worship of the Gods by the others.  In Ralios, the Arkati can barely agree on who Arkat was so any agreement on how to worship the Invisible God is non-existent.

 

6 minutes ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

I mean they are "one people" from the beginning (or at least for a long long long time), that's not like some pagan people conquered 50 years ago by a foreign power worshipping the only one and trying to convert them to the civilized true religion.

They are one people in that they practice Rightness and support the Wizards.  Beyond that, they are bitterly split.

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1 hour ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

but where are the gods then ?

Part of the ancestral ceremonies, or part of the entities tamed by the sorcerers, or addressed through minor captured entities that are part of the greater gods or their offspring (compare how Tanian was contacted by the Free Men of the Seas).

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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For me gods and Ascended Masters are limited to certain significative dates and private worship, as happens also with ancestors. So most Goddays there will be some god or master or even a family founder commemorated in the normal Godsday ceremony, but they are not the focus. For me the ceremonies are focused on the human concerns and needs, and culminate in the weekly blessings, using the cumulated community magic, with as much ceremony as needed to minimize failure. While the Workers sing and dance, the Warriors honor and remember the fallen, the Leaders decide how the magic will be used and the Wizards educate them on the Law, according to their needs, and then apply the power of the community as ordered. Then all witness God's blessings.

Worship of gods and ascended masters give mostly benefits to the worshipper, rather than communal ones. The Godsday blessings can benefit anyone, if the Leaders think it is required.

After Jeff's discussion of Rightness, I am sure that at certain point in the ceremony, the Right can be felt and seen by the community, so if you do not attend, people will assume you are not Right. Reason enough to make attendance almost compulsory. And depending on the sect may well be a casting out of those not Right, specially those that fail several weeks, at some point in the ceremony, usually before the actual party. Social pressure and conformity.

IMG Workers do not work on Godsday, so for them it is a hobby and party day. The other castes do work on Godsday, as guards are still needed, and leaders and wizards do most of their work that day. 

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Malkioni worship goes something like this: the priests (wizards) perform rites such as the chanting the creation of the world, the Law, recite texts, etc. Guardians are summoned, and schematics or patterns that reveal the structure and order of the cosmos are made. The worshipers chant, prostrate themselves, and give offerings. In many sects, a representation of Malkion or some other Ascended Master is the focus of much of this activity. These acts open the mind and spirit to the wholeness of the cosmos. For most, this is felt as the solace that comes from knowing the existence of the Invisible God. For a few, this opens the mind and spirit to the possibilities of being a co-creator, a mortal demiurge.

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14 hours ago, Frp said:

The only things I've settled on are singing some songs from the Ice Age and a magical introduction to the divine when everyone gives up their MP's. 

As a small child, an old friend came up with a very simple and memorable definition of church: "first they take the money, then they do the magic trick." Since he was raised Congregationalist and their minister at the time happened to be an amateur sleight-of-hand man there truly was some weekly flimflam designed to dazzle the eye and maybe open the heart . . . even if few magic points were ever transferred. When we were a little older and more sophisticated the broader insight into "the central mystery of our faith" became something a little more profound. Strip out all the singing and all the talking and first they take the money and then they perform what amounts to a magic trick. Then they let you go.

IMG every western service will have a very different hymnal and read different texts across divergent liturgical cycles but the core structure remains remarkably consistent. They get people together. There's some preliminaries that function to get individuals thinking and feeling along a communal track, often punctuated with smaller side bits of business and administration. At a certain point, the celebrant collects the "money" through whatever sorcerous apparatus they like in that corner of the world and then some of that collective effervescence is burned off to run the "magic trick," which can run the gamut from nebulous "keep the world alive" cosmological برك or baraka to more specific کرامات like healing the sick, shielding the troops, what have you.

A lot of the local and sectarian variance depends on how much of the money is immediately burned off in community support and how much gets banked to do the work of higher authorities or the celebrants themselves. Over the years of publishing the sources have taken different perspectives on the optimal math here but to me I suspect the "malkioni all" releases roughly as many magic points back into the community over a typical liturgical cycle as theists can capture in their rites. That's the threshold you need in Glorantha to perpetuate a community without having your money dry up as people die, get fed up, seek alternative consolations or otherwise become hardened to the blandishments.

Places like sinister Ramalia will off course pursue seriously unbalanced relationships . . . all money, no magic trick for the masses . . . but historically these kinds of arrangements rarely persist before the system fails. Isolated sectarian enclaves, on the other hand, probably burn a lot more of the money on the regular miracles because there isn't much hierarchy around to perpetuate much in the way of long-term esoteric ritual agendas or be tempted into short-term gratification magic.

I suspect everyone on this thread is correct for some community at some stage of historical development.

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11 hours ago, scott-martin said:

IMG every western service will have a very different hymnal and read different texts across divergent liturgical cycles but the core structure remains remarkably consistent. They get people together. There's some preliminaries that function to get individuals thinking and feeling along a communal track, often punctuated with smaller side bits of business and administration. At a certain point, the celebrant collects the "money" through whatever sorcerous apparatus they like in that corner of the world and then some of that collective effervescence is burned off to run the "magic trick,"

In RQ terms, once the congregation has gathered, the zzaburi priest likely intones the formula "Let us pray", and the congregation Meditates for a certain time (roll Meditation skill).  At that point, the priest performs the worship ritual that brings the mundane and the magical together (all roll their Worship (Invisible God) and the link between worlds is opened).  At this point the celebrants sacrifice their MP's to aid the priest in his work and help prepare him for the blessings to be made.

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, metcalph said:

The Gods have their separate worship ceremonies which are pretty much like the pagans.  I understood the question to refer to the Invisible God.

Yeah, I was just thinking about Invisible God ceremonies.

I doubt gods would be integrated into Invisible God ceremonies in Losksam or Seshnela, regardless of what people do on the sly. 

I do imagine most everyone participating would view worship as legalistic, formalistic, and maybe, boring. But, odd as it may seem, it might be even easier for worshippers, highest to lowest, to see how their contribution helps maintain the community. 

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16 hours ago, scott-martin said:

MG every western service will have a very different hymnal and read different texts across divergent liturgical cycles but the core structure remains remarkably consistent.

When you get to 'give sign of peace' part of a Borist service it is strongly advised that you give a simple nod of the head to those around you, rather than take any offered handshake.

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I think, as Scott Martin says, that the actual point is for people see the magic in action, and that is what bring them all to the worship. Local customs, the quality of the parish wizard, their charisma, and the pressure of small town making sure that everybody attends, or they become a social pariah, all change the dynamics of the ceremony. 

But I am still sure that at a certain point, those in the Right shine with their Rightness for all to see, and those not in the Right may be publicly shamed (Rokari) or sympathetically supported to improve their ways (maybe Sedalpists?). Of course the Right shine does not differentiate if you have one or one hundred points, though I am sure the hierarchy is working on devising accounting magics, and some may claim to work... Some subtle magic can give you the same effect if nobody is looking at you just at that point with magic sight...

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I'm wondering if it might be like a meeting of the Skeptics Society.

I have fond memories of those meetings, the trivia contest which featured questions like "What did H*tler eat for Breakfast?", "How many grains of sand in this jar?" and "What sex was the first computer?". And there was always a speaker, sometimes a really famous speaker like James Randi, who explained what he had been doing to drive back ignorance and expose the lies of mystics and other deceivers.

In a Gloranthan setting the speaker might be a learned guest sorcerer, explaining why theism is so ridiculous. 

Zabur would have a standing invitation to attend as honoured guest, but always turns it down. 

I figured out the first computer was female, but we lost that point because the rest of the team disagreed. I can't explain why in polite company ;-).

Edited by EricW
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On 7/26/2022 at 12:12 AM, Frp said:

I doubt gods would be integrated into Invisible God ceremonies in Losksam or Seshnela, regardless of what people do on the sly. 

The natural way for them to be "integrated" is that at some point in the ritual, the zzabur priest has received the magical investiture from the community, and then performs the right summoning ritual (e.g. the Summons of Rain, which brings Heler).  The god is not seen as "god", but as commanded spirit/entity.  The priest commands the spirit to perform their required task, seen as a blessing for the community, and is subsequently dismissed.  All reveals the power of the priests to control, command, and banish said spirits/demons as needed.  Such rituals are of course dependent on alignment of elements, stars, powers, etc to maximize the ability of the priest to bring the blessings, deliver the curses, and otherwise reveal the ultimate power of the Invisible God.

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