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Worship of Flamal?


Scorus

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I see Flamal on the list of cults included in the upcoming publication. Where and by whom is he worshipped? What kind of cult is it? I don't remember hearing a mention of a Flamal cult before and assumed that was because he was killed by Zorak Zoran in the God Time.

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8 minutes ago, Scorus said:

I see Flamal on the list of cults included in the upcoming publication. Where and by whom is he worshipped? What kind of cult is it?

He's the father of all plants.  Largely subsumed under other cults, but you'll find his subcult under Aldrya, Ernalda (he's a husband-protector), the Grain Goddesses.  

As long as there are plants you'll find some worship of Flamal.

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54 minutes ago, Scorus said:

I see Flamal on the list of cults included in the upcoming publication. Where and by whom is he worshipped? What kind of cult is it? I don't remember hearing a mention of a Flamal cult before and assumed that was because he was killed by Zorak Zoran in the God Time.

Primarily by Elves, and indirectly through his children and especially his lovers, the Grain Goddesses.

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24 minutes ago, Scorus said:

So this is not a cult with its own temples and priests, just shrines in related temples? Similar to Mastakos or Arroin, then?

This is an elven cult, with its own 'temples' deep in the forests; elsewhere probably shrines in associated temples.

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12 hours ago, Scorus said:

So this is not a cult with its own temples and priests, just shrines in related temples? Similar to Mastakos or Arroin, then?

Depends on your location:

Quote

ORGANIZATION

Flamal is a small cult, only commonly found where elves are strong and where the Earth cults are most powerful. Flamal is worshiped in all strong elf forests. Most forests have one major temple to Flamal, though large forests have a great temple instead. In large temple complexes to the Earth cults, such as are found in Esrolia or on the Pamaltelan veldt oases, Flamal may have a minor or major temple, with a rare great temple.

Upcoming Cults of Glorantha

The only example of Flamal we have so far in print is the Earth temple at Clearwine (GM Screen Pack Adventure book). The temple has a shrine to Flamal as a husband-protector. Flamal has only two special Rune magics, Bear Fruit and Sprout, so pick one for the shrine.

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Funny you should mention "Arroin."

The cosmic force we call Flamal is so archaic and so widespread that an entire ecosystem of younger cults with different names has sprouted to carve up his mythological portfolio. What's left behind lurking in the shrines of figures more easily approached by humans or elves is a sacred mystery, something like Arachne Solara behind Cragspider or the Red Goddess hiding above the Mothers. Even his remaining spell(s) are something of a tangible metaphor for what he really is and why he's important.

Unless your players are very interested, I wouldn't worry about it. If they are, they'll find out in play and be richly rewarded. Most will approach through the elf gardener channel (only the first step) but there are always a few wild revelations, even among human-identifying people. But communion with him teaches a kind of cyclical immortality that is worth having even if it fits poorly on the character sheet.

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Flamal has one of the holiest places in Glorantha, Hrelar Amali, where he was killed either by trolls (Zorak Zoran testing Death, in most stories), or even by Eurmal. Even the main worshippers at Hrelar Amali did not worship him primarily, but his deathbed is where it was easier to find all the other main gods. He has a constellation, Tree, where he retired after being eaten, because back then, unless Chaos destroyed you, being dead or even eaten was not a final event. So anyone who looks up will wonder at the green star and know it is significant. 

Now in Time Flamal spends half his time in the Underworld, and the other half in the world, but rather than dying every day, he just dies and is reborn once a year. His rebirth, or his Holy day, Waterday of Fertility week in the Sea season, if we take really half the time seriously, puts his death at the second day (it would be better at the first, Freeseday, but numbers are inflexible this way) of Dark season. Neat. And I am sure most Gloranthans remember and honor the father of plants that day.

Humans are not plants, so it is normal Flamal is not a big deity for them, as he is too abstract, only one step after Gata and married to Grower. So with a few exceptions humans approach him indirectly, through his daughter, Aldrya, and other Earth deities. He is huge to plants, so he may be one of the most widely worshipped deities in Glorantha, just counting sentient plants. And as Martin says, his may be one of the easiest paths to immortality, even if it also may leave you dead half the time, you will always return. 

Now I wonder, if Harmast appeared from Hell with Arkat at Hrelar Amali, it was just easier because there is a well worn way from hell, or there is the fact that Flamal is also the rebirth itself? Arkat also made sure Hrelar Amali was within the Empire of Peace...

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Flamal has marginal cultic role because he's without prejudice and gives growth and vitality to all sessile life, plants, fungi, and protists (and presumably to all mobile life as well, but to a degree beneath anyone's notice or attention). You need his discriminatory descendants, who will give life only to those plants you want or need, while Papa Flamal tends the weeds as much as the garden. But Flamal deserves honor as a primordial entity, and so there is still some ceremonial incorporation of Flamal into religious practice, even if it means that gardens grow full of weeds. 

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Though a Lunar through and through, she is also a human being.

Eight Arms and the Mask

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8 hours ago, scott-martin said:

Unless your players are very interested, I wouldn't worry about it. If they are, they'll find out in play and be richly rewarded. Most will approach through the elf gardener channel (only the first step) but there are always a few wild revelations, even among human-identifying people. But communion with him teaches a kind of cyclical immortality that is worth having even if it fits poorly on the character sheet.

They can only find out if I know. This thread has been very helpful toward that and I look forward to GoG shining even more light on the question!

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13 hours ago, David Scott said:

The only example of Flamal we have so far in print is the Earth temple at Clearwine

I did place one distinct Flamal temple in my map of Nochet (Tershis district, Green Rest neighborhood):  Here dwells the First Husband of Ernalda, and his temple is ever lush and green.  Occasionally, one of the aldryami is seen here, though how they arrive or depart is usually a mystery.

There are a couple other Flamal shrines in other temples in the city.

There's undoubtedly a Flamal shrine at Ezel.  

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On 8/2/2022 at 5:40 PM, Scorus said:

They can only find out if I know.

I hear that! Not trying to be deliberately obscure . . . it's just that my relationship to the "deities of vegetation" has varied from the mainstream Glorantha where most people have to play, which can make my blithering less than constructive here.

But here's two or three things I know about him, his worship and how he fits into GOG.

IMG_5840.thumb.jpeg.7b98f659490bb1b5182ef28c238146d0.jpeg1. Falamal signifies a strategic perspective on death, change and time that predates what we consider modern bronze age Man Rune consciousness. All the primal runes are like this in their own way. He is the patron of coming back just like Rashoran(a) is the patron of a different essential and transformative insight about life & how to live it. Most of his surviving manifestations have plant bodies nowadays so we call him Plant Rune, but in the morning of the world he was a larger ecosystem, a green world unto himself that survives in mystic places like the deep Jhostrobbios. We might classify him as an elder "water" god, the original bridegroom of the world in a prior cycle. 

2. "Grisly portions" or discrete mysteries of Falamal are incorporated into cults as widely separated as Yelm, Pamalt, Caladra Aurelion / Chaladra Arroin and various Yelmalio precursors, not to mention many entities no longer actively worshipped. If you squint the right way, you can see the iconography everywhere. ("Green" Issaries, "Red" Moon.) A lot of the good parts currently exist inside the bellies of nominally hostile "eater" cults as well. This is all part of the cyclical nature of Falamal, who is constantly disintegrating and constantly always coming home, constantly dying somewhere and constantly being born. Nowadays Plant Rune is not so much a mythological character as a type of diacritical mark that hovers around various phenomena, a moving line that alters the meaning of everything around it . . . a portable technology of the soul reminiscent of the lunar way but ultimately incompatible with it. Reminiscent of Rashoran but a little less incompatible.

3. Anybody who studies plants is a half step on the road to Falamal initiation. Elves are the people who literally forgot the forest to be the trees. Their occasional veneration of Falamal as Plant is as garbled as everyone else's. Most plants are barely conscious, like dreams from the green world, a kind of "shadows dance." (Some shadows are painted with green paint. Some are purple.) Elves are as neotenic or transitional as dragonewts but to the extent to which they emulate "Aldrya" or Man Rune Mother and she is conceptualized as a tree they are forgetting Falamal and on the road to becoming people dreaming that they are plants. Falamal is the other way around. "For the father nothing." Let them go, let them come and go. The secret of Falamal is mastery of one of the ways things can come and go. 

EDIT and it strikes me that we know the name of the god on the threshold between dark and sea but not much is said about the transition from sea to soil beyond the fact that it was tasty eating.

Edited by scott-martin
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On 8/2/2022 at 8:40 AM, JRE said:

His rebirth, or his Holy day, Waterday of Fertility week in the Sea season, if we take really half the time seriously, puts his death at the second day (it would be better at the first, Freeseday, but numbers are inflexible this way) of Dark season. Neat. And I am sure most Gloranthans remember and honor the father of plants that day.

Isn't his High Holy Day the first day of the year? Day 147 (294/2) is Godsday of Stasis Week in Earth Season.

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1 hour ago, Ormi Phengaria said:

Isn't his High Holy Day the first day of the year? Day 147 (294/2) is Godsday of Stasis Week in Earth Season.

Just looking at the calendar, you are right:

Flamal high holy day on the first day of the year, Freezeday, Disorder week, Sea Season

Flamal seasonal holy day  day 23 of the year, Waterday, Fertility week, Sea season. 

Other Flamal holy days:

-Fire season:  Fertility week, Clayday

-Earth season: Fertilty week, Clayday

-Dark season: none listed.    .

-Storm season: none listed.  I take it that this season Flamal is dead

- Sacred time: none listed, but then only high holy days of some gods are listed in Sacred Time..

 

 

 

 

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On 8/3/2022 at 1:40 AM, JRE said:

Now I wonder, if Harmast appeared from Hell with Arkat at Hrelar Amali, it was just easier because there is a well worn way from hell, or there is the fact that Flamal is also the rebirth itself? Arkat also made sure Hrelar Amali was within the Empire of Peace...

This is such a good idea.  Kudos JRE!  I love it.  You've thoughtfully observed and used the lore and cleverly integrated two pretty divergent themes in a pretty inspired way.  Should it ever come up, My Glorantha Will Vary to incorporate this.  If it isn't canon it should be.

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Thanks, Darius. I love when two unrelated (apparently) facts fit so well.

I got the Flamal's day from the Guide to Glorantha, the illustration with the dryad (p. 67). 

Quote

The holiest day of the year for all Aldryami is Flamal's Day (Waterday of Fertility Week, in Sea Season). On this day all elves rejoice in the power of life, and come to full awakening after the long sleep of winter.

Count on humans to pick the wrong day, as they do not have the innate feeling of growth and rebirth. As I said above, it is neat that half a year brings us to the beginning of the Dark season.

Finally, I think scott-martin is conflating Flamal with Grower. Although simple humans picture them as a couple, I am sure the picture is much more diverse. I am sure Grower was open with their favors and coupled with almost anyone available, and aspects as sex and gender should be meaningless for these powers. However later day limited creatures end up equating Grower with pistil, or womb, which would make Flamal stamen, pollen, semen, whatever. What later becomes a kind of feminine and masculine embodiment, probably was in the origin a simple matter of motility. One waits in place, and the other goes to it.

That same motility, and the fact that in some way the gametes die to make the seed, the seed dies to make the plant, the plant dies to feed the forest, may explain why Flamal can always come back, because rebirth is their own essence. 

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