Jump to content

Divorce among Lunars? Yelm and Yelmalio worshippers?


Beoferret

Recommended Posts

So, I'm operating from an assumption that divorce among Orlanthi (whether in Sartar or the Holy Country) is pretty straightforward and easy, if the marriage bond has been honored during its duration. BUT, what are the divorce strictures/procedures for worshippers of Yelm and/or Yelmalio (and others generally seen as more patriarchal cults)? How does one get divorced in the Lunar lands, especially among the nobility and upper echelons of society? Asking for a friend .... (ha ha)

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

Good question.  Though I'm not sure that divorce among Orlanthi is "easy".  It is a sacred oath.  Interested in responses and "takes" from others.

How easy (Orlanthi divorce) it is probably depends on the type of marriage, the terms of the marriage contract, how magically potent the parties are, and what the political considerations are. When we are talk about “easiness” I am thinking about a combination of how severe the consequences are and how difficult it is to initiate. I would think that in most cases it would be fairly easy to initiate the act but consequences would vary along a pretty large spectrum.

Edited by FlamingCatOfDeath
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

yep for me you have different marriage types:

a) those with a defined duration (1 year etc) there is probably some ritual behind it (the earth festival, things like that) so this marriage has an impact on all the community, you must stay and be nice spouses. if not you will have reprisals (mundane by the people impacted by your choice, divine by the gods & spirits insulted by your choices)

b) those political with all the pressure of the family (if not noble children ) and all the community (if noble children) cause this marriage provides alliance, wealth, etc..

c) those just chosen by you and your partner, without any consequences except on your couple and your potential children and followers.

 

I see the c) type easy for orlanthi. Probably easy for Lodrili. But for the other fire/light gods...

Probably it is not possible or very very hard to even have the possibility of c) with Yelm, at least in Dara Happa and other "civilized" countries. No idea with pure horse people.

 

but that's the perspective of a definitly not yelmic specialist 😛 so I'm interested by the answers too (and even in Orlanthi, Merfolk, Malkioni, etc... cultures)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

c) those just chosen by you and your partner, without any consequences except on your couple and your potential children and followers

On Earth, we usually have these types of marriages.  Would you describe Earth divorce as "straightforward and easy".  Now add the fact that the gods are definitely real and can do you significant and immediate harm if you cross them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

On Earth, we usually have these types of marriages.  Would you describe Earth divorce as "straightforward and easy".  Now add the fact that the gods are definitely real and can do you significant and immediate harm if you cross them.

As I m not sure of the sense of your question, I would answer in two points :

well easy in the sense of the cult(ure) would accept it in my opinion. Yes, for me, Orlanth has a lot of wives and lovers, and Ernalda has a lot of husbands and lovers (and Lodril is Lodril) so these gods would not have concern with this specific marriage. The "for ever promise" is one oath, but there are other possible oaths : "until we decide together to stop", "until it is clear we are not happy", "until there is no mutual trust".

 

However, I'm not challenging the impact on the involved people in any divorce (if it is the question) :

could be easy for the people or not depending on a lot of things, as on Earth.

3 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

c) those just chosen by you and your partner, without any consequences except on your couple and your potential children and followers.

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I assume one of the major differences between the old-school Yelmic patriarchy and the "feminist" Lunars is that in old Dara Happa the husband would have called all the shots, whereas in the modern Lunar Empire his wife has at least equal rights.

I can imagine other angles to have fun with (e.g. no such thing as a "no fault divorce" in Dara Happa, as the woman is always to blame; in Carmania, while someone is always at fault, it just might be him). But it's not something I've ever been particularly interested in, and there are other aspects (e.g. Pentan Sultans' harems, Yelm Imperator's concubines, the "Chaotic" liberation, gender-bending and Free Love inherent in the Lunar Way) that will also be relevant.

To be clear: a traditional Dara Happan household in the Lunar Empire might prefer to govern itself in the old school way (Father Knows Best), but if anyone wants to break free of his antique patriarchal authority, the courts will, in theory, support them. (Unless they've been nobbled, of course: it's a decadent empire, I'm not an idiot, and I know what class the magistrates are drawn from)

At least one of Chris's Citizens of the Lunar Empire is divorced, if that helps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, Kloster said:

I seem to remember that Lady Vega Goldbreath had to divorce. I don't remember if it was in 'Sun County' or in 'River of Cradles'.

It's from Sun County, and was explored at length in the Secret History of Sun County, which is crudely summarised at the end of my Sun County Backgrounds article in Sandheart Volume One.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Of course its not just the divorce. There are several scary Earth cults women can join if they feel bitter about their treatment. I'm not sure what the options are for guys, I suspect nothing remotely socially acceptable...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replies everyone. To be clear, when I say that I think of Orlanthi divorce as straightforward and easy, I mean that I imagine it happening through public acts like setting one's former spouse's belongings outside of the home or loudly announcing "I divorce you!" a set number of times in front of witnesses (both of which are examples from real world societies.) Easy, but not lightly taken. And if the divorce is due to the breaking of the marriage oath (or even just petty or selfish reasons - "My spouse has too much nose hair! I want out!"), then maybe some spirits of retribution (or even a devotee of Babs) are due for a visit to the offending party.

My question flows out of wondering if the wife of a newly disgraced (possibly exiled) Lunar nobleman, could escape the situation and rescue some shred of her own standing by divorcing him. Very specific situation. But it made me start thinking about the general question that I posed.

  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Beoferret said:

if the wife of a newly disgraced (possibly exiled) Lunar nobleman

Modern lunar society keeps an uneasy space open for Gorgorma (and her associated figures) as a reservoir of feminine resentment but that's really a matter of last resort. I suspect the relatively wealthy and sophisticated can simply unravel a dendara bond . . . this probably has a literal textile component so all you have to do publicly is destroy the marital garment and legally go back to the old status quo, recover premarital property and eliminate any obligation to stand by your man. Like Nick says, everything has political consequences. His family and friends won't appreciate your lack of loyalty and the dendara establishment might not be happy either, but sometimes a girl's gotta do.

No Reprisal is noted for Dendara in the material I've seen. If this is something that interests you, I suggest giving her a little sting to punish divorcees, since she is a jealous goddess who loves to police her sisters. Perhaps she'll never look at you again and you ritually become an entekos, which is only as bad as you want it to be.

  • Helpful 1
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In general, the legal/magical framework for marriage is going to be driven by the cults involved. So for most of the Orlanthi, Ernalda is going to establish the framework for marriage. That puts the woman at the center, creates year marriages and requires that the husband and wife (and their kin) make tangible promises to each other (husband to provide protection and aid, wife to provide blessings of life and support). Remember that marriage is largely a matter of social responsibility. The goal and focus of all marriages was intended to be reproduction and/or political alliances. Orlanth's big contribution is to add honor to the mix and sets this as the rules for his big and sprawling network of companions, kin, and followers. Neither god expects life-making powers to be exclusive to marriage - and men and women can take lovers or concubines (or even additional spouses) as long as they can still do what they promised to do. Noble often take more than one spouse. Divorce can be initiated by either party, but there may be legal consequences of divorce (property, kin relationship, etc) rather than just letting the year expire.

In Dara Happa, Yelm establishes the rules. The marriage is negotiated between the between a man and his future wife's family. Dendara sets the woman's expectations - she is to serve her husband, provide him with support and love. Yelm demands that the husband treat his wife justly and loyally. A husband may take more than one wife but must provide each with support and love. There is no divorce without cause, and that cause needs to be accepted by the gods - usually it is because a husband is abusive or a wife unfaithful.

In the Pelorian farming villages, Lodril and Oria set the rules. 

Lunar citizens (members of Lunar cults) can marry and divorce as they see fit - at least within the Lunar Empire. If a husband and wife cannot live together, instead of leading a miserable life and harboring more jealousy, anger and hatred, they should have the liberty to separate and live peacefully. There may be legal ramifications of property and kinship groups, but ultimately marriage is a civil law matter. 

  • Like 1
  • Helpful 1
  • Thanks 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't see what the problem is in Yelmic culture. Why get divorced? Just take another wife!

*whisper, whisper*

What? "What if she wants a divorce"? Why would that even happen? She doesn't have "needs" distinct from my "needs"!

EDIT: Note, I'm not saying this is "the rule" in Yelmic culture, but I've played it that a lot of Yelmic men think that way.

Edited by AlHazred

ROLAND VOLZ

Running: nothing | Playing: Battletech Hero, CoC 7th Edition, Blades in the Dark | Planning: D&D 5E Home Game, Operation: Sprechenhaltestelle, HeroQuest 1E Sartarite Campaign

D&D is an elf from Tolkien, a barbarian from Howard, and a mage from Vance fighting monsters from Lovecraft in a room that looks like it might have been designed by Wells and Giger. - TiaNadiezja

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Jeff said:

Remember that marriage is largely a matter of social responsibility.  The goal and focus of all marriages was intended to be reproduction and/or political alliances.

I'm having great difficulty understanding marriage in Orlanthi society.  Various things about Glorantha are hard to understand for various people, and this aspect is hard for me.  The Earthly concepts of "love", "fidelity", or "better to marry than to burn with passion" don't apply, leaving me somewhat lost.

There are a few bigwigs, but the overwhelming number of Gloranthans are not political.  So their marriages are not going to be political.  Not even to the point of passing down the farmstead to the children, as the land is largely owned by the clan through Ernalda.

And reproduction is easy, and common, outside of marriage.  The out of wedlock children are full members of, and cared for, by the clan.  There are no negative social connotations, no scarlet As.  It's a requirement for Ernaldan priestesses!

So I guess it's the "social responsibility?" (the first sentence of Jeff I quoted).  What is meant by that?

One of our PCs (the Thane) married Brightflower, (o.k., here's a case of a political marriage) and others are thinking about marriage, one seriously, so it would be nice to better understand this.

Edited by Rodney Dangerduck
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

I'm having great difficulty understanding marriage in Orlanthi society.  Various things about Glorantha are hard to understand for various people, and this aspect is hard for me.  The Earthly concepts of "love", "fidelity", or "better to marry than to burn with passion" don't apply, leaving me somewhat lost.

There are a few bigwigs, but the overwhelming number of Gloranthans are not political.  So their marriages are not going to be political.  Not even to the point of passing down the farmstead to the children, as the land is largely owned by the clan through Ernalda.

And reproduction is easy, and common, outside of marriage.  The out of wedlock children are full members of, and cared for, by the clan.  There are no negative social connotations, no scarlet As.  It's a requirement for Ernaldan priestesses!

So I guess it's the "social responsibility?" (the first sentence of Jeff I quoted).  What is meant by that?

One of our PCs (the Thane) married Brightflower, and others are thinking about marriage, one seriously, so it would be nice to better understand this.

Clans and kinship groups make alliances with other kinship groups. You might only be a free farmer with the Orlmarth clan, but an alliance with an Ernaldori family can provide additional support, allies, protection, legal assistance, access to temples, wealth, etc. As we learned in the Seattle Farmers games, those free farmer families are every bit as political as the noble kinship groups. And they need allies even more.

Earthly concepts of "love" and "loyalty" apply of course, but for most ancient cultures marriage is a fundamentally social and group activity. Romantic love leading to marriage of course happens - and Orlanth Adventurous certainly encourages that more than say Ernalda, Yelmalio, Yelm, etc - but that is not the norm. The norm is to have a marriage to another kinship group that has been arranged by or at least in consultation with your kin.

  • Like 2
  • Helpful 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Jeff said:

Clans and kinship groups make alliances with other kinship groups. You might only be a free farmer with the Orlmarth clan, but an alliance with an Ernaldori family can provide additional support, allies, protection, legal assistance, access to temples, wealth, etc. As we learned in the Seattle Farmers games, those free farmer families are every bit as political as the noble kinship groups. And they need allies even more.

Earthly concepts of "love" and "loyalty" apply of course, but for most ancient cultures marriage is a fundamentally social and group activity. Romantic love leading to marriage of course happens - and Orlanth Adventurous certainly encourages that more than say Ernalda, Yelmalio, Yelm, etc - but that is not the norm. The norm is to have a marriage to another kinship group that has been arranged by or at least in consultation with your kin.

As an aside I think a good case can be made that Orlanth Adventurous is a patron of romantic love. Along with Uleria.

Maybe that is why the Dara Happans depict Orlanth and Uleria together.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 3
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, DucksMustDie said:

A Yelmic divorce might be more difficult to obtain, except in cases of infertility or infidelity? Then again, who needs a wife, it's much more fun to speak with birds....

Now there's a scenario I'm not sure I'd want to see... though the role play could be hilarious:

Somehow talking with a duck resulting in a proposal of marriage 😱

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/22/2022 at 12:33 PM, Beoferret said:

So, I'm operating from an assumption that divorce among Orlanthi (whether in Sartar or the Holy Country) is pretty straightforward and easy, if the marriage bond has been honored during its duration. BUT, what are the divorce strictures/procedures for worshippers of Yelm and/or Yelmalio (and others generally seen as more patriarchal cults)? How does one get divorced in the Lunar lands, especially among the nobility and upper echelons of society? Asking for a friend .... (ha ha)

Well, in history, even highly patriarchal societies like classical Athens and Rome had a relative availability of divorce, even initiated by women. 

So here are my thoughts, which should be taken as such:

-There's a tendency or throughline of uncomfortable valorization of celibacy in the Yelmic cultural material (Glorious ReAscent, Fortunate Succession) and there is also a focus on purity and maintaining separation from impure things. As such, we can imagine that divorce is permitted but that a period of purification and abstinence must follow, which is presumably sexist and classist- women and nonbinary people must purify themselves for longer than men, lower classes must purify themselves for longer than higher classes- because the idealized purpose of divorce is to pursue a purer life. It might even need to be an at-fault divorce where the initiating partner must prove that the other partner is a source of impurity (perhaps they ate a mushroom, or enjoyed sex, or whatever Plentonius zingers from the Glorious ReAscent you wish to use).

But this applies to urban Dara Happans in the core around the Oslira. I think that peasant marriages often aren't recognized as legitimate by this system, because one of the lessons of Lodril and Oria is that contact with impurity doesn't make you yourself impure, and so I doubt peasants follow so many restrictions. Similarly, subcultures like Weeders and Mudders are associated with "licentious" entities, so we can assume they also don't follow the purity rules fully, if at all. 

To the west, we have the Pelandan cultural zone, but there's not enough about them to really derive things from the sources. I suspect that from what little we do have- the "high gods", the relative respect they're held in by Dara Happans, etc.- that there's similar things happening with observance of purity rules, but we can also assume that these are different, because Lodril here is an exalted figure (as Turos/the turoi). Perhaps, then, they have marital systems which have their own spin- but that's a matter of pure invention, or near to. 

To the east, we have the fringes of the grasslands, and we know very little about Pentan or Zarkosing daily life. Again, a space for pure invention, perhaps drawing from steppe cultures in the real world for guidance. 

I'll set Yelmalio aside because I think Yelmalio is so frequently a subcultural tendency in a broader cultural zone that it's hard to say anything definitive or universal. 

The Lunars presumably, given the alchemical symbolism in the Red Moon, freely allow people to ignore purity customs and marry and divorce freely and lightly, in the tradition of the Red Goddess and her many lovers. Perhaps there's also a subcultural trend of embracing impurity as a consequence of divorce, and deliberately degrading yourself for a period afterwards if your marriage was too purifying. 

Of course, for upper nobility, marriage is far more about the exchange of family members to maintain social ties and proximity to power, so the anarchic Lunar tendency might be dampened down- but perhaps it's more explicitly transactional. Divorce (as opposed to separating) would require producing some kind of substitute to maintain the social tie, whether it's providing another marriage or offering a hostage or taking on a debt or entering a tributary relationship via contract. There are many possibilities there for grotesque aristocratic drama. 

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1

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

Eight Arms and the Mask

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me, Yelmic divorce can centre on the Yelm-Ernalda bond, where Yelm could divorce his wife, especially is she was unfaithful, in thought or deed.

The Yelm-Dendara model is the Perfect Marriage, and why should the Perfect Marriage end in divorce?

If a marriage ends up in divorce, it follows the Yelm-Ernalda model, even though the wife presented a Dendaran face, she acted as an Ernaldan.

 

  • Like 2

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/23/2022 at 2:33 AM, Beoferret said:

So, I'm operating from an assumption that divorce among Orlanthi (whether in Sartar or the Holy Country) is pretty straightforward and easy, if the marriage bond has been honored during its duration. BUT, what are the divorce strictures/procedures for worshippers of Yelm and/or Yelmalio (and others generally seen as more patriarchal cults)? How does one get divorced in the Lunar lands, especially among the nobility and upper echelons of society? Asking for a friend .... (ha ha)

In Yelmic communities obviously only the Pater Familias can initiate a divorce, and it will be conducted against his wife's father.  The Father will be required to retrieve the daughter at his own expense, and the issue of how much of the dowry is forfeit will be measured by her level of transgression or unsatisfactory performance of her duties, by a third party in a court.  Failure to do so may result in penalties up to and including the sale of the wife into slavery, as an otherwise non-productive asset.  There will be occasions where a wife escapes, and he will be required to send out a party to capture his wayward livestock wife, while making a case against her father for her misbehavior.  Any children of course belong to the Pater Familias.  A permanently escaped wife becomes a blot on the character of the Pater Familias and he may need to seek an assassin to remove her with an 'honor' killing.

As to what happens in the new Lunar society, let's just assume it is a lot more egalitarian and reasonable.  While I doubt they have no-fault divorce, they likely have measured grounds for complaint and recompense, with both parties recovering the assets they brought to the marriage, and splitting joint assets according to a legal formula.  Obviously infidelity will be grounds for divorce, but the penalties are not likely to be all that high, given the favor given to the Red Goddess' famous promiscuity.  Amicable divorces will be favored, and the legal costs involved will be far lower than for adversarial ones.   It may be that noble marriages are arranged as contracts to begin with with all the clauses and codicils pre-determined by family consent.  As to children, there will be no alimony required by either party as the state will not be bothered with enforcing such claims, and it is likely that children under the age of 10 will automatically go with their mothers, but those at or above that age will be allowed to choose.  Hopefully the matter will not be allowed to degenerate into a dart competition.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...