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Charles

Origins of the Orlanthi peoples and the Lankhor Mhy and Issaries cults

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We all know Chalana Arroy and Xemela are just names used by those confused by the wiles of the antigods.

Let us praise the blessed mystic Mairnali Har, who achieved Liberation but heard the cries of the world and returned to save us from the evil within ourselves!

Edited by aumshantih
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On 11/10/2015, 2:11:04, Charles said:

Getting back to the original topic that I introduced :D Here's some supporting circumstantial evidence regarding Lhankor Mhy and wizards/zzaburi

Guide to Glorantha (GtG) P38 - Lhankor Mhy scholars must wear beards, and both men and women of the cult commonly wear fake beards to make up for any natural lack of facial hair.

GtG (P48) Facial hair is regulated by caste; wizards must grow long beards, whereas nobles must shave their chin.

 

This is the kind of trivia about Glorantha that I love!

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The White Healer, source of Compassion, is an ancient goddess in Pelanda, though. And we already know that Chalana Arroy incorporates the eleven healing god Arroin into her cult. I don't think Chalana Arroy is simply of Western origin, even less than Lhankor Mhy and Issaries, but it may well be that the modern Chalana Arroy cult is the result of several healing deities being recognised as the same/related in the First Age (one of them being the Pelorian Erissa/Pelandan White Healer), and the Arroin cult is recognised as being not the same, but closely related (perhaps the Arroy part of the name is added in recognition of this). 

Its notable, BTW, that Lhankor Mhy and Issaries, the two gods suspected of clearly originating in the West, are the two Orlanthi gods whose ancestry is given as two Power Runes, while all the others (except CA) are part of some elemental genealogy or other. Its also notable that both have explicit myths about them journeying a long distance to meet the Lightbringers, so they are acknowledged, at some level, as foreigners.  

Though its also notable that the two cults were among those theist paths embraced by the God Learners, and both still bear significant signs of God Learner influence. I think that while Lhankor Mhys connection to sorcery probably dates as far back as we can trace it (maybe back to the Tadeniti), the Alien Combination Machine is just too damn God Learnerish. 

You could probably also make a case that the various marriage myths of LM and Issaries represent the recognition of the essential oneness, and subsequent combining, of Western and Theyalan traditions. 

 

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Or you could make the case that the gods (however they are later understood and experienced) predate the mortal cultures that worship them.

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Oh, the Gods predate (or perhaps exist significantly outside of linear time) the mortal cultures that worship them, yes. But the myths and forms of worship do not, and are interactions of the timeless nature of the gods with changeable and historically layered mortal culture. And the richness of that interaction is a large part of the appeal of this sort of deep mythic discussion. 

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1 minute ago, Jeff said:

Or you could make the case that the gods (however they are later understood and experienced) predate the mortal cultures that worship them.

Tricky, that, given the presence of mortals (even if that distinction was introduced only later) in the Green Age. The Theyalans are the culture of Orlanth (a god born in the Storm Age) - clearly younger than any of the gods born on the Cosmic Mountain - and Ernalda (and by extension Asrelia and even Gata) which reaches back into the earliest moments of the Green (or Earth) Age. Sure, the culture didn't survive unchanged, but it persisted.

With the cyclical nature of Godtime the opposite argument is as valid - that the actions of Man enabled the development of the gods. The Cause and Effect experience of Danmalastan can be applied to the developments of Issaries and Lhankor Mhy.

In the same breath, we find Lhankor Mhy in myths older than Orlanth, e.g. in the Compact of Nochet. Which is bending cause and effect a lot, also because it has Kodig participating in an event before the birth of Orlanth, unless we regard Kodig, Rastagar and Finelvanth all as bearers of a certain soul that is reborn again and again to wreak havoc with the Grandmothers' dark designs.

 

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7 hours ago, Joerg said:

Tricky, that, given the presence of mortals (even if that distinction was introduced only later) in the Green Age.

True, but their cultures are very much younger, and many mortals in and out of Time seem to have changed  'culture' to greater or lesser degrees. There are very few human cultures that haven't changed (the Brithini come to mind). Even the deities in some divine tribes changed tribe in God Time: the Storm Tribe adopted several before and during the Lightbringers' Quest, for example.

As a result the relationships between gods and mortal cultures is going to be ever so tangled: I suspect that very few of the extant divine tribes are entirely 'pure'.

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12 hours ago, davecake said:

...the Alien Combination Machine is just too damn God Learnerish...

So would you say people in the Third Age condemning Godlearnerism just do not realise how much accepted God Learnerish things are still present in they daily lifes?
That's both crazy and interesting.

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15 hours ago, Runeblogger said:

So would you say people in the Third Age condemning Godlearnerism just do not realise how much accepted God Learnerish things are still present in they daily lifes?

A lot of things that people say are GodLearnerisms are probably not.

For example,after the Dawning, the Theyalans went around to a lot of cultures and spoke to them,awakening some and reinvigorating others. They made a lot of mythical connections, including equating Yelm the Emperor with the Orlanthi Bad Emperor. They also identified many of the Runes. The First and Second Councils did much of the same, but made more sophisticated connections.

The God Learners took it a stage further, creating the Monomyth, which is mostly true but very simplified. Then they started saying "What if we did this?" and started to manipulate and change things. 

 

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17 hours ago, Runeblogger said:

So would you say people in the Third Age condemning Godlearnerism just do not realise how much accepted God Learnerish things are still present in they daily lifes?
That's both crazy and interesting.

The God Learners messed with almost every culture on or near a coastline, and many of their manipulations are still present if not widely recognized in many cultures and cults - probably to a degree members of those cultures and cults would find distressing and disturbing. The end of the Second Age marked a significant change in Glorantha. The only regions they didn't meddle in would probably be Peloria in Genertela and the south of Pamaltela.

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1 hour ago, M Helsdon said:

The God Learners messed with almost every culture on or near a coastline, and many of their manipulations are still present if not widely recognized in many cultures and cults - probably to a degree members of those cultures and cults would find distressing and disturbing. The end of the Second Age marked a significant change in Glorantha. The only regions they didn't meddle in would probably be Peloria in Genertela and the south of Pamaltela.

Let's make a distinction between the God Learners' magical manipulations and their basic analysis of various religions and deities. The Middle Sea Empire ruled many different peoples who worshiped often very similar gods, with different names and different stories, but who were the God Learners discovered were for all practical purposes the same god. The Mythical Synthesis Movement proved incredibly influential even outside of the God Learners - so much so that even the Old Way Traditionalists largely adopted its conclusions. 

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21 minutes ago, Jeff said:

The Mythical Synthesis Movement proved incredibly influential even outside of the God Learners - so much so that even the Old Way Traditionalists largely adopted its conclusions. 

Interesting.

From the mentions of the Mythical Synthesis Movement in the Guide, I'd gathered a very negative impression of its use and effects as the basis of the God Learner manipulations and experiments which ultimately contributed to their destruction.

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Most people hate God Learnerism. But most educated peoples in Glorantha have adopted their conclusions, albeit usually unknowingly. Certainly everyone on this list has.

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It can be very difficult to differentiate between the analysis and the meddling of the God Learners. Some of their meddling is obvious, though perhaps only in retrospect, such as the Goddess Switch. On the the other hand, it is entirely possible that some of their analytical questing actually created the links between the gods, not merely revealed them. Who are we to know? And how?

In my opinion, some of their meddling was just too useful to resist, even when recognised. I believe that there are two strong examples. One is Lankhor Mhy with the merger of theistic and sorcerous magic - the analytical magic has broad applicability like theistic rune magic, while the results are very specific like spells, and never mind the Alien Combination Machine, which potentially makes a LM initiate a more powerful sorcerer than anyone from a sorcerous culture. The other example is Issaries, where Tradetalk seems just a bit too generic for a world like Glorantha (a counter-point is that it also works in Peloria, where the God Learners never went in strength).

There are likely further examples: I have some suspicions about Chalana Arroy, but am not able to articulate them.

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Meddling is often the wrong word. When the God Learners discovered that different peoples far removed from each other shared many of the same myths and magic, they began assembling the mono-myth. The worshipers of Aurelian - looking for his long lost volcano Twin - discovered that the worshipers of Caladra shared the same story from the perspective of the lost Twin. The stories of different land goddess were discovered to nearly identical. The rivalry of the storm god and the sun god appeared over and over and over again. Once seen, these connections are very hard to unsee!

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4 hours ago, Jeff said:

Meddling is often the wrong word.

I'll have to re-read The Middle Sea Empire and pick some specific examples of meddling :) But my point is that, as Gloranthans (and us) accept these links as valid, it is difficult to tell whether these linkages were just previously undiscovered or whether their explorers deliberately (or even accidentally) created these linkages.

I do accept that the God Learners' analysis of the mythology of Glorantha got far more right than wrong (far, far more) and also accept that their recognition of linkages was not what ultimately led to their doom*. But they were so powerful that they did have the capability to distort the otherworld and some of those distortions became so embedded as belief and practice that the otherworld is permanently changed.

*Their doom was set in motion right from their beginnings, when they accepted a subtle form of Chaos as a foundation of all that they became, See The Middle Sea Empire P35.

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That's all true. But it also worth keeping in mind that all of these discussions of Gloranthan mythology have been essentially God Learner discussions.

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2 hours ago, Jeff said:

That's all true. But it also worth keeping in mind that all of these discussions of Gloranthan mythology have been essentially God Learner discussions.

Absolutely!

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22 hours ago, Jeff said:

Certainly everyone on this list has.

It's interesting to note that with their origin as 'materialist' Malkioni the mythologies of the rest of Glorantha were, in-world, almost as alien to the God Learners as they are to us. Our filter is different, of course, derived from terrestrial mythologies, but we are also trying to solve the puzzles of Glorantha, and perceiving patterns that may or may not be valid in-world.

Our view isn't that different from, for example, the Romans who eagerly sought out similarities between their pantheon and the pantheons of almost every other culture they came into contact with, and ravenously pursued a process of syncretism, in which local gods were merged and to a degree submerged by their Roman equivalents. Even the parallels we take for granted, such as the association of Jupiter and Zeus aren't entirely accurate, despite them both having an origin as Indo-European sky gods. The correlation with Mars and Ares, apparent even in their names, isn't an entirely comfortable fit, as the Roman view of the war god differed from that of the Classical Greeks. In the Gallic War, Caesar declares with assurance that the Gauls predominantly worship Mercury - he was referring to the god Teutates... And the Romans had real problems with cultures, such as the Jews and Persians, where no sort of syncretism was possible.

As the Romans did for other cultures, we are trying to assimilate the Gloranthan deities into understandable entities - and most of us are probably unconsciously using the Mediterranean Indo-European or the Mesopotamian gods as a reference point. It's inevitable that our discussions are going to be God Learnerish in nature, and that some of our assumptions are going to sometimes be correct, and sometimes entirely wrong.

Glorantha is a puzzle box, cunningly constructed into a conundrum for which there are often no correct ultimate answers. If its pantheons were laid out neatly and without contradictions and confusions like too many cardboard fantasy pantheons then it wouldn't be so fascinating, or so real, because often real religions only look neat and tidy from a distance, and when you start looking deeper you find similar contradictions and confusions. It's a function of world building as an art.

Edited by M Helsdon
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