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g33k

time vs godstime: does MGV?

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So, Everobody's Gloranthat Will Vary... we are all us, after all!

But I'm looking at some stuff about Glorantha before Time, and comparing it to my old/grognardian understanding, and 2+2 isn't adding to 4 any more.  Is that just an illusion?

<ahem>

Specifically:  I had always known "Godtime" as a sort of eternal and ineffable divine Simultaneity:  while there were "events" and "cause and effect" there was not really any "before/after" or SEQUENCE -- that sort of thing is an artifact of Time.   Yet I'm seeing the Green Age / Golden Age / Storm Age presented as entirely time-based and sequential.

Have I been mistaken all along?  Was there "time" before "Time"?  Or are the write-ups implying this before/after sort of wibbly-wabbly timey-wimey stuff actually just presenting a "sequence" because it's so hard NOT to write "sequential" cause/effect accounts in English?

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Even worse, some cultures (Malkioni, Dara Happans, Kralori and Vithelans) actually number the Godtime in years.  Their estimates are all contradictory though.

The idea of a sequence in the God Time goes as far back as Cults of Terror which has a Golden Age followed by the Lesser and Greater Darknesses.  There were human civilizations in the God Time that experienced sequentially as far as can be seen.  

At the same time, there are known places in the God Time where there is aan apparent error in the sequence.  The Malkioni for example have two first crities.  Orlanth has a famous journey west of which points the God Learners determined did not exist in the same age.

 

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3 hours ago, g33k said:

Yet I'm seeing the Green Age / Golden Age / Storm Age presented as entirely time-based and sequential.

That's because all the sources we have are written from the perspective of being within Time.

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Martin has hit the nail on the head above.

There was not "time" before Time. There might have been cause and effect, but there might have not. The simple fact is - the only perspectives of the Eternal, of that which existed before Time was born is from beings and minds which were born during Time, and thus have an inherently flawed perception of those events. If you recall the section on Time in the Guide to Glorantha, it talks about three types of time:
1. Linear Time  - the one that a lot of cultures in Glorantha subscribe to. A follows B, follows C and so on, in a line.

2. Cyclical Time - some other cultures (and some of the first ones) also notice that sometimes things repeat themselves. Patterns, events, whatever you want to call them, come and go in a circle - destruction and then peace. a new god is born, then ruined. and so on.
3. Illusionary Time - this is the time of the Gods World. It's what a mortal mind sees when it tries to filter in the Other Side. And, like it's name suggests - it's illusionary. It appears to have consequence, but it doesn't. It's an illusion.

The only beings I can think of that could possibly have a good take on how things used to be, versus how things are, are individuals like the The Dwarf from Dwarf Mine, or Cragspider the Firewitch. Except a. I don't see either of them really bothering to talk about it and b.  who knows if they even CAN remember how it used to be before Time? For all we know, they've lived in Time for as long as it has existed, so maybe their minds have also just gotten quite used to it.

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It's a confusing mix of different things.

Some events are in sequence, so you can follow the Story of Death, Orlanth and Ernalda, the Lightbringer Quest and many other stories as essentially linear events that have sections that follow on from others. However, you might also find a child of Orlanth and Ernalda taking part in an event that happened before the Wooing of Ernalda.

So, just assume that events in the God Time happened. The sequence of when they happened is of far less importance than the fact that they happened.

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And there's also a lot of repetition and overlap, e.g. stories of Asrelia and Ernalda as Earthmothers, the stories of the battles of Umath with the Sun and Orlanth with the Emperor, the raids of Orlanth and Vingkot.

 

 

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I like the idea of people dating the God Time, especially since the whole idea of a lack of time before the dawn is primarily Theyalan in concept. Others dates may differ, but they at least keep them.

Plus, dating can be part of mythology, for example the Sumerian Kings' list, which has dates which make the Dara Happan reigns seem reasonable.

 

So in my Glorantha, for many peoples, time did exist, but it was different to the time post dawn (when they agree on when that happened), and contained many errors and contradictions.

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The God Time follows the laws of Dream Time.  In other words, there is no limiting function.  If you dream it, that's what happens.  the laws of time do not matter in our dreams.  Nor do they matter in God Time.  Our memories work much the same way.  We can remember things in whatever order we desire and even find meaning to a conversation that occured years later to an event that transpired  long before and vice versa.

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There are as many opinions on the nature of sequence and causality of the God Place in Glorantha as there are among Gloranthaphiles. I had a similar discussion while at Eternal Con.
My opinion is that the mapping of events into linear sequences and ages is an artifact of our minds that live in an (apparently) 4-dimensional universe, where the time dimension is experienced but not navigable. In the God-Place, the time dimension can be moved on as we can move through the 3 space dimensions. Just like in 3 dimensions, there are barriers that are difficult to cross in the time dimension. More powerful entities (and more experienced heroquesters) are better able to pass these barriers.

Many Gloranthaphiles disagree with me. :D

Edited by Charles

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Of course the Godtime has sequence, the Dara Happans know this and it's all dated:

Quote

First Era: One

A Timeless Era

We know nothing of this, save for the bliss of the mystical Moment. We are only small and miserable mortals, far removed from this. It is the era of harmony between One, Many, and Being, when those distinctions did not exist.

The Second Era starts in 1YS with Yelms enthronement. Then the God Emperor Ruled for 100,000 Years.

...

The Tenth Era: 111,221 is the Start of History, when Yelm once again rises into the sky. by my maths it currently 111221+1621 = 112842.

The whole history of the Godtime is in the Glorious ReAscent of Yelm.

 

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I am rather in favor of a not that linear sequence of Godtime events.

 

2 hours ago, David Scott said:

Of course the Godtime has sequence, the Dara Happans know this and it's all dated:

The Second Era starts in 1YS with Yelms enthronement. Then the God Emperor Ruled for 100,000 Years.

...

The Tenth Era: 111,221 is the Start of History, when Yelm once again rises into the sky. by my maths it currently 111221+1621 = 112842.

The whole history of the Godtime is in the Glorious ReAscent of Yelm.

 

Hardly the whole history of the Godtime - all the early Earth stuff is missing - like the Red King and his precedessors, as shown in Entekosiad. GRoY is good for the Dara Happan Golden Age and Lesser and Greater Darkness. And the dates in Zzabur's Blue Book don't appear to map linearily to Yelmic time. Silver Age dates from the Holy Country don't map that well, either.

 

 

I think that there are multiple layers in the mythic worlds which have archetypal events which are visited in a certain sequence in the myth. Some myths go round and round and round:

Vadrus fights Enkoshons

Orlanth fights Aroka

Barntar fights a draught-bringing dragon

All of these have certain stages that are repeated, but basically are the same encounter. In this dragonslaying there is of course also

Orlanth decapitates Sh'hakarzeel

which has another instance of the archetypal humanoid vs dragon conflict.

 

In the end, each battle against chaos is reflected in the Eternal Battle, with losses like the initial chaos battles branching off to one side and rare victories like the Unity Battle branching off to the other side. By marching against Chaos, one passes through the Eternal Battle, and it isn't exactly certain whether the mythic frame you are leaving to is the same as (or consecutive to) the one you entered it from. (Which is how I came to peace with Vingkot dying in a battle against Chaos long before his birth...)

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I don't think the godtime is some ancient era long ago in history at all. There is no 'Before Time' because it's a meaningless statement. In Glorantha the god time is happening right now. It always is and always was. That's what it means to be outside time. It means to be always there, always accessible at any time through the moments and cycles of the natural world in Glorantha. Yelm wasn't slain long ago in some ancient time, he's being slain right there every day and falls to the underworld every sunset. That immediacy and immanence is why hero questing is possible and why it can change the world.

Simon Hibbs

Edited by simonh
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9 hours ago, Joerg said:

Barntar fights a draught-bringing dragon

Is this the beer-bringing dragon or the wind-bringing dragon? ;)

Given its Barntar, I favor the former - perhaps he releases Minlister from the belly of the dragon?

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6 hours ago, simonh said:

I don't think the godtime is some ancient era long ago in history at all. There is no 'Before Time' because it's a meaningless statement. In Glorantha the god time is happening right now. It always is and always was. That's what it means to be outside time. It means to be always there, always accessible at any time through the moments and cycles of the natural world in Glorantha. Yelm wasn't slain long ago in some ancient time, he's being slain right there every day and falls to the underworld every sunset. That immediacy and immanence is why hero questing is possible and why it can change the world.

Simon Hibbs

Simon is spot on correct. The God Time is eternal and always. The events of the God Time are occurring and reoccurring now, yesterday, and tomorrow. Think of it like Eliade's Eternal Return or the distinction in Egyptian mythology between neheh (the continuation of the cosmos in temporal terms and the perpetual passage of heavenly and earthly events that accumulate as history) and djet (the eternal basis of divine action and initiative that enabled the creation of the cosmos and the possibility of its continuation). 

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I think this is, happily -- nay, wonderfully! -- an area where there's room for Gloranthans to disagree, and for those disagreements to be very much like those of the Gloranfans in this thread.  People would likely agree in general terms that there's a somewhat jumbled quality to the God Time as one experiences it through myth, ritual, and HeroQuest.  The Orlanthi, and anyone else buying into the "Year 1:  Sun Rises" premise, will see that as an inherent thing -- if anything, as Charles says, any apparent linearity is something of an imposition by the observers, and the "deep reality" is even more thus.

Those cultures with extensive, detailed (and needless to say, mutually contradictory) calendars back to the Green Age think the reverse:  they actually happened in a strict temporal order, and the jumbly nature of the magical effects are due to the sad, sad state of things in the modern day world.  Accumulated errors in storytelling, and the malign influence of foreign, degenerative forces in the Otherworld.  But it's nothing that clean living, a return to traditional values, and some vigorously corrective HeroQuesting won't prolo-- eh, I mean cure!

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So you want to now about the Mystery before Time, do you?

It's nice to try to understand the Godtime per se... But do we even understand Time, in a Gloranthan sense?

 

In Time, most creatures and things slowly decay, and die. Time is the Son of Kajabor, produced by Arachne Solara as she digested the Chaos power of Destruction, captured in the web of all the Gods of the World.

Time is destruction dissolved and diffused in the whole world.

Time is Entropy. The Gloranthan version of the Second Principle of Thermodynamics.

So, what Time as a Gloranthan God tells us about time as an experienced fact, is that the flow of time always goes into one same direction: to the future, to future destruction.

Time is Glorantha's ever-postponed doom.

 

Ok, now what does it tell us about Godtime?

Well, the birth of time (as a god, and hence a mythically-grounded, real phenomenon) has nothing to do with pre-existing phenomena such as: sequence, cause-consequence. Zzaburi wouldn't believe you if you said such a foundational principle of Logic was absent from Danmalastan, the realm of Logic before the Godswar. In fact, Time is very much a consequence itself...

Yet, before Time, paths could take you anywhere in space and time. From the Six Stones, Humakt and Zorak Zoran took different ways; maybe some were towards their own past. Maybe a man could walk back to childhood. At least, no one was constrained to grow ever older...

Of course, there were ways and paths, means and actions: to swim up the flow up the flow of Life was possible, but probably under certain conditions. Certain laws. Certain logic.

Maybe some of these ways changed, as a result of consequences. Because other Powers, such as Death, opposed it. Or because paths became increasingly complex, intermingled, collective. Yelm would probably have loved to reassemble immediately to face his turbulent challenger, but he could no more. The Empire of the Gold Age involved too many beings, too many decisions, too many life-flows to be reinstated just by the will of One. Yelm found out he couldn't bath twice in the same Oslir... ;-)

 

So, what do we know about Godtime and the rules that governed its "backward sequences" and palimpseste realities?

Very little indeed!

 

But as long as Godtime will be, its everlasting immutable Sequence will always lead to the same Godswar's Aftermath: the creation, in fact the constant re-creation of Time. To break the Compromise breaks the rule of time; as happened visibly during the Sunstop.

And as long as Time will last, so will Godtime. Because Godtime is the eternal ground where Time grows. To bring Godtime into the timely world, as happened at Castle Blue, also brings non-Time into the Godtime: the creation of a Myth, the Birth of an everpresent, yet new Goddess.

Sequences are only a limited view of the Cycle of the Infinite (Ouroboros, Arachne Solara, Rashoran - whatever: the name you give it is not its real name; without a name, it is the Origin of All).

Only by touching the Infinite can you understand both Time and Godtime. There's no point looking behind the mirror... you are already your own reflection.

 

Now, please roll for Illumination ;-)

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