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Guide to Glorantha Group Read Week 8 - Beyond the Middle World

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I think mystic philosophy has the virtue that Illuminated insights are already incorporated, so when the moment of Illumination happens it is perceived as a moment of deeper understanding, rather than a shocking challenge to everything you know. 

So a follower of Mashunasan who becomes Illuminated just now understands those confusing parables about the Void, and everyone is fine with it. While a follower of Orlanth that suddenly starts babbling about Chaos not being so bad horrifies everyone around them - and shocks themselves, because they *know* chaos has it's place in the world, and nothing in their culture prepares them for that. To a Praxian, Illumination shows that everything he knows is a lie - to a Lunar,  while still deeply shocking, after Illumination the Empire and the way of the Goddes makes *more* sense.

And the moral issues that confront the Illuminate are already discussed, and understood and planned for. An Orlanthi who becomes Illuminated and is tempted into immoral acts is a shock and challenges his cultures core values deeply - how can a man who performs the sacrifices well, and who Orlanth does not chastise, do these terrible things? How can we know anything about who is virtuous, if all the rules have failed us? But when an orthodox mystic starts sprouting tentacles, they just nod and say 'like Oorsu Sara, he has attained greatly but failed to understand the deeper lessons', and proceed with with the business of Refutation, whether that be by sages debating Stillness vs Unrealization, or more practical and pragmatic methods. 

And FWIW, not all forms of Illumination are identical in terms of practical consequences, and this has been clear since Cults of Terror, and remains so in HQG - the list of powers possessed by Illuminates are not possessed by all of them, and is not exhaustive. I suspect there is at least one Illuminate power that is not widely known outside the East. 

Plus some of the details matter. The Lunars definitely are able to combine incompatible Runes as an Illuminate power, and particularly teach the combination of Life and Death, and to a lesser extent Truth and Illusion. But I think very few Lunars would know how to combine Movement and Stasis, or Harmony and Disorder - Stasis and Disorder are both fairly alien to their philosophy. Other mystic cults may understand these more - the Arkati, for example, may have learnt about Stasis from the Brithini and Disorder from Zorak Zoran. 

And different schools have different methods of teaching Illumination, which are very different in practice. Some only know confronting, sanity threatening, magical methods, others (Nysalor in particular) are able to teach subtly and secretly, orthodox mystic methods seem to take a long time and a lot of effort, but be far less sanity threatening. 

Plus there are things we don't quite understand about how mysticism relates to other forms of magic. We know many mystic magical practices are concerned with harsh austerities, but is this a path to mystic magic, or a mystic technique to enhance/access other forms of magic? 

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