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Wrestlepig

Orlanth and the Invisible God

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One thing I've been noticing in the guide is that there's a few henotheistic Orlanth/Malkioni hybrid cults around. You've got

  1. Invisible Orlanth in Carmania, which claim Orlanth was enlightened and conquered the Invisible God, probably taking over some of it's domain judging from the name.
  2. Aeolianism, where the Lightbringers are intermediaries to the Invisible God
  3. The Chariot of Lightning in Ralios, where Orlanth is the Supreme God (the guide doesn't say the Invisible God but the description seems to equate the two).

There isn't really a connecting thread aside from the gods involved and how recently they popped up, but I don't really see an equivalent for any of the other pantheons. Other gods, like maybe Yelm, Ernalda, the Red Moon, or Arachne Solara, feel like a better fit, but I haven't seen anything along those lines. My first reaction is that most of these are down to political reasons where it's a justification for cross-cultural integration, but that's not particularly satisfying and doesn't explain why it's always Orlanth. It might be because they're both fairly flexible in their worship; there's a lot of different approaches to Orlanth and the I.G. and the latter doesn't manifests so you can really say whatever you want. Are they onto something, or is it down to more mundane reasons?

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Orlanthi/Theyalan peoples were the hinterland people to the Western Sorcerous cultures, hence the interconnection. There's simply more opportunities to have introduced Sorcery into one's worship. The Hsunchen peoples also have been assimilated in part to Western Sorcery in those regions, but their shamanic traditions seem to be less pretentious and remain a peasant or warrior sect rather than a priestly heresy.

There are also henotheistic cults in Carmania and other parts of the Lunar Empire, but with the exception of Invisible Orlanth, involve other gods.

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It's not just Orlanth.

Carmania also has Idovanus: the Invisible God as the Sun and GanEsatarus: the Invisible God as Darkness.

The Uz and Safelstrans probably have myths about sorcery being a secret of Subere.

Kralorela may, through,Goduna's teachings have the Invisible God as the Cosmic Dragon.

The Mostali have Earth as the Invisible God and call it the World Machine.

The Invsible God as water is probably taught by the Waertagi.

 

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The Carmanian religion is essentially a mix of Malkioni and Pelorian (specifically Jernotian Pelandan) beliefs.

But beyond that, if you look at the maps in the Guide to Glorantha, there is a wide belt of Orlanthi that lies next to most of the Malkioni lands. 

There is of course the Eight Worlds of Ralios, which I'm going out on a limb and argue were either heavily influenced by Malkioni beliefs, or influenced them in turn, since they seem to use some of the same names - but by the time of the Third Age, they've largely been eradicated or absorbed into mainstream Western beliefs, or otherwise survived as folklore.

The question of Ernalda is a good one. I'm again going to go out on a limb and say that Western cosmology is pretty patriarchal and chauvinistic, so elevating a female deity to supreme godhood sits ill with it, culturally speaking. But then Hrestol introduced a fairly gender-equal structure, so I could be wrong. There's also something to be said of the association between winds and invisibility, as opposed to the very solid earth, just on a very intuitive level, hidden cthonic entities notwithstanding. 

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36 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

The question of Ernalda is a good one. I'm again going to go out on a limb and say that Western cosmology is pretty patriarchal and chauvinistic, so elevating a female deity to supreme godhood sits ill with it, culturally speaking. But then Hrestol introduced a fairly gender-equal structure, so I could be wrong. There's also something to be said of the association between winds and invisibility, as opposed to the very solid earth, just on a very intuitive level, hidden cthonic entities notwithstanding. 

In our world's South Asia, the tantric cults, which are essentially pragmatic and materialist, even though they are also mystic (here-ness), are Earth and female-centered (Shakti), whereas the notion of a universe with a hidden and separate spiritual realm (Dualism) we cannot apprehend is associated with male gods - their mysticism is 'not here-ness'.

PS. I think Lunar Way sorcery is closer to the Invisible Goddess = Glorantha herself. Note that Sedenya is present in the here-now, in the actual world, not in a world of abstraction.

Edited by jeffjerwin
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Malkionism has always verged on the edge of henotheism towards the Earth and Sea Mothers of their race. At the same time, there is the philosophical problem of Earth being so entwined with Matter. Any Orlanthi henotheism includes Ernalda.

The Waertagi are henotheist Sea worshippers.

Ehilm in Ralios will have a degree of henotheist worship, but the Autarchy was called the Stygian Empire for its mastery of/alliance with Darkness, so it wouldn't have been that dominant. Ehilm pretty much stands in for Yelm in any henotheist worship. Dara Happan or Pentan Yelm doesn't get many sorcerers. Idovanus as Carmanian Yelm has already been mentioned.

The Red Moon has its own sorcerers ripped out of the Carmanian (dualist, Irensavalist) tradition. Red Moon sorcery outside of the empire has not been reported to make any major impact. Seshnela was fighting a civil war between lineal Hrestolism aka Makanism and Rokarism when the moon rose, and had no great use for henotheism any more. Ralios has its Arkati mysteries, and those who confess to stygian Arkatism are opposed to Nysalor in all its appearances.

Arachne Solara is a difficult concept to grasp outside of (theist) mysticism. Maintaining both stringent logic and mystic insight is possible (see Irensavalism and Arkatism) and deals with higher realities. Arachne Solara is the mystic expression of the Universe from the theist approach. The God Learners may have learned about that, but their understanding of the theist entities was already incomplete. Something beyond that?

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9 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

In our world's South Asia, the tantric cults, which are essentially pragmatic and materialist, even though they are also mystic (here-ness), are Earth and female-centered (Shakti), whereas the notion of a universe with a hidden and separate spiritual realm (Dualism) we cannot apprehend is associated with male gods - their mysticism is 'not here-ness'.

PS. I think Lunar Way sorcery is closer to the Invisible Goddess = Glorantha herself. Note that Sedenya is present in the here-now, in the actual world, not in a world of abstraction.

True. Or, well, sorta. I did my Master's fieldwork in Tamil areas, and the traditional cosmology (at least the ones usually written down: most people aren't theologians and so would struggle to give a holistic overview) has a mix of both immanent pantheism and transcedentalism.

That being said, the dominant goddess in Tamil Nadu, Renuka/Yellamma (known locally where I was as Redugadevi), has a lot in common with Sedenya, having at least two separate origin myths as having been a normal mortal person. She also has Kali/Durga-esque imagery of dancing on her enemies' skulls (in the case where I was, the enemies represent diseases and evil spirits she's vanquished). In her more benevelolent aspects, she is associated with fertility and the local landscape, yup.

Of course, we see a lot of other goddesses associated with Indian imagery and conventions. In fact, if I were to have a criticism against the current art direction of the Glorantha books, it's that if every goddess looks like she's been ripped off an Indian temple steeple, then it kinda a bit bland after a while. I miss the Heortlings having a more Bronze/Iron age European bronzework or woodcarving style, for example, but that's just my opinion.

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3 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Of course, we see a lot of other goddesses associated with Indian imagery and conventions. In fact, if I were to have a criticism against the current art direction of the Glorantha books, it's that if every goddess looks like she's been ripped off an Indian temple steeple, then it kinda a bit bland after a while. I miss the Heortlings having a more Bronze/Iron age European bronzework or woodcarving style, for example, but that's just my opinion.

I don't think that the Orlanthi artwork that has been done prior to the Guide has in any way been invalidated - if you look at the mural and the carvings in the image where the Vingan presents the (shaved, and more importantly severed) head of the clan champion to his chief and his advisers are completely in line with earlier representations.

The city of Pavis was the only "Sartarite" city that we had aerial views of for a long time. While the aerial views of Sartar's cities in Sartar - Kingdom of Heroes and Sartar Companion probably are in some need for an update, this is the first time we get to see Esrolian-influenced architecture and art.

I admit that I still have somewhat mixed feelings about the new representation of Clearwine, but if the Balazar citadels can have such architecture, why shouldn't Second Age Orlanthi cities have had it?

In case of Clearwine, there should be an almost jarring side-by-side of woodcarvings and ancient, somewhat awkwardly restored frescoes or mosaics for their religious artwork (thinking of recent "vandalism" in Spain when local volunteers were not hindered restoring ancient murals or statues).

The giant architect(s) of the Balazar citadels might have done similar work for the EWF a century or two earlier.

We haven't seen enough votive ceramic and wooden/bone figures left at shrines or temples. Woven and stitched tapestries should rule. Heck, I want an image of the loomhouse, with unfinished works in the frames, ideally being worked on.

I am a great fan of the Swenstown trading scene. I never wanted the Sartarite cities to look like Hedeby, and Manching with its rectangular grid of almost uniform standardized generous town houses is a bit too orderly for Sartar. On the other side, I can see the City of Karse layout (based on Edward's Caernarfon two peaceful centuries after walled city and castle were planted in the wild) expanded by some of the planned chaos of the contemporary Bergen Brygge as the wooden port district shooting up after the Opening and some rather idyllic fisherfolk village on skerries in the estuary, all of it slightly re-styled into Seleucid Phoenicia/Judaea or even Ugarit/Mohenjo Daro style architecture. (Leave the layout of Punic Wars Carthage for one of the Pasos Isles naval bases...)

 

The Orlanthi do have a civilized past their back-to-the-roots emigrants into the Dragonkill-emptied homeland tried very hard to ignore. It took repeated assaults on the Colymar village to re-construct the "class 2" ruins (in Pavis Box categories) of Clearwine Fort.

(There was a joke that the old Chaosium headquarters, prior to the Issaries-split-off, could have been described as such - a flat-roofed office/storage house with intact roof.)

I think there should be a shrine in a pre-Christian stave-church predecessor type of temple to the clan wyter in clans outside of such inherited architecture. Even if the clan is worshipping Orlanth on some sacred hilltop, the clan regalia will keep better and are more easily guarded in such an edifice. Reconstructions of the Cape Arcona temple (to Svantevits) might be another good influence. The Lusatian/Hallstatt fortified town of Biskupin might be a good model for an all-lumber architecture away from easily accessible quarries.

I am rather curious what kind of imitation of Heortling and Esrolian art styles in Grazer iconography ambitious Vendref artisans have come up with. While I think that the Grazers might have their own jewelers from their own culture, a lot of their material culture is going to be produced in the three trade posts instituted by Sartar. I would expect some scythian style gold work...

 

 

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On 9/20/2018 at 11:54 AM, Wrestlepig said:

My first reaction is that most of these are down to political reasons where it's a justification for cross-cultural integration, but that's not particularly satisfying and doesn't explain why it's always Orlanth. 

The reasons why it is "always Orlanth" are numerous. 

Firstly, Air is invisible, hence while we see the effects of air, the air itself is invisible, and hence is an immanent force. 

Secondly, the Invisible God is unquestionably a ruler deity, being king of everything, and within Orlanthi society, that role is filled by Orlanth. Orlanth fills a similar role to that of Zeus as demiurge of his pantheon, as his efforts made the world in an almost identical fashion.

Thirdly, successful invaders such as the Malkioni will inevitably want to curtail the resistance to their rule, and by hybridizing with the local ruling class, they achieve a more seamless transition.  Of course this isn't always the case, and many Rokari have attempted to convert the Orlanthi locals, but that merely causes conflicts.  A real world example of this is the Ptolemaic dynasty's adoption of Serapis and the inculcation of Zeus into a triple godhead with Osiris and Apis after the conquest of Egypt by Alexander.

Fourth, as the Heortlings are the oldest Orlanthi culture, and the most urbanized, it is natural for them to be increasingly adoptive of a more scriptural form of worship.  As the Heortlings have adopted an increasingly feudal system, it makes sense for them to adopt and adapt their style of worship too, as a natural part of their development, quite apart from what the Marcher Barons get up to.

Fifth, even if Orlanth isn't your patron deity, if a person lives in Orlanthi society they will be called upon to reverence Orlanth, as that is the nature of pantheism.  So too, one will be called upon to reverence Ernalda and the other major deities as well.

Sixth, it is worth pointing out that Orlanth is a deity that incorporates all the forms of magic, including dragon magic.  This has a deliberate role to play in the Hero Wars, as it is seminal in the incorporation of the Sartarite Magical Union.  Thus arguably it has always been part of the meta-plot for the resolution of Glorantha's 3rd Age.

Seventh, in fact Orlanth worshippers are not the primary sorcerers of Orlanthi society.  Under normal circumstances, it is Lhankor Mhy and Chalana Arroy worshippers who are the primary adopters, but they do so quietly and on the sly in order to avoid nasty accusations.  Healers and Scholars tend to be more intellectual, and less extrovert.  

Eighth and most importantly, everyone who has an Orlanthi character harbors a desire to have their character mount a horse and ride down and slay their foes with a lance made from form/set lightning.

 

 

Edited by Darius West
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Isn't Ernalda and Earth as plausible an Invisible God as Orlanth? The invisible can also be the 'what you can't see because it's under your feet/nose'. I know I brought up RW tantric/shakti magical traditions, but they could also be understood as 'sorcerous'. There is also the Mostali sorcerous tradition. While dwarves are seen as all male, perhaps it is better to say that they all are genderless and are assumed to be male by the predominately patriarchal Gloranthan cultures.

On the other hand, I am biased in terms of the clearly superior paths of the Earth Witch and Imarja mysticism, which may have crowded out a Sorcerous Earth tradition. The language of sorcery is based on manipulation and knowledge, and these are pretty stereotypically masculine approaches to the universe, at least in our world.

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1 hour ago, jeffjerwin said:

Isn't Ernalda and Earth as plausible an Invisible God as Orlanth? The invisible can also be the 'what you can't see because it's under your feet/nose'. I know I brought up RW tantric/shakti magical traditions, but they could also be understood as 'sorcerous'. There is also the Mostali sorcerous tradition. While dwarves are seen as all male, perhaps it is better to say that they all are genderless and are assumed to be male by the predominately patriarchal Gloranthan cultures.

On the other hand, I am biased in terms of the clearly superior paths of the Earth Witch and Imarja mysticism, which may have crowded out a Sorcerous Earth tradition. The language of sorcery is based on manipulation and knowledge, and these are pretty stereotypically masculine approaches to the universe, at least in our world.

Imarja is not mysticism. She is the divine feminine creator, acknowledged by the Esrolians but not directly worshiped. The God Learners identified her with Glorantha or the Invisible God.

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9 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

Isn't Ernalda and Earth as plausible an Invisible God as Orlanth?

Looking at the gender stereotypes in Orlanthi society, actually a lot more so than the volatile and emotional males.

But: Malkionism is at its heart a deeply patriarchalic religion and culture. We get all those male founders and their sons, and wives taken from elsewhere. The earliest Kingdom of Logic female mentioned in Menena, the only daughter of Malkion the Prophet.

Being an immortal people without significant attrition, the necessity of having birthers was not a priority. But then, the most powerful Malkioni men were polygamous - possibly serial monogamists, but then "until death may part you" doesn't sit well with immortals.

Still, the offspring of the original men of the West turned out to be about 50% male and 50% female in the following generations.

 

9 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

The invisible can also be the 'what you can't see because it's under your feet/nose'. I know I brought up RW tantric/shakti magical traditions, but they could also be understood as 'sorcerous'.

I suppose some knowledge or skill is involved, but aren't these practices about what you transcend rather than what you know?

As in "sorcery is something you know, theist magic is something you are, animist magic is something you have."

But that really puts the Malkioni caste system to the test. Membership in a Caste? Something you are, not something you know or have learned - or how did infant Malkioni learn to grow the right hue of skin? Membership in one of the six tribes of ancient Danmalastan? Identity through birth, not intellectual choice.

The gift of parentage. But wait, aren't all of these sons of a single father? And in case of Talar, Zzabur and Horal also sharing the same mother? So maybe it was some form of formative magic during conception and pregnancy which created the caste prospensities and characteristics.

 

9 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

There is also the Mostali sorcerous tradition. While dwarves are seen as all male, perhaps it is better to say that they all are genderless and are assumed to be male by the predominately patriarchal Gloranthan cultures.

All dwarves are bearded, which will easily lead other beard fetishists to assume male sex. Elder Secrets does suggest that body part mortars and pistils and some onerous grinding activity are involved in the making of new clay dwarf modules, but that works with a hermaphroditic race, too. In fact it would be more efficient.

9 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

On the other hand, I am biased in terms of the clearly superior paths of the Earth Witch and Imarja mysticism, which may have crowded out a Sorcerous Earth tradition. The language of sorcery is based on manipulation and knowledge, and these are pretty stereotypically masculine approaches to the universe, at least in our world.

There could be a sorcery based on spinning threads and weaving textiles or baskets, or of shaping clay. These are the products of knowledge and skill rather than just expressions of motherhood/womanhood.

Tada was a builder and shaper, too, not related to Fire, but otherwise hardly different from the painter heroes/deities in Wendaria. His (and Genert's) death did remove much of the male aspect of Earth, at least for the northern part of Glorantha, and possibly also some potential for having earth sorcery.

 

That said, I did suggest chthonian henotheists for Estali in Safelster, but more in a "Wife of God('s Prophet)" context. Maybe grandmother or great-grandmother, too, through Aerlit.

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5 hours ago, Darius West said:

Firstly, Air is invisible, hence while we see the effects of air, the air itself is invisible, and hence is an immanent force. 

Flipping the argument here reminds me that Malkion is half storm god and so all his children who participate in that nature -- all the "wareran" peoples -- are already air people. That's usually the runic and cultural base that the exile faith had to work with when it first arrived on Genertan shores.

This makes a certain type of regression (almost typed regregssion) more prevalent as either latent storm traits are fitted back into the complex or the strict monotheistic overlay erodes. Also unlike many of the other ancestral gods of the colonized nations, some form of "Orlanth" is often alive and available nearby to inspire those who need a more robust response to the religious status quo.

Would not be surprised to discover that "Mostal" is actually an ancient form of "Invisible Lodril" that occasionally throws off heresies. Otherwise history makes things complicated, as for example "Invisible Sun" is "Moon" and is probably venerated as such in places like the Arrolian belt.

"Invisible Earth" -- the transcendent quality immanent in matter -- in the modern West is suppressed to the point that we just say "Earth." Invisible Lodril has a somewhat easier time of it, especially IMG up north.

 

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5 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

I know I brought up RW tantric/shakti magical traditions, but they could also be understood as 'sorcerous'.

This is very dangerous to the intellectualized book-learning monopoly that has evolved around zzabur propaganda. It practically almost delivers the coup de grace to Four Worlds Theory. Naturally I like it a lot.
 

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On 9/23/2018 at 4:40 PM, jeffjerwin said:

 I know I brought up RW tantric/shakti magical traditions, but they could also be understood as 'sorcerous'.

Is it? I would have described Tantra as fitting into what HQ describes as "asceticism".  I mean, while the practice isn't one of self denial like other forms of asceticism, the aim is basically a form of spiritual enlightenment, given that its origins are in Hinduism and Buddhism.  The difference being that the tradition isn't one of refutation, but of integration.  It seems to me that sorcery in Glorantha is what happens when mathematics meets magic, and it is all intrinsically about grimoires and scripture i.e.:

On 9/23/2018 at 10:27 PM, scott-martin said:

This is very dangerous to the intellectualized book-learning monopoly that has evolved around zzabur propaganda. It practically almost delivers the coup de grace to Four Worlds Theory. Naturally I like it a lot.
 

Hmm... I seem to recall that even in the East Isles there are sorcerous traditions that emerged without any obvious reference to Zzabur, and the same goes for the sorcerous traditions of Kralorela.  While we all know the God Learners went there, I am inclined to think that those traditions pre-date the God Learner invasions.  Also, why break the 4 world theory when the presented example fits so neatly within it?  

On 9/23/2018 at 10:07 PM, scott-martin said:

Flipping the argument here reminds me that Malkion is half storm god and so all his children who participate in that nature -- all the "wareran" peoples -- are already air people. That's usually the runic and cultural base that the exile faith had to work with when it first arrived on Genertan shores.

That's a really good point. 

On 9/23/2018 at 10:07 PM, scott-martin said:

This makes a certain type of regression (almost typed regregssion) more prevalent as either latent storm traits are fitted back into the complex or the strict monotheistic overlay erodes. Also unlike many of the other ancestral gods of the colonized nations, some form of "Orlanth" is often alive and available nearby to inspire those who need a more robust response to the religious status quo.

I almost slipped into an exegesis on the infiltration of Zeus/Jupiter into Judeo-Christian worship.  Good point.

On 9/23/2018 at 10:07 PM, scott-martin said:

Would not be surprised to discover that "Mostal" is actually an ancient form of "Invisible Lodril" that occasionally throws off heresies. Otherwise history makes things complicated, as for example "Invisible Sun" is "Moon" and is probably venerated as such in places like the Arrolian belt.  "Invisible Earth" -- the transcendent quality immanent in matter -- in the modern West is suppressed to the point that we just say "Earth." Invisible Lodril has a somewhat easier time of it, especially IMG up north.

I think volcanoes are pretty visible.  So too is the moon.  As for "invisible earth", well we have the various deities of under the earth and they aren't invisible.  Now in terms of the transcendent quality immanent in matter, that is spirit, and that means shamanism in Gloranthan terms, not sorcery, though admittedly all the traditions (except for asceticism) traffic in elementals.   Just to clarify, clearly the Red Moon has sorcerous traditions available, while the rest of the Solar Pantheon do not, but the Red Moon has access to the gamut of the 4 worlds, not just sorcery.  As to sorcerous Earth traditions, well, given what a large and urbanized society that Esrolia has, it probably should have a sorcerous tradition, but I am not aware of one in the literature.  Now Lodril on the other hand is a bad match for sorcery imo.  Clearly Mostal died, and that is why the mostali society turned to sorcery; it was logical.

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2 hours ago, Darius West said:

 It seems to me that sorcery in Glorantha is what happens when mathematics meets magic, and it is all intrinsically about grimoires and scripture

Sorcery is a magic of algorithms and graphs, of applied Thought and Knowledge.

Symbolic logic is a western way of transcribing the Materialist (funny word for a philosophy that regards matter as inferior to energy or logic) view of the Otherworld into diagrams of phenomena.

 

2 hours ago, Darius West said:

Hmm... I seem to recall that even in the East Isles there are sorcerous traditions that emerged without any obvious reference to Zzabur, and the same goes for the sorcerous traditions of Kralorela. 

At the time sorcery was presented to Vith, Kralorela and the land that became the East Isles still were part of the same empire. The sons of Vith are said to have explored Meksornmali, the foreign and difficult lands of "not us".

 

2 hours ago, Darius West said:

While we all know the God Learners went there, I am inclined to think that those traditions pre-date the God Learner invasions.  Also, why break the 4 world theory when the presented example fits so neatly within it?  

 

Why indeed when the very structure of Vithelan myth confirms the four worlds and their role.

 

2 hours ago, Darius West said:

I think volcanoes are pretty visible. 

Most of the volcanic peaks in Glorantha started out as flat land.

 

2 hours ago, Darius West said:

So too is the moon. 

Half of it.

 

But then invisibility, while being part of the deity's title, is not the major feature of the Malkioni highest being.

2 hours ago, Darius West said:

As for "invisible earth", well we have the various deities of under the earth and they aren't invisible.  Now in terms of the transcendent quality immanent in matter, that is spirit,

After discussing this with Greg on several incarnations of Tentacles, I think I disagree. The Spiritual World is different from the Transcendent Ultimate by a far cry. Animism is something you have.

2 hours ago, Darius West said:

and that means shamanism in Gloranthan terms, not sorcery, though admittedly all the traditions (except for asceticism) traffic in elementals. 

I had the impression that exposure to the elements (and later elementals) is part of the austerities that prisoners like Sheng Seleris were subjected to.

 

2 hours ago, Darius West said:

 Just to clarify, clearly the Red Moon has sorcerous traditions available, while the rest of the Solar Pantheon do not, but the Red Moon has access to the gamut of the 4 worlds, not just sorcery. 

I wouldn't be so sure about the Star Seers of Yuthuppa being unacquainted with Sorcery. Their insights in the celestial mechanics suggest an approach not that dissimilar from Zzabur's observations. 

2 hours ago, Darius West said:

As to sorcerous Earth traditions, well, given what a large and urbanized society that Esrolia has, it probably should have a sorcerous tradition, but I am not aware of one in the literature.  Now Lodril on the other hand is a bad match for sorcery imo.  Clearly Mostal died, and that is why the mostali society turned to sorcery; it was logical.

Too many Earth secrets are around growing and giving birth - neither are that related to sorcery. The ancestral Malkioni were born from a combination of the logical tenets brought by the Prophet and his companions and the female mystery they married, in the form of Tilntae (goddesses or nymphs of fertility), land goddesses or sea goddesses. Serpent King dynasty Seshnela worked on the same basis.

Malkioni sorcerers are well-trained to interact with earth- and land goddesses and volcano gods.

They fail to understand and therefore fear the Earth Witch magics, or sorceresses as a rule.

Chthonic sorcery may be possible, but the energies within the earth are masked by matter, which gives the Mostali inverse approach to sorcery (with high value placed on matter, and energies being transformed into properties of matter) possibly a better chance to do this. Knowledge and symbolic logic would still be involved.

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28 minutes ago, Joerg said:

I had the impression that exposure to the elements (and later elementals) is part of the austerities that prisoners like Sheng Seleris were subjected to.

So, Sheng Seleris went to the Lunar Hells to practice "austerities" like a good religious ascetic? C'mon, call things by their proper names.  You get sent into the hells to be tortured.  There is no mincing words about that fact.  The Lunars weren't trying to educate Sheng, at best they were trying to re-educate him. Needless to say it didn't take.  I wonder if Belintar was there too?

My point btw was that Shamans, Priests and Sorcerers all have access to elementals, and in terms of transcendent qualities immanent in matter, surely that can only be a reference to what elementals are... literally the transcendent qualities immanent in matter being brought into the service of a spell caster. 

28 minutes ago, Joerg said:

I wouldn't be so sure about the Star Seers of Yuthuppa being unacquainted with Sorcery. Their insights in the celestial mechanics suggest an approach not that dissimilar from Zzabur's observations. 

 Agreed.  If Lhankor Mhy knows about sorcery, I imagine that Buserian and his followers would have done it first, Jrusteli or no Jrusteli.  For all that however, it isn't specifically mentioned, so the question becomes "why not"?  Perhaps they have a religious prohibition about it?

28 minutes ago, Joerg said:

They fail to understand and therefore fear the Earth Witch magics, or sorceresses as a rule.

I think the Malkioni have more than a few sorceresses.  The followers of St. Xemela spring to mind for a start.  On the other hand I thought that Earth Witches were essentially the heirs to a chthonic shamanic tradition within the Earth Cults, not sorcery.  For example, last time I checked Jakaleel "the Witch" was a shaman, not a sorceror.  The notion being that "the witch" is a person trained in shamanic traditions who is slightly outside the mainstream theism of their community, and has a bad reputation as a result.  She is not Jakaleel "the Sorceress" after all.

28 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Sorcery is a magic of algorithms and graphs, of applied Thought and Knowledge.

Symbolic logic is a western way of transcribing the Materialist (funny word for a philosophy that regards matter as inferior to energy or logic) view of the Otherworld into diagrams of phenomena.

At the time sorcery was presented to Vith, Kralorela and the land that became the East Isles still were part of the same empire. The sons of Vith are said to have explored Meksornmali, the foreign and difficult lands of "not us". Why indeed when the very structure of Vithelan myth confirms the four worlds and their role.

Chthonic sorcery may be possible, but the energies within the earth are masked by matter, which gives the Mostali inverse approach to sorcery (with high value placed on matter, and energies being transformed into properties of matter) possibly a better chance to do this. Knowledge and symbolic logic would still be involved.

I am in complete agreement with this.  Better yet, I wasn't aware of the finer details about the Vith and sorcery, so I appreciate the information.  As for chthonic sorcery, I am in favor of the idea, but the closest thing we have to a working example is the Cult of Pavis.  You know, some people still think the CoP isn't a hive of Chaos worshipping Jrusteli conspirators in league with the Vadeli.  How can they sleep while the broos are birthing huh?

Edited by Darius West

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38 minutes ago, Darius West said:

So, Sheng Seleris went to the Lunar Hells to practice "austerities" like a good religious ascetic? C'mon, call things by their proper names.  You get sent into the hells to be tortured.  There is no mincing words about that fact.  The Lunars weren't trying to educate Sheng, at best they were trying to re-educate him.

I never claimed that Sheng's sojourn in the Lunar Hell was the austerities that made him a great mystic, I was talking about the Kralori re-education camps he ended up in after assaulting the Iron Forts for the first or second time. Sorry if that was misleading you to assume Lunar involvement.

 

38 minutes ago, Darius West said:

Needless to say it didn't take.  I wonder if Belintar was there too?

No, Belintar was all over the place, except for his pre-Godking self with which he had swum ashore. His "get out of jail" card to leave Hell apparently was stolen by Jar-eel.

 

38 minutes ago, Darius West said:

My point btw was that Shamans, Priests and Sorcerers all have access to elementals, and in terms of transcendent qualities immanent in matter, surely that can only be a reference to what elementals are... literally the transcendent qualities immanent in matter being brought into the service of a spell caster. 

"transcendent qualities immanent in matter"? There are two mystic approaches to the Ultimate which don't refute the material world. One is the Venfornic integrative approach which achieves Oneness with the Ultimate through oneness with all of Creation and not-Creation, the other is the Elemental Mystic approach like that of the Old Wind mystics who meditate on a rune to become the rune, and then follow its tie to the Ultimate.

Anything else sounds like a Mostali approach to me, and no, IMO Maker cannot handle the Ultmate at all.

 

38 minutes ago, Darius West said:

I think the Malkioni have more than a few sorceresses.  The followers of St. Xemela spring to mind for a start. 

All that HQ1/MRQ terminology of churches, bishops, saints needs re-phrasing or re-interpretation. Ascended Master Xemela provides guidance to Joy, as do others.

There are likely magics that allow feats like Xemela's self-sacrifice during the Greater Darkness to avert destruction of her family and her people. But Xemela herself was no sorceress.

38 minutes ago, Darius West said:

On the other hand I thought that Earth Witches were essentially the heirs to a chthonic shamanic tradition within the Earth Cults, not sorcery. 

Yes, Earth Witch is mainly the shamanic Corner of the Earth. They are the non-priestess female magicians with a wide range of magics incomprehensible to the Zzaburi. Sorceresses who may combine female mysteries with Logic tread a similar area outside of their capacity to understand.

Earth Witch is a knower of secrets. Knowledge based magic on the other hand is a form of sorcery, or something very hard to distinguish from sorcery.

Jakaleel is an Underworld magician. Regular sorcery has problems functioning in Underworld context, although there appears to be one specialist school of sorcery which can use the energy difference between the mundane world and the abyss below the world to power their magic where their colleages channeling the power from the Ultimate and its energy difference to the Mundane World find themselves cut off from that source.

 

38 minutes ago, Darius West said:

I am in complete agreement with this.  Better yet, I wasn't aware of the finer details about the Vith and sorcery, so I appreciate the information.  As for chthonic sorcery, I am in favor of the idea, but the closest thing we have to a working example is the Cult of Pavis. 

Pavis teaches some sorcery, probably related to how his own birth was made possible, and some stuff he learned from Flintnail, hence dwarven in origin, but presented like the human approach to sorcery.

 

38 minutes ago, Darius West said:

You know, some people still think the CoP isn't a hive of Chaos worshipping Jrusteli conspirators in league with the Vadeli.  How can they sleep while the broos are birthing huh?

Yes. And some people say that the Beast Riders worship at the Devil's Marsh is all that has prevented Sounder's River from searing the remnants of Wakboth away. For each new Beast Rider khan making his test, a piece of the Devil is summoned to life. And far from all these attempts succeed. Thus it is the Chaos worship of the Beast Riders which spreads Chaos in Prax.

This could be a Lunar statement, and one made in grudging admiration.

You can make a case against each Chaos-fighting cult that it really really promotes Chaos just to have a raison d'être. Yes, Orlanth too, even though he sucks at fighting Chaos anywhere but in the sky.

 

I see a possibility that a desperate cult of sorcerers may summon a cacodemon, and that some chosen few of them may become ogres, and the rest of them ogre or cacodemon food. I don't see any structured approach by the people who created Pavis, or Pavis himself, to go into that direction. Their goal was the Green Age, an age famously devoid of Chaos or Predark.

But conspiracies are fun in play (though living in a world full of perceived conspiracy can be living hell, as I just have to witness with someone I know in Real Life). Why not have a campaign exposing Greenpeace as the secret shadow organisation that coordinates the irreversible pollution of our planet? If your investigators have an information feedback loop similar to a certain ruler, they will regard protestations of innocent as only further evidence for the wicked conspiracy.

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Quote

Jakaleel is an Underworld magician. Regular sorcery has problems functioning in Underworld context, although there appears to be one specialist school of sorcery which can use the energy difference between the mundane world and the abyss below the world to power their magic where their colleages channeling the power from the Ultimate and its energy difference to the Mundane World find themselves cut off from that source. 

What about the Black Horse Troop?

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Just now, Tarumath said:

What about the Black Horse Troop?

I think that both the Hound and the Dioskos horse-shaped demons are a result of Ethilrist's personal heroism as a Man-of-All rather than the result of sorcery. The Atroxic Church that graced the Hero Wars rules and sort of persisted into HeroQuest1 does have a number of command and similar magics that allow limited control over the hell creatures Ethilrist brought to the Surface World, and it has lots of spells to enforce morale and oathkeeping among his human followers, even if their elite all too often ends up as slaves of their steeds.

I have no idea whether Ethilrist's sorcerers were especially effective while in the Underworld, or whether it really was their great leader's inspiration (sadly lacking in is literature endeavors) and charisma which held the troop together. Ethilrist's answer wouldn't be surprising, but may not necessarily be that factual.

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On 9/28/2018 at 6:12 PM, Darius West said:

Clearly Mostal died, and that is why the mostali society turned to sorcery; it was logical.

What if Mostal and Latsom themselves were sorcers... well, not literally, of course, but viewing the universe through a sorcerous/materialist perspective? Then dwarven sorcery would precede the death of Stone and the Maker.



Speaking of Cthonic sorcery... One thing that I think does speak against an Ernaldan/Esrolian/Goddess-centric sorcery tradition is that the other sorcery we know of is very objectifying (rendering/analyzing sapient entities down to their constituent inanimate parts/qualities), and often domination-seeking (Zzabur subjugating Britha, etc.). This doesn't sound like the perspective of the Goddess. There would have to be, in my opinion, some ability to recognize a more harmonious, relational perspective on the world and sorcery. Unless you're like the Dwarves who consider the world dead. But the problem is that I'm having problem differentiating such a hypothetical perspective from just shamanism.

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16 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

What if Mostal and Latsom themselves were sorcers... well, not literally, of course, but viewing the universe through a sorcerous/materialist perspective? Then dwarven sorcery would precede the death of Stone and the Maker.

I think that was the case. In my opinion, the Mostali were always Sorcerers, but have a completely different source of Sorcery to the Malkioni. Mostali Sorcerers use the secrets and magic passed down from Mostal himself. They lost a lot of magic when the Spike exploded and their workshops vanished, but what remains is Mostal's Lore.

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Oh, an addendum:

In thinking about the idea of sorcery as mathematics and algorithms applied to magics, as it were, and thinking of Earth cultures, I was reminded of the Bamana divination from Africa. It's a bit complicated to just explain in words, but in very short, it's a system that uses fractal patterns to produce binary code, through drawing lines in the sand or dirt. It's absolutely fascinating stuff, and apparently influenced European mathematics (although I'm not a mathematics historian, so I don't know how true that assertion is).

Anyway, here's a TED talk on it:
 https://www.ted.com/talks/ron_eglash_on_african_fractals#t-298588

The TED talk also talks about fractal patterns, and how they can be used to introduce ideas of infinity.

Just to tie all of this together: what I'm getting at is that it could be an interesting angle to have a traditional Earth-culture divination or decorative system be the origin of sorcerous practices and outlook. Once you realize that there are certain patterns that recur everywhere in nature, it's not a long shot to wonder whether those patterns can be manipulated and "translated" to each other (a "nicer" way of looking at transmutation and the like).

 

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