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Notes on the Many Suns and the Sun Gods of Prax

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I can barely read the handwriting in some places but it looks interesting! I'm assuming it's supposed to be some sort of timeline of the development of Glorantha's major sun gods?

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Most of this is reasonably familiar, but there are a few things that raised an eyebrow with me. For example, Yamsur is shown as separate from Yelm prior to the the latter's death in the Golden Age. I wonder why this is? Or am I overthinking it? Later on there's a mention of Dawn Era Praxians having a belief in a bird that carries the sun, and Yamsur "hovers" over Yelm (or, if we interpret it as a map - is located geographically north of it, possibly in Verapur?). Could this mean that there is some connection between Yamsur and Vrimak, the avian sun god and (possibly DH-propagandized after-the-fact) Portion of Yelm? But Yamsur is evidently dead, and Vrimak is not, so there has to be something more/else going on. I suppose it's possible that the Bird Empires of mythical Rinliddi spread Yamsur beliefs (or, to put it mythically, travelled with their god eastwards) to Genert's Garden - but I'm hesitant to just make stuff up to make things like this, possibly nothing more than a coincidence, fit.

Another interesting aspect is that once "Little Yelm" appears after Yelm's death/disintegration, no differentiation between Yelmalio, Kargzant, Antirius and Elmal is made. This differention is only made later, during the first age of all things. I'm inclined to believe that this is mainly because this chart focuses primarily on the history of Yelmalio, and so prioritizes showing that deity's history above the others, merely slotting them once it serves the purpose of highlighting the developing of Yelmalio. I could be entirely wrong, however, since "Little Yelm's" position is equally that of Antirius (and Antirius and Yelmalio share a number of traits beyond simply being Little Suns) guarding Dara Happa.

It is also interesting to see who identifies all the Little Suns as being one and the same. The figure looks superficially just like a stick-figure, but on further inspection is made up of runes. Mastery rune for the head? Infinity rune for legs? Runes aren't my strong suite, so someone else might get an identity from this. My guess is that it refers to some Gray Age Dara Happan Emperor (Jenarong? No, a later one, the one that founded the dynasty that drove away the horse nomads, probably), or could it even be Nysalor?

And then we have both the Bright Empire and later on the EWF apparently strategically using Yelmalio to fortify its borders. I assume this plays into some mythic side of Yelmalio, and/or the cultural aspect of the Yelmalian temple-structure as being highly militaristic and suitable for such a purpose. There might be more going on, or rather, there probably almost certainly is. More hints towards Illumination being integral to Yelmalian/Cold sun traditions, perhaps, as both Empires were Illumination-seeking.

Then, the last thing I'd like to comment on is how apparently the Praxians have given up a traditional view of the sun possibly based on the deceased Yamsur as a bird carrying the sun - with influences from the Sun Domers and Yelmalio (or his predecessor, I forget the names of the different Golden-Spearman-Cold-Sun-With-Militant-Temples deities). I take it that means that Modern Era Praxians default to viewing Yelmalio, or possibly Yelm as the sun in a daily, matter-of-factly way?

Edited by Sir_Godspeed

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47 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Mastery rune for the head? Infinity rune for legs? Runes aren't my strong suite, so someone else might get an identity from this. My guess is that it refers to some Gray Age Dara Happan Emperor (Jenarong? No, a later one, the one that founded the dynasty that drove away the horse nomads, probably), or could it even be Nysalor?

since Nysalor revealed Daysenereus at the Battle of Night and Day, I'd assume that figure is Nysalor.

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There, are, of course, a multitude of Yelm's sons active in Six Ages, in the Lesser Darkness:

Elmal

Little Yelm

Demon Sun (Shargash)

Ghost Sun

Eggshell Sun

Cold Sun (Yonesh)

Unless this is an abstraction of some sort of psychological fragmentation/Yelm's six souls (note there are six here) - then the game seems to represent the sons of Yelm as numerous and differentiates between Elmal and Little Yelm (Yelmalio). Antirius might be a job, rather than a discrete identity, too.

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6 hours ago, jajagappa said:

since Nysalor revealed Daysenereus at the Battle of Night and Day, I'd assume that figure is Nysalor.

Although true in a way, this also tends to be massively overstated. The First Age was a period of syncretism thanks to the communication enabled by the Theyalans. Local deities got recognized as being different aspects or localised versions of Orlanth, Ernalda, etc. Much of this initial communication occurred in the early First Age, with the results being shown with the Second Council. However, syncretism between Dara Happa and the Council peoples occurred later. Orlanth and Rebellus Terminus were recognised as the same deity, Yelm was proven to be the god of the Sun Disk and the Imperial Sun, and so on.

The Broken Council saw the Many Little Suns (Kargzant, Elmal, Antirius) as aspects of one Little Sun - aka Yelmalio, the Light of the Sky. The Little Sun defends against the Darkness - which was used by the Golden Empire to defend the frontiers against trolls and rebels. That identification largely survived the Gbaji Wars and was later used by the EWF to defend its frontiers against Spolites, trolls, and rebels.

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I do not see any reference to Halomalao here (apologies if I misspelled the plant sun) after the "helps elves" greater darkness event. In fact if anything the positioning of Dawn worship suggests that Elmal helped humans, Kargzant helped horse folk, and Antirius helped elves. I'm not aware of Antirius helping elves other than some treaty arrangements for human refuge areas in reforestation in Arrir during the first age.

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5 minutes ago, Byll said:

I do not see any reference to Halomalao here (apologies if I misspelled the plant sun) after the "helps elves" greater darkness event. In fact if anything the positioning of Dawn worship suggests that Elmal helped humans, Kargzant helped horse folk, and Antirius helped elves. I'm not aware of Antirius helping elves other than some treaty arrangements for human refuge areas in reforestation in Arrir during the first age.

The elf Yelmalio is the same deity as the Hendriki Elmal, the Orlanthi Yelmalio, the Pentan Kargzant (who is not Yu-Kargzant), and the Dara Happan Antirius. These are all local cults of the same mythological entity.

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How much is known about who worships Yu-Kargzant-Yelm (Char-Un, Grazelanders...) and who worships Kargzant-Yelmalio (Pentans Storm-Pentans?...) and how groups ended up in one tradition or the other?

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Yelm's position in the Middle Sky is somewhat uncertain. We know that his feet rested on the Footstool in Raibanth before the river invaded, but he was seated in his throne in Yuthubars, the (levitatinng) Divine City, which was part of the Middle Sky originally, then moved up, disappeared, then reappeared as a star pattern.

Yamsur appears to be the light atop/above the Spike (if there ever was just one). That would be higher than Yuthubars.

 

The eight planetary sons were supposed to have taken positions around the lower outskirts of Yuthubars (I guess), vertically above their towers (e.g. Alkoth, Mernita etc., compare the Copper Tablets for the associated sons and how the Oslir River is depicted, leaving Alkoth "south" of Nivorah. Of course, Glorantha was subsequently shattered, rims were dissolvved, and then dragged together again. Yuthuppa was inserted equidistantly between Raibanth and the next northern city after the Flood.

Is it just Reladivus who gets honored as Little Sun (alongside with Antirius), or are all surviving Planetary Sons (and daughters) suns (or moons)?

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19 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Yamsur appears to be the light atop/above the Spike (if there ever was just one). That would be higher than Yuthubars.

That's interesting. Note that in (some of) the God Learner/Heortling texts, AFAIK, Yelm/the Emperor was an appointee of the Celestial Court, and that is where he ruled, in the Perfect Palace. If so, Yamsur was the original emperor...

Yamsur seems to have ruled the White Elves of the Sun, the Golden People, and the Sky Spears. White Elves also suggests the Spike.

Compare Harono to Yamsur; Harono also ruled over central regions and Ernaldela.

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I'm not entirely sure if that's the right angle to go at it... I'll have to do this some other day, but I have some thoughts about how the God Learners appear to have transplanted the geography of Golden Age Dara Happa onto their mythographical "map" of the Golden Age Earth Cube in its entirety. The Footstool of Yelm aligned with the spike, the directional colored cities/camps of Peloria become directional colored camps of the cube furthermore aligned with oddities in Time (Luathela, Vithalash, etc.) as well as the Four Worlds model (North for theistic, east for mystic, etc.).

In that perspective, Yelm hovering above Raibanth might be have been interpreted by the God Learners as some unspecified solar entity hovering above the Spike. The Dara Happans never, to my knowledge, even acknowledge the existence of a spike at the centre of everything. To them, the Decapolis is the centre of the cosmos, with the Footstool and Shaft of Light in its centre, and (possibly) Yuthubars above, where Ezelvestay and the Glorantay have retreated beyond, iirc. My impression is that the God Learners - probably via their contact with the Theyalans - took that quite literally and applied a VERY LOCAL Pelorian cosmology onto their attempt at a "global" (lozengal) cosmology.

It's like a game of Chinese whispers:
DH: Yelm sat at the centre of the world above the ten cities.
Theyalan: Uh, huh, the Sun-Emperor sat at the centre of the world. The centre of the world, which is close to Dini and the Spike.
God Learner: Ah, so the Sun sat at the centre of the world above the Spike.

The filtering through the Theyalan-Pelorian syncretism of the First Age makes this even harder to untangle (due to Harono possibly being the "original" bad Emperor that Orlanth, or possibly some version of Vingkot, competed with), but, well, yeah, something's amiss, in my opinion. Peloria having a local cosmology of itself that is essentially a fractal version of the God Learner's vision of Glorantha as a whole - to the point where "Empire of Brilliance" (or some equivalent) can be applied to both the area immediately around the spike and the area immediately around the decapolis - stinks of retroactive syncretism to me. This also ties into the near-maddening geographical whiplash you get in Orlanthi mythology when the Bad Emperor's Court is sometimes located inside the Spike, and sometimes to the north of Vingkotling lands. The God Learners may have thought it was best to just slap those locations together for convenience's sake.

Of course, the question is - if so, what does that *mean*? Because they all appear to work for Heroquesting.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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37 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

If so, Yamsur was the original emperor...

Maybe I'm stupid but would this be the sun "Orlanth" killed at the end of his contests . . . but doesn't seem to have brought back?

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14 hours ago, Jeff said:

The elf Yelmalio is the same deity as the Hendriki Elmal, the Orlanthi Yelmalio, the Pentan Kargzant (who is not Yu-Kargzant), and the Dara Happan Antirius. These are all local cults of the same mythological entity.

How does this square with differing runes?

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4 hours ago, scott-martin said:

Maybe I'm stupid but would this be the sun "Orlanth" killed at the end of his contests . . . but doesn't seem to have brought back?

Nobody claims Yamsur was killed by Orlanth. All the songs of Yamsur place his death at the hands of Chaos at the same battle his master Genert died. There's a Second Age source that claims that Yamsur was a "northern light" that shone throughout the Lesser Darkness but failed in the Greater.

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3 hours ago, JonL said:

How does this square with differing runes?

For RQG purposes they all have Light and Truth. If I were to redo Elmal for HQ, he'd have Light, and not the full Fire Rune.

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3 hours ago, Jeff said:

For RQG purposes they all have Light and Truth. If I were to redo Elmal for HQ, he'd have Light, and not the full Fire Rune.

Does it mean Zorak Zoran would ambush Elmal at the Hill of Gold and steal his fire powers the same way he did for Yelmalio?

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2 minutes ago, Corvantir said:

Does it mean Zorak Zoran would ambush Elmal at the Hill of Gold and steal his fire powers the same way he did for Yelmalio?

I doubt the Hendreiki Elmal cultists know the Hill of Gold myth particularly well. They might stage something where their Son of Elmal or whatever his title is defends his yellow-painted palace against all comers. He gets beaten up, robbed, stabbed, but does not die and does not surrender. 

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9 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

That's interesting. Note that in (some of) the God Learner/Heortling texts, AFAIK, Yelm/the Emperor was an appointee of the Celestial Court, and that is where he ruled, in the Perfect Palace. If so, Yamsur was the original emperor...

As the original emperor was Aether Primolt, that makes Yamsur Aether, which is highly unlikely, as Yamsur is then his own grandfather. Yelm was the Second Emperor, after Aether Primolt, Aether Primolt the Fire/Sky representative in the Celestial Court.

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8 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I'm not entirely sure if that's the right angle to go at it... I'll have to do this some other day, but I have some thoughts about how the God Learners appear to have transplanted the geography of Golden Age Dara Happa onto their mythographical "map" of the Golden Age Earth Cube in its entirety. The Footstool of Yelm aligned with the spike, the directional colored cities/camps of Peloria become directional colored camps of the cube furthermore aligned with oddities in Time (Luathela, Vithalash, etc.) as well as the Four Worlds model (North for theistic, east for mystic, etc.).

This kind of "as in the big as in the small" isn't exactly unheard of in Glorantha.

One way to characterize the geography of Dragon Pass is as the hut/house/tent of Orlanth and Ernalda, with a central beam carrying the roof, a cooking area etc.

Such nested geography means that we may find the same archetypes in various places.

It still makes the transition from the Camp of Innocence to the Hellgate City strain this concept. 

8 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

In that perspective, Yelm hovering above Raibanth might be have been interpreted by the God Learners as some unspecified solar entity hovering above the Spike. The Dara Happans never, to my knowledge, even acknowledge the existence of a spike at the centre of everything. To them, the Decapolis is the centre of the cosmos, with the Footstool and Shaft of Light in its centre, and (possibly) Yuthubars above, where Ezelvestay and the Glorantay have retreated beyond, iirc. My impression is that the God Learners - probably via their contact with the Theyalans - took that quite literally and applied a VERY LOCAL Pelorian cosmology onto their attempt at a "global" (lozengal) cosmology.

There appear to be iterations of the small elsewhere.

However, there is just one sky above Glorantha. A very dull one for the reign of Brighteye, sure.

8 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

It's like a game of Chinese whispers:
DH: Yelm sat at the centre of the world above the ten cities.
Theyalan: Uh, huh, the Sun-Emperor sat at the centre of the world. The centre of the world, which is close to Dini and the Spike.
God Learner: Ah, so the Sun sat at the centre of the world above the Spike.

The filtering through the Theyalan-Pelorian syncretism of the First Age makes this even harder to untangle (due to Harono possibly being the "original" bad Emperor that Orlanth, or possibly some version of Vingkot, competed with), but, well, yeah, something's amiss, in my opinion. Peloria having a local cosmology of itself that is essentially a fractal version of the God Learner's vision of Glorantha as a whole - to the point where "Empire of Brilliance" (or some equivalent) can be applied to both the area immediately around the spike and the area immediately around the decapolis - stinks of retroactive syncretism to me. This also ties into the near-maddening geographical whiplash you get in Orlanthi mythology when the Bad Emperor's Court is sometimes located inside the Spike, and sometimes to the north of Vingkotling lands. The God Learners may have thought it was best to just slap those locations together for convenience's sake.

Glorantha is made up from myths, and these myths may be nested. The entire Gods War is collapsed into the Sword Story, for instance.

I don't know whether Arkat realized this fractal nature of the myths, or whether the God Learners did, and those guys probably had the deepest knowledge of this topic. 

Some of the major quests are pretty syncretic, taking stations from different cycles stringing them into a linear narrative, with weird and probably non-intentional chronoportation going on e.g. on the Lightbringers' Quest (which is starting in the Greater Darkness but visits places that haven't been seen since around the Flood Age, in the West where the Orlanthi knowledge gets fuzzy).

Identification with an archetype in a certain situation, and the strength of that identification, appears to be what determines the strength of the quester, and how much extra effort he and his supporters have to put in to make something happen despite weak identification.

8 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Of course, the question is - if so, what does that *mean*? Because they all appear to work for Heroquesting.

That's because in the end, heroquesting appears to be a deeply personal experiencs of those archetypes, creating your own one true path through that story, and it takes detachment from your limited self (like Arkat developed) which allows you to see beyond this.

Intuitive heroquesters are strong in their identifications and may defy the abstract knowledge of the professionals.

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9 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

That's interesting. Note that in (some of) the God Learner/Heortling texts, AFAIK, Yelm/the Emperor was an appointee of the Celestial Court, and that is where he ruled, in the Perfect Palace. If so, Yamsur was the original emperor...

Does it state anywhere that Yamsur filled the role of an emperor? He was the bright light in the service of the Earth King, and remained in that role until the Earth King perished.

The presence of Genert's Garden before, throughout and after the Dara Happan empire of Brighteye makes the Yelm episode somewhat ephemeral. 

9 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

Yamsur seems to have ruled the White Elves of the Sun, the Golden People, and the Sky Spears. White Elves also suggests the Spike.

Compare Harono to Yamsur; Harono also ruled over central regions and Ernaldela.

All of this makes Yamsur look more like a feature of Genert's reign and not like an emperor.

Genert's Garden is the Earth Golden Age, which persisted with a bit of struggle until done in by Chaos well after Dara Happa had collapsed and after Orlanth had slain the Evil Emperor.

Genert's Garden has ways to deal with the invader deity Death that allow its folk to continue their mostly Golden Age lives even in the Lesser Darkness.

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I see Yamsur as Yelm's Man in Genert's Garden, a local Sun God. As the Son of Yelm, he would have importance anyway.

Edited by soltakss

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8 hours ago, JonL said:

How does this square with differing runes?

In an attempt to square with this with the Guide's information, it's quite possible that Elmal has a similar division to Kargzant. Both a lesser form as the Little Sun, and the strengthened Full Sun. (As Yu-Kargzant for the Pure Horse people)

This form of Elmal, probably the Anatyr one, would be one providing the bloodline of kings to the Hyaloring triarty. And, if available, likely provides the contestant standing in for Yelm in the crown test as mentioned in King of Sartar (page 217)

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