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Jeff

Notes on the Many Suns and the Sun Gods of Prax

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I have no problem with Elmal and Yelmalio being the same god. As a GM I even really appreciate the clarification as the theological debate is far beyond my reach. The controversy will be the players' problem if they are interested in this aspect of the setting and I will gladly play with this if they want it so.

On the other hand, I find it far more difficult to relate this interpretation with what is being told in the Glorantha Sourcebook about  the Sun Disk (page 100). If Elmal is associated with the Sun Disk, as Yelm is in Peloria, how can he be the same god as Yelmalio who as far as I know (and I know a lot less than many of you) is not related to the Sun Disk.

I really like Glorantha, it is my favorite setting since a loooooong time. But sometimes, sometimes, it drives me mad.   😤

Many people here seem to study the Gloranthan myths as if they were studying earth myths. This is great and I like to do that from times to times. But Glorantha is the setting of a GAME and as a GM I find clear answers to be often better. I prefer to read something like "we know that X and Y are the same god though the Orlanthi think that they are different gods" rather than reading different books with various interpretations. This is only my point of view of course and the appeal of Glorantha also comes from its complexity. Sometimes though, I like it when things are simpler.

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10 hours ago, Corvantir said:

But Glorantha is the setting of a GAME and as a GM I find clear answers to be often better. I prefer to read something like "we know that X and Y are the same god though the Orlanthi think that they are different gods" rather than reading different books with various interpretations.

As a defender of the Monomyth, I readily agree. It seems, however, evident that Glorantha as written is not intended to make sense or be all logical-like. It's more like a postmodern wreck of competing truths shouting each other down, without any underlying resting point. 

Perhaps we should blame the too frequent use of heroquesting for proving the many odd things that have ultimately made the world a contradictory mess. 

As a GM, I think one should take it as a strong exhortation that Your Game Must Vary. It's all up to you, and you can change things however you want, whenever you want. A practical approach is probably for a campaign to choose a setting and simply take the local truth as the absolute truth. Orlanth is the king of the gods. Then annoy or delight your players by changing to a new setting and doing the same with a different local truth. Malkion holds the world in his palm. 

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2 hours ago, The God Learner said:

Perhaps we should blame the too frequent use of heroquesting for proving the many odd things that have ultimately made the world a contradictory mess. 

I would think it is the other way around. Normal local temple rites reinforce the "unholy mess" state of the Otherworld where gods get heaped with secondary and tertiary attributes to the point that they don't recognize themselves in a mirror any more, while heroquesters look for the common truths in the myths, as did the Theyalan missionaries before them - the Dawn Age magicians who rebuilt the world and who awakened the less lucky survivors to the new times and new rules. Those Silver Age and Dawn Age ancestors were veritable magical giants, compared to the petty squabbling of modern Gloranthans.

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Thanks everybody for all the wonderful material given here. My own take on Elmal/Yelmalio would be the following (as far as I understand the existing material as I am quite new to Glorantha).

I would see Elmal as an avatar/mask of Yelmalio dedicated to the protection of the Heortling during the Great Darkness and the result of compensation, in a proper Orlanthi justice way, by Orlanth to his former actions against Yelmalio. He left him unharmed, delivering him defenseless to the violence of other enemies, resulting in Yelmalio's limping gait.

In need of Yelmalio's light to protect his stead as he left for the lightbringers' quest, Orlanth would have compensated his victim giving him back his arms (hence the full Fire rune  of Elmal) and his mobility through the mariage with Redalda, in exchange for his service. The gift of arms and horse is the proper way to create a bond between an housecarl/thane and a chief, as far as I know.

 

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I am inclined to think that every time we dismiss some smaller deity as essentially being the same as, equivalent to, or a mask of and established cult we become the same as God Learners, and worse, we become God Learners not out of hubris but out of laziness and a desire for convenience.  The fact is that in the case of other gods, we know that they are different.  Buserian, Irripi Ontor and Lhankor Mhy have a lot in common, but they are not the same deity.  Erissa has way too much in common with Chalana Arroy, but they are not the same deity, even though nobody has seen them in the same room together, and they never seem to attend the same conferences.  Every time you say they are the same deity, you disrespect their traditions.

Now let me go one further.  This is purely hypothetical, but if there were an East Isles Sun deity called "Sideways Sloth", and every evening Sideways Sloth climbed the greatest tree and when he got to the top, he would shoot a ball of sloth poo (sloth poo being hot and caustic, thus having great fire rune powers) across the sky, then fall off the tree into the leaves every dawn, eat low hanging leaves all day, then start climbing the tree again when it got dark.  Sideways sloth is Yelm, and his poo is the Sun Disc (the example is drawn from  obscure Amazonian tribal beliefs btw).  Sideways Sloth is also the god of Eating, Sleeping, Shitting, Laziness and Hammocks.  Does this bear any resemblance to the Solar worship of other societies?  Should it? Does it need to?  Sideways Sloth is a different revelation of the power of the sun to a different people.  Not every Sun Worshipper wants to be a Dara Happan, and we shouldn't cookie cut them into being Dara Happans for the sake of convenience.

The fact is, I doubt that Sun deities outside Dara Happa will even have the same Rune Spells.  For example, in Kralorela they have an Emperor, and he is Draconic not Solar, and the Sun is primarily a god of agricultural plenty, much like in Esrolia.  In Teshnos, we know that Somash cultists dess up in womens' clothing and take too many drugs, because Monrogh expressedly forbade such things and was so angry with everyone disagreeing with him that he became a spirit of retribution and beat everyone up like a great big party pooper, yet his reforms never reached Teshnos.  There are at least 7 different forms of the Little Sun out there, and imo they should all be treated as being different, as if they weren't different, why would we even list them? 

I think regional variance only serves to enrich Glorantha.  There is no reason why one hill tribe believes exactly the same thing as another.  In ancient Greece for example, some people thought Zeus wasn't a thunder god so much as a werewolf god. It is said that the disjointed compilation of all the Zeus myths went a long way to discrediting the deity but that is what happens when moral philosophers get hold of a juicy story.  We know that Orlanthi tribes can and do trade their secrets and Hero Quests, and such things are worth as much as any tribal treasure.  I like the idea that if I drift into Saird, I might well find a recalcitrant group of Elmal worshippers who refuse to tug the forelock to Yelm, because Elmal is the Sun, and the real Yelm is dead.  Just as trickster shrines vary from settlement to settlement, there is no reason to suppose that all deities are created equal, or that even one bearing the same exact name will even be worshipped in the same way.  In psychology there is a phenomenon call "the narcissism of small differences" which points out that the more similar people are, the more they actively struggle to differentiate themselves.  Thus neighboring clans will actively look for ways to make themselves better and different to their neighbours, despite being in all ways culturally identical to them except in tiny ways.  Those tiny things will become all important, and a sign of in-group adherence.  People are prone to find reasons to dislike each other.  All the same, it would be possible for an outsider to potentially prove a common lineage, or win the trust of a clan, and potentially initiate into the secrets that a clan possesses that makes them unique.  Possible but not easy.

I like the God Learners, but that doesn't mean I think we should copy their mistakes.

Edited by Darius West
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5 minutes ago, Darius West said:

I am inclined to think that every time we dismiss some smaller deity as essentially being the same as, equivalent to, or a mask of and established cult we become the same as God Learners, and worse, we become God Learners not out of hubris but out of laziness and a desire for convenience.  The fact is that in the case of other gods, we know that they are different.  Buserian, Irripi Ontor and Lhankor Mhy have a lot in common, but they are not the same deity.  Erissa has way too much in common with Chalana Arroy, but they are not the same deity, even though nobody has seen them in the same room together, and they never seem to attend the same conferences.  Every time you say they are the same deity, you disrespect their traditions.

Now let me go one further.  This is purely hypothetical, but if there were an East Isles Sun deity called "Sideways Sloth", and every evening Sideways Sloth climbed the greatest tree and when he got to the top, he would shoot a ball of sloth poo (sloth poo being hot and caustic, thus having great fire rune powers) across the sky, then fall off the tree into the leaves every dawn, eat low hanging leaves all day, then start climbing the tree again when it got dark.  Sideways sloth is Yelm, and his poo is the Sun Disc (the example is drawn from  obscure Amazonian tribal beliefs btw).  Sideways Sloth is also the god of Eating, Sleeping, Shitting, Laziness and Hammocks.  Does this bear any resemblance to the Solar worship of other societies?  Should it? Does it need to?  Sideways Sloth is a different revelation of the power of the sun to a different people.  Not every Sun Worshipper wants to be a Dara Happan, and we shouldn't cookie cut them into being Dara Happans foe the sake of convenience.

The fact is, I doubt that Sun deities outside Dara Happa will even have the same Rune Spells.  For example, in Kralorela they have an Emperor, and he is Draconic not Solar, and the Sun is primarily a god of agricultural plenty, much like in Esrolia.  In Teshnos, we know that Somash cultists dess up in womens' clothing and take too many drugs, because Monrogh expressedly forbade such things and was so angry with everyone disagreeing with him that he became a spirit of retribution and beat everyone up like a great big party pooper, yet his reforms never reached Teshnos.  There are at least 7 different forms of the Little Sun out there, and imo they should all be treated as being different, as if they weren't different, why would we even list them? 

I think regional variance only serves to enrich Glorantha.  There is no reason why one hill tribe believes exactly the same thing as another.  In ancient Greece for example, some people thought Zeus wasn't a thunder god so much as a werewolf god. It is said that the disjointed compilation of all the Zeus myths went a long way to discrediting the deity but that is what happens when moral philosophers get hold of a juicy story.  We know that Orlanthi tribes can and do trade their secrets and Hero Quests, and such things are worth as much as any tribal treasure.  I like the idea that if I drift into Saird, I might well find a recalcitrant group of Elmal worshippers who refuse to tug the forelock to Yelm, because Elmal is the Sun, and the real Yelm is dead.  Just as trickster shrines vary from settlement to settlement, there is no reason to suppose that all deities are created equal, or that even one bearing the same exact name will even be worshipped in the same way.  In psychology there is a phenomenon call "the narcissism of small differences" which points out that the more similar people are, the more they actively struggle to differentiate themselves.  Thus neighboring clans will actively look for ways to make themselves better and different to their neighbours, despite being in all ways culturally identical to them except in tiny ways.  Those tiny things will become all important, and a sign of in-group adherence.  People are prone to find reasons to dislike each other.  All the same, it would be possible for an outsider to potentially prove a common lineage, or win the trust of a clan, and potentially initiate into the secrets that a clan possesses that makes them unique.  Possible but not easy.

I like the God Learners, but that doesn't mean I think we should copy their mistakes.

It really depends on what you mean by "same". And I don't mean that facetiously.

As for repeating the God Learner mistakes, I don't see anyone doing that - although I do see people regularly making the errors of Plentonius (who is a far more unreliable narrator than most good God Learners).

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17 hours ago, Corvantir said:

On the other hand, I find it far more difficult to relate this interpretation with what is being told in the Glorantha Sourcebook about  the Sun Disk (page 100). If Elmal is associated with the Sun Disk, as Yelm is in Peloria, how can he be the same god as Yelmalio who as far as I know (and I know a lot less than many of you) is not related to the Sun Disk.

Yelmalio is the Cold Sun, the Winter Sun or the Mountain Sun, still the Sun Disc, but the one that manifests weakly. He is also Light Without Heat.

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Just now, soltakss said:

Yelmalio is the Cold Sun, the Winter Sun or the Mountain Sun, still the Sun Disc, but the one that manifests weakly. He is also Light Without Heat.

Yep. The Sun Disk is also Yelm. Who is the Sun Disk who rises and falls each day. The Bright Sun, the Imperial Sun, revived with Time to be guarantor of the Cosmic Compromise.

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7 minutes ago, Jeff said:

It really depends on what you mean by "same". And I don't mean that facetiously.

By "the same" I mean treating all deities that fall into the same general category i.e. the Son of the Sun, as essentially having the same cult rules act as a cookie cutter in defining how they work.

I totally agree about Plentonius though I rather like the fact that he got things wrong and his mistakes were carved in stone for all time.  It makes Glorantha seem more real.  All the same, I don't think we should copy him either.

Edited by Darius West

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4 minutes ago, Jeff said:
7 minutes ago, soltakss said:

Yelmalio is the Cold Sun, the Winter Sun or the Mountain Sun, still the Sun Disc, but the one that manifests weakly. He is also Light Without Heat.

Yep. The Sun Disk is also Yelm. Who is the Sun Disk who rises and falls each day. The Bright Sun, the Imperial Sun, revived with Time to be guarantor of the Cosmic Compromise.

Of course, what would the God Learners make of Disk vs Disc? Surely some inner Gloranthan meaning there?

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I have to say that this has been a great thread. Though it had its dark moments where I was pulling at my hair because I thought I had sorted out this Elmal-Yelmalio thing only to be dragged back down into confusion, at the end I think I at least came out with a better - esp. a more gameable - view into the whole thing. So yeah, solid thread, y'all. Now nobody say anything controversial! :D There's Ian' thread OVER THERE for anyone who wants to dip back down into the depths of the God-Plane and into the Font of Potential Argument (another good thread for discussion though, too).

Edited by Grievous
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1 hour ago, Jeff said:

Yep. The Sun Disk is also Yelm. Who is the Sun Disk who rises and falls each day. The Bright Sun, the Imperial Sun, revived with Time to be guarantor of the Cosmic Compromise.

So Yelmalio is a part of Yelm more so than he is his son as we human intend it. But how can he thus be Lightfore as it is written in the Glorantha Book (page 102). That would also mean that Lightfore is a part of Yelm.   😣

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2 minutes ago, Corvantir said:

So Yelmalio is a part of Yelm more so than he is his son as we human intend it. But how can he thus be Lightfore as it is written in the Glorantha Book (page 102). That would also mean that Lightfore is a part of Yelm.   😣

Those who say Yelmalio is the Sun Disk say that Yelmalio is the light emanated from the sun. Yelm, his father, is too distant to hear our prayers, but Yelmalio hears your prayers and comes to your aid.

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55 minutes ago, Corvantir said:

So Yelmalio is a part of Yelm more so than he is his son as we human intend it. But how can he thus be Lightfore as it is written in the Glorantha Book (page 102). That would also mean that Lightfore is a part of Yelm.   😣

Lightfore is probably a part of Yelm, just not the Sun Disc.

To be honest, I've never really cared much for Lightfore and don't know anything like enough about him to comment. Personally, I'd just ignore him until I need him.

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On 1/10/2019 at 11:08 PM, Corvantir said:

I😤Many people here seem to study the Gloranthan myths as if they were studying earth myths. This is great and I like to do that from times to times. But Glorantha is the setting of a GAME and as a GM I find clear answers to be often better. I prefer to read something like "we know that X and Y are the same god though the Orlanthi think that they are different gods" rather than reading different books with various interpretations. This is only my point of view of course and the appeal of Glorantha also comes from its complexity. Sometimes though, I like it when things are simpler.

The real question is this. Do you prefer 'hard polytheism' which says: there is only one sun god, and variations are just regional misunderstandings of the same god, or 'soft polytheism' in which there can be multiple sun gods worshiped by different cultures, all of which are true.

RQ tended towards hard polytheism, but starting in the 90s Greg's writings favored soft polytheism and things like KoDP and HQG reflected that.

So the argument is really, can you have Elmal, Antirius, Kargzant, Yelm etc all as the 'sun' or must one of them really be the sun, with the others just local variations.

Personally, I prefer the soft polytheistic version because I believe that the Hero Wars is about people heroquesting to prove their version of the 'truth'. But other folks are going to favor the simplicity of hard polytheism.

I'd like there to be room for gamers to enjoy both options, not just be limited to one. Although it might not help you GM to have soft polytheism, others do prefer that.

Live and let live etc.

But for now, it appears that soft polytheism is YGWV in the RQG line. So you can ignore it, unless it interests you to investigate it.

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21 hours ago, Jeff said:

IAs for repeating the God Learner mistakes, I don't see anyone doing that - although I do see people regularly making the errors of Plentonius (who is a far more unreliable narrator than most good God Learners).

We are discussing Plentonius on the 'other thread'.

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1 hour ago, Ian Cooper said:

The real question is this. Do you prefer 'hard polytheism' which says: there is only one sun god, and variations are just regional misunderstandings of the same god, or 'soft polytheism' in which there can be multiple sun gods worshiped by different cultures, all of which are true.

RQ tended towards hard polytheism, but starting in the 90s Greg's writings favored soft polytheism and things like KoDP and HQG reflected that.

So the argument is really, can you have Elmal, Antirius, Kargzant, Yelm etc all as the 'sun' or must one of them really be the sun, with the others just local variations.

Personally, I prefer the soft polytheistic version because I believe that the Hero Wars is about people heroquesting to prove their version of the 'truth'. But other folks are going to favor the simplicity of hard polytheism.

I'd like there to be room for gamers to enjoy both options, not just be limited to one. Although it might not help you GM to have soft polytheism, others do prefer that.

Live and let live etc.

But for now, it appears that soft polytheism is YGWV in the RQG line. So you can ignore it, unless it interests you to investigate it.

My preference would go towards a 'medium polytheism verging towards the soft'.   😁

Too 'hard' the polytheism and it runs the risk of being bland or too rigid. Glorantha would perhaps become just a fantasy setting among the others.

Too 'soft' the polytheism and it runs the risk of being confusing. This is often what I feel when it comes to Elmal or the Red Goddess.

But I don't want to dismiss Elmal as I think the Yelmalio/Elmal controversy is a very interesting part of Sartar and the gloranthan myths. But this cult confuses me so much that I don't know how to wrap my head around it. There are things in life we don't get, I don't get Elmal. But I can't imagine there would not be a Loyal Thane protecting the Tula during the Great Darkness. I want Elmal in my Glorantha but I can't figure how to bring him in the game.

As a side note, I would rate the Glorantha Sourcebook as 'medium polytheism verging towards the soft with pinches of too soft polytheism'.   :)

 

 

Edited by Corvantir
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17 minutes ago, Corvantir said:

My preference would go towards a 'medium polytheism verging towards the soft'.   😁

Too 'hard' the polytheism and it runs the risk of being bland or too rigid. Glorantha would perhaps become just a fantasy setting among the others.

Too 'soft' the polytheism and it runs the risk of being confusing. This is often what I feel when it comes to Elmal or the Red Goddess.

I prefer my polytheism soft. I think it's so much more interesting this way, even if it's difficult to wrap your head around concepts and if you need to reply to players' questions with a "it depends on who you ask". I also think it's much more realistic. The other day I was reading about the Egyptian god Horus. And, oh my God, I think that's way more confusing than any Elmal-Yelmalio-Kargzant-Antirius question... Imagine asking an Egyptian sage: "Who is the Sun Disk" during the reign of Tutankhamun, right after Akhenaten... :rolleyes: 

Edited by Runeblogger
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40 minutes ago, Corvantir said:

Too 'hard' the polytheism and it runs the risk of being bland or too rigid. Glorantha would perhaps become just a fantasy setting among the others.

Too 'soft' the polytheism and it runs the risk of being confusing. This is often what I feel when it comes to Elmal or the Red Goddess.

Goldilocks springs to mind here. 😉

As a GM I tend towards the soft polytheism - I find it gives me more control around the local setting and allows more local color.  But that's an easy domain for me to control and guide towards my Glorantha.

As a contributor/writer, the balance between fits better.  Enough to create interest, conflict, options for the players and the GM's.  Not enough to be overwhelming, confusing, or feel like you've digressed from a game.

I find the conflict of Yelmalio and Elmal to be interesting.  It's one of the few opportunities for any real religious conflict in the polytheistic world of Sartar around a single concept (Red Moon and Storm are clearly distinct - there's no debate here about which is which).  It's two generations on, though, in Sartar since Tarkalor and Monrogh changed things.  I feel like there is still opportunity for this conflict to play out in Esrolia, and even distant Maniria, with implications for the interactions between Esrolians and Manirians and humans and aldryami.  

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2 hours ago, Corvantir said:

But I don't want to dismiss Elmal as I think the Yelmalio/Elmal controversy is a very interesting part of Sartar and the gloranthan myths. But this cult confuses me so much that I don't know how to wrap my head around it. There are things in life we don't get, I don't get Elmal. But I can't imagine there would not be a Loyal Thane protecting the Tula during the Great Darkness. I want Elmal in my Glorantha but I can't figure how to bring him in the game.

I think the issue has become confused for sure.

This was my understanding. Elmal is the sun god for the Heortlings, where the sun is a loyal thane to Orlanth. Yelm is the sun god for the Heortlings where the sun is an overbearing Emperor. Orlanth fights and then makes friends with Elmal, and murders the Emperor to liberate the universe, but then he brings the Emperor back at the Great Compromise to save the world from Chaos. The fact he can do both is part of the essential non-causal mystery of the Godtime. Yelmalio is Lightfore and a different god. I think that is fairly straightforward if you accept soft polytheism. (A complexity is that, in-world, some have tried to equate Antirius, and Elmal with Yelmalio. I suggest that Greg left clues that is a mistake. But you can ignore this, and just go with the results).

But, that is not the RQG position, and I want to make that clear, so as to avoid confusion. It's YGWV. The RQG position has Elmal and Yelmalio as the same god. I will leave it to others to explain how to rationalize that with the extant myths in KoS etc. of Elmal as the sun etc. as I don't want to misspeak for their position.

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15 hours ago, Ian Cooper said:

I think the issue has become confused for sure.

This was my understanding. Elmal is the sun god for the Heortlings, where the sun is a loyal thane to Orlanth. Yelm is the sun god for the Heortlings where the sun is an overbearing Emperor. Orlanth fights and then makes friends with Elmal, and murders the Emperor to liberate the universe, but then he brings the Emperor back at the Great Compromise to save the world from Chaos. The fact he can do both is part of the essential non-causal mystery of the Godtime.

Not necessarily. One of the most useful statements in Arcane Lore is the pluripresence of divine entities, and even mortal heroes achieving a first lower state of immortality.

15 hours ago, Ian Cooper said:

Yelmalio is Lightfore and a different god. I think that is fairly straightforward if you accept soft polytheism. (A complexity is that, in-world, some have tried to equate Antirius, and Elmal with Yelmalio. I suggest that Greg left clues that is a mistake. But you can ignore this, and just go with the results).

Do we really know that Lightfore is a different god?

There is a case to be made for a parallel between the DHan interpretation of the planet Mastakos as Uleria (the epitome of Life cannot die and reappears in the sky at the Gates of Dawn as soon as she disappears at the Gates of Dusk) and the synchronized appearance/disappearance of the Sun and Lightfore, as if the Dawn has brought back much of the mortal body of the sun that defines the day, but the immortal soul of the sun remains in the heavens and wanders there as Lightfore. Both bodies really are one deity.

Same with Kargzant and Yu-Kargzant. The names really support the theory I made above.

15 hours ago, Ian Cooper said:

But, that is not the RQG position, and I want to make that clear, so as to avoid confusion. It's YGWV. The RQG position has Elmal and Yelmalio as the same god. I will leave it to others to explain how to rationalize that with the extant myths in KoS etc. of Elmal as the sun etc. as I don't want to misspeak for their position.

The RQG position is that the cultic practices and the entity worshipped has the same magics.

As for myself, I think that the followers of both Elmal and Kargzant are more than willing to say that the daytime sun is of course their deity, dragging all that stuff that was lost in Hell across the sky, while showing its heroic and immortal core in the night. Kargzant by night, Yu-Kargzant by day. The Yelmalians have somewhere taken on the practice of referencing the daytime appearance to Yelm only, opening up a magical pathway to the Full Sun magics that neither Kargzant nor Elmal provide through the means of making them associate benefits.

They have to be illuminated (whether by Lunar, Riddler, Draconic, or Hill of Gold Quest means) to access both the full daytime and fire magics and the nighttime immortality.

I think that Elmal should provide Sunripen directly, whereas Yelmalio defers this as associate magic from the Father Sun. 

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2 hours ago, Joerg said:

Do we really know that Lightfore is a different god?

Yes, Greg was very clear that Elmal and Yelmalio are different gods. Elmal is not Lightfore, he is the Sun. KoS was very clear, that Elmal is the Sun for the Heortlings. Yelmalio

http://glorantha.temppeli.org/digest/gd4/1997.06/3711.html

Quote

Greg Stafford

Oct 2, 2007
 
YGWV

John Machin wrote:

On 03/10/2007, Greg Stafford <Greg@glorantha.com
<mailto:Greg%40glorantha.com>> wrote:
> > Elmal, in a very weakened shape.
>
> This is likely to stir the ashes a bit, but is Elmal the Sun
Yes.
> (Yelm?)
No.
> or is he Yelmalio (who is someone like Yelm-Amongst-The-Hills).
He's not Yelmalio. That's a different god.  See http://www.glorantha.com/greg/q-and-a/yelmalio.html
> Is Elmal the chunk of the Sun that stayed in the world during the Darkness?
 

If you are a Heortling, then you know Elmal is Orlanth's loyal thane, the god who stayed behind when Orlanth went to the Land of the Dead. When Orlanth and Ernalda came out, at the eastern gate, they threw a torch to Elmal, who then carried it to the western gate, went through the Underworld and came out the east. Ever since he has travelled the Path of the Torch each day.

So they call him the Sun, in some common translations. No chunk of anything. He's the Sun.

 

 

and not in mailing list sources

King of Sartar, p.40

Quote

"Elmal: God of the Sun, he was rescued by Orlanth and married into the Storm Tribe. He is a loyal thane, and guarded the homestead when the Lightbringers departed."

and

Quote

 

"Yelmalio: A foreign God of the Winter Sun, Preserver of the Light. When Yelm traveled to the Underworld, Yelmalio preserved the dim, cold light until he returned. He also fought against Orlanth in the Gods War."

 

But wait, you might say Orlanth kills the sun, so he kills Elmal!! And then goes into the underworld to recover him, surely this is problematic for the Elmali?

No, the Elmali version of this myth is that Orlanth and Elmal fight and Elmal is rescued by Orlanth (I suggest that Greg had thought this through)

Quote

 

"The native mythology tells of how Orlanth and Elmal met, fought while standing upon a precarious bridge, and both ended up in the raging waters. Orlanth rescued Elmal; they became friends and companions afterwards. Orlanth and Ernalda created the Foreigner’s Wedding so that Elmal could marry their horse‑loving daughter and join the clan."

 

Structurally, and thus from a God Learner point of view, that is the same myth. Storm fights Sun, Sun and Storm suffer from conflict outcome, Storm rescues Sun, Storm and Sun reach agreement to live together. The GL can equate those two myths.

The conflict in the First Age is over "Who is the Sun?", not "Who is Lightfore?". It is possible that there is a secondary spin-off where a deposed Antirius and Elmal get associated with Lightfore, but that is the error, not the identification with the sun.

When Orlanth goes on his Lifebringer's Quest he reconciles with his enemy the Emperor. The conflict is Tyrant and Rebel, not Sun and Storm, but this is really for my other thread about Lifebringers and the Emperor, I just don't have time to start that.

Now RQG is entitled to YGWV on this, to have a cosmology in which Elmal is Yelmalio. But it's not what Greg wrote in his background works, and he was clear about that when asked, above.

Edited by Ian Cooper
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5 minutes ago, Ian Cooper said:

Yes, Greg was very clear that Elmal and Yelmalio are different gods.

And then he wasn't and then he was.

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4 minutes ago, soltakss said:

And then he wasn't and then he was.

Can you provide a quote in which he changes his mind on this? Because I don't think he did, so I am afraid you need some evidence to back your argument that post-2007 he declared that Elmal and Yelmalio were the same god. Otherwise, it's just your opinion.

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18 hours ago, Ian Cooper said:

I think the issue has become confused for sure.

This was my understanding. Elmal is the sun god for the Heortlings, where the sun is a loyal thane to Orlanth. Yelm is the sun god for the Heortlings where the sun is an overbearing Emperor. Orlanth fights and then makes friends with Elmal, and murders the Emperor to liberate the universe, but then he brings the Emperor back at the Great Compromise to save the world from Chaos. The fact he can do both is part of the essential non-causal mystery of the Godtime. Yelmalio is Lightfore and a different god. I think that is fairly straightforward if you accept soft polytheism. (A complexity is that, in-world, some have tried to equate Antirius, and Elmal with Yelmalio. I suggest that Greg left clues that is a mistake. But you can ignore this, and just go with the results).

But, that is not the RQG position, and I want to make that clear, so as to avoid confusion. It's YGWV. The RQG position has Elmal and Yelmalio as the same god. I will leave it to others to explain how to rationalize that with the extant myths in KoS etc. of Elmal as the sun etc. as I don't want to misspeak for their position.

Thanks, this summary helps a lot. The RQG vision of Elmal seems irreconcilable with the vision from Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes where he is clearly described as being the sun and with the Glorantha Sourcebook where he is associated with the Sun Disk. Everything here is telling us that Elmal and Yelmalio are different gods.

Until now I was trying to reconcile Elmal with Yelmalio whereas Elmal could rather need to be reconciled with Yelm. That is an interesting point of view I had missed and it is certainly at the origin of my confusion.

May be am I wrong but I am sure I have read somewhere that Greg would have replied that considering Elmal and Yelmalio as different gods or as the same god was both true. This add to the confusion as far as I am concerned but could well be the key to grasping this cult.   😣

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