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Ian Cooper

The Many and the One, or has there always been a Yelm?

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10 hours ago, Tindalos said:

Brightface is interesting, as Brightface kills Protector Among Seven, sticks his head on a spear and places it above his hall. Was Protector Among Seven an earlier Sun God?

It represents the earlier function of the Naverian-Pelandan male kingship/sun god as guardian of the Earth and sacrificial/returning consort of the White Moon, I think. So yes?

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26 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

It represents the earlier function of the Naverian-Pelandan male kingship/sun god as guardian of the Earth and sacrificial/returning consort of the White Moon, I think. So yes?

This raises questions about the Red King and/or Vantestos. Could they be solar entities? Did the Protectors of Darsen-Naveria always have to be solar in nature? (I genuinely have no idea).

Edited by Sir_Godspeed

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3 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

This raises questions about the Red King and/or Vantestos. Could they be solar entities? Did the Protectors of Darsen-Naveria always have to be solar in nature? (I genuinely have no idea).

The Red King is ceremoniously drowned by his wife/daughter, the White Moon, and is laid to rest beyond a Western Mountain... Just sayin'

Edited by jeffjerwin
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On 1/11/2019 at 1:45 PM, Sir_Godspeed said:

That's not really a secret: it's stated rather plainly in the various books I've read. The God Time/Plane was created as a separate realm where the gods could relive their myths eternally, and Time/the Mortal Plane was created as a realm where gods could only act indirectly in order to avoid another Gods War (iirc).

From a gaming point of view, of course Glorantha has been constructed with the real World and God Plane separate, as you have mentioned.

However, from a Gloranthan point of view, the God Plane came first and the Real World is what is left over after Time began.

On 1/11/2019 at 1:45 PM, Sir_Godspeed said:

Your comment could of course more specifically be that the events of the God Time are all constructed - and that would indeed be a pretty groundbreaking secret that would shake a lot of Gloranthans to the core (or be promptly ignored).

And would go against everything that has been developed for Glorantha.

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23 hours ago, Ian Cooper said:

Sure, but Greg was quite clear about his intent here, see my quote in the original article. Yelm emerged as a result of the cultural clash between three sun-worshipping cultures in the 1st Age: DH, Horse Nomads, Heortling. Now, it is possible that DH was far more than just Antirius i.e. different polities had their sun gods, but the recognition of Antirius at the dawn, and his absence from the Wall, suggests that he was the large figure on the wall later identified as Yelm, and therefore the main sun god.

From my point of view, the Cult of Yelm emerged as a result of the cultural clash between three sun-worshipping cultures in the 1st Age: DH, Horse Nomads, Heortling, not the deity Yelm. There's a big difference.

 

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On 1/12/2019 at 9:37 AM, Minlister said:

Sorry for a slightly heretical question/suggestion:

As far as suggestions go, that is definitely not heretical.

On 1/12/2019 at 9:37 AM, Minlister said:

has anybody considered the possibility that the death inflicted to "Yelm" by Orlanth could have been a dismemberment ? In which case the "soul" of the sun god could have descended to Hell and his various body parts been dispersed by the violence of the event. Lingering energy in the various limbs could have resulted in local sun deities. The reascent at the Dawn would be the return of the "common soul" (the sun disk) of these various sun gods, whose relation would be in the way similar to the one between the various persons of the Trinity. 

Actually in a way, it would fit well with Ian's proposal, with Yelm resulting from the "stitching" of the formerly autonomous body parts!

That makes a lot of sense.

Traditionally, dismemberment is used to stop a Deity from reforming, or to stop reforming easily. Before Death came along, it could have been used to reduce a deity's power or to slow down a return. With the advent of Death, however, such a dismemberment means the deity cannot come back at all, which may not have been Orlanth's intention.

Putting Yelm back together via a series of HeroQuests is another useful idea that comes out of this.

On 1/12/2019 at 9:37 AM, Minlister said:

(Sorry if it isn't clear, English isn't my first language)

It was very clear, thanks.

21 hours ago, Minlister said:

I just recently discovered Glorantha thanks to 7Tigers' posts on a French RPG forum and I am absolutely enthralled !!

Wow!

Things can get a bit deep and heavy in Gloranthan discussions, but it sounds as though you already understand a lot. Welcome aboard!

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21 hours ago, Minlister said:

Thanks for all the intel Joerg, all this is fantastic stuff.

I just recently discovered Glorantha thanks to 7Tigers' posts on a French RPG forum and I am absolutely enthralled !!

 

Enthralled is in fact the matching word. I discovered Glorantha in the eighties of the last century, when I had my high time of fantasy role-playing. I've even bought the first edition of King of Sartar, which was at the same time fascinating because of its complexity and its contraries (which made this game world feel so much more real than any other I knew), but on the other hand quite frustrating, because I was not able to get a clear picture at this time. (The latter may have been one of the reasons, why I never used Glorantha in one of my games ...)

Some years ago I re-discovered Glorantha, and suddenly several thinks started to make sense. Real Life experience may have helped here as well as new information sources like the Guide to Glorantha or the HeroQuest source books. So I needed years to get into this, which means you are really fast to dive into this kind of discussion (which again can be at the same time quite fascinating as well as frustrating by reaching much more profoundness than I'm not even sure, if it makes sense to learn that). Welcome, Good Luck and Have Fun!

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On 1/12/2019 at 5:37 PM, Minlister said:

has anybody considered the possibility that the death inflicted to "Yelm" by Orlanth could have been a dismemberment ? In which case the "soul" of the sun god could have descended to Hell and his various body parts been dispersed by the violence of the event. Lingering energy in the various limbs could have resulted in local sun deities. 

Almost, but not quite, a more or less orthodox Yelmic view. The myth in GRoY is that Yelm splits into parts, and one part goes to hell, one part remains behind as Antirius, etc. it means the Yelmites don’t have the same issues about whether the Little Sun is the Sun (obviously, Antitius is a specific part of the Sun, and it’s perfectly fine to worship a specific part, just like body of Yelm is reduced to the holy fire of Enverinus which is also a part worthy of separate worship, the soul part is Bijiif and descends to the underworld, and was/is a separate part, etc).

But I don’t it solves the regional sub god problem. They still think those other gods are just confused - the light of Yelm left behind is Antirius. They still experienced the Sun Swirl. 

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But I don’t it solves the regional sub god problem. 

What I meant is that some people (I don't mean us, but the happy Gloranthians!!) could "rationalize" the problem this way as it allows them to understand how various local gods could all relate to a single celestial manifestation. Obviously, their god would have been born from the heart, head or genitals of Orlanth's victim, while the neighbors' sun god would have been born of a foot, the entrails of other disgusting part...  For the more "ecumenically oriented", they could even envision the relation between all this regional Sun gods on the model of the many-handed sun disk of Akhenaton, one and many at the same time.

Actually I am not trying to find a solution but only to imagine various possible cultural models for the sake of confronting the players with them. it is always nice to stage a theological debate in game (before hacking and slaying the heretic to loot his corpse obviously). 😀

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8 hours ago, soltakss said:

However, from a Gloranthan point of view, the God Plane came first and the Real World is what is left over after Time began.

Allegedly. ;)
 

8 hours ago, soltakss said:

And would go against everything that has been developed for Glorantha.

I wouldn't say everything (we have a pretty substantial amount of evidence by now that something radical happened with regards to reinterpretation of local myths as cultures reconnected in the Dawn Age). But it's an interesting thought nonetheless, which is why I'm enjoying this thread.

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6 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Allegedly. ;)
 

I wouldn't say everything (we have a pretty substantial amount of evidence by now that something radical happened with regards to reinterpretation of local myths as cultures reconnected in the Dawn Age). But it's an interesting thought nonetheless, which is why I'm enjoying this thread.

The alternative would be a very sloppy creator bulding the world as fragments of a chaotic apocalypse with fragments of myths to build from.

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18 hours ago, davecake said:

Almost, but not quite, a more or less orthodox Yelmic view. The myth in GRoY is that Yelm splits into parts, and one part goes to hell, one part remains behind as Antirius, etc. it means the Yelmites don’t have the same issues about whether the Little Sun is the Sun (obviously, Antitius is a specific part of the Sun, and it’s perfectly fine to worship a specific part, just like body of Yelm is reduced to the holy fire of Enverinus which is also a part worthy of separate worship, the soul part is Bijiif and descends to the underworld, and was/is a separate part, etc).

But I don’t it solves the regional sub god problem. They still think those other gods are just confused - the light of Yelm left behind is Antirius. They still experienced the Sun Swirl. 

The Sun Swirl of course might really be this: In the beginning there is a Fire Rune, the One, and it devolves by mixing with power and condition runes into many celestial gods and goddesses, the Many. At the Compromise there is one Sun Disk created, to mark the passage of time. Initially, the Many are associated with the Sun Disk (Elmal carries the torch, Kargzant bears it on his back) but are not the Sun Disk, but its bearer. Later as cultures meet each other they try to reconcile their differences about who is the bearer of the Sun Disk. Nysalor allows them to separate the Sun Disk, can call it Yelm, from the Many, the bearers of the Sun Disk. (On the God's Wall the 'sun disk' is possibly separate from the sun god)

There are parallels here with all the other elements that seem to have this decay from pure element to mixed with power and condition runes.

Now what is interesting is what happens after that. And I think that depends on whether you are part of the Bright Empire.

IMO the Heortlings that resist the Bright Empire continue to worship Elmal as the bearer, but the supporters of the Bright Empire worship Yelmalio. The nomads worship Kargzant as the bearer, because they are outside the Bright Empire. In Dara Happan they seem to stop worshiping Antirius directly, and instead absorb him into the Yelm cult.

Now, when the Bright Empire falls, we have previously suggested that Yelmalio goes with it, as Yelm does according to GRoY. Associated with Illumination and Nysalor too much. Gone but not forgotten, these cults do re-emerge in the second age, shorn of Nysalorian trappings (but those Yelmalio retirement towers seem an obvious folk-memory), and in third age where Yelmgatha may well bring Nysalorian influence back to Yelm. (Monrogh btw would seem to be bringing Nysalorian influence back to Yelmalio). Of course, Yelm is not a commoner's god, and Yelmalio seems to be associated with his Sun Dome temples so for most people this is not a significant change.

 Note that I think there are interesting parallels between Yelm, which is a cult of divine leadership according to GRoY in the Bright Empire and what we might surmise about Tarumath, which also seemed to make its leaders divine (Loko Moko) but whereas Tarumath does not seem to survive, Yelm does. That of course would make Yelm one of the Amalgam deities, but my essential proposition is that he is.

 

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5 hours ago, Ian Cooper said:

Note that I think there are interesting parallels between Yelm, which is a cult of divine leadership according to GRoY in the Bright Empire and what we might surmise about Tarumath, which also seemed to make its leaders divine (Loko Moko) but whereas Tarumath does not seem to survive, Yelm does. That of course would make Yelm one of the Amalgam deities, but my essential proposition is that he is.

Vargast & Harmast wrecked Lokamayadon's Taumath project quite thoroughly. There doesn't seem to have been anyone with similar influence or motive (Antirius revivalists?) in Dara Happa.

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Just now, JonL said:

Vargast & Harmast wrecked Lokamayadon's Taumath project quite thoroughly. There doesn't seem to have been anyone with similar influence or motive (Antirius revivalists?) in Dara Happa.

Indeed, although ironically Harmast ensures the survival of Yelm to some extant by granting him significant collateral worship in every Sacred Time. Perhaps it would have been better for Tarumath if a Bright Empire ritual had folded him in...

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While I'm following you pretty far, I'm just thinking about how the "High Sun" to Tarumath's "High Storm" was Daysenerus, not Yelm. How does one reconcile this?

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2 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

While I'm following you pretty far, I'm just thinking about how the "High Sun" to Tarumath's "High Storm" was Daysenerus, not Yelm. How does one reconcile this?

Yeah, that is a good objection, not thought of that point. It does make it less likely that there is a Tarumath-Yelm equivalence here.

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On the other hand I'm not sure if Daysenerus was the ultimate Nysalorian sky/light god

In this earlier thread Jeff describes Daysenerus as being bodhisattva like, and as the protector of the Little Yelm Cult, from which it can be inferred he's not the god worshipped himself.

If we take this into consideration  it's possible that he is more of an intercessor figure. Monrogh calls the Daysenerus/the High Light/Yelmalio the Brightness of the One Light (HotHP 108), which could suggest that the One Light was the actual Nysalorian deity, which could be interpreted as Yelm, Nysalor, or Aether; depending on how you look at it.

 

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2 hours ago, Ian Cooper said:

Indeed, although ironically Harmast ensures the survival of Yelm to some extant by granting him significant collateral worship in every Sacred Time.

Pretty much like the Orlanthi and Praxians ensure the continued existence of Chaos in the world through their rites. Just saying.

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18 hours ago, Joerg said:

Pretty much like the Orlanthi and Praxians ensure the continued existence of Chaos in the world through their rites. Just saying.

Without Chaos, Storm Bull loses much of his reasons for being.

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3 hours ago, soltakss said:

Without Chaos, Storm Bull loses much of his reasons for being.

He becomes a bull god, which is still pretty crucial to cattle cultures; otherwise Eiritha will be awfully lonely and more exposed against danger in general. But, no, he's not as fundamentally impressive, and despite his bellowing, would be subordinate to the cow goddess in relevance to everyday life.

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11 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

He becomes a bull god, which is still pretty crucial to cattle cultures; otherwise Eiritha will be awfully lonely and more exposed against danger in general. But, no, he's not as fundamentally impressive, and despite his bellowing, would be subordinate to the cow goddess in relevance to everyday life.

Chaos is a patriarchal conspiracy? ;)


I'm joking, mostly, but it's admittedly a known tactic in the RW: in order to maintain prestige and legitimacy of rule, a warrior elite needs some kind of enemy. If no such enemies are readily apparent, they can be made.

I suppose you could argue that both Yelm/Brightface and Orlanth have done something similar in relation to their respective Earth-Life goddess counterparts at some point in history, though exactly how "conspiratorial" it is, as opposed to just being an arrangement most are satisfied with given difficult conditions, will probably vary on a case by case basis. As this thread touches on, Yelm might have an origin in somewhat more overt, intentional subversion of preceding hierarchies (this raises the question whether this applies to all Sun deities in general, or whether this is a peculiar Pelorian phenomenon - compare and contrast with Yamsur, Elmal, Vrimak, Ehilm, etc.).

Edited by Sir_Godspeed

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3 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

He becomes a bull god, which is still pretty crucial to cattle cultures; otherwise Eiritha will be awfully lonely and more exposed against danger in general. But, no, he's not as fundamentally impressive, and despite his bellowing, would be subordinate to the cow goddess in relevance to everyday life.

Tell the worshippers of Bisos that. He's much more than a 'bull god'.

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3 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

As this thread touches on, Yelm might have an origin in somewhat more overt, intentional subversion of preceding hierarchies (this raises the question whether this applies to all Sun deities in general, or whether this is a peculiar Pelorian phenomenon - compare and contrast with Yamsur, Elmal, Vrimak, Ehilm, etc.).

Elmal's leadership functions (and Antirius') seem more consensual than Yelm's. They can be prayed to for 'justice', after all... Also Elmal becomes a Storm God-in-law by marriage, which is pretty much a peaceable arrangement, and guards the hearth as a 'duty' not as a 'privilege and right' as I think Yelm might put it.

I think Yelm/the Emperor's basic mythic role is as a male god of sovereignty and glory, and his subordination of Ernalda and Dendara is a direct repudiation of the rule-bestowing nature of the Earth: it is he that claims land not by mingling and mating with the ground, but by hovering cleanly above her. His sons/kinsmen are not so arrogant (even Kargzant has his mare-goddess, who clearly hid sovereignty powers).

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As a corollary, the fact that the mythic pre-murder Yelm is static and never reaches the ground, yet the pre-Yelmic Red King did plunge into the western horizon in Naverian myth suggests to me that the static-Suns-stoppish Yelm at the apex of the universe is the aberration, not the cycling Sun that enters the Underworld. Indeed, the interpolation of an eternal day into the old cycle of day and night (Xentha already existed at the time of Yelm's murder, after all) may be the first 'breaking' of the Cosmos, the source of the friction and wrongness that led to everything else.

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17 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

As a corollary, the fact that the mythic pre-murder Yelm is static and never reaches the ground, yet the pre-Yelmic Red King did plunge into the western horizon in Naverian myth suggests to me that the static-Suns-stoppish Yelm at the apex of the universe is the aberration, not the cycling Sun that enters the Underworld. Indeed, the interpolation of an eternal day into the old cycle of day and night (Xentha already existed at the time of Yelm's murder, after all) may be the first 'breaking' of the Cosmos, the source of the friction and wrongness that led to everything else.

And that's the stagnant age that Umath rebelled against, to re-instate the cyclic nature of Godtime...

But then, maybe it is the conflation of the Emperor (who always is present above, in his city and/or palace high up) and the sun which causes these problems.

Edited by Joerg
these, not a weird use of "thee"
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