Re: the Great Uleria debate

From: Andrew Larsen <>
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2001 23:59:40 -0600

> From: Peter Larsen <>


>> It would seem likely to me that it's a case where Orlanthi differ
>> quite a lot and a clan's relationship with Uleria would probably
>> depend upon the clan's myths of how Uleria and Ernalda interacted
>> in the God Time. Some would see her as a demon, some as positive
>> influence, some as neither.

> Maybe, I suppose. But it's been fairly hashed out on this list that
> there's precious little economic or social support for modern-style
> (Western, urban) prostitution amoung the Orlanthi. I don't see why she
> should be worshipped in Sartar any more than any other foreign god. I can't
> say for sure what the position of Uleria is, but it doesn't look very good.

    I don't think this has really been hashed out. Based on my brief look over this thread, there seem to be one faction, including myself, Ian Thomson, Martin Dick, Olli Kantola,and Herve Ancelin, (and I may have missed others) who think that there _is_ support for Uleria worship, while you and Peter Metcalfe are the only ones saying there isn't support for it (although John Hughes seems to have supported your position in a previous thread). Given that, I don't think we can claim that the prostitution issue is resolved. Gloranthan prostitution may not be exactly the same as RW prostitution, but that doesn't mean it doesn't occur. Virtually all societies that possess cities have some form of prostitution, and even relatively non-urban cultures also offer some evidence of it from what I understand, especially cultic prostitution.  

>> - - they provide some kind of magic which is occasionally useful to the
>> community

> Duplicated, for the most part, by acceptable gods, of which Ernalda, the
> Queen of the Storm Pantheon, is the most prominant.

    But by this argument, there is little reason to worship most Orlanthi gods, since their magic can largely be duplicated by subcults of Orlanth or Ernalda. In particular, the Ernaldan healer subcults do most of what Chalana Arroy can do (exception resurrection, which can't be that common anyway). Orlanth the Lawspeak seems to duplicate much of Lhankor Mhy's function in Orlanthi society, and so on. But these gods are still worshipped because as specialists they can do a small number of things better. And Uleria does some things better than Ernalda. Besides, Uleria represents a basic human drive, one which cannot be suppressed even in strict societies, so I suspect that part of her cult's nature is that it springs up everywhere to some extent, even where society may not entirely like it.     

>> - - they are viewed with varying degrees of social tolerance depending on
>> their locations
>> - - they accept lay worshippers of any kind (except chaotics)

> But Lay Worshippers don't exist anymore. Instead we have pantheon worship,
> in which Uleria (as far as I know) does not belong. She could, I suppose,
> but being called a "demon" in TR kind of suggests against it. Hell, Humakt,
> a scary, deadly force that is explicity not kin is not called a demon but a
> thane. Even Kolat is not a demon. Uleria is pretty far out there. Hmm. Does
> this mean that the Heortlanders and the Sartarites have different "Storm
> Pantheons?" The Dragon Pass Orlanthi weren't (obviously) able to import
> Larnste worship.

     Quite honestly, I think the reference in TR to Uleria being a demon is less persuasive than simply silly. The whole principle of 'Gregging' makes it clear that nothing written about Glorantha is truly definitive, so basing an argument on one sentence doesn't feel very persuasive to me.

>> - - nobody wants to mess with Ulerian magic. Hey even the Orlanthi Heroes
>> don't want to risk the 'terrible' reprisals of impotence etc (only some
>> Humakti would be immune to such fears, but since they worship the
>> ancient Rune of Death and Uleria worships the ancient Rune of Life, likely
>> there is a respect and tolerance between the cults, even though the details
>> of their parallel existence is not understood by the average Humakti)

> You could say the same thing about Malia. Having the Plague Spirit protect
> your town would be a great way to cut down the urban death rate. Nobody
> does it though.

    Yes, but Malia is also associated with explicitly Chaotic forces, and was instrumental in the birth of the Devil. Uleria is not associated with Chaotic powers, and given that she rules one of the fundimental principles of the universe, almost by definition she can't be chaotic.

> Andrew Larsen says:

>> In Gods of Glorantha, one of her rune spells specifically assists
>> communication among members of any community.  So I think it's safe to say
>> that on some level she is a goddess of community.  She oversees forces which
>> unite people.  Carnal love is only part of that.

> But the Heortlings are cram-packed with community building rites and
> deities. Why do they need to worship some weird goddess from the the very
> start of things? Worship of Uleria is as out of place in Sartar as worship
> of Innana in Medieval Scotland. In my opinion, of course.

    Not really a fair comparison for any number of reasons.  

> Grrr. See where Ulerian community magics get you? I try to give my brother
> a little feedback, then this happens....

    Hey, now, no kinstrife on the list.

> From: "Lemens, Chris" <>

> The release of TR somewhat downplays the role of the Lightbringers in
> Orlanthi culture.

    Indeed. It was one of the things that I really objected to in TR.

  I'm also interested in Quests which involve
> Arroy, Issaries, Lhankor Mhy and Eurmal.

    I've published a couple such quests on the list. If you want, contact me directly and I'll share what I have.

Andrew E. Larsen

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