Elmal and worshippers

From: Peter Larsen <plarsen_at_mail.utexas.edu>
Date: Sun, 2 Sep 2001 00:00:40 -0500

Peter Metcalfe says:

>>Elmal either nerver partook of Yelm (the Yelm is not Evil Emperor model)
>>or separated himself (the Yelm is the Evil Emperor model).
>Where in the Storm tribe writeup do you find that Elmal has
>never partaken of Yelm?

        If Yelm is not the Evil Emperor, Elmal has nothing to do with him. Yelm is some weird Dara Happan thing that has nothing to do with a good Orlanthi god like Elmal.

>>and His worshippers have access to broader and more profound powers than
>>the Elmali, partially because they have a better "conduit" and partly
>>because they have a much more developed philosophical structure.
>This assumes that belief makes gods which is wrong. Worshipping
>Yelm leads to greater solar powers than any other god simply
>because Yelm is the theistic sun.

        Not necessarily. It's pretty clear that worshipper's understand of the god has an impact on the powers a worshipper can get. People weren't chucking Sunspears around until someone (Avivath?) used it to smite a bad emperor; surely Yelm did not suddenly decide to start handing them out. Someone figured out how to ask for it. Supposing I'm living in a valley in the Quivin in 1250 (don't ask how I or my family got there). I set up an altar to the Big Thunder Guy, because it's pretty clear there's a big thunder guy. I worship him some, and I do my sacrifices, and I get some magic. Now, there's a whole lot to Orlanth that I don't know about (Rulership and Justice and Marriage to the Big Earth Lady and having a brother who's a cat, etc.), so I can't ask for those blessings or figure out how to sacrifice to please those parts of him. I may be worshipping the same god as the guys across the deathline, but I have no philosophy or myths to guide me; I'm pretty naive. When the Heortlings return to Dragon Pass, I'll either realize that their god and mine are the same and merge with the more developed Storm/Orlanth worship, or I'm going to die out. Knowing the Orlanthi, I'll probably die out anyway, but what the heck.

That many cultures do worship
>lesser sun gods is not because they have an inferior method of
>worshipping Yelm but because they are actually worshipping a
>lesser sun god with an independent existence from Yelm.

        Exactly, but you seem to think they realize they are worshipping a lesser god, where I think they would find some reason to believe that their god did the job better (and therefore was neither lesser nor inferior). "Yeah, that Yelm can blast you to ash with fire form the sky, but can he make duckweed and cabbages grow properly? Stick with the sun of your ancestors, if you know what's good for you...."

>The Orlanthi do not worship Yelm because Yelm's worship requires
>modes of thought and behaviour that are contrary to Orlanth's

        I think we're in agreement here.

>I do not believe that the Dara Happans have a better cult of
>Yelm is contingent upon their thinking about Solar truths.
>Orlanthi hardly think about such things at all yet they
>worship the Great Storm God nevertheless.

        But the Orlanthi do spend most of their religious time thinking about the mysteries and rituals of the Storm. Every time they heroquest, they come back with another bit of Storm Truth to chew on. I think the Solars are more efficient about how they do this (they have more religious specialists and a centralized government that might encourage the spreading of philosophies rather than hoarding the bits of truth as clan secrets, and they haven't killed off all their religious experimenters at least once), but that doesn't mean that the Orlanthi don't.

>>Elmali who want a deeper Solar understanding either need to
>>have Amazing Theist Revelations and be kick-ass Heroquesters
>>(not too likely) or give up Elmal altogether and jump ship
>>to the closest Solar cult -- Yelmalio. All in my opinion.
>It depends on what you mean by deeper Solar understanding.
>Greater Solar powers? There's no way they can improve upon
>Elmal (either by Amazing Theistic Revelations or Kick-arse
>Heroquesting) simply because Elmal is as great as he ever
>will be.

        Surely it's possible to discover new myths about Elmal? There could be whole Aspects left undiscovered. Elmal of the Justice Spear, Elmal the Hawk, Elmal the Good Husband, Elmal the Burner, and so on, not to mention herocults based on minor discoveries about Elmal. So Elmal could have more and wider powers, some of them Solar, but I agree that they shouldn't be greater in "power" (in RQ terms, he's not handing out resusable Sunspears).

Joining Yelmalio is also hardly a good decision
>to Greater Solar Powers as he's wimpier than Elmal.

>What part of Humakt's writeup do you find too Orlanth/Heortling?

        My previous post deals with this, and this one is too long as it is.

>Secondly the Rinliddi Death Goddess is the Crimson Bat (hardly
>little or sneaky, but maybe that's just me). And to forestall
>a possible question, Shargash skinned her.

        She was little and sneaky to Murharzarm (who was either a Big Guy or the Bat grew some (and grew grusome) in the intervening millenia). Shargash skinned her? That I did not know....

Peter Larsen

End of The Glorantha Digest V8 #511

Powered by hypermail