Idols

From: Jerome Blondel <bwbfc_at_hotmail.com>
Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2001 05:17:45 +0000


Alex Ferguson :

>Jerome Blondel:
>>Given that the sacrifice seems to be the deity's gift (a bull, some milk,
>>some oil..) i think the free action you sacrifice is related
>>to the magic the idol gives you. Simply said, a hunter who swears
>>not to hunt the Blue Bird would receive magic from his idol that helps him
>>hunt the Brown Bird (which may happen to be more tasty btw). The hunter
>>would rationalize this by saying the Blue Bird is
>>the godling's prerogative/ friend/ manifestation/ or anything else that
>>does the trick.
>
>But this is exactly how bargaining with spirits works; transactions
>of this sort sound more animist than theist, I gotta say. (The "mundane"
>sacrifice can be present in either.)

Well, i guess i've learned a new thing about spirit worship. Now, it's been said the folk of the Genjera Tales used to be animists but their conquerors forced them to sacrifice to gods. In their great rituals, they undoubtedly go to the Godplane. But i'd like them to display remains of those animistic ways, and i didn't even intend the similarity you noticed.

Here's my current idea about idols:

Collective idols are technically kind of guardian beings. All are sacrificed to. Village and city idols have the three standard functions, and there are also idols you put in your house that act roughly in the same way. Specific idols, like those of the fishermen's guild, can have membership requirements like 'If you catch some Blue Fish, throw it back to the sea.' In return you gain the Fishing affinity from the Fisherman hero. Other idols can give the Boat affinity from the Boatman hero, and the misapplied Openwater Sailing affinity from the Dormal hero. Usually each boat has it's own idols. And when your boat carries the Boatman idol, the Boatman inhabits the whole boat. The Fisherman idols inhabits the fishing nets and lines. Etc. Usually such idols only last for the length of the endeavour, and then are sacrificed (to the gods who inhabit them?).

I think there can be individual relations to idols too. Our fisherman wants some specific feat. He's gifting the priest properly, paying him a beer now and then, and with help from his family and the priest does some ritual preparation. There comes the yearly Big Fish Rites. Our fisherman meets the Fisherman Hero in person there on the Godplane and makes a bargain with him. Now he can use an an extra feat from the fishing idol (Kill Sharks with Teeth). In return, he must obey some extra taboos vis-a-vis to the idol, thus showing he pays it more attention.

OTOH i'll probably drop the idea of individual idols that look like fetishes.

>>It's the idol who casts the magic, not the owner. I think it's the
>>idol who "shares the self" (the term used in Thunder Rebels). That's
>>because the Masloians are so afraid of meddling with supernatural
>>entities.
>
>The idol shares its self with what, though? That _is_ the self of the
>idol? I'm not especially gripped by this as an account of what's
>going on.

You're right, that was silly. The people probably give food to their idols, satisfy their whims, and in some clans even dress them like Barbie dolls (or like Scarecrows), all things that are direct sacrifice.

Jerome

Too bad there's no snow in Maslo.



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