Re: Lodril in Caladraland

From: Stewart Stansfield <stu_stansfield_at_lOQ0oY-OqJjyzCikOXYDAKDC8iwZNd9ATZI6ZTDhZswvs_KQIazaa5Bk7qHSC>
Date: Tue, 04 Mar 2008 21:15:43 -0000


I can only speak for my thoughts on Caladraland (and all the following is IMO), and I wouldn't wish to suggest myths for elsewhere.

> Is the connection between vulcanism and earthquakes known (i.e. does
> Vestkarthen really "make the earth move") ?

In Caladraland, movements of the earth are heavily associated with the volcanic entities of that realm, and their children--but the connections vary so much in character that there's no real simple answer.

Caladrians possess a very animistic view of their landscape. Not in the mechanical HQ sense, but in the RW sense of natural structures (in addition to fauna and flora) being inhabited with various animae. Although all tribes worship Veskarthan, the Great Father, they have somewhat 'picturesque' and distinctly localised approaches to a great many other aspects of myth, particularly the local landscape entities that feature strongly in their myths and legends and often serve as tutelary tribal/clan gods/totems.

For example, lava flows are often considered to possess a serpentine aspect, being considered as Fire Snakes or Fire Lizards, slithering or crawling across the land. After a while, they grow sluggish, their molten scales harden, and they fall into slumber. As daimones (and...), and the offspring of the volcanoes, they form the literal bedrock upon which many communities are built. Thus for many, tremors might simply represent such entities twitching and turning in their sleep.

Depending on the character and magnitude of the earthquake, these movements might be more portentous. As opposed to be associated with smaller, local landscape entities, they might be associated with the volcanoes themselves, or even great Veskarthan himself. The volcano gods are a moody lot; indeed, there is a strong 'small-t' trickster element to their place in Caladran myth. Earthquakes are often seen as communicative, and can illustrate anything from stomach-rumbling hunger, mardiness and upset to procreative activity, favour and warning.

As a land of Fire within Earth, the energetic aspect of Fire can indeed make the Earth move. But there are so many ways in which this can be viewed, that if you come up with an idea, it's almost certain to be core tenet of the myths of a clan or tribe somewhere!

> Volcanic ash is fertile soil. Is this associated with a gift of
> Maran Gor ? Are the dead killed in volcanic eruptions considered
> sacrifices to her ? Or is it a sign of Vestkarthen's virility ?

In Caladraland specifically, there is an entity known as the Soil Mother. She has many names (of which more anon), and is an ancient goddess, very much being part of the 'Old Ways' cosmology of Caladraland. The Volcano Twins served, in essence, to diminish her influence, and replaced many of her functions. After the Devastation of the Vent at the end of the Second Age, she began to reassert her prominence.

The Soil Mother is one of the few gods or goddesses which has pan-  worship, being the child of Veskarthan and the Deep Earth, reborn countless times. Despite this, her cultus actually varies widely across the land, for a few reasons. (One of the reasons I simply refer o her as the Soil Mother here.)

She is heavily associated with volcanic ash. In the mytho-anatomic references of the Caladrians, ash is linked to flesh, one of the six central parts of being. Flesh burns to ashes, and many myths tell that Man was (re)formed from ashes by Veskarthan in the Godtime. A substance like ash is considered less as a single entity than represening an eternal, cyclical process, Life and Death, Creation and Destruction, Fertility and Stagnation, more verb than noun: what is, what was, and what will be.

Ash can bring fertility, but also stagnation and destruction; and from one can spring the other. Caladran warriors often cover themselves in ash before battle. They believe that its power of life will help heal and diminish their wounds as they fight; but also that if they are to die, its power of death will ritually prepare them for their passage to the Underworld.

Because of the 'dualities' she embraces, and the transitions between them, the Soil Mother can be seen as a capricious entity. In some tribal mythologies, the extremes of her aspects are 'resolved out' to various extents, even into two separate goddesses.

In Esrolia, Erilvoria ("beautiful flower") is a name often used to define both aspects. In certain parts of north and western Caladraland, it is more commonly used to define the aspect/goddess associated with the elements of growth and life: youth, fertility, pubescence.

Kora Gor, in contrast, is a name occasionally used to define the aspect/goddess associated with the elements of decay and death: age, stagnation, infertility. Taken together, the aspects are occasionally named Erilkora or Erilgora.

[Many thanks to Jeff for his contributions in names, and the nature of the cultus of the Soil Mother in Esrolia.]



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