On 02/06/2012, at 1:48 AM, Richard Hayes wrote:
> Less sure about the suggestion that his cult has a degree of "all boys together" with a barely concealed homoerotic subtext though. Elmal isn't Yelmalio -- it is a very Heortling form of Fire worship.
Elmal is distinctly gendered, but offering equality to those who choose not to be constrained by their gender role, in the same way as Orlanth - women are strictly speaking forbidden from becoming initiated to Elmal, but can participate in all cult rituals via Redalda, so in practice is open to both genders. It isn't *quite* the same as Orlanth and Vinga, though, because Elmal and Redalda have more distinct powers, and are also married. So the cult is, it is fair to say, a little more notable gendered than the average Orlanthi cult, but not discriminatory the way a Solar cult would be. There is a slight holdover from Fire Tribe ways, but Elmal is part of the Storm Tribe now and accepts their ways. I don't think there is any hint of homoeroticism - quite the reverse, Elmal is a cult that quite distinctly embraces heterosexual Heortling gender roles, and can accept women as participants in most of his sacred rites, and for whom heterosexual union is at the heart of many of the cults mysteries. If anything, I think Elmal is a little less homoerotic than the Orlanthi standard (less of that Thunder Brothers mutual admiration and backslapping). Now, that still is quite distinct from Helers gender fluidity, but I think it is also quite distinct from Yelmalio. The Yelmalio cult seems quite distinctly uncomfortable with sexuality intruding into the religious mysteries at all (indeed, allows it only in one very constrained way), and would really prefer that the holy remain celibate as much as possible.
> Secondly homosexual 'jocks' don'tneed to be repressed in Heortling culture -- they can be 'out and proud' as Helering Rams (or warlike manifestations of Orlanth?) instead. Though I'm not sure about the Orlanthi 'gay marriage' thing -- if that were so, Orlanth would have got together with Heler instead of Helera
Heortlings may be tolerant of homosexuality, but that still doesn't mean homosexual marriages normally produce children, so heterosexual unions are still more significant in Heortling culture. The issue of which clan the children belong to is a significant one in Heortling marriage - it follows that if there are no children, while a marriage may be very significant to the spouses, it is of less import to the clan. For mythic marriages in particular, many of them are of mythic significance only because of the offspring that result. Also, Heler is not a male with the power to change gender, but is genuinely of ambiguous gender - neither Heler nor Helera is the 'true' or preferred form, so there is no reason why Orlanth would have got together with Heler rather than Helera (especially as Orlanth himself seems very much more interested in the ladies, if flexible enough not to be a jerk about it). Cheers David
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