Dendara Does, Molanni Malingers, Entekos...

From: salimondo <martinglass_at_qgCXrQKPTooHR1L55EsQ06UC5Do085R6i9YRWKudHbMKHl8GtlmLg22GyCivmyoV>
Date: Sat, 06 Oct 2012 21:44:55 -0000

Going back, I'm reminded that the best response to any Gloranthan question like "does Dendara have sky, air or earth powers?" is answered by the question "who are we asking?"

As Mr Metcalfe observed back in 1998, there is "no real difference" between sky and air "from the Pelorian PoV. Likewise the Orlanthi Storm Gods are considered to be _bad_ sky gods."

Ask a modern Dara Happan and (Y)ELM's wife is self-evidently the faithful White Planet. Ask them in Saird, where Molanni of the Jar, the sun's lover, comes from, and they'll probably say she's an air goddess, although Saird is still imperfectly understood so who knows.

Ask the Heortlings either question and you might get awkward stammering or a third response entirely, which is that Molanni is the bad air from the north while Dendara is the boring earth, the mean girl, the dull wife. (This gives her old earth rune -- which sadly persisted well into the Mongoose era -- an actual Gloranthan context.)

Ask them in Wendaria and they'll sing you a song about how there's no difference because, to echo Galileo, it all moves. But when you're talking about evaporation and atmospheric humidity, you call the great goddess Entekos. When you're talking about planets ("rise and fall") you say Dendara. And the precipitation is Endeddi.

Now that's fertile in itself as a way to think about eight-colored rainbows and blue people of Pelanda but doesn't buy us much detail on what exactly powers Dendara worship provides.

Shear away all the God Learner elemental magic, legacy "earth healer" stereotypes and efforts to normalize female behavior, and you're left with two things:

  1. The old Bless Home spell. A nice bit of family defensive magic but a little working class for what we now know about who actually worships Dendara's Husband. Push it down to Oria or another associate cult if you're hung up about such things.
  2. The Spindle. Plentonius identifies Gods Wall figure III.2 as Dendara and associates the figure's long spindle with an epithet "Spindle Goddess" not seen elsewhere. The glossary of GRAY is also unusual for emphasizing that Dendara is "noted as weaver, seamstress." We also learn in the Fortunate Succession that throughout Dara Happan history, the economic function of the Dendara Temples -- as opposed to the family hearths -- is to produce clothing for good people to wear.

That's interesting. We spend a lot more time in my house on than one might think possible, so that's kind of a neat way to make the Dara Happan queen of heaven distinctive.

But it's not really distinctive now that Ernalda has joined Arachne Solara among the weaver goddesses and we've met Imarja and her distaff. Simply adding another name to the list doesn't buy us much Gloranthan Fun.

And III.2 might not actually be the modern queen of heaven, much less belong to a modern air or sky goddess. For one thing, III.2 is pretty low in the cosmic pecking order, even in a profoundly chauvinistic religion -- is (Y)ELM's wife and "elder sister" (GRAY 8) really two tiers below the jar goddesses, much less cute little Avarnia?

We can read the Gods Wall as a hierogamic story of Sky's marriage to Earth, with III.2 bringing her relatives and everyone below her to the wedding. But that forces Dendara back into the earth family behind Ge(ne)rendetho the Earth King (!), finger goddesses, cthonic ancestors and other entities. If Dendara no longer has the earth rune, this doesn't work.

Or we can lean into it and reassign II.1 -- "Entekos" -- to the modern Dendara. This brings the planetary Wendarian goddess up into Row II and formally recognizes her as "the Highest Goddess" in company of the Four Sisters or life cycle goddesses.

The Entekosiad obviously supports this reassignment. On the Dara Happan side, all we know is that the original entity called Entekos was actually primeval air, Umatum, Rebellus Primolt (GRAY 16) and then Greg himself gives us the charming little note that "later a kinder goddess accepted this title and is on Gods Wall II.1."

Who "kinder" and more willing to fill the empty places below her lord than humble Dendara?

Now the story of an earth sister rising to celestial status just happens to be told in greater detail in Entekos Rising (ENT 9), although no lord or husband figures there. In Gods Wall terms, you have an entity here moving from Row III [earth/water] to the very front of Row II [servants of above], bringing the forces of life to the previously Changeless Sky, although in a beneficial, constructive form. (This is of course also a tantric narrative.)

By Plentonius' time, this story was lost or considered unworthy of discussion for some reason -- lost like a lot of the details of how the earth powers came into the Dara Happan pantheon, at best brushed under in the form of (Y)ELM's Wedding Contest.

So the question is who that is at III.2. I submit that the most famous little weaver we know of now was at the Celestial Court under the name of Ernalda.

And the primal scene of Gods Wall-era Dara Happan mythology was not so much hierogamy but bride theft.

And most specifically, the theft of bride by bridegroom's brother. But I've already spent all day on this one.            

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