Re: How prevalent is magic?
> 2) Could you give me some examples of emulation of a god? I don't totally understand this. How do you act like the god of plowing? By going outside and plowing?
I like what others always gave in the way of responses to this question—nice depth there! A bunch more quick examples, out of my imagination (not any published sources).
Note that Barntar is specifically associated with the plough, but more broadly he is the prototypical carl (well off farmer), and helped define all that carls do.
- Just before ploughing season, you re-create the myth where Barntar first harnessed an ox, mythically repeating the agreement between farmer and ox. The same basic ritual, in more extended fashion, is also how you break an oxen to harness.
- You know what a plough team is and what a plough is, because in the holy ritual you've been to the gods world and seen how Barntar did it. So you harness the team the same way and use the same sort of plough. The lunars have some crazy plough, big and heavy, that they claim works better, but clearly it is not Barntar's plough so won't work with Barntar's magic, so how could it be better?
- Anyway, with the help of Barntar's magic, despite cranky oxen, wonky ploughs, stones, roots, and everything else, you can cut straight, evenly spaced, furrows that will delight the grain goddesses and encourage their daughters to grow well.
- You rotate your fields between crops and being fallow the way that Barntar did. There will also be rituals associated with each usage.
- The first sheaf of wheat you cut in the fall is burned to Barntar, and the last sheaf of each grain is tied off into a figure of the appropriate grain goddess, and given to the women to keep in the loom house until next planting season, where they are taken out and brought to their respective fields and `woken up' ritually. This helps ensure that the goddesses know where to bring their blessing each year.
- You use the techniques that Barntar taught to clear trees and rocks from your fields. Fortunately Barntar was strong, and by channelling his magic you can pull out stones that even mighty warriors would be unable to move.
- Thanks to Barntar you know when and how to slaughter animals in the fall, and how to preserve their meat so that it lasts until Spring. Fancy trying to do that without his magic! And of course, the ritual ensure that the gods of the herd animals are not offended by the slaughter, and don't turn your animals against you.
- Barntar negotiated the place of Carls (well off farmers) in the clan, and so you know your rights and obligations, from when you will gather your spear, shield, and hard-hat and attend the must of the fyrd to how much grain you should give the brewer in return for how much beer. All of these activities have a ritual component that is part of your worship of your pantheon of gods, but you play the part of Barntar in these activities.
- When you get your first mug of beer after a day of hard labour, you always slosh a bit onto the earth, to thank the earth goddesses for their part in things. Then you enjoy your beer! But if it turns out that after enjoying a goodly amount of beer you have to go and do something, Barntar's magic will help there too, for he was always ready for labour no matter what he had drunk (except that one time when Eurmal the Trickster was involved, but you don't tell that story to those outside the cult!)
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