Glorantha, sin & Christian faith: theological ruminations.


(Being an almost verbatim copy of “thinking aloud.” Context suggests this dates from late July 2014, at the Continuum convention after a panel/seminar on Glorantha by Jeff Richard).

“If [the] Gloranthan view of sin is not about conscious ethical shortfall so much as ritual pollution (a lack of purity rather than a lack of correct action/deliberate contravention) what does it say about Greg [Stafford]’s ethical/mystical basis? It’s not totally true to call it amoral, since the gods expect mythical and mundane re-enactment [of their worshippers] to display their attributes, thus shaping the life of the believer, but it would be fair to call it non-absolute. Gloranthan myth expects difference and inconsistency and rejects the Godlearner monomyth. Is that a rejection of a metanarrative?”

“Malkioni thought, in some ways closest to Christian monotheism is about the triumph of Logic rather than Logos, of wizardry rather than Wisdom incarnate.”

“Christian salvation would be hard to map into Gloranthan thought. (Glorantha is a 1960s appropriation of classic non-Judaic, non-Christian ethical approaches) [In retrospect I’d remove the reference to Judaism and add more nuance]. Given the similar postmodern rejection of metanarrative and absolutes there are many congruences between the Real World and Glorantha. The latter is much more mythically (& theologically) aware, pregnant with, and expectant of the magical and miraculous. Given that, how might the Gospel to the Gloranthans look? How might it differ from a Gospel to the Present Day?

A fundamental similarity, and difficulty, would be in the [orthodox] understanding of sin as transgression of moral absolute, but maybe even greater would be about the need for ‘salvation’ in the first place. What might salvation mean to the Gloranthan world-view? Is it closer to the need of the psalmist from deliverance from foes rather than escaping hell-fire? While Lunar hells are understood as the “current location” of Hofstaring Treeleaper and Sheng Seleris, would it be fairer to speak in terms of Sheol and Underworld as counterparts to Asgard and the Happy Hunting Grounds (thank you AD&D…)? [There is also] the understated expectation of some form of reincarnation in much of the material. ([This] also touches on the question of how [the understanding of] Sheol mutated towards the dual eternities of punishment and reward…)”

“[One theological direction of exploration that comes to mind is in understanding] “life in all its fullness” [John 10:10], not as a spiritual manifestation… but as a fact in line with the Christian Aid slogan “we believe in life before death”, a message of wholeness and completeness accessible in the now. ([There are also] parallels with (Lunar) Enlightenment.”

Of course, I’m not sure how much sense this will make to anyone else, combining as it does Gloranthan esoterica and Christian Theology. However, it’s one way of protecting a random piece of paper in my files for posterity, and possibly acting as a thought-starter. And, after all, one of these days I might yet write that book, or the professional doctorate?

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The Guvnor
Staff member
Thanks for this @Dr Moose
In that early Christians seem to have been revelatory, looking beyond the strictures and structures of their core beliefs whilst still holding to a rabbinical tradition, with clear influences from Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Mani and the Hellenistic traditions of Gnostic syncretism.. I have to go with Lunars as early Christians.
Nysalor is some kind of John the Baptist.
The Seven Mother's are the Apostles.
The Red Emperor is the eventual Holy Roman Emperor.
However there are elements that don't feel right.
The Lunars are dualists (Law/Chaos) but also have a Greek understanding of nature as elemental.
The religions seem very ritualistic, but I suggest that the anecdotal evidence and remaining records suggest the Syriac Orthodox Church is/was far more ritualistic than the West.

But is there a Messiah? IMHO there isn't really a divine Trinity.

On the other hand, just like the Middle East of the early first millennium, the Hero Wars of 1630 may be calling out for one...

Thoughts @First Age @BenQ?

First Age

D&D h@ck3r and Hopepunk
Staff member
Given the rich fulcrum of origins, particularly in the Apostolic beginnings there appear to be possible influences across cultures, but these are flattened out significantly during the Ante-Nicene period.

If I was challenged to draw any parallels between my fading Gloranthan understanding and that of our own religions then I wouldn't comfortably put the Lunars anywhere near Christianity, proto or otherwise. I'd probably want to head further East, possibly via Hinduism; if nothing else the aesthetic marries much stronger.


The Guvnor
Staff member
@First Age I may be over estimating the Gnostic and syncretism of early Christianity. There is also not the anti-materialism of the Gnostics in the Lunars.
The task was more to look for analogue for the Lunars but one for Christianity.