Allocating Your Unconscious Life I


Runequest distinguishes three basic levels of spiritual participation in a cult – lay member (casual), initiate (dedicated), Rune Master (professional). Another way of thinking about it is how much of our Unconscious Life is devoted to a particular cult or thing. So let’s imagine what percentage of our unconscious life is dedicated to specific pursuits.

  • Maintaining contact with a major deity like Orlanth or Ernalda require at least 5% of your unconscious (minimum required for adulthood initiation). But full contact, like being an initiate, requires 20% of your unconscious. So let’s say Vasana has 20% – 5% with Orlanth in general, and 15% with VInga Adventurous.
  • minor deity takes up 5-15% of your unconscious.
  • An allied spirit takes up another 10%. Each bound spirit is another 2%. Dealing with ancestors and those sorts of community rites are at least another 5%. This isn’t the Daka Fal cult- that’s a minor deity – but just what a community does to revere those who went before them.
  • Spirit magic. That also takes up unconscious life – let’s say usually somewhere between 10 and 15%.
  • Personal Power. Everyone has some inner reserve which is used to protect oneself and one’s ego. Let’s say 10%. Let’s say Vasana has 15% in that.
  • Dream. In a sense all of the other categories determine the shapes one’s dreams take, but this is the stuff that outside our control. Minimum of 10% to keep your sanity. Lets say Vasana puts 25% in Dreams.
  • Undifferentiated. This is what you don’t know and can’t know. At least 10%. A few mystic traditions try to get this to 100% so that they Know. Let’s say Vasana has 25% in that as well.

So with Vasana, we already have about 50% of her unconscious life allocated to specific spiritual pursuits, with the rest being daydreaming or undifferentiated. She’s pretty concentrated and focused on spiritual things, but almost half her unconscious is either undifferentiated or dreaming.

Now let’s say she becomes a Rune Lord. That knocks things up another 10% likely coming out of her undifferentiated self – that allied spirit is a part of her unconscious! She then becomes a heroquester, knocking things up another 10%, as she tries to organize cult activities around her explorations – that comes out of her undifferentiated self and her dreams.Add in a few more spirits and pretty soon her unconscious is fully devoted to spiritual pursuits. There’s really nothing more that she can do!
Now the point of that thought experiment is to show that our adventurers are already pretty spiritually developed characters.

We could imagine Alvin the Ordinary. He’s doing the minimum necessary to function spiritually within his society:

  • 5% to Orlanth
  • 5% to the ancestors
  • 10% to personal power
  • 5% for spirit magic
  • 25% for dreaming
  • 50% is Undifferentiated.

Alvin is more like us moderns than we are like Vasana!

So you can see a big difference here. We call Alvin a Lay Member and Vasana an Initiate, but really it is how much of their unconscious self they are dedicating to spiritual pursuits.

Now some cultures (like us moderns) dedicate a lot of our unconscious to various abstractions like Monotheism, Sorcery, Democracy, etc. But the Orlanthi and the Pelorians don’t really do that.

Except for philosophers. But they are weird.