History of Malkioni Thought – Brithini and First Age

The following is an attempt to define Malkionism by looking at the key “core texts” . By the definition I am using, a “core text” is the ultimate source text for a major cosmological, philosophical, and/or theological idea. Each core text has a myriad of associated commentaries, summaries, and treatises that explain, expand, interpret, and otherwise build upon the core text. This is still in draft form and subject to change but is about 95% final in terms of content.

Glossary Some of the terms of Malkioni philosophy are likely unfamiliar to most readers.

Ascended Soul: An individual who has ascended through henosis to full reunification with the Invisible God. Also called “Saint” or “Illustrious Teacher”.

Demiurge: The Creator of the Phenomenal World. Variously identified with Ferbrith or Kiona depending on the sect of Malkionism. Mainstream Malkionism views the Demiurge as acting in accord with the Invisible God and intrinsically Good; the Irensavalists view the Demiurge is corrupt and intrinsically Evil.

Erasanchula: The True Beings or Forms created by the Demiurge. Among them are Zzabur and the “Runes”. Many were corrupted or became deities.

Ferbrith: Malkioni name of the emanation of the Invisible God after it performed the First Action. Also called the One Mind, Malkion the Demiurge or Malkion the Intellect. Ferbrith exercised its eternal Intellect and therein took and shaped the cosmos tha had been but Matter and Power. Ferbrith created the world by perceiving their essences.  From this came Shape and Principles, and Ferbrith emanated Kiona.

Henosis: Union with the Invisible God through self-mastery. Several techniques of henosis are practiced by the Malkioni, variously achieving union with the One, with Ferbrith, or with Kiona.

Invisible God: The transcendent Source of All. Variously identified with the One, Ferbrith, or Kiona depending on the sect of Malkionism.

Kiona: Name of the emanation of the Invisible God after it performed the Second Action. Kiona took the Shapes and Principles perceived by the One Mind and from this came the essential Runes of Creation. Kiona is also called Malkion the Law, because that was his Rune of Power.

Joy: The experience of reuniting with the One through henosis. Joy was first revealed by Hrestol, who shook off the old Brithini strictures and established a new method of henosis for anyone to reach the Invisible God.

One: The transcendent and indefinable source of all. Also called the Invisible God.

One Mind: Name given to the emanation of the Invisible God when it performed the First Action.

Phenomenal World: The intelligible world created by Kiona. The phenomenal world is that of the Erasanchula, gross matter, and mortal beings, and can be measured, defined, and manipulated.

Solace: The experience of reuniting with Kiona through Living the Law (as the Brithini do) or through repeating the sacrifice of Malkion the Founder (as the pre-Hrestoli did).

Each of these core texts provides answers to the following questions:

  1. What is the ultimate source of creation?
  2. What is the source of the phenomenal world?
  3. How does one reach the source of creation?
  4. Who are the wise (wizards) and how do the wise make magic?

Gods Age

Blue Book of Zzabur

Written by Zzabur himself in True Script, this book is a first-hand record of creation, inscribed upon the flayed, yet still-living skins of his ancient foes. The Blue Book requires great labor and study even to read; the intellect must be attuned through rigorous logical self-discipline (Solace) and other strictures so that it is not annihilated by the knowledge contained within the book. This book is the core source text for all zzaburi wizardry. No complete copy exists in the world today.

  1. What is the ultimate source of creation?
    The Intellect is source of all things; Creation was when One Mind conceived itself. This First Action divided the One into Matter and Energy. The One Mind is the unlimited force that initiates the original rotation of matter, controls the consequent separatings, and arranges the whole in an ordered cosmos.
  2. What is the source of the phenomenal world?
    The Second Action created the True Forms (Erasanchula) in accordance with Law (logic). Later separatings combined the Runes creating essential things, and duplicated and multiplied the essences resulting in material things and phenomena. The Blue Book comprehensively lists these separatings, combinations, duplications, and multiplications as well as naming the results of each. The Erasanchula are strongly anthropomorphized with genealogies, children, realms, and so on – they are presented as the peers and rivals of Zzabur. The Bronze Pages of the Blue Book hold the personal secrets (and weaknesses) of the Erasanchula.
  3. How does one reach the source of creation?
    One reaches the One Mind with strict adherence to the Law (Logic). With Logic, one recognizes the difference between matter and energy as did the One Mind. Anything not sourced in Logic is error and brings one further from the One Mind.
  4. Who are the wise and how do the wise make magic?
    The wise are those taught by Zzabur, the Perfect Thought of Logic, the rigorous logical self-discipline of Solace is needed to perceive the distinction between matter and energy and to manipulate the Runes to produce a change in the natural world. The wise produce their efforts by studying and applying the relevant Runes.

Excerpt from the Blue Book

“Solkathi threatened the Land of Logic, but I, Zzabur, achieved that Erasanchula’s measure. I, Zzabur, compelled the Ehilmiti to act and boiled Solkathi Erasanchula’s gross matter. The gross matter of Solkathi Erasanchula boiled the followers of Solkathi Erasanchula. I, Zzabur, invoked the True Power of Stasis and the gross matter of Solkathi Erasanchula was made solid and bound. Utterly defeated, Solkathi Erasanchula submitted to I, Zzabur and was made my slave.”

The above fragment is one of two Blue Book fragments forming the basis of the Debaldan school.

Restrictions on spells derived from the Blue Book: Even by the standards of wizardry in the HeroQuest rules, spells derived from the Blue Book are extremely inflexible. Many spells specify the caster as a “zzaburi” or “student” or “Zzabur” – such spells require that the caster has not violated the strictures of the Brithini zzaburi caste. These strictures include: the wizard cannot spill blood or allow blood to be spilled upon his body, must obey lawful commands from a talar, must not perform physical labor, and must have been “initiated” into the wizard caste (ie part of the caste since completion of the adulthood rites). Sorcery involves achieving Solace (ie reaching henosis with Kiona or Logic). A minority of spells do not identify the caster and are not so restricted. Sample Spells from the Blue Book: it is widely held that a complete copy of the Blue Book would contain all the spells possible within the limitations of the Law. However, no complete copy exists in Glorantha. Less than a dozen fragments of the Blue Book are known to exist in Third Age Genertela; each forms the basis of entire schools of sorcery.

Notable associated texts: No complete copy of the Blue Book exists in the Third Age; however, the Blue Book is the ultimate source of all zzaburi wizardry and grimoires. Scores, perhaps hundreds, of grimoires are ultimately derived from commentaries on the Blue Blook, treatises abound on subjects within the Blue Book, and many core texts contain summaries of the Blue Book.

Among the schools of magic derived from fragments of the Blue Book include:

Barmalan School (t)(Zzaburi). This school derives from the fragments of the Blue Book describing how Zzabur used his sorcery to compel Humct to overcome a foe in combat. Some spells directly target a foe, others enable the wizard to aid fighters. Both the wizard and the fighter must comply with ancient Brithini strictures for the spell to work: the wizard must remain pure of all blood, especially the blood of foes because of the lethal taint of impurity; the fighter must belong to the hereditary warrior caste and not be a noble, wizard, or worker. The Iron Blood School of Segurane is derived from the Barmalan School and uses many of the same grimoires.

Sample spells: Strike enemy combatant dead, elevate Holar’s sword with Death, ward against inferior weapon (axe, spear, etc), ward against sword, strike armed enemy with terror, ward Holar against fear, make Holar stand and fight, Tap Life, and remove wound caused by enemy’s sword.

Ekozite School (s)(Zzaburi). This school studies the transmutations and transformation of gross matter using alchemical techniques. The school classifies minerals, metals and other substances according to their Runic composition; by manipulating the Runes, the wizard can transform and transmute the substance.

Sample Spells: Transmute copper to gold, liquify solid, solidify liquid, distill mixed liquid into pure, separate Earth from Water, Putrefy metal, and Tap [Matter].

Malvonian School (R)(Zzaburi). The techniques of higher contemplation studied by this school enable a wizard (who must follow Brithini strictures) to be unaffected by the magic of other beings and to overcome other magics. The basis of the school is the famous Malvonian fragment of the Blue Book where Zzabur proclaims,

“Contemplation alone stands untouched by magic; no man self-gathered falls to a spell.”

Each Rune has its own spells associated with it.

Sample Spells: Remain untouched by spell, dispel spell, remain untouched by [Erasanchula], dispel [Erasanchula]’s power, withstand magical entity from Otherworld, Tap [Rune], return magical entity to Otherworld.

Debaldan School (7)(Zzaburi): The Debaldan School traces its magic lineage to Zzabur’s defeat of Solkathi; that fragment of the Blue Book has been extensively analyzed, interpreted, and measured to create scores of spells. This school has long been associated with Sog City, although chapters can be found in large port cities throughout west and southern Genertela. One unusual stricture demanded by this book is that the wizard must avoid starting conflict with Air.

Sample Spells: Boil water, Freeze water, Speak to Water, Create Small Wave, Create Big Wave, Create Huge Wave, Swamp Ship, Float, Sink, Tap Water, Create Current, and Command Water Being.

First Age

Book of Hrestol

Following the death of Hrestol in 33 S.T., his companions, followers, and witnesses, wrote accounts of his life, deeds, sayings and death. The various Hrestoli communities each had their own collection of documents, including letters, memoirs, mystical writings, and collections of teachings. These collections were commonly called The Book of Hrestol. No two communities had the exact same collection. For example, the Hrestoli community in Woswal composed Against the Demons and insisted upon that book being part of the canon of Hrestoli writings. The Akemite community founded by Tomaris held the mystical writings called City of Virtue as part of their canon. All communities held a group of texts called “The Teachings” and contain teachings from Hrestol, consist of individual passages, dialogues, and stories intermixed with secret rites, incantations, and esoteric knowledge. Ritual, cosmic realities and the human person are all focuses of enquiry. However each community had a different collection of Teachings and there was no consensus as to the canon. Most communities claimed a copy of The Book of Glorious Joy, a short text dictated by Hrestol to his companions. Hrestol describes the ritual purification, self-mortification, and ecstatic prayer and meditation needed to prepare himself for his dangerous and difficult ascent. Hrestol is opposed by hosts of fearsome Erasanchula and describes the proper incantations, seals and names needed to get past them. At the climax of his journey, he unites with the One in Joy. Because of the lack of consensus on what formed the Book of Hrestol, there was great diversity concerning Hrestoli philosophy and belief. In Seshnela, many Hrestoli communities combined veneration of the Invisible God with sacrifices to Pendali gods (whose worship had been widely adopted by the Seshnelan colonies).

The following propositions of Hrestoli philosophy are from the True Hrestoli Way circa 200 S.T.:

  1. What is the ultimate source of creation?
    The One is the supreme universal source, unified and unifying, which connects and makes coherent all the foundations of Being from the One Mind to the lowest essential level. It is the principle of everything as well as cause of the cause, source and root of the whole intelligible cosmos. The One is beyond intelligence and being, is absolutely transcendent, without oppositions or contradictions, and so is incapable of definition.
  2. What is the source of the phenomenal world?
    The One perceived itself. creating the One Mind, which in turn created the phenomenal world by thinking the Runes with the Great Intellect. The Great Intellect viewed its origins and perceives Matter as being of many shapes, and Energy being fixed and true principles. The interaction of Shapes and Principles was in accordance with the cosmic Law of the Great Intellect and created the Erasanchula.
  3. How does one reach the source of creation?
    When one achieves self-mastery though mastery of the Four Tools and quiets the clamor of the lower world, the essential soul can contemplate the purity in itself and ascend purified. The essential soul possessing true morality and all the purity of the virtues contemplates its greatness, its righteous life, pure morality, courage with its noble look, dignity and modesty advancing in a fearless, calm and unperturbed disposition, and the godlike light shining upon all. The essential soul returns within itself and ascends to the One, transcending the phenomenal world and joining the One. We call this reunification with the One “Joy”.
  4. Who are the wise and how do the wise make magic?
    The wise are those who have transcended the phenomenal and have reunited with the One, achieving divine henosis. They are the Men of All, who repeat the acts of the Great Intellect to implement the will of the One Mind, thereby making magic.

Hrestol Hrestol ws a complex character whose life was a wide open exploration of various spiritual options. He began as a Talar, became the first Man of All by learning and practicing (parts of) the jobs and insider secrets for all the castes of the old Zzabur-dominated Malkioni. He abandoned all that, taking the Renunciate’s Way when he was a hermit, then a judge in the Vadeli Isles. He survived a visit to Brithos where his Renunciation was sufficient that he was not recognized, and went to Akem and among the commoners of Fronela. Out of duty to the commoners and his own virtues, Hrestol picked up the Four Tools, became the One Man, integrating the formerly conflicting ways of life. He united the many Fronelan colonies under Akem and led them to victory and security. But despite a wife, family, following and kingdom, he gave them all up again and again became a Renunciate. One day, meditating alone in a field, he was captured (without resistance) by Brithini troops and murdered after torture and crucified upon a Sorcerous Death Rune. Upon the death of his body, Hrestol’s essence reunited with the One and transcended Glorantha. Hrestol is widely worshipped as an Ascended Soul.

Restrictions on spells derived from the Book of Hrestol: The spells derived from the Book of Hrestol (regardless of compilation) do not require adherence to the strictures of the Brithini zzaburi. They do require that the wizard have experienced Joy (ie henosis with the One) in order to awaken the “inner light” of the wizard’s essential soul. Once one has achieved Joy, one can learn to manipulate the Runes in the manner Hrestol did. This was popularly called “God as Man” by the First Age Hrestoli.

Notable associated texts: Hrestol’s revelations enabled the Malkioni colonies of Genertela who had fallen from the Brithini Path of Law to abandon the restrictive Brithini caste system and still perform sorcery (which gave them an advantage over the less sophisticated neighboring peoples). Hrestol’s approach to sorcery was not intrinsically incompatible with worship of the lesser gods (Worlath, Seshna, and others), although participating in certain cult rituals interfered with achieving Joy. Early Hrestolism was very diverse and between the First Ecclesiastical Council (88 ST) and the Second Ecclesiastical Council (228 ST), many different strains of Hrestolism flourished. For example in Frowal, the Hrestoli cult co-existed with divine sacrifice to Seshna and Worlath; in nearby Vensket, the Hrestoli cult eschewed such sacrifices. In Akem, the Hrestoli cults were intellectually enriched and refined by continued debate with the Brithini settlement at Sog City. Some sects even worshipped Hrestol as a divine Erasanchula in the barbarian fashion.

Early Hrestoli Communities Hrestol’s followers founded communities of men and women from all castes who studied and practiced Hrestol’s revelations. Most were students, but those who had achieved Joy could dedicate themselves to demonstrating the way of Hrestol, by teaching and by deeds. These adepts or “Men of All” were not ascetic recluses – they farmed, fought, blessed and cursed, and served as judges. These communities were organized as military brotherhoods or “Orders”. Each Hrestoli order had a priestly leader called a “Watcher” who served as their spiritual and administrative leader, and to whom the Men of All owed obedience. The Men of All were the elite inner core of the Hrestoli movement. Most people subscribing to Hrestol’s teachings belonged to the outer ring of less committed or less self-sacrificing faithful. The members of the outer ring were more or less free to participate in non-Hrestoli cults as well as study Hrestolism.

Men of All The Men of All were addressed by other Hrestoli Malkioni as “Teacher” or “Master”; the title eventually became formalized as “Sir”. Because they fought from horseback, the Men of All were often called “horse-riders” (which is sometimes transliterated as “knight” by outsiders). New Men of All were admitted only after experiencing Joy and were required on admission to full membership to surrender all their property to the Hrestoli community. Men of All were not allowed to spit, deceive, interrupt, offer sacrifice to Erasanchula, dress badly, guffaw foolishly, or gesture with the left hand; they also swore to protect the innocent, the weak, and the poor, to show courage, to be gallant, obedient, to swear off cowardice and baseness, and to be a just champion of good against evil. Each Man of All was provided with weapons and mounts by their community, and was expected to perform manual labor for the benefit of the community, study magical grimoires, and act as judges and leaders for the outside community. In Akem, the Men of All served as the guardians and judges for the Fronelan colonies. In Seshnela, Froalar founded several Hrestoli communities and with their aid expanded his kingdom. However, the Hrestoli cult was not the predominant religious sect in either Akem or Seshnela until 200 ST.

Among the schools of magic derived from the Book of Hrestol include:

Xemelan School (l)(All): Technically pre-Hrestoli, the Xemelan school was founded by the mother of Hrestol, Queen Xemela, who was broadly worshipped as an Ascended Soul throughout Seshnela and Akem. Xemela gave her life during the Darkness to save her husband Froalar and Hrestol. Her followers study the arts of healing and swear to never hurt another being through action or inaction, and to heal whatever the personal cost. Failure to do so results in expulsion from the school.

Sample spells: Take Injury onto self, Take Pain onto Self, Take Illness onto self, Heal with Sleep, Banish disease spirit, Cure fever, Cure infection, Stay awake, and Bring merciful sleep.

Furlandan School (Spirit)(Hrestoli, Abiding Book): Founded at Woswal, the Furlandan school studies malevolent incorporeal entities from the Otherworld. When these entities enter the natural world, they seek bodies made of gross matter and often serve evil magicians in order to gain bodies. The Furlandan school teaches that the higher soul of those who have experienced Joy cannot be affected by such spirits. The wizards of the Furlandan School proved very useful in the wars against the Basmol worshipping barbarians of Seshnela. Against Demons is the specialty grimoire of the Furlandan School.

Sample spells: Resist [type of] spirit, Force spirit out of body, Identify spirit, Banish spirit, Curse spirit-talker, and Overcome spirit curse.

Against the Demons This book is an enumeration of various manifestations of evil spirits, and ways to confound them. The text consists of 22 chapters, fragments arranged as discussions between Malkion the Law and Hrestol. The first chapter is the story of creation, followed by the description of the Great Darkness. The second chapter recounts the expulsion of Malkion. The remaining chapters deal primarily with hygiene (care of the dead in particular), as well as disease and spells to fight it. Two chapters discuss the dignity of wealth and charity, of marriage and of physical effort, and the indignity of unacceptable social behavior such as assault and breach of contract, and specify the penances required to atone for violations thereof.

Orgethite School (g)(Hrestoli, Henotheist): This magical school specialized in Elemental magic, holding that Air is the basic element uniting the other four and the foundation of the other elements. The Orgethites were suppressed in Seshnela as heretical by the True Hrestoli Movement circa 200 ST, and fled to the Dangan Confederacy.

Sample Spells: Turn aside blows, Calm wind, Enhance wind, Dismiss wind, Change direction of wind, and Predict Weather.

Telendarian School (s)(Hrestoli, Viyamorni): This school first appeared in Akem, with esoteric knowledge dating back to the Fourth Action era. The wizards of the Telendarian School explored western Genertela, although most of their interactions with non-Malkioni went poorly (except for the Mostali of Nida, from whom they learned some spells). The Telendarian School was suppressed as Chaotic by Talor the Laughing Warrior during the Gbaji Wars.

Sample Spells: Tap Spirit, Travel Quickly, Evade Pursuit, Multiply Object, Disguise Form, and Travel over water.

Zendamalthan School (a)(Hrestoli, Zzaburi, Abiding Book): This influential school was founded by Tomaris, a companion of Hrestol who wrote the The City of Virtue, used by many Hrestoli for public worship. The Zendamalthan School claimed secret insight into achieving Joy through the study of numbers and geometry. According to its members, geometry leads the soul upwards to philosophical truth which describes what always is and not what comes into being and passes away. The discipline of geometry and mathematics leads the soul upwards to the eternal knowledge of the Runes, refines and purifies it so that it may reach to its truest intelligible sense and wisdom beyond temporality. The Zendamalthan School rejects empiricism and held material phenomena to be inferior and corrupt. The Zendamalthan School proved extremely influential in the Second and Third Ages by providing the intellectual underpinnings for Irensavalism.

Sample Spells:

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