By Greg Stafford, 17 Oct 2001.
Samburan. Name before finding the Spirit world. Category of novice, normal tribesman.
Bukaran. Name as shaman, knower of immaterial spirit world.
Korgatsu. Name after returning to the world.
The First People heard many tales about Bukaran from the First Beings. The First People developed a desire to know Bukaran that was even greater than the desire of the First Beings to know the Spirit World. The people of the Rathori gathered to listen to the white-haired wise men. They discussed how to find Bukaran again, and then they devised the Six Tree Ceremony that was so beautiful that Bukaran would be compelled to come to participate. It was so great that the dead came back and even Sakkar himself laughed and was sated while he was there. But not Bukaran.
“We need more help,” said Rathor, and sent messengers in every direction to find it. They carried gifts and were always friendly, and made friends among all the First Folk. After a while representatives from the First Folk, Second Folk and Third Folk all came from the six directions to Rathorela as guests. They liked it so much that half of them stayed, and for a long time there was much friendship across the whole land between these peoples. Clans moved all around, and the Folk mixed into other lands, and wives or husbands went from clan to clan in the most ancient way.
The wise ones in Rathorela spent great time discussing how to best contact Bukaran. The Eagle People were angry because they felt the Rathori had already ruined all chances with their previous Six Tree Ceremony. Nonetheless, after a time they agreed too, though reluctantly. Some of them flew away rather than support the effort through. Thus they were the weak link.
The Coiling Dance worked, and the Coiling Dancers created the place to manifest Bukaran into the world. The spirit again came to the dancers, who received the teachings, but more importantly the direct blessing of the great spirit upon them and their work. Their beneficence and magic helped everyone in the tribes, and they taught their knowledge to anyone. This began the Korgatsu Tradition. The modern Rathori religion is descended from this ancient practice.
Not everyplace performed the Coiling Dance properly. Most places didn’t have all thirty participants, and so Korgatsu didn’t appear. In other places the Folk doing it were so few in number, or lacked such important leaders among them that they summoned trouble to the world instead. These brought the Three Great Foes: the first god, Ganstoros; the first sorcerer, Zzabur; and the first Nihilist, Vit. The Folk who did that lost their ancient powers as a result, and they are no longer Folk. That is why we insist that it all be done perfectly in the ancient way when we hold this dance. We dare not err or these foes can appear among us.
Telmor, as we know, ate the sun and brought the Darkness. The Great Foes multiplied and destroyed the true spirits of the world they occupied. As Korgatsu had discovered the true spirit, they discovered their own versions based on the errors of their ancestors. Those are the Alien worlds which we avoid. They were hideaways for devourers and destroyers and defilers.
Rathor kept us alive. He sent the Folk to sleep in shifts while the Masters oversaw the magical protection of the faithful. When the winter ended then the Rathori rose again, out of the Den of Dens and ready to live.
The Yom Practices
The Yom Practice is the secret, most difficult part of the Korgatsu Tradition. It is an optional track, of little practical value to everyday life and survival. It is the transcendent path of western hsunchen. It is open to any member of the hsunchen tradition, not just shamans.
Yom dancers must learn strange things outside of practical shamanic practice, as well as integrate certain powers within themselves. The successful among them wield a mystical power, can turn into gigantic hooded vipers, and even bi- or trilocate.
They are known by many names: Snake Masters, Cowled Vipers, High Ones, Great Lords, Holy Beings and so on. To the Malkion, they were called the “Hykimi,” and recognized as a [shamanic] priesthood which united the otherwise disparate peoples of Fronela. The Yom organization was a fragile mystic brotherhood, and could not withstand the long-term magical assaults upon their holy places and rites, as well as armed forces content to destroy a grove or circle and move on. The Hykimi tried to withdraw from political life, but kept being drawn back. Master Hardarn innocently witnessed a treaty, though, and so three hundred people suspected of harboring serpentine tendencies were killed. Then the Ugly Seven achieved victory for a while by creating a war band of hardened guerillas, supported by impatient mystics who were slowly killed off.
Now it is a practice known only in Rathorela and Pralorela. It is kept a secret from all outsiders, and the few remaining secret masters contribute significantly to the peoples’ survival and the health of the local natural spirits.
Other parts of the world didn’t get everyone gathered together and so they suffered more when the Alien Worlds attacked. That is why they suffered more in the Storm Age, and why the didn’t benefit from the return of the sun.
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