Greg Sez: The Nature of Harmony and Fertility (Jun 1999)

Question from Bob Stancliff, Answer by Greg Stafford. Published 1st Jun 1999.

Q: Why is Uleria’s primary rune Fertility and Chalana Arroy’s Harmony, when Harmony seems to have much more with Love and Fertility with Healing? The Greeks had words for several distinct aspects of love such as Phila, Eros, Agape and at least one other. None of these forms or the English uses of the word are directly related to Fertility in any way, instead, they relate to the ways that people are joined together, relate to each other, and share their lives. Clearly, Love is the primary aspect of Harmony. Fertility, on the other hand, is the essence of growth, fecundity, regrowth, and therefore, healing. As the runic opposite of Death, Fertility opposes and defies Death, it heals and reincarnates.

A: Although the Gloranthan runes are Absolutes, or perhaps because of it, any attempt to assign a single word to one of these runes as a name is doomed to failure. “Fertility” and “Love” alone cannot sum up the energy and powers that Uleria embodies. Don’t let labels confuse you.

Uleria does indeed possess and embody the Fertility or Life rune. This rune is about coming together, joining, even as the Death rune is about separation and tearing apart. Love draws things together — when a leaf falls from the tree to the earth, it is the love of the Earth Mother that causes this. Love, lust, appreciation of beauty, good conversation, all are ways of bringing people together.

In Glorantha, the natural result of any joining of two things is their melding into or creating of a new thing. Thus, the natural conclusion of the joining of a man and woman in love is the birth of a child. The magics that worshipers of Uleria gain serve to facilitate either the process of coming together or the natural result of such a joining. This is why Uleria embodies the Life rune — she is the embodiment and empowerment of Love, of joining together.

Life/Fertility is not concerned with Healing, however. Healing falls in the realm of Harmony, of returning something to the state it was in before it was disrupted. A wound or illness is not a normal feature of an entity, it is something caused by the forces of Disorder — violence, anger, fear, etc. Healing such an affliction is a matter of restoring the entity to its natural state, not giving it more “life.”

Even Resurrection is not concerned so much with restoring “Life” as it is with repairing the Separation between body and spirit, putting them back into their natural state of Harmony with each other. If a plant or animal dies, Nature does not try to bring it back to life — it simply causes a new plant or animal to grow or be born. This is why Chalana Arroy has no power to enhance the fertility of a man or woman, nor should she. She partakes of Life, but she is the source of Harmony.


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