So my recent post on greater and major gods of Glorantha caused a few stirs, so let’s go a little further with it. One question is what are the Greater and Major Gods of the East Isles – and its seems to suggest there might be a different set native to there.
Let’s get the first part out of the way – almost every island deity is minor or very minor. Most are unknown off their own island. Thousands of deities co-exist in the East Isles under a blanket of common beliefs. Most important are a person’s home island deity, which would be one of the Million Small Gods of the East Isles. Every island cult is different. Yet to outsiders, they seem to form a homogenous whole, often bizarre and overly colorful. Most of these island deities are quite insignificant, hardly more than petty spirits in the overall divine hierarchy, having a few hundred worshipers. However, every adult native of that island regularly worships their island deity. The deity is the entity which tells them how to live a life of pleasure and luxury, in harmony with the larger gods of Nature and each other. Membership in these cults is determined entirely by being a native of that island. Converts are highly unusually and entirely unexpected. Even permanent immigrants to an island rarely bother to join the native island cult.
A tribe of greater gods, called the Parloth, oversee the world with indifference until they receive sacrifice. Once the proper prayers and offerings are made, the gods lend their powers to actively affect the world. Thus, the Small Gods all sacrifice to these gods, and mortals have priests to call on them.
Should the Parloth (those that are above minor god status, at least) correspond to Glorantha greater or major deities one to one? What does it mean if they don’t?
Those of the Parloth that of more than purely regional significance correspond to other major or greater gods. Many are actually minor deities, but we can see a few greater deities behind the incense –
- Goveranen (who is distinct from the Ehilm-Maluraya figure)
- The Rich Twins
A few of the anti-gods can be gleamed as the local versions of better known greater and major deities.
The Avanparloth are abstract, mystical concepts like the Elder Gods of Theyalan or Pelorian mythology. The Great Self; Stillness, Desirerer, and Receiver; Father of Gods and Antigods, Mother of Gods, and Mother of Antigods; Demiurge, Priest of the Gods, and Priestess of the Gods. They are key parts of Vithelan stories of creation, just as the Cosmic Egg is key to the Theyalan creation story.