A God Learner text annotated by Greg Stafford, recently rediscovered in a warehouse in Berkeley:
The Nature of magic is in the origins of the world, wherein the gods performed the actions which were to determine the being of the world.
In Glorantha, as in our own world, the crux of the entire matter originates in the First Beginning (yes, there were other beginnings). The crisis and dividing point of the world lies in the separation of the First Gods from Chaos. As the Old Vadeli prayer puts it:
Breakaway, Breakaway, Let me alone! Take your hands off, I'll cut them! Take your feet off, I'll stomp them! Look away from me, I cannot bear you! Do not follow, you are my foe. Do not pursue, I shall kill you! Never come near, now we are separate. Never come near, we are not the same.
These are the words that the Old Vadeli heard when the world was first made, and they report these words as being a chorus of all the Grey Ones, shortly after their self-conception within the womb of Chaos. It is also the song they sing at childbirth, to protect the mother god and the newborn.
The fear, perhaps even terror, which is easily visible in this birth-song sets the entire pattern of the Future for the Vadeli. It initiates the conflict which is implicit to simple Existence and Being, as opposed to the virtues or evils of Chaos. To struggle is accepted as the baseline of existence, and the opposition which was established at the First Beginning carries through all of Creation.
For all of the timeless Gods Age the Grey Ones, and their children of the Elements, managed to keep the Vadeli prayer strong, and to maintain Existence without Chaos. The 5 Elemental Sources, spawned and multiplied within themselves, creating the world of the Gods. The Grey Ones infused all of the world with themselves, giving a great inner strength which allowed all of the miracles of the Gods Age.
Yet, in the end, their strengths proved their weakness, and even helped bring it out. It nearly brought about the end of the world, as is succinctly put in an illegal quote, gained from Bodiless Book of the Yong, a sect which is supposed to have vanished with the dissolution of the Empire of the Wyrm’s Friends:
“Law is its own perversion. Love is its own destruction. War will fight itself to exhaustion, while even Truth will bore itself to death. Such is proved by the end of the Gods Age. The end of the Gods Age came when the gods grew too fat. They filled their own worlds with the Grey Ones, taking and multiplying the Laws and the Loves and the Loyalties to suit the races spawned within themselves. They diffused their energies in supporting the Laws, and when they filled themselves with it, turned to spread into the other deities. This is the start of the Gods War. This is the origin of Chaos in our world.”
The oppositional conflict of Chaos versus Cosmos eventually crept its way into the very fibre of Creation. This is, of course, essential to that very existence based upon the primeval conflict and opposition. Integration with Chaos meant loss of Existence, which diffused itself into creation as being a conflict of each element within parts of itself. In the initial generations of deities, each element is rigidly confined by its essential character to one of the genders. Yet after their self-development under the influences of the Grey Ones, every element eventually spawned generations which contained all the genders we commonly recognize.
This, of course, allowed for the greatest sharing and positive exploitation of Uleria’s Net, and eventually led to the breeding between elements and bonding of the seams of the world. This all is confirmed by the Book of Zzabur, although the Brithini rejected its implications.
Like a lot of these essays, there is a lot in there, on the nature of the cosmos and of Chaos, on the Vadeli, and much more. Digest it carefully!