I’ve posted a few thoughts on the dilemma of how mortals interact with the God Time, and how to understand the gods so that mortals might wield a fraction of their power in order to better survive in the World of Time. This is how things more or less work for 90+% of mortals. But there is one group of mortals that eschews that approach. In the West, mortals study the workings of the cosmos and the objective manifestations of the gods so that mortals can bend the cosmos to their will. That’s sorcery in a nutshell – a way for mortals to replicate rather than wield the magic of the gods. Sorcery serves only mortal will, and only comes with those limitations within the spell itself (many spells come with deliberate limitations that are nearly impossible to unweave and still understand the spell – and so they remain).
The God Learners went a step further and explored the God Time, following the paths revealed by Arkat. By exploring the God Time and understanding the myths of the gods, these sorcerers could gain tremendous insight into the functioning of the cosmos and create far greater magic than the First Age sorcerers could even imagine. The God Learners did truly blasphemous things in order to gain knowledge – and one was to manipulate the challenges and tests used to prove spiritual claims. They might use sorcery to create effects that could not be created through known Rune magic and then use that to prove their claims and force changes on cults. For although sorcery is not directly as powerful or immediate as Rune magic, with preparation it can be far more flexible, and sorcerers can craft spells that duplicate the effects of Rune magic. Think through the implications of that and be appalled. And this is why the God Learners are hated. Not the Monomyth, which has been embraced by thinkers everywhere. Not the Middle Sea Empire, gone for seven centuries. Not even the Goddess Switch or the Machine City. No, it is the corrosive impact of their approach on spiritual experimentation. In the Third Age people feared heroquesting because they feared what the God Learners did and what happened to them.
The too short version is that sorcery allows the sorcerer to replicate the observable manifestations of the divine without needing to go through all that cult nonsense.
Another way of thinking of this is that sorcerers study the divine archetypes to be able to replicate their powers without the whole respect, worship, secret mysteries, and other cult stuff. It means the West is spiritually stunted in many ways. Too long the zzaburi have just Will to Power’ed their way through. Long ago they lost touch with both Malkion and Hrestol. And that includes both the Rokari and the New Hrestoli.
Most Lunar sorcerers have Irrippi Ontor at their core, and like their Lightbringer counterparts, they’ve supplemented that with sorcery. BUT the Lunar sorcerers have done the most with the Moon Rune of anyone.
Most other cultures just use sorcery peripherally as a supplemental approach. But at the core is Cult. So look at Lhankor Mhy – the God of Truth is at the core of what they do, sorcery is just a technique they use to gain additional knowledge and builds off what they have learned.
Only the Malkioni have really enabled their educated sorcery-types to run the whole show without that basic tie to divine. The Malkioni do not demand respect for their own magic, nor a tender care in treating with them. That whole Zzabur “Will to Power” mentality makes them more than willing to break eggs to make their omelets. The Closing, the Syndic’s Ban, the Goddess Switch, the False Gods of Umathela, and more. No wonder the cosmos itself rebelled against the God Learners.
Sorcery allows one to replicate the manifestations of the divine. You can imagine it as a rationalist approach to magic – or a purely hollow simulacrum.
Are there sorcerous illuminates? Gbaji is strongly hated in the West, and most sorcerers view Arkat as a villain, so draw your own conclusions about sorcerous illuminates.