This little snippet is in the Glorantha Sourcebook, and is an incredibly important tidbit. Even if the God Learners are now gone and cursed, the Mythical Synthesis Movement has already done its work. In a sense, we are all God Learners now.
The God Learners evolved the Mythical Synthesis Movement, an attempt to identify and define the gods, spirits, and other powers of the world, and arrange them into a coherent and knowable unity. By doing this, the God Learners sought to reconstruct and impose their will upon the mythical realities of the God Time. In the process, they discovered that many religions contained remarkably similar myths and gods, even though the cultures had never met and were separated by oceans, mountains and languages. The Mythical Synthesis Movement proved to be very popular in the regions of direct Jrusteli influence and eventually gained recognition (if not acceptance) in most civilized parts of the world. The God Learners grouped deities into artificial pantheons arranged around the various elemental Runes. These formalized arrangements are the product of scholars, poets, and philosophers, and often fly in the face of actual religious practice and experience. They nonetheless exercised tremendous influence upon the compilation of myths in Glorantha and upon the understanding of Gloranthan deities in the Hero Wars period.
The God Learners, like any sort of rationalist, had damn useful tools. They saw connections that were proven true, they made syntheses that worked, and they put together a full picture out of a jigsaw of local pieces. Their error (common to so many) was their belief that they could do more – that with will and reason they could overcome the form and structures that they had uncovered and remake the cosmos.
But they got as far as they did because their synthesis worked. They had discovered important insights into the workings of the cosmos. But they went too far (like minimaxing players or people discussing ideas on forums are wont to do). Nature struck back and broke the God Learners and their Middle Sea Empire.
A heroquest is a direct interaction with the divine realm of myth and archetypes. In a heroquest, you interact and experience the divine realm and bring back magic, be it Rune spells, guardian spirits, good harvest, a terrible curse, something long forgotten and hidden, etc.
As we interact with the kaleidoscopic divine realm, we of course change its arrangement. Like walking into a room of swirling smoke, our presence causes the mist to swirl around us, changing its direction and patterns. Most of the time we have little control of the changes – we enter the room, the smoke swirls because of our mere presence.
Like rationalists are even inclined to, the God Learners made the leap from conceptualizing how this all works together into the hubristic belief that they could control everything and reshape reality according to their will and intellect.