A few more notes on gods and spirits

A few more notes on gods and spirits from around Glorantha. The various ways gods and spirits are classified gives an example of the amount of diversity that exists concerning how they are perceived and understood by different cultures. And yet there is a certain amount of commonality, although the labels over cover different groups or mean different things.

Theyalans

The Theyalans (Orlanthi and associated peoples) traditionally classify the supernatural entities connected to the Otherworld as follows:

Gods: Entities we offer (or could offer) sacrifices and prayers to and who eternally exist in the Gods Time. They include such great powers as Orlanth, Ernalda, and Yelm, down to lesser powers like Vingkot, Yinkin, personal guardian deities, and so on.

Spirits: The discorporate entities that are present individually in all parts of nature – animals, plants, rocks, winds, fire, soil, waters, and so on. Sometimes they are servants of the gods (and confusingly, the personal guardian deities sent by the gods to protect priests and devotees are typically called “allied spirits)); more often, they are independent of the gods and serve nothing except their own needs.

Heroes: Also called demigods, these are mortals who also exist in some manner in the Gods Time. Examples include Harmast, Arkat, Sartar, Argrath, and Harrek.

Demons: Malevolent and harmful entities that might otherwise be classified as gods, spirits, or even heroes. Some evil people worship them as they would a god, spirit, or hero.

Jrusteli

The Theyalan system is hardly the only common classification scheme in Glorantha. The even more widespread Jrusteli system classifies such supernatural entities as follows:

Cosmic Court: These are abstract personifications of the elements and powers. Traditionally numbered 12 or 13.

Great Gods: These are the current owners of the elemental and other runic powers of the Cosmic Court. Most are burtae (hybrid entities that combine more than one rune power). Widely worshipped by barbarians and krjalki.

Srvuli: These are individualized portions of the Great Gods, lesser versions of the greater. Each Great God has their own srvuli, often several generations worth. Each generation is successively devolved from the original Rune power, and typically weaker and less significant. Most are burtae (hybrid entities that combine more than one rune power). Individual srvuli are often worshiped by barbarians and krjalki.

Spirits: The weakest srvuli and burtae are the spirits, a lowly, mindless form of energy without identity or individuality.

Vithelan

The Vithelans have a completely different scheme for classifying supernatural entities:

High Gods: Called the Avanparloth, these are the gods of the gods, the entities that created the world. They are too distant for mortals to meaningfully worship them.

Gods: Called Parloth, these are the overseers of the world, beings of permanence and unchangeability who seek to perceive, record, and exist in harmony with the unchangeable laws of the universe. Examples include Karkal, Prosandara, Veldru, and Yothbedta.

Anti-Gods: Called Adpura, these entities are changeable and impermanent who act against the unchangeable laws of the universe. Examples include Bandan, Dogsalu, Oorsu Sara, and Orlanth.

Small Gods: Called Parondpara, these are the supernatural entities who are worshiped on their home islands but almost never away from there.

Spirit: When embodied with a material form, spirits are the life energy. When disembodied they can be malevolent ghosts, unless appeased through rites, ancestor worship, and spirit magic.

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