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[Dark Eras] Great Cults of Major Religions

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  • [Dark Eras] Great Cults of Major Religions

    To the Strongest historical Mage Chapter in Dark Eras gives us next "faction" tier beside the Paths and (quasi-Orders of ) Darshanas - they are so called Great Cults that describe Awakened cosmology in terms of nations major religions the particants adhere to, because before the era of common globalisation ( from XIX century onward ) world of mages were fratureted to what Mysteries you belive in. After creation of Orders those views started to become unified, but Great Cults still been the root of most theories the new Awakaned dwell to.

    When waching the video below about spread of 5 modern major religons of our world, I thought that it would be very interesting and usefull to have Great Cults of those and answer big qustion - How Buddist, Chrisitan, Hindu, Islam and Jew, mages loon on the cosmology of Mage game?

    http://www.businessinsider.com/map-s...qNzXITGcq1vPVW

    To the Strongest gives us the those Cults:
    • Arcadian Mysteries ( called also Pelasgians ) based on myths of Ancient Greece.
    • Karpani ( called also Magi ) based on Zoroastrian charge of Ancient Persia.
    • Mantra Sadhaki are Hindu mages rooting their views in Naga Kingdom.
    • Weret-Hekau are Egyptian priests of Five-Fold Souls.
    As we have Hindu Cult, how do you see the other four major religions view Awakened cosmology?
    Last edited by wyrdhamster; 07-14-2015, 03:28 AM.


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  • #2
    because before the era of common globalisation ( from XIX century onward ) world of mages were fratureted to what Mysteries you belive in.
    That's not the first time. The Great Cults seem to exist where you have fairly homogenous cultures (plus India, but I'll ignore that for the moment). To The Strongest represents the beginning of an era where there's a great deal of pluralism, and Magi can easily compare and draw on multiple traditions. That's something which fluctuates over history. I mean, much of Europe becomes totally dominated by Christianity, but the areas of the Muslim empire are fairly pluralistic for a much longer period.

    I mean, how does a Jewish great cult work when by the nature of being a minority in a larger population they're going to be regularly interacting with non-Jewish magi (and visa versa to an extent)?

    (India is a bit of an outlier because at the period of To The Strongest it's already a very pluralistic place. I mean, Hinduism is kinda a label slapped on a very eclectic mixture of beliefs and religions. There's a reason it began life as a geographical term.)


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    • #3
      I have other observation on the topic - that in their core Jew, Christian and Islam would still be one Monotheistic Great Cult. All three religions would loosely interpret Supernal Realms in the same way ( Arcadia and Primal Wild as Garden of Eden, Stygia as Purgatory/Gehenna, Pandemonium as Hell, Aether as Heaven ) and even their magical practice will come one from another. The only real dirffence is that Jews would have much more Silver Ladder overtones ( and divine Hierarchy ), Christian would be more entwined with Guardians Heiromagus idea ( and Church's conspiracies ) and Islam will have a more Adamantine Arrow outlook ( with their tendency to Jihad ). But it would be only slight bias. Over all, they will be using the same Symbols and very similar myths in their magic. Compared to other, they will be just three different flavors on the same subjects, not totally different answers.

      But Buddists would be very interesting, as their philosophy is almost radically different from other four major religions.
      Last edited by wyrdhamster; 07-14-2015, 06:22 AM.


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      • #4
        I think a Christian-Islamic sect would overlook that they exist in quite different cultures. The Great cults aren't just marked by different mythos, but by different ways of organisation.
        Also, I think It's important I think to remember that the various great cults are not just their respective religions plus magic. The Arcadians are highly ambivelant towards their Gods, the zoroastrian magi are actually pretty disreputable.

        I kinda wonder if a Christian great cult wouldn't be something like Catharism or Gnosticism. Recognisably Christian but still quite different from the mainstream.

        Thinking about Europe specifically, I've kinda wondered about retooling the Messianic Singers from Dark Ages Mage. Despite being an Ascension group, I think they kinda fit what I'm talking about pretty well.


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        • #5
          Christian Gnosticism sounds pretty much exactly like what I'd expect from faithful Christians trying to make sense of the world after awakening.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Gnosticism

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          • #6
            Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
            I have other observation on the topic - that in their core Jew, Christian and Islam would still be one Monotheistic Great Cult. All three religions would loosely interpret Supernal Realms in the same way ( Arcadia and Primal Wild as Garden of Eden, Stygia as Purgatory/Gehenna, Pandemonium as Hell, Aether as Heaven ) and even their magical practice will come one from another. The only real dirffence is that Jews would have much more Silver Ladder overtones ( and divine Hierarchy ), Christian would be more entwined with Guardians Heiromagus idea ( and Church's conspiracies ) and Islam will have a more Adamantine Arrow outlook ( with their tendency to Jihad ). But it would be only slight bias. Over all, they will be using the same Symbols and very similar myths in their magic. Compared to other, they will be just three different flavors on the same subjects, not totally different answers.

            But Buddists would be very interesting, as their philosophy is almost radically different from other four major religions.
            You... really don't know much about Judaism.

            The Jewish conception of Heaven is incredibly different from the Christian or Islamic concept to the point where using the same word is entirely misleading. Jews don't believe in Hell or "the Devil" (in Jewish mythos ha'satan is a title/job description for an angel and angels can't fall because they lack free will). Gehenna as a form of Purgatory isn't really modern mainstream thought, though it does have some theological grounding.

            I also don't see how Judaism would have Silver Ladder overtones at all except amongst the most ultra of ultra-Orthodox and the Hassidim. Most Jews tend to towards secularism, and even those that don't tend to be anti-authoritarian and socially liberal. There's a reason that Jews go solidly for Democrats in the US and, while Bibi's Likud is right-wing it's still relatively centrist in a liberal democracy. Jews also tend heavily towards higher education in arts and sciences and the religion itself supports the idea that it is through human deeds that things change and the world is made better (or: as Below, so Above), pointing to a more Libertine mindset if anything.

            If anything it's the Catholics that would tend more towards the Silver Ladder based purely on their religion as they have a very clearly defined temporal hierarchy.


            All that being said: I think it's a tenuous connection at best to link a Sleeper's religion to what Order they choose after Awakening.


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            • #7
              Originally posted by proindrakenzol View Post
              You... really don't know much about Judaism.
              I'm not saying I'm. I'm only Christian raised nerd on Mage forum.

              Originally posted by proindrakenzol View Post
              The Jewish conception of Heaven is incredibly different from the Christian or Islamic concept to the point where using the same word is entirely misleading. Jews don't believe in Hell or "the Devil" (in Jewish mythos ha'satan is a title/job description for an angel and angels can't fall because they lack free will). Gehenna as a form of Purgatory isn't really modern mainstream thought, though it does have some theological grounding.
              I was basing most of it from the those rare events I made contact with Jew culture - clearly, not enought. Also, I was basing this interpretation on Awakaned Kaballah from Magical Traditions. How much it is relevant to the Judaism on large I still do not know. But if Christian Great Cult would be Gnostic Christianity, so I assume Jews would use here Kaballah, yes?

              Originally posted by proindrakenzol View Post
              I also don't see how Judaism would have Silver Ladder overtones at all except amongst the most ultra of ultra-Orthodox and the Hassidim. Most Jews tend to towards secularism, and even those that don't tend to be anti-authoritarian and socially liberal. There's a reason that Jews go solidly for Democrats in the US and, while Bibi's Likud is right-wing it's still relatively centrist in a liberal democracy. Jews also tend heavily towards higher education in arts and sciences and the religion itself supports the idea that it is through human deeds that things change and the world is made better (or: as Below, so Above), pointing to a more Libertine mindset if anything.
              They were only broad strokes to point that Monoteistic Cult would be devided in to three flavors, not proper Great Cults itself. But if you feel that Judaism would made totally diffrent Cult from Christian-Islam one, maybe point in what places? Compare them.


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              • #8
                Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post

                I'm not saying I'm. I'm only Christian raised nerd on Mage forum.
                It's fine, I just get a little tired of the conflation of Jewish and Christian thought (99% of the time you're going to label something "Judeo-Christian" it'd be more accurate to just say "Christian").

                I was basing most of it from the those rare events I made contact with Jew culture - clearly, not enought. Also, I was basing this interpretation on Awakaned Kaballah from Magical Traditions. How much it is relevant to the Judaism on large I still do not know. But if Christian Great Cult would be Gnostic Christianity, so I assume Jews would use here Kaballah, yes?
                The use of Kabbalah would depend on the Jew. The Conservative and Reform movements have excised Kabbalistic practices. But even for those that do use Kabbalah, it's not really an occult book or a book on how to engage in mystic practice, it's a theology book that contains some mysticism. It's more a way to decipher the Torah than anything else.

                They were only broad strokes to point that Monoteistic Cult would be devided in to three flavors, not proper Great Cults itself. But if you feel that Judaism would made totally diffrent Cult from Christian-Islam one, maybe point in what places? Compare them.
                I think that while there might be a single Jewish Awakened Cult (there's not that many Jews and the major division between Jews is strictness of practice not really core doctrinal interpretation) I'd be surprised if there weren't at least a Catholic Cult, an Orthodox Christian Cult, and (many) Protestant Cult(s). There'd also likely be two, or more, Islamic Cults (shia/suuni and possibly the different Asians).

                I also imagine that any Jewish Great Cult would only be a Great Cult due to a combination of tradition, real world bleed-over, and influence of its members or Jews would have to have a way higher percentage of Awakenings than pretty much any other group. 2 tenths of a percent of the world population doesn't leave for a lot of us.
                Last edited by proindrakenzol; 05-22-2018, 05:12 AM.


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                • #9
                  Sorry for flinging with bad stereotypes on Jewish faith. Forgive me.

                  Originally posted by proindrakenzol View Post
                  I think that while there might be a single Jewish Awakened Cult (there's not that many Jews and the major division between Jews is strictness of practice not really core doctrinal interpretation) I'd be surprised if there weren't at least a Catholic Cult, an Orthodox Christian Cult, and (many) Protestant Cult(s). There'd also likely be two, or more, Islamic Cults (shia/suuni and possibly the different Asians).
                  Here I would oposed - Great Cults are based on idea that you made a large enough and diverse sect in to general strokes of Awakened reinterpretation. Christian would still be one Cult, becuase diffrences like existance of Trinity or Holiness of Virigin Mary is not enough to break this, the essence of it's mytholodgy.

                  Look on original Mantra Sadhaki Great Cult - they are thousands of Hindu religions and worships, connected by major mythology roots and belive in Naga Kingdom. The same can be said about Christian Cult - they belive in Jesus as Hieromagus figure and Ain Soph God that rules universe. Great Cults are "Great" becuase they paint Awakaned mythos with "big brushes". Still, mages from them can easily fight with one another.

                  Originally posted by proindrakenzol View Post
                  I also imagine that any Jewish Great Cult would only be a Great Cult due to a combination of tradition, real world bleed-over, and influence of its members or Jews would have to have a way higher percentage of Awakenings than pretty much any other group. 2 tenths of the world population doesn't leave for a lot of us.
                  I would really like to see what you can made for Jewish Cult.


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                  • #10
                    A Cult seems to me like what happens post-Fall to a society of Awakened developing without broad contact with mages from other cultures. Each of the cults is a sort of proto-Diamond, more reminiscent of the host culture because they don't have any other cultures with which to compare notes to see which symbols and themes are "universal." They're not just a belief system, they're an organization. They are the mage society that does the sorts of things the Diamond/Pentacle will do later- influencing Sleepers, coordinating apprenticeships, regulating access to Mysteries, etc.

                    In the wake of Alexander's conquest, all the proto-Diamonds in the Hellenistic world meet up and start coordinating around/developing a unified dogma, forming an earlier version of the Diamond we know today, and excluding those mages who continued to focus on magic drawing on the symbols of their native cultures.

                    I assume that after the Diamond formed, one of its chief projects was uniting all like-minded mages everywhere; "The Awakened are one People" is Silver Ladder doctrine for a reason. Presumably the "charter members" from Greece, Egypt, Persia, and India began sending emissaries to their counterparts in Rome, Gaul, China, Carthage, Nubia, Ethiopia, etc. as soon as they found out those places had mages in them. Until they were brought into the unified Diamond community (either by peaceful discussion or by hostile invasion) each of these areas would have had their own Cult, serving as the Proto-Diamond in their region. However, once the international Diamond showed up, local mages would either join the massive global network, or, if they held their local beliefs dear, they would remain Nameless.

                    Thus, Cults would only exist until they were absorbed into the globalized blob that is the Diamond. I would think that neither Christian nor Muslim mages would ever have their own Cult; both of those religions emerged in geographic regions that ought to have been thoroughly Diamondized by the time of their inception.

                    The Jews could have had their own small Cult before being conquered by the Babylonians; I would imagine that after that, Israelites who Awakened would face the choice of either joining the Cult of the ruling culture in order to gain access to its networks of power, or trying to develop magic drawing on their ancestral faith- a very Libertine (which is to say, Nameless at this point) inclination, as Proindrakenzol notes.

                    However, just because Christian Vajrastras are swallowed up by the Arrow does not mean they completely abandon their religious perspective; there are two practicing Catholic mages in Broken Diamond that very much view the Diamond cosmology through the lens of their faith (although each does so in different ways). A mage that openly asserts that their cultural beliefs contradict and therefore invalidate Diamond doctrine is going to be Nameless until the Libertines organize, but there's plenty of room in the Orders for Sufi mystics who are officially orthodox Mystagogues, but unofficially have a very different interpretation of "Magic is Alive" than your average globalized mage. They may also form or modify a Legacy to crystallize their perspective into something they can pass to disciples.

                    Of course, if you want to make alternate Cults, I'd agree with Proindrakenzol that you don't want to lump Christianity or Islam into a single Cult; even before the Reformation you'd have plenty of regional variation amongst Christians, and mages may more actively retain pagan symbolism than their Sleeper kin. In this kind of setting, you might want to come up with some explanation as to where the properly syncretic Diamond is, if they are anywhere; if they are non-existent, you may want to come up with a reason why neither Alexander, nor the Roman Empire, nor the Abbasid Caliphate led to the formation of the Orders. Perhaps in this alternate history, the proto-Seers managed to fully hijack the formation of the other Orders, and so the only global mage networks that have successfully formed are Ministries.

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                    • #11
                      Adding to what GhostTurtle posted, I think it's worth noting that you don't need a Cult to describe a magical society with a common mythology; Tome of the Mysteries first introduced the concept of Mythos, that is essentially what a Cult is, minus the actual hierarchy and organization. By the time Christianity becomes the official religion of the Roman Empire, the Orders in Europe and Levant are sufficiently organized, and any previous cults developed in the area have devolved into regional Mythoi that informed and provided with cultural context for the Orders. Cults would be relegated to isolationist kingdoms and Nameless orders.

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                      • #12
                        I don't see the need to think of the Great Cults as radically seperate from Diamond culture. I see them as running into each other. I mean, even in the modern day, the Pentacle are extremely decentralised. The Great Cults are less coherent organisations and more local styles of organisation.


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                        • #13
                          Resurrecting topic - How would you think about Norse Great Cult, connected to Seidr in Viking times? We know the part of them are Seo Hel, Nordic witches dedicated to Hel that were among the most feared mages in the North. They believed their patron represented the spiritual reflection of physical decay and that the material and physical realms retain a bond with the soul upon death.


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                          • #14
                            Worship of Odin is going to be there somewhere, I believe.


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                            • #15
                              I think that first would be worship of Freyja, as she was one that taught Odin the Seidr. Probably worship both of them as 'divine couple'.


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