RELIGION
           Religion in the Cities   Red Hunters   Torvaldsland   Wagon Peoples  

  MYTHS
           Creation of Man   
           Creation of Torvaldslanders    The legend of Torvald    The legend of Stream of Torvaldsland   
           Slaves    Slave Flower    The End of the World   
           Tarntaurus    Horses and Dogs   

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RELIGION

Religion in the Cities

"There was a sect among the people that worshipped the sun, but it was insignificant both in numbers and power when compared with the worship of the Priest-Kings who, whatever they were, were accorded the honors of divinity. Theirs, it seems, was the honor of being enshrined as the most ancient gods of Gor, and in time of danger a prayer to the Priest-Kings might escape the lips of even the bravest men."
"Tarnsman of Gor" page 29/9

"Oddly enough, there was little religious instruction, other than to encourage awe of the Priest-Kings, and what there was, Torm refused to administer, insisting it was the province of the Initiates. Religious matters on this world tend to be rather carefully guarded by the Caste of Initiates, who allow members of other castes little participation in their sacrifices and ceremonies. I was given some prayers to the Priest-Kings to memorize, but they were in Old Gorean, a language cultivated by the Initiates but not spoken generally on the planet, and I never bothered to learn them."
"Tarnsman of Gor" page 40

"We could hear the bells, the chanting. In a moment we could see the lifted golden circle, on its staff, approaching. The people in the streets hurried to press against the walls. “Initiates,” I said to Marcus. I could now see the procession clearly.
“Kneel,” said the fellow near me. “Kneel,” I said to Marcus. We knelt, on one knee. It surprised me that the people were kneeling, for, commonly, free Goreans do not kneel, even in the temples of the Initiates. Goreans commonly pray standing. The hands are sometimes lifted, and this is often the case with praying Initiates."
"Magicians of Gor" page 17

"We saw a fellow walk by, mumbling prayers. He was keeping track of these prayers by means of a prayer ring. This ring, which had several tiny knobs on it, was worn on the first finger of his right hand. He moved the ring on the finger by means of the knobs, keeping track of the prayers that way, comes to the circular knob, rather like a golden circle at the termination of the Initiate's staff, one knows one had completed one cycle of prayers. One may then stop, or begin again."
"Magicians of Gor" page 21

"There were poorly webbed, small tapestries; amulets and talismans; knotted prayer strings; papers containing praises of Priest-Kings, which might be carried on one’s person."
"Assassin of Gor" page 155

"He had won his freedom though it had, as the Goreans say, led him to the Cities of Dust, where I think, not even the Priest-Kings care to follow. He had, as a man, lifted his fist against the might of the Priest-Kings and so he had died, defiantly, though horribly, with great nobility."
"Priest Kings of Gor" page14

"Most Goreans seem skeptical of an afterlife, or , at least, seem content to wait and see. The only Gorean caste which, as far as I know, officially believes in an afterlife is that of the Initiates, and they believe in it, it seems, only for themselves, and seem to believe it is connected with such things as the performance of secret rites, the acquisition of secret knowledges, mostly mathematical, and the avoidance of certain foods. Initiates commonly wear white and have their heads shaved. They also, supposedly, and perhaps actually, on the whole, abstain from alcohol and women. They count as one of the five high castes, the others being the Physicians, Scribes, Builders and Warriors. In some cities they are quite powerful, in others it seems they are largely peripheral to the life of the community. I have never been in one of these temples. Slaves, like other animals, are not allowed within…"
"Dancer of Gor" page 279

"Returned from the Cities of Dust" gasped the warrior. "No," I said, "I am a living man as you."
"Outlaw of Gor" page 61

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Red Hunters

"I climbed the stairs to the platform. I would look upon the Sardar in the morning light. At this time, particularly in the spring, the sun sparkling on the snow-strewn peaks, the mountains can be quite beautiful.
I attained the height of the platform and found the view breath-taking, even more splendid than I had hoped. I stood there very quietly in the cool, sunlit morning air. It was very beautiful.
Near me, on the platform, stood the red hunter. He, too, it seemed, was struck to silence and awe.
Then, standing on the platform, he lifted his bare arms to the mountains.
"Let the herd come," he said. He had spoken in Gorean. Then he reached into a fur sack at his feet and, gently, took forth a representation of the northern tabuk, carved in blue stone. I had no idea how long it took to make such a carving. It would take many nights in the light of the sloping, oval lamps. He put the tiny tabuk on the boards at his feet, and then again lifted his arms to the mountains. "Let the herd come," he said. "I give you this tabuk," he said. "It was mine, and it is now yours. Give us now the herd which is ours." Then he lowered his arms and reached down and closed the sack. He left the platform.
There were other individuals, too, on the long platform. Each, I supposed, had their petition to make to Priest-Kings. I looked at the tiny tabuk left behind on the boards. It looked toward the Sardar."
"Beasts of Gor" pages 82/3

"We had then arrived at the two sleen he had left floating in the water, beneath whose hides he had blown air. He deferentially thanked the two sleen for having permitted themselves to be slain by him. Then he tied them behind his kayak and, together, paddling, we headed back toward the pebbled shore.
"When the sleen are dead, how can you expect them to know they are thanked?" I asked.
"That is an interesting and difficult question," said Imnak. "I do not really know how the sleen manage it."
"It seems it would be hard to do," I said.
"It is a belief of the People," said Imnak, "that the sleen does not really die but, after a time, will be reborn again."
"The sleen is immortal?" I asked.
"Yes," said Imnak. "And when he comes again he will hopefully be more willing to let himself be harpooned again if he has been well treated."
"Are men. too, thought to be immortal?" I asked.
"Yes," said Imnak.
"I know a place," I said, "where some people would think that men are immortal but animals are not."
"They do not like animals?" asked Imnak.
"I do not know," I said. "Perhaps they think they are immortal because they are smart and sleen are not."
"Some sleen are pretty smart," said Imnak. He thought for a bit. "If sleen were to talk these things over," he said, "they would probably say that they were immortal and men were not, because they were better at swimming."
"Perhaps," I said.
"Who knows what life is all about?" asked Imnak.
"I do not know," I said. "Perhaps it is not about anything."
"That is interesting," said Imnak. "But then the world would be lonely."
"Perhaps the world is lonely," I said.
"No," said Imnak.
"You do not think so?" I asked.
"No," said Imnak, drawing his kayak up on the shore, "the world cannot be lonely where there are two people who are friends."
I looked up at the stars. "You are right, Imnak," I said. "Where there is beauty and friendship what more could one ask of a world. How grand and significant is such a place. What more justification could it require?"
"Help me pull the meat up on shore," said Imnak.
I helped him. Others came down to the shore and helped, too.
I did not know what, sort of place the world was, but sometimes it seemed to me to be very wonderful."
"Beasts of Gor" page 288/9

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Torvaldsland

"Kassau is the seat of the High Initiate of the north, who claims spiritual sovereignty over Torvaldsland, which is commonly taken to commence with the thinning of the trees northward. This claim, like many of those of the initiates, is disputed by few, and ignored by most. The men of Torvaldsland, on the whole, I knew, while tending to respect Priest-Kings, did not accord them special reverence. They held to old gods, and old ways. The religion of the Priest-Kings, institutionalised and ritualised by the caste of Initiates, had made little headway among the primitive men to the north. It had, however, taken hold in many towns, such as Kassau. Initiates often used their influence and their gold, and pressures on trade and goods, to spread their beliefs and rituals. Sometimes a Chieftain, converted to their ways, would enforce his own commitments on his subordinates. Indeed, this was not unusual. Too, often, a chief’s conversion would bring with it, even without force, those of his people who felt bound to him in loyalty. Sometimes, too, the religion of the Priest-Kings, under the control of the initiates, utilizing secular rulers, was propagated by fire and sword. Sometimes those who insisted on retaining the old ways, or were caught making the sign of the fist, the hammer, over their ale were subjected to death by torture. One that I had heard of had been boiled alive in one of the great sunken wood-lined tubs in which meat was boiled for retainers. The water is heated by placing rocks, taken from a fire, into the water. When the rock has been in the water, it is removed with a rake and then reheated. Another had been roasted alive on a spit over a long fire. It was said that he did not utter a sound. Another was slain when an adder forced into his mouth tore its way free through the side of his face."
"Marauders of Gor" page 25/6

"We saw thralls, too, in the crowd, and rune-priests, with long hair, in white robes, a spiral ring of gold on their left arms, about their waist a bag of omens chips, pieces of wood soaked in the blood of the sacrificial bosk, slain to open the thing; these chips are thrown like dice, sometimes several times, and are then read by the priests; the thing-temple, in which the ring of the temple is kept, is made of wood; nearby, in a grove, hung from poles, were bodies of six verr; in past days, it is my understanding, there might have been there, in place of the six verr, six thralls; it had been decided, however, a generation ago, by one of the rare meetings of the high council of rune-priests, attended by the high rune-priests of each district, that thralls should no longer be sacrificed; this was not defended, however, on grounds of the advance of civilization, or such, but rather on the grounds that thralls, like urts and tiny six-toed tharlarion, were not objects worthy of sacrifice; there had been a famine and many thralls had been sacrificed; in spite of this the famine had not abated for more than four growing seasons; this period, too, incidentally, was noted for the large number of raids to the south, often involving entire fleets from Torvaldsland; it had been further speculated that the gods had no need of thralls, or, if they did, they might supply this need themselves, or make this need known through suitable signs; no signs, however, luckily for thralls, were forthcoming; this was taken as a vindication of the judgement of the high council of rune-priests; after the council, the status of rune-priests had risen in Torvaldsland; this may also have had something to do with the fact that the famine, finally, after four seasons, abated; the status of the thrall, correspondingly, however, such as it was, declined; he was now regarded as much in the same category with the urts that one clubs in the Sa-Tarna sheds, or are pursued by small pet sleen, kept there for that purpose, or with the tiny, six-toed rock tharlarion of southern Torvaldsland, favored for their legs and tails, which are speared by children. If the thrall had been nothing in Torvaldsland before, he was now less than nothing; his status was now, in effect, that of the southern, male work slave, found often in the quarries and mines, and, chained, on the great farms. He, a despised animal, must obey instantly and perfectly, or be subject to immediate slaughter."
"Marauders of Gor" Page 152

"These stones, incidentally, are normally quite colorful, and can often be seen at great distances. Each year their paint is freshened, commonly on the vigil of the vernal equinox, which, in the north, as commonly in the south marks the new year. Religious rune stones are repainted by rune-priests on the vigil of the fest-season of Odin, which on Gor, takes place in the fall. If the stones were not tended either by farmers on whose lands they lie, or by villagers in whose locales they lie, or by rune-priests, in a few years, the paint would be gone, leaving only the plain stone. The most famous rune stone in the north is that on Einar’s Skerry, which marks the northland’s southern border.
"Marauders of Gor" Page 229

"The Spring Equinox, incidentally, is also used for the New Year by the Rune-Priests of the North, who keep the calendars of Torvaldsland. They number years from the time of Thor’s gift of the stream of Torvald to Torvald, legendary hero and founder of the northern fatherlands. In the calendars of the Rune-Priests the year was 1,006."
"Marauders of Gor" Page 58

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Wagon Peoples

"The Tuchuks and the other Wagon Peoples reverence Priest-Kings, but unlike the Goreans of the cities, with their castes of Initiates, they do not extend to them the dignities of worship. I suppose the Tuchuks worship nothing, in the common sense of that word, but it is true they hold many things holy, among them the bosk and the skills of arms, but chief of the things before which the proud Tuchuk stands ready to remove his helmet is the sky, the simple, vast beautiful sky, from which fans the rain that, in his myths, formed the earth, and the bosks, and the Tuchuks. It is to the sky that the Tuchuks pray when they pray, demanding victory and luck for themselves, defeat and misery for their enemies."
"Nomads of Gor" page 28

"The Tuchuk, incidentally, like others of the Wagon Peoples, prays only when mounted, only when in the saddle and with weapons at hand; he prays to the sky not as a slave to a master, nor a servant to a god, but as warrior to a Ubar; the women of the Wagon Peoples, it might be mentioned, are not permitted to pray;"
"Nomads of Gor" page 28

"the women of the Wagon Peoples, it might be mentioned, are not permitted to pray; many of them, however, do patronize the haruspexes, who, besides foretelling the future with a greater or lesser degree of accuracy for generally reasonable fees, provide an incredible assemblage of amulets, talismans, trinkets, philters, potions, spell papers, wonderworking sleen teeth, marvelous powdered kailiauk horns, and colored, magic strings that, depending on the purpose, may be knotted in various ways and worn about the neck."
"Nomads of Gor" page 28

"I heard a haruspex singing between the wagons; for a piece of meat he would read the wind and the grass; for a cup of wine the stars and the flight of birds; for a fat bellied dinner the liver of a sleen or slave."
"Nomads of Gor" page 27

"The saying is; under such conditions it was not surprising that the 'omens tended to be unfavorable"; indeed, what more inauspicious omens could there be? The haruspexes, the readers of bosk blood and verr livers, surely would not be unaware of these, let us say, larger, graver omens."
"Nomads of Gor" page 27

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MYTHS

Creation of Man

In Gorean legends the Priest-Kings are said to have formed man from the mud of the earth and the blood of tarns." "Hunters of Gor" page 258

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Creation of Torvaldslanders

"In Gorean legends the Priest-Kings are said to have formed man from the mud of the earth and the blood of tarns. In the legends of Torvaldsland, man has a different origin. Gods, meeting in council, decided to form a slave for themselves, for they were all gods, and had no slaves. They took a hoe, an instrument for working the soil, and put it among them. They then sprinkled water upon this implement and rubbed upon it sweat from their bodies. From this hoe was formed most men. On the other hand, that night, one of the gods, curious, or perhaps careless, or perhaps driven from the hall and angry, threw down upon the ground his own great ax, and upon this ax he poured paga and his own blood, and the ax laughed and leaped up, and ran away. The god, and all the gods, could not catch it, and it became, it is said, the father of the men of Torvaldsland."
"Hunters of Gor" page 257

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The Legend of Torvald

“Torvald,” I said to the Forkbeard, “is only a figure of legend. Each country has its legendary heroes, its founders, its discoverers, its mythic giants.”
“This,” said the Forkbeard, looking up at the sign, “is the chamber of Torvald.” He looked at me. “We have found it,” he said.
“There is no Torvald,” I said. “Torvald does not exist.”
“This,” said the Forkbeard, “is his chamber.” His voice shook. “Torvald,” said he, “sleeps in the Torvaldsberg, and has done so for a thousand years. He waits to be wakened. When his land needs him, he shall awake. He shall then lead us in battle. Again he will lead the men of the north.”
“There is no Torvald,” I said.
The Forkbeard looked within. “For a thousand years,” he whispered, “has he slept.” “Torvald does not exist,” I said.
"Marauders of Gor" page 232

"Hrolf, from the East, had agreed to return the war arrow to the Torvaldsberg. We had given it to him. When he had left the ruins of the hall of Svein Blue Tooth I had run after him, and, a pasang from the camp, had stopped him. "What is your true name?" I had inquired.
He had looked at me, and smiled. It was strange what he said. "My name," he said, "is Torvald." Then he had turned away, I watched him return to the mountain. I thought of the stabilization serums. "My name is Torvald," he had said. Then he had turned away."
"Marauders of Gor" page 294

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The Legend of the Stream of Torvaldsland

"It is not strange that the young men of Torvaldsland often look to the sea, and beyond it, for their fortunes. The stream of Torvald is regarded by the men of Torvaldsland as a gift of Thor, bestowed upon Torvald, legendary founder and hero of the land, in exchange of a ring of gold."
"Marauders of Gor" Page 55

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Slaves

"In Gorean mythology it is said that there was once a war between men and women and that the women lost, and that the Priest-Kings, not wishing the women to be killed, made them beautiful, but as the price of this gift decreed that they, and their daughters, to the end of time, would be the slaves of men..."
"Dancer of Gor" page 352

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Slave Flower

"The reason, in the north, that the dina is called the slave flower has been lost in antiquity. One story is that an ancient Ubar of Ar, capturing the daughter of a fleeing, defeated enemy in a field of dinas there enslaved her, stripping her by the sword, ravishing her and putting chains upon her. As he chained her collar to his stirrup, he is said to have looked about the field, and then named her ‘Dina.’ But perhaps the dina is spoken of as the slave flower merely because, in the north, it is, though delicate and beautiful, a reasonably common, unimportant flower; it is also easily plucked, being defenseless, and can be easily crushed, overwhelmed and , if one wishes, discarded."
"Slave Girl of Gor" page 62

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The End of the World

"Others said, in stories reminiscent of Earth, and which had doubtless there had their origin, that the world’s end was protected by clashing rocks and monsters, and by mountains that could pull the nails from ships. Others said, similarly, that the end of the world was sheer, and that a ship might there plunge over the edge, to fall tumbling for days through emptiness until fierce winds broke it apart and the wreckage was lifted up to the bottom of the sea. In the maelstroms south and west of Tyros shattered planking was sometimes found. It was said that some of this was from ships which had sought the world’s end."
"Beasts of Gor" page 28

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Tarntaurus

"There is even the legend of the tarntauros, or creature, half man, and half tarn, which in Gorean myth, plays a similar, one might even say, equivalent, role to that of the centaur in the myths of Earth."
"Renegades of Gor" page 138

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Horses and dogs

"Horses and dogs did not exist on Gor. Goreans, on the whole, knew them only from legends, which, I had little doubt, owed their origins to forgotten times, to memories brought long ago to Gor from another world. Such stories, for they were very old on Gor, probably go back thousands of years, dating from the times of very early Voyages of Acquisition, undertaken by venturesome, inquisitive creatures of an alien species, one known to most Goreans only as the Priest-Kings."
"Savages of Gor" page 16

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