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(#33, Version 5.0)
Gor is steeped in numerous myths, legends and superstitions, especially in the more primitive lands. But, even the civilized cities have their fair share as well. Some of these matters echo the myths and legends of ancient Earth history while others are indigenous to Gor. This scroll shall delve into the numerous known myths, legends and superstitions of Gor. Some of the book references provide only meager, but tantalizing, clues to these myths and legends. There are also undoubtedly many more that the novels have yet to describe.
Double Knowledge: Gorean society is divided into High and Low Castes. An important difference in this division revolves around the type of education that each group receives. This educational disparity is known as the Double Knowledge, separated into the First and Second Knowledges. The Low Castes are taught the First Knowledge while the High Castes are educated in the Second Knowledge. The First Knowledge includes of a series of falsehoods and deceptions, actively encouraged by the High Castes. The Second Knowledge speaks the truths that are kept from the Low Castes though even the High Castes do not know all the truths of Gor. In addition, even some of the High Castes, who should know better, cling to some of the beliefs of the First Knowledge.
The First Knowledge conceals the existence of certain matters from the Low Castes. They are taught that Gor is a broad, flat disk and not an orb. They are also taught that Gor does not move through space, that no other planets exist and that Earth is a myth. Thus, they believe that everything on Gor had a Gorean origin and that nothing came from Earth. Some do believe that Earth exists but they accept it as being a country far away from the rest of Gor. The Low Castes are also encouraged to believe that magic is real and that Initiates, wizards and sorcerers can possess incredible powers. They are even taught that if a Low Caste person should ever become the ruler of a Gorean city, then tragic results will result. This belief is one of the reasons many opposed Pa-Kur, the Master Assassin, when he tried to conquer Ar. It was considered that he was overextending his proper reach by being a Low Caste but seeking to become a ruler. The city of Tharna though has ignored this proscription as Kron, a Metal Worker, eventually becomes the Administrator once Lara abdicates.
The First Knowledge is purposefully intended to keep the Low Castes in their place. The High Castes do not want the Low Castes to seek higher positions. They wish to maintain control over them. The First Knowledge contains many lies but these lies are acceptable to the High Castes. But, the High Castes also do not actively try to conceal the truths of the Second Knowledge. The libraries of Gor often contain all of the information of the Second Knowledge. As such libraries are open to all castes, both High and Low, then a literate and determined Low Caste person has the opportunity to learn the truth. This follows the Gorean principles that ability helps to determine one's place on Gor and that one can raise their Caste and knowledge by actively pursuing such a path.
The Second Knowledge corrects many of the lies from the First Knowledge but not all High Caste persons apparently receive the same education. Some High Caste persons cling to some of the beliefs of the First Knowledge, especially where they concern the efficacy of magic. Some may not even accept the reality of Earth. Thus, the simply fact that one belongs to a High Caste does not automatically mean that one is free of the beliefs of the First Knowledge.
Some Goreans suspect that there is a Third Knowledge, those matters known only to the mysterious Priest Kings. This actually has much validity as the Priest-Kings are aware of a number of matters that are hidden, some intentionally, from the mass of Goreans. Few Goreans know the true nature of the Priest-Kings and few know of the existence of the Kurii. The Priest-Kings also purposefully prevent Goreans from learning about certain areas of technology. Besides a few Initiates and some agents of the Priest-Kings and Kurii, few other Goreans have any clue about these realities. Like the High Castes, the Priest-Kings purposefully conceal some of these matters to maintain control over the populace.
Origin of Gor: It is clear that a number of people, animals, plants and such were transported from Earth to Gor by the Priest-Kings and the Kurii. But, it is unknown whether man originally developed on Gor or Earth, or whether they both independently evolved men. Man may have originally evolved on Gor and then was transplanted onto Earth by the Priest-Kings, or vice versa. The Kurii may also have played a part in the creation of man. There is some evidence, anthropoidal fossils, on Gor that would possibly indicate that at least some men may have independently evolved on Gor. Thus, there might have been idigenous Gorean men and then Earth men brought to Gor. It is unknown whether any pure-breed Goreans still exist. There is no mention of any other types of fossils that have been found on Gor so it is largely unknown what other creatures may have existed in Gor's past that may now be extinct or only exist in the isolated wilds. So much is unknown about the two million years of history when Gor has been within our solar system. We have few legends or myths from this time either.
Origins of Man: There are some myths concerning the origin of man on Gor. The basic origin story is that the first man on Gor was called Hesius. It is claimed that the Priest- Kings formed Hesius from the mud of Gor and the blood of tarns. This presupposes that the existence of tarns on Gor predates the existance of man.
The people of Torvaldsland hold to a different origin myth. Their myths differentiate the origin of Torvaldslanders from the rest of the Goreans. The rest of the Goreans were created first. The myths state that some gods met in a council and eventually chose to create a slave for themselves. It is unknown the identity of these gods and if they are simply the known Torvaldsland gods such as Odin and Thor. The gods took a hoe, a farm implement that is used to labor in the fields. They sprinkled water on the hoe and then rubbed the hoe in their sweat. This then created men. Later that same night, another god decided to create his own men. It is unknown this god's identity or his reasons for the creation. It seems more likely that this is one of the Torvaldsland gods as he is seen as the creator of their race. This god laid down an axe instead of a hoe, a weapon instead of a mere farming tool. He then poured paga and his own blood over the axe. The axe came to life, laughed and then fled. No one could retrieve the axe and it thus became the first man of Torvaldsland.
The Wagon Peoples have their own origin story. They worship the "Spirit of the Sky" and believe that rains were sent down from this Spirit to form the world. These rains also formed the bosk and the Wagon Peoples. It is not known if the Wagon Peoples believe that the rest of the Goreans were formed in a different manner or not.
It is very likely that the other barbarian cultures of Gor, such as the Red Savages and the Red Hunters, may have their own origin stories.
Hersius/Hesius: These similar names may actually be spelling or printing errors and possibly refer to the same person. They refer to a legendary hero of Ar who may have been the first man on Gor. He figures into several legends of Ar, including the origin of its Home Stone. Hesius is the name of the second month of the calendar of Ar. Hersius is also the name for the planet Jupiter. The books do not contain the Gorean names of any other planets in our solar system.
Magic and Superstition: Many Goreans believe in the validity and efficacy of magic, especially the Low Castes though even some of the High Castes may also do so. These Goreans believe in such matters as telepathy, shape-changing, teleportation, curses, divination, and other powerful spells. "This ingenuousness is doubtless dependent upon several factors, such as the primitiveness of the world, the isolation and uniqueness of cities, the disparateness of cultures and the tenuousness of communication." (Magicians of Gor, p.254). It is also encouraged by the High Castes to help maintain the social order and keep the Low Castes in their place.
The Initiates are believed to possess secret tomes and scrolls that contain powerful magical spells. These spells are claimed to be even more powerful on certain feast days, especially if those spells are read backwards. The magicians of Anango are also famed across Gor for their powerful magics. The Low Castes are truly frightened of such people.
"The religious conditioning of the men of Gor, based on superstition though it might be, was as powerful as a set of chains-more powerful than chains because they did not realize it existed. They feared the word, the curse, of this old man without weapons more than they would have feared the massed swords of a thousand foemen." (Tarnsman of Gor, p.206)
One effect of fear is that many Low Caste Goreans are reluctant to reveal their true names. Part of the First Knowledge states that one's true name can give an enemy great power over you. Your true name can be used in various spells against you. Thus, to protect themselves from this perceived threat, they create a "use name." This use name is a false name that they will give to other people. Only their close relatives or friends might know their real name. The High Castes usually use their true names freely though the Low Castes firmly believe that they possess use names as well.
Despite one's Caste, most Goreans seem to believe in divinatory abilities and pay heed to the taking of auspices. Many Goreans will not begin an action until the omen as read. Omen taking is common before military actions and the Initiates frequently take omens prior to numerous important matters. These omen takers are known by various terms such as soothsayer or haruspex. It is common to sacrifice animals for these divinations and then read the animals entrails or blood. The vulo, verr and bosk are also common sacrificial animals. Human sacrifice has been practice on Gor in the past by at least the Wagon Peoples and Torvaldslanders though this practice has apparently ceased except by the Paravaci tribe. Omen taking does not require sacrifices though. A soothsayer may read the wind and grass, the stars, the flight of birds, or almost anything else.
Hunters have their own divinatory practice, especially sleen hunters. When they kill an animal, they will drink a cup of its blood. Then they will examine the blood in another cupped hand, trying to divine their own ultimate fate. If they see themself with a black and wasted look, then it indicates that they will die of some disease. If they see themself all torn and scarlet, then it indicates that they will die in battle. If they see themself old and white-haired, then it indicates they will die in peace, leaving behind heirs. They then drink the blood to finish the divinatory ritual. These hunters also believe that eating the heart of the animal will bring them luck. Sleens bring much luck though the mountain larl brings the most luck.
Religion: The worship of the Priest-Kings is the most prevalent religion on Gor, especially in the civilized lands. Much of this has been previously addressed in the Scrolls Initiate Caste and the Priest-Kings and you can find much information there. The Priest-Kings are seen are vastly powerful and very knowledgeable. Few Goreans would wish to purposefully offend the Priest-Kings. Most Goreans have either seen or heard of the effects of the Flame Death so they have much reason to believe that the Priest-Kings actually exist. They may not know the nature of the Priest-Kings but they rarely debate their existence. The Flame Death is a form of capital punishment imposed by the Priest-Kings and triggered from their stronghold in the Sardar Mountains. A victim seems to spontaneously erupt in blue flames. This is most commonly a punishment for those who violate the Technology and Weapon Laws.
In addition, the Priest-Kings sometimes use the Flame Death just to show their power to the Goreans. This is very effective.
"Occasionally on Gor we destroy a city, selecting it by means of a random selection device. This teaches the lower orders the might of Priest-Kings and encourages them to keep our laws."
"But what if the city has done no wrong?" I asked.
"So much the better," said Misk, "for the Men below the Mountains are then confused and fear us even more--but the members of the Caste of Initiates, we have found, will produce an explanation of why the city was destroyed. They invent one and if it seems plausible they soon believe it." (Priest Kings of Gor, p.123)
The general populace of Gor both fear and respect the Initiate Caste, yet they do so only because the Initiates are alleged to be the messengers and direct servants of the Priest-Kings. The Initiates claim that they speak for the Priest-Kings and further their objectives. As the populace is positive of the great power of the Priest-Kings, they do worry that the Initiates may just be speaking the truth. Thus, to be safe, the populace chooses to generally respect the Initiates. They may ridicule the Initiates behind their backs but they rarely would dare to do so openly, fearful of potential retribution.
There is another religion on Gor that appears to exist, at least in part, in some of the cities of Gor though it is likely more prevalent in the countryside. This small cult, much lesser in numbers and power than the worship of the Priest-Kings, worships the Sun. The books say almost nothing about this cult and it does not appear to possess much significance on Gor.
The barbaric lands also have their own religious beliefs. Some of these cultures acknowledge the existence of the Priest-Kings but they choose to pray to other deities. The Red Hunters appear to be one barbaric culture that does pray to the Priest-Kings. The Initiate Caste tries to eliminate the worship of at least some, if not all, of these other gods. They are fiercely defensive of their primacy on Gor.
The tribes of the Wagon Peoples revere the Priest-Kings but they do not worship them. Instead, they choose to worship the "Spirit of the Sky." In their myth structure, it was Spirit who caused the rains that would form the world, the Peoples and the bosk. Males of the Wagon Peoples will pray only when they are mounted and women are not permitted to pray at all. A man prays to the Spirit as if he was a warrior addressing a Ubar. Thus, the Spirit is seen more as a leader than an actual god. He is someone to respect. To the Wagon People, certain matters are considered holy such as the bosk and one's martial prowess.
The people of Torvaldsland respect the Priest-Kings but they also do not worship them. Torvaldslanders worship gods such as Odin and Thor, gods based on the Norse pantheon of Earth. This helps show the connection of the Earth Vikings to the Torvaldslanders. The Initiate Caste especially despises this religion and harshly punishes anyone they catch worshipping them. They may torture these heretics, boiling them in oil or burning them alive. They might even place a snake into one's mouth, forcing the mouth closed and waiting for the snake to tear its way through one of the cheeks. The worshippers of these gods may be known by the sign of Thor, where they make a fist over their drink. The fist is symbolic of Thor's hammer.
Torvaldsland has its owns priests, called rune-priests. They commonly wear white robes (like Initiates), possess long hair and may have a spiral ring of gold on their left arms. They carry a bag of omen chips, small wood chips that are soaked in the blood of a sacrificial bosk. These chips are thrown like dice, sometimes several times, and interpreted to divine the future. They also often engage in animal sacrifices. They once sacrificed male slave, thralls, but they have ceased doing so. It is now thought that thralls, like urts and tiny tharlarion, are not worthy enough to be sacrificed to the gods. Rune-priests are less organized than the Initiate Caste and the high council of rune-priests rarely meets all at once.
Animals: Not all Earth animals exist on Gor. Most specifically, the horse and dog do not exist on Gor except in legend and myth. The kaiila is similar in some ways to the Earth horse but there are no canine type species on Gor. As men have been brought to Gor from Earth they did bring their memories of such animals with them, thus they remain part of legend. There are other animals on Gor which have taken the place of such animals. For instance, kaiila and tharlarion are the common land-based mounts on Gor. Trained sleen do much that dogs would have done on earth such as guard herds and track. There may be other Earth animals that do not exist on Gor but they have yet to be specifically mentioned in the books as such.
Creatures: There are legends on Gor of some more fanciful creatures, some of which derive from ancient Earth legends. It does not appear that any of the following creatures actually exist on Gor, except in their myths and legends.
Tarntauros: This is a half-man, half-tarn creature similar to the centaurs of Earth. The top half of the creature would be human and would possess arms. The bottom half of the creature would be a tarn and likely would possess the ability to fly.
Satyrs: This is a mythical creature directly related to the Earth myths of the same name. A satyr is a man-like being with many of the features of a goat such as cloven hooves and horns.
Griffin: Again, this is a mythical creature directly related to the Earth myths of the same name. A griffin has the body of a lion, the head of an eagle (which would be a herlit on Gor), and wings.
Djinn: In Tahari region of Gor, the people believe in the Djinn, another mythical creature directly derived from Earth. On Earth, the Djinn is also known by several other names such as jinn and genie. A Djinn is basically a spirit, not a flesh and blood creature, who possesses magical powers. The Gor books do little more than mention the existence of this belief and do not go into detail as to what powers it is supposed to possess. Though it is not mentioned in the books, an ifrit is a similar type of spirit also believed in by Arabic cultures on Earth. They are more malicious spirits than the Djinn.
Anango: The island of Anango is located very far south of the equator, so far that most Goreans almost cannot conceive of the distance. Because of its great distance, many strange legends and stories have developed about what exists on Anango. People believe there are many strange animals, creatures, plants and even races that exist there. Unfortunately, the books do not specifically describe any of these bizarre matters. People also believe that potent sorcererers exist on Ananago, capable of nearly any mystical deed. Rogue illusionists, who work in the traveling carnivals of Gor, often claim to have learned spells in Anango or possess magical items from that island.
Torvaldslanders: Though they are but humans, there are some Goreans who have elevated them to the status of legendary creatures.
"In the legends of others, they appear as blond giants, breathing fire, shattering doors, giants taller than trees, with pointed ears and eyes like fire and hands like great claws and hooks; they are seen as savages, as barbarians, as beasts blood-thirsty and mad with killing, with braided hair, clad in furs and leather, with bare chests, with great axes which, at a single stroke, can fell a tree or cut a man in two." (Hunters of Gor, p.257)
Unfortunately, the books do not state which Goreans feel this way though it seems most likely that it would be those Goreans who live far from Torvaldsland and thus have not actually met a Torvaldslander.
Dar-Kosis: This is a horrible disease, similar in some ways to Earth leprosy. It is highly contagious, currently incurable and feared by everyone. The named "Dar-kosis" means Holy Disease. The Initiate Caste believes that the disease is a tool of the Priest-Kings, used by them to sanction those who have somehow displeased them. Because it is considered a sacred disease, it is considered heresy to shed the blood of an infected victim. Strangely enough, it is not considered heresy to stone an infected victim, even if the stones are going to make the victim bleed. Another ramification of the disease being considered holy is that the Initiate Caste will not allow anyone to seek a cure. They will and have taken action against members of the Physician's Caste who have tried to research a cure. If legal remedies will not suffice, the Initiates will hire armed men to physically prevent the Physicians. Some Physicians have been killed by such means.
Dina: This is a beautiful flower, indigenous to the northern temperate zones and rare in the southern lands. Its design is also used as a slave brand and "dina" is sometimes used as a slave name. It is also known as the "slave flower" though the exact derivation of that appelation is unknown. There is a legend that an ancient Ubar of Ar captured the daughter of a fleeing enemy in a field of dinas. He enslaved her there, looked upon the lush field and called her Dina. It is also said that it may be be called "slave flower" because "... 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, p.62)
Falarian Wine: This is an extremely rare wine that is only rumored to exist. It is said to be so expensive that its price would be sufficient to buy a city. Despite the legend, there are references in the books to show that it actually does exist. It is the type of product though that only Ubars or very wealthy Merchants might be able to possess. Marlenus, Ubar of Ar, did possess some of this wine.
Immortality: Most Goreans do not believe in immortality. The Initiate Caste though does believe in it and their Caste Codes are directed to that end. The regimen to achieve eternal life forms the foundation for many of their restrictions, such as avoiding meat and beans. The regimen also includes a study of mathematics. As women cannot belong to the Initiate Caste, then they cannot attain immortality. The Gorean land of the dead is called the "Cities of Dust."
Lost City: In Explorers of Gor, a lost city is found deep in the equatorial jungles. The city abutted a very large lake, eventually named Lake Shaba after the explorer who discovered it. This lake is the source of the mighty Ua River. Little is known about this city though explorations of it are likely to uncover information over time. In the lake, there are some massive stone statues, basically the torsos and heads of black men. The men are carrying spears and shields. At one edge of the lake is a landing that leads into the ruined city. The entire city and the statues reflect a great age though no one speculated on its potential age. There are some mosiacs within the ruins that indicate the civilization did practice slavery of women.
There are many other unexplored areas of Gor that may also lead to the discovery of either ancient lost cities or even existing cultures, unknown to the rest of Gor. The lands to the east of the Barrens are largely unknown as is the regions to the west of Cos and Tyros. Only time, and the bravery of some daring explorers, will tell what new worlds are found.
Origin of the Home Stone: There is no clear origin for the Home Stone though there are several mythical accounts. The most popular myth involves Hesius, the legendary hero of Ar. It is also the only account given in the novels. Thus, by tradition, the Home Stone of Ar is considered to be the oldest Home Stone on Gor.
"One popular account has it that an ancient hero, Hesius, once performed great labors for Priest-Kings, and was promised a reward greater than gold and silver. He was given, however, only a flat piece of rock with a single character inscribed upon it, the first letter in the name of his native village. He reproached the Priest-Kings with their niggardliness, and what he regarded as their breach of faith. He was told, however, that what they gave him was indeed worth far more than gold and silver, that it was a 'Home Stone.' He returned to his native village, which was torn with war and strife. He told the story there, and put the stone in the market place.
'If the Priest-Kings say this is worth more than gold and silver,' said a wise man, 'it must be true.'
'Yes,' said the people. 'Whose Home Stone is it?' asked the people, 'yours or ours?'
"Ours,' responded Hesius.
Weapons were then laid aside, and peace pledged. The name of the village was 'Ar.' (Dancer of Gor, p.302)
Origin of Slavery: Gorean mythology has an origin story for the institution of slavery. Legend states that there was once a great war between the men and women of Gor. The reasons for the war are not stated in the books. But, the men defeated the women and won the war. The Priest-Kings then feared that all of the women would be killed and they did not want those results to occur. To protect the women, the Priest-Kings made all of them beautiful so that men would find them appealing. But, this beauty did not come without a price. The Priest-Kings also decreed that women would always be the slaves of men.
One depiction of this myth, on a shield, shows a group of satyrs capturing a group of Amazons. This directly indicates the obvious Greek origins of some of Gor. This myth also echoes the Amazonomachy of Greek mythology. An Amazonomachy is a great battle between the Amazons and the male Greeks. Ultimately, the Amazons lose the battle and are enslaved by the Greeks.
The Curulean of Ar, its great auction block, is ornately carved and this carving is of the figures of nine slave girls. They represent the legendary first nine girls that were ever enslaved when Ar was but a small village many thousands of years ago. As the girls have rope collars, it is claimed that Ar did possess the skills of metal working at that time. It is also part of the legend that these slaves were forced to breed sons for the men of Ar. This seems unusual in that Goreans rarely breed with their slaves as the offspring of a slave is commonly considered a slave.
Prison Moon: The planet of Gor has three moons, one large one and two small ones. Only one of the moons has been given a name in the books. The other two moons likely have names but they simply have not been listed in the books yet. One of the small moons is called the Prison Moon. Unfortunately, there is no reason given for its name. We can speculate on many different rationales for the appellation though we cannot be sure. The shadows on the moon may resemble bars like a prison cell though if that is so, Tarl Cabot would likely have remarked on it. There could be legends that some person or creature was imprisoned on the moon by the Priest-Kings. Maybe one day we will learn the reasons.
Quiva: The quiva is the almost legendary, balanced saddle knife of the Wagon Peoples of the prairies. It is about a foot in length, double edged, and tapers to a daggerlike point. The quiva is used more as a missile weapon than a hand-to-hand weapon. It is not necessary to throw it hard as its sharpness and weight do the work for you. Most quivas are made in Ar and sold in sets of seven, as there are seven sheaths in the kaiila saddles of the Wagon Peoples. The quivas are almost always kept in the saddle sheaths. The quivas are made differently for each tribe of the Wagon Peoples. Despite the fact that they are manufactured in Ar, the quiva is almost exclusively a weapon of the Wagon People. In the novels, Tarl Cabot is the only non-Wagon Person who ever used a quiva. Tarl even creates a carnival act out of the use of the mysterious quivas, a weapon that is known to few. Due to its legendary status, there is no reason to believe that it is a common Gorean weapon.
Red Hunters: The Red Hunters are a primitive folk that leave in the northern polar regions of Gor. Their culture is more fully described in Red Hunters. They have many of their own legends and superstitious beliefs and I wanted to mention a couple here. First, they believe in shape-changing, the ability of a person or animal to change its form. A man may be able to take on the form of different animals and an animal may be able to take on the form of a man. Second, they also believe that sleens and humans are immortal through reincarnation. When a person or animal dies, they are eventually reborn in a new form. This belief may extend to other animals as well though the books are vague on that issue.
Red Savages: The Red Savages are another primitive folk and they live in the Barrens region of Gor. Their culture is more fully described in Red Savages. They have many of their own legends and superstitious beliefs and I wanted to mention a couple here. They hold that being honest is extremely important and if a warrior lies, then his shield will not protect him in battle. They also regard both reality and dreams to be real. In your dreams, you may enter the mysterious medicine world. This will permit you to speak with the dead and with animals. You also acquire the ability to travel vast distances but still wake up in your bed. At certain times, they even believe that reality and the medicine world form a juncture and become one. Spells, which they often call medicine, are important to them. Such spells can be used for good or ill.
Ships: All Gorean ships have eyes painted on them by the shipwright. The eyes are either painted on a head that surmounts the prow in a tarn ship or on either side of the bow in a merchant ship. This is the very last action done to a ship before it is launched for its very first journey. The eyes are placed there so that the ship can see its way. Goreans feel that a ship is a living thing and thus requires eyes. This is a superstition that even the High Castes follow.
Before a ship leaves port, a ritual is often, if not always performed by the sailors. One will state "Ta-Sardar-Gor" and "Ta-Thassa." That means respectively "To the Priest-Kings of Gor" and "To the Sea." After stating these blessings, a portion of wine, oil and salt will be poured into the sea.
Sailors commonly feel that free women on a ship are bad luck. Though there are no laws prohibiting women from taking passage on a ship, it is rarely good for the morale of the sailors. On the other hand, slaves are welcome additions to a ship. Many ships even have a specific Luck Girl, a special mascot thought to bring good fortune. Slaves are commonly available to the crew for their pleasures so they definitely aid morale.
Tarl Cabot: Tarl Cabot was brought to Gor by the Priest-Kings for a specific purpose. They wanted him to have a major impact upon the world. One of the legends of Gor states that the Priest Kings bring a warrior to Gor every thousand years to change the world. Tarl Cabot is thought to be one of those men. If true, it would also mean that about ten such men have been brought to Gor to effect a major change. Though we do not know all of the possible candidates for these epic men, we can hazard a couple guesses. One possibility would be Torvald, the legendary founder of Torvaldsland. As Torvaldsland is just over 1000 years old, the timeframe is fitting. And as he made a major impact on at least part of the Gorean world, he may qualify. The legendary Hesius may have been the first such person brought to Gor, over 10,000 years ago.
Waiting Hand: This Hand is the five day period between the Twelfth Passage Hand and the beginning of the New Year. The Waiting Hand is a solemn time. Little business is done and many Goreans stay home. It is a time of fasting, meditation and mourning. The doors of many homes are sealed with pitch, painted white and have branches of the brak bush nailed to them. The brak bush is meant to keep bad luck away. On the dawn of the vernal equinox, a ceremonial greeting of the sun takes place. The completion of the greeting is signified by the ringing of great bars suspended above the city. The people then issue forth from their houses. The brak is burned on the threshold and the pitch is washed away. The Initiate Caste does not seem to get deeply involved in the rituals of the Waiting Hand so it is unlikely to have much religious significance. It is more likely simply an ancient superstition.
Woodsmen Caste: Woodsmen are very close to nature and as they are a Low Caste, also superstitious. Before they chop down a tree, they will first speak to the tree. They will tell the tree what the wood will be used for and they will even ask the tree's forgiveness for what he intends to do.
World's End: This is the area of Thassa, the Gorean ocean, that lies about one hundred pasangs west of the islands of Cos and Tyros. There are only a few small islands located west of Cos and Tyros. No one has ever sailed past that region and returned to tell of it. There are many legends as to what might lie in that region. Some claim that Thassa is endless. Others claim that you will eventually reach the edge of the world and could plunge over that edge, falling for days through emptiness. Still others claim that there are clashing rocks and sea monsters (like the Greek Scylla and Charybidis). Some even say there are magnetic mountains that can pull the very nails out of a ship. The smashed planking of some ships have been found floating in the waters west of Cos and Tyros but usually so little is found that the actual ship cannot be identified.
My own speculation is that another land and culture may be found past the World's End, mostly likely a culture based upon islands. This would be a perfect place to transplant a Japanese culture from Earth. It would be fitting for he isolation of medieval Japan and could form the basis for a very interesting novel. Medieval Japanese culture would easily fit into the Gorean philosophies.